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90-50-10: Can PSG and MAD reach the MSI finals?


As the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational knockout stage games loom, four teams have found themselves vying for a title. For some, a deep run is almost a foregone conclusion; DWG KIA and Royal Never Give Up ranked ahead of the pack. But do not be misled: MAD Lions and PSG Talon are not pushovers.

With that said, we are listing three events with varying chances of happening:

90%: DK awaken, win MSI title despite scheduling issues

DWG KIA have had half-and-half showings—half full due to their Rumble stage dominance against Royal Never Give Up, half empty as their losses to Cloud9 and PSG Talon stand out.

For a team with elite players across the board, their team play when exposed to the unexpected was surprisingly tame. Perhaps it has to do with best-of-1s and the amount of cheese strategies DK faced, a completely different ballgame to the planning-filled best-of-5s where head coach KkOma has historically shined (bar that one time G2 Esports threw caution to the wind in all five games in the 2019 MSI semifinals).

Either way, DK are at their strongest in bo5s, and not even a scheduling issue will prevent them from winning two bo5s back-to-back – unless their opponent turns out to transcend their level of play throughout the tournament.

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50%: PSG qualifies to the MSI finals

PSG Talon are different from what they used to be in the early group stage. Over the course of the tournament, they became more decisive in their game plans and team fight engages, sharper in their execution as they weathered defeats in scrims and on stage, and a lot more confident in their abilities.

It all stems from their newfound identity as a strong early-game team, one that will set themselves to bludgeon opponents from minute one onward, without relenting around enemy jungle camps (with River invading almost 24/7 upon securing advantages over his jungle opponent).

River’s pressure around the map has resulted in smoother laning phases for Maple—who is experiencing a rebirth of sorts upon returning to the PCS—and to everyone else, leaving them in control of their games’ outcomes for better or worse. In a bo5 setting, they have many opportunities to make it right and ‘upset’ the otherwise strong Royal Never Give Up.

Source: Riot Games

10%: PSG Talon and MAD Lions face off in the finals

There is a world where MAD Lions overcome DK somehow, and where PSG’s 50% chance of silencing RNG kicks in. But that would mean that the finals would be full of fireworks: after all, the most reliable way for MAD Lions to smash DK would be to turn into a slightly better PSG Talon—one with loads of surprising flex picks to add on top of early-game aggression.

In such a world, the finals would be more akin to a bloodbath as both teams target early-game weaknesses left and right—unless it turns into a chess-like gambit roulette where teams trade bans and guarantee slow-paced games, which would be more to MAD’s advantage. Either way, such an occurrence would be a significant milestone for the European team, particularly as it more than likely would be on the back of jungler Elyoya's work and progression throughout the tournament.

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