With the 2022 League Of Legends tournament taken form, after less than a week. The group stages have shaken out rather chaotically, and birthed six preeminent teams. Five of these teams were expected to make it to the next stage of the tournament; however, there was an upset in Group A.
Aptly dubbed the “scariest” group of the tournament, Group A consists of MSI favorite T1. While the remaining teams are considerably weaker, the presence of the prospective victor makes this group very dangerous as one of the two qualifying spots is essentially reserved. The teams accompanying the LCK’s #1 include the LLA’s Team Aze, the LJL’s DetonatioN FocusMe, and the VCS’s Saigon Buffalo.
Notably, the VCS opted to bring their second place team to MSI. This was because the VCS spring champions, GAM Esports, will represent Vietnam in the 31st SEA Games which occur at the same time.
This is particularly important as Saigon Buffalo defied many people’s expectations by upsetting expected qualifier DetonatioN FocusMe. Despite being second in their region (Vietnam), the Saigon Buffalo roster managed to overcome the number one team in Japan.
With DFM expected to make it to the rumble stage, Saigon Buffalo’s upset raises serious questions about the strength of the VCS champions: GAM Esports. Regardless, Saigon Buffalo has made it into the rumble stage alongside five other big names. In case you forgot, or haven’t seen the outcomes of the group stage, here are all six teams (and their regions) moving onto the rumble stage.
Group A: T1 (LCK) and Saigon Buffalo (VCS)
Group B: RNG (LPL) and PSG Talon (PCS)
Group C: G2 (LEC) and EG (LCS)
Top 6 Overview
Historical precedent heavily favors the majority of the qualifying regions. Since 2019, the LCK; LPL; LCS; PCS; and LEC have all had representatives in the second stage of the MSI. While the formatting has since seen a massive overhaul, the top regions still manage to consistently find their place among the final teams.
While the VCS is also a notably strong region, Vietnam’s COVID protocols prevented their team from competing in 2021. Historical precedent aside, let’s take a closer look at the results of each group.
With the tournament favorite in Group A alongside weaker regions, it is no surprise that T1 swept their group entirely. Although DFM were favorites to qualify, and Saigon Buffalo beat them each time, no one put up a serious fight against T1.
With each team having to play the other three teams twice, T1 finished with a (6-0) record. Saigon Buffalo performed similarly well, boasting a dominant (4-2) record and only losing to T1. Both DFM and Team Aze managed to win one match against one another, with miserly overall records of (1-5) each.
Group B was significantly more competitive. Although RNG stomped their competition (6-0), both PSG Talon and RED Canids proved to be serious contenders for the remaining spot.
With both teams winning a matchup against one another, RED Canids loss to the other team in the bracket, Istanbul Wildcats, meant that PSG Talon would qualify as they bested the Wildcats in both of their meetings.
Group C displayed the most diverse skill gap of any group. With the LCS, LEC, and LCO each presenting their best team, the results proved to be quite predictable. As the only group with three teams, each member played the other two teams four times. However, despite playing more matches, the outcomes were consistent.
In the simplest terms possible, there was a definitive skill order that predetermined the records of each team. G2 was better than EG who was better than ORDER (G2>EG>ORDER). With ORDER left at the bottom of the food chain, both EG and G2 qualified without dropping a match to ORDER. The records of each team in their respective groups are as follows:
- T1 (6-0)
- Saigon Buffalo (4-2)
- DetonatioN FocusMe (1-5)
- Team Aze (1-5)
- RNG (6-0)
- PSG Talon (3-3)
- RED Canids (2-4)
- Istanbul Wildcats (1-5)
- G2 Esports (8-0)
- Evil Geniuses (4-4)
- ORDER (0-8)
Rumble Stage Formatting
The rumble stage is very simple. The six remaining teams in the tournament are all placed into a single group. Where group barriers prevented certain teams from facing one another in the group stage, the rumble stage aims to pit all of the remaining teams against one another.
Each team will play every other team exactly twice (double round robin style). Like the group stage, the matches will be a best of one. The four teams with the best record at the end of the second round robin will move on to the knockout stage.
The rumble stage officially begins on May 20th, but the matches are yet to be determined. Stay tuned for more information about the 2022 MSI.
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