The Phong Vũ Buffalo earned a spot in the MSI Group Stage after staving off a reverse sweep attempt from Vega Squadron.
After falling to NA’s Team Liquid yesterday, they won the first two matches of the final before Vega Squadron bounced back on the back from some niche picks and forced a Game 5.
But the Buffalo proved too strong and now they’ll join TL and the Flash Wolves in entering the group stage.
A bloody battle in the bot lane started off the series as SaNTaS fell to BigKoro’s Kai’Sa for First Blood. BigKoro popped the bot lane again a couple minutes later to start out 3/0/0. Vega’s BOSS grabbed two kills after Zeros fell to a gank and a greedy Meliodas joined him. The Buffalo slowed down, but a 16-minute teamfight was a reward for their patience as they traded an Infernal for the lives of four Vega squadron members. They repeated the maneuver minutes later, killing all of Vega, and the Buffalo broke the mid lane inhibitor turret and then the inhibitor.
The next Infernal Drake was a desperation play for the LCL champions, but PVB took their opportunity to kill AHaHaCIK and move to the Baron. Now buffed up, they shattered the Vega Squadron base and it was a hook from Palette that started the final teamfight and Vega’s final stand. They were quickly routed as PVB went up 1-0 in the series.
The Buffalo continued their rampage as BigKoro again on Kai’Sa shredded through SaNTaS’ Braum for the first kill of the game. AHaHaCiK’s Sejuani responded with a perfect gank to kill Zeros, however. Kills were even early, but a Cloud Drake was PVB’s. A kill onto Meliodas at 12 minutes was the catalyst for a Rift Herald take from Vega.
Vega took themselves an Infernal, and also took two kills in the jungle as Naul abandoned Zeros and Meliodas to ensure the Rift Herald hit its target in the midlane. By 20 minutes, the Buffalo had created a 5,000 gold lead and a teamfight around the mid lane outer turret resulted in a near ace for PVB. Baron was quick to follow for the VCS champions.
Two more Cloud Drakes Were taken by PVB and they were fast in rotating around the map trying to outpace Vega Squadron. Vega tried one last fight but were wiped and the Buffalo moved to match point.
Vega turned the tables in the third match. AHaHaCiK killed Meliodas’ Sejuani in the jungle early on and followed it up with a kill onto Naul’s Ryze a few minutes later. An Infernal Drake was also Vega’s by 10 minutes and all of a sudden they were miles in the lead. They had to sacrifice Gadget after he was ganked in the bot lane but netted themselves two turrets and a second Infernal by 20 minutes.
The Buffalo thought they were okay in ganking BOSS, but were punished as Naul and Palette fell to hand turrets to Vega. As the game drew on, teamfights only ended in loss for the Buffalo. Though they only lost one or two members, it was enough for Vega to take the Baron, their turrets, their base and eventually the game to put some life back into this best of five.
A neat fact that had emerged by this point in the series was that the jungler who claimed three of the first four buffs then won the game. AHaHaCiK was the one who first picked up the niche Vi and then proceeded to triple-buff Meliodas’ Rek’Sai. He ganked the bot lane to hand a kill to Gadget’s Ashe, and two more kills were given to Gadget and BOSS’ Irelia as well as an Infernal Drake.
Kills bounced back and forward, with Vega holding the slight edge at the 15-minute mark with a 2-1 tower lead as well as two Drakes. A PVB initiation killed of Vega’s bot lane but the cavalry arrived from the LCL representatives and only Palette was left alive for the Buffalo after the smoke cleared. A clean ace at the 21-minute mark spurred Vega to take the Baron and hungry for a fifth game, charged down the mid lane. A few teamfights later and Vega shattered the PVB Nexus and it was time for Silver Scrapes.
A hard-fought series came down to a final fifth game, and it was certainly bloody. BOSS died first in a three-man gank in the top lane, but Nomanz salvaged two kills for his team. The first turret of the game went to the Buffalo, however, AHaHaCiK playing Vi once again took the first Mountain Drake for his team as well as the Rift Herald. The mid lane turret fell for Vega after the Rift Herald was dropped, and by the 20-minute mark the game was dead even.
But the Buffalo took command of the game seconds after the timer ticked past 20 minutes as they overwhelmed Vega in a bot side jungle chokepoint, and then did it again once they respawned to go 4,000 gold up. Dancing around the Baron, PVB finally secured it just before 30 minutes as a desperation teamfight from Vega went awry and the Buffalo started up demolition duty.
A long siege slowly wore down Vega Squadron and PVB broke through into the Vega base after Vega ventured out of their base to take the Elder Drake. An ensuing fight ended Vega Squadron’s hopes of a Group Stage berth as the Buffalo finally destroyed the Nexus in a 40-minute slugfest.