DWG KIA, RNG clinch spots in MSI knockout round

DWG KIA and Royal Never Give Up locked up their spots in the upcoming knockout round during Monday’s action in the Mid-Season Invitational Rumble stage.

DWG KIA (7-1) secired a top-two seed with two wins Monday. Against MAD Lions (4-4), DWG KIA were aggressive from the jump, dominating the top half of the map through top laner Dong-ha “Khan” Kim’s Aatrox. Try as MAD might, and despite DK support Geon-hee “BeryL” Cho continuing his poor tournament form as Nautilus, DK took the win in 31 minutes.

Against PSG Talon (4-4), it was the mid lane that carried DK to a win. Mid laner Su “ShowMaker” Heo’s Zoe was a bonafide assassin, taking out PSG members from range en route to an 8/1/9 KDA (Kills/Deaths/Assists) ratio. DK made quick work of PSG Talon, winning the game in 29 minutes.

Royal Never Give Up (6-2) locked in a top-two seed in the knockout stage with a comeback win vs. PSG Talon. PSG was ahead early on, controlling objectives and forcing RNG to play on the back foot, but they couldn’t further their lead. RNG stayed in the game by giving resources to bot laner Chen “GALA” Wei’s Kai’Sa, putting their hopes of coming back on his shoulders.

GALA came up big later in the game, melting PSG’s frontline and giving control of the game to RNG. With a late gold lead, RNG had more than enough to take out PSG Talon’s Nexus in 36 minutes. RNG would go on to lose to Cloud9 (2-6), with the LCS representatives playing possibly their best game of the tournament.

Cloud9 is the only team that has taken games off of both RNG and DK, but their hopes of advancing to the knockout round took a drastic dive when they got caught in a trap game against Pentanet.GG (1-7). All Rumble stage long, PGG had looked like a punching bag for the other regions, despite their best efforts.

Against Cloud9, though, PGG fought hard and capitalized on Cloud9’s mercurial nature. C9 drafted double marksmen for their bot and mid laners but allowed PGG to pick up the dreaded Senna and Tahm Kench combination, a bottom lane pairing that effectively counters the double marksmen setups. Add to that C9’s poor draft choices and in-game decision making, and PGG took their first win of the tournament in 37 minutes.

With that loss, Cloud9 needs to win out on the final day of the Rumble Stage on Tuesday in order to have a chance of progressing further. Meanwhile, MAD Lions beat PGG, moving them into a tie with PSG Talon for fourth place.

The 11-team Mid-Season Invitational, which runs through May 23, is being held between the first and second splits of all regions. Teams were drawn into three groups based on seeding, with the top two teams from each group advancing to Stage 2.

Stage 2, the Rumble Round, runs through Tuesday and consists of a double round robin from which the top four teams will make the knockout round. As in Stage 1, all Stage 2 matches are best-of-one.

The knockout round will consist of single-elimination semifinals and the final, with all three matches best-of-five. The championship team will receive 30 percent of the prize pool, which will be a minimum of $250,000.

League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational standings:
1. DWG KIA, 7-1
2. Royal Never Give Up, 6-2
T3. PSG Talon, 4-4
T3. MAD Lions, 4-4
5. Cloud9, 2-6
6. Pentanet.GG, 1-7

–Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media

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