The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI 2016) is a tournament where 6 teams from across the globe, who fought long and hard to earn their place here, go head to head in a double round-robin stage where the top 4 teams will advance into the bracket stage of the tournament. The teams that manage to advance to the knock-out stage (Playoffs) will earn one of the top four seeds for their region for the 2016 LoL World Championship which means different placements in the multiple stages. The first day will feature on the 4th May 2016 so make sure you catch these games live to see which region can come out on top!
Group Stage – LoL MSI 2016 – Facts
- Location: Shanghai Oriental Sports Center
- Date: 05/04/2016 – 05/08/2016
- Teams: 6 teams (view MSI teams overview)
- Group Stage: Double Round Robin | 30 matches in total
-> view full schedule and standings
- Patch: LoL 6.8 [Taric disabled]
- Live Streams will be available for all matches.
- All major LoL betting sites will have betting odds
- Tickets: view MSI ticket info
- Hashtag: #MSI2016
- Betting: view Betting Overview – MSI 2016
Betting Odds Comparison* Group Stage Day 5:
BET365 INFO: Find LoL betting in the menu on the left side under: Specials -> World
Please notice! Odds shown might have changed in the meantime. Follow the links to take a look at the current betting odds.
MSI 2016 Group Stage – Preview and Predictions
In total 30 matches will be played in the Group Stage of the 2016 League of Legends MSI. Below you will find detailed previews and predictions for the upcoming matches.
-> You can check out the full schedule of the MSI Group Stage here.
With 50% of day 4’s games correctly predicted we’re looking to improve for day 5! We’re getting to the point where the group stage is coming to a close and we’ll be heading into the more frivolous part of the MSI tournament. We’ve got a good idea of the strengths of all of the performing teams so let’s see if we can go out with a bang. We’ll be focusing on 2 of the 6 games, Flash Wolves vs. Counter Logic Gaming and Royal Never Give Up vs. SK Telecom T1. I think these games are going to be the most entertaining of the day so let’s head to the break down! Don’t forget to catch the games live on May 8th!
Day 5 – Match #1: Royal Never Give Up vs. SuperMassive eSports
Start Time: May 8th, 08:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 11:30 pm EDT (previous day) / 05:30 CEST
Royal Never Give Up took a loss, finally, after so long! Their game against CLG was certainly exciting but they fell in the late game. That shouldn’t come as too much of a problem when facing off against SuperMassive, who have the complete opposite win:loss compared to RNG. SuperMassive are going to need to come up big to work through this game, picking their best and most comfortable along with taking a few notes from the RNG vs. CLG game.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. RNG have superior individual skill on their players across the board; this’ll make things easier but they still need to take care. SuperMassive play extremely well when they can take a lead but RNG know how to push, I expect an early lead followed by a quick game.
Day 5 – Match #2: Flash Wolves vs. CLG
Start Time: May 8th, 09:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 00:30 am EDT / 06:30 CEST
Both teams are sitting in the same place on the ladder, this match will be important heading into the next phases of MSI so these teams will do their best to make sure they get an advantage to push for that win. Counter Logic Gaming managed to add a title to their belt, being the first NA team to take down SKTT1, but the Flash Wolves recently beat that same team. This match is going to be tough as both teams appear to be on an equal skill level.
I think Counter Logic Gaming is at an advantage here, being the first team at MSI to take down RNG is no small feat and they’re the first team to achieve this here. Their performance was phenomenal and their team fighting really propelled them into their victory. I think the Flash Wolves could have a hard time handling this but have strengths of their own that they can work with.
Flash Wolves should stick with what’s worked for them, this is no match to try new things and it’s possibly too early to bring out their niche picks. This means we’ll likely see a Braum or Alistar support paired with a Lucian or Ezreal in the bottom lane, we might see the Caitlyn show up once again too. Their jungler has picked champions that can assist the lanes and scale to assist in team fighting so a Kindred or Graves can be great picks however they’ve also shown an extremely strong Elise which could show up again. There are currently obvious best champions for the top lane so seeing them appear once again is likely, Ekko will be a contested pick as it is with most teams but if it’s not available then Maokai or Poppy could be phenomenal champions to fall back onto. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to wait for opportune moments, take control of any minor advantage and pressure CLG as soon as they see fit. Controlling vision around the entrances of the opponent’s jungle and across the river will assist in helping the lanes and keeping their own players safe up until the point where they can capitalise on their momentum and gain an advantage. Both teams have shown that they can work with small advantages or disadvantages, not giving up too much until they’re confident in their ability to perform at precise moments; Flash Wolves are going to need to find a way around Counter Logic Gaming to build a large enough lead to crush and run away with the game.
Counter Logic Gaming should fall back onto the champions that won them the game vs. RNG or pick to a similar style. This means sticking with those utility supports that can provide strong assistance to the marksman; A Bard, Morgana or Soraka would be phenomenal for CLG, especially if it’s paired with the Kalista that played such a huge part to their victory against RNG. They’re likely to stick with the marksmen in the jungle; this means we’ll be seeing more Kindred and Graves. Their top laner has actively played the strongest tanks of the patch but has favoured Poppy when Ekko hasn’t been available. The middle lane of CLG has regularly picked up Azir when it’s been available; falling back on Lulu is a great option because it helps play a protection role when tanks are lacking for the composition. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want to skirmish, pick fights whenever they’ve caught out an opponent. Setting up a dominant line of vision across the jungle entrances to their opponents’ jungle can play a huge part in picking fights, they should be able to work around the possible reactions of the opposing team with the vision they gain. If they can’t find a fight then they’re going to want to either make one or start on objectives. To gain a lead they’re going to want to play safely until they can pick a favourable fight, based on cooldowns of team numbers, with the lead they’ll be able to force more and create a large gold lead, easily handing them more favourable fights along with leading them to victory.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. They seem to be a slightly better performing team and they also hold the head to head with a 1:0. I think they’ll be able to play comfortably until they take a hold of a lead and then they’re going to play methodically to expand it.
Day 5 – Match #3: SK Telecom T1 vs. G2 eSports
Start Time: May 8th, 10:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 01:30 am EDT / 07:30 CEST
G2 have only been able to take victories against SuperMassive, who originally appeared to be extremely behind everyone else in terms of skill levels apart from G2 themselves. Every other game has come extremely difficult to them as they are very obviously unpractised. SKTT1 should be able to pressure the early game and force a lot of favourable fights. Both teams are going to need to avoid making obvious mistakes but I think this game will end fairly 1 sided.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. I think SKTT1, regardless of a few of their recent and upsetting performances, are the better of the 2 teams. My opinion on just how strong they are is dwindling but G2 have been playing subpar in comparison to nearly everyone else at MSI. SKTT1 should be able to gain a mid-game advantage and expand it quickly for the win.
Day 5 – Match #4: SuperMassive eSports vs. Flash Wolves
Start Time: May 8th, 11:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 02:30 am EDT / 08:30 CEST
SuperMassive are sitting at the bottom of the ladder with a single victory, which was surprisingly against CLG. They’re going to run into a lot of trouble here but if they come into it calm and collected they might be able to force the Flash Wolves into an early disadvantage which they could play to. Flash Wolves should be able to get through the early game and come out on top if they don’t play too risky but Flash Wolves have previously shown a lot of early game aggression.
