This weekend had a lot of Spring Split finals, so we know almost every 2019 Mid-Season Invitational participant. Dive in to find out about how the teams got here.
G2 Esports are the second super team from Europe to win the championship. They did so 4.5 years after Alliance’s success in the 2014 EU LCS Summer. Every other attempt at stockpiling stars failed miserably.
G2 had a great start to the regular season. They peaked at 12-1 and then dipped to 13-5, barely holding on to their number one seed. The playoffs were easier: G2 swept OG in the upper bracket and the grand finals. The last game took 18:31—the shortest game in European history. The series game time of 74:32 is a new record, too.
Luka “Perkz” Perković won the EU title after a role swap, something only Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim had accomplished before. Perkz’ ability to compete against the best ADCs is still a concern. On the other hand, he’s not required to play a Marksman; Mages in the bottom lane are still an option.
Saint Louis, MO – April 13: — during the 2019 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Finals at Chaifetz Arena on April 13, 2019 in Saint Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
Team Liquid made it for the third time. Just like last year, they had a close race with Cloud9 in the regular season. In the playoffs, C9 fell flat while Liquid didn’t. However, there was something new about this split.
After a rocky year, Team SoloMid finally returned into contention for the championship. They finished the round robin a game behind Team Liquid and Cloud9. TSM stunned everyone during the semifinals when they reverse swept C9. In the finals, Liquid reverse swept them.
Unlike last year, Team Liquid actually stands a chance on the international stage. They upgraded the mid lane with Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and acquired this split’s MVP in Support—Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in. Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, the solo carry of Liquid at the 2018 World and MSI, finally has a Support who matches his aggressive playstyle.
Apart from 2016, SK Telecom T1 are notorious for crashing and burning on even years. This one is odd, so it’s only natural to see SKT succeed in their rebuild from the get-go. However, this one was a bit different.
Compared to 2015, SKT kicked everyone but Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Instead of bringing trainees from the gaming house, the club built an all-star roster with Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, and the 2014 Worlds MVP Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. It was a completely different approach to last split’s runners up, Griffin, as they kept the majority of the roster.
Despite synergy concerns, SK Telecom T1 never dropped below third place in the regular season. The team narrowly got #2 and were seeded in the semifinals, where they swept Kingzone DragonX. Finally, SKT made it look easy as they closed out the finals against Griffin with a 3-0.
With Faker close to his peak and the others performing extremely well, SK Telecom T1 are the favorites of the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational. They have won the event three times, and another victory would be a great stepping stone to a fourth Worlds title.
INTZ e-Sports victory is a Cinderella story. Apart from a now two-time champion Ygor “RedBert” Freitas, most players were close to the title but never won it. Their path wasn’t easy, too.
INTZ finished four weeks in a row with a score of 1-1, and it was only on Week 5 that they managed to secure straight victories to 6-4. The regular season was very close, so INTZ secured the second seed with a 13-8 game differential. Flamengo eSports with two Koreans styled on everyone, dropping 1 game and winning 20.
However, the round robin dominance didn’t help Flamengo in the finals. Bruno “Envy” Farias wiped the floor with the opposition and got his team into the MSI.
The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational hasn’t been announced, so it’s hard to assess chances of teams that have to complete in the Play-In. If getting into the main event once again requires beating a major region team, we probably won’t see developing regions make it.
More MSI teams:
CIS: Vega Squadron (first time)
Japan: DetonatioN FocusMe (played Worlds 2018)
Oceania: Bombers (first time)
Turkey: 1907 Fenerbahçe (played Worlds 2017)
Vietnam: Phong Vũ Buffalo (played Worlds 2018)