After four months of national competition in 12 regions, the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational is finally ready to begin, this time for sure. Eleven teams will gather in Reykjavik, Iceland to compete for three weeks from May 6-22 and see who is the current best team in the world.
As teams compete at the northernmost point of the Atlantic, various stories will intertwine to create an exciting occasion. The stars are ready to shine, the esoteric newcomers who have come this far are creeping in for additional accolades beyond their region, and veterans are hungrier than ever to add more silverware to their already loaded cabinets.
Contrary to the old format where a dozen teams competed in a Play-in and then qualified for the Rumble stage, where the three representatives from the main regions meet those from the first stage in a single group, MSI 2021 will make all Teams start at the same point, dividing them into three groups of four teams each, with the top two places in each group advancing to the Rumble.
One of the teams that qualified for MSI, GAM Esports of the Vietnam Championship Series, will miss the event due to COVID-19 travel restrictions that prohibited citizens of the country from leaving, repeating the same restriction from last year where they and Team Flash could not attend the World Cup in Shanghai, China.
Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
When it seems like the world is pushing a team down from the pedestal you fought so hard to stand on when you feel bummed after losing your first postseason series, what do they do to restore their mistakes? As this team showed in the LPL spring playoffs, they didn’t give up as they came back from a series opening loss to defeat FunPlus Phoenix and win their first title since the summer of 2018.
Much of the surprising change that RNG had made from the middle of the table to the title, his triumph had been a task full of difficulties and hardened patience. A year had passed since the retirement of the legendary ADC Uzi and the team was struggling to get back to its peak. In 2020, RNG was seventh in the spring and dropped to ninth in the summer, which was the worst placement in team history.
As things stood, things needed to change, so by 2021, RNG moved their middle runner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-hao to the top after they failed to sign Oh My’s Chen “Curse” Chen. God, while his replacement and former eStar player Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei joined the team along with his teammate Yan “Wei” Yang-wei. For ADC, CHen “GALA” Wei was hired from Dominus Esports, becoming the next in line for the team’s illustrious carrying position. Although the aforementioned trio did not achieve success in their careers before joining RNG, with Wei and GALA’s notable regression in the summer after a towering spring, the team believed that if they could train them, they could soon become strange monsters.
And turning into monsters they turned when Wei picked up a selection from the LPL All-Pro First Team (same as Xiaohu and supported Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming) and GALA joined the Second Team. With these core pieces in place, RNG rampaged in the LPL, finishing first with a 14-2 record and winning the playoffs.
It was through the fulfillment of their eponymous mantra that RNG finally earned a spot in Iceland, and once they attend MSI, viewers, analysts, and experts will see them as one of the top contenders for the title. A big burden to bear, yes, but an RNG shouldn’t be petrified. Additionally, they overcame a similar variant of adversity at home.
Unicorns of Love (LCL)
Welcome back to the party, Unicorns of love! How long has it been six to seven months since you last played in an international tournament? Quite a headache with the immense time difference that separates the main tournaments when you are in the LCL, don’t you think? (/ end of sarcasm)
While it is true that UoL will represent the CIS once again in its fourth consecutive LCL split championship, this occasion was not as impressive or as simple as years before. In fact, they had to go through a competitive league to even make the playoffs, finishing fourth with a 10-4 record, their worst since entering the region. Fittingly, as the season drew to a close, some felt that the time of UoL’s dominance at CIS was drawing to a close, but when the dust settled, it was the same team dressed in pink and black that emerged victorious and he raised the trophy once more. time, overcoming difficult obstacles on the way to winning the title.
With respect to these obstacles, UoL changed his ADCs in the penultimate week of the regular season, bringing in Stanislav “Lodik” Kornelyuk in favor of Antonio “Frappii” Botezatu to rejuvenate his momentum for MSI. Later, it was revealed that UoL played the LCL grand final against CrowCrowd with two of their starters injured. No matter how much the UoL is exhausted by certain circumstances, they always seem to find a way to win.
Moving forward, the Unicorns are a party desperate for international success and reached a point where an appearance alone is not going to cut it, and in a diminished group with LPL and OCL attached to them, they could. The keyword is might.
