Spring is now over for all of the regions in League of Legends, which means that the winning teams can now look forward to playing at and against each other at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
Just like its previous iterations, the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational should prove itself to be a must-watch tournament. Serving as a precursor of sorts to the Worlds Championship, the Mid-Season Invitational is a chance for professional League of Legends teams from across the world to play against each other in a high-stakes tournament.
So far, the LPL and the LCK have each won two Mid-Seasin Invitational championships. The LPL are the most recent winners, with Royal Never Give Up taking home the 2018 MSI crown. Unfortunately, they won’t get a chance to defend their title after bowing out quite early at the 2019 LPL Spring Playoffs. This means that the trophy is now up for any takers, and if the last World Championship was any indication, it’s the fact that, it’s not just the LCK who’s ahead of the pack but rather, majority of the entire world has as good of a chance as they do in terms of winning themselves a chip.
Literally, any team possesses the capability to emerge victorious in this international competition.
But, of course, not every region is equal. As good as every professional League of Legends team playing in the tournament is, some are undoubtedly better compared to others. Thus, they have a much-higher chance of winning the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
Below, we talk about four of such teams, including their biggest challenges and weaknesses heading into the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
Team Liquid reverse’s sweep of Team SoloMid to win the 2019 Spring Split was one for the ages. After all, it’s no secret that Team SoloMid looked poised to win it all over the reigning LCS champions. Not to mention, it seemed like their playstyle was better suited for the current state of the game, which is partly true.
This brings us to Team Liquid’s biggest issues.
If you take a look at Jung “Impact Eon-yeong, his CS Differential, Gold Differential, and Experience Differential at 15 minutes, all lag behind the average. That’s not good news, especially since the team relies on him to have stable pick for the top lane. This is another problem because of the recent changes to Urgot and the continued reign of bruisers and mages over tanks in the top lane. Impact has lost most of the blind picks that he can go and lane safely with, which makes his champion pool iffy at best. The same goes for Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who, despite the more aggressive picks in the middle, seems to default mostly to Syndra, Orianna, and Leblanc.
Then there’s also Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. He is easily one of the best junglers in the LCS, but he has historically struggled against international competition.
Perhaps the biggest problem for Team Liquid, however, is that they play in North America, where games go on significantly longer compared to the other regions.
It’ll be interesting to see how Team Liquid adjusts to the change of pace and how teams will likely try to limit the impact of Doublelift in the laning phase.
The scariest part about G2 Esports is not that they went mostly unchallenged at the 2019 LEC Spring Split — it’s that they played even better as the season went on.
All in all, G2 Esports won the 2019 LEC Spring Split on the backs of their sheer individual talent and creative drafting. Even in standard play, their top side of the map with top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen, jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, and Rasmus “Caps” Winther perform quite well in their matches, with Jankos being able to properly facilitate his team into fights and Wunder and Caps being able to obtain advantages in the laning phase and being able to press these advantages further in the later stages of the game.
Their creative playmaking also seems to confuse opponents as they are able to get advantages even if they usually should not be able to.
But, they are not perfect. Their bottom lane could use some work, for example. Luka “Perkz” Perkovic and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle sometimes seem to be a little too aggressive, and it’s not unusual for them to overextend. Not to mention, they’re not that flexible, and they seem incapable of taking a hit in the drafting phase. Plus, there’s also the injury problem. Mikyx is still recovering from his wrist injury and his substitute, Hampus “Promisq” Abrahamsson, just isn’t quite on the same level as Mikyx.
Given how Mikyx’s injury compounds the issue of G2 Esports’ bottom lane, expect other teams to try and take advantage of the expected miscommunication between the two bottom lane players of G2 Esports.
Congratulations to Invictus Gaming. They won their first domestic title ever by taking it over JD Gaming. Of course, it pales in comparison to them winning the 2018 World Championship last year, but hey, a win is a win.
Now, Invictus Gaming are looking to try and parlay their domestic success to another successful international showing at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
To say that Invictus Gaming are the best team at the MSI 2019 is not an exaggeration. They literally are. They have some of the most mechanically gifted players in the world and have near-perfect execution in the laning phase. More importantly, they’re not above losing lane matchups, sometimes on purpose, only to emerge with an advantage later on.
Invictus Gaming’s roster is literally one where every player can carry.
The defending World Championship winners are not without fault, however. Case in point, they seem incapable of backing down from a fight. Perhaps its overconfidence, or perhaps that’s just how they are. But, Invictus Gaming’s willingness to fight anyone anywhere and at any time is both amazing and frustrating to watch. The latter, especially, once you see them straight up losing games just because they took an ill-advised fight for whatever reason.
It may seem simplistic, then, but the key to beating Invictus Gaming is to match them in the laning phase and win majority of the team fights.
Do that, and you’ll put the reigning World championships at a disadvantage, a situation that they have rarely found themselves in this season.
SK Telecom T1
Much has changed in SK Telecom T1’s playstyle since their days of winning the MSI and the World Championship. Instead of using their jungler to empower their lanes, they’re now using their lanes to empower their jungler.
Of course, this shouldn’t come off as a surprise. Not when they have Kim “Clid” Tae-min as their jungler. A very aggressive breed of jungler, Clid gives SK Telecom T1 a more aggressive shade. His carry performances on champions like the Lee Sin, the Elise, the Jarvan IV and the Rek’sai are fearsome sights to behold. Even Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has had to take a backseat over Clid, but that’s okay. Faker is Faker and even when taking the fall often, he has shown that he can still carry the team. More importantly, he’s no longer the lone win condition, as every other player on SK Telecom T1 can play well enough to carry the team to victory.
If this iteration of arguably the best organization in all of League of Legends has a weakness, it’s Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong.
Mata’s champion pool leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes, when the team forces him to play an enchanter support like Morgana, they seem to have difficulty playing around Mata and setting up their vision. This severely hampers the flow of their team fights, and overall game. Also, Clid is another potential weakness, in that, if other teams target Clid early and prevent him from having a good game, then SK Telecom T1 will struggle to scale.
This is where we really get to find out how strong each of the champions in their respective regions are. It is not through the length of the series, not how many games it took, or how many playoff series they played. It is here, where each of their styles clash, and where they are all challenged.
In the end, we may still require a thorough reading of the current state of the meta and of the game to be able to properly come up with a list of who is favored going into the competition.
Click here for our beginner’s guide for the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
Which team do you think is going to win the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational? Do you think one of these title contenders will go home with the chip? Or will another region pull off an upset run and go home with the win? Be sure to let us knwo your thoughts in the comments down below.