Team SoloMid’s now infamous draft phase vs the Flash Wolves in the all-important tiebreaker of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational Group Stage has now been dissected and scrutinised from nearly every possible angle. In contrast to the widespread criticism aimed at TSM Head Coach Parth “Parth” Naid, Cloud9’s Bok “Reapered” Han-Gyu believes that Parth’s draft decisions were entirely logical.
The man responsible for the picks and bans ahead of TSM’s final game of MSI 2017, Head Coach Parth “Parth” Naid, has received widespread criticism from analysts and the North American fanbase.
After defeating Flash Wolves earlier in the day – but inconceivably throwing a solid lead to lose to Europe’s G2 eSports – Team SoloMid finished with a 4-6 record alongside their two Group Stage Day 5 opponents. Due to G2’s two victories over Flash Wolves and their pivotal win over the NA LCS squad, Team SoloMid were thrown into a tiebreaker with FW to decide which team would be heading home.
Mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg had delivered a rare performance on an international stage to win the earlier match between the two sides. Having learnt from the previous matchup, TSM’s Ahri was immediately banned away by Flash Wolves in the pick and ban phase.
Flash Wolves’ comfort picks were left on the table by Team SoloMid: top laner Li-Hong “MMD” Yu, jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan and Lu “Betty” Yu-hung each allowed to get their hands on Fizz, Lee Sin and Ashe respectively.
By contrast Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen – who had looked weak on any champion other than Lee Sin or Ivern – was forced out of his comfort zone, whilst top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell was drafted into a difficult match up.
Parth’s decision to focus two of Team SoloMid’s bans on AD carry hypercarries Twitch and Kog’Maw was the straw that broke the camels back for many fans and analysts, given that they were two champions Flash Wolves’ ADC Betty was yet to play once competitively all season.
Showing solidarity with his fellow NA LCS coach, Cloud9’s Coach Reapered released a VOD review of the Team SoloMid vs Flash Wolves draft phase, defending Parth’s decision to ban away both Twitch and Kog’Maw. Imagining himself to be in the shoes of the TSM Head Coach during the pick and ban phase, Reapered explained his thought process entering the second phase of the draft:
“Oh shit – if they get Kog’Maw, we can never win, there’s just no way that we can win.
“Our jungle has Graves so we can’t even gank him, it’s actually a free loss.
“They see that, so you have to ban it. And – as soon as you ban it – oh shit, we can not go against Twitch. We have no lock down, we can never win.”
Bok “Reapered” Han-Gyu
Reapered went on to explain the minor errors that he believes Parth made in the draft phase, suggesting an Ashe pick may have been better for Jason “WildTurtle” Tran to become self-sufficient in the bot lane. The South Korean coach’s primary concern lay with the Graves pick in the jungle, the champion’s inability to gank alongside Ezreal or Karma makes Team SoloMid’s composition unable to handle hypercarries… thus the understanding for the two later bans.
Though Reapered offers some valuable insight into Parth’s logic for Team SoloMid’s fateful pick and ban phase vs Flash Wolves, it is unlikely that his opinion with quell the boiling frustration of the North American community in the immediate aftermath of TSM’s MSI 2017 failure.
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.