MSI 2018: Group Stage preview

It’s nearly time for the MSI 2018 Group Stage! Who will make it to the knockouts?

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(Image Credit: Wojtek Zając)

MSI 2018 promised excitement and entertainment, and it hasn’t disappointed so far. With the play-in group and knockout stages now over, we now know the full line-up of teams taking part in the group stage.

The final six

Following the conclusion of a dramatic play in knockout stage, we now know Flash Wolves of the LMS and EVOS Esports of the VCS will move to the group stage. There they will have to face the four teams that have been directly seeded:

  • Fnatic (EU LCS)
  • Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
  • Kingzone DragonX (LCK)
  • Team Liquid (NA LCS)

The race to the knockout stage

Although the jury’s still out on which teams are likely to progress to the finals, there are some clear favourites emerging amongst fans and experts alike. 

Kingzone DragonX, for example, is widely expected to continue their show of strength and are hotly tipped to make it to the top-four, if not to take the title itself.

However, there will be plenty of obstacles in their way. Royal Never Give Up has also been in fine form and are also considered strong contenders for the knockouts.

When it comes to Fnatic and Team Liquid, the jury is less certain. Although Rekkles and Caps have been dominant carries in the bot and mid lane respectively for Fnatic, it will be interesting to see how Rekkles, in particular, can match up against the likes of Uzi of RNG and PraY of Kingzone.

There are also the wildcards of the group stage to consider. EVOS Esports defied everyone’s expectations when they defeated BAUSuperMassiveeSports in a 3-1 series, and they can certainly cause another upset. Their jungler, YiJin, had an insane series during the play-in knockout stage, causing havoc on Graves and creating outplay after outplay. Warzone also performed in mid lane and followed up on his prior trash talk against BAUSuperMassiveeSports’ mid laner GBM.

Flash Wolves are also no strangers to the international stage, and their dominant 3-0 win against Gambit Esports proves they are more than capable of going toe to toe with the other group stage teams.

The six group stage teams will each play a total of ten games, playing each other twice in the process. The top four teams will then progress on to the knockout stage.

We’ve previously outlined the schedule for the group stage games, which you can see here.

Coverage of the group stage games will begin on Friday 11th May starting at 11am CEST and 2am PST. So sadly, it’s a very early start for US viewers!

You can watch the games on the usual channels, such as the LoL Esports YouTube Channel and Twitch.

Which teams do you think will make it through to the knockouts? Let us know in the comments below!