An LCS Fanboy’s Look at MSI
The mid season invitational is upon us. Even though MSI champions aren’t heralded as the best, the tournament is a mini worlds. Each region has sent their best team to win the title. To me, SKT seems to be a clear favourite. In the seven times they’ve entered a major international tournament, they’ve won five of them. And been runner-ups twice. Team Liquid has an uphill battle. Lets see how they stack up against SKT and the other regions.
Before we get too antsy, Liquid still needs to make it out of the play-in stage to even begin the tournament. The teams from the play-in regions have surprised us before. 2017 MSI, the Gigabyte marines took TSM to a five game series for the play-in stages. 2018 Worlds, Phong Vu Buffalo took games from both G2 and Flashwolves. We can go all day, the point is that these smaller regions are not to be trifled with. There is a very real possibility that Liquid gets evaporated before the group stages.
If Liquid can make it out of the play-in stage, do they really stand a chance? This tournament means to pit the best in each region against each other. G2, SKT & FW all went 3-0 in their respective play-off finals. The defending world champions IG, went 3-1 in their play-off finals. Liquid is the only team that had to fight tooth and nail to win play-offs. In a gruelling 5 game series vs. TSM, Liquid managed to barely pull out a win in game 5. Before play-offs, they lost their last four games of the regular season. Liquid is looking very shaky coming into the tournament, so it’s hard to grant them a positive outcome.
Lane matchups: If Liquid does manage to make it out of the Play-In stage, lets see how they stack up against the rest of the teams in the tournament.
Impact: This former world champion returns to the international stage to redeem himself. Even though Impact manages to put up impressive numbers in the LCS, he is not at the top. Players like Licorice and BrokenBlade give him a run for his money. I have low expectations for Impact in this tournament. Especially when laning against Duke or TheShy from Invictus gaming, who have earned multiple MVP awards. Wunder from G2 esports should be the most even match for Impact. Both having netted the 2nd All-Pro team award, it should be a close and exciting fight.
Xmithie: One of the OG veterans, Xmithie has proven himself as the best jungler in NA. He has five championships under his belt with multiple players, under two organizations. Xmithie is always in sync with the tempo of his team. They rise and fall with his performances. The jungle matchups to watch out for are against SKTs’ Clid (Playoffs MVP) and G2s’ Jankos (1st All-Pro team). These three are the top performing junglers in their respective regions. How Xmithie handles himself against them will determine if TL can defeat them.
Jensen: Fresh off of his first title ever, Jensen is coming into the tournament looking strong. He held off a very hungry TSM from taking his trophy and is looking stable coming into this tournament. This role is probably the closest in terms of player calibre. Faker, Rookie and Caps are all terrifyingly good laners. But Jensen is a monster in his own right, and can hold off their assaults with ease.
Doublelift: Everyone else is trash, except for SKTs’ Teddy (Playoffs MVP). Doublelift has a long history of regional domination and subpar international performances. He is good enough to at least hold his own but it’s unlikely he will bring anything monstrous to the tournament. Teddy will be his biggest competition. Will be an interesting matchup for sure.
CoreJJ: The2017 world champion returns to the international stage. And honestly, this guy has been putting up beastly performances throughout the LCS. Getting his first MVP title and more throughout the playoff games, he is one powerful support. It seems that G2s’ Mikyx and SKTs’ Mata will be his biggest threat. It’s hard to say which support will “win” perse since supporting is not represented in the scoreboard. But SKT and G2 will be very close matches for him.
When it comes down to it, it seems the fight will be between either G2 and SKT or IG and SKT. But who knows, NA may solidify themselves and surprise everyone like CLG did in 2017. Watch out for the play-in knockout stage from May 5th -7th!