The two Southeast Asian teams in the League of Legends: Wild Rift Horizon Cup 2021, Team Secret from the Philippines and SBTC Esports from Vietnam, have qualified for the tournament's Knockout Stage and are now set to meet in the quarterfinals on Friday (19 November).
Both Secret and SBTC had a rough start in the Horizon Cup Group Stage, losing their respective opening matches against Chinese teams ThunderTalk Gaming and Da Kun Gaming.
However, Secret were able to bounce back in the next couple of days with back-to-back sweeps over South America's eBro Gaming and Europe's Team Queso. The Filipino team continued their winning streak on day four and dominated Japan's Sengoku Gaming, 2-0, to secure their spot in the Knockout Stage.
In this pivotal match, Secret fielded Morris “Code” Raymundo to sub for the team’s star player Heri “Tatsurii” Garcia in the mid lane. Despite this, their well-crafted draft picks, excellent team fights, and stellar performance by Robert “Trebor” Mansilungan led the team to win both games in just under 15 minutes.
Secret ended their Group Stage run with a 3-1 record and the second seed of Group B, which earned them a spot in the Knockout Stage quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, SBTC took the rough road to the Knockout Stage from Group A. After losing their opener to Da Kun Gaming, they then fell to South Korean team Rolster Y on day two.
However, in a do-or-die match on day four, SBTC Esports managed to outlast North America's Tribe Gaming in a 2-1 thriller. SBTC showed their strength in the first game, with Tống "Kiral" Thái Dân overpowering the Dragon lane allowing the team to take game 1 in under 14 minutes.
The second game went to the North American team in 19 minutes, with Daniel "MaxGreen" Choi’s Rakan pick heavily affecting team fights. But SBTC proved that they deserved to stay, taking the third game in a little over 13 minutes, following the outstanding performance of the team jungler, Nguyễn "TF" Hữu Thuần.
SBTC had to play another must-win match against Brazil's TSM on the final day of the Group Stage, with the winners qualifying for the Knockout Stage while the losers will be sent packing.
The Vietnamese squad seemed determined to make the Knockout Stage, sweeping their opponents behind strong performances from bot lane ADC Nguyễn "Yunero" Huy Trọng and Support Hồ "Akeno" Trung Hậu.
SBTC emerge from Group A with a 2-2 record, good enough for third place in the group and a spot in the Knockout Stage, where a familiar opponent in Secret awaits.
Both squads last faced off during the Wild Rift SEA Championship grand finals in October, where SBTC beat Secret in the Finals 4-1 to be crowned the SEA Champions.
The Knockout Stage begins on 19 November, with the first seed in each group automatically advancing to the semi-finals while the third and fourth place teams square off in a best-of-five series in the quarterfinals.
Winners will progress to the semi-finals, which will also be a best-of-five. Finally, the teams emerging victorious will advance to the finals, where they will compete in a best-of-seven series for a chance to raise the first-ever Horizon Cup.
— Wild Rift Esports (@WildRiftEsports) November 17, 2021
For everything you need to know about the Horizon cup, click here.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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