Nothing’s ever final at the League of Legends (LoL) Worlds 2023 as NRG unexpectedly swept Western favourites G2 Esports while T1 exacted revenge over Bilibili Gaming (BLG) 2-0 to qualify for the Playoffs.
NRG came into the competition as the first seed for the LoL Championship Series (LCS), consistently defying expectations throughout the Swiss Stage.
Despite consisting of members who were removed from their previous teams, NRG continued to surprise at Worlds 2023 after finishing the Swiss Stage with an impressive 3-1 record.
Although they lost to the LoL Pro League's (LPL) Weibo Gaming in the first round, NRG defeated fellow LCS squad Team Liquid in the second round and European team MAD Lions in the third round. This allowed them to advance to the Playoffs qualifiers in the fourth round against G2.
Meanwhile, T1 had a dominant showing throughout the tournament, defeating Liquid in the first round before incurring their only loss against LoL Championship Korea (LCK) first seed Gen.G. They then had a deathless third round against Cloud9, allowing them to go against BLG in the fourth round Playoffs qualifiers.
NRG upset G2 Esports in a 2-0 sweep
With G2 having performed well in the first two rounds of the competition and their almost consistent attendance at Worlds, NRG came into the matchup as the heavy underdogs and contenders for a decade-long regional rivalry between the LCS and the LEC.
In the first game, the North American team got creative and deviated from the usual Xayah and Kai’sa bot lane priority, picking Ian Victor "FBI" Huang’s signature Senna as the AD Carry, along with Tahm Kench for support, and Vi in the jungle.
This has proven to be a problem for the European juggernauts, with NRG consistently using crowd control skills to interrupt the enemy team and the Senna-Tahm Kench combination proving to be a nearly unkillable brick wall.
After a 31-minute encounter and a massive 23-3 kill lead, NRG destroyed G2’s Nexus to win the first game.
In the second game, G2 tried to counter NRG’s JarvanIV with Poppy and Azir. But it was NRG that once again got the upper hand, as they cleanly and patiently found picks across the maps and gained control of the game.
Although G2 tried to fight back, NRG punished G2 for their mistakes and denied G2 a comeback.
After a 28-minute encounter and a 20-7 kill lead, NRG destroyed G2’s Nexus to take the second game, win the series, and qualify for Playoffs.
In the post-match interview, Niship "Dhokla" Doshi mentioned that he didn’t know that their team would perform well today, especially since they always lost to G2 during the scrims. However, according to him, the team thankfully performed on stage.
He also said that he still had mad respect for G2, stating that maybe the team only had a bad day today.
T1 sweep BLG 2-0
T1 came looking to exact revenge against BLG, the team that eliminated them at the Quarterfinals of the Mid-Season Invitational this year.
The South Korean second seed took a page from NRG’s book in the first game, taking Senna and Tahm Kench for Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok in the bot lane, and rounding the team composition up with Gnar in the top lane for Choi "Zeus" Woo-je, Jarvan IV in the jungle for Mun "Oner" Hyeon-jun, and Azir for Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok in the mid lane.
The Senna-Tahm Kench combination has once again proven to be a problem, making Gumayusi and Keria unstoppable in the bottom lane. T1 took their time in securing objectives throughout the map and leaving no room for BLG to counter them.
And after a dominant 28-minute encounter, T1 marched down BLG’s base, styling against their opponents to destroy the Nexus and take the first game with a 13-3 kill lead.
In the second game, BLG selected the blue side, where they prioritised Xayah and Alistor in the bot lane and gave Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin agency with Jax in the top lane.
Meanwhile, T1 responded with Gragas in the top lane for Zeus and the much-contested Orianna in the mid lane for Faker, while Gumayusi picked an off-meta Jinx in the bot lane, combined with Tahm Kench for Keria once again.
BLG started well and had control of the early game, finding picks in the laning phase. While the mid lane and top lane struggled, T1’s bot lane thrived. T1 found an opportunity to catch out in team fights at the Dragon pit and for the Rift Herald. The South Korean juggernauts methodically rotated around the map, with Faker and Zeus split-pushing intermittently.
However, it was a team fight in the mid lane that turned the tides to the South Korean team’s favour, after the team were able to kill most of BLG’s members, while simultaneously taking down the Baron. And after an intense 31-minute encounter and a 16-6 kill lead, T1 destroyed BLG’s Nexus to take the second game, win the series, and qualify for the Playoffs.
Meanwhile, G2 and BLG will still have a chance to qualify for the Playoffs after they face each other in the 5th round of the Swiss Stage on Sunday (29 October). Here’s the schedule for the 5thround of the Swiss Stage:
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.