After 5 days of action in the League of Legends 2019 Mid-Season Invitational Main Event Group Stage, four teams remain and the matchups for the semifinals are set.
South Korean team and three-time world champions, SK Telecom T1 went on a tear in the last two days of the Group Stage after a shaky beginning in MSI 2019. They may have lost the second round robin game to European team, G2 Esports in Day 3 but the Koreans bounced back to go on a 4-0 record in the last two days. This included a win against the current top dogs and Chinese team, Invictus Gaming, denying the Chinese squad the 10-nil record.
G2 Esports, on the other hand, struggled in the last days of the Group Stage losing to Invictus Gaming, the Vietnamese team Phong Vũ Buffalo, and the North American team Team Liquid. Because of their 0-3 record in the closing days, it dropped the Europeans to third and gave room for the Korean team to hold to the second seed.
Flash Wolves, the team from Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, also had a disappointing performance, finishing with a 3-7 record just barely making it out of the Group Stage. This is the first time they failed to hold a playoffs spot in the tournament. They first qualified for MSI in 2016 and has played in every MSI since.
While for North American team, Team Liquid, this is the first time they’ve qualified for a playoff berth. This is the second year that the team has made an appearance at the tournament. This is also the first time since 2016 that a North American squad made it past the Group Stage. The 2016 team was, of course, Counter Logic Gaming that had a miracle run to the Finals but ultimately fell to SK Telecom T1.
Reigning world champions, Invictus Gaming, held on to the number one spot in despite the loss to the Koreans. This gave them the power to choose who they were going to face in the Semifinals and they chose the North Americans, unsurprisingly. Team Liquid failed to take a victory over the Chinese team and looked outclassed in their previous games
The decision leaves the Korean and the Europeans on a collision course. Despite G2 Esports having won the head-to-head in the Group Stage, SK Telecom T1 has the momentum. Although the Europeans will definitely have the edge when it comes to champion pool with both mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther and AD Carry, Luka “Perkz” Perković each having their own ocean of champions to choose from.
From here on out, all games will be played in a best-of-five format which will truly test the four teams in their variety of strategies and ability to adjust accordingly.
The Playoffs begins later with Invictus Gaming facing Team Liquid with the second Semifinals match tomorrow when SK Telecom T1 faces G2 Esports.
Featured photo: Lolesports Flickr