Southeast Asia was off to a rough start at the League of Legends: Wild Rift Horizon Cup 2021 after SBTC Esports from Vietnam and Team Secret from the Philippines lost their opening matches of the Group Stage to Chinese teams Da Kun Gaming (DKG) and ThunderTalk Gaming (TTG).
SBTC Esports 0-2 Da Kun Gaming
The Horizon Cup Group Stage kicked off with a best-of-three match between two tournament favourites, with DKG sweeping SBTC.
The first game started out with SBTC opting for early game aggression, seeking to engage Da Kun Gaming in team fights.
DKG, on the other hand, opted for a crisp split push approach, punishing SBTC in smaller skirmishes and diverting attention from the Vietnamese team's focus on the map's objectives.
DKG mid laner “Huiba"'s Jax pick snowballed and he single-handedly demolished turrets with ease, exposing SBTC's top lane early, taking the first game in less than 16 minutes for DKG.
SBTC got off to a strong start in the second game, claiming the first Rift Herald and Dragon.
It was Hồ "Akeno" Trung Hậu’s Rakan that pushed SBTC ahead with his crowd control abilities, helping the rest of SBTC to secure many kills in team fights.
However, DKG managed to single out Akeno during team fights and turn the tables en route to a 17-minute and a 2-0 sweep of SBTC.
Team Secret 1-2 Thunder Talk Gaming
In the third series of the Horizon Cup's opening day, Team Secret fell victim to a 1-2 reverse sweep at the hands of a depleted TTG squad that had to field multiple subs due to visa issues.
Secret started the series strong behind strong performances from Robert "Trebor" Mansilungan's Lee Sin and James "Hamezz" Santos' Nami, who led the team to a clean 18-minute victory in game one.
TTG bounced back in game two behind midlaner Tianhua “Z” Zhou and jungler “Christ,” whose relentless pokes kept Secret at bay and made it hard for the Filipino team to find an engagement in their favor.
With their opponents struggling in team fights, TTG wisely secured objectives to take the 17-minute win and force the series to a decisive game three.
Secret found themselves in a good position early on in the third game, as they won early map objectives and successfully pushed out the side lanes.
However, in a fierce battle at the Baron pit, Christ snuck in and stole the Baron to swing the momentum in TTG's favor.
The Chinese team took this opportunity to take the Drake as well, resulting in a gold lead that allowed their Marksman picks to deal sizeable damage to Team Secret’s members.
With Secret far behind and unable to win in team fights, TTG destroyed their Nexus after 17 minutes of action to complete the unlikely reverse sweep.
— Wild Rift Esports (@WildRiftEsports) November 13, 2021
While Southeast Asia is off to a rocky start to the Horizon Cup, Secret and SBTC still have four more days in the Group stage to right the ship.
Both teams still have three more opponents left to face and winning two of their remaining matches should be enough to at least guarantee them a spot in the Knockout Stage.
The Group Stage matches will continue until 17 November, with the teams playing in a single round-robin of best-of-three matches.
The top three teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage while the bottom two will be eliminated.
The Knockout stage will run from 19 to 21 November. The best team in each group will automatically proceed to the semi-finals of the Knockout Stage, while the second and third-placed teams in each group will begin the main event in the first round. The Knockout Stage matchups will all be best-of-five except for the Grand Finals, which will be a best-of-seven series.
For everything you need to know about the Horizon cup, click here.
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