Coming into the main event of the 2018 World Championship, 100 Thieves was looked at as arguably the weakest team at the entire tournament. With a mid-season mix-up at the jungler position, combined with a perplexing situation in the bottom lane, there were plenty of question marks for North America’s 2nd seed entering play on Thursday. Needless to say, after sitting on the losing side of the most lopsided game so far at Worlds, 100 Thieves still has plenty to answer for.
Earlier today, the first EU-NA matchup of Worlds 2018 ignited one of the most famous rivalries in all of esports once again, as Fnatic took down 100 Thieves in convincing fashion. And while there has never been a perfect game in the history of the rivalry between the regions, Fnatic came incredibly close to capping one off, giving up just one tower and one kill to a 100 Thieves team that looked anemic, unprepared, and downright outclassed.
In fact, the loss was so harsh, it ranks as the single biggest margin of victory by which a European team has beaten a North America squad. Even the famous 26-3 beat-down Fnatic administered to Cloud9 during the 2013 Worlds Quarterfinals doesn’t hold a candle to the punishment the organization delivered to 100 Thieves on Thursday.
Although Fnatic’s dominance during today’s match is certainly a storyline to focus on, perhaps the incredibly disappointing performance of 100 Thieves is even more imperative to discuss. Coming into the tournament, it was obvious that the squad was being touted as one of the weaker teams at Worlds. And yet, the Thieves’ initial showing on the Rift was far worse than anyone could have imagined.
Today’s loss saw 100T only gather one kill and just one tower throughout the course of the entire game, eventually losing the game altogether after just 27 minutes. By the time their nexus was destroyed, 100 Thieves found themselves in a hole of nearly 17,000 gold, effectively securing the largest margin of defeat so far at the 2018 Worlds main event in the process.
And while the loss was undoubtedly a head-scratcher for North America as a whole, the biggest question might just be the absence of the man who helped carry 100 Thieves to NA’s 2nd seed in the first place.
Throughout the course of the season, Cody Sun was one of the pillars of the Thieves’ roster, as he posted a personal win-rate of 57% over 58 games when in the starting lineup, as well as a KDA of 5.6, a DPM of 606.2, and a CSM just under 10. However, during the postseason and now at Worlds, his presence on the Rift has been steadily diminishing. Richard “Rikara” Samuel Oh has been making a name for himself as part of the 100 Thieves starting five, as he’s played six games thus far in 2018, including all four in a crucial semifinal against Team Liquid during the North American regional playoffs.
However, while Rikara is stepping into more of a featured role on the team, it’s still unclear why. Throughout his six games on the competitive stage, he’s only won two of them, while sporting a KDA of just 3.1, a CSM of 9.1, and GPM of 364 and a DPM of 393. For reference, each of Rikara’s marks in these statistical categories are substantially lower than those of Cody Sun. Additionally, if Rikara played an entire split at this rate, he would be on pace for a bottom two finish among all qualified bottom laners in every single statistical category at best.
But, he hasn’t played a full split. He’s only played six games at the professional level, and as a result, it’s fair to give Rikara the benefit of the doubt. Yet even still, by no means are his numbers impressive. For all intents and purposes, Cody Sun is the better player by a wide margin, and the fact that 100 Thieves refuses to play him should raise plenty of questions.
And now, with the World Championship in full swing, every game matters more than the last. With each loss, teams can see their season start to slip away right before their eyes, and the Thieves are already finding themselves in a hole to kick off the tournament.
And although time is running out for 100 Thieves, the team still has the chance to flip the hourglass. However, it all starts with the bottom lane, specifically with Cody Sun. Much of the team’s success has stemmed from him this year, and if they’re going to have any shot at all in this tournament, the starting five needs to be stacked with as much talent as the lineup can possibly hold. And yes, it’s going to take a serious turnaround to get 100 Thieves out of an already daunting group, but a mountable comeback could start in the bottom lane.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Lolesports, 100 Thieves