The Mid Season Invitational Play-In group stage closed earlier today with the conclusion of Group B's games.Vega Squadron ("VEG") pulled ahead of the rest of the pack to emerge victorious and now is set to play the Flash Wolves ("FW") tomorrow for a chance to go straight to the Main Stage.
VEG, the representatives from the LCL, are looking strong from their games so far. But FW are no joke. The organization participated in a host of international tournaments and is ready to lead the LMS to an international title. This best-of-five is sure to be an exciting one, as well as a very close one.
The Flash Wolves are no stranger to international tournaments. Fans from all across the world recognize their name and its for good reason. They've dominated the LMS for a long time and participated in the past four World Championships. Their roster was revamped this year, but still retain the familiar names of Hanabi and Betty. This new roster struggled in the Spring Split a bit, finishing only second in the standings as opposed to their usual first, but defeated MAD Team in the Finals 3-0. They aren't considered to be on par with other Eastern teams like SKT T1 and Invictus Gaming, but are surely strong in their own right.
The main focus of the team lies with the two veteran players, Hanabi and Betty. Hanabi is their star, receiving eight MVP commendations in the Spring Split. He is able to play various carry champions in the top lane and finds success on all of them. Hanabi is good in lane but shines most in team fights; he has great positioning and always threatens the enemies' back line. Betty is fantastic as well, constantly demonstrating why he is a world-class ADC in game-changing fights.
The squad excels the most when fighting together in skirmishes and team fights. Though the are abusable in the very early stages of the game, their ability to find winning fights to come back into the game is impeccable. They are an objective focused team and quick to pull the trigger on plays on and around them. FW make decisions quickly and commit to them fully as a team. This alone makes them threatening to face, and VEG will have their work cut out for them in the upcoming series.
VEG have performed exceptionally well in their group stage games and is set to be a threat themselves. Unlike many of the other remaining teams in MSI, VEG has a distinct lack of international experience as an organization. They've particpated in the LCL since 2016 and have won a few tournaments, but never were able to stamp their tickets to an international tournament. Now they look to channel the power of other LCL teams, like Gambit Esports, to make their names known all over the world.
All of the members of this team have potential to carry, but their focus lies on the bottom lane specifically. Their ADC player, Gadget, boasts one of the most unique champion pools in the entire tournament. He plays the likes of Neeko and Karthus in the bottom lane to great success and can outperform his enemy counterparts in the later stages of the game. The other members of the team have the potential to take these picks too. Another of their best picks is mid laner Nomanz's Ryze, and with such unique flex picks, VEG can be difficult to draft against.
Their style of play is similar to FW's, but slower and more calculated. Where FW is keen on making snap decisions and fighting, VEG is content to play the side lanes and establish vision control over key objectives. They utilize this vision to gain full information of the game state and use this knowledge to pick smart plays. Their macro play appeared among the best of all the teams from the Play-Ins. This is what they will rely on heavily to defeat FW. They proved they can defeat team fighting strategies and teams like DetonatioN FocusMe at their best, and will look to do so again here.
This is series is bound to be a close one and likely to be much closer than the TL v PVB series. Both FW and VEG are outstanding team fighting squads with key carry players. Many of these players have little or no experience on the international stage, but it shouldn't be enough to sway the match in either direction.
In the end, FW has a better chance of winning the series 3-2. The LMS has historically been better than the LCL in international tournaments, and the organization itself is the main reason for that. Though they haven't played yet, they have had a ton of time to prepare for the series. FW are also probably still riding high from their dominant 3-0 in the Finals. VEG definitely have a chance to make an upset, but it will be an uphill battle for them on Monday.
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