North America didn’t quite get the start to the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational fans were hoping for as Team Liquid falls to LCK champions and tournament favorites, KING-ZONE DragonX, in the first match on Friday.
The match went on for just over 30 minutes, and was significantly closer than many might have expected, given KING-ZONE’s dominance over the LCK during the Spring Split. Team Liquid took an early upper hand in the match, gaining first blood, then executing a well-coordinated dive in the bottom lane. However, when Liquid attempted to get both the bottom tower and the dragon as a reward for the dive, KING-ZONE was ready to punish TL’s greed and quickly shut down both plays.
Despite not gaining the advantage of either map objective, Liquid weren’t out of the match yet, continuing to match KZ’s map movements and keep a good handle on the Korean team’s high pressure style. In the end, however, KING-ZONE ADC Kim “PraY” Jongin’s Ezreal proved to be a little more than TL could handle, with constant poke on the North American side that helped allow KZ to take turrets at will.
Though North America’s MSI run started with a loss this year, it’s not quite time for the region to despair. Team Liquid will be able to trace this loss back to one or two very specific decisions that could easily be improved for next match. Meanwhile, this match provided the perfect opportunity for KING-ZONE to shake off its early tournament jitters, while still securing a win.
Team Liquid will face off against EVOS Esports later on in day one, at 9 a.m. ET. Following that match, KING-ZONE will play its second match of the day up against LPL powerhouse Royal Never Give Up. For a full look at the games for the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational you can check out our schedule.