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Welcome to MSI – Day 1 Recap

MSI started off with a bang with six incredibly exciting matches. In case you missed it, here are the day’s highlights.

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DAMWON KIA vs. Cloud9

Riot treated League of Legends fans by opening the Mid-Season Invitational with a showdown between reigning World Champions DAMWON KIA and North America’s Cloud9. The match remained close throughout the early game, with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme getting the better of Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee early. C9 also walked away with some early skirmish wins.

But at the end of the day, DAMWON KIA showcased superior macro play, and with no real engage tools for Cloud9, the game felt determined to go DAMWON’s way. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu’s Morgana jungle consistently got the better of Robert “Blaber” Huang, and despite Cloud9’s performance in the bot lane, by the time DK top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha collected his third kill, the game was already over. 

Gillette Infinity Esports vs. Detonation Focus Me

The champions of Latin America and Japan faced off in the second match of MSI 2021. Representing Japan, Detonation Focus Me jumped out to an early lead thanks to some impressive play from Shunsuke “Evi”  Murase on Akali in the top lane and Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong on Hecarim in the jungle. However, a mid-game spike and pop-off from mid laner Cristian Sebastián “cody” Quispe Yampara broke open the game for Gillette Infinity. 

With a win already under its belt, Gillette Infinity is in a prime position to upset favorite Cloud9 and advance out of Groups. Meanwhile, on the side of DFM, the Japanese representatives now have hard work ahead of them if they wish to advance.

Royal Never Give Up vs. Pentanet.gg

Pentanet’s Fiddlesticks pick was definitely not expected by all of us, but it makes sense considering it is almost impossible for them to beat RNG with a classic draft. RNG played the early game so aggressively to push its opponent for mistakes that it could benefit from. Especially the skill gap between players came one step further, which pretty much decided the winner. Wei’s Rumble got stronger and stronger minute by minute as RNG literally destroyed its opponent. The LPL representative RNG had no troubles closing out the game in 25 minutes and made a strong start to the tournament.

Pentanet.gg vs. Unicorns of Love

This time, Pentanet decided to make a classic pro-scene draft, because the opponent was not RNG; however, Unicorns of Love looked like the best minor region team during Worlds 2020. The CIS team maintained a small lead in the early game thanks to Vladislav “Boss” Fomin’s Gnar performance. UOL did a great job by punishing Jackson “Pabu’” Pavones aggressive moves and turning them into momentum across the map. Pentanet tried its best to compete with its opponent, but the game was unwinnable considering UOL’s lead. Unicorns of Love won the game in 29 minutes. 

Fastpay Wildcats vs. paiN Gaming

The istanbul Wildcats vs. paiN Gaming matchup was filled with peaks and valleys for both teams, but a mid-match upset turned tables, flipped expectations and ended with a win you wouldn’t have seen coming at the start of the match. 

The Wildcats started strong in the early game with a four to two lead in defense towers destroyed and Wildcats top laner Soner “StarScreen” Kaya laying down hell on paiN Gaming’s offense.

But don’t stop hedging your bets yet, because paiN Gaming brought, well, the pain in the final half of the match, making a tight and concise push for the Wildcats’ inhibitors and taking the nexus. Despite the Wildcats’ strong start, paiN Gaming managed to play the long game and pushed past the Wildcats initial lead to secure its first victory at MSI 2021. 

MAD Lions vs. PSG Talons

If the previous match between the Wildcats and paiN was an epic struggle to come out on top then the Lions vs. Talons matchup was an unadulterated massacre. 

The PSG Talons’ emergency substitute in AD Carry Chiu “Doggo”Tzu-Chuan put heat on the bottom lanes, but Doggo’s hot streak was short lived when the Lions’ own Matyáš Carrzy Orság stopped Doggo in his tracks. 

And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the match. Early on, the Lions were able to suck up gold and rack up kills and topple defense towers till they pushed for the inhibitors at the 20-minute mark and secured the nexus, leaving the Talons with next to nothing. 

The matchup ended the first day of our coverage of MSI with an absolutely gut-wrenching defeat for the PSG Talons and the first of what may be several victories for the MAD Lions.

Here are the final standings of Day 1:

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We are looking forward to another high action day of MSI.

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