Hanabi: PSG Talon “beat expectations” at MSI 2022 but face uphill battle to playoffs

Hanabi with double thumbs up on MSI 2022 stageKim 'Kenzi' Yong-woo for Riot Games

Win or lose on Day 5 of the MSI 2022 Rumble Stage, PSG Talon are holding their head high. Top laner Su ‘Hanabi’ Chia-Hsiang said the PCS side have “beaten expectations”, but netting a playoff spot would make the run that bit sweeter.

PSG Talon stunned the world at MSI 2022 when they managed to cut G2 Esports down not once, but twice. They ended the LEC champion’s 24-game streak in what many called a fluke, but then they did it again and started raising eyebrows.

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Expectations were low of PSG Talon heading into the tournament. Having lost their star jungle-mid duo in Kim ‘River’ Dong-woo and Huang ‘Maple’ Yi-Tang, analysts were concerned Korean pairing Lee ‘Juhan’ Ju-han and Park ‘Bay’ Ju-byeong would not fill the void.

They’ve done just fine for themselves with Hanabi leading the charge though. Those two wins against G2 Esports prove just that, the top laner told Dexerto.

“I think after our games against G2 Esports, all of us have enough confidence to take down the other teams,” he explained.

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“G2 have to restrain their own draft because caPs is the only player that can carry the game. However, that’s a weakness for them because they have to play around that. I think we have a deep understanding of G2’s playstyle ⁠— we just pushed side lanes and gave mid lane a lot of help to shut them down. That’s the strategy that got us the win.”

However, after coming within touching distance of a playoff spot, they choked against Saigon Buffalo to give the VCS representative their only win of the Rumble Stage.

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“In the game against SGB we played very nervously. We played a bit weird. I think we were so eager to secure our place in the Knockout Stage that we were a bit brash and made too many mistakes,” Hanabi admitted.

“The reason SGB got their win, or the fact T1 lost to Evil Geniuses, is all a matter of in-game form. Every game it comes down to whether the players are nervous or confident.”

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It put PSG Talon in a tough position to make it out. With a 3-5 record, they can’t control their destiny from here on out. The team needs a win against Evil Geniuses ⁠to give themselves the best chance of getting out, with an upset victory against RNG also likely required.

While Bay was quietly confident earlier on in the Rumble Stage when speaking to Dexerto, Hanabi is decidedly less so after Day 4.

“If we were able to get the win against SGB we’d be a lot more confident about making it to the Knockout Stage. However, after the loss, it’s become a bit of an uphill battle,” he said.

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PSG Talon cheering on stage at MSI 2022Kim 'Kenzi' Yong-woo for Riot Games
No matter how their MSI 2022 run ends, PSG Talon believes they have defied expectations.

For Hanabi himself, MSI 2022 has been an interesting event. While by many measures he’s been a highlight of the PCS representative’s performance, he was benched very early into the tournament for one game.

Huang ‘Azhi’ Shang-Chih took to the stage against RNG (technically twice) back in Groups. While the roster swap didn’t do much in stopping the LPL powerhouse, Hanabi wasn’t too fazed by the decision.

“The decision to play Azhi earlier was made by the coaching staff,” he explained. “Maybe they saw something in scrims or otherwise. However, if they believe that was the best way to get a win I’m fine with it ⁠— my overall goal is making sure the team wins.”

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Win or lose though, PSG Talon are proud of what they’ve achieved at MSI 2022. Two wins against G2 Esports aside, they’ve at least proven they’re no pushovers after losing two crucial parts of their puzzle this year.

Making Knockouts, at the end of it all, would just be the cherry on top.

“We’ve already beaten our expectations at MSI 2022 and we’re quite proud of that. Getting two wins against G2 Esports was big for us. Making Knockouts would be even better.”

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