G-Rex, G2 move on at the League of Legends World Championship

The members of G2 Esports thank the crowd after moving on to the group stage of the League of Legends World Championship,thanks to a 3-1 defeat of Infiniti Esports on Sunday. Courtesy of Riot Games

The final day of the 2018 League of Legends Worlds Play-in came and went early Sunday morning, as did two of the remaining teams in the event. The night's festivities spanned eight of the most wild and unpredictable games in the event thus far, but in the end it was both the underdogs, LAN's Infinity Esports and Turkey's SuperMassive eSports, who were sent home at the end of the night, making room for Europe's G2 Esports and Taiwan's G-Rex at the main event.

Infinity eSports got the upset train rolling from the very moment the night began when it eked out a win against G2 Esports during the first game of the series. While the match definitely showed echoes of what was to come -- the performance of Jose "Relic" Pombo Ribeiro, Infinity's top laner, was already in question during this game, despite the result -- the Latin American all-star squad took the first bout with its strong teamfighting and the efforts of their ADC, Renato "Renyu" Gallegos Munoz, whose Tristana put victory within his team's grasp.

G2's despair would be short-lived, however, as the European squad took its defeat in stride and struck back with a 20-minute stomp of its own. It was in this second game where it became clear what would define the rest of the series, as the advantage that G2 had on the top side of the map thanks to the mismatch between their top laner, Martin "Wunder" Hansen, and Relic was matched in the mid lane was a clear weakness that put the onus on the rest of Infinity to make plays happen elsewhere on the map. Leaving Relic in the lane alone was clearly not an option, as Wunder quickly proved capable of winning even direct counter matchups.

While Infinity would go on to make a good show of the rest of the series -- both games would go all the way to the 40-minute mark and included some huge early game wins for Infinity -- it consistently fell just short of being able to send G2 home. There was at least one positive, as Sergio "Cotopaco" Silva, Infinity's mid laner, consistently not only beat Luka "Perkz" Perkovic, G2's mid laner, in lane, but completely smashed him, to the point where Perkz was almost a liability for G2 across the latter half of the series. His efforts were simply not enough to lift his team to the level it needed to take down their betters, however, as come the late game it was abundantly clear which of the two teams was the better, and that team was G2 Esports.

G-Rex's victory over Supermassive Esports started just as explosively, as once again the underdogs started off the series with an impressive statement game. This time it was the bottom lane that dictated the series, as Berkay "Zeitnot" Asikuzan, Supermassive's ADC, and No "Snowflower" Hoi-jong, Supermassive's support, established themselves as the biggest threats in the series straightaway. Thanks to the efforts of his support, whose Rakan play was the best to grace the Worlds stage, Zeitnot ended the first game with a triple, a quadra and a pentakill on Kai'sa, an very rare feat in League of Legends. Supermassive rightfully sauntered off the stage in a state of jubilee after its initial win, all smiles and optimism.

Thee bright mood would be shortlived, however, for Zeitnot would never again get his hands on Kai'sa, and thus never again be able to carry his team as he had in Game 1. Instead, each subsequent game played out in startlingly similar fashion, as Supermassive would do its best to get ahead in the early game, then inevitably stall out as the game went longer and each team started grouping up. While there certainly was a few teamfights over the rest of the series where Supermassive looked like they might turn it around, it was few and far between, and usually immediately followed by a turnabout from the side of G-Rex, who had the series completely wrapped up by the time the fourth game rolled around. The final berth at Worlds was claimed by the third-seed Taiwanese squad at the end of the third game after Lee "Stitch" Seung-ju, the ADC for G-Rex, proved himself the superior carry over Zeitnot for the third time in a row.

-- TBD