Prediction: Flash Wolves Victory. In comparison to SuperMassive, the Flash Wolves are a near impossible team to beat. Flash Wolves have been able to contest the majority of their games and I think they’ll come out quite obviously on top here.
Day 5 – Match #5: G2 eSports vs. CLG
Start Time: May 8th, 00:30 am PDT / 03:30 am EDT / 09:30 CEST
G2 Esports took their second win of MSI however both of their victories have been against the Wild Card team of the tournament. This was the team that beat CLG however, so maybe it’s a sign? Counter Logic Gaming are the first team to take down RNG so I think they’re at quite a large advantage here, it would appear so anyway. I think an early advantage will be given away during this game and the team that comes out on top early will take the game.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. With Counter Logic Gaming being the most likely team to come out on top early I don’t really see how they could lose this game unless they make a few huge mistakes. G2 Esports have been having a rough time and I don’t expect that to change.
Day 5 – Match #6: Royal Never Give Up vs. SK Telecom T1
Start Time: May 8th, 01:30 am PDT / 04:30 am EDT / 10:30 CEST
SK Telecom T1 have been stuck, they’re not showing the top performing team that we’re so used to because of the 2015 World Championship. Royal Never Give Up have only taken a single loss throughout MSI and their performances have been outstanding, I think SKTT1 are going to have a rough time but it’s certainly not impossible for them; they have the skill and now they need to apply it.
Royal Never Give Up would appear to be a quite a distinct advantage here. They hold 3 more victories than SKTT1 and their performances have been a lot better overall. They also hold the head to head advantage and in their last head to head they managed to take the victory without much trouble.
Royal Never Give Up should stick with what’s been most comfortable for them and what’s been able to give them the best their best performances, this means possibly avoiding the Nidalee pick and going with Kindred and Graves which have worked extremely well for them in the jungle. Their middle lane should stick with Ryze, Azir or LeBlanc because their other champion performances in the middle lane have been slightly lacking and these 3 particular picks are quite adaptable. Their top lane is going to want to try and take hold of the Ekko in the top lane; if it’s unavailable then picking up Poppy would be the next best choice as it is with most teams in the current meta. Their bottom lane might want to pick that Twitch again and sticking it with Braum or Thresh because they’ve been extremely strong; this leaves Sivir and Lucian as possible fall back options. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want an aggressive line of vision to pressure and gain an advantage as soon as possible. They should take the early game skirmishes if they find them advantages; this gives them a nice gold lead which they can use to secure objectives. With the use of aggressive vision, which they should work to maintain, they’ll be able to pressure objectives and force their opponents into situations where they’re likely to give up something. All of this will come easily if they take those early game skirmishes but they’ll need to make sure they have enough vision to stay safe. They’re going to want to apply pressure across the map as soon as possible as SKTT1 have been shaken up in the earlier stages of the game quite often, this works extremely well for RNG. I don’t think it’ll come as too much of an issue for RNG to take an advantage but it might be more difficult to take the win.
SK Telecom T1 is having a much harder time at MSI than I, along with many people, had expected. Ekko and Poppy will more than likely be in the top lane and should be taken if available; this will more than likely be assisted with a Kindred or Graves. Their middle lane should stick with the Azir and Ryze but the Zilean might show up for them again. These champion picks scale nicely and can play both safely and aggressively. Their bottom lane should look to pick up Ezreal or Lucian and pair it with a tank support like Alistar or Braum. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want to get a safe line of vision across the river, this way they won’t give up any advantage in the earlier stages of the game and can set themselves up nicely for the middle and later stages of the game. Most teams have been playing aggressively, forcing skirmishes and team fighting a lot has often worked against SKTT1. To avoid falling in the early game they should consider a more aggressive style if possible, if not then they’re going to need to be patient and know when to fall back. They’ll need work around their opponents cooldowns often and abuse them to gain an advantage, capitalising on any bad movements or mistakes made by their opponents. It’s going to be fairly difficult for them but it’s far from impossible, if they’ve got a strategy set up they’re going to want to follow it precisely, stick to their method and try and build a lead slowly; the risks are not worth it for them and haven’t been working out.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. They’ve been playing on a higher level than SKTT1 recently; they’ve had much stronger performances and have an obvious advantage. With the head to head in their favour also, I think they’ll be able to take an advantage in the middle stages of the game and use it to force objectives, opening up the win.
After day 3, of which we got 4 out of the 6 matches correctly predicted, SKTT1 are really shaking up but with the repeated matches starting they might finally bounce back. We’ll be focusing on 2 matches once again and they’ll be Royal Never Give Up vs. Flash Wolves and SK Telecom T1 vs. Counter Logic Gaming. I chose these games because SKTT1 have some revenge to start getting back and Royal Never Give Up are the current top team who are going against a 2nd best team; these are likely to be the best and most exciting games of the day. Make sure you tune into the matches on May 7th!
Day 4 – Match #1: G2 eSports vs. SuperMassive eSports
Start Time: May 7th, 10:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 01:30 am EDT / 07:30 CEST
G2 Esports finally made their move and took a game at MSI however that’s not enough! Taking down SuperMassive was a challenge for them as they were behind in gold until gone 30mins whilst losing their base! They clawed their way back because of their superior vision control around objectives; this was the absolute reason they came out on top. SuperMassive will undoubtedly learn from their mistakes and make it more difficult so we could be looking at an extremely long game.
Prediction: SuperMassive Victory. After their first loss against G2 I think they’re going to focus a bit more on vision in the later stages of the game, they took a few risks and they paid off but it was at the cost of objective control. If they focus a bit more attention on those small but key aspects they should be able to push the advantages they build.
Day 4 – Match #2: Royal Never Give Up vs. Flash Wolves
Start Time: May 7th, 11:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 02:30 am EDT / 08:30 CEST
Royal Never Give Up are currently undefeated after 6 matches and are looking to continue this streak, they’re setting up nicely to take that #1 place at MSI but the Flash Wolves are going to bring trouble. Flash Wolves managed to take and hold a lead when they previously faced RNG but couldn’t find opportunities to exploit them to further their advantage. During this particular match they’re probably going to be more aggressive so RNG are certainly going to need to be focusing on vision and watching out.
I think RNG are at an advantage here, they’ve shown us throughout MSI that they can push a lead relentlessly and they’ve also proven that when they fall behind they know how to stay relevant. It’s extremely important to not give your opponents a larger lead and they understand when to fall back, they steadied themselves and didn’t give any more advantages to FW after the early game and the same could happen again.
