By Ozzy Alaba
MANILA -- History definitely rhymed itself once again.
Vietnam and former World champions Taiwan successfully returned to the Mid Season Invitational Main Stage after securing the last two slots, dismantling Turkey's BAUSuperMassive eSports (SUP), and CIS giants Gambit eSports (GMB), respectively in their 2018 Play-In Playoff dates at the Riot European Studios in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday and Wednesday evening (Philippine time).
Vietnam's EVOS eSports (EVS), who edged the defending champions GIGABYTE Marines (GAM) out in the 2018 Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) Finals, 3-2 continued the latter's international legacy as they eliminated SUP out of Main Stage contention, 3-1, the very same opponent GAM faced in the 2017 MSI Play-In Playoffs, with their jungler Nguyễn (YiJin) Lê Hải Đăng shining in the spotlight through his Graves, who garnered 16 combined kills in Games 3 and 4 in the series.
Sophomore top laner Phan (Stark) Công Minh and veteran AD Carry Nguyễn (Slay) Ngọc Hùng also stepped up in their MSI comeback, averaging a combined 3.94 Kill-Death-Assist (KDA) Ratio (3/2.375/6.375 KDA) in their first four games in the said tournament.
23-year-old mid laner Đoàn (Warzone) Văn Ngọc Sơn also made a good impression of himself in his third international career appearance, submitting a decent average of 4.5/2/4.5 KDA, while support Lê (RonOP) Thiên Hàn boosted the six-man Vietnamese squad's frontlines, co-leading the team in the kill participation (KP) department with an average of 60.9 percent (Phan leads with 73.4 percent average KP.)
Taiwan's Flash Wolves (FW), meanwhile, also propelled themselves to a MSI Main Stage comeback after sweeping GMB on the process, 3-1 with star mid laner Huang (Maple) Yi-Tang and Korean jungler Kim (Moojin) Moo-jin being the catalysts in their success.
|FW's longtime support Hu (SwordArt) Shuo-Chieh (on picture) shakes its hands on GMB's AD Carry Stanislav (Lodik) Kornelyuk as FW sweeps GMB, 3-0 to secure the last 2018 MSI Main Stage slot.|
Huang and Kim utilized their tanky yet utility and poke-centered picks to utmost perfection, making it a thorn in the opposition, resulting to a combined average game-high 11.97 KDA Ratio (3/0.835/7 KDA), including a flawless 6/0/6 KDA from the latter on his Trundle, which lead the team to its third consecutive appearance in the said tournament.
FW's bot lane duo of AD Carry Lu (Betty) Yu-Hung and Hu (SwordArt) Shuo-Chieh started their road for international redemption on a high note as their sudden change of playstyle from passive to aggressive proved to be effective, recording a very decent average KDA of 2.33/1.165/8 (8.87 KDA Ratio).
Top laner Su (Hanabi) Chia-Hsiang also made a good debut in his inaugural international appearance, submitting an average 8 KDA Ratio (3.67/1/4.33 KDA) in the four-game run.
With the win, EVS and FW will join Korea's Kingzone DragonX (KZ), China's Royal Never Give Up (RNG), North America's Team Liquid (TL), and Europe's Fnatic (FNC) in the Main Stage conquest, which will start on Friday afternoon (Philippine time).
GMB and SUP, on the other hand, will wrap up their campaign in 7th/8th place and will bag US$25,000.