New stars will be born, while some could come crashing down in London.
The 2023 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is right around the corner, and for the first time this year, fans will get to watch their favorite teams collide with the best rosters from around the world in a furious battle for gold and glory.
A new format has freshened up the field as well, providing the proverbial scriptwriters at Riot Games even more content to build what could be one of the most memorable events in recent history. With lower brackets and last chance qualifiers, underdogs can get a second chance at life, powerhouses can establish their reign over the competition, and iconic storylines could come to life.
When these summoners step onto the stage in London this month, theyll have to gather all their knowledge and experience from the past season, while still adapting to the new playstyles theyll encounter at this international event.
For many players, this will be the first MSI of their careers, adding even more pressure onto their shoulders. For others, however, this rodeo is a familiar ride that theyve grown to love over the course of their storied paths to greatness.
But before the festivities begin and these stories are written into history, there are three questions that must be posed as the tournament kicks off on Tuesday, May 2.
With so many veterans and newcomers at MSI this year, there are plenty of different options when it comes to the true standout of the tournament. Some people will be inclined to watch the established superstars as they blaze a trail through their opponents, but instead, they should be keeping their eyes glued on the young guns making their MSI debuts.
One player who could make a huge splash in the first international event of his career is Gen.Gs Kim “Peyz” Su-hwan, who is the youngest player at MSI at 17 years old. He recently broke the LCK record for most kills in a rookie season and won the 2023 LCK Spring Finals MVP award for his stellar performances against T1.
As the common saying goes, “out with the old, in with the new.” Peyz is as green as they come, but if he can maintain his composure under the bright lights of this event, we could be witnessing the birth of another iconic Korean marksman.
Theres only been one major region that has failed to make it through a play-in stage of a major international tournament: Europe. (Its actually been two times because MAD Lions failed to qualify for groups at Worlds 2020 and Worlds 2022, but I digress.)
This year, the LECs top teams have looked shaky, especially with G2 Esports getting eliminated from the Spring Split playoffs early by MAD. The Samurais have gone from championship winners to the fourth-best team in the 2023 Spring Split and didnt show nearly enough consistency through the latter part of the spring to earn full confidence from the fan base.
Realistically, G2 should make it out of the play-ins relatively unscathed due to their overall firepower and experience. But because of their recent downturn of form, there is a small chance a minor region representative like PSG Talon or DetonatioN FocusMe pulls off a major upset. As a result, theres no room for mistakes, whether its on-stage or behind the scenes, and theres no room to underestimate the competition.
There are so many great teams heading to MSI, but it feels like a lot of them are fighting for second place. In my analytical mind, one team stands out like the Monstars from Space Jam: the LPLs terrifying four-headed hydra, JD Gaming.
Related: All League of Legends teams qualified for MSI 2023
At first glance, this matchup doesnt seem fair to the rest of the competitors. Kanavi and Knight are arguably the strongest mid-jungle duo in the world, 369 has established himself as a top lane juggernaut with exceptionally strong roaming and teamfighting capabilities, while Ruler is still a top-three AD carry of all time.
JDG finished first this spring in one of the toughest regions in the world and blasted their way to an LPL championship on the back of aggressive, fearless teamfighting. They are quick, efficient, and bloodthirsty, racking up the third-most kills in the LPL Spring Split while also holding the second-lowest average game time in the league, according to stats site Oracles Elixir.
Weve seen juggernauts fail before, but if youre a fan of any other region, chills might start to run down your spine when this locomotive runs through the competition this month.