At pretty much every major League of Legends event there is always a team that plays spoiler. Sometimes it’s to advance past a “higher ranked” team. Other times it’s just preventing the “higher rank” team from advancing. These storylines are always incredibly fun to track and leads to some of the greatest upsets in League of Legends.
So far, PentanetGG are a clear example of a team like this beating UOL. And while not to rain on the parade of Pentanet, Group A was just really weird. UOL seemed like they were so much worse than Worlds last year. Vietnam couldn’t make it either. So here’s a hypothetical. Assuming this is going happen again at MSI who will it be and why?
Mad Lions / Damwon Gaming Kia:
Looking at MAD’s score in the Group Stage of MSI, one would be right to think they performed well. And while a win is a win, the majority of the games were incredibly close. They almost lost to Pain twice and PSG twice.
Clearly MAD is a team expected to advance, but this team is going to be feast or famine. There is a world where every team except maybe Pentanet can beat MAD. DK, RNG, C9 and PSG are all capable of it. It is just hard to be bullish on a team that only had a single convincing win.
But this same argument could also apply to DK. They really only had two convincing games as well. One against C9 and one against INF. Hell, they almost lost to DFM twice.
Both of these teams are going to either prove that the Group Stage was a meme or they are going to fail miserably. Frankly, fans should expect them to step it up, but Week 2 syndrome has been a thing at international events before. Some teams stagnate while others rise. It is crazy to see though how two favorites just didn’t perform to expectations.
C9 and PSG:
Despite a rough start for both PSG and C9, it’s fair to say by the end of Groups they were looking a lot better. PSG started off with a terrible game versus MAD where they just looked lost. They managed to make this rough start into a 4-2. C9 started off with two losses, but turned it around to a 4-2.
The point is that both of these teams showed adaptation and improvement. Now it would be a sheer and utter lie for anyone to claim that this will continue, but at the same time, they have proven nothing to the contrary. Teams that are able to adapt in rough situations are incredible. This is what made DK so good in the LCK. If they were behind, no problem, they changed the game plan and adapted.
So C9 and PSG both are looking like solid teams going in.
RNG are the tournament favorites. They didn’t play with their food despite mildly trolling and demolished Pentanet and UOL. There is nothing more to say here, this team won’t choke. Drop a game or two, maybe. But choke? No.
But what does this mean?
Specifically, the EHHH feeling of DK and MAD means chaos will ensue for the third and fourth slots. It’s going to be a battle of most likely MAD, C9 and PSG. The reason DK matters though is that they will probably drop a few games. So if PSG or C9 take a win while MAD doesn’t, well, there’s the chaos.
And frankly chaos is fun. Tournaments that go according to plan are boring. That is why traditional sports fans hate the “winning teams” like the Patriots of the past. They just know they are going to win. What is the point? Fans should want to see chaos cause chaos makes the games matter. Pentanet will get slaughtered, but imagine if they take a game. A single game will change how this tournament is played. If Cloud9 goes Clown9 and throws against Pentanet, PSG will be salivating at the sight.
MSI has been incredibly fun so far. What fans should take away though is that if the LJL can almost beat DK, anyone can. If Pain can almost take down MAD, why can’t Pentanet? If C9 actually lost to the LJL, why can’t they place last? The answer is that no one knows and anyone who claims they do is a liar. This article is yet another example of that, but speculation is fun.
To end this with a quote from last MSI:
“Hater’s be silenced. Expectations be damned.” – Phreak