Royal Never Give Up are going to want to pick those late game scaling champions that have worked well for them so far; Kindred and Graves have worked extremely well for them in the jungle and Nidalee has proven to be strong but difficult so I expect any of these to show up for RNG. Their middle lane should stick with Ryze, Azir or LeBlanc if they want to go aggressive; these are all competent champions that can adapt to how the game plays out, this gives RNG some leeway and allows them to scale. Their top lane is going to want to try and take hold of the Ekko in the top lane; if it’s unavailable then picking up Poppy would be the next best choice. Their bottom lane should stick with what’s been working well for them, Twitch making another appearance with Braum or Thresh has been extremely strong with Sivir as a fall-back marksman. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want a safe line of vision, a lot of their drafted team compositions have been scaling champions that thrive in the later stages of the game. They should avoid early game team fighting and scale evenly into the middle-game; this gives them options to finally take those skirmishes with higher scaling champions or to continue their scaling and work towards late game team fighting. They’re going to need to keep a strong line of vision throughout the river and around objectives but giving away a few in the early game shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Their focus should be on playing around their champions’ strengths, which is for the late game, and making sure they have enough vision to stay safe. They’re going to want to apply pressure across the map as a team when they’re confident in their ability to take team fights and only when they think they’ve called enough. Only under these circumstances should they throw a late scaling team into fighting and if they follow a plan similar to this then they shouldn’t have much trouble taking another victory.
Flash Wolves are going to want to try and play more aggressively when they take a lead, they tried to throw out a few aggressive moves but it wasn’t often enough to pressure the cooldowns of RNG; for this they’re going to want to stick with similar champions to their previous draft but try and force more skirmishes. An Ekko or Poppy in the top lane is a common occurrence and I expect it to be seen once again, this will be assisted by a Kindred or Elise in the jungle. Their middle laner didn’t have the best showing on Zed against RNG previously so I’d like to see a Ryze, LeBlanc or Azir show up for them. Their bottom lane has consistently picked Ezreal or Lucian and I don’t think that’d have changed over the course of a day; it’s likely to be paired with an Alistar or possibly a Thresh. After the drafting phase they’re going to want to make their way into a lead by forcing their opponents’ hands, to do this they’re going to want aggressive map movements and forcing of objectives. This will require a forced line of vision in the enemies’ jungle so they can keep track of when they have a number advantage. When they take a lead in the early game, which shouldn’t come too hard, they’re going to want to repeatedly force themselves onto RNG. Every time they blow a cooldown from RNG they’re going to want to get ready to take a team fight, once their opponents are unable to escape their engages they should absolutely abuse the fact that they’ve got an earlier scaling team. If they’re unable to take a large advantage in the early or middle game they’re going to want to start focusing more on vision, this will give them key information on when they should take favourable fights. They should be able to skirmish the earlier stages of the game for a lead and then pressure it with a lot of aggressive moves, however a single mistake could cost them dearly. With a large enough lead the fights should come easy; along with the victory.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. Even when they fall behind, RNG are able to stay relatively safe throughout the game and play to their champions’ strengths. This means that even if FW take a small early game lead they’re going to have an extremely hard time pressing it for anything significant whereas RNG have shown that they can play a better macro game to take the win.
Day 4 – Match #3: SK Telecom T1 vs. CLG
Start Time: May 7th, 00:30 am PDT / 03:30 am EDT / 09:30 CEST
SKTT1 have been really thrown off, mistakes can happen. But making so many mistakes in such a short period of time? Not so much. They managed to destroy a margin of their reputation that will be difficult to accumulate back. They’re going to need to buckle down and focus, CLG have already taken a game off of them and this is their chance to start making a come-back. This is when they need to if they’re looking to take a place at the top of MSI. Counter Logic Gaming have been a bit inconsistent but on a good day they can be and beat the best.
It would appear that Counter Logic Gaming are at an advantage here, they’ve been playing extremely well apart from a few missteps but even that’s considerably better than how SKTT1 have been playing.
SK Telecom T1 is on a losing streak and that’s not happened to them in a significantly long time. They need to start bouncing back before their chances diminish. Ekko and Poppy are current god tier champions in the top lane and should be taken if available, this should be covered by a Kindred of Graves; Their jungle Nidalee has been underwhelming so they should change things up slightly. Their middle lane has been having a bit of a rough time so sticking with Azir and Ryze should be preferable because they both scale nicely and can play fairly safely. Their bottom lane should look to pick up Ezreal or Lucian and pair it with an engaging tank such as Alistar or Braum. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want to get a safe line of vision across the river, this way they won’t give up any advantage in the earlier stages of the game and can set themselves up nicely to scale. They’ve been having issues adapting to changes, teams have been playing a very skirmish and team fighting style which is far from a controlled, slower paced and macro management style of play which SKTT1 is used to. To get more into the swing of things they’re going to want to either rotate more quickly, play more aggressively or force their opponents into a style of play which they’re more comfortable with. This means playing out the games slowly, farming to scale and picking their fights very carefully. This should come fairly easy to them however they’re going to need to be able to avoid the aggressive actions of their opponents. They’ll need to hold onto their cooldowns often and work to gain an advantage, capitalising on any bad movements or mistakes made by their opponents. They’ve got the mechanical skill to outplay their opponents but they’ve been falling under the pressure of their opposing teams and the aggressive styles that have been thriving. They need to rethink how they’re fighting back; they should be able to avoid giving up an advantage and slowly build one for themselves. It’ll be an extremely slow process for them but taking victory is entirely possible.
Counter Logic Gaming should take hold of what’s been working for them. This means sticking with a support that can provide utility and strong assistance to the marksman; A Soraka or Braum would be phenomenal for CLG, especially if it’s paired with a Lucian or Kalista. They’re likely to stick with the marksmen in the jungle or switch it up with a Nidalee pick; this means we’ll be seeing more Kindred and Graves. Their top laner has actively played the strongest tanks of the patch which means we’re going to see more Maokai, Ekko or Poppy. Last but certainly not least, the middle lane of CLG has regularly picked up Azir when it’s been available, falling back on Lulu is a great option to provide more utility as well. When they make it onto the rift they’re going to want to skirmish, pick fights whenever they’ve caught out an opponent. If they can set up a strong line of vision through the river, with a few wards by or even in the enemy jungle, then they should be able to work around the possible reactions of SKTT1. If they can’t find a fight then they’re going to want to either make one or start on objectives. Forcing SKTT1 into situations where they either choose to fight or lose an advantage is their best option and it should come easy to CLG. Counter Logic Gaming are the NA kings of split pushing and this gives them a great amount of experience in pressuring multiple places on the map at any given time. They should be able to use this experience to gain a lead in the middle and later stages of the game, picking fights when they gain a numbers advantage. With the lead they’ll be able to force more and create a large gold disparity, leading them to victory.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. SKTT1 have been having a really bad time, their individual players have been lacking, they’ve barely been able to win their lanes and their individual mistakes have been drastic. If they make any mistakes against CLG then they’re going to be severely punished. Even without mistakes I think CLG should be able to use this slight meta shift to their advantage to gain a lead and take yet another win from SKTT1.
Day 4 – Match #4: Flash Wolves vs. G2 eSports
Start Time: May 7th, 01:30 am PDT / 04:30 am EDT / 10:30 CEST
Flash Wolves have been performing well, certainly better than I had expected from them, and G2 Esports are on the completely opposite side of the spectrum right now. G2 have had trouble against every team, often getting dominated, and their chances don’t look so great here. They could however finally start pushing the skill they had shown in the EU LCS and make a stand. Flash Wolves are at a clear advantage here however and they’re looking to take a top place at MSI.
