Photo Credit: Fantasy Esports
Shock and surprise would probably be an accurate description of what happened in the group stages of MSI last week. Everyone agreed before the tournament that SK Telecom should be the clear-cut favorites to win and that the next four teams, Royal Never Give Up, Counter Logic Gaming, G2 Esports, and Flash Wolves, were pretty close in skill. Super Massive, despite being the best wildcard team in a while, was the clear underdog of the tournament. In our previous article, we mentioned as much when we predicted who would win MSI.
Home Court Advantage
It has been clear since the beginning of competitions that competing on home ground gives a team an advantage. Royal Never Give Up capitalized on this fact and delivering a stellar performance in the group stages. In the LPL regular season, the team had never really dominated the season although they had a great performance otherwise. Their record at MSI include only 2 losses to SKT and CLG, which shows that Shanghai has really given the Chinese team a boost in performance. Everyone on the team is firing on all cylinders and if things continue this way, there is a very good chance China could extend their MSI win streak to two years in a row.
The Team that Could
It is no secret that CLG struggled to make it to MSI. They did not even get first place in the regular season of the NA LCS, and if TSM did not knock out Immortals in the semifinals, who knows what could have happened. Even in the grand finals, they were down in the final game of the series and only a last-minute mistake by TSM gave them the victory. Going into MSI, most people were hesitant to place CLG above the third or fourth best team in the event. However, they soon proved critics wrong as they showed a very strong game and defeated some of the best teams around the world. If it wasn’t for the slight blip of losing to Super Massive, they could have taken the first seed from RNG.
Once a Champion, Always a Champion
For the people who do not follow the LMS scene, it might have been a shock at how strong the Flash Wolves were. For those who do follow LMS, the Flash Wolves’ results were not shocking at all. Ever since Season 2, people have underestimated the Taiwanese teams from the LMS and have paid the price for it. Taipei Assassins won the Season 2 World Championships, and the LMS has been producing strong teams consistently. For the Flash Wolves, they have the right of boasting that they are the only team to defeat SKT in both of their games against the Koreans. Also, their losses have been extremely close and if things had gone a little differently, they might have been topping the group stages instead of being in third place.
Even Gods can Fall
What happened to SKT at MSI is perhaps the biggest shock of all. This team should have dominated the group stages and not looked back, but the opposite happened. The first day went well for SKT as they dominated both of their games. However, the result may have been a bit inflated as they beat the teams that would end up in the last two places at MSI. SKT would go on to lose a streak of four games in the middle of the tournament before clawing their way back to fourth place by winning their last few games. Despite having the same record (6-4) as the Flash Wolves, they received the short end of the stick and the fourth seed because the Flash Wolves had won both of their matches against them.
Lack of Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect
G2 looked like the top of the four teams who were really close in skill before MSI, and the team that could potentially challenge for first place. However, viewers and fans found out that the team had neglected to practice much for the tournament and were suffering the results of that. They picked up only 2 wins at MSI and that was over the last place team Super Massive to end on a very poor note for the European representatives. To add salt to the wound, by placing fifth, Europe would lose their first place seed at Worlds in the summer.
Signs of Life
Nobody expected Super Massive to do too much at MSI and although the results may look that way, the Turkish team actually looked pretty decent. Several of their games were close and despite only winning one game, they had chances in several others. MSI was a good chance for them to gain some international experience and improve before Worlds. If anyone thinks about underestimating wildcard teams at Worlds like last year, they will be in for a nasty surprise.
1st-Royal Never Give Up (8-2)
2nd-Counter Logic Gaming (7-3)
3rd-Flash Wolves (6-4) *2-0 record vs SK Telecom
4th-SK Telecom (6-4)
5th-G2 Esports (2-8)
The playoffs will begin on Thursday, 5/12/2016, and conclude with the grand finals on Saturday, 5/14/2016.
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