When the Oceanic Professional League withdrew in December 2020, the future of League of Legends in the region was essentially in shambles. The best players in the region were forced to look elsewhere to continue their careers, with the majority leaving for North America when Riot Games changed their state of residence to belong to the latter region. But for the rest of the group of players who could not enjoy the same benefits as their contemporaries, they had to fend for themselves, languishing with the decision to remain in the moribund amateur scene of the region or to undertake other endeavors.
Fortunately, with the possession of a space for this year’s MSI and the Worlds supporting Oceania to continue their League scene, they founded the LCO to cement their representative, which would be Pentanet.GG, and they hope they can make them proud in the international stage.
And why would Oceania have no hope for its champion? It was the team that had been on the upward trend since the beginning of last year and peaked at the end of this division, going near perfect 13-1 in the regular season and beating PEACE 3-1 in the grand finale. after surviving two series of five games. Not only that, Pentanet’s excellence in the LCO extends to the individual side as each member finished first in average KDA for their respective position, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
Pentanet’s dominance is incomparable, indisputable and may not be repeated in the future. When the clock strikes midnight and the team must battle the rest of the world, will their performance hold up?
MAD Lions (LEC)
If you had ruled out G2 Esports as the clear favorite for the LEC championship and your representative for MSI after ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson signed, please raise your hand. * everyone raises their hand * All right, what about the guys that put on MAD Lions? Yes, leave them, you fucking liars.
With a lineup made up of a cheeky but confident Turkish import and a promising Spanish jungler who dazzled in the European Regional Leagues, few expected the MAD Lions to rise to the meteoric pace they have orchestrated. A proper assumption of their position heading into the spring would have been third place (which they did), without winning the title entirely and presumably ushering in a new era (it did, too).
When MAD reached the grand final * defeating * G2, they were drowned out by all with praise for their achievement, but most did not define them as the eventual champion, as Rogue remained in their neighborhood. When MAD fell 0-2 to Rogue in the grand final, that same crowd was already convinced of their defeat and ready to present the trophy to the latter.
What happened instead? The Lions didn’t just back down; they rose. Top laner İrfan “Armut” Tükek was not dismayed by the difficult task of doing the reverse sweep, he greeted it with the famous “3-2” hand signal after the team lost Game 2 of the series. Jungler Javier “Elyoya” Batalla did not shrink from the incredible pressure of the grand finals that would overwhelm all rookies facing the juncture, he turned it into an advantage. With those two players ignoring the face of defeat, MAD rallied to defeat Rogue in five games and win the LEC title, becoming the fourth organization to lift the trophy and the first in five years in addition to Fnatic and G2.
However, even though MAD Lions took gold with their playoff career, the question regarding them is can the team genuinely compete at MSI? By all metrics, MAD underperformed G2 and Rogue throughout the season, playing well, but not enough to be considered a total contender.
His transition from early game to middle game suffers a considerable drop, going from third (62.0) to seventh (-6.4), according to Oracle’s Elixir. Players from other teams outperformed theirs in MAD by a considerable margin. Among ADCs, Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság from MAD is eighth in KDA (3.4), seventh in death share (68.2%) and last in death share percentage (22.7%). These numbers are not going well for him, as well as the rest of the team, but the team has the advantage of youth on its side. They can continue to grow the longer they play together competitively, correcting their mistakes and improving their specialties while adapting their styles. Don’t forget where their game got them.
The Lions that were originally built for the future were ahead of schedule and are among the best of the crop. As a result, they have the heavy burden of expectations on their shoulders. What’s next in MAD’s burgeoning story of greatness?
PSG Talon (PCS)
Was there someone in your domestic league who dominated your path to MSI like PSG Talon did at PCS? Keep this in mind: PSG played 27 games in total in the regular season and postseason and lost only once (Week 1 vs Beyond Gaming). Their division is the best any team has ever done in PCS history. It’s an excruciatingly difficult task to accomplish in a prominent league, but in the way PSG played, they didn’t consider it as such.
And why would people be surprised by PSG’s stellar form in the spring when they were the same lineup that reached the group stage at the 2020 World Cup, save for the entry of mid-laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, a former member of the famous Flash? LMS Wolves and a former Suning and LNG Esports player.
