With the Group stage of the Mid Season Invitational ending, Gigabyte Marines or GAM in short, also ended their journey on the International Stage, well at least for now. The Marines captured the heart of the neutrals with their all out, never backing down play which pushed every team between a rock and a hard place, well except for SKT of course. Performing beyond expectations, let us take a look at what made this team a force to be reckoned with.
Information or lack thereof
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” So they say, but what if you only know little or nothing at all about what you are facing? Then you are in for a tough fight as with those who faced the Gigabyte Marines. The format of the Garena Premier League, Marines’ region, does not help either, with only two best-of-five games played by the Marines. Though this might be true for all teams on the Play-In stage, Marines capitalized on this advantage. While their enemies are still figuring out what hit them, they have been stepping on the pedal non-stop. Their solo queue-esque style of play proved effective against teams that are used to playing on a given system, and before the opposing teams have adjusted to this style of play, the Marines already have gained an advantage which would lead to victory in most cases.
Beware the bite of the underdog
Coming from a region outside the big five (NA, EU, KR, China, TW) makes you an underdog in every international tournament. While this is true in the past, the Gigabyte Marines have proven that it would be unwise to think of them as underdogs. North America’s Team SoloMid got the scare of their lives when they faced GAM in the Play-in stage. Having the persistent problem of playing cocky, TSM forced an extended level 1 invade on GAM’s jungle in the first game, thinking GAM would not fight back, but little did they know that GAM never backs down on a fight and gave them a taste of a Giga-bite. This resulted in a first blood for GAM, coupled with errors from TSM snowballed GAM to victory. The best-of-five series went 2-0 in favor of the Marines but before disgrace would fall upon the NA representative, they have somehow managed to get a hold of themselves and turned it around finishing the series in a reverse sweep. Some would shrug this result from the Marines as mere luck but they have proved their doubters wrong once again, beating every team, except for Flash Wolves and SKT, in the group stage in a single match, eventually bowing out of the tournament, Gigabyte Marines style – trading punches with everyone, SKT included.
The Gap is Closing
Gigabyte Marines entered the tournament as underdogs and came out as equals with the major regions, well of course except for Korea as they are a level way above everyone. Could this mean that the gap is closing? While the infrastructure for teams outside the major regions is still ahead than those outside of them, the difference in skill shows otherwise. When it comes to skirmishes, the Gigabyte Marines go toe to toe with everyone in the tournament, but after that lies the difference. The lack of strategy can be evident when the Marines were outplayed in terms of macro and this can be fatal when you are not winning the skirmishes anymore as this is the only way to come back in a game where you lose team fights. This is highlighted on game 3 of TSM vs GAM in the Play-in stage where Hauntzer with the Gragas, demolished his top lane counterpart Stark on the Renekton, which led to an insignificant tank for the Marines. With this, the ability to skirmish is now disabled for the Marines and hence could not do anything against their opponents. While this may sound depressing, the future is bright for teams outside the major regions as this only shows the potential for them provided the improvement in their infrastructure.
Having qualified for the group stages and almost qualifying for the knock-out stages, Gigabyte Marines can only go up from here that is, assuming they would keep this roster. And with this result, the GPL region now has two seeds for Worlds and considering the competition on this region it is likely that the Gigabyte Marines would have another shot at the International Stage later on.