Prediction: Flash Wolves Victory. I think they’re going to gain an early advantage, force G2 into fights and take quite a large lead. I don’t expect it to be too hard for them with G2 being unpractised and making a lot of mistakes so this could be one of the quicker games we’ve seen so far.
Day 4 – Match #5: CLG vs. Royal Never Give Up
Start Time: May 7th, 02:30 am PDT / 05:30 am EDT / 11:30 CEST
Counter Logic Gaming have certainly been performing better but their consistency may still be lacking. They’re going to need to be in top form to contest the match against RNG and that’s a slight challenge in itself. RNG are undefeated and looking extremely strong, they’re a clear #1 team but CLG could cause some havoc here. The early game of this match is going to be one of the most important phases of the game so makes sure you’re paying attention to any early movements.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. Counter Logic Gaming have been strong but to take down RNG they’re going to need to be better. It’s possible for CLG to take the game, as it is for many teams, but RNG are on such a hot streak and their confidence in early fights and pushing advantages should give them a win here.
Day 4 – Match #6: SuperMassive eSports vs. SK Telecom T1
Start Time: May 7th, 03:30 am PDT / 06:30 am EDT / 12:30 CEST
SuperMassive are still having a fairly rough time, they’re sitting by the bottom of the ladder but SKTT1 aren’t much better at the moment. SKTT1 will need to take this win here if they want to start climbing back, SuperMassive are going to give this everything they’ve got. SuperMassive will still have a rough time here but SKTT1 might be making those mistakes that have landed them close to the bottom of the ladder and if they do then SuperMassive are going to need to capitalise quickly.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. I think there’s still quite a large difference in the skill level of these teams and as long as SKTT1 avoid those painful and obvious mistakes they’ve been making I think they’ll take control of the game fairly quickly and come out on top.
A pretty surprising day but a lot was made clear, underestimating the Turkish team SuperMassive shouldn’t happen, G2 Esports are really in a bad place and Royal Never Give Up are full of everything a top team needs. We’re heading into day 3 hoping to improve on our 50% correct predictions from day 2 and will be focusing on 2 games, Flash Wolves vs. Royal Never Give Up and SuperMassive vs. G2 Esports. These look like they could be the closest and most exciting games of the day so make sure you tune in and catch them live on May 6th!
Day 3 – Match #1: Flash Wolves vs. Royal Never Give Up
Start Time: May 6th, 10:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 01:30 am EDT / 07:30 CEST
Royal Never Give Up is currently undefeated and they’re certainly looking like a good #1 contended but there’s still a long way to go. Flash Wolves have opened up their options to contend that #1 position after they took down SKTT1 so this match could balance the current MSI ladder and open up the future of the tournament. Both teams are going to be giving it their best so excitement will be all over the place!
I think Royal Never Give Up are at an advantage here but the Flash Wolves have shown that they can take down tough opponents and make it look easy, they didn’t have all that much trouble when facing off against SKTT1 so for RNG to really control their advantage they’re going to need to play steady and level headed.
Flash Wolves are going to look back to their current comfort champions, as many teams do. This means we’ll likely see a Braum or Alistar support paired with a Lucian or Ezreal in the bottom lane, we might see a Sivir or Kalista appear however. Their jungler has consistently picked champions that can assist the lanes and scale to assist in team fighting so a Kindred, Graves or Lee Sin are good choices. Their top lane has stuck with 2 champions at the moment so seeing them appear once again is likely, Ekko will be a contested pick as it is with most teams but if it’s not available then Maokai is a good champion to fall back onto. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to wait for opportune moments, take control of any minor advantage and pressure RNG as soon as they see fit. Controlling vision around the entrances of the opponent’s jungle and across the river will assist in helping the lanes and keeping their own players safe up until the point where they can capitalise on their momentum and gain an advantage. It could be a slow process gaining a sizable lead but if it goes in their favour in the earlier stages of the game then it will certainly fall into their favour later on.
Royal Never Give Up are going to want to turn up and turn on, choosing their best performing champions to shut down the chances of Flash Wolves as soon as possible. I’ll be looking for the Alistar or Thresh support paired with a Lucian or Sivir as they’re not only comfortable but a few of the strongest champions that RNG has shown. An Azir in the middle lane is a consistent pick for RNG but Ryze or LeBlanc could be strong fall-back champions. Their jungler has been playing a lot of marksmen in the jungle so a Graves or Kindred wouldn’t be surprising; Nidalee and Lee Sin also fit a similar style whilst having stronger early game pressure. Their top laner has shown a larger champion pool than Flash Wolves so far which could help in denying picks, flex picking Ekko and playing around this as a strength. Ekko will be contested but Poppy and Maokai have also been good picks from RNG. Royal Never Give Up are going to want an aggressive line of vision, preferably in the enemies jungle, which they will slowly push closer to the opponents base to control objectives and catch off their opponents. They should pick skirmishes wisely and use their teleport to snowball their bottom lane, or to propel a team fight around an early objective. They shouldn’t run into too many issues in the earlier stages of the game if they play smart and slowly, sticking to farming and waiting for opportune moments. Royal Never Give Up can capitalise on mistakes extremely quickly and when they take hold of a lead they really take off. They should be able to take early skirmishes to take a small lead, use this to control objectives and expand their advantage; this will give them multitudes of options to close out the game.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. Flash Wolves have played fantastically so far, especially taking down SKTT1 and making it look fairly easy. Royal Never Give Up might have a hard time here but I think they’ll eventually take a lead and set up for victory.
Day 3 – Match #2: CLG vs. SK Telecom T1
Start Time: May 6th, 11:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 02:30 am EDT / 08:30 CEST
SK Telecom T1 looked to have a really rough day on MSI day 2 however we need to take into consideration it was against 2 of the best performing teams at the tournament so far, it doesn’t change the fact that they lost so miserably though. Maybe they’re just a middle of the pack team? Counter Logic Gaming are going to need to take advantage of this but with a loss against SuperMassive weighing on their minds they’re certainly going to be challenged.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. Counter Logic Gaming have looked strong against a few teams, much like SK Telecom T1, however I think SK Telecom T1 play the strategic game better. We’re certainly in for a lot of excitement but I think SKTT1 are going to come out on top of a few fights early and eventually take the game.
Match #3: SuperMassive eSports vs. G2 eSports
Start Time: May 6th, 00:30 am PDT / 03:30 am EDT / 09:30 CEST
This here is one of my focus matches because of how G2 Esports have been performing along with the history of WildCard team performances over the years; this was thrown off slightly because SuperMassive already took a victory over CLG but this is G2’s best chance to start making a come-back. I don’t necessarily want to watch a clown fiesta but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to turn into a cluster of mistakes for both teams.
SuperMassive appear to be at an advantage here, they took their victory off of CLG and they did it comfortably; they ran into very few troubles and simply took whatever was available to them which eventually translated into a victory. Doing the same again might not come as easy but with how G2 have been performing it might actually be SuperMassive’s easiest match so far; it’s quite complicated.
