Ahead of Worlds 2020, PSG Talon had multiple visa issues requiring them to start three substitute players with just two weeks before their Play-In Stage games. The main roster is set to join the team for the Group Stage, but to get there, Talon would need to qualify through the Play-In Stage with only 40% of their original roster, seemingly making them underdogs against much of their competition.
However, not enough credit was given to PSG's replacements, Hsiao "Kongyue" Jen-Tso and Chen "Uniboy" Chang-Chu on loan from ahq eSports Club, and Chen "Dee" Chun-Dee, a coach for Machi Esports.
Dee was a pro player previously, playing in the Elite Challenger Series through 2019 and becoming a coach halfway through the 2020 season. And while he performed well for PSG, he wasn't the star of the show. Kongyue and Uniboy absolutely took over each of the two games they played, finishing with a 31 KDA each (but Uniboy is still yet to die while Kongyue holds one death).
In their first game against Rainbow7, Kongyue locked in his power pick, Ekko, and dealt nearly a third of his team's damage over the course of the game. He hasn't lost on the champion yet this year, playing it for the fifth time here at Worlds. In Game 2, PSG faced LGD, pitting Kongyue against the legendary jungler, Han "Peanut" Wang-ho. After an incredibly slow early game, Kongyue and the crew turned things around and took the game from even to over in a rapid pace. Though PSG lost both Heralds and a drake, Kongyue stayed ahead on farm and kept pace with Peanut, and secured the most important objective for his team, the enemy Nexus.
Uniboy flexed Sett to mid lane in their first game, yet remained deathless despite being some of the team's main engage. Against LGD, he wielded Orianna and took on a bit more of a carry role, hitting some key shockwaves that helped secure teamfight wins in the mid to late game, dealing just over a third of the team's damage.
Leading up to the games, the narrative around the team was one of an unfortunate underdog situation, where it was expected that they'd perform worse due to late substitutions across two different teams. However, at least for mid and jungle, the substitutions could be argued as a direct upgrade over the original roster's players.
Kongyue tied for first (along with original PSG mid laner, Park "Tank" Dan-won) in the most MVP performances from the regular season games, and Uniboy was right behind them at 5th. Furthermore, PSG's replaced players are both Korean which could complicate communication, whereas Kongyue and Uniboy speak Chinese, which is crucial for them to slot into the team so smoothly on such short notice.
The team seemed to have incredible synergy despite just getting together, and it's likely in part due to their ability to communicate effectively. It's important to honor Tank, who had the highest kill participation in the PCS this summer, so he obviously communicated and worked well with his team, but the remaining PSG pieces did so effectively with the subs as well. Additionally, the meta favors a strong mid-jungle duo, and Kongyue and Uniboy hail from the same org, meaning the synergy in the most important pieces is strong.
LPL caster, Jake "Hysterics" Osypenko tweeted out his praise and recognition for the players and determined they deserved to be more well respected.
Hysterics followed up on his tweet in a conversation with Inven Global reporter, Parkes Ousley, stating, "While I'm surprised at how amazing PSG Talon looked, it's disingenuous to say teams got beaten by a weakened roster when that was never going to be close to the case. Different is fair —weakened is not." He explained that the perceived value of the players before the tournament was incorrect, and people - admittedly including himself - put too much emphasis on the lack of synergy and did not give the replacements due credit.
PSG arguably looks like the strongest team in the Play-Ins so far, and they've done it with members across three separate rosters with only two weeks of practice together. Team Liquid had a somewhat solid performance against MAD Lions, but were also pretty heavily carried by an unstoppable Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong. Otherwise, the rest of the teams came to fight, but will need to polish off some rust before the end of the weekend or else they'll find their trip to Shanghai cut short and they'll have spent more time in the quarantine than in Worlds itself.
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