After making it out of the first play-in stage, neither SuperMassive nor Gambit were able to grasp victory over seeded opposition in the next round. Six teams will take to the Main Stage of the LOL Mid Season Invitational on Friday: EVOS Esports from VCS, Flash Wolves from LMS, Team Liquid from NA LCS, Fnatic from EU LCS, Kingzone DragonX from LCK and Royal Never Give Up from LPL.
The format of the MSI Main Stage consists of a double round-robin with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs. Every match during the playoffs will be a best-of-five series, with the semi-final matchups being determined by the top seed after the round robin.
The first day of matches will begin on Friday, May 11th and will be paramount in determining international strength. As usual, Kingzone and RNG are heavy favorites in most matchups.
Fnatic vs. Royal Never Give Up
2am PST / 5am EST / 11am CEST
Fnatic and Royal Never Give Up are both interesting teams in that they completely rely on their ADCs to carry out games. As a result, the Rekkles vs. Uzi matchup is sure to send sparks flying in the botlane. Fnatic will bring sOAZ in addition to Bwipo for their toplane flexibility.
On the flip side, RNG will not be able to bring their large roster to the tournament as each team is only allowed five main players and one substitute. Letme and Mlxg will start in top and jungle, with either Zztai or Karsa as the substitute.
Matchup wise, RNG should be able to secure the midlane and toplane. Mlxg versus Broxah in the jungle will depend heavily on the former’s mindset and which side of the double-edged sword he decides to bring. Although on paper RNG should win the botlane, one can never count out Rekkles when it comes to carrying the team.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up – -238.1 at Arcanebet
EVOS Esports vs. Flash Wolves
3am PST / 6am EST / 12pm CEST
The two teams making it out of the play-in stage face each other sooner rather than later. Although they have taken the longer route, both teams can be considered comparable in power to their rivals from the four mainstream regions.
EVOS sport immense jungling pressure in the form of Yijin. That should make for a fierce matchup against Moojin, who completely rendered Gambit’s Diamondprox ineffective for three games.
That being said, FW Maple, SwordArt and Betty have much more experience than their counterparts and will effectively control the bottom side of the map unless Yijin decides to camp the bottom side. Stark and Hanabi are both top laners that are very affected by jungle pressure, but left to their own devices, Stark has had a better showing as of late.
Prediction: Flash Wolves – -294.12 at Arcanebet
Team Liquid vs. Kingzone DragonX
4am PST / 7am EST / 1pm CEST
Perhaps the most hyped team in the entire tournament, Kingzone DragonX, take on North American heroes Team Liquid. Although predictions will be one sided, this game has the potential to become the most unorthodox game of the day.
It would not be surprising if KZ’s Peanut controlled every quadrant of the jungle through simple pressure. Pray and Gorilla from KZ are heralded as the best botlane in Korea, which should hold true against the TL duo of Doublelift and Olleh.
Pobelter and Bdd duke it out in midlane, but again KZ’s Bdd would be favored in this matchup. Khan in the top may be the only lane that is not entirely KZ favored as he is facing off against the world known Impact.
Prediction: Kingzone DragonX – -588.24 at Arcanebet
Flash Wolves vs. Fnatic
5am PST / 8am EST / 2pm CEST
The Taiwanese representatives face off against the European veterans in the fourth match of the day. Both teams sport impressive rosters, with most players possessing experience on the international stage.
Flash Wolves hold the clear advantage in the top and jungle, as Hanabi should be able to put Bwipo on the backfoot while Moojin’s pressure in the jungle is overbearing for most teams. Even FNC’s ace in the hole in botlane can be stifled by SwordArt’s shotcalling and intelligent laning phase and rotations.
In every respect, FW should have an advantage on paper for each lane, but FNC’s ability to split the game wide open by leaning heavily on Rekkles will prove incredibly advantageous as the mid-game comes to fruition.
Prediction: Fnatic – -166.67 at Arcanebet
Team Liquid vs. EVOS Esports
6am PST / 9am EST / 3pm CEST
Team Liquid will face Vietnamese up-and-comers EVOS Esports in fifth contest of the day. When it comes to proven veterans and international experience, EVOS are not far behind their American counterparts.
Comparing the botlanes, Slay and RonOP will need to bring their best to outplay Doublelift and Olleh. In addition, Pobelter is also favored to beat Warzone despite EVOS’ performance in the earlier match this week.
Yijin and Stark, however, are favored to pressure and control the topside of the jungle, and will be the catalyst for creating plays across the map. And when it comes to Vietnamese early pressure versus North American early-game dependence, the scales tend to tip away from Liquid.
Prediction: EVOS Esports – +169 at Arcanebet
Royal Never Give Up vs. Kingzone DragonX
7AM PST / 10AM EST / 4PM CEST
That undisputed match of the day sees the champions of China and Korea trade blows in a clash that could foreshadow the finals.
Normally, one would say Uzi is uncontested in the botlane, but if anybody in the MSI can match him, it is KZ’s Pray and Gorilla. Although Mlxg at his best might be even better than Peanut, anything less than that and he will be forfeiting his jungle pressure and rotations.
The toplane might prove cataclysmic as well, with both these top laners tending to strut their stuff by playing bruisers rather straight-up tanks for teamfighting. This match solely comes down to a question of coherent each team can coordinate with each other.
Prediction: Kingzone DragonX – -222.22 at Arcanebet