At this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, things couldn’t have started off worse for North American representative, Team Liquid. Across the first two days of the tournament, TL didn’t manage a single win. But even with their 0-4 start, playoffs still aren’t out of reach for the NA LCS champions.
The most important thing to know about TL’s current playoff situation is that the team’s fate isn’t in its hands. In other words, Liquid is going to need a little bit of luck to get through. It should go without saying that one of the most important parts of TL being able to advance is that they have to win both of the remaining two games, against Flash Wolves and Royal Never Give Up. This isn’t too absurd a thought. TL has already beaten RNG once this tournament and the Flash Wolves haven’t been quite as strong looking in the second half of the group stages. If Liquid manage to win both of these matches, then they will end the group stage at 5-5.
The only other team that has a realistic chance to end the group stage with a similar record is the EU LCS Champion, Fnatic. Here’s where TL are going to need some help. Fnatic is currently sitting at a record of 4-4. In order to advance, Team Liquid need Fnatic to end with a 5-5 record or worse. Once again, the odds don’t seem too bad. Fnatic has to play KING-ZONE DragonX, who have faltered slightly but still look great, and EVOS Esports, a team with only one win so far. So, that’s one game we can count as a loss pretty safely and one we can count as a win, which gets Fnatic to TL’s magic 5-5 number. But, what happens then? A tiebreaker.
Normally, two teams with the same record would simply be decided by which team won more of the matches when the two went head to head, but in this case, both teams have one win in the series. So, we get an NA vs EU tiebreaker to decide which team moves on to the playoffs of MSI 2018 and which team gets sent home a little early.
No matter what happens during the final day of MSI’s group stage, it would be hard to argue with the results for Team Liquid. If they go through to the playoffs, it will be thanks to their miraculous turnaround in the second half of the group stage and a little bit of good fortune. If they don’t make it through, they will have had a strong second half, but the cost of losing the first four games of the tournament will have been a little too high. Either way, North America and Europe with both be eagerly watching the final day of the group stage to see which region advances.