SuperMassive should stick with what they know is working for them, a similar draft to what they used against Counter Logic Gaming is likely to be the most effective; it’s saved them in the early game and given them advantages before so I’ll be looking for the Bard to make another appearance along with the Lucian for the bottom lane. This is likely to be matched with a contested Kindred pick with Graves as an option for their jungler. Their middle lane is where a lot of their power will lie so the LeBlanc once again could be phenomenal however this pick works like a double edged sword, if they’re not confident on it then an Azir or Lissandra could give great presence during team fights. Fizz has been picked regularly for their top lane but it’s not been working out too well; I’ll be looking for a contested Ekko pick along with Poppy but don’t be surprised if the fish shows up once again. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to gain a lead through their lanes, this means they’re going to want a safe line of vision across the river and their jungler is going to want to impact the lanes as much as possible. Quickly getting the first jungle clear is necessary, after the clear he’s going to want to start pressuring lanes immediately, even if a kill isn’t picked up it’s worth it for burning summoner spells. Once they feel confident in picking a fight they’re going to want to abuse the burned summoner spells of their opponent and start skirmishes and fights, forcing their opponents to contest objectives. If they play it correctly they will gain a lead in objectives or through victorious team fighting. Such a strong composition should thrive in team fighting however even though G2 hasn’t been performing too well they have had great objective control and are never afraid to take a fight. SuperMassive will need to watch carefully so plenty of pink wards and setting up a large vision radius before making a play for an objective will be fairly necessary. Being able to gain an advantage through fighting and objective control won’t come easy but as long as they bully their opponents in the laning phase it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They should be able to build a sizable lead and propel themselves to victory.
G2 Esports are really going to need to work on their individual play, their champion picks are strong and their drafting has still been pretty good but they’ve not been able to execute necessary moves to stay relevant in the games they’ve played so far. This is their chance to take the reins and work their way back up. I expect to see Graves make another appearance in the jungle with Kindred being a secondary option; this’ll be nicely paired with a Ryze, Ekko or Azir in the middle lane. Their bottom lane is likely to contest the Lucian pick with Ezreal as a fall back option. The support might contest the Bard pick from SuperMassive but if he doesn’t then a Trundle or Janna have been other good picks from G2. The top laner of G2 has a variety of champions to pick from however I think Trundle will be his best option if Ekko isn’t available. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to play slowly, methodically and only play aggressively if they’re confident enough in coming out on top. They can’t really afford to lose another game, especially against the team closest to them in the standings. G2 are going to need a safe line of vision in the river, preventing early aggression from SuperMassive in the early game should give them enough time to set up their next move. They might want to consider avoiding small skirmishes too; this is because SuperMassive have pretty good reaction times and often play aggressively to push for their own advantages. G2 Esports will need to gain a tempo advantage to take control of the game; if they can catch SuperMassive out and rotate quicker than them then they should be able to create an advantage through sieging. This will keep them relevant until they’re at a point where they can team fight. If G2 are able to abuse quick rotations and the use of tempo then gaining advantages across the map shouldn’t be too much of an issue, it could avoid a lot of conflict where they might lose a lead and actually build one of their own. This looks like one of their best options for taking a victory.
Prediction: G2 Esports Victory. It might come as a surprise; G2 have been performing badly, I won’t sugar coat it. It’s been pretty terrible and a lot of people from the EU region are upset with them. However this is their best chance to take a stand and I expect them to start showing up, they know how to work with rotations because they’ve been doing it for an extremely long time and building an advantage to take the win should come easy once they’re comfortable moving around the map.
Day 3 – Match #4: Flash Wolves vs. SK Telecom T1
Start Time: May 6th, 01:30 am PDT / 04:30 am EDT / 10:30 CEST
So they’re already going at it again? It’s so soon! On day 2 the Flash Wolves managed to come out on top of SKTT1 and it looked marvellous from them. SKTT1 are certainly going to step up their game and I’m truly excited to see what they bring out but the Flash Wolves are to be feared! They’ve already shown that they can pressure SKTT1 and come out on top with a lead, taking the victory. Will SKTT1 come back and take one of their own?
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. They made a lot of mistakes on Day 2 of MSI and I expect them to have learned from them. It’s possible that they underestimated their opponents but I’ll be looking for a refreshed SKTT1 that are ready to take the win here.
Day 3 – Match #5: CLG vs. SuperMassive eSports
Start Time: May 6th, 02:30 am PDT / 05:30 am EDT / 11:30 CEST
Counter Logic Gaming took a rough hit on day 2 when they lost against SuperMassive but they’re not the kind of team to sit around and wallow in a loss. They’re going to be coming at this match with everything they’ve got and SuperMassive are going to need to be prepared. SuperMassive have already proven that they can take a lead, run with it, and end up with a victory but can they pull it off 2 days in a row against the same team?
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. I think they underestimated SuperMassive on day 2, now they’re prepared and ready. Counter Logic Gaming are fantastic at adapting and I expect them to look much healthier on Day 3 against SuperMassive. It’s not going to be an easy match but I think they’ll come out on top of a few fights early and propel themselves into a sizable lead, netting them the victory.
Day 3 – Match #6: G2 eSports vs. Royal Never Give Up
Start Time: May 6th, 03:30 am PDT / 06:30 am EDT / 12:30 CEST
G2 Esports have had it rough and that’s putting it lightly. They’re yet to take a single victory and they’ve had a few humiliating defeats. This is something that they never had to put up with in the EU LCS and it might be getting to them. They’re going to need to bring their best to take down Royal Never Give Up. RNG have proven that they’re a top contender for the #1 place at MSI already and they’re going to treat this game like it was against their worst enemies; they’re going to come in like fire and take whatever they can.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. They’re the current #1 team at the end of day 2 at MSI and G2 Esports are the team sitting right at the bottom of the ladder. There’s been such a huge difference in the skills that they’ve shown lately that it’s difficult to believe that G2 even have a chance here, which is saddening. I expect RNG to take an early lead, put on a show and run away with this game.
After an extremely exciting and a well predicted day 1 at MSI we’re heading into day 2 with a better idea of the strength of each region and their representing teams. Our research of the teams paid off with only 1 wrong prediction on day 1 but heading into day 2 we’ll be looking at games that could be significantly closer and decided by minor details or single team fights. We’ll be focusing on CLG vs. G2 Esports, for that NA vs. EU hype, and SKTT1 vs. RNG, because I think they’re 2 of the top 3 teams at MSI. Let’s crack on but make sure you tune in on May 5th to catch the games live!
Day 2 – Match #1: CLG vs. G2 eSports
Start Time: May 5th, 10:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 01:30 am EDT / 07:30 CEST
G2 Esports have had a rough first day at MSI and the casters agreed that they’re not reflecting the strength that they held in the EU LCS, they’re making sloppy moves and falling behind early however coming into day 2 they might have these issues fixed. Counter Logic Gaming didn’t perform on their highest level either though and their top laner made a questionable and memorable mistake that possibly cost them a second victory, they could be looking to repair that here against G2. An exciting game is ahead of us as the EU vs. NA discussions continue!
