It has been an explosive weekend at the MSI 2017 Play-Ins. What was regarded as a glorified Wildcard Tournament defied all expectations.
After a disappointing Week 1, Week 2 proved to be an amusing experience. We saw Team Solo Mid sweat buckets as Gigabyte Marines took them to all 5 games in a BO5, then saw Flash Wolves vaporize Supermassive in 3 consecutive pre-30-minute games. Eventually GAM took out SUP in a convincing 3-1; the only loss in Game 2 where Ivern was picked by SUP.
This is the first time since the first Mid Season Invitational that the GPL has qualified into the Main Event. MSI’s new seeding arrangements has also bought GPL a second seed in the 2017 World Championship, this is a big deal for the SEA region. (GPL’s #1 is at least seeded in Pool 2 while #2 will be seeded in Play-Ins)
Ever since LMS broke away from GPL, GPL was relegated to having to fight with other Wildcard regions for a single seed in Worlds. With BKT demonstrating a disappointing 0-6 in a group of SKT and EDG in Worlds 2015 and SAJ going 0-7 in IWCI 2016, it was absurd to pay any heed to the GPL region.
However, the Gigabyte Marines came out swinging. Scrimming low tier LMS teams and studying Flash Wolves’ success, they utilized their own Mid-Jungle combo of Optimus-Levi to skirmish in the jungle in aggressive fashion, throwing both SUP and TSM off balance for 2 games each.
Having qualified for the Main Event, GAM now has less than a week to travel to Rio, then shore up their weaknesses against some of the best teams in the world. They have already proven they can take TSM. However, it’s going to take a lot more than Guerrilla Tactics to beat the other teams. Stark, in particular, requires at least a band-aid fix before teams exploit him to the fullest.
GAM’s first game in the Main Event is a rematch against TSM at around 1:30pm PDT 10 May 2017.