MSI Day Two: Marines Take Command of Group B

The Vietnamese team tops the table with a dominant performance

by Andrew Salazar, League of Legends Correspondent

The 2017 Mid-Season Invitational Play-In Stage continued on Saturday as the Group B teams took the stage for the first time.  The GIGABYTE Marines looked confident and focused in all three of their group stage victories and ended the day in first place.  Lyon Gaming also surprised fans with dominating victories, ending the day just behind the Marines. never looked truly outclassed but just couldn’t come up with the wins when it counted, while Isurus Gaming was outmatched in all three of their losses.

Group B Standings

GIGABYTE Marines (SEA) 3-0
Lyon Gaming (LAN) 2-1
Virtus.Pro (CIS) 1-2
Isurus Gaming (LAS) 0-3

Game One – vs. Lyon Gaming

The contest between LCL champion and LLN Opening Cup Winner Lyon Gaming turned out to be one of the closest matches of the day.  During every stage of the game, it seemed the two teams were tied in kills.  Even the epic monsters were even trades: when Lyon Gaming secured Baron Nashor, VP secured the Elder Dragon.  It took a nail-biting teleport play by Lyon Gaming’s Ali “Seiya” Bracamontes to backdoor the VP nexus to end the 45-minute game and give Lyon the win.

Game Two – GIGABYTE Marines vs. Isurus Gaming

Early on, it looked like LCL champion GIGABYTE Marines was going to run away with this one.  Tran “Optimus” Van Cuong roamed early and often, getting his team to an early 6-2 kill lead and looking in complete control of the rift.  LAS champion Isurus Gaming responded by finding Marine members in sloppy positions and evened the kill score up 9-9 at the 15-minute mark.

As the match continued, Optimus’s Zilean denied Isurus kills, and the game ultimately was broken open by an impressive teleport play by Marine top-laner Phan “Stark” Cong Minh.  He decimated the Isurus squad for a triple-kill, and Isurus was never able to recover.  The Marines used their 9k gold lead to flood the Isurus base and start the day with a win.

Game Three – vs Isurus Gaming

It was a rough start for VP, as Isurus outplayed the team repeatedly in the early game and jumped to a 6-1 lead after just 11 minutes.  VP then tied up the kills thanks to some sloppy play from Isurus, and even managed to take a 2k gold lead in the process.  After a desperate Baron steal attempt by Isurus failed, VP used the Baron Nashor buff to storm the Isurus base, taking the victory.

Game Four – GIGABYTE Marines vs. Lyon Gaming

The two remaining undefeated teams in the group began the fourth game of the day very conservatively.  Neither team recorded a single kill until the 13-minute mark where Lyon’s jungler Sebastian “Oddie” Nino punished a dragon steal attempt by Marines jungler Do “Levi” Duy Khanh.  The teams continued to fight often, but kills were rarely found.  With the two teams even 7-7 at the 45-minute mark, the Marines massively outplayed Lyon in a 5-on-5 teamfight near the Baron pit to take three kills while losing none.  With the first real advantage of the game, the Marines quickly moved to the Lyon nexus and moved into first with a 2-0 record.

Game 5 – Lyon Gaming vs. Isurus Gaming

Every player on the Lyon roster played their position with confidence this time around, including an eye-popping performance by Seiya’s Ahri.  A 15-minute 7-0 lead by Lyon ballooned into an 18-3 lead at the 27-minute mark.  Every playmaking attempt by Isurus seemed to get turned around, and they could never find a foothold this game.  With this impressive performance, Lyon would bounce back from the loss against the Marines and end the day 2-1.

Lyon Gaming huddles after a victory

Game Six – GIGABYTE Marines vs. Virtus.Pro

The final match of the day was the most exciting match of the tournament so far.  Both teams were active around the map, each making decisive engages as they roamed to side lanes, but neither could edge out any sort of advantage until midway through the game.

With the gold and kills dead-even at the 21-minute mark, a 5-man VP squad surrounded three hapless Marines to gain the first real advantage.  Despite the danger, Marines looked for decisive calls to turn the game back in their favor.  A move by the team to take Baron Nashor pressured VP into a steal attempt, and Marines strolled away with four kills as well as the Baron Nashor buff.  The gold was even, but the momentum shifted, and VP seemed to be on the back foot.  The Marines began to apply pressure with Baron-empowered minions to VP’s bottom lane inhibitor, and VP responded with poor plays into the Marine squad.

The Marines took down VP ended the day in first place with a 3-0 record.

Day Three of the 2017 MSI Play-In Stage continues on Sunday with a return to Group A matches at 3:00pm BRT.

Photos courtesy of Riot Games.

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