I think Counter Logic Gaming is at a slight advantage here, they’ve made less mistakes and it’s extremely important to take note of that. It’s possible that the ‘rookie’ team of G2 Esports is falling under the pressure of the crowds at MSI or are being affected by their surroundings and travel due to a lack of experience on such a big stage, especially seeing as they decided to vacation instead of practice during the short break they had. This is all an experience that CLG are less affected by.
Counter Logic Gaming will likely stick with what’s been comfortable for them. Caitlyn marksman with a Braum or Thresh looks likely along with Graves or Kindred jungle, unless Nidalee is open and the confidence is high. Their middle lane might pick into Aurelion Sol once again however I think they’re going to go for the Lissandra, Ryze or Azir. Their top laner will stick with what’s best and enjoy the noodle fights on a tank such as Maokai, Ekko or Poppy. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to pressure as much as they can in the earlier stages of the game, get a line of vision in the opponents jungle and invade if possible, taking away from their jungler is a likely way to propel the lanes ahead. If they can get on the more aggressive style of play they might be able to punish any missteps from G2 and build a sizable lead that will quickly project into a dominating game for them.
G2 Esports are looking rough; their picks might not even be a big factor to them because of their lack of recent practice however they’re still going to want to stick to what they’re comfortable on. Their top laner is going to want to fight over the Ekko pick or fall back onto a Gragas, Trundle or even Poppy. Their jungler is likely to contest the Kindred and Graves picks that are oh so familiar to CLG so I’m looking for both of those champions to make an appearance this game. Their bottom lane is looking comfortable on Lucian however their support might want to change things up and take the Alistar pick, Bard is also another strong option. Their middle laner has shown the possibility to flex Ekko regardless of how lacklustre it was and the options for Ryze, Azir and other strong middle lane champions are always open to take. Once they’re finally on the rift they’re going to want to play it out slowly, get a safe line of vision across the river and avoid early skirmishes unless they’re feeling confident or they have an advantage. They’re going to want to farm up and scale until they’re in a good position to take team fights in the later stages of the game, if they go with scaling champions then it’d be advantageous. They should focus on avoiding mistakes or missteps because giving an advantage at any point throughout the game will give CLG a huge lead that will be extremely difficult to come back from.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. The lack of practice on the side of G2 Esports is upsetting, they had so much potential but their issues are really showing. CLG should be able to pressure these issues and build a lead; this will set them up comfortably to take objectives and eventually the game.
Day 2 – Match #2: SK Telecom T1 vs. Royal Never Give Up
Start Time: May 5th, 11:30 pm PDT (previous day) / 02:30 am EDT / 08:30 CEST
I expect this to be the most exciting game of the day, we’ll be taking a look at 2 of my favourite power house teams going head to head and they’re from regions that are considered the best. The talent in both of these teams is truly stacked and their recent performances at MSI have reflected that quite nicely, although there were a few close calls I’ll be looking for a lot of action. SKTT1 are looking to make a statement at this year’s MSI but RNG might just be able to hold them back and take them down.
I think SKTT1 are at a bit of an advantage here, their victories over the course of day 1 were significantly more dominant than that of RNG and their overall performances looked stronger, the teams that they faced might not be considered the strongest at MSI but with how tough RNG had it in their games I think SKTT1 are the more formidable of the 2 teams.
SK Telecom T1 might bring out a few unexpected picks, there are rumours of practiced champions that could show up over the course of MSI and it’s possible they could show up against RNG. I’ll be looking to the middle lane for a practiced Aurelion Sol pick however Ryze has been a common middle lane pick for them which I will be expecting to see once again. Their jungler has shown great comfort on Kindred however if it’s contested a Graves or Nidalee could appear as their similar style of play will be easily adapted to. Their bottom lane has shown a deep champion pool already, along with the commonly picked marksmen and support SKTT1 have opted for Ezreal and Sivir, which I expect to see again, along with Karma and Alistar. I’m not too sold on the Karma pick just yet but I have no doubt it’ll show up again soon. Their top lane will contest the Ekko pick along with being able to fall back on other champions such as Poppy and Trundle. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to get a nice line of vision in the river, wait for any aggressive movements from RNG and then rotate accordingly, deciding if they want to take a global advantage with momentum and pressure or to take a possibly game determining fight. I expect things to be rough in the earlier stages of the game but SKTT1 have phenomenal team fighting and their compositions help reflect that, when the later stages of the game roll around they’re going to want to have wards focused on objectives so they can safely bait them, contest them or catch their opponents out for an easier time fighting. Following these simple actions, which SKTT1 have shown they’re proficient at, should give them a large enough advantage to force RNG back and open up their own chances to take the game.
Royal Never Give Up will need to contest a few of the comfort picks that SKTT1 have already pulled out, the Ryze and Kindred in the middle and jungle of SKTT1 have been key to their current victories and if RNG can force their opponents onto less practiced champions it’ll certainly open up their options. If they don’t go for the Ryze then an Azir is a likely fall back for the middle lane; As for the Jungle, if the Kindred isn’t contested then we could be looking at a Nidalee, Lee Sin or Graves making an appearance for them. Their top lane shares a similar champion pool to that of the SKTT1 top laner so the regular tank picks such as Ekko, Poppy, Trundle and Maokai are likely to show up in the top lane. Their bottom lane might consider contesting the Sivir pick, they’ve shown that they can utilize it and taking it away from SKTT1 might benefit them, especially if it’s paired with a Tahm Kench or Alistar which they’ve already shown at MSI. Once they make it onto the rift they’re going to want to try and force SKTT1’s hand, pushing for early aggressive warding and finding openings to punish their opponents seems more RNG’s flavour. If they can force small skirmishes and back out when they’ve gained an advantage they should be able to slowly accumulate a large enough advantage, even if through numbers and cooldowns, they should be able to take a significant and game changing fight. This will propel them into a position where they can force large objectives or siege relentlessly whilst gaining huge vision control around contested areas, which will be a key element in the later stages of the game. I think if they play to their skirmishing advantages they should be able to force SKTT1 back and control the game, opening up their options for victory.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. Out of the 2 teams I think SKTT1 come out slightly on top, their team fighting is phenomenal and their reaction time should assist in not falling to early skirmishing. Their strategies are precise and they don’t often fall in the earlier stages of the game. They like to dominate in the later stages and accumulate huge advantages which will be an extremely difficult situation for RNG.
Day 2 – Match #3: Flash Wolves vs. SuperMassive eSports
Start Time: May 5th, 00:30 am PDT / 03:30 am EDT / 09:30 CEST
The Flash Wolves had a slightly better performance than I had expected, they’ve certainly made improvements since the 2015 World Championship and that should be making Super Massive worry. Super Massive have had extremely poor performances so far but maybe we’ve not seen the best from them yet? They were put up against 2 of the, arguably, best teams at MSI and although it looked bad for them they did have a few good moments. I think they’ll keep FW on their toes a bit.
Prediction: Flash Wolves Victory. Although the Super Massive team might be able to bring a bit of pain and keep Flash Wolves in check for a bit of the early game I think the Flash Wolves are going to take advantage of their individual players skill and gain quite a large lead by the middle game, making the victory come easy.
