On Friday we’ll witness four teams go head-to-head in Group B: The Dire Wolves from Oceania, who haven’t had a chance to shine in a major international tournament yet; KaBuM! e-Sports from Brazil, returning to the international scene after almost four years of absence; Pentagram from Japan, representing one of the youngest professional League of Legends scenes; and SuperMassive eSports from Turkey – MSI regulars, now with reinforcements from Korea in the shape of the well-known GBM and SnowFlower.
On paper it may seem that SuperMassive are favorites to advance from the group, but with this many underdogs it’s hard to say anything for certain. Except for the mysterious Pentagram, the three remaining teams have had strong appearances at either Worlds or MSIs and are easily recognizable to the international audience. Whichever team ends up advancing to the next stage, we all hope they deliver spectacular games against more renowned rivals from the bigger regions.
Meanwhile in group A...
The first day of the tournament was dominated by Gambit Esports, who won all three of their matches. Even though they had some weaker moments – like in their match against Ascension – their veterans Diamondprox and Edward managed to lead their less experienced colleagues to victory. The game against Rainbow7 was especially spectacular, with Gambit fielding a roster with Nocturne and Karthus. It was a very fresh and exciting composition – Gambit didn’t just overshadow the rainbow, they performed a real requiem.
The rivalry between the northern and southern Latin American divisions ended in a victory for the southern-based Kaos Latin Gamers in their matchup against Rainbow7. The match will be remembered as a face-off of the junglers Tierwulf and Oddie. Both were doing whatever it took to beat the other – regardless of their teams’ actual plans – which resulted in both dying six times. The aggressive choice of Leona for the support role unfortunately didn’t help R7 win the game. An old saying comes to mind: “if you need to fight, be sure you’ll win”. With two wins down, KLG is currently placed second in the group. Gambit should watch their backs.
Sadly, the Thai-based Ascension, representing the SEA league, lost all their games. But it’s worth noting that they were the ones who put up the strongest fight against Gambit, so mathematically speaking, they still have a slight chance of pulling off a draw.