With Group A wrapped up, everyone can relax. Our favorite sons of Russia have gone on to the Quarterfinals, and CLG has been knocked out. While this is unfortunate, it's sadly unsurprising.
Winning a game isn't easy. Winning two back-to-back is harder. Winning against someone who's fresh when you've played a 70-minute epic is harder again. This is the one thing that is consistent - the more your emotional and mental state suffer, the more you lose.
I've had the pleasure of following the Wildcard regions for a couple of years now, and the difference between them and NA/EU is unrecognizable.
In Wildcard regions, you work and scrape your money by to try to pay rent and allocate maximum practice time. You probably don't live with your team. You can't scrim with anyone outside your league without traveling because you're physically too far away, and you can't do that because of the aforementioned money situation.
I know multiple players who've literally been kicked out of home by their parents for their decision to become professional gamers.
Stop and truly consider that for a second. This is what competing requires of these people. They sacrifice everything, to get less than half the practice time. No big following on Twitch as a secondary revenue stream, due to the prevailing attitude that Wildcard regions are not worth it. Albus NoX couldn't even get scrims before Worlds, because people didn't think it was worth the time.
Compare and contrast with what we see here. Houses in LA, sponsorship, fame, online followings. It's a lot of work, yes, but it's nowhere near what a Wildcard goes through.
Wildcard players are toughened from the worst possible circumstances. It only stands to reason that the Wildcard players will be mentally stronger, and more resilient against tilting. You can practice perfect kung-fu all you like, but if you’re matched against a football player who does pushups in the snow every morning and carries tree trunks on his shoulders, you’re gonna lose.
The teams that have tilted, sulked, hidden; they have lost, and either snowball heavily in one direction or the other. The teams that are fundamentally emotionally strong, perform consistently, and when they lose, it's not a dumpstering; it's a hard-fought slug-fest.
ANX are stronger than the other teams in this tournament, because you may beat them, but you cannot break them.
That is why I had faith in them, and why you should too.
See you in Playoffs.