With the last day of the Rumble Stage, the four teams that have qualified for the Knockout Stage have been decided: RNG, T1, G2 and EG will face off for the MSI 2022 trophy.
G2 continue their slump
EU fans were nervous after the first game of the day, as the Saigon Buffalo were able to dispatch G2 in another surprising upset. G2 locked in Anivia for caPs in an endeavour to recreate some of their Group Stage magic, but the pick was outclassed by the hard CC and roam potential of Galio and an oppressive Gwen jungle.
This put G2 in a very precarious position - they were on a 5 game losing streak, and under threat of having their Knockout Stage spot taken by EG or PSG. Thankfully, they were saved by the Evil Geniuses, who decimated PSG with an unexpected yet aggressive Samira pick for Danny:
Although PSG had the chance to qualify if G2 lost their next game against EG, they had to take down the best performing team at the tournament to do so. The weight of this task proved too much for PSG, as they were obliterated by RNG who won with a 14k gold lead in 24 minutes. G2 were also able to bounce back in their match against EG, and ended up going 6-0 against the LCS squad across the Group and Rumble stages.
The Knockout Stage
Fans rejoiced as the Rumble Stage drew to a close, as it meant the end of the 66 best-of-one games and the prospect of some juicy best-of-fives on the horizon. With RNG qualifying in first place with a 8-2 scoreline, they could select whether they wanted to face G2 or EG in the semi-final. They selected EG, meaning T1 will face off against G2.
EG are undoubtedly the underdogs: RNG have looked ferocious, and though EG have had moments of brilliance including taking down T1, they have struggled against the other major region teams. Nevertheless, this isn’t the first time an LCS team is heading into an MSI semi-final as the underdogs against an LPL squad; can EG channel some 2019 TL magic?
Meanwhile, the other semi-final is a lot less predictable. G2 started off the tournament as the clear favourites by taking down T1 and RNG, but their 5-game slump means they scraped through to the Knockout Stage. Although T1 have looked fantastic, they haven’t quite reached the high expectations they entered the tournament with after their sublime undefeated split in the LCK. Moreover, their obsession with flipping Barons is a clear point of weakness.
Despite G2’s recent form, they are not to be underestimated in a best-of-five series. Time and time again, G2 has proven to be a different behemoth in a best-of series with their mental fortitude and versatility in draft. Additionally, they crushed the LEC playoffs, losing only one series to FNC in the first round. Whatever happens, this matchup will be a spicy one.
This highlight play comes off of the Rift for once, as Faker stayed on stage to applaud the Saigon Buffalo following their final game of the tournament:
The Saigon Buffalo had a great showing at the tournament, including a fantastic victory over G2, and received deserved praise from the greatest player of all time. This was a great display of sportsmanship, and a reminder of how lucky the League community is to have such a talented yet respectful player as the ambassador for our sport.
Although the outcome of the Rumble Stage wasn’t particularly surprising -- with 4 major regions advancing -- how we reached this outcome certainly was. With finals being played this weekend, stay tuned to find out who will take the 2022 MSI crown.