The Rumble Stage is all over, and we have our top 4 teams that will face each other this weekend for the title! Let’s have a look at how every team did during Rumble…
Overall DWG KIA had a strong Rumble Stage, finishing in 1st place, but their play was far from perfect. They were unable to beat RNG in either of their matches- something that does not bode particularly well for a Finals showdown, as we expect to see. Ghost and BeryL have been very quiet this tournament, with BeryL sometimes being more of a liability than an asset to the team. Khan was also shown to still be very good, but also prone to being beaten in lane by more mechanically gifted Top laners such as Hanabi. He made up for it in the late game, but still. Overall, DWG KIA get a B grade for their Rumble showing. They may be top dogs at the moment, but they are definitely not the invincible superteam that romped to a Worlds title, and they’ll need to sharpen stuff up in these couple of days before facing MAD.
Royal Never Give Up
Similar to DWG KIA, Royal Never Give Up have had a mixed bag in Rumble. They started off incredibly well by taking down DAMWON, and then extending that run for another 3 games before being taken down in convincing fashion by PSG Talon. While this was a very good showing from PSG, fans should be more concerned about the losses to C9 and MAD, who are the weaker two of the remaining teams. RNG seem to be a team of dizzying highs and cavernous lows, and by finishing in 2nd they face PSG Talon in the semis, who could well take them down in a BO5. RNG get a B- for their Rumble showing- those sloppy losses to MAD and C9 have definitely wounded the team, and if they don’t give PSG the respect they deserve, they could well be looking at an early flight back to China.
Another international tournament, another PSG roster playing with subs, and another PSG roster that surprises everyone. The team has upgraded since their Worlds run, bringing in veteran midlaner Maple to the squad. And boy oh boy, what a pickup! Maple has been on a tear this Rumble stage. But to be honest, every member of Talon has stepped up massively, and they’ve turned into points machines. They started off with a loss to DWG KIA and a loss to MAD towards the end of the first round robin, but in their time they also took down MAD in the reverse fixture, did the double over C9 and took a game off of RNG in dominant fashion. PSG have come to play this tournament, and with the DWG KIA and RNG looking a bit shaky, this could be teed up for a surprise PSG Talon win. They get an A for their Rumble performance- nobody expected them to do that well, but they’ve blown it out of the water and become genuine title contenders.
It was a mixed bag for MAD this Rumble stage. In typical MAD style, the highs were intoxicatingly good, and the lows were cripplingly tragic. Wins against the likes of C9, PSG and RNG were equaled out by dual losses to DWG KIA, as well as a loss to PSG that saw them go 3 games without a win at one point. It came down to the final day to secure their spot in Knockouts, and a solid win vs RNG made it a certainty that they’d be picking up the final Knockout spot. Every member of the team did well in some matches, and poorly in some others, but a real problem for MAD was their insistence on sticking to the new meta, even if they weren’t comfortable on them, such as Rumble Jungle. MAD get a C+ for their Rumble stage- it simply should have been simpler for them. If the MAD that beat RNG on the final day shows up this weekend, we have a dark horse to lift the title, as on their day MAD seem like they can beat anyone. However, if the team that went 3 games without a win at one point shows up, let’s hope they can make it to the airport in time for the last flight of the day.
And now we get to those that didn’t make the cut. Group stage was a tragic, then euphoric affair for C9, and this Rumble stage was much of the same- just with less margin for error, which ultimately cost them a Knockouts spot. It took until their final game of the first round robin to secure a first win, against OCE minnows Pentanet. This then was followed by a loss, then a surprising win against RNG on Day 4 that gave the C9 fans a dose of hopium, instead of copium. Unfortunately for C9 fans, the hopium supply was shut off soon after- they fell to Pentanet in what turned out to be the only win for the league-less Aussies. C9 came agonizingly close in a number of matches- were it not for Wei cancelling their recalls after taking Baron, they would have likely won that game, and we may be looking at MAD going home early instead. This tournament was both good and bad for C9, so they get a C. They showed they can play with the big boys, but they also showed they lack the late game killer instinct to close a game out, thus meaning they aren’t ready to consistently beat the big boys.
What a ride it’s been for Pentanet. From not being expected to even win a single game in Groups, to making it out at the expense of wildcard titans UOL, to taking a game off of C9 in a solid showing. The OCE team might not have won much on the Rift, but they won over a lot of viewers and made a lot of fans with their plucky and fearless style of play. It’s not often that you get to say watching a wildcard play the big teams was enjoyable, but it genuinely was, even in the stomps. Pentanet get a B+ for their showing- they didn’t do well on paper, but they far exceeded expectations. And let’s be honest, what better storyline is there than the league-less region taking down the best team from the league that killed them off?
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