Day 2 – Match #4: Royal Never Give Up vs. G2 eSports
Start Time: May 5th, 01:30 am PDT / 04:30 am EDT / 10:30 CEST
Royal Never Give Up have put on great performances so far but that’s relative to their opponents, during the earlier games on day 2 we’ll get a much better idea of just how strong they really are. G2 Esports have had it rough so far but if they’ve decided to step up their game this will be the match to show it. Going against RNG will be extremely tough for them but it’s not impossible. Royal Never Give Up is definitely looking like the stronger team here but if they fall it’s not like it would be the first upset in League of Legends history.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. I think they’ve a substantially better performing team, at least that’s what has been shown so far over the course of MSI. When RNG get a lead the opposition is In a lot of trouble and with how many mistakes G2 have been making I’ll be expecting a middle game lead in favour of RNG which gives them exactly what they need to pressure the victory.
Day 2 – Match #5: SuperMassive eSports vs. CLG
Start Time: May 5th, 02:30 am PDT / 05:30 am EDT / 11:30 CEST
We’re still in the earlier stages of the tournament so I don’t expect too many improvements to have been made so far. Counter Logic Gaming might not be the best team in the world at the moment but we know that they’re consistent, they’re headstrong and don’t crack under pressure. They’ll be going into this game as one of the current top teams at MSI and every win for them counts. Super Massive will be looking to take a victory early in the tournament to prove that they’re worthy but it’s going to be a challenge, they’re going to need to pressure hard and not fall to any shenanigans such as double teleports. Can the pull it off?
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. Super Massive earned their place at MSI through hard work, strong performances and a lot of training. They shouldn’t feel bad about the pressures they’re facing. I expect CLG to pick up an early advantage and roll through the game with it, finishing the game fairly quickly and taking another victory.
Day 2 – Match #6: SK Telecom T1 vs. Flash Wolves
Start Time: May 5th, 03:30 am PDT / 06:30 am EDT / 12:30 CEST
This is one of the more exciting games of the day, in my opinion. Both teams attended the World Championship 2015 and we’ll get to pay attention to just how much has already changed since then. Flash Wolves have had a good performance already but it’s not coming as easy to them as things have for SKTT1 so far. SKTT1 have looked flawless through day 1 and they’re a current favourite to take #1, can Flash Wolves bring a halt to this? They’re a world class team and it’s certainly their goal.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. Although I believe that they Flash Wolves can bring some pressure and excitement to the game I think SKTT1 will come out on top. They’ve been a formidable team for quite a while and this current meta suits them extremely well. Their individual skill isn’t too much better but the way they react and play similar to a single organism, a well-oiled machine, is going to bring Flash Wolves down.
Day 1 – Match #1: Royal Never Give Up vs. CLG
Start Time: May 4th, 11:00 pm PDT (previous day) / 02:00 am EDT / 08:00 CEST
Royal Never Give Up are a long standing competitive team, although they’ve run into a lot of trouble in the past they managed to refresh themselves along with their roster in Season 6 to come out on top of the Chinese region against Edward Gaming. Counter Logic Gaming managed to put on one hell of a show during the NA LCS Spring Playoff finals but even after taking the victory and making it to the MSI they were being criticised a lot; this is their chance to prove that they are more than just the best team in North America.
Although North America have been considered one of the weaker competitive teams for quite some time here I think they’re on fairly even footing with Royal Never Give Up. They’ve managed to build a strong and reliable roster which holds multiple threats, regardless of what people have said about Stixxay he really does mesh with the team well. Royal Never Give Up are going to need to keep an eye on all of the lanes as each individual one has the potential to carry the game.
Counter Logic Gaming have dabbled in the bottom lane with that Tristana pick as a marksman and it’s shown strength, even becoming a flavour pick in Solo Queue for a while; If it’s not banned I expect it to be picked or considered along with Caitlyn and Ezreal. Their marksman is likely to be paired with a Morgana, Bard or Alistar as their support player has shown excellent proficiency on these picks. Their jungler has shown great comfort on Elise but isn’t afraid of picking up a Nidalee if it’s available; I expect to see the Elise make an appearance but keep an open mind. Their top and middle laners have been able to flex pick the Echo to throw off their opponents and this could be more dangerous now than ever, It could be comfortably picked for either lane and if it’s not then I expect to see a Trundle or Poppy in the top lane and a Twisted Fate, Corki or Lulu in the middle lane. They’ve been common picks for the team and can play to the strengths of the team whilst being able to adapt to the situations they face. On the rift they’re going to want to use their champions abilities to adapt to the situations, RNG can put up extremely tough fights during skirmishes in the earlier stages of the game so CLG are going to need to take them or try and gain an advantage elsewhere on the map. They’re going to want an extremely strong focus on vision as it’s an integral part of their strategies. Split-pushing is where they’ve thrived but they’re also pull off one hell of a protection composition, during the later stages of the game they’re going to want to be the ones forcing the fights where they have an advantage through either split pushing or scaling. This should set them up nicely to take the first victory at MSI.
Royal Never Give Up have commonly played a double marksman composition much like G2 Esports, they’re not afraid to 3-war flex pick Ekko to throw off their opponents and they can create hectic fights and skirmishes so CLG might be in a bit of trouble earlier than they’d expect. I’ll be looking for Poppy, Ekko or even Quinn in the top lane because all of those picks are strong at the moment and have proven useful in the hands of Looper, the top laner of RNG. Their jungler is likely to pick up Kindred, Ekko or Graves which will be used for their team fighting impact, strong jungle clear times and their availability. Nidalee could also be seen in the jungle if it makes it past the banning phase. Their middle laner has been on top of all current middle lane champion picks such as Varus, LeBlanc, Lissandra, Ekko and Azir so they could pull out a number of expected things or even a few unexpected things. Their bottom lane is a bit more predictably; A Braum, Alistar or Bard pick are most likely for their support and this will be paired with a Lucian, Jhin or possibly even Twitch. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to gain an early vision advantage, they should use this to start early skirmishes or get ahead of the rotations during a lane swap. RNG are a team that should be able to abuse the early strengths of the Rift herald so I expect it to be picked up fairly quickly and thrown into a lane to push or used to apply pressure globally on the jungler. They should be able to gain a small lead through skirmishes but are going to want to avoid falling prey to the split pushing strategies of CLG so they’re going to want to avoid hesitation around engages. They should be able to put themselves in the driver’s seat of the game and steer themselves to victory with their aggressive fighting, skirmishes and relentless pursuits.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. I expect them to gain a small lead early through skirmishing and jungle pressure, this will be used to further pressure the lanes and cause more fighting that is likely to go in their favour. I wouldn’t be looking at the game to extend too long as both teams know how to close a match and RNG can really propel a lead with their aggression.
Day 1 – Match #2: G2 eSports vs. Flash Wolves
Start Time: May 4th, 12:00 am (midnight) PDT / 03:00 am EDT / 09:00 CEST
The Flash Wolves are looking to make a stand after their World Championship 2015 performances. They want to take a place above Europe here and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with but just how well with they perform against the clear #1 team from Europe? Historically they’ve had a tough time against top teams from other regions but they have been able to take a few victories against them and that’s how they escaped the groups’ stages in 2015. This however is an extremely different matter as G2 are relentless, know how to push a lead and can get ahead extremely quickly. I expect Flash Wolves to run into trouble here but they won’t give up without fighting.
