The last day of Mid-Season Invitational group stages left many looking forward to the knockout round. This leaves four League of Legends teams left at MSI: Invictus Gaming, SK Telecom T1, G2 Esports, and Team Liquid. With the semifinal matches set, let’s take a look at the first match that occurs Friday, May 17 at 6 a.m. Eastern standard time.
Unsurprisingly, Invictus Gaming won both matches and in around the same time. The first game was won in 33 minutes and the second in 29 minutes. Aggression has been the name for IG all tournament, and these games are no different. Both teams drafted ranged top laners in Kennen and Neeko, with both sides playing the matchup. The junglers played Conqueror champions, like Rek’sai, Lee Sin, and Hecarim. The bot lanes have seen good 2v2 matchups, with Guinsoo’s Rageblade being the core item for the marksmen. Supports were seen playing heavy crowd control champions like Nautilus, Galio, Rakan, and Braum. The mid lane was the most varied with assassins being played in one game and mages being played in the other. These team compositions have been generally indicative of the entire tournament, and one would expect similar drafts from both teams on Friday.
Making fourth has never felt so good for Team Liquid. Last MSI, TL did not make it out of groups, so they needed to prove themselves this time around. At a 4-6 record, this team has a long way to climb in order to beat IG. They even almost knocked themselves out of the group stage. The good news for TL is how their picks and bans have been taking shape. Most teams have been banning Taric away from TL, and if TL doesn’t pick an early top laner, teams will use their second round bans toward Eon-yeong “Impact” Jeong. Usually it’s been in the forms of Kennen and Gangplank, but Impact has also been seen playing Neeko and Ryze, so he’ll probably be fine. The important thing for Liquid is to play to the same form they were in their last game against G2 — focusing mid hard, and making sure that Peter “Doublelift” Peng is able to provide damage later.
This has been IG’s first MSI, and they have been really hot in this tournament. Unfortunately, they did lose their last game against SK Telecom T1, so no perfect 10-0 record for this defending world champion. They have achieved the fastest game time at a Riot international tournament at 16 minutes against, somehow, SKT. IG’s strength comes from their strong play early, but also their insane draft flexibility. Jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning has played seven unique champions in the 10 group stage games. This adds an incredible amount of pressure during picks and bans. IG’s loss to SKT did have to do with Ning’s ability to engage and disengage, so as long as he is playing a more mobile jungler, IG should be fine.
Realistically, Invictus Gaming should have this series in three games. While Team Liquid had some good moments against them, their best hope is like a 3-1. IG have better players pretty much across the board, and they have a lot of flexibility in their drafts. They will have to use some bans on Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and Doublelift, but overall, the TL solo lanes probably won’t hold up to IG’s. Who do you think is going to advance to the MSI finals on May 19?
For all the matches and statistics, check out lolesports.com to catch up before the match starts! Then catch highlights and commentary here at Daily Esports.
I am a League of Legends writer from New Jersey. Graduated from Rutgers with my Bachelor’s in Journalism. Favorite League champions: Vel’Koz, Sion, Blitzcrank to name a few. I also play Overwatch, Slay the Spire, Stardew Valley, and D&D. Find me on Twitter @JaredWarnke