LoL Esports’ Mid Season Invitational completed its first group of the Group Stage, with Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and Pentanet.GG (PGG) moving on to the Rumble Stage. Unicorns of Love (UOL) came up short on the day, and they are heading home as a result. Group A was very straightforward in that RNG moves forward, but surprising for Oceania’s representative clutching it out. Here is a brief review of Group A’s quadruple round robin.
Group A’s first day of games played out as expected coming into the event. RNG dominated PGG, particularly Wei’s Rumble matchup into Pabu’s Fiddlesticks. In the end, RNG came away with 21 kills, while PGG only secured four kills, one dragon and no turrets. PGG then lost to UOL in slightly less humiliating fashion.
Pabu’s Kindred failed to get rolling, while Nomanz and AHaHaCiK snowballed on Orianna and Nidalee. With 24:12 and 28:46 game times, PGG felt like low-hanging fruit coming out of Day 1.
PGG had to face RNG first again on Day 2, losing similarly to Day 1. Wei’s Udyr ended the match with double Pabu’s Volibear’s gold, and Praedyth’s Kog’Maw ended the game proxy farming top lane while RNG destroyed the Nexus. The 24:40 clip continued PGG’s fast loss trend. UOL then had to follow and battle RNG, but they lost even faster than PGG. Ming’s Alistar absolutely took over the Rift, ending the match with a 0-1-17 scoreline. Xioahu’s Lucian nearly Flame Horizoned BOSS’ Gnar, and the match ended in 23:56.
Group A started heating up on Day 3. RNG continued their speedrunning, making quick work of UOL in 25:01 again. China’s representatives completely punished any initiation BOSS and SaNTaS went for with Nocturne and Leona, as they ended with 16 of UOL’s 24 deaths. Not even Nomanz’s Kassadin pocket pick could stop the steamroll. PGG took advantage of UOL’s defeat by winning their first game. Praedyth’s Samira started the match 678 gold ahead by 15 minutes, and totally ran away with it. Pabu was finally able to show up with a monster jungle Morgana performance with 100 percent kill participation.
This day was purely dedicated to Group A gameplay, and the qualifying teams would be crowned by the end. RNG kicked it off with a solid win over UOL, but their sloppiest game so far. Xiaohu and Wei started the match nearly 3,300 gold ahead of UOL’s top-jungle at 15 minutes, but Cryin’s Sylas ended up taking over. UOL bounced back to stomp PGG with a 23:52 win. Nomanz and AHaHaCiK drafted the Orianna-Nidalee just like Day 1. Pabu ended 0-4-0 again, as well.
PGG’s best match versus RNG followed. The 31:34 affair featured Chazz on mid Qiyana, but PGG’s bottom lane got completely annihilated in the first 15 minutes. GALA came away with a 31.1 percent damage share. RNG kept things rolling, immediately facing UOL and taking them down in 19:38. Wei’s Rumble absolutely decimated the entire UOL team, dealing 37.5 percent of RNG’s damage in the sprint of a game.
PGG clutched out the tiebreaker opportunity by taking down UOL again. While the LCL representatives dragged the game out to 29:46, PGG actually dominated. BioPanther pulled off some pixel-perfect Sett ultimates, Decoy’s Galio was everywhere on the map, and Chazz pulled out a first-time Zed. Unfortunately, RNG had to bring them back down to Earth before the tiebreaker. They subbed in Xiaobai in top lane and rotated Xiaohu back to mid lane for the final match. Xiaohu’s Ryze quickly went Legendary, and he ended the game 13-0-3. RNG suffocated PGG in 22:36 to finish Group A 8-0.
One of the most exciting minor region tiebreakers, it was amazing for PGG to upset UOL to become the first Oceanic team to make it this far at an international event. Praedyth was the key carry on the Xayah, pulling ahead of Lodik almost 1,500 gold by 15 minutes. Pabu’s Karthus jungle pick scaled up, while AHaHaCiK’s Kha’Zix never got anything going. PGG ended up securing the Infernal Soul and finishing up in 27:52.
With both UOL and PGG getting destroyed over and over by RNG, then going near-even with each other, it’s hard to say what Group A might bring to the rest of MSI. RNG should be a favorite for the tournament, but will these matches cause them to rest on their laurels? Hopefully RNG has had some more challenging scrims to allow them to iterate on themselves for the Rumble Stage.
On the other hand, what will PGG bring for the rest of MSI? They came into the event as extreme underdogs, and have shown they can rise at least to UOL’s level. PGG may be out of their depth among the top six teams, but a single win could play spoiler. If they could somehow finish fifth place or higher, PGG would be one of the most legendary runs for a minor region team in an international LoL event.
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