After lifting the curtain on the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational Group Stages with a spirited performance against the undisputed World Champions SK Telecom T1, Europe’s G2 eSports claimed their first win of the tournament with victory over Flash Wolves. G2 stepped out onto the Rio de Janeiro stage looking for regional redemption. On reflection of their Day 1 performances, the EU LCS champions have taken their first step towards achieving that goal.
Overwhelmingly dominant within the EU LCS for over a year, G2 eSports underwhelming international tournament results have been an unwanted black mark on an otherwise pristine record. To reverse the damage of their previous Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship antics provided the squad with a daunting challenge, made all the more formidable by their opening game against SK Telecom T1 at MSI 2017.
G2 immediately dispelled the hex of last season’s tournament, firing themselves into an unexpected lead with a double kill on the SKT AD Carry and support. Not content to allow the occasion to wash over them, G2 grabbed themselves the first objective of the game as the icing on the cake:
In typical fashion, G2 eSports minor gold lead over SKT was swung back into the Koreans’ favour. A poor macro decision from G2 to prioritise rift herald over turrets put the European squad at a deficit from which they never recovered. Despite their promising early game, G2 began to lose their footing in the match.
SKT’s ruthless control of vision throughout the mid-game denied G2 any chance of a surprise counter-attack. Despite numerous attempts at an assassination using Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen’s Ashe, SKT were always one-step ahead, neutralising the threat whilst punishing G2 eSports elsewhere on the map, frequently exerting pressure on Daehan “Expect” Ki in the G2 eSports top lane.
After SKT secured both the baron and the elder dragon, it was simply a matter of time before the clock struck zero for G2 eSports. Despite their opening defeat, a promising start and a spirited, proactive display had provided the European squad with plenty of reason for optimism heading into their second tie of the day against the highly tipped Taiwanese roster, Flash Wolves.
G2 eSports first victory at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational will be forever remembered as the Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen show. In contrast to the SKT match, the opening sequences vs Flash Wolves were an unusually quiet affair, allowing for Zven to slowly scale towards the late game… by which point he would become immortal.
G2 lost a number of objectives as the game approached its mid-point, but the EU LCS champs knew that their team composition scaled phenomenally into the late-game. G2 had built a perfect shield and siege team comp, all the pressure was on Zven to lead the squad to glory. Three Banner of Commands, two Knight’s Vows, two Redemptions, one Locket of the Iron Solari, one Mikael’s Crucible and one Ardent Censer: G2 had given Zven all the resources to succeed, it was time for the AD Carry to stand and deliver.
Ultimately, one fight decided the entire game. After an army of minions had arrived at the Flash Wolves’ door G2 made their move for Baron. Staggered, the Flash Wolves fell directly into G2’s trap. With a strong engage and shields galore, Zven tore through the Flash Wolves before the entire G2 troop charged down the map to secure their first win of the tournament.
Holy fuck what a game! If lane phase fails, always believe in the late game? the crowd was amazing today, thank you Rio??? GGWP FlashWolves
G2 eSports have taken their first step towards redemption on the international stage. A valiant defeat at the hands of SK Telecom T1 and a courageous victory over Flash Wolves has provided a solid foundation upon which the EU LCS champions will hope to build for the rest of tournament.
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.