After days of struggle and fan criticism, the 2022 MSI group stage reached its conclusion. From ping issues to useless games and a lot of differences in level between the teams, the first round of the tournament will be remembered for its clown fiesta, and Riot is to blame here.
Despite knowing about the shortcomings of last year's format, Riot repeated the same steps and stumbled again. At least, one hopes that changes will occur after 2022’s mess.
Enough about the “unfortunate” events of the tournament; let's talk about the real deal: the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational Rumble Stage, through the eyes of its protagonists.
Macro Gods T1
Source: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
If you are still looking to bet, you should just all in on T1. The team looks unbeatable as of now, although they haven’t played against the stronger teams yet. Their movement on the map and their effectiveness is unrivalled; other teams might stand a chance before the mid game, but it's GGWP after that.
T1's dominance is so absurd that even their rookie top laner, Zeus, might be the best top laner of the tournament so far. As the support position, let's not talk about the gigantic gap between Keria and everyone else.
Mr. Winstreak – G2 Esports.
Source: Lee Aiksoon/Riot Games
23: this number is how many games have passed since G2 dropped a game. Beyond their insane synergy, their levels of fun while playing the game have reached contagious levels as it spills over to viewers at large.
Claps looks like a different beast since he lost to Fnatic in the 2022 LEC spring playoff upper bracket. Indeed, it is as if he turned the clock back to 2019. Who knows, he might even surpass his peak after an unfortunate 2021 season.
Impressively, G2's botlane developed fast and is better than European fans anticipated—even through optimistic eyes. Flakked and Targamas have grown tremendously in terms of confidence and gameplay, and they have transformed their bot lane from early-season liability to one of the safest lanes on the lineup.
The classy Royal Never Give Up
Source: RNG/Riot Games
Royal Never Give Up have experienced many problems at MSI, but they are dominating without breaking a sweat. With an unofficial score of 9-0, they have more practice than any Rumble team—even if it was not in the best circumstances.
RNG are the defending champions, and they came to defend the belt. Their one-sided stomps over Group B have built anticipation ahead of the Rumble stage. During the games, Bin proved that he was an amazing addition to a much stronger team than the 2021 lineup that won MSI.
RNG are also famously known for their better performance level during the Spring split; and we might be proven right, especially if they take down the favorites, T1.
Source"Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Saigon Buffalo are one of the most pleasant surprises of MSI. They are unafraid, and their games show it clearly, even—especially—against T1 in the opening game of the tournament.
This team can reach the semifinals, especially as PSG Talon and Evil Geniuses struggle. They will certainly take the fight to them, with a lot of VCS-style aggression to boot.
Saigon Buffalo can be considered as the dark horse for the competition. Despite all players being rookies to the international stage, performance doesn't seem to be problematic.
Vietnam has always been a region with a potential to upset the top dogs. Just in case folks have forgotten: there is a good reason for Vietnam possessing two slots at Worlds, and Buffalo is here to remind us all.
The unpredictable PSG Talon
International success will require more than hard work to manifest for PSG Esports. Gone are the days of the Maple-River bus ride to the MSI semifinals: their departures have weakened the lineup.
After their PCS dominance was threatened, PSG Talon somehow made it to the MSI Rumble stage, but they limped on their way. However, their resourcefulness makes them unpredictable for all Rumble teams.
Although they played well against RNG, the team also struggled against the lower-seeded teams—particularly the CBLoL’s RED Canids. To beat the bigger teams like T1, G2 and RNG, they will have to step up their game.
The Rookie - Evil Geniuses
Source: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Before the start of the tournament, it was a well-known fact that EG might underperform at the first stage. Not because they are bad, but because they are inexperienced.
Despite winning the LCS, EG came to MSI with two rookies (Jojopuyn & Danny ) and a jungler, who is also new to the international scene. The games against G2 Esports were a struggle, as the difference in level was noticeable, but the foundation was there. Losing is improving and this has to be the motto of EG if they want to move forward.
The realistic goal for the team should be the fourth place, which would still qualify them for the Knockout stage of MSI. After that, they will have to play bo5's and we all know that anything is possible in a bo5. The task will be hard, but not impossible.