Vietnam’s Gigabyte Marines have finalised their place in the Mid-Season Invitational Group Stages, pushing aside Turkey’s SuperMassive eSports to secure the final spot from the Play-In tournament. The two sides met in the final MSI tie to be hosted under the roof of CBLoL Studio in Sao Paulo, after losses to Team SoloMid and Flash Wolves.
Gigabyte Marines could consider themselves unlucky not to have secured their Mid-Season Inviational Group Stage slot at an earlier date, narrowly missing out on a series victory over North America’s Team SoloMid. By contrast, SuperMassive eSports dominance against the other wild card regions at the MSI Play-In paled to insignificance when faced with might of Taiwan’s Flash Wolves. Gigabyte Marines understandably entered the playoff as heavy favourites and immediately set to work validating their high expectations.
Game 1 of the series between SuperMassive and Marines was essentially a finished contest within the first 10 minutes. Sending four troops down the bottom lane, GAM initiated a ruthless tower dive to set SUP’s duo lane even further behind.
Five kills on the board and the bonus wealth from the game’s first turret in the bag, the Vietnamese side exploited their lead by forcing fights across the map, choking out SuperMassive to secure a clean opening game in the series.
SuperMassive brought the Gigabyte Marines down to their level for the second game in the series, opting to play out a chaotic and blood-thirsty brawl. Without doubt the biggest benefactor from the near continuous fighting was SUP top laner Asim “fabFabulous” Cihat Karakaya, reaping the rewards from a number of messy team fights to quickly scale the strength of his Rumble. SuperMassive successfully levelled the series at one game apiece.
For a fleeting moment, it seemed that the Turkish representative was capable of causing an upset with their hyper-aggressive style. Yet after a brief break away from the stage spotlights, GAM returned having regained their composure and proceeded to convincingly close out the series.
Once again impressing from the jungle, Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh supplied each of Marines’ three lanes with an early advantage over their opponents. The resulting mid-game team fights provided an inevitable outcome, as SuperMassive were convincingly overpowered on numerous occasions, sacrificing towers and objectives as a result.
Having now played more games than any of the other teams set to compete in the main event of the Mid-Season Invitational, Gigabyte Marines will now need to prepare to hold their own against the might of Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea and North America’s best. GAM’s first test will see them face a familiar foe in Team SoloMid, the team they were one game away from besting during the Play-In stage.
With the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational set to kick off, CLICKON eSports predicts where each team will finish.
DNQ: SuperMassive eSports
After overcoming the hometown RED Canids to finish on top of Group A, SuperMassive will not make it to the final stage of MSI. While their expected match-up against the Gigabyte Marines could go either way, early mistakes that showed throughout the group stage could create advantages for Gigabyte that SuperMassive will not be able to overcome.
6th: Gigabyte Marines
The GPL Champion Gigabyte Marines advanced from group B with two solid days of work that proved they were the clear best team. With aggresive shotcalling and creative cross map playmaking, Gigabyte should be able to take down SuperMassive in a very close series to earn a trip to the final stage at MSI. Once there unfortunately, it will be hard for the Vietnamese squad to make a splash, and they could very likely fail to win a single match.
5th: G2 eSports
Its hard to trust the EU LCS Champions after their history of horrid performances against international competition (G2-8). While they are undoubtedly the best team in Europe, G2 will need mid laner PerkZ to step up in a big way against a stacked international talent pool. Look for Expect in the top lane to be a possible weakness for a team that must perform well to salvage Europe's and their own reputation. Their will be no matches more important than those against TSM, as the winner will likely advance to the playoff and earn the preferential seeding at Worlds.
3rd/4th: Team SoloMid
The NA LCS Champions arrive to Brazil after an extremely close series that came down to the final teamfight. After falling flat at Worlds, TSM are searching for redemption at MSI and to establish themselves - and NA - as a region to pay attention to. The big question for this team will be the performance of their bot lane, but if they are able to hold, the stars for TSM in the top and Mid lane should be able to create advantages the team can ride to multiple victories at this tournament. Look forward to their matches against G2, as the NA vs EU rivalry will likely decide the final playoff spot.
3rd/4th: Team WE
Team World Elite asserted their dominance in the LPL with a 3-0 victory over Royal Never Give Up in the LPL Finals. On a roster that features an underrated ADC in Mystic and one of the best junglers in Condi, do not be surprised if WE finished in the top two of this tournament. If there is a weakness, it may be mid laner Xiye, who has struggled in lane at times and may be exploited by the other top mids such as Faker and Maple.
2nd: Flash Wolves
If there is a team that could challenge SKT, it is likely to be the LMS' Flash Wolves. Led by star mid laner Maple and jungler Karsa, Flash Wolves looked dominant in their run at IEM Katowice and within their region, as they lost only one regular season game. Their macro understanding and individual talent level will be able to carry them to the top of the standings, and possible concerns about their bot and top lane have continued to be eased as the season has progressed. With a likely meeting between Flash Wolves and SKT in the Finals, can the "Korean Killers" strike again?
1st: SK Telecom T1
The clear tournament favorites, Korea's SKT enter the tournament after a dominant 3-0 sweep of KT Rolster in the LCK finals. With a roster that has continued to improve as the season has progressed, there is little reason to believe anyone will be able to stop SKT. Led by the most famous player in League of Legends, Faker will add to his growing list of championships with another MSI crown.