Let’s take a longer look at the team’s collective game because it’s just mind blowing how they basically took the PCS hostage. By gol.gg, among all the teams at MSI, PSG ranks first in ratio of kills per death (2.80), gold per minute (1,983), gold differential per minute (402), kills per game (18.1), lower number of kills per game (6.5), towers destroyed (9.2), dragon control rate (75.9%), gold differential at 15 minutes (2,450) and creeps per minute (34.8). Walnuts.
As good as PSG may look at PCS, they will be prepared to face higher competition in a hotly contested Group B with an upstart MAD Lions, a resurgent paiN Gaming and a duly regarded Istanbul Wildcats. They are the undisputed best team in the PCS, so expect some fireworks to go off this side during groups.
FastPay Wildcats (TCL)
Apologies to those who wished for the 1907 Fenerbahce Cinderella Run in the TCL playoffs to come true. The FastPay Wildcats didn’t want to wait any longer for their first split title, so they took it for themselves.
In relation to the WIldcats’ long history in TCL, dating back to 2013 when they were known as HWA Gaming, this division broke the mold for them, as they won their first championship riding three All-Pro caliber players. Their victory also served as a suitable counterweight to their disappointing 2020 Summer Split, which saw them withdraw prematurely from world contention despite holding a regular season record of 16-2 heading into the playoffs.
To avoid another cataclysmic failure, IW reorganized its roster, signing the former Fenerbahce duo of HolyPhoenix and Farfetch to take over the bottom lane, joining Soner “StarScreen” Kaya, Hakan “Ferret” Çakmak and Tolga “Serin” Ölmez. With a season of MVP caliber from Ferret and an improved Split player from Berk “Farfetch” Badur, the support omitted the 2020 summer division for self-improvement reasons – IW continued to wield his playoff demons.
A bygone era of endless boos and disappointment has finally desecrated for IW. After years of trying, they have conquered the Eurasian Gate. Now is the time to set your sights on the world.
paiN Gaming (CBLOL)
If anyone said that PaiN would win CBLOL before the start of the playoffs as a fifth seed, they would face intense ridicule, but that’s exactly what they did. PaiN, one of the lowest ranked teams to qualify for MSI, marked their return to the forefront of CBLOL after five and a half years by defeating # 4 LOUD, # 1 Flamengo and # 2 Vorax during the playoffs. .
Their result was the result of a regular-season-capped 8-2 streak that propelled them to the postseason in injury time, turning the crowd’s thoughts from simple mockery to genuine belief.
However, don’t let its recent form fool you. His performance did not occur in a group of unknown people. This is the same team (minus Korean support Han “Luci” Chang-hoon) that lost in the 2020 Split 2 grand final to INTZ and missed the World Cup, although their coordination and play did not improve until when it was most needed.
But in a critical environment like MSI, where lethargic play can signal a team’s impending downfall, PaiN must start the group stage with their weapons on for a chance to survive. They must bring pain to their adversaries or else they will receive it.
DWG KIA (LCK)
Did anyone think that an LCK team other than DWG KIA would come to MSI? Hardly a person would come to such a judgment against the defending world champions when they are still in top form after their famous victory in Shanghai, China.
Even more impressive than the team’s renown is the set of players who boast: Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun, the best coach in the history of the League; Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, a dependable top laner who performs exquisitely in the twilight of his career; Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, an excellent jungler turned MVP superstar; Heo “ShowMaker” Su, already a great mid-laner; and Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee, a bustling bottom lane that can overwhelm the opposition at any given time.
What is there to identify the failures of a computer that apparently does not host them? On the surface, it looks like this anyway. After all, they have the propensity to suffer random losses to weak opposition as they did against Fredit BRION in Week 2 of the spring split.
Still, mistakes made by DWG happen on a dime a dozen. If DWG came to Iceland in the best shape they are used to, it would take the right team to play the quintessential game at the right time to defeat them.
The Korean giant can be shy in his speech and pose as a carefree group that says alone that they are glad they won against Gen.G or promises their fans how they will do their best in Reykjavik. But make no mistake, when the lights are on and the eyes of the crowd gravitate towards them, DWG will pounce on their opponent like they did in the LCK, KeSPA Cup and Worlds.
The multi-million dollar purchase of C9 was triggered so that G2’s centerline player Luka “Perkz” Perkovic worked splendidly, didn’t it? While the Croatian’s former team crashed and burned, his newest team flourished and he gained another chance to attend MSI after failing to do so the year before.