Prediction: G2 Esports Victory. I don’t really expect this to be the closest game of the day but it could draw out quite long, G2 Esports are a clear lead in their region and the Flash Wolves have had a rough time during the regular split but they really turned things around when it came to the playoffs and they might bring those same strengths to the MSI.
Day 1 – Match #3: SK Telecom T1 vs. SuperMassive eSports
Start Time: May 4th, 01:00 am PDT / 04:00 am EDT / 10:00 CEST
SKTT1 are, in my opinion, at quite a significant advantage here. The Wild Card teams have historically fallen during international tournaments and have often had trouble picking up single victories whereas SKTT1 are considered a top 3 team in the world by many. If SuperMassive are looking to take a few wins at the MSI I don’t expect one of them to be against SKTT1 unless the Wild Card regions really stepped up their game in the past few months.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. As I stated in the small conclusion the Wild Card regions have had trouble growing talent and have often fallen under the other regions. I’d like to see them taking a few victories at MSI but it’s going to be an extremely difficult challenge to do that against SKTT1 as they are one of the favourites to take a place at the MSI Finals.
Day 1 – Match #4: CLG vs. Flash Wolves
Start Time: May 4th, 02:00 am PDT / 05:00 am EDT / 11:00 CEST
Counter Logic Gaming worked through so many issues to make it to the MSI and they had an extremely tough final during the NA LCS Spring Playoffs to make it to this point however I think they’re on a similar skill level to the Flash Wolves so they might fall prey here. The Flash Wolves have certainly made significant improvements since the 2015 World Championship and they had proven to be quite troublesome there, this is going to be the Flash Wolves’ chance to prove just how strong they are and just how well their region has been improving.
Prediction: Counter Logic Gaming Victory. The Flash Wolves might be hungry for a few victories but I think they’re going to have a bit of trouble achieving that on the first day at MSI. So many teams are packed with talent, skill and improvements here that they’re going to need to get more than a leg-up on their opponents. I expect CLG to pull out a common strategy and play it to near perfection, just to raise the hopes and dreams of their fans.
Day 1 – Match #5: G2 eSports vs. SK Telecom T1
Start Time: May 4th, 03:00 am PDT / 06:00 am EDT / 12:00 CEST
Both teams worked extremely hard to earn their place at the MSI tournament, SKTT1 took 3rd place during the LCK spring split round-robin but managed to rigorously fight their way through the playoffs against teams that had been performing better than they had, only dropping 2 games as they managed to take 1st place. G2 Esports fought amazingly throughout the EU LCS spring split and only dropped 3 games throughout the entire thing, their playoff performances reflected this as they took both 1st in the round-robin and the playoffs.
It would be difficult to come to a conclusion as to whom the strongest team is between these 2; both have been performing on an extremely high level in their region and have shown dominance. Now they’re going to clash and we’re going to get a good idea about which region really is the strongest at the moment and has adapted to the Meta changes.
G2 Esports should stick with their comfortable style, double marksman with a tank in the top lane and a play-making middle lane champion pick. I’ll be looking for the Ekko, Maokai, Gragas and Poppy common picks in the top lane as per usual, even if they’ve been touched by nerfs such as Ekko they still hold the lane well and have become a staple as to what I strong. Ekko could quite handily be flex picked for the middle lane as he fits nicely there and the scaling buffs recently applied will help, LeBlanc and Zed could also be seen. Their jungler is likely to pick up Graves, Kindred or even Nidalee, if it’s left available, because he thrives in farming the jungle and become a big threat over time. Their bottom lane is likely to pick up common bottom lane champions such as Lucian or Sivir paired with Braum, Bard or even Janna. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to assess their opposition’s picks and adapt quickly to what they see. If they’re against later scaling champions such as Ryze, who’s seen some play recently, then applying pressure early through standard lanes might be their best option or abusing quick rotations with the lane swap. The entire game is going to boil down to macro management and rotations and if they fall behind then they’re going to be in an extremely rough position. They’re going to want their middle laner roaming alongside their jungler, securing kills and applying pressure on the side lanes will open up pushing options or objectives. They should be able to use this to their advantage, gain a lead and then pressure SKTT1 into fights where G2 have an advantage.
SKTT1 will be looking slightly ahead of the curve; they usually do appear to be. I’ll be looking for picks such as Azir, Cassiopeia and Vel’koz in the middle lane covered by a Kindred, Graves or Elise from the jungle to apply pressure through the lanes or to bring a threat to team fighting. Their top lane has recently favoured Poppy and Rammus as tanks in the top lane and with both of those picks going untouched in patch 6.8 I’ll be looking for them to appear once again. Their bottom lane has started to revive Tahm Kench as a support pick and I’d love it to make an appearance alongside a Lucian or Ezreal but we could be looking at the more common Alistar or Braum support picks. Once they’re on the rift they’re going to want to farm focus and mirror their opponents as well as possible, they should hold a slight advantage in team fighting and are significantly more experienced at pushing an advantage when the game is very slightly in their favour. If they can burn summoner spells of their opponents at any point they should look to capitalise on it with a well prepared fight. Controlling the vision around objectives or jungle pathing should be a high priority for them, with a lack of experience playing against European teams recently the skill level might come as a surprise. They’re going to want to scale up and then start skirmishes and small fights around objectives, contesting them whenever G2 start them and the time is suitable. SKTT1 should be able to gain a small lead through early pressure, skirmishes and vision control. This will set them up to take objectives and advantages in a calculated and precise manner to thwart any attempt at a come-back from G2 Esports.
Prediction: SK Telecom T1 Victory. I think they’ll take the 1st game off of G2 Esports. The huge improvements SKTT1 made before the LCK playoffs was significant and they’re going to be more than prepared to face off against Europe’s best. They have a more calculated style than G2 and are less likely to fall prey to minor mistakes. It could come down to a single team fight but I think SKTT1 are going to come out on top at the end.
Day 1 – Match #6: SuperMassive eSports vs. Royal Never Give Up
Start Time: May 4th, 04:00 am PDT / 07:00 am EDT / 13:00 CEST
SuperMassive are the Wild Card team performing at MSI and if history has told us anything it’s that the Wild Card regions tend to suffer at the hands of the stronger performing regions. Royal Never Give Up is from China, which is considered one of the most aggressive and relentless regions but this could work as a double edged sword. If SuperMassive can work around Royal Never Give Up in the earlier stages of the game they might just be able to use the skirmished and aggression of RNG to their advantage, however it’s going to be extremely challenging as I think they’re weaker on an individual level.
Prediction: Royal Never Give Up Victory. I think the individual skill level of the players on RNG is significantly higher than that of SuperMassive but we won’t be sure until a few games are closed out. I think the aggression of RNG and the possible skirmishes could build them a destructive lead which could push for a quick victory.
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*.) Odds may have changed by now – no guarantee! The predictions are the opinion of the author.
About The Author:
Predictions by Addam ‘Canvas’ Burrows, English Literature and Journalism student of 2013. Diamond League Marksman. Contact Addam ‘ Canvas’ Burrows on Twitter!