Day 3 of the Rumble stage at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational turned out to be a major turning-point in this year’s MSI.
Cloud9’s fate was nearly sealed, Royal Never Give Up showed they can bleed and PSG Talon rose above all expectations with victories over both squads to improve to 4-2 in the stage.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s action at MSI in Iceland.
Cloud9 stumble at crucial juncture
Cloud9 needed at least one win going into Day 3 of the Rumble stage to stay in the mix for advancing at MSI, and with Pentanet.GG on the schedule, that goal seemed like a given. After four straight losses, Cloud9 finally managed to get one in the win column by taking down the Oceania representatives in a decisive 25-minute match. Unfortunately for the League Championship Series champions, the win wasn’t a cause for celebration or relief. Due to their struggles on Days 1 and 2, even after that win, Cloud9 are 1-4, a full two games behind the last knockout stage spot that was then occupied by PSG Talon.
If Cloud9 were going to make a miracle run, they needed to help themselves and also receive help from others. During the rest of Day 3, neither of those things happened.
Cloud9’s second match of the day against DWG KIA seemed like a must-win, especially after PSG snatched a win from RNG earlier in the day. Although Cloud9 were able to take a game off of DWG earlier in the tournament and despite them being able to keep up with the defending world champions, the North Americans just simply couldn’t keep up when it mattered the most, a trend that has haunted Cloud9 throughout MSI. After Cloud9 managed to take the Elder Dragon despite DWG having Infernal Soul and Baron, the next fight turned sour as Cloud9 were aced and then defeated to put them at a record of 1-5, putting them almost mathematically out of contention.
Heading into Day 4, Cloud9 sit two games back from the final knockout spot with four matches to play. The LCS squad will more than likely need to run the gauntlet and beat MAD Lions, Pentanet.GG, RNG and PSG to even force a tiebreaker. The rest of the event looks bleak, but the silver lining has been Cloud9’s ability to stay in games against the top teams. AD carry Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, in particular, has been a bright spot throughout the event.
PSG belong among the MSI elites
At the start of Day 3, PSG Talon were sitting in fourth place at a 2-2 record. With their two wins against the fifth- and sixth-placed Cloud9 and Pentanet.GG, questions existed about PSG’s ability to hang with the better teams in the tournament.
After Cloud9’s win to start the day, all eyes were on PSG as a loss to RNG would only put Cloud9 one game back from the fourth and final knockout stage spot. RNG was 12-0 heading into their match against PSG but have looked rather shaky as of late. The casters joked that a “happy game” could happen during Day 3 and that perhaps that game would happen here.
That prediction seems prophetic now.
RNG have not seemed to be challenged in the bot lane throughout MSI, with support Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming and AD carry Chen “GALA” Wei looking unstoppable. However, Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing had one of the best performances out of any player in the tournament thus far in this methodical 28-minute stomp for PSG. Kaiwing played a near-perfect Nautilus, with his engages turning the game in PSG’s favor. Top laner Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang and mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang also had standout performances on Lee Sin and Zoe respectfully.
But PSG was not done putting the pressure on MSI’s top teams. After all, a win in their second game of the day, a rematch against MAD Lions, here would catapult PSG into third, all but assured of a spot in the knockout stage. MAD Lions had PSG’s number at MSI going into the match with a 3-0 record against them, but PSG experimented with a different look that paid off against the European favorites.
PSG jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo’s kill on MAD Lions jungler Javier “Elyoya” Prades off of a Level 1 invade set the tone of the game. River was able to bully out his opponent to the point where Elyoya’s Rumble wasn’t even able to confidently maneuver through his own side of the jungler. While practically playing five-on-four, PSG were able to capitalize on the early lead and ballooned that one-kill advantage into a 8-1 kill lead and a 6,000-gold lead at only the 14-minute mark. PSG closed the game out in 25 minutes to move to 2-0 on the day and 4-2 overall.
PSG Talon head into Day 4 safely in third place after starting the day on the cusp of the knockout cutoff. Instead of behind one game away from elimination, PSG are now one game away from first place. As for MAD Lions, they are the ones that have to worry about Cloud9 now. However, it would still take a monumental series of events for MAD Lions to lose their knockout stage spot.
2021 MSI standings as of May 16:
- RNG (5-1)
- DWK KIA (5-1)
- PSG Talon (4-2)
- MAD Lions(3-3)
- Cloud 9 (1-5)
- Pentanet.GG (0-6)