In front of a raucous home crowd, the Brazilian CBLOL Champion RED Canids had an opportunity to deliver a first-place finish in Group A of the play-in tournament. Although the RED Canids entered as one of the group favorites, and one of the favorites to advance to out of the Play-In Tournament as the Wild Card representative, they were eliminated after a 4-2 record saw them finish second in the group.
The Mid-Season Invitational Play-In Tournament brought eight of the minor region champions together in Sao Paulo, Brazil to determine the top two who would move on to face the NA LCS (Team SoloMid) and LMS (Flash Wolves) champions to determine which three teams would advance to the main tournament.
Split into two groups, the Brazilian champion RED Canids was drafted into Group A alongside the Turkish SuperMassive eSports, Oceania’s Dire Wolves, and Japan’s Rampage. Brazil has traditionally been considered as one of the power regions amongst wildcards, with notable victories that include INTZ’s victory over the heavily favored Edward Gaming at last season’s World Championship. One of the favorite to win the group and advance, the expectations were very high for the Brazilian squad.
The atmosphere in Sao Paulo was electric, with a chanting Brazilian crowd that created one of the loudest venues in League of Legends history. If there was ever a home field advantage for a team, the RED Canids had it as they cruised to victories in their first two matches of the group stage. In the final match of the day, they faced off against the other group frontrunner, Turkey’s SuperMassive. SuperMassive would prove to be too much for the Brazilian squad, playing a clean game that set them apart as the team to beat in the group as the Canids fell to 2-1on the day.
Two days later, the Canids were still very much alive, needing only to win all three of their matches to set up a deciding tie-breaker with SuperMassive. When SuperMassive won both of their first two matches of the day, that showdown seemed inevitable as Red only needed to beat the 1-3 Dire Wolves and they would have their opportunity for revenge against SuperMassive and a chance to advance.
Already eliminated from the tournament, the Dire Wolves played like a team with no fear, making aggressive plays across the map that led to an early advantage and had the RED Canids reeling. With victory within their grasp, the Dire Wolves won a team fight and went to strike a decisive blow with a barely contested Baron. The RED Canids’ jungler Carlos “Nappon” Rücker made the play of the day when he made a stunning Baron steal to keep the Canids’ hopes alive.
Riding a wave of momentum off the Baron steal, the Canids’ would use the pressure from Baron and the split pushing power of top laner Leonardo “Robo” Souza’s Fiora to pull Dire Wolves apart and secure multiple objectives including a top lane inhibitor.
With the inhibitor secured, the momentum appeared to have fully swung in the Canids’ favor, but a series of overreaches and multiple solo deaths would doom Red Canids. Dire Wolves would finally pull off the huge 41 min upset, ending the Brazilians’ chances of advancing and silencing the once frenzied crowd.
While the crowd is sure to still be rowdy and loud, they will inevitably have lost some of their luster now that their national representative has been eliminated. Yet despite the disappointing result for Brazil, the rest of the event is sure to be exciting and swarming with energy as it has been up to this point.
With the loss to Dire Wolves, the RED Canids failed to deliver on an opportunity to bring a first place finish to their fans, and re-affirm Brazils claim as an up and coming region that could be considered one of, if not the wild cards best. Still, it is hard to place too much fault in the Canids, SuperMassive eSports proved they deserve all of the hype they had accumulated heading up into the tournament and could likely be the best Wildcard team in the entire field.
The Defining Moments From The 2016 Mid-Season Invitational
The Mid-Season Invitational 2016: Shanghai
The electric venue, in the heart of one of China's most iconic cities, provided a stunning backdrop for what would prove to be one of the most dramatic League of Legends events in history...
Shanghai Opening Ceremony
The opening ceremony for the Mid-Season Invitational in Shanghai once again raised the benchmark for eSports production quality.
Day 1: Scumbag G2 Kikis
The tournament got off to a disastrous start for European Spring Split champions G2 eSports. With a number of almost comedic errors from top laner Kikis, G2 found themselves down 0-2 after the opening day of play.
Day1: RNG Delight The Chinese Crowd
China's representative Royal Never Give Up delighted fans with two convincing displays on Day 1, defeating both Counter Logic Gaming and the wildcard entree, SuperMassive eSports.
Day 2: CLG Defeat G2
The NA vs EU rivalry provided the first fixture of MSI's second day of play. Rookie AD Carry Stixxay provided a masterclass performance to claim the bragging rights for Counter Logic Gaming and North America.
Day 2: RNG Defeat SKT
The atmosphere within the Shanghai stadium was to grow even louder as Royal Never Give Up stamped their mark on the tournament with victory over reigning world champions SK Telecom T1.
Day 2: SUP Claim Their First Win Over CLG
After looking so strong against G2 eSports, CLG inexplicably handed SuperMassive eSports their first (and only) win of the tournament. Truly 'counter logic'.
Day 2: Flash Wolves Defeat SKT
SKT's kryptonite Flash Wolves claimed victory over the Koreans once more to complete a shocking 0-2 for the tournament favourites.
Day 3: CLG Shock SKT
Lose to the wildcard, crush the reigning LCK and World Champions, all within the space of 24 hours. CLG stunned the Shanghai arena with victory over SKT, a fabled moment for the NA representative.
Day 3: Flash Wolves Complete the Double Over SKT
Lightening struck twice as Flash Wolves added further insult to injury, defeating SKT for the second time in the group stage.
Day 3: SKT Slump To A 4th Straight Defeat
Defeat to Flash Wolves marked SKT's 4th consecutive defeat at the tournament. Few could believe their eyes, the tournament favourites were at serious risk of not qualifying for the knockout rounds.
Day 4: CLG End RNG’s Unbeaten Run
Unbeaten in the tournament, RNG entered their 2nd meeting with CLG as heavy favourites to win the entire tournament. In what was yet another masterclass from Stixxay, CLG somehow survived intense pressure to steal the most unlikely victory.
Day 4: SKT Find Their Feet
SKT steadied the ship with victory over SUP and CLG. Faker expressed his disappointment at the team's performance at the tournament so far and vowed not to lose another match.
Day 5: G2-8
G2 eSports made a hurried exit after a woeful performance from the European champions. Claiming just two victories over wildcard SuperMassive eSports, the G2 roster had brought shame upon the EU region.
Day 5: SKT Bounce Back Against RNG
SKT provided a signal of intent in their final matches of the group stages. Defeating RNG in the last game, the dominance of the Chinese hosts had not lasted long.
Semi-Final 1: CLG Defeat Flash Wolves
Qualifying as the second seed with a 7-3 record, Counter Logic Gaming proved too strong for Flash Wolves once more, earning the NA squad a spot in the MSI final.
Semi-Final 2: SKT Overpower RNG
The omens of the final group stage match came back to haunt RNG. Despite appearing so dominant with an 8-2 record in groups, RNG were outclassed by SKT in the second semi-final.
Semi-Final 2: SK Telecom T1 Were Back
After slumping to four consecutive loses just days earlier, SKT were once again considered favourites after silencing the Chinese crowd.
The Mid-Season Inviational Final
After what had been an exhilarating and unpredictable tournament, Counter Logic Gaming and SK Telecom T1 met for the final.
Final: SKT vs CLG
After SKT eliminated the Chinese favourites RNG, the majority of the crowd support was behind the underdogs CLG.
Final: SKT Sweep CLG Aside
After a heroic tournament run, CLG were convincingly swept aside by SKT in the final. The NA seed returned home with their heads held high.
Final: SKT Claim The MSI Crown
Despite faltering in the group stages, SKT claimed their first MSI title.