In general, the arrival of C9 in Iceland was expected considering the immense star power it transmitted. Not only did they have Perkz return to his natural position in the middle, but they also had their jungle MVP Robert “Blaber” Huang, ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and his partner Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme holding the fort in the bottom lane, and a promising top laner in Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami. Even though they eventually became the kind of team everyone envisioned, their rise didn’t come without a hitch. In the top lane, Fudge was regularly outclassed in the Lock-In tournament and sometimes the Spring Split, prompting people to berate him for being too green a player for a league that is too good for him.
Fudge didn’t back down from the weight of pressure created by his poor game. He gradually improved throughout the season to become the catalyst for C9’s victory in Game 5 of the Midseason Showdown Grand Finals, from lending a hand to the brilliant Tier 1 double upright jungle play to playing solely Barney “Alphari” Morris from Team Liquid. to a shell of himself. From Lock-In to MSS, C9, with its players in a cohesive unit, proved to be the best NA had to offer MSI.
Cloud9 was supposed to show its power to the world around this time last year, but their hopes were dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic canceled by the MSI. Now, with a template that is arguably better than last year’s iteration, C9 is ready to show fans and teams exactly what they have been missing.
Infinity Esports (LLA)
Returning to international competition from Worlds 2018, Infinity Esports sealed a spot for MSI after sending in two of the best teams from the regular season, all culminating in an instant five-game classic series win over Furious Gaming.
Still, let it be known that his championship was a wholesale guarantee. His offseason free agent acquisitions included Cristian “cody” Yampara, one of the worst midlaners in the 2020 LLA (statistically speaking according to gol.gg); Mateo “Buggax” Zamora, the Uruguayan top laner who returned to LATAM after a disappointing CBLOL campaign; and Gabriel “Ackerman” Aparicio, the best supporter in the amateur LMR but a rookie in the LLA heading into 2021. Even with Infinity veterans, which included jungler Diego “SolidSnake” Trujillo and ADC Matias “WhiteLotus” Musso, it seemed like his best days had long since passed. On paper, Infinity exemplified that a team, if it’s on a good day, can race on the field, but that was left to the devices of the unknown and their momentum.
But for the skeptics who scoffed at Infinity’s form heading into the playoffs, the team subverted expectations, or rather shattered them entirely, enjoying years of recovery from the aforementioned crop of veterans, a revival of Cody and a standout debut for Ackerman. In fact, among all the supports for this spring, Ackerman’s average KDA and vision score is the highest.
In 2018, Infinity came within one series win from the World Cup group stage, a feat never accomplished in the history of Latin America. Given this iteration is at a great height, will it continue its momentum to the point of creating an undeniable story?
Detonation FocusMe (LJL)
Flying the LJL flag is its most distinguished and recognizable child. When it comes to redemption stories, few might be surprised to anticipate DFM’s return to prominence, which began just as they fell.
Following their loss to V3 Esports in the 2020 LJL Summer Split Grand Final, which ended their four-game winning streak, DFM rebuilt their squad by making a key signing in the middle, bringing in Korean mid-laner Lee “Aria” Ga – eul of Crest Gaming Act to replace their legendary captain Kyohei “Ceros” Yoshida, ushering in a new era within the team. The team made only one signing for the offseason, but as the season progressed, the only move was all they needed to take the title, as the mid-laner helped end the competition with an overall record of 18. -4 for division.
But once Aria enlisted in DFM, they faced a dilemma as to how many imported players could play within the LJL. Riot’s Interregional Movement Policy (IMP) states that teams can feature up to two imported players in their roster as long as the remaining venues are full of residents. Since DFM hired three Koreans (with Jungler Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong, supporting Yang “Gaeng” Gwang-woo and Aria), they had to decide which of the three should fall on the bench, resulting in for Gaeng to sacrifice his place. for Aria.
As a result of the change in support, DFM moved Kazuta “Kazu” Suzuki, one of its trainers, to the starting position until the summer when Steal will become a resident as he will have lived in Japan for four years, the amount of time necessary. to trigger the change of nationality. However, waiting for the final DFM roster to take shape doesn’t happen until the summer and his prowess has already proven to be excellent at LJL. But as for MSI, what will be the maximum limit of this list?
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