Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
MSI

2018 MSI Day 3: Can Flash Wolves defeat Korea?

The second day has passed, as has the wait to see if Europe and North America will be able to save any face at all. Only one region took up the challenge.

It’ll come as a huge shock to fans of the American Team Liquid, but the regional champions are clearly out of shape. They begin day three with a score of 0:4. Every team plays 10 games during the group phase, so having four losses doesn’t mean there’s no chance of reaching the quarterfinals, but now the TL crew don’t have much room for error. Unfortunately, their chances of making a comeback are looking pretty slim. They await encounters with teams who were considered the most powerful going into this year’s MSI, and the progress so far only seems to verify it – the Chinese Royal Never Give Up (2:2) and the Korean Kingzone DragonX (3:1). If Team Liquid has some kind of secret strategy playbook, it’s time to pull it out.

The lineup for the third day

The lineup for the third day

Fnatic is in a better situation, with two defeats and two victories. On the third day, they’ll clash again with Royal Never Give Up, which will be the first opportunity for retaliation at the 2018 MSI. Fnatic may have buckled against China in their opening game, but on day two they managed a win against the tournament favorites Kingzone. If that boosted their confidence and taught them some new tricks, they might have a chance of racking up another point.

But that’s not to say their match against EVOS Esports (1:3) will be any less challenging. After all, the Vietnamese already have a win against the American TL. They could still surprise Fnatic, or even Flash Wolves, but in the current situation, that would almost be a miracle.

Betty and SwordArt from Flash Wolves are for now the best bot duo at the MSI

Betty and SwordArt from Flash Wolves are for now the best bot duo at the MSI

Regardless of where you’re from, the match between Kingzone DragonX (3:1) and Flash Wolves (4:0) can’t be missed. The Korean team, which commentators are calling a certain finalist, will clash with the unexpectedly unstoppable crew from Taiwan. Will the magic that’s brought Flash Wolves all their wins so far still work? Was Kingzone’s mistake against Fnatic merely a hiccup, besides which they’re invincible? We’ll find out at about 13:00 CEST.

The results of day two of the group phase

The results of day two of the group phase

Gods can be mortal, and wolves will hunt anyone: A summary of day two of the 2018 MSI

Fnatic had to prove it could win something after the disappointing first day. But no one would’ve thought, especially after those two losses, that it would happen in a game against the strongest region (or at least I didn’t think it would). The determination of the orange ones was clear from the start. They weren’t scared of the seemingly invincible Korean Kingzone DragonX, and in the first minutes they served up the European’s specialty: “the Fnatic brush”.

The Korean marksman Pray fell victim to a gank, meaning Fnatic already had an advantage before the minions spawned. The key turned out to be constant pressure, which was taken care of by the omnipresent Broxah, Caps (roaming with his favorite Corki), and Bwipo in the top lane. I expected that Rekkles would be the star and carry his team, but the team managed well on its own. They didn’t give KZ a chance to retaliate, and they didn’t make any mistakes.

On the second day, Flash Wolves were in a privileged position with two wins on their account – a very big contribution was made to it by their mid, Maple. It was no wonder that in their match with Team Liquid they bet on map control by giving Maple Galio. Pobelter tried to contain him with Yasuo, but as the game passed, he acted more and more like a typical samurai from the solo queue – he died too often and without purpose. It didn’t help that TL changed their support – Olleh felt like he couldn’t handle it, so Joey played instead of him. It was clear that the team wasn’t right. Flash Wolves took advantage of every mistake their opponents made, and soon they had themselves another victory. In their next game, they established their dominance by winning against the Chinese Royal Never Give Up in an astonishingly bloodless match, with only six kills in total.

It’s interesting that for the first time in a long time in a professional match someone played Illaoi. Khan from Kingzone DragonX decided to beat up EVOS Esports with tentacles. But the Vietnamese team didn’t give up easily – even though they couldn’t handle Royal Never Give Up, this time they firmly stood their ground by getting first blood after a lengthy battle.

The Vietnamese even managed to take the lead for some time. It definitely wasn’t the controlled, one-sided game that KZ specializes in – and even though they won in the end, the debutants from EVOS gave them much more trouble than anyone expected.

EVOS Esports haven’t said their last word – will they defeat Fnatic?

EVOS Esports haven’t said their last word – will they defeat Fnatic?

The last match of the day was significant for two reasons. First of all, the rivalry between the EU and NA is as old as League. And secondly, both teams wanted to prove they weren’t as bad as it seemed from the first day. Fnatic started earlier, so TL had to enter the match with their hearts in their mouths. Even the return of Olleh to the lineup didn’t help. Caps chose Yasuo with his typical swagger, and you could almost hear him saying, “Hey, Pobelter, do you want to see how to play him?”

They ended the game in crushing style, with a quadra for Rekkles. Team Liquid tried to catch three Fnatic players close to the Baron, but they fell into a trap themselves. Because they were so spread out, Rekkles had their jungler on a plate, then a mid, and then the rest of the team when they were trying to catch the fast-as-wind Yasuo. There was a chance for a penta, but Caps caught the last kill, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.