2021 Mid-Season Invitational Coming to Iceland, New Tournament Format Explained
We have official confirmation — the 2021 LoL Mid-Season Invitational, or MSI, is heading to Reykjavík, Iceland! Talk about an epic setting for one of the most anticipated competitive League of Legends tournaments in recent history! The best teams in the world will converge in Iceland and duke it out for glory, and we’ll all get to watch from the comfort and safety of our homes. What’s not to like? The sheer fact that Riot has once again dedicated their resources into organizing an international tournament in the midst of a pandemic is nothing short of spectacular, and they deserve all the praise and commendation they’ve been getting.
It’s been two long years since we last saw the best teams in the world compete at the Mid-Season Invitational and, needless to say, it’s been quite a long drought. But as they say: good things come to those who wait!
The Mid-Season Invitational is always a good time, and it’s also quite important as well. It might not be held in the same regard as the World Championship, but it sets the tone for the second half of the season and invariably jumpstarts many exciting narratives regarding each individual region.
Finally, there’s a slight format change on the horizon and it should, in theory, result in a more entertaining tournament! Perhaps the most important difference is that there’s no Play-In stage any longer. Instead, all competing teams will face off right from the very get-go! This means that, if you’re a fan of underdogs (who have a tendency to punch way above their weight class), you’ll definitely have a reason to tune in!
2021 Mid-Season Invitational | Tournament Format
Twelve champions from all different regions (both big and small) will head over to Iceland, quarantine for 14 days and then compete from May 6 to May 23 in three entirely different stages: the Group Stage, the Rumble Stage, and the Knockout Stage.
Before these teams start competing, they’ll first be divided into four separate tiers. How high a region is ranked depends solely on its performance throughout the last couple of years.
Tier 1 — LPL (China), LCK (Korea), LEC (Europe)
Tier 2 — LCS (