The lull of time between players qualifying for Worlds and the World Championship beginning is always a bit boring. Especially this year, as players are quarantining and not streaming any part of their bootcamp, it has been especially bad. Sure, we still have a lot of content to come – the group draw (and the ensuing predictions and drama), the podcasts, the top 20 lists, etc. But I thought it'd be fun to host a subreddit Re-Watch series of some of the best games that happened at World Championships of the past, in chronological order.
The format of the series will be simple, every day I will pick some (3-4) games from past World Championships, and you should Re-Watch them and post your reactions and commentary as to how the games stack up compared to the modern era. My series will take place over the 12 remaining days until Play-In matches begin, though I don't have a full release schedule yet. Without further ado, let's begin with Worlds Re-Watch Series Day 1: Seasons 1 and 2.
TSM v. aAa Game 1
I felt compelled to pick at least one game from the first ever World Championship, so I went with this one. This game happened in the Winner's Bracket, so the winner of this best of three moved on to the Winner's Bracket Final, while the loser went to fight their way back through the Loser's Bracket.
This game is incredibly memorable because of a couple particular plays. A huge play happens in Mid Lane outside TSM's base, in which TSM start a fight after losing an inhibitor. Kujaa (and sOAZ) run all the way from aAa's fountain as MoMa and Linak stall, eventually leading to MoMa's rescue. The most memorable happens in aAa's base- TheRainMan goes in 3v2, assassinates YellowStar, and proceeds to get out alive by running closer to aAa's fountain, around the Nexus, and out of the base as there was a wave at the Bot Inhibitor Tower. And finally, the game ends in a base race. Although it is not ideal from aAa's position, they really should not have gone for it and barely start the Nexus by the time TSM finishes, it is nonetheless exciting.
From a historical perspective, this game bears some significance. This game would serve as the singular game win that NA got over EU after the Group Stage of the event finished (besides CLG vs. Gamers.DE). However, the troubles that TSM had closing out this game spelled for larger problems. They would lose the next three games in a row versus aAa. Inside are a large amount of teamfights, skirmishes, and macro play. For nostalgia factors, there's a lot. There are many GP10 items, Will Of The Ancients, Force Of Nature, Old TriForce (the one that slowed on-hit), etc.
CLG v. SK
This game comes from the Group Stage. CLG and SK played this single-round robin game after both had started the group off on the wrong foot to the Eastern teams and were 0-1. It was clear at this point that if a Western team was going to make it out of the Group, it would be the winner of this match. Even though the winning team would fail to rise to expectations and exit the group, the pressure was still on for this game.
The most interesting, and impactful, part about this game's setup was the triple teleport picked by CLG- this was unheard of in Season 2. The first big play happens in a bot lane party. CLG loses the initial trade, but Doublelift goes back and teleports back in along with his solo laners, leading to a CLG win. However, this mid game should mostly be described as even. No one makes any large plays for inner towers. Then, abruptly at about the 30 minute mark, Doublelift begins a bot lane split push while SK groups mid. SK win the fight mid while Doublelift cracks open the inhibitor. SK pushes forward 4v2 (they send Aranaea back to deal with DL) and gets their own inhibitor while DL takes the Nexus towers. Unable to push forward further, SK begins to back out of the CLG base while the CLG solo laners TP in to end the game.
Like I said earlier, the historical impact of this game was not very high. It is memorable, but it resulted in nothing- SK could have won this game and the Group's result would not have been different. It is important to note that this game happened BEFORE the infamous xPeke backdoor against SK. The cultural impact about SK being chokers who get backdoor'd became a point of discussion for years to come.
WE v. CLG EU Game 2
If you think of this game, or rather this series, you probably think of the phrase "technical difficulties." Or maybe "Silver Scrapes." And it's true: the Bo3 series ended up postponing an entire day of the World Championship because of the various Internet problems at the outdoor venue. And this game- game 2- was actually two games, the first of which cut out at the 11 minute mark, and the second of which featured a complete remake, with a new draft (this would be the better handled of the remakes: Game 3 was remade at 50 minutes).
The game itself is a huge comeback, evoking nostalgia and toward CLG EU's turtling ability and late game prowess. World Elite was, at one point, up 9 kills to 1 and 6 Gold. However, at around the 36 minute mark, CLG EU wins their first fight on the back of a World Elite Baron play. This marked a turn in the game, after this fight, CLG EU is less scared of going into their jungle and contesting Baron. The game goes long, and at the 48 minute mark, CLG EU tries to push for an inhibitor and a huge Season 2-style teamfight breaks out. CLG EU wins this fight, gets control of the map, gets the Baron and a second inhibitor, and while pushing for the third inhibitor at 54 minutes, CLG EU finds a pick and ends the game.
There are a couple better examples of these two teams duking it out in the late game, such as IPL5, but this one holds up on its own as a pivotal match up that ended up deciding a large part of the bracket. The historical impact of this game is a bit large. For one, it would start a trend of ClearLove exiting the World Championship in the Quarter Finals, a feat that he would repeat 4 more times, in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. It also meant that two European teams would be in the Semi-Final, CLG EU and Moscow 5. This would not happen again until 2015, when Origen and Fnatic both made the Semi-Final.
Had World Elite won this game, it very well could have set a different record for how history viewed them. Because World Elite was the best team in the World in the months following the tournament and throughout the Spring, but falling off in the Summer, historical records of Season 2 and 3 don't show much of their accomplishments (besides IPL5 and Chinese Tournaments). A Worlds Semi-Final appearance would bolster those achievements.
There is an element of nostalgia to this game, to see WeiXiao on his Ezreal, Krepo on his Sona, Froggen Karthus, and Snoopeh's Skarner. For items, there's appearances of Force Of Nature, Wriggle's Lantern, Will Of The Ancients, Deathfire Grasp, and of course the GP10 items.
These three games conclude the games from the Season 1 and 2 World Championships that will be part of this Worlds Re-Watch Series. Start a discussion on any moment or play that stood out to you, or leave a comment letting me know that I'm wrong about some small detail. Tomorrow, I will bring three games from the Season 3 World Championship. Thanks!
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