5 Players to Watch in the MSI 2018 Play-In Group Stage

With the Play-In stage of MSI 2018 starting today (03/05/18), we take a look at the key players to watch from the wildcard regions who will battle it out for a shot against either LMS’ Flash Wolves or VN’s EVOS Esports for a place in the group stage.

sEiya (Rainbow7 – Mid)

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Qualifying as LLN Champions, Rainbow7 (formerly known as Lyon Gaming) enter the Play-In stage as one of the favourites to make it to groups. Their star in the mid-lane, sEiya, is no stranger to international competition, having competed in both MSI and Worlds in the past.

His team overcame Infinity Esports to win the Latin America North Spring Split, with sEiya’s dramatic back-door taking game 3 during their 3-1 BO5 victory. Performances on Azir and Orianna, coupled with their huge teamfight changing ultimates, in this series will surely lead to bans on these champions over the coming days, as opponents will otherwise risk giving sEiya the chance to single handedly turn team fights in Rainbow7’s favour.

His exceptional mechanical skill and game knowledge has aided Rainbow7 in their dominance of the Latin America North where they have won an astonishing 10 championships.

SnowFlower (BAUSuperMassive eSports – Support)

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Along with fellow Korean GBM (a name familiar to many North American fans), SnowFlower has led SuperMassive to their second successive TCL Winter championship after defeating Royal Bandits in a 3-1 final. Showings on engage-supports Thresh and Morgana won his team first blood in 2 out of their 3 final series wins, only giving away 2 deaths in these 3 matches in the process.

With years of LCK experience under his belt with his time on Afreeca Freecs and Jin Air Green Wings, SnowFlower is a pillar for his team and has had arguably the most practice against high-level opposition out of all of the SuperMassive roster.

Together with GBM, their synergy will likely be a cause for concern for upcoming opponents in this stage of the tournament, and SnowFlower will surely be hoping that this will culminate in a Play-In Knockout shot.

Kira (Gambit Esports – Mid)

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Perhaps the most famous team from the region, Gambit Esports swept RoX 3-0 in the LCL Spring final to book their place in this year’s MSI. Mid-laner Kira will be attending his seventh international tournament, and with that bringing a wealth of experience. He showed up on 3 different champions during the series, Cassiopeia, Ryze and Anivia, all with huge teamfight potential.

He picked up more kills and boasted a higher kill participation than any other mid-laner in the LCL this split, and earned himself the MVP award in the process.

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Kira was also part of the Albus NoX Luna squad that unexpectedly reached the quarter-finals of Worlds 2016, and so he is no stranger to upsetting bigger opponents on the international stage. They took down ROX Tigers, CLG and G2 during groups, and while none of these teams will feature in MSI 2018, Kira will instead look to claim new scalps against the odds.

TitaN (KaBuM! e-Sports – ADC)

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With little competitive experience under his belt, 17-year-old TitaN has taken CBLoL by storm. He picked up both Rookie of the Split and overall MVP in his debut split and has rocketed KaBuM to the Spring CBLoL championship after they gained promotion back to Brazil’s top league at the end of 2017.

He is seen in many ways as the successor of CBLoL legend brTT, describing himself as the veteran’s son, however the team’s impact has not only been noticed in Brazil. He and his team have even garnered attention from China’s top team. While Royal Never Give Up have been bootcamping in Korea, they have all chosen summoner names using the KaBuM tag and have even referenced the Brazilians during matches.

Paz (PENTAGRAM – Top)

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LJL’s PENTAGRAM found themselves up against rivalsΒ DetonatioN FocusMe in the 2018 Spring Split final, and took them down in style with a 3-0 sweep. Paz’s aggressive Rageblade Gnar pick in both games 2 and 3 were a huge problem for DFM, who were unable to come up with an answer to Paz’s splitpush.

Paz only joined PENTAGRAM this season, having played for DFM in 2017, and won his first LJL split in over a year after previously finding success with Rampage (former iteration of PENTAGRAM).

He is undefeated on Gangplank so far this season, boasting an 8-0 record on the champion and this will surely be a pick he will look to take advantage of in the tournament.

You can see the action here, fromΒ 1pm CEST (4am PT).

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