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The Road to Glory: League of Legends MSI Tournament

We take an inside look at Riot's mid-seasonal invitational held this weekend in Tallahassee Florida.

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Normally throughout the competitive scene in League of Legends players will only compete against each other in their respective divisions until they all come together for the big tournaments, like the World Championships. However, this season Riot has decided to add the Mid-Seasonal Invitational during the off season to throw the best teams of each division in Tallahassee, Florida.

Tallahassee may seem a tad odd for a location for an international League of Legends tournament, but the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State University has the technical prowess and size to hold such an event.The MSI featured the Spring Split winners of the LoL Pro-Leagues (LCS NA, LCS EU, LCK, LPL, and LMS) and the winners of the Wild Card Invitational. The initial group stages were Best of 1 Round Robin matches then Best of 5 for the Semi-finals and finally again a Best of 5 for the final match.

To the disappointment of many North American fans, the much loved Team Solo Mid (TSM) were knocked out during the initial Group Stages, along with Besiktas e-Sports Club (BJK). During the Semi-Finals SK Telecom 1 (SKT 1) struggled against the European team, Fnatic (FNC), but managed to come out on top winning 3 - 2. The Chinese team, Edward Gaming (EDG) had better luck in their Semifinals match against ahq e-Sports Club (AHQ) with a swift 3 - 0.

Things got very interesting in the finals at MSI. Many people (myself included) assumed it would be a 3-0 blow out for SKT 1. They are considered one of, if not the best competitive team in League of Legends and EDG has not been working as a team as long as SKT 1 have. However, after SKT 1 won the first match EDG managed to beat them in the second round and using that momentum they won again in the third match. This caused SKT 1 to switch out their Mid player, Easyhoon for the ever famous Faker, who is the best Mid player in league to date. Not wanting to lose so easily, SKT 1 triumphed over EDG in the fourth match.

One of the most interesting things about the fifth and final match was the fact that EDG did not ban LeBlanc, Faker’s best character (he has never lost with her in a competitive match).Seeing the opportunity Faker chose his ringer, but this is exactly what EDG wanted Faker to do. EDG’s Mid player PawN chose Morgana while Jungler Clearlove chose Evelynn, both strong counters against LeBlanc. EDG focused heavily on roaming around the map and claiming objectives rather than outright fighting SKT 1 head on. This made for a longer match, but anyone could see how effective it was. In the end, after a successful Baron fight, EDG triumphed over SKT 1, securing them as the MSI champions.

The crowd went insane, confetti was released, and fans from both sides were astonished. MSI not only confirmed the prowess of EDG and the LPL in general, but solidified in everyone’s mind that the powerhouse titan SKT 1 is not as powerful as we once thought. Now that MSI has finished and the teams have returned back to their homes, everyone is now looking forward to the World Championships in October.

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