KINGZONE DragonX kicked off their Mid Season Invitational group stage run with a clean victory over Team Liquid.
KINGZONE came into their first match with a lot of expectations placed on them, as the favorites to win the whole tournament. KINGZONE were not only expected to beat North America’s Team Liquid, but to win in dominant fashion. But as the game’s first few minutes came and went, it was quickly apparent that KINGZONE were taking a slower approach to victory.
KINGZONE were content to play out the early game with little action in order to let jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho easily build his core items, since they found early leads in all three lanes from farming alone. Team Liquid though were forced to make a move as their laners had all fallen behind their LCK counterparts. This call to action was reasonably successful for Team Liquid as they found a couple of kills through bot lane ganks.
But KINGZONE were unfazed by Team Liquid’s aggression, and continued to play their more macro-focused style. KINGZONE took multiple towers and every Elemental Drake, despite their kill deficit. Although Team Liquid may have had more kills, KINGZONE had more gold.
KINGZONE’s great macro play eventually allowed them to find a couple picks onto Team Liquid’s mid laner and jungler. That then opened the doors to Baron.
Team Liquid did a good job defending against a Baron-empowered KINGZONE, and even killed KINGZONE mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong in the process. But Team Liquid’s greediness caused them to start a poorly coordinated fight which KINGZONE easily took advantage of. What at first looked to be Team Liquid’s chance to make a comeback, quickly turned into their demise.
Both KINGZONE and Team Liquid will play one more match before day one of MSI concludes. While Team Liquid will face off against Vietnam’s EVOS Esports, KINGZONE will take part in a battle of the East against China’s Royal Never Give Up to close out the day.