Bilibili Gaming are the first team to make it through the play-in stage of MSI 2023 after securing a win against Golden Guardians today that took longer than many League of Legends fans had anticipated. The LPL’s second seed has reached the main stage of the international competition, but only after going through the first thrilling three-game series of this year’s MSI.
The North American representatives came into the match as underdogs, and while they ultimately were overwhelmed by BLG’s strength, it is safe to say Golden Guardians did show they have the talent to contend with the top teams in the tournament. In particular, Golden Guardians top laner Licorice and ADC Stixxay’s picks in the second game of the series revealed some holes in the armor of the LPL team.
While the opening game of today’s series was dominated by BLG’s scaling composition and precise map control from the first few minutes, the second game’s chaotic nature benefitted Golden Guardians more than their opponents—starting with Gori’s Yasuo in the mid lane. BLG’s strategy of funneling gold and experience into their AD carry initially overwhelmed the NA representatives. But as the game reached the 20-minute mark, Golden Guardians’ overcame an atrocious early game with their teamfight prowess. Licorice’s K’Sante powered the entire team and spurred Stixxay’s Xayah to unleash the champ’s full potential, which brought gray screens to all their opponents. Stixxay finished game two with a 6/5/7 scoreline on Xayah.
But the chaotic fights didn’t transition to game three as BLG’s methodical approach to the draft and game shut down all hopes for the NA representatives. From first blood to the first turret and Baron, BLG came, saw, and conquered the Rift and all that walked on it, making it almost impossible for Golden Guardians to close the gap between them and their opponents. BLG top laner Bin’s Sion lived up to his name as the Undead Juggernaut when he shredded through the opposing frontline without ever being taken down—all just for Elk’s Xayah to cut down the remaining enemies with sharp feathers. Elk posted a 9/3/11 scoreline on Xayah in the final game of this showdown.
BLG’s 2-1 win over Golden Guardians qualifies them for the next stage of the competition, while also giving MSI fans the first entertaining three-game series of the tournament. Thanks to the new format this year, Golden Guardians are still in the competition and will fight for their chance at the bracket stage on Saturday, May 6.