The Mid-Season Invitational is only a day away. Tomorrow, the action for the MSI trophy will begin with the first group stage match between the 2020 World Champions DAMWON KIA and North America’s hope Cloud9.
To celebrate the start of the tournament we’ve put our heads together to try and predict what could happen in the MSI group stage. Who are the big favorites, and who will dominate their group? Let's take a look at each group and who we believe will make it into the Rumble stage.
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MSI Group Phase Prediction: Group A - RNG, UoL, PGG
This group only has three teams since the Vietnamese representatives could not participate in the tournament. Therefore, the teams in this group have to play a triple-round-robin instead of the usual 2-times that the other groups are experiencing. Will this have an effect on the group though?
RNG has insane teamfighting, which is what won them the title of LPL Spring Champions. Xiaohu, whom you might remember as a mid laner switched to the top lane and still struggles in the laning phase. He and his team make up for it in the late game and in teamfights, though, thanks to their coordinated teamplay.
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Unicorns of Love will have to give it their all with Nomanz leading the charge as the clear leader of the CIS representative. They’ve shown great prowess at previous World Championships and are always a fan favorite. So putting their star mid laner ahead is key if they want to make it out of groups.
Pentanet, the Oceania representative, will have to withstand both RNG and UoL. They’re a weak early game team, but make up for it in their thought out teamfights in the later stages of the game. That is why they need to survive the onslaught of their opponents and then strike once they’ve reached their power spike.
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The clear favorite for Group A is, of course, RNG, while the Unicorns of Love and Pentanet.gg duke it out for the second spot. We believe that Unicorns of Love have the upper hand due to their experience and play style, placing them second and the LCO representative third.
MSI Group Phase Prediction: Group B - MAD, PSG, PNG, IW
Group B features the European representatives, the MAD Lions, alongside three other teams. This is a fairly balanced group that can go many different ways. Some teams focus on experience, while others bet on their young talent to make it out of the group.
MAD Lions are a young team that have made it to the League of Legends World Championship in 2020, but unfortunately couldn’t show everything they wanted to at the tournament. This drive to show that they are the rightful LEC representative could push them towards victory – or crumble under the pressure.
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PSG Talon will have to step it up at MSI if they want a berth in the Rumble stage. Maple is going to be a key part of this, and he will have to lead his team to victory, plus show his experience. Especially since the team will have to compete with a different ADC.
PaiNGaming will have to funnel everything into veteran brTT to make their rumble stage hopes a reality. He will have to play smart and aggressive to win teamfights and gain paiN gaming that spot in the next round.
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Istanbul Wildcats will have to surprise their competition with their insane fighting style of League of Legends. With veteran HolyPhoenix in the bot lane, this team will be ready to skirmish and win games in scrappy ways.
Overall, this group is the most diverse and has the most potential for upsets, but we do think that the MAD Lions with their new members will take first place, followed by PSG Talon. The Wildcats look poised to take third while paiN Gaming will be placed last.
MSI Group Phase Prediction: Group C - DK, C9, INF, DFM
Group C is the group with the clearest favorite. With two main region representatives, it seems almost unfair for the Japanese and Latin American teams who were drawn into this group at MSI 2021.
DAMWON KIA are the clear favorites to win all of MSI 2021. Having swept through the LCK Spring Split and being the 2020 League of Legends World Champions gave them quite the resume and no one will dispute the pure dominance the Koreans have shown and probably will show – as long as they don’t underestimate their competition.
Cloud9 is the hope of NA. It’s been a long time since North American fans have held such high hopes for their representatives. It almost feels like 2019 Team Liquid who managed to make it to the MSI final… only this time Cloud9 has Perkz, and he is an MSI winner and Worlds runner-up. His experience is key to the group stage.
DetonatioN FocusMe will have to play smart. They’ve got the talent and are able to build up leads in the early game, but oftentimes throw those leads away with bad fights in the mid and late game. If they’re able to play a bit smarter, then they might be able to take away some spoils from C9 or even DAMWON.
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The Latin American representative, Infinity Esports will have to focus on cleaning up some of their mistakes if they want to make any impact in the tournament. They looked a bit sloppy at the tail-end of the LLA, but we hope they can give a better showing and represent the Latin American fire.
Overall, this group is pretty cut-and-dry. DAMWON takes first, followed by Cloud9 while the LJL representatives get the third spot. Unfortunately, we do not believe that Infinity Esports will be able to make a splash without a Josedeodo to carry them.
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