Mid-Season Invitational is underway. Group Stage part 1 is over. Even though there were no real surprises in the standings of the groups, the action was fast and furious.
Let's go group by group:
1st. Royal Never Give Up
3rd. Unicorns of Love
The group with only 3 teams, VCS champions GAM Esports could not participate due to covid-19 restrictions.
RNG, as expected, went on to win every game without many issues. That comes with a price when we try to predict how well they will perform against the rest of the teams that qualified out of the first group stage. Since they were not really challenged enough. The battle for second place was fierce, but Australians showed they are the stronger team and beat UoL a few times in crucial matches.
1st. MAD Lions
2nd. PSG Talon
3rd. paiN Gaming
4th. Istanbul Wildcats
Group B went exactly as expected too. MAD won their games, but showed a few glaring weaknesses that they will surely try to fix before other teams exploit it. Armut’s lack of consistency almost cost dearly to the Lions. According to the team, they were struggling to try hard and ended up in a clown-fiesta type of game out of sheer boredom and then had to try to claw out of it. Which they did, for now.
PSG Talon qualified too, beating paiN Gaming from Brazil and Istanbul Wildcats from Turkey. I think most people expected this group to go exactly as it did.
1st. DWG KIA
3rd. DetonatioN FocusMe
4th. Infinity Esports
This was the action group. DAMWON came into MSI as huge favourites to win it all. They still are favourites to win it all, but not as big as thought a week ago. This group showed, gods can bleed. DetonatioN FocusMe had a magnificent game against DWG and almost beat them in an insane game that ended up inches from Japan’s victory. After that, DWG KIA’s troubles did not end. Because after first few games, Cloud9 seemed like the team everyone feared coming from NA. All the memes about NA speedrunning to the airport surfaces after just a few first games, where C9 seemed lost and without real direction. All of that changed drastically in the deciding day.
Cloud9 started the day by winning against the current world champions DWG. Then they demolished Infinity Esports and DetonatioN FocusMe. And I dare to say, this was the strongest NA team ever to perform in an international tournament. This not only showed how to beat DAMWON and that is actually possible, but also showed that C9 are real contenders for the final.
Group Stage 2
This is it. The main event starts now. Four teams advance, and our predictions are clear, probably the same as everyone reading. Cloud9, DWG KIA, MAD Lions and Royal Never Give Up. If we would have to guess the standings of the group, that would prove difficult, but here goes:
Predictions how group ends:
- DWG KIA
- Royal Never Give Up
- MAD Lions
- PSG Talon
It is really hard to say how well RNG will perform. It is also hard to guess if MAD will show up when it matters or falter. It is incredible to have the possibility for C9 to perform really well too. Only time will tell and we will meet very soon with another writeup after the group stage ends.