The MSI 2016 also known as Mid-Season Invitational, is knocking at our door. The stakes are high for this tournament, compared to last year. In 2015, the MSI was designed to give an opportunity to a region to show other regions in the world what they’re made of and at the same time, giving teams a good international experience without any consequences on the world championship. For the upcoming MSI, Riot Games has decided the event will have an impact on the World Championship.

What are those impacts?

Before explaining the impact that decision is going to have, I will quickly explain how the World Championship for  MSI 2016 works.
There are 3 pools containing seeds[1] and 4 groups: Pool 1 to 3 and group A to D. Pool 1 contains 4 seeds (that will be filled by the 4 “favorite” teams), pool 2 contains 8 seeds and pool 3 contains 4 seeds. Each group will contain 4 teams, but there aren’t more than 1 team per region in each group and everything is chosen by a draw.
Establishing which team is going in which seed is different from region to region:

North America, Europe and Korea

1st seed: Winning team of the Summer Split of their respective region.
2nd seed: Team with the highest amount of Championship Points[2]
3rd seed: Winner of Regional Qualifiers[3]

China

1st seed: Team with the highest amount of Championship Points
2nd seed: Winner of Regional Qualifiers
3rd seed: Winner of Regional Qualifiers

LMS (Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau)

1st seed: Winning team of the Summer Split
2nd seed: Winner of Regional Qualifiers

IWC[4] (2015)
IWC was divided in 2 groups and 1 tournament for each group was played. Winners of their respective tournament were sent to pool 3 of the World Championship.

1st Seed: Winner of 2016 IWCQ[5]
2nd Seed: Winner of 2016 IWCQ

Until last year, the 4 spots on pool 1 were only for the top NA, EU, CN (China) and KR (Korean) teams, which didn’t give a chance for the IWC to prove that they can be in pool 1 and had to face one of the 4 favorite team while these were avoiding any game with another member of pool 1 at the group stage.
This year, Riot Games decided to add more competition to the MSI 2016. From now on, pool 1 is going to be for the top 4 regions of the tournament. For example, if SKT (Korean team) is reaching the Bracket Stage (which is basically top 4), it means that the #1 seed of Korea (the winning team of the incoming Summer Split in Korea) will be placed in pool 1. This means that LMS and IWC can now be in pool 1 too.
However, there is something a bit tricky with IWC. If the IWC team[6] is able to reach the top 4 of the MSI 2016, that specific region will take the #1 seed in pool 1. So, if SuperMassive reaches top 4, TCL region will have that #1 seed spot instead of the entire IWC. If they don’t, the whole IWC will then be able to compete for both of their seeds. So, IWC might look like that this year for the World Championship.

IWC (2016) – If SuperMassive makes it to the top 4 of MSI

1st seed: One of the TCL (Turkey region) teams will be placed in pool 1
2nd seed: The rest of the IWC teams will fight at the 2016 IWCQ Qualifiers and the winner takes the spot. This means that Turkey could have 2 teams going to the Worlds. (goes to pool 3)

IWC (2016) – If SuperMassive end the MSI at 5th place

1st seed: IWC will compete at the 2016 IWCQ (goes to pool 2)
2nd seed: 2016 IWCQ (goes to pool 3)

IWC (2016) – If SuperMassive end the MSI at 6th place

1st seed: Decided at the 2016 IWCQ (pool 3)
2nd seed: Decided at the 2016 IWCQ (pool 3)

 

My opinions about that change and upcoming MSI 2016

I really like what Riot did this year. Yes, it makes everything more fair for LMS and IWC regions, but it’s going to make that tournament much more interesting to watch, because from now on, it won’t be a simple tournament without any consequences. Those teams will not only fight for their own pride, but they fight for their whole region to grab a spot in pool 1 to avoid the other regions’ favorite teams. This is some massive pressure that players have on their shoulders and it will be interesting to see if any team is going to crack under that amount of pressure.

My predictions

Top 4

  • (Winner) SK Telecom T1 (South Korea, LCK)
  • Royal Never Give Up (China, LPL)
  • G2 Esports (Europe, EU LCS)
  • Flash Wolves (Taiwan, LMS)

5th

  • SuperMassive (Turkey, IWC)

6th

  • Counter Logic Gaming (North America, NA LCS)

 

I think SKT, with their 2 World Championship victories, have the experience to beat any team standing in their way. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy in every game, but I doubt anyone can stop them.

In my opinion, RNG and G2 have everything they need to reach the top 4. RNG defeated EDG 3-1 in the Spring Split Final in the LPL, ending the Spring Split with an impressive 28 wins and 10 losses (winning 13 of 16 Best of 3). G2 defeated Origen 3-1 in the Spring Split final and ending the season with a record of 15 wins and 3 losses.

I put Flash Wolves in the top 4 because we saw them last year in worlds and went in the quarterfinal, ending up losing 1-3 in a Best of 5 against Origen and ending the group stage with a sweet 4 wins and 2 losses.

SuperMassive are the underdogs for that tournament and I think they’ll play with a bit less stress than the other teams because they have nothing to lose and everything to win.

And finally, even if I personally cheer for my region, I think CLG will fall apart. I haven’t found them as solid as the other teams. No need to lie: We were expecting IMT to be there with their amazing 17 wins and 1 single loss, but they got crushed 0-3 by TSM in the semifinals. CLG still did good with a record of 13 wins and 5 losses, but I still believe that North America doesn’t have what it takes to go far this year. Let’s hope they prove me wrong!

So join us May 4th at 1:30 PM EDT for the opening ceremony of MSI 2016. Group stage begins at 2:00 PM EDT and will continue until May 8th. Then, the playoffs are going to be from May 13rd to May 15th, beginning at 1:30 PM EDT.

 

 

Cedric “spyroripto” Fortin

______________________________________________________________________________

[1] A seed will be filled by a team later on in the season

[2] Awarded in both Spring and Summer Split

[3] This is basically the last chance for teams to have their place in the World Championship

[4] International WildCard, which includes the top team of these regions: Brazil, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Japan, Latin America North, Latin America South, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Turkey

[5] International WildCard Qualifiers

[6] In that case, it is the team SuperMassive from Turkey, which represent TCL league

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