After a week of games, this is shaping up to be one of the most uneven MSI events yet and all three groups have a team with a perfect record. Are these stats misleading or will T1, RNG and G2 Esports dominate the Rumble as well?
The Mid-Season Invitational is one of the two big international events in the League of Legends calendar and a good chance to see where each of the international regions stands. While only the champions of each league participate (with one significant exception), it does not have the stakes or breadth of Worlds, but regional pride is still on the line and teams still get a chance to test themselves against the best in the world.
At least, that is what they can do if they get to the Rumble. In the group stage, the champions of the LCK, LPL and LEC were heavy favorites to win their groups. However, things don’t always go as planned at international events and even shaky victories can spell trouble ahead. Here is what we saw from the teams so far.
Group A: T1 Reigns Supreme - but We Wish GAM Were Here
After their beastly season in the LCK where they did not lose a single series, T1 are the heavy favorites to win the entire MSI - and they acted like it. Few teams managed to challenge them early and none could hang up with them in the mid-game as they breezed through with a 6-0 record. Behind them, however, Saigon Buffalo took the second seed with a respectable 4-2 record. After the VCS missed several major events due to the pandemic and their champions GAM Esports elected to play in the Asian Games, we were curious what the Vietnamese representatives could do - and it turns out, they played some pretty good League of Legends.
The LJL's Detonation FocusMe and the Latin American League's Team Aze bring up the rear with a 1-5 record. While that is respectable considering what we saw from Aze, DFM are probably flying home with bittersweet feelings. This was a team that could have taken the second place but they lost three games - two against the VCS champion and one against Team Aze - where they had big leads. If they improve, they will be a scary dark horse team again.
Group B: RNG is ready to defend the crown
If there’s a team we expect to give T1 a run for their money, it is the LPL champion Royal Never Give Up. The Chinese region has been on a tear in recent international events and by the looks of it, RNG plans to continue that with control and good macro, but they could bring the LPL fireworks when it counted - like the two Pentakills Chen "GALA" Wei dropped. Considering they had to replay their first round games, RNG effectively went 9-0 - that’s what we call making a statement.
Behind them, PSG Talon managed to edge out Red Canids for the second place despite a horrible opening game against the Brazilian team. The PCS representatives did not look like the powerhouse we expected, but bounced back and were the only team that could (sort of) give RNG a challenge. For the Red Canids and the Istanbul Wildcats, it was a good event and both teams had their good moments, but it was clear this would be a group where three teams fought for second place - and they were not the best of the three.
Group C: How far can G2 go?
With the war in Ukraine and the resulting diplomatic fallout causing the LCL to stop early in the season and miss the event, group C only featured three teams - G2 Esports, Evil Geniuses and Order - with each team playing everyone else four times. On paper, the results were quite decisive, with G2 going 4-0 against both of their opponents and Evil Geniuses having a similarly one-sided record against Order. At the same time, however, G2 had games where EG had them on the ropes and their 8-0 record could easily have been a lot different. Now that both teams are in the Rumble, we’d still give G2 the nod as the stronger squad. On the other hand, they have yet to prove they are quite up to the level of the two Asian powerhouses - but as LEC fans already know, G2 are good at showing up when it counts.