There were no such wildcard heroics during the second fixture of the Mid-Season Invitational Play-In Round 2. After being gifted to the spirited performance of the Gigabyte Marines, perhaps the Sao Paulo crowd were grateful for a clinical and flawless sweep, as the Flash Wolves dispatched SuperMassive eSports in under an hour a half. The Taiwanese squad looked typically coordinated and ruthless, already living up to their pre-tournament hype.
Make no mistake, the Flash Wolves are a force to be reckoned with at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. Entering the tournament on the back of a dominant Spring Split in their home nation Taiwan and already with the Katowice Intel Extreme Masters to their name, the Wolves were widely tipped to be a tournament contender. Granted that Turkey’s SuperMassive eSport did not provide the most formidable of opposition, but the frightening precision with which Flash Wolves put the wild card to the sword will certainly not have escaped the attention of their future opponents.
Flash Wolves have now formally submitted their statement of intent for ownership of the MSI 2017 trophy, decimating wildcard team SuperMassive eSports in a 3-0 sweep to confirm their slot for the group stages in Rio de Janeiro.
SuperMassive provided little resistance to the Flash Wolves onslaught. Spearheaded by jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan in their attack, the LMS champions outclassed their Turkish opponents on practically every front, producing a performance more dominant than anything seen so far in Brazil. Following the example set by his teammate, mid laner Yi-Tang “Maple” Huang quickly found his rhythm in the series, blowing up SUP carries on sight.
The Flash Wolves roster moved and acted as a single cohesive unit, punishing even the slightest misstep from the SuperMassive challengers. In each of the three games in the series, FW would collapse upon SUP’s AD Carry and support, ravaging the lane early on three consecutive occasions, before exerting pressure elsewhere on the map.
Though certain elements of Flash Wolves’ emphatic victory could be chalked up to the inexperience of their opposition, take nothing away from the precise synergy that led to a number of the games’ pivotal moments:
Whilst Maple and Karsa tallied the kills for the Wolves, it was top laner Li-Hong “MMD” Yu who brought down the hammer blow for the LMS champions in their team fighting. Within seconds the Wolves would transform a docile region of the map into a canvas of death and SuperMassive regret.
Head and shoulders above any other team in their region and renowned as the international stages’ ‘Korean Killers’, the fearsome Flash Wolves are a team many will dread facing in the group stages. Though many fear the sting of SK Telecom T1, the bite of the Wolves may prove to be even more punishing.
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.