New challengers arrive: The best first-time attendees at MSI 2023

Fresh faces, same battlefield.

Kings have been established, trophies have been lifted, and the plane tickets have all been booked as we creep ever closer to the start of the 2023 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational.

With 13 top League teams making their way to London, plenty of well-known superstars are stepping onto the stage at the Copper Box Arena. However, they will be flanked by a few fresh-faced debutantes playing in the first MSI of their careers.

Related: Rekkles dropped from Fnatics starting LEC lineup after shocking role swap

A season of play is behind them, and these talented individuals are jumping into the fray just in time to experience a revamped format for the tournament. With more games and plenty of chances for epic storylines to form as the event rolls along, the stage is set for these newcomers to etch their names into the history books.

Here are the best first-time MSI attendees to watch when the tournament begins on Tuesday, May 2.


Photo via Riot Games

Sometimes, it pays to bank on rookie talent in LoL Esports. For example, Gen.G took a huge risk by replacing veteran superstar marksman Ruler with a 17-year-old freshman nicknamed Peyz.

Many wondered whether such a young kid could step into the massive shoes left by Ruler. But after helping capture the organizations second straight title, its clear he has the skills and potential necessary to thrive in the LCK.

He led the league in kills through the 2023 Spring Split, giving Gen.G an explosive carry threat that ended the regular season with 34.7 percent of his teams total kills, according to competitive League stats aggregate Oracles Elixir. With monstrous performances in the playoffs, he quickly quelled any doubters as he racked up 34 kills in the final best-of-five against T1, including two games with double-digit kills.

As he steps onto the global stage for the first time in his life, the question is how he adjusts to the different playstyles, the varying competition, and the bright lights of the big stage.


Photo by Marv Watson via Riot Games

Berserker has also turned out to be a standout performer since he made his LCS debut with Cloud9 in 2022. The young star is undoubtedly the best marksman in the league, recently winning an LCS Finals MVP award, and has even gotten a taste of international play at Worlds last year.

His aggressive playstyle is mirrored perfectly by his teammates, and as a result, they can make strong plays centered around his intelligent positioning. He was also the only player in the LCS to finish with a double-digit KDA during the regular season, carrying 32.2 percent of his teams total kills, according to Oracles Elixir.

During the playoffs, Berserker continued the onslaught by dealing an average of 787 damage to champions per minute over 11 games and filled his backpack by collecting 40.5 percent of his teams total kills with a whopping 73.8 percent kill participation. With a diverse champion pool consisting of champs with varied styles like Zeri, Caitlyn, Lucian, and Varus, watch for this 19-year-old firecracker to light up the London skies soon.


Photo by David Lee via Riot Games

Many League fans are already familiar with JD Gamings fearsome jungler Kanavi and his capabilities as one of the best in his role. Now, he will finally get a chance to win an international trophy at MSI.

In the most aggressive region in the world, Kanavi reigned supreme with the most kills, the second-highest KDA, and the highest damage numbers in his role, according to Oracles Elixir. The 22-year-old isnt scared to play playmakers and carry champions alike as he constantly finds perfect angles to engage on champions like Wukong, Vi, Sejuani, and his classic Lee Sin pick.

Supporters and analysts consider him and Knight to be the strongest mid-jungle duo in the event, and after their finals series against Bilibili Gaming, its hard to argue with a combined 35 kills and 57 assists over four games. They are scary to face off against and are the engine of this LPL powerhouse, especially with Ruler holding down the bottom lane with an iron fist.


Screenshot via LPL

After spending the first few seasons of his career with inconsistent World Elite rosters, Elk has finally found a match made in heaven with Bilibili Gaming alongside his trusty support, ON. They are both as aggressive as youd want and expect from an LPL bottom lane, and the 21-year-old has made the most of this newfound freedom by leading both the regular season and LPL playoffs in kills, according to Oracles Elixir.

Like most LPL AD carries, Elk requires a sizeable chunk of BLGs resources to carry the squad into the later stages of their games, but he is a destructive machine once they get there. If you want excitement, this rising star plays plenty of hypercarries and mobile meta options like Lucian, Zeri, Aphelios, and Xayah, and can be found scrapping it out in the middle of the action all the time.

This is his first international tournament ever, but expect him and the rest of his teammates to bring a ton of gasoline to the bonfire when the tournament begins on May 2.

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