The long awaited 2019 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational has finally kicked off. Day 1 offered very entertaining games and, surprisingly, a few upsets. Western teams, which were often considered weak on international tournaments, showed up huge. The home crowd even got a chance to witness something truly horrific in the home team’s game. I’m not going to spoil all the fun, so let’s take a look at how the games went.
The opening game of this year’s MSI pitted the former domestic dynasties against each other. SKT went for a scaling composition, which is supposed to get stronger as the game progresses. However, G2 weren’t planning to let the game get to late game. They amassed a major gold lead in the early game that just kept rising. The Koreans desperately tried to force fights, but G2 were simply too strong. G2 used both their gold lead as well as objective advantages to swiftly close out the game in just under 27 minutes.
After a disappointing performance at last year’s MSI, Team Liquid weren’t willing to let their fans down again. Flash Wolves, meanwhile, have always been an unpleasant opponent at international events. Yet this year’s roster leaves a lot to be desired.
The early game was entirely in Liquid’s favor, as they picked up both kills and objectives. A big factor to their lead was the advantage Team Liquid’s bottom lane managed to gain over their lane opponents. It showed big time in fights, as Peter “Doublelift” Peng just shredded through the enemy health bars as Lucian.
Additionally, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen showed why Liquid acquired him as their new mid laner. His Akali was a pleasure to watch and a big reason for the team’s victory. TL took down the Wolves in dominating fashion, as FW weren’t able to secure any objectives and only a single kill.
Invictus Gaming were the heavy favorites, not only for this match but for the entire MSI tournament. Surprisingly, the Buffalos fought fiercely, making us question who the favorite really was. They actually had a gold lead in the early game, thanks to amazing team play and coordination. The home crowd erupted as their heroes took kill after kill and offered them a game to remember. As the game went on, the fights became even bloodier, with both teams trading blows.
A fortunate baron for iG swung the momentum completely in their favor, as PVB weren’t able to destroy the base in a push attempt. The reigning world champions broke into their opponent’s base and ended the home team’s hopes in 34 minutes.
Following their earlier defeat, SKT were looking to pick up their first win against the Flash Wolves. The game started entirely in their favor as they camped the FW top laner, resulting in two early kills. These transitioned into more as the team roamed the map. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong once again showed why he is considered as one of the best ADCs in the world. His Kalista was simply unstoppable, and SKT handed FW their second loss of the day.
In a repeat of last year’s League of Legends Worlds semifinals, iG took on the European G2 Esports. Going for a seemingly odd team composition, G2 wanted to counter Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s Akali using the Vayne. They shut him down pretty hard in the early game, but that sadly wasn’t enough. iG led throughout the early game, and it resulted in them winning most early fights. TheShy completely obliterated G2 in fights, helping his team win the game in 30 minutes with 10 kills.
As the last game of the day, the North American Team Liquid clashed with the home team Phong Vũ Buffalo. TL opted for the Taric and Sona bottom lane, which we haven’t seen in quite a while. Liquid completely dominated the game, with Jensen once more showing off his skills on Akali. He was unforgiving, as TL picked up every neutral object and crushed PVB in 29 minutes to end the first day of MSI with a 2-0.
You can catch all the MSI action happening in the next few days on the official Riot Games Twitch channel!
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.