On a day where Europe and America’s best League of Legends teams faced Chinese powerhouse EDward Gaming, few expected the battle between Taiwan’s AHQ e-Sports Club and Team SoloMid to be the biggest game of the Friday slate at the Mid-Season Invitational. But the match likely decided which team would advance to the playoffs.
And the home team did not survive.
Team SoloMid fell behind fast against AHQ, and the Taiwanese team went for the jugular. Team SoloMid were only in the game during the opening minutes, where they secured a small farm lead. But with AHQ taking an early dragon free and scoring first blood on Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, the Team SoloMid nightmare at MSI continued.
AHQ secured the fourth dragon at the 23 minute-mark after crushing Team SoloMid’s defense, giving them a whopping 13,000 gold lead in the mid game. Just a few minutes later, the dust settled and the curtain closed on Team SoloMid’s tournament chances.
The AHQ team continued their solid play from Thursday. While mid laner Liu “Westdoor” Shu-wei may be a star, his teammates showed the Taiwanese side is certainly not a one-trick pony. Ziv “Chen” Yi in the top lane put together an impressive 4/2/12 Maokai game, and jungler Xue “Mountain” Zhao-Hong on Rek’Sai was a 3/0/12 terror. The bottom lane pair of Chou “AN” Chou-an on Urgot and Kang “Albis” Chia-wi both outplayed their counterparts.
AHQ will move on to the semifinals, and even has a chance at a top seed if they pull off another upset against SK Telecom T1.
The Americans have one hope remaining: a victory against Chinese team EDward Gaming and a loss by Fnatic against Turkish side Beşiktaş. Both results are incredibly unlikely, given the form of the teams.
That means Team SoloMid, one of the favorites entering the tournament— an American team with the upside to snag the top spot in the world, especially given their homefield advantage in sunny Tallahassee, Fla.—is now out of a tournament. It’s an utter failure and an embarrassment for American League of Legends.