MSI 2018: Knockout Stage preview

After five days of competitive games, the top four teams are on their way to Paris for the 2018 MSI Knockout Stage

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(Image Credit: Clement Grandjean)

Warning: spoilers below!

It’s been a crazy five days of games in the MSI Group Stage. Now we know which four teams are heading into the Knockout Stage.

Battle for first place

Although it was widely expected that Kingzone DragonX would finish in the top spot without much of a challenge, there were plenty of surprises in store during the Group Stage that meant that analysts’ predictions didn’t come to fruition.

Instead, Royal Never Give Up ended up taking first place with eight wins, after winning a tie-breaker against Flash Wolves to see who would end up with the number one spot. This meant that Kingzone DragonX ended up placing third in the Group stage, having lost to Fnatic, Flash Wolves twice, and Royal Never Give Up during the tournament.

There are a few reasons why Kingzone DragonX didn’t perform as well as everyone thought, such as the at-times lackluster performances that were put in by top laner Khan. However, Kingzone DragonX’s demise in the Group Stage was also in part down to just how well Royal Never Give Up and Flash Wolves played. Flash Wolves in particular surprised everyone with a dominant show of force that makes you wonder whether the LMS will end up directly seeded into the Group Stage at MSI next year following this year’s performance.

Competition at the bottom

Although the battle for the top three spots was close, things were also tense at the bottom of the table. Although EVOS Esports were the first team to be statistically eliminated from progressing, their games were always fun to watch due to their hyper aggressive style of play.

That meant that Fnatic and Team Liquid were caught in a fierce fight for the final spot at knockouts. Although Fnatic seemed like a shoe-in at first, with four wins at the end of day four compared to Team Liquid’s three wins, Team Liquid pulled it back from the brink, despite taking no wins during the first two days of the Group Stage.

Despite the internal issues that Team Liquid had apparently faced, with Olleh being benched for a game during day two, Team Liquid regrouped and came out stronger than ever, with Doublelift doing insane work to carry his team to multiple victories.

Meanwhile, Fnatic stumbled, losing both scheduled games on day five. That meant that if Team Liquid could beat RNG in their final game of day five they could go to Paris. However, RNG proved why they ultimately took top spot, and defeated Team Liquid, forcing them to a tie-breaker match with Fnatic for fourth place.

Although Rekkles had been criticized during the tournament for a seemingly small champion pool and underwhelming performances, he showed up during the tie-breaker game, putting on a great performance on a Xayah Rakan bot lane with Hylissang. Finally finding their feet, Fnatic secured the win, and took a hard-earned spot in the top four.

Knockout stage match-ups confirmed

The first-place team, Royal Never Give Up, had the power to choose who they wanted to face in the semi-finals in Paris. To no-one’s surprise, they selected Fnatic, who they defeated twice during the Group Stage.

That means that Flash Wolves will take on Kingzone DragonX in the second semi-final of the tournament.

The Knockout Stage will take place from Friday, 18 May to Sunday, 20 May at Le Zénith in Paris. You can watch the matches via the LoL Esports YouTube channel or via Twitch.

Which team do you think will win MSI 2018? Let us know in the comments below!