The Mid-Season Streamathon is almost upon us. What can we expect from Riot’s latest event?
With the mid-season Invitational first delayed and then canceled, the period between the two seasons in professional League of Legends seems interminable. EU Masters provided a welcome diversion, but even so, many fans have been craving more high-level LoL.
Last week, League of Legends publisher Riot Games announced the Mid-Season Streamathon, a three-day stream featuring events from all major regions alongside a donation drive for nonprofits fighting COVID-19. Riot has been tight-lipped on the details, but this is what we know so far:
The main event: Korea vs China
The biggest competitive event that will be included in the stream is the playoff of the Mid-Season Cup, a clash between top teams of the Korean LCK and the Chinese LPL leagues.
The tournament will start on Thursday, May 28th with a match between world champions FunPlus Phoenix and LCK champions T1. This will kick off group stage featuring the top four teams from both regions: T1, Gen.G, DragonX and DAMWON Gaming for the LCK and JD Gaming, Top Esports, FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming for the LPL. While all games will be streamed online, the Streamathon will feature the semifinals and the grand final, taking place on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
These regions have had the most high-stakes rivalry in all of League of Legends and between them hold all but the first two World Championship trophies. Early on, Korea dominated the scene, though Chinese teams routinely made finals. However, since 2018 the tables have turned and LPL representatives have won both world championships. Despite that, the LCK is still seen as a powerhouse region every bit as full of top teams as its rival.
The Dark Horses of Southeast Asia
While the Mid-Season Cup will draw the most attention, the streamathon will feature another pro tournament hardcore fans might want to check out. The Mid-Season Showdown features Team Flash and GAM Esports representing the Vietnamese VCS and Talon Esports and Machi Esports playing for the Pacific Championship Series. Like the Mid-Season Cup, the Showdown will actually start before the streams with the first game taking place on May 27th, the stream will feature a rebroadcast of the finals.
While both regions are seen as fairly minor compared to the likes of LCK, LCS or LEC, they have had their share of accomplishments and plenty of history between them. Vietnam was once part of the Garena-run southeast Asia region, but a big player base and international success led to its becoming independent in early 2018. Meanwhile, with the absorption of the LMS teams of Taiwan and Hong Kong, the PCS is stronger than ever. There will be a lot of regional pride on the line and both regions are known for sending dark horse teams to the big events that can often trip up expected favorites.
Are you not entertained?
For those looking for more showy plays and memes, the rest of the stream will no doubt deliver as well, featuring pros and streamers from all regions. The Oceania region will present a match between some of the best active pro players and many of its historic greats. Meanwhile, in the EU Showdown, five of the most successful regional leagues will be fielding national teams that will go against a mixed team of LEC stars in a six-team tournament.There will also be multiple exhibition matches from other regions, including North America. The one region with the most unusual representation will be Brazil, which will show a clash of its two most famous streamers and mid-lane legends Gabriel "Kami" Bohm Santos and Felipe "YoDa" Noronha.
It will be a pretty fun weekend for League of Legends esports fans, whether they are looking for memes or top-tier pro play. In the meantime, make sure you follow our regular LoL coverage here.