The stage is set for the semifinals of the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational in Busan. After five days of best-of-1s in the Rumble Stage, it's Royal Never Give Up, T1, G2 Esports, and Evil Geniuses with tickets to the playoffs in an all-major region party. RNG finished first place, giving them the advantage of choosing their opponent for the semifinals. Between their available choices of G2 (#3 seed) and EG (#4 seed), RNG picked the NA side, having already beaten them twice in the Rumble Stage.
This means that T1 square off against international rivals G2. Three years ago, at MSI 2019, G2 and T1 (still named SKT back then) met in a five-game nailbiter semifinal which saw G2 come on top to eventually win the tournament. Later that year, at the World Championship semifinals in Madrid, the two teams met once again to the same score. This year, however, G2 and T1 are more evenly matched, exiting the Rumble stage one win apiece in their head-to-head.
MSI 2022 playoffs schedule:
- RNG vs. EG — Friday, May 27, 10 a.m. CEST (1 a.m. PST)
- T1 vs. G2 — Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. CEST (1 a.m. PST)
- Grand Finals — Sunday, May 29, 10 a.m. CEST (1 a.m. PST)
A day of deciders
Although RNG were certainly heading to the semifinals, and Saigon Buffalo were guaranteed eliminated from the tournament, there was still quite a lot on the line on the fifth day of the Rumble Stage, including three playoff tickets for four teams, as well as semifinal seeding.
The options stayed wide open at the start. VCS representatives Saigon Buffalo took revenge on G2 Esports, who had been struggling on days 3 and 4, going 0-4. With coordinated aggression, Saigon Buffalo caught G2 off guard and knocked the Europeans down to a 4-5 score. With that result, T1 were certain of a spot in the semifinals, as they could not be overtaken by all of G2, EG, and PSG Talon together anymore.
EG fought for their spot in the semifinals against PSG Talon directly after and made swift work of it. The young talent of the North American squad popped off for EG and Joseph Joon "jojopyun" Pyun and Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki brought home the victory for their team. With competition slimmed down to just two teams, PSG Talon had to fight for their tournament lives in a match with RNG. Although their initial game had been relatively close, RNG wasted no time in the rematch. They won in a dominant fashion, eliminating PSG Talon from MSI and securing first seed for themselves.
The subsequent game between G2 and EG wouldn't influence who made it to the semis, but still impacted the standings. Should EG win and T1 lose later in their match against RNG, EG and T1 would play a tiebreaker game for second place. However, those hypotheticals remained just that. G2 bounced back from their loss streak and grabbed a win over EG. T1 evened the head-to-head score with RNG, trumping the LPL champions in the rematch.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.