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Only one team from the Wild Rift Champions Southeast Asia (WCS) remain at the Wild Rift Icons Global Championship after the quarterfinals of the Knockout stage concluded on Saturday (2 July).
Vietnamese powerhouse and WCS first seed Team Flash secured a semifinals slot after an upset 3-0 sweep against China's Wild Rift League (WRL) second seed JD Gaming.
Meanwhile, WCS second seed from Taiwan Flash Wolves were eliminated after losing to WRL fourth seed J Team 3-1.
Team Flash started the competition with a direct entry into the Group Stage. The Vietnamese team swept T1 2-0 in the opening match of Group A. They then struggled in the Group A Winner’s Match, getting swept by Nova Esports 2-0.
However, Team Flash bounced back strong in the Decider match of Group A, where they swept South Korean team T1 once again to secure a spot in the Knockout Stage.
Team Flash upset JDG 3-0
Team Flash succeeded in doing what the other WCS teams were unable to: defeat a Chinese team.
The Vietnamese powerhouse soundly swept WRL's second seed JD Gaming in a 3-0 rout. Here's how that series went:
In the series opener, Team Flash struggled in the laning phase, with JDG taking first blood against Team Flash’s Đỗ "Elly" Thành Đạt.
Team Flash, however, traded two more kills, but JDG took the upper hand in that early team fight.
JDG continued to increase their gold lead by three thousand after taking down a couple of turrets and bullying them from other map objectives.
Team Flash patiently played defensively, waiting for Nguyễn "Zysu" Phat to come online with his late-game Jax pick.
After finding an opportunity, Team Flash fought back in a fight at the Dragon pit, with Zysu dealing lots of damage, allowing his team to take out JDG’s jungler Zhang "Xingdou" Wenming and stop JDG’s gold lead from snowballing.
As both teams grouped up at the Baron pit, Phạm "Coyote" Bình found a backdoor opening in the top lane with his Jayce pick on a Hullbreaker item, destroying the Nexus of JDG and giving Team Flash the game one win in 20 minutes despite an 8-10 kill deficit.
In game two, JDG tried to stop Coyote’s Zed pick from gaining a gold lead, taking first blood and trying to pick him off in the side lanes while destroying the outer turrets of Team Flash, gaining a small gold lead in the process.
However, Zysu took advantage of JDG being scattered in the jungle, pushing them away and taking two kills in the process.
And with Zysu’s Jax terrorizing the members of JDG and Coyote’s Zed pick split pushing and rejoining team fights to get through JDG’s back line, Team Flash continued to outplay JDG team fight after team fight.
And after a 20-minute game (and far too many pauses), Team Flash destroyed JDG’s base to win game two with a 16-2 kill lead.
With their tournament lives and reputation on the line, JDG switched up their tempo and team composition to try to outplay Team Flash.
The Chinese team went with a high-damage Corki-Ziggs combination, along with Lee Sin who could break team fights, while Team Flash gambled on a late-game composition.
For JDGm the plan was simple — prioritize demolishing the top lane and killing members of Team Flash in the process.
With Xingdou’s Lee Sin snowballing, Team Flash struggled against JDG’s early game aggression.
But the Vietnamese found an answer to this by slowing down JDG in the Dragon pit with Elly’s Morgana pick and Coyote’s Jayce pick, and Zysu on Kha’zix forcing JDG to retreat from the Dragon.
In a teamfight at the top lane, JDG pushed forward, thinking they could win, but the Vietnamese rotated around with their combinations until only Nguyễn "Shy" Khanh remained, finishing off JDG with an Ace.
Team Flash were then able to take all the map objectives and barreled down JDG’s turrets.
And after a 19-minute encounter and a 17-11 kill lead, Team Flash did what was previously thought impossible at Icons — sweeping JDG and advancing to the semifinals.
Team Flash's next match up will be in the semifinals, where they will face J Team in a best-of-five series on Friday (8 July).
Yahoo Esports SEA also caught up with some members of Team Flash in the post-match interview, with Zysu commenting on the result, saying, "Last night, we thought we were going to win 3-1 against JDG, and today we won 3-0 so it’s kind of surprising for me as well."
He added that the team were able to outplay JDG’s aggression in the third game because "we were able to stick to our plan and follow it".
Coyote said that a factor to their win was that they had everything planned before the match.
The player was repeatedly highlighted as one of the players that helped win this series, especially with his Zed pick in the mid lane popping off in the second game.
“We were able to follow our strategy and win the game[s] one by one,” said Coyote. “I think my Zed was effective because I have [my teammates’] trust, so I [was able] to do my best.”
Phạm “Joyce” Quốc Thắng, substitute jungler of Team Flash, also thanked the team's management, who had helped by giving the team encouragement ahead of their clash.
"Before our match against JDG, our boss came down to our hotel and gave a pep talk and a great conversation…so it really boost[ed] our mentality," said Joyce.
Meanwhile, Shy admitted that while they won today, they didn't really have a specific strategy against J Team just yet.
"We will work on our mistakes from our gameplay. So after this… we will start scrimming and preparing for the semifinals match," Shy said.
Team Flash also continued to ask for the support of Southeast Asia fans, adding that they would do their best in the next match against J Team.
Meanwhile, Flash Wolves and JDG bow out of the competition in 5th-8th place, taking home US $80,000 in consolation.
RRQ were also eliminated in the quarterfinals the day before (1 July), making Team Flash the only WCS team and the only non-WRL team to make it to the semifinals.
The semifinals matches will resume on Friday (8 July) where Team Flash will face J Team while FunPlus Phoenix will go against Nova Esports.
The winners in the semifinals will play against each other in a best-of-seven in the finals on Saturday (9 July).
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.