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In the second 2022 Mid-Season Invitational semifinal Saturday, League of Legends Champions Korea representative T1 dismantled League European Championship representative G2 in three quick games to boost themselves to the MSI 2022 finals where they will go up against the reigning champions from the League of Legends Pro League, Royal Never Give Up.
The three games were ugly for G2, which continued a trend that G2 have picked up while at MSI. The team was 1-5 in their last six games heading into this best-of-five despite G2’s hot start to MSI. They are now 1-8 in their last nine.
In front of the home crowd in Busan, South Korea, T1 delivered a show, although it was one that was awfully short.
Game 1 saw T1’s legendary mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok locked in Tristana, a pick that is not very common in the mid-lane in the current meta.
In just 24 minutes, T1 were able to clean up 11 towers to G2’s none, every dragon and Rift Herald went to T1 and so did the Nexus. Despite an oddly close kill count of 13 to 7 in favor of T1, the South Koreans seemed to always be in control.
Game 2 was a little bit more competitive, but not by much. G2 held off T1 until the 32-minute mark and contested objectives, but Faker was once again a monster on one of his most famous picks, LeBlanc. With an 8/3/5 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) line, the mid laner and T1 easily picked up the Game 2 win putting them at match point.
And then Game 3 happened. In one of the fastest games at MSI 2022, T1 looked like they were playing a different game than G2. Faker once again showed his dominance over G2 mid laner Rasmus “caPs” Winther, this time on Akali, in a 20-minute victory. Despite the short timer, T1 had a 15K gold lead by the time G2’s Nexus exploded. T1 locked up the series in just over an hour of total game time, giving them their first MSI finals berth in five years.
G2’s run at MSI 2022 has been an anomaly. The team carried a massive win streak heading into the tournament. And to kick off the Rumble stage, the team started off 4-0, including wins over both of the MSI 2022 finalists.
But after the 24-game win streak, the team suddenly collapsed.
G2 even suffered losses in three of the four wild card region games they played. In fact, the only win they have had in the last week was against North America’s Evil Geniuses in their last match before the Rumble stage. CaPs pointed at the team’s early game struggles as the biggest takeaway from the event.
“I feel like if we had better early games against the top teams, we could have showed some things that we were doing in Europe,” caPs said. “If we can clean that up, we will see a much different team at Worlds 2022.”
G2’s head coach Dylan Falco reiterated the importance of the early game.
“I think back in Europe we were able to get away with strategies and drafts that lost harder in the early game,” Falco said. “Here at MSI, all the top teams were able to punish that really well.”
G2 now head back to Europe looking to focus on the lessons they learned in order to come back to the international stage at Worlds 2022 with the hopes of looking even better than their first-half MSI 2022 run.
T1’s performance at MSI 2022 has not been as expected heading into this semifinal match. With the team pulling off the first-ever perfect season in the LCK, T1 were expected to continue their massive win streak, not G2.
After a lackluster Rumble stage that saw them drop games to RNG, G2 and even EG, T1 were a far cry of their 2022 LCK spring champions selves. But with this 3-0 victory, T1 looks like they have recaptured their form.
Both RNG and T1 hold the record of two MSI championships. One of these two teams will become the first franchise with three. T1’s head coach Choi “Polt” Seong-hun is confident about his team’s chances.
“I would have said 3-0 but since we lost the coin toss (for side selection), so I will say 3-1,” Polt said.
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.