In the Worlds 2022 Play-In, we saw plenty of fiestas, bangers, even the odd Pentakill or Baron Steal... but at the end of the day, only four teams could qualify to the main event stage. And in Evil Geniuses' case, a lot of it came down to their jungler - Kacper "Inspired" Słoma.
Despite getting into what many people saw as the much easier group with no LPL or LCK teams, many fans doubted whether Evil Geniuses would get out of the Play-In. After all, if they did not beat Fnatic and ended in second place, they would still have to take on MAD Lions or Saigon Buffalo, while if they slipped further they would need to take on DRX or Royal Never Give up. When the LCS representatives lost to Fnatic in their opening game, it looked pretty grim for EG. They needed someone to step up - and to their credit, all their players did, but no one did it quite like their jungler Inspired.
The Star of the Show
Inspired' Worlds campaign did not start in the best way - while few expected Fnatic to show up as strong as they did with their substitute support, EG was just blown away in their opening match. However, the Polish jungler played a huge role in his team's subsequent wins, turning around what looked like a lost game against LOUD and snowballing a starting advantage into an unstoppable avalanche against Chiefs. EG would proceed to lose only one of remaining six games, including two tiebreakers against Loud and DFM where his Trundle performances were clutch.
The final hurdle before the groups was LEC's fourth seed MAD Lions. The European team had come close to upsetting DRX before an unfortunate Baron call and had looked solid in their series against Saigon Buffalo. Yet on the day, EG were miles ahead - and a lot of it was due to Inspired. The jungler stole a clutch Baron that in large part decided the first game. -In the next two he seemed to be omnipresent, clearly outmatching the previously very solid Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla. The Lions were left scrambling to find picks and skirmishes, and Inspired punished them again and again, leading EG to their biggest achievement this year and, in fact, NA's first Bo5 win against an European team in an official Riot tournament.
Inspired played in 10 games over the Play-in, for a total of 8 victories and 2 losses. In all except the opening game, he had a very strong showing with high jungle presence and very good KDA. With a total of 9 deaths, he averaged less than one death per game, and amassed an amazing KDA of 27 for the Bo5 series against MAD Lions.
|Game 1: Graves||1||2||1|
Game 2: Maokai
|Game 3: Lee Sin|
|Game 4: Hecarim||5||1||9|
|Game 5: Sejuani||3||2||10|
|Game 6: Trundle||2||0||13|
|Game 7: Trundle||3||2||14|
|Game 8: Maokai||0||1||10|
|Game 9: Sejuani||3||0||14|
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Worlds continues on Friday, with the opening game being another NA vs EU banger as Cloud9 takes on Fnatic. Don't miss it!