MSI 2017 Group Stage Delivers Rollercoaster Ride

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The Mid Season Invitational 2017 Group Stage has finally come to an end. After a grueling 5 days worth of League of Legends, we are finally down to 4 teams.

However, the journey that brought us these 4 teams was not without strife. Usually the tournament’s top 4 teams would have been decided way before the last few games of a Group Stage. This time, the outcome was not certain up to the very last game. That was parity between the teams.

Still at the top
The only constant was that SKT T1, who dominated the Group Stage with 8-2, only dropping games to their Kryponite “Flash Wolves” and LPL’s World Elite. SKT’s immaculate control and understanding of the meta as well as the game showed as they dominated team after team. Teams that could take games off them had to throw curve balls at their defenses in order to get them to crack. This, however, proves that in a BO5, teams had better prepare up to 5 different ways to curve or face utter defeat.

Every other Major Region
Apart from the LPL, no other major region could have been proud of their performance in this Group Stage. Many games that were in their grasp were simply tossed away in a late game teamfight. G2 vs TSM was one that was hard to stomach for a G2 fan as they tried so hard to knock on that back door. In fact, we were treated to a museum of mistakes ranging from Pick/Ban to late game Macro errors. FW played too passive. TSM had WildTurtle. G2 relied solely on Zven. It was a nightmare to watch for any region as teams struggled uncharacteristically to secure wins.

A Breath of Fresh Air
The Gigabyte Marines, however, were a breath of fresh air. For an emerging region, they played their hearts out and secured an eventual 3-7 record in the Group Stage; a better result than G2 last year. The scoreline is surprisingly deceptive as many of their losses could easily have been wins had things gone slightly differently. GAM’s aggressive play pushed teams like WE, TSM and G2 off balance and left FW teetering at the edge. While this is the end of their long journey at MSI 2017, one can safely say that GAM are the most impressive Minor Region team thus far and have at least gained a bunch of fans on the way out.

Playoffs
The top 4 teams have been determined and now have 5 days to prepare and shore up weaknesses. Finally, Flash Wolves get a Best of 5 series against an LCK team. While LPL’s aggression takes on G2’s late game style. Either way, all 4 teams deserve their Worlds Pool 1 seed for getting this far. Unfortunately for TSM, they were simply not up to par.

SKT and FW take the stage on Friday 11:00am PDT (Saturday 2AM SGT)

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