Taiwan's Flash Wolves have advanced to the grand finals of the League of Legends: Wild Rift Champions Southeast Asia (WCS) Finals 2022, defeating the Philippines' Rex Regum Qeon (RRQ) 4-2 in the best-of-seven lower bracket finals on Saturday (7 May).
Both RRQ and Flash Wolves earned direct seeds to the WCS Finals playoffs as the champions of the WCS Philippines and Masters respectively, sub-regional tournaments.
RRQ started their playoff campaign strong with a 3-0 sweep over Indonesia's Persis Esports while Flash Wolves had a tougher time defeating Vietnam's CERBERUS Esports, 3-2, in their own opening match.
In their first meeting in the upper bracket semifinals, Flash Wolves outlasted RRQ 3-2 to advance to the upper bracket finals against another Vietnamese squad in Team Flash.
In a showdown between the two 'flash' squads, Team Flash routed Flash Wolves, 3-1, to secure the first spot in the grand finals and knock the latter down to the lower bracket finals.
Meanwhile, RRQ rampaged through the lower bracket and scored back-to-back 3-0 sweeps over fellow Filipino team Fennel Adversity and Thailand's Buriram United Esports (BRU) to face Flash Wolves for the second grand finals.
Flash Wolves had a dominant start to the series, dictating the pace throughout game one. RRQ could not find ways to fight back as their Vietnamese opponents read them like an open book.
After 18 minutes of action, Flash Wolves destroyed RRQ's Nexus in a statement win with a 14-1 kill lead.
Yin “Eason” Yi-Shen popped off the entire game on his Gragas, taking the Player of the Game award with a 93% kill participation rate.
RRQ started aggressively in game two, taking first blood in the mid lane before the game's first minute elapsed. The Filipinos then built a slight lead in the laning phase by taking four kills.
However, Flash Wolves found ways to slow down RRQ by picking them off in teamfights for map objectives, where the healing from Liu “Lock1ng” Tso-Kang's Senna sustained the Taiwanese squad.
RRQ only continued to lose map objectives as they were unable to win any five-on-five encounters. Flash Wolves then aced RRQ in a fight for the Elder Drake before finishing the game in 20 minutes and up 13-8 in kills to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Eason was once again named the Player of the Game with an 85% kill participation rate on Nasus.
RRQ began to bounce back after they drafted a double-assassin composition in game three, where they started strong with four pickoffs in the early game.
The Filipino team took full control afterwards, with Sean "Helios" Palisoc on Zed and Keith "DevilJ" Janold Gonzales on Akali outmaneuvering Flash Wolves by pushing down the side lanes and repeatedly shredding them in fights.
RRQ barreled down the Flash Wolves base and took their first win of the series after 21 minutes and with a 20-4 kill lead.
Helios took the Player of the Game nod for his flashy and skilful use of Zed with a 65% kill participation rate.
Game four saw both teams going all-in on aggression, taking four kills apiece in the early game. RRQ found pickoffs in the side lanes again, with Marc "Marky" Ilagan’s Lux and Charles "Chazz" Esguerra’s Lee Sin disrupting teamfights.
With less scaling on side, RRQ split up the map once again, masterfully controlling the macro game and forcing Flash Wolves to decide between their inhibitor turrets and the Elder Drake.
With Flash Wolves unable to decide, RRQ finished the Elder Drake and finished the game anyway.
RRQ tied up the series at 2-2 after 19 minutes of action and with a 16-12 kill lead. DevilJ took the Player of the Game in a redemption win after struggling against Flash Wolves in the upper bracket.
Both teams picked almost the same team composition in the pivotal fifth game of the series. RRQ displayed better alertness, avoiding early game ganks from Flash Wolves.
However, the Filipinos started to lose ground after Flash Wolves won the fight for the first drake.
Flash Wolves continued to adapt to RRQ's gameplan, with Eason’s Gragas able to zone out and slow down the Filipino squad and allow his teammates to secure objectives.
Flash Wolves further built on their lead thanks to Chan "Cookie" Yun-Shang's Riven shredding through RRQ.
Lacking damage to make any plays, the Filipinos fell behind and lost all map objectives. And after a 20-minute encounter, Flash Wolves won the fifth game with a 17-4 kill lead, taking their team to match point.
Cookie was named the Player of the Game, carrying his team with an 88% kill participation rate on his signature Riven pick.
With the grand finals within reach, Flash Wolves threw a curveball in the drafting phase of game six in the form of a Yuumi pick for Lock1ng.
The Taiwanese squad hit the ground running, dominating early teamfights and skirmishes. RRQ tried to fight back, taking one drake and both Rift Heralds despite being outgunned.
Despite RRQ's best efforts to mount a comeback, Flash Wolves ran away with the game and claimed the 4-2 series victory after 17 minutes of action.
The Taiwanese squad notably had a dominant 20-1 kill lead as they locked up a spot in the grand finals.
Lock1ng was rightfully named the Player of the Game for his curveball Yuumi pick, with whom he had a 100% kill participation rate.
With their victory, Flash Wolves secured at least a second place finish and US$27,000 in winnings. They will have a rematch with Team Flash in the grand finals on Sunday (8 May) for the WCS Finals championship and the grand prize of US$32,000.
Meanwhile, RRQ bow out of the competition in third place and with US$23,000 in consolation.
The Top 4 teams of the WCS Finals, namely Team Flash, Flash Wolves, RRQ, and BRU, will be representing Southeast Asia in Wild Rift Icons, the most prestigious international competition for Wild Rift. The WCS Finals champion will earn a direct seed to the Icons group stage while the three other teams will start from the play-in stage.
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.