With a dominant performance in the Group A, Phong Vu Buffalo earned their spot in the knockout stage of MSI Play-Ins, where they will face off against the NA giants, Team Liquid for a spot at the 2019 MSI.
The MSI 2019 Play-In has reached its knockout stage, which will feature 4 teams battling it out in a Bo5 double-elimination format, with the winners getting their shot at MSI 2019 which is set to take place on May 10th. The pair we will focus on today is the Team Liquid vs Phong Vu Buffalo in what promises to be an exciting match between two strong teams.
Looking at Group A of MSI Play-in, Phong Vu Buffalo managed to finish ahead of 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports, Bombers and Isurus Gaming to earn their spot in the knockout stages, which to be fair is not a shocking result. However, their Play-in campaign is not yet over, as they still need to face off against Team Liquid, a North American team who earned their spot by finishing 1st in the LCS Spring 2019.
Ahead of the knockout stage of play-in, the NA fans are trembling with fear… or at least they should be. It’s not because Phong Vu Buffalo are an exceptionally strong team, but more due to the fact NA teams tend to fail to perform on the international stage. Ever since CLG finished 2nd in the 2016 MSI, NA teams always seem to fail short, for one reason or another. Will we be looking at yet another disappointment is yet to be seen, however, TL are far superior team compared to Phong Vu Buffalo on the paper. Then again, Team Liquid were supposed to be far better than Marines in 2017, a match they barely won (3:2).
Considered a heavy favorite, Team Liquid are expected to outperform their Vietnamese opponents, but how do these two teams measure up?
We will start off at the top lane, which will be under the spotlight as it will feature two exceptional players going head-to-head. We are of course talking about Team Liquid’s “Impact” vs Phong Vu Buffalo’s “Zeros”. This matchup will also feature the jungers, “Meliodas” and “Xmithie”. We are mentioning the junglers here solely because “Zeros” tends to play aggressive, which I do expect will be exploited by “Xmithie”. Team Liquid could enjoy a lot of success hammering down on”Zeros”, who tends to overextend due to his “balls to the wall” approach in certain situations. As far for the 1v1 matchup goes, there is little to separate the two, so we will just have to wait and see how it plays out. The top lane will also be the only lane where Team liquid won’t have a clear advantage. As far as other lanes go, Team Liquid are simply superior to the Vietnamese team.
Moving down to the mid lane, we will be watching “Naul” vs “Jensen”. The mid lane does not need a special explanation of who holds a huge advantage. For those still wondering it’s the Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who is expected to dominate simply due to a huge difference in skill.
Bot lane, much like the mid lane should be in Team Liquid’s favor. the “Doublelift” “CoreJJ” duo will go against “BigKoro” – “Palette” who are expected to struggle against one of the best ADCs in the world.
While it’s Team Liquid who have a clear advantage in the greater picture, we need to check out the winning condition of Phong Vu Buffalo, which is simply a chaotic performance. Knowing they are outmatched, they will need to approach the game differently, more unusual if you will. Constant aggression and forcing smaller team fights may be the only way they will get a fighting chance. Should Buffalo win at least 1 or two games, they will need to force Team Liquid into playing their game, which to be fair I don’t expect to happen. Team Liquid are an experienced team and know how to deal with such situations. In addition to being more experienced, TL are also far better quality-wise and should win this one with ease. Expect a dominant show or in other words, a 3-0 win for the North American team.
Prediction: Team Liquid 3-0
Odds: 2.75 Bet365