TSM defeated G2 Esports in a tense 50-minute game today to secure a spot in the finals of Rift Rivals.
The team that denied TSM entry to the Mid-Season Invitational’s knockout stage, G2 were in a similar situation earlier today. Despite failing to qualify for the finals themselves, due to an abysmal 1-5 record, G2 were to close out their time at Rift Rivals as the team that determined TSM’s tournament fate. If G2 won today’s matchup, TSM would fail to advance into the finals, with Phoenix1 moving forward in their place.
TSM, already feeling a sense of déjà vu, knew this couldn’t happen again. A loss here would cause a plethora of jokes to erupt on social media at their expense. For TSM, there was no other option than victory. And TSM’s first step to victory was to take a page from SK Telecom T1’s book, and prioritize comfort champions. Picking Braum, Cassiopeia, and Kha’zix immediately, TSM did not want to take any chances playing champions they weren’t 100 percent comfortable with.
Step two in TSM’s victory plan was to win the early game and secure a lead. That objective was also met, as Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg handily won their lanes, with both players able to solo kill their respective opponent.
But a hitch in TSM’s plan appeared during the North American team’s attempt to sneak the Baron. Unable to keep G2 jungler Kim “Trick” Gang-yun out of the pit, TSM had the Baron stolen, the objective that brought G2 back into the game.
From this point the game spiraled into a stalemate. Neither team wanted to commit to a five-on-five teamfight, and the rare engage was met with summoner spells, shields, and disengage abilities from both sides. TSM and G2 would trade Baron for Elder Drake, not once but twice, with nothing found from these buffs but a couple destroyed towers.
Finally, 51 minutes into TSM’s final group stage match, Bjergsen had enough. “I was just bored of how the game was going,” Bjergsen told Trevor “Quickshot” Henry in their post-game interview.
And how did Bjergsen tackle this boredom? He flash Petrified Luka “PerkZ” Perković. A risky play that could have ended in his death if played incorrectly, Bjergsen managed to assassinate the G2 mid laner, which led TSM to the game-winning teamfight.
TSM will face off against Europe’s Unicorns of Love, a team they split games with during the group stage, on July 8.