Hey guys, Poqito here to talk about one of the biggest events in League of Legends this year: the Mid-Season Invitational! This year the champions from six different regions are meeting in Shanghai between their Spring and Summer domestic seasons to battle it out for all the bragging rights and a nice pot of cash (approximately $450,000 is up for grabs).
Last year, we saw the inaugural Mid-Season Invitational take place in Tallahassee, FL and boasted some awesome League play. In the end, China's Edward Gaming won the competition, beating the Korean favorites SK Telecom T1 in the finals. From the inaugural Mid-Season Invitational tournament, there is only one team that is returning to play: SKT. All the other teams from last year either fell out in their respective domestic finals (Edward Gaming, ahq e-Sports, Team SoloMid), or semifinals (Fnatic), or no longer exist in the way it did last year (Beşiktaş e-Sports Club).
From May 4th to May 8th, 2016 the competition started with a double round robin; each team played two games a day until every other team had been played twice. At the end of this stage we are left with four teams who are headed into the knockout round: Royal Never Give Up, SK Telecom T1, Counter Logic Gaming, and Flash Wolves. There will be two best-of-five semifinal rounds with the winner of Semifinal 1 playing the winner of Semifinal 2 in the finals.
Royal Never Give Up (8-2) is playing SK Telecom T1 (6-4) for the first semifinal. Last year, SKT took second in the Mid-Season Invitational and were the 2015 World Champions. SKT is coming off a fantastic season and I am super pumped to see what happens in this invitational. Faker, Bang, and Wolf have a new top and jungler joining them and it has changed how they look from last year. RNG has a lot of huge individual talent this season and it has already shown in the first round of this invitational. While RNG is very aggressive and make the right choices, they often make some huge mistakes. Luckily, RNG has a coaching staff that helped get Royal Club to two World Championship Finals.
Counter Logic Gaming (7-3) is facing Flash Wolves (6-4) for the second semifinal. CLG has some great talent but also some new faces to the international stage. This could cause some problems because their individual talent is not as strong as some of the other teams. Hopefully they can stay confident and keep up with their opponents. FW has awesome individual players. They are all really aggressive and can play the map well. This is sure to be an interesting match up.
Royal Never Give Up, SK Telecom T1, Counter Logic Gaming, and Flash Wolves have secured the No. 1 seed for their respective regions in the World’s stage later this year; which will take place in North America. G2 Esports finished in fifth place followed by SuperMassive eSports in sixth place. That fifth/sixth distinction is very important for moving forward into World’s. Since G2 Esports finished in fifth, they have secured two Pool 2 seeds for Europe at World’s instead of just one. However, returning home from Shanghai without a Pool 1 seed is a massive disappointment for their region.
The second Mid-Season Invitational is setting us up for a very intense Summer season as we head towards the 2016 World Championship. I am really looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.