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LoL Recap: MSI Day 2

Joe Bartel

Joe Bartel is RotoWire's eSports editor and a football contributor. When not at the office, he's probably playing a variety of Gen 4 console games or rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers.

Day 2 of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, kicked off with South Korean representative South Korea Telecom T1 leading the pack with the rest of the field battling for spots in the knockout stage. Here's how the dust settled on the second day of Group Stage play.

The first game of the day, between Team SoloMid and SK Telecom, started with the continued woes of TSM jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen's Kha'Zix, who got caught in SKT's jungle without help early to give SKT (3-0) first blood for star mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok on Orianna (4/0/8 KDA). Small leads for SKT in each lane grew throughout the game as Svenskeren continued to get caught out, thoroughly outclassed by SKT jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho's Lee Sin, who finished the game with a 9/1/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). TSM (1-3) was able to find occasional mid-game picks but it wasn't nearly enough as SKT picked up a Baron kill with minimal resistance from TSM. Holding a nearly 21,000-gold lead, SKT easily took down TSM in dominating fashion.

In the second game of the day, wildcard team GIGABYTE Marines (1-3) began with an unexpected lane swap to hand first blood over to AD carry Nguyễn "Slay" Ngọc Hung's Ashe. After moving back to standard lanes, GAM found picks and skirmish wins to push its gold lead to nearly 6,000 gold at the 20-minute mark. FW crawled back into the game, however, on the back of a triple kill from AD carry Lu "Betty" Yu-Hung as Ezreal, who finished with a KDA of 7/1/9. Flash Wolves (2-2) drew even at the 37-minute mark after punishing over-aggression by GAM with a 4-for-0 teamfight victory around Elder Dragon, allowing FW to push into GAM's base and close out the comeback win.

Standard lanes and similar jungle paths made up most of the early action in Game 3 between European League of Legends Championship Series champion G2 Esports (2-2) and League of Legends Pro League champion Team WE (2-2) as neither team did much outside of farming. G2 found the first real lead of the game after getting two kills on WE overcommitting to a bot lane dive. Despite having a small gold lead, though, G2 was still behind due to having less map control and little pressure coming from the jungle. WE slowly choked out G2 by claiming small victories across the map, eventually taking a gold lead of its own. WE managed to take down Baron near the 23-minute mark and push into the base of G2, and, after WE jungler Xiang "Condi" Ren-Jie's Graves secured a quadra kill en route to a 7/1/3 KDA, WE destroyed G2's Nexus.

The fourth game showcased Flash Wolves edging out the victory against Team SoloMid in a 35-minute bout. Things started off well for the North American representatives as top laner Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell picked up first blood as Fizz. A 1-for-1 trade took place again in the top lane, with FW jungler Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan's Graves picking up the first of what finished as a 7/1/7 KDA, snowballing hard. After 30 minutes of back-and-forth trades and neither team finding a substantial lead, a late game teamfight turned the tides in favor of FW. Flash Wolves recovered from its early deficit through strong macro play, although it wasn't hard considering TSM repeatedly showed poor decision making in another performance that had the community buzzing, taking a Baron kill and pushing into the defeated TSM's base for the win.

GIGABYTE Marines started off the fifth game of the day with yet another lane swap, but G2 Esports reacted much better than Flash Wolves did earlier. Still, GAM had everything going its way in the mid game except for the mid lane matchup, due to G2 mid laner Luka "PerkZ" Perković playing extremely well as Fizz. Despite the early lead GAM eventually fell behind after trying to push further ahead time and time again, allowing G2 to claw back into the game. At the 38-minute mark, G2 took down Baron, rotated to Elder Dragon, and took full control of the game, thanks to a monstrous performance from Perkz. Finishing with a 9/4/6 KDA, Perkz led G2 to a much-needed win in a comeback victory.

The final game between Team WE and SKT started somewhat quietly, but it didn't stay that way for long as Team WE looked to force fights early. With SKT's defensive draft, with jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho on Ivern and AD carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik on Twitch, the defending MSI champions was forced to play on the backfoot early. WE slowly built leads by smothering the bottom lane, and amassing a 2,000-gold lead at 20 minutes. The game flipped on its head, though after Peanut made a miraculous Baron steal from under WE's fingers to give his team the lead. After heavy split-pushing, SKT methodically knocked down tower after tower to march into WE's base, closing out the game and remaining undefeated in Group Stage play.