MSI 2019 group stage is behind us, and what a week it was. There were a total of 30 matches being played in five days, some of which saw us sitting at the edge of our seat until the very end. While we wave goodbye to the group stages and two teams, the action is far from over. With the playoffs closing in, let’s take a quick look at how the group stages played out.
Phong Vũ Buffalo, Flash Wolves Sent Home
Heading into the MSI, Phong Vũ Buffalo and Flash Wolves were considered to be the underdogs; however, there was still hope for them to prove their worth and advance, and rightfully so. Both teams played well and had a realistic chance to get themselves into the top four, but in the end, they fell short.
Phong Vũ Buffalo finished in last place in the group with a 2-8 record, which does not look too promising; however, they can still be proud they defeated the European heavyweights G2 twice! Bear in mind, G2 defeated SKT T1, so we must give some credit to Phong Vũ Buffalo.
Flash Wolves, on the other hand, once again managed to surprise us with incredible performances. While they as well fell short, Flash Wolves were just incredible and exceeded our expectations, especially in the match against IG on the last day. FW completely dominated in the early game but eventually crumbled under pressure and lost.
Team Liquid Advances To Knockout Stage
Being a North American team, Team Liquid was under the spotlight heading into the MSI, not necessarily due to their quality. As we have mentioned before, Team Liquid or any other NA team for that matter, tend to “choke” on the international stage and disappoint, but this time it would be different. TL has made a few roster changes, which were expected to be enough for them to perform up to par. It was, but just barely.
The fifth and final day of MSI group stages was exciting to watch, as four teams could potentially end up at the top four. One of those teams who were still not safe was Team Liquid, who had to win the final match of the tournament for a chance to advance. Their opponents? None other than their rivals, the European team G2, who crushed them on day 2. This time out, it was Team Liquid who did the “crushing,” winning the match and silencing the critics, who expected them to “choke” once more.
SKT T1 Denies Invictus Gaming Perfect Run
Invictus Gaming, the reigning world champions, came into day five without a single defeat. While some teams put up a fight, they just delayed the inevitable: a victory for the Chinese powerhouse. Heading into the last day of the MSI group stage, IG was 8-0 and only two more games away from a perfect 10-0 run, which had never been done before. All they had to do was defeat Flash Wolves and SKT T1, who both fell against IG before. Easy enough, right?
After a close but still a dominant performance against Flash Wolves, IG was to meet with SKT T1 in the last match of MSI group stage. Result? Far from what we have expected.
SKT T1 proved what we have mentioned before: that IG is not unstoppable. They can fall and can be defeated. IG is a very strong team, but even the strongest teams have their flaws. SKT T1 won the match in a dominant fashion, thus leaving a statement going forward.
Now that group stages are behind us, the remaining four teams are getting ready for the knockout stage. We expect to see even closer, even better matches. In the upcoming days, we will get to see Invictus Gaming facing off against Team Liquid on May 17. G2 will try to upset SKT T1 a day later.