The Mid Season Invitational is an international tournament consisting of the first place teams from 14 regions playing for bragging rights, a prize pool and an edge in seeding at the World Championships in October.
Taking place this year in Europe during the majority of May the MSI is a great way for non-major regions to surge in popularity and secure a stable spot in Worlds or for teams to get in international practice, determining if they are prepared for such an important environment.
Different from last year, Vietnam, which is paying +6600 to win the tournament with BetOnline, has been promoted to the secondary play-in stage due to their overwhelmingly positive international performance.
Another significant difference will be the release of a new conqueror skin this year, the second in its skin series. Although Riot has teased the onlookers with close up screencaps of the skin before MSI begins, fans will have to remain patient for the easter egg this year.
At the time of writing, not all of the regions have finished their local playoff series. Because only the first place team from a regions’ perspective League series can participate, winning the Spring Split holds a lot of significance.
Mid Season Invitational Qualifying Stage
HOW TO BET: LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
From the first play-in qualifier stage, there are eight teams that participate for two spots in the secondary qualifier stage. From the secondary qualifier stage, two regions that battled through the primary qualifier as well as two selected regions, Taipei and Vietnam, duke it out for two spots in the main stage.
The six main stage players skip over both the qualifier stages and participate directly in the main tournament due to sheer strength of the regions.
Out of the preselected four groups in the main stage, only Fnatic of Europe and Team Liquid have been confirmed participants.
When it comes to MSI performance, a few underrated regions surprised the world by paving a path through the play in stage.
The biggest standout team was definitely Vietnam’s astounding performance that earned them a spot in the top six teams for the main stage.
Vietnam’s team upset multiple favorites to make it out of group stage such as Oceania’s Dire Wolves and Mexico’s Lyon Gaming. Betting on Vietnam to make it out of the play in stage this year might be a safe bet, but going past the main stage would be a hefty gamble.
Can North America emerge as a force?
North America has been at the bottom of everybodys’ international jokes, performing barely acceptable compared to expectations. Whether it was any of the big 3 (Cloud9, Team SoloMid or CounterLogic Gaming), all flopped in the face of international foes. Some may blame it on the best of one model for the regular season, not allowing teams to prepare for a series of games.
However, this year with Team Liquid and its roster of internationally experienced veterans may change the tides of the game. Before, predicting NA to leave groups was unheard of – now, it may become a realistic possibility to finally make it to semifinals.
Best bet: We think Team Liquid can cause one of the huge boil-overs and win the MSI. You can bet on any North American team to make the final, with it paying +750 at Bovada.
How will Europe fair at the MSI?
Europe is honestly the most consistent of the lower ranked performers at international events as of late. Placing two teams in the top eight of Worlds and making it to the finals of last year’s MSI.
Europe’s power ranking for this MSI is not necessarily higher or lower. Fnatic of this year is a very bottom lane ADC focused team with above average power in all other ranks.
How Fnatic will compare with other regions will be evident in their first game with the Eastern teams.
Korea frontrunners for Mid Season Invitational
Korea are the frontrunners and the safest bet for any international tournament. Consistently placing teams in the top 4 of any tournament for the past few years, it is no surprise that people love Korea.
Despite the fact that the legends of old SK Telecom T1 are not participating in this years’ MSI, Korea will still be sending a powerful team in the form of Kingzone Dragon X or Afreeca Freecs. There are not many regions that can match Korea’s excellence in performance, regime or legacy when it comes to international affairs.
Chinese teams will be a force
China will be the final regions to speak of regarding LCS power rankings. China not only has the talent to procure powerful teams but also the money to attract any player looking to play for a large stage for a good salary.
As a result China has constantly sent teams to the top four of every MSI tournament to date as well as worlds. Despite only winning the title for MSI once and no titles to date for Worlds, China is the favorite team to upset Korea in any facet.
Final word and betting odds
The Mid Season Invitational is a tournament to gauge the strengths of each region as a precursor to Worlds and to give the public an idea as to international strength of every region. With the tournament only weeks away, teams are preparing their players for travel, strategies, and even regular split games if their spring split has not finished yet. With big hitters such as SKT, TSM, G2 and GAM out of the running, this years’ MSI may have a good chance to have a new team crowned as its champion.
To Win outright
EU LCS: +1600
NA LCS: +2000
Any Other: +6600
Market without LCK
EU LCS: +650
NA LCS: +800
Any Other: +2500
Team vs Field betting
LCK 9-200) to beat Field (+150)
* Markets courtesy of BetOnline and were correct at time of publishing.