Worlds 2022 Play-In Recap: What We Saw from the First… | RiftFeed
EU failed to send 2 teams to the groups

Worlds 2022 Play-In Recap: What We Saw from the First Stage of Worlds

Evil Geniuses ended the NA losing streak to EU in Bo5s and made it to the groups |© Riot Games

There was drama, there were upsets, there were Pentakills, Baron Steals and the first ever Bo5 victory for NA over EU at a Riot Event - and it was just the Play-In. In the end, the four major regions all sent a single representative each to the Group Stage. 

It took six days of roughly eight games each and when the smoke cleared, the top four teams from the Play-In rose up to join the rest of the world elite in the Main Event groups. Two of the four went directly to the next stage by clutching the first place in their group - LCK representatives DRX remained undefeated after five games, while over in group A Fnatic had an embarrassing loss to Brazil's LOUD but still secured the top spot. Six teams fought over the remaining two seeds, but in the end LPLs Royal Never Give Up and LCS' Evil Geniuses fended off their challengers in the knockout round to make it out as well.

Group A: DFM Upset Guarantees Fnatic's First Spot

Things looked grim for Fnatic as their botline was reported to be struck down by Covid. Elias "Upset" Lipp barely made it and Fnatic had to play with a substitute support, but they still styled on LCS representatives Evil Geniuses and Oceania's Chiefs. Things got shakier for them after, but despite an embarrassing loss to LOUD they secured a 4-1 record. EG, meanwhile, recovered well from their initial defeat and looked on point in their remaining games until an upset loss to Japan's Detonation FocusMe knocked them into a three-way tiebreaker with the LJL team and LOUD. In the end, the LCS representatives reclaimed the second place through the tiebreaker, leaving LOUD and DFM third and fourth. PCS finalists Beyond Gaming were left at fifth place with a 2-3 record, while Oceania's Chiefs went winless.

Group B: LCK > LPL (For Now)

We expected LCK and LPL to duke it out for the top spot in this game, and they went at it on the first day, where despite a close-fought game and a snazzy Baron steal by the RNG mid laner it was DRX who took the win. The two Asian powerhouses defeated everyone else, however, and secured the top two spots in the group. MAD Lions almost spoiled this by coming close to a victory against DRX, but it was not enough and they had to settle for third place with a 3-2 record, a game ahead of VCS' Saigon Buffalo. The last two places went to Latin America's Isurus Gaming and Turkey's Istanbul Wildcats, who lost their games against everyone else but on the final day Isurus defeated the TCL representatives.

Knockout Stage: EG Get Revenge and RNG Avoid a Disaster

With the top teams of each group securing their way to the main event, the next three seeds from both groups would have to fight for the remaining two spots in a series of Bo5 matches called the Knockout Stage.  The third and fourth teams from both groups faced off once more on Monday, with the winners taking on the second seeds from the opposite group the day later. The first bout saw MAD Lions get a very clean opening game win against Saigon Buffalo only to get stomped in the next one. Still, the LEC team rallied and despite a very solid defense by SGB's jungler in game four, took the series 3-1. DFM, meanwhile, lost the first game of their series against LOUD but adapted well and over the course of the next three games paid the CBLOL champions back with interest to get their own 3-1 victory and set off to face against the implacable RNG.

The last day of play-ins gave EU and NA fans a rare treat, a chance to see the two regions clash in a Bo5. Despite their less than stellar record against LEC teams so far, EG played confidently against MAD and while the first game was neck and neck for a long time, eventually  a clutch Baron steal by EG jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma, followed by the routing of the Lions squad spelled the end of their losing streak. Meanwhile, the loss seemingly sent MAD into a tailspin as their calls became increasingly erratic, and led by Inspired and top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young, EG turned that initial win into a very convincing 3-0 sweep to book their tickets to the next stage.

While we expected a similarly one-sided affair between LPL spring and MSI champions RNG and the underdogs of Detonation FocusMe, but in their opening bout the LJL team played an amazing game and won a deserving victory. As the second game started well for them, casters and fans alike thought that maybe they would get to see one of Worlds' big upsets. However, a single kill was enough for RNG to get the Baron and take over the game. The Chinese squad were out for blood in the next two games, dominating the map to end the series with a 3-1 and snatch the last groups spot. Yet despite their loss and missing out on the top 16 this time, it was hard to deny that DFM left their mark on Worlds before they left.

Read More About Worlds 2022

Worlds continues with Fnatic taking on another NA team - this time summer champions Cloud 9 - to kick off the main event at 11 PM CEST on Friday, October 7th. Don't miss it!