Despite a difficult series, Team SoloMid won the first match of the Best of Five section of the MSI Play-In Stage against GIGABYTE Marines qualifying for the Group Stage of the Mid-Season invitational.
The GIGABYTE Marines will play on Saturday against the loser of Friday’s series between Flash Wolves and Supermassive. The winner Saturday’s match will advance to the MSI Group Stage.
The series started with a shock as Team SoloMid went down early to Marines. The standout of the first game was Marines’ jungler Levi who’s creative pathing proved too much for Svenskeren to keep up with. A botched invade lead to an unstoppable snowball that Marines efficiently built upon winding up with a commanding win.
Game two went similarly to the first with Marines taking a midgame lead thanks to Levi and once again using it to fantastic advantage.
In Game three TSM started to show signs of life bouncing back from two bad games with a nearly perfect win losing no towers and only giving away three kills thanks in part to Svenskeren’s signature Lee Sin.
The fourth game in the series was the closest up to that point as both teams started the game safely which kept the game close until the 20 minute mark when Marines started taking more chances. One of these chances looked a little too good for them and they attempted to go for the win, losing a fight inside TSM’s base at 25 minutes giving TSM just enough space to grab Baron and push for the win evening up the series.
The fifth game of the series saw both teams playing an intensely measured style and reticent to take unnecessary risks. Heading into the midgame Team SoloMid started to find an advantage pushing in turrets all over the map. However, this was quickly countered by Marines who started forcing fights that they came out on top of over and over again, ultimately keeping the gold lead incredibly close. Finally, Team SoloMid began to take a firm lead thanks to a Baron buff that helped them push down the Marines’ base and finish the series.
6:38 pm ET — A Baron buff empowered push allows TSM to make their first progress into the Marines’ base as they finish off two inhibitors before backing off.
6:30 pm ET — A close fight at Baron, that could have decided the game, instead ends in a 2 for 2 trade and both teams backing off without any advantages. However, after both teams respawn Marines quickly grab the Elder Dragon with no hesitation taking it before TSM could respond.
6:19 pm ET — Almost 30 minutes in and the game is almost even with TSM having a slight lead in towers 5-3 and Marines leading 10-8 in kills.
6:02 pm ET — It has become very clear that both teams feel exactly how close they are to MSI and are taking things a whole lot slower than they have in previous games. 11 minutes in and we don’t have a single kill and the gold is almost even.
5:53 pm ET — Pick and Ban Game 5
TSM is going to have a much higher utility potential to support a lower damage composition, however, they are going to have to have strong team fight mechanics against the high damage, and slightly tankier, GAM composition.
TSM: Renekton, Ivern, Syndra, Ezreal, Karma
Bans: Ziggs, Kennen, Leblanc, Ashe, Nami
GAM: Rumble, Graves, Fizz, Varus, Gragas
Bans: Shen, Lulu, Nautilus, Caitlyn, Lucian
5:30 pm ET — In what looked like it could be the series ending win for Marines, TSM manage a comeback to force a Game 5.
5:28 pm ET — TSM nearly lose their base but a strong counter engage with GAM on their Nexus turrets gives TSM a good fight and a strong 4 k gold lead in the game.
5:24 pm ET — TSM take 5 kills across a long team fight but lose two towers along the way keeping gold even.
5:17 pm ET — At 17 minutes the game is dead even despite Marines having a lead in kills (6-3), and the teams are even on towers (3-3).
5:06 pm ET — Marines grab first blood on Bjergsen with a text book midlane gank started with a Fizz ultimate. Otherwise, this is far and away the quietest early game we have seen so far this series.
5:00 pm ET — Pick and Ban Game 4
TSM is picking back into a heavy team fight composition with little to no actual pick power, while Marines are going to be going hard for picks, but can manage team fights as well if need be. TSM will scale slightly better as well, but the midgame spike from GAM will be incredibly strong.
TSM: Nautilus, Lee Sin, Orianna, Caitlyn, Karma
Bans: Ziggs, Kennen, Leblanc, Zyra, Syndra
GAM: Gragas, Graves, Fizz, Ashe, Nami
Bans: Shen, Ivern, Lulu, Varus, Ezreal
4:40 pm ET — TSM are really trying to prove a point here as they end up winning an almost perfect game losing no towers and finishing with a 15k gold lead.
4:23 pm ET — A real composition seems to be making all the difference for TSM as they are suddenly playing much better than in the first two series controlling the map and game pace. With a 5k gold advantage at 10 minutes TSM are in the lead by a meaningful amount for the first time in the series so far.
4:14 pm ET — Pick and Ban Game 3
Team SoloMid finally have selected a team composition that actually makes sense, fits their play style and has damage so that’s good news for North America. Marines on the other hand are picking up the TSM mantle from the first 2 games by picking a comp that isn’t exactly high damage and is going to have to heavily rely on pick and utility champions.
