Melany M. May 6, 2019
Team Liquid qualified for the Mid-Season Invitational’s main event after a scrappy win against local representative Phong Vũ Buffalo.
TL is moving to the next phase at MSI, as the North American team took down PVB in three straight games. It wasn’t necessarily easy for TL as PVB put the LCS champions in some difficult situations, but Liquid was rarely threatened past the early game. The Vietnam representatives failed to execute at critical points in the series and couldn’t snowball any kind of advantage.
In game one, PVB focused in the bottom lane trying to neutralize Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. This strategy has worked for other teams in the past, but it wasn’t the case for PVB. The bot duo swapped lanes early, desperate to end the laning phase as quickly as possible.
At 17 minutes, PVB aced TL around the dragon pit. This feat wouldn’t add up to much since TL took some kills of their own and had scaling in its favor. 31 minutes into the match, TL secured three kills while the two teams were contesting baron vision. That was enough for TL to take game one.
Game two started with aggressive trades in every lane. PVB continued their trademark aggressive approach, but this time TL was ready to punish early.
On PVB’s side, jungler Hoàng "Meliodas" Tiến Nhật made the difference. He was ready to assist his teammates and respond to any aggression from TL. On TL’s side, top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong on Gangplank stood out with some great plays.
This bloody game finished after just 25 minutes thanks to Impact and his ability to scale despite what was a difficult early game.
TL kept the momentum going in the third set, as mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen on Akali started the game with a double kill. PVB hit back and seemed to threaten TL on multiple occasions, but the Vietnamese squad’s occasional success in skirmishes wasn’t enough.
The game would end after a fight around the baron pit where TL killed 4 PVB members and marched into the base for the win.
While Phong Vũ Buffalo did acquit itself well in lane and in some fights, the team was never able to translate this into a real opportunity to win a game, taking only four total towers across the three-game series.
TL is moving to the next stage where they will go against SK Telecom T1, G2 Esports, and Invictus Gaming. PVB has one more chance to make it to the main event in the lower bracket.