With I May looking for to punch its ticket to the playoffs, it came up just short in the form of a 2-1 series win over Snake Esports on Saturday to open Week 10, Day 4 of the League of Legends Pro League in Shanghai.
As the series began it was clear that I May was playing with a massive weight on its shoulders. With its only path to the playoffs coming with a series sweep versus Snake the pressure was too much for the squad after playing a tough up-and-down split. Still, Snake took Game 1 seemingly without breaking a sweat. I May had no answer for Yang "kRYST4L" Fan's Tristana as it couldn't dive onto the slippery backline AD carry. Yet Snake's gameplan did not go beyond dashing out I May's playoff hopes. As Snake looked to be playing in quicksand for the next two games.
With the stress of a taxing Split in the rearview mirror, it was I May's first chance to play for fun. The tempo it lacked early on the series appeared in Game 2. I May moved around the map at a ferocious pace in the second frame, smothering any pressure Snake mounted and not allowing the opponents to take a single turret until the 22-minute mark. After being virtually shut down in the first game of the series I May AD carry Xie "Jinjao" Jin-Shan caught fire and carried with a 4/2/9 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and 93 percent kill participation.
I May entered Game 3 all smiles while Snake was stunned. As a team that went from LSPL to LPL to the knockout stage at Worlds last year, I May is no stranger to cinderella stories. Jinjao led the charge and set the tone early with a throwback selection of Lucian in the AD carry role. Similar Game 2, Snake were seemingly playing with cement filled mouses, unable to mount any tempo and constantly being pushed back at the first hint of aggression. By the time the nexus was broken, I May had a 20-to-9 kill advantage, the only things bigger than the kill advantage being the smiles on the faces of the I May players.
In a split with much to be decided, the only real thing locked in is that I May will not be moving on to the playoffs. It is yet to be determined if either team will play another match in 2017, however. I May has an outside shot at playing in regional qualifiers for the World Championship, while Snake has to wait and see if it will make the Summer Split Playoffs.