The preliminary Play-In round of the League of Legends Mid Season Invitational has solidified power standings across the non-major League of Legends regions.
The favorites for Group A, Rainbow7, has fell short of everybodys’ expectations, with eyes on WhiteLotus’ synergistic value with the rest of the team since his suspension. Gambit Esports, the second most favorited in the group, completely trounced the competition to move forward.
In Group B, the star studded Turkish team of SuperMassive eSports put on the afterburners and went 5-1, with their only loss being a non-consequential exhibition match. KaBum! placed second, earning them a respectable accolade from the crowd but ultimately falling short of their goal.
Even better news for participating teams is the fact that sales from the Conqueror Varus and Conqueror Ward skins have bolstered the MSI Prize Pool to 970,000. Considering there are about two more weeks for the MSI tournament, there is a good chance that the MSI Prize Pool could exceed the $1 million dollar minimum that Riot has outlined.
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EVOS Esports vs SuperMassive eSports
Tuesday, May 8th – 4AM PST / 7AM EST
EVOS Esports is a very new organization hailing from Vietnam, being promoted in the fall of 2017 and winning their first split in the spring. Although their organization is new, their players are very experienced; Slay and Stark coming from the Gigabyte Marines with RonOP, YiJin and Warzone from the Saigon Jokers round out a balanced team composition. Their opponents will be powerhouse SuperMassive that steamrolled the first Play In stage. The Turkish team has actually played the Saigon Jokers some years ago and won in a clean sweep 3-0, but this may be a new day and age for both teams.
EVOS barely triumphed over the Gigabyte Marines in the Vietnam Championship Series Finals 3-2 despite holding a sizable lead during the regular season. Despite the fact that the players are no strangers to the competitive scene, international experience for the team is quite low, with the majority of players having only participated in one to two international tournaments. The team overall relies on ADC Slay to be the backbone, consistently performing with RonOP in the botlane. YiJin and Warzone are very standard players that perform as the meta dictates, both possessing above average KDAs and KP%. Former GAM Stark has some issues to sort out before playing this week and is clearly the weak point of the team. That being said, Vietnam was promoted to a major region for good reason – the regions’ successes have earned them the respect of many and EVOS is plenty strong to boot.
SuperMassive performed as predicted in the Play-Ins, with every player performing to the highest caliber and most matches not being relatively close. The Korean imports of SnowFlower and GBM bring stability to the mid and bot lanes while fabFabulous has created a name for himself internationally over the years.
Both EVOS and SME are accomplished teams that fought their way to this stage. EVOS had defeated GAM in the finals of the VCS, which has been promoted from a wildcard to a major region. SME completely destroyed its opposition earlier in the week and will attend a third successive MSI tournaments. The favorites to win here are SuperMassive Esports in a 3-2 fashion, as they have not shown weakness in their play as of yet and, as a region, tend to thrive at MSI.
Best bet: SuperMassive eSports to win 3-2 in maps betting, paying +350 at BetOnline
Flash Wolves vs Gambit Esports
Wednesday, May 9th – 4AM PST / 7AM EST
The Taiwanese Team of Flash Wolves take on Gambit Esports to decide who makes it out of the second round of Play-Ins. The League Master Series has been demoted this year due to North America outperforming the LMS in recent tournaments, but the region is still heralded as a LoL powerhouse. Gambit Esports made it out of groups in a resounding 5-1 record, demonstrating the strength of an older era Gambit.
FW are no strangers to international tournaments and neither are most of its players. SwordArt, Betty and Maple are well-known names to the international community, with Moojin being a lesser known player with a bit of professional experience. FW, despite being hotly contested for first place in the regular split, have much more impressive statistics than the second place team, which they also clean swept in the finals 3-0. The team relies on SwordArt and Betty in the botlane for heavy playmaking while Maple can usually hold down the fort midlane versus world class midlaners such as Bjergsen and Faker. As a weak point, even their rookie Hanabi has shown promise, integrating himself with the team through decent map involvement while playing very lane dominant champions. Flash Wolves are a very well rounded team that sports nothing less than world class play.
Gambit Esports played quite convincingly during the tournament, with ADC Lodik and Support Edward showing off their skills. PvPStejos and Diamondprox have performed well for most games, with the occasional hiccup here and there while Kira in the midlane demonstrated his wide champion pool, being flexible for the team but not necessarily having the most impact on all his champions. That being said, taking down FW will require Lodik and Edward to outpressure their counterparts and for Kira to not only go even in lane but to also prevent Maple from roaming. Utilizing PvpStejos to dominate Hanabi and split push may be their best bet to opening up the map, as teamfighting tends to go in favor of the FW simply through KP%.
Flash Wolves are a tremendous region brimming with talent and are expected to take the series 3-1. As well as Gambit Esports played during the first round, the FW’s overall skill level and experience may be too much to handle for the Russian All stars.
Best bet: Flash Wolves to win, paying +220 at BetOnline