TSM: Gragas, Lee Sin, Syndra, Ezreal, Karma
Bans: Kennen, Ziggs, Leblanc, Rumble, Fizz
GAM: Renekton, Graves, Zilian, Ashe, Sona
Bans: Shen, Ivern, Lulu, Varus, Lucian
3:51 pm ET — That whole slowing the game down thing didn’t work at all. TSM get engaged on and an incredibly well played teamfight gives them the win in the fight and the win in the game.
3:48 pm ET — TSM are working hard on slowing the game down as Marines continue to attempt to keep thing quick after winning a few fights in a row and pulling out to a 7k gold lead.
Marines ability to keep the game pace high while also methodically expanding on a lead is incredibly impressive.
3:40 pm ET — Levi is playing an absolutely incredible series right now. His Kha’Zix has managed a 6/3/5 scoreline at 20 minutes in Game 2 and combined with the incredible pushing power of Ziggs GAM has managed to pull out to a slight 500 gold lead.
3:35 pm ET — Continuing the style from Game 1 this series continues to be played at a breakneck pace. The difference this time? It’s TSM in the lead at 13 minutes with a 3k gold lead and a 8-7 lead in kills and up 1-0 in towers.
3:20 pm ET — Pick and Ban Game 2
Well, this is interesting. Marines picked Zed, and wow does that composition have damage! Team SoloMid on the other hand have almost none. Maybe some sustained damage from Ashe, but TSM will basically be hanging their hat on Bjergsen’s Syndra damage to make the midgame work here.
GAM: Gragas, Kha’Zix, Zed, Ziggs, Karma
Bans: Lulu, Shen, Ivern, Thresh, Nami
TSM: Nautilus, Lee Sin, Syndra, Ashe, Braum
Bans: Kennen, Graves, Rumble, Leblanc, Fizz
2:58 pm ET — Marines take a huge win in game 1! Levi looked absolutely incredible out playing Svenskeren completely.
2:47 pm ET — It’s pretty hard to image this game going worse for Team SoloMid. They are down 15-8 in kills 4-2 in towers and have an almost 5k gold deficit. The pick/burst combo for Marines has been a perfect response to TSM’s tendency to get caught out in the midgame.
2:36 pm ET — 12 minutes in and TSM are on the come back grabbing a kill bottom lane and mid, but they are still down 1k gold and 5-3 on kills. GAM are keeping the game high tempo and forcing fights often, keeping TSM on their back foot.
2:30 pm ET — TSM meet with a bad start as they try to establish their dominance with a raptor camp invade that gets turned around giving GAM first blood.
2:24 pm ET — Picks and Bans Game 1
TSM drafting a pretty classic TSM composition here. Its got strong pick potential and will focus on breaking a team fight into manageable pieces. GAM on the other hand is going to have a little more mix to their comp. They have strong wave clear and are going to be able to blow up almost any TSM member very quickly.
TSM: Rumble, Graves, Jayce, Ashe, Zyra
Bans: Kennen, Elise, Lee Sin, Leblanc, Caitlyn
GAM: Gragas, Kha’Zix, Syndra, Ziggs, Karma
Bans: Lulu, Shen, Nautilus, Thresh, Nami
The second round of the Mid-Season Invitational Play-In stage begins Wednesday with the North American Champions, Team SoloMid taking on Vietnam’s GIGABYTE Marines. The series will be a Best of Five with the winner moving onto the Group Stage of MSI.
For all the information about what’s to come and what’s already gone down, check out our MSI hub here.
GIGABYTE Marines enter this series after flying through the group stage. The team finished at the top of Group B with a 5-1 record, only dropping their final game after they had already qualified for the next round. The team anchored their play throughout the group stage from the combination play of their jungler, Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh and midlaner, Trần ”Optimus” Văn Cường.
As for Team SoloMid, they will come into this series just a week and a half after their win against rival, Cloud9 in the NA LCS finals. While they performed well in the finals, it also took place on a different patch, giving TSM little time to adjust to the new MSI meta before their series here.
The most interesting of the lane match ups between these two teams is going to be the Midlane. Both teams have star midlaners and while TSM midlaner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg has been known for his impressively deep champion pool, Optimus went through the entire Play-In group stage without playing the same champion twice and still managed to get the second most kills of any player.
- Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
- Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnson
- Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
- Jason “Wildturtle” Tran
- Vincent “Biofrost” Wang
- Phan ”Stark” Công Minh
- Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh
- Trần ”Optimus” Văn Cường
- Nguyễn “Slay” Ngọc Hùng
- Trần “Archie” Minh Nhựt