The League of Legends (LoL) World Championship is in full swing and after six days of intense competition among eight teams at the Play-ins, GAM Esports and BDS came out on top and qualified for the Swiss Stage
GAM Esports had a rough start in Round 1, with a 2-0 loss to LOUD. However, they bounced back by sweeping R7 2-0 in the elimination match. They carried this momentum into the decider match against LOUD, winning 2-0 and advancing to Round 2.
Meanwhile, in Group B, BDS faced an initial setback with a 2-1 loss to Team Whales but rebounded by sweeping Detonation FocusMe and CTBC Flying Oyster 2-0, securing their place in Round 2 of the Play-ins.
GAM Esports defeat Team Whales 3-1
In the Play-ins' second round, GAM Esports faced off against their fellow Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) representatives, Team Whales, in a high-stakes battle for a coveted spot in the Swiss Stage.
GAM Esports started strong in the first game by securing the Xayah and Rakan bot lane combination and rounded off the draft with a high-damage Renekton, Viego and Syndra.
Their strategy paid off as they easily took control of the bot lane. However, it was Đặng “Kati” Thanh Phê’s Syndra that made all the difference, picking off Team Whales in every corner. GAM established dominance by closing off the first game in just 27 minutes with a 16-9 kill lead.
Team Whales staged a comeback in the second game, efficiently shutting down GAM Esports' carries and showing a strong performance in controlling the game's objectives. With a significant 20-3 kill lead, they secured a convincing victory in a 27-minute showdown, levelling the series.
The third game featured intense back-and-forth action, with both teams aggressively pursuing kills in the laning phase and during team fights. Although Team Whales initially held an advantage, GAM Esports displayed resilience, and a crucial Baron pit team fight turned the tide. With a 23-13 kill lead, they secured victory in 32 minutes, regaining the series lead.
The fourth game maintained the intensity, with both teams vying for opportunities to pick off their opponents during the laning phase. GAM Esports consistently maintained the upper hand, denying Team Whales a comeback by controlling key map objectives.
Finally, after a 27-minute bloodbath, with a dominant 24-13 kill lead, they secured their series victory and a slot in the Swiss Stage.
BDS outlast PSG Talon in a 3-2 reverse sweep
Meanwhile, BDS and PSG Talon went head-to-head in the second round of the Play-ins.
The first game began at a slow pace, with just two kills collectively for both teams in the first 25 minutes. Nonetheless, PSG Talon managed to secure more in-game objectives and exerted pressure on the European team's players across various lanes, particularly due to the strong performance of Huang "Azhi" Shang-chih's Kennen in the top lane.
From there, PSG Talon ploughed mechanically through the map and, moving closer to the base of BDS. And after a 34-minute slugfest, PSG Talon destroyed the BDS Nexus with an 11-3 kill lead to win the first game.
BDS lost early on in the drafting phase in the second game, allowing PSG Talon to take some of the strongest bot lane picks, Kai’sa and Rell.
PSG got more aggressive with kills and ganks throughout the entire match, allowing little room for BDS to make a comeback. After a 28-minute encounter with a 19-3 kill lead, PSG Talon finished off BDS’s base to take the second game.
BDS sprang to life in the early phase of the third game, fighting back and capitalizing on PSG Talon's errors. While PSG Talon initially held onto their lead, BDS found an opportunity during a Rift Herald skirmish, taking three kills to catch up with their opponents.
PSG kept up and maintained control until the mid-game, where they made several mistakes that BDS were able to punish, with Adam "Adam" Maanane’s Olaf and Juš "Crownie" Marušič’s Kai’sa obliterating them in team fights.
The 40-minute bloodbath ended with BDS coming out on top and destroying PSG Talon’s base with a 25-18 kill lead to win the third game.
In the fourth game, BDS crafted a superior draft by securing Kai'sa for themselves and giving top priority to Garen, one of Adam's most potent champions in the top lane.
The fourth game was completely dominated by BDS, as they emerged victorious in all lanes and successfully secured all the key map objectives.
PSG Talon, on the other hand, continued to struggle throughout the match, with Adam's Garen and Crownie's Kai'sa wreaking havoc on all of PSG Talon's members during team fights.
Following a swift and decisive 26-minute match, BDS shattered PSG Talon's base with a commanding 25-7 kill lead, securing the fourth game and pushing the series to silver scrapes.
In the fifth game decider, both teams were more cautious with their movements in the early game—with the kill score and the gold nearly even from both ends.
BDS initially found a gold lead, but PSG found ways to shut down their European opponents and find advantages to advance on the map and open up the bot and mid lanes.
However, BDS found a flank in the mid lane toward the late game and finished off PSG Talon with a clean ace.
And after a tense 43-minute encounter, BDS finished off PSG Talon’s base to win the fifth game and the series, and secure a slot in the Swiss Stage.
Meanwhile, PSG Talon and Team Whales end their Worlds run in 17th to 18th place, and take home US$ 38,937.50 in consolation.
The Swiss Stage of Worlds 2023 will begin on 19 October at 1:00 PM SGT. Here’s the first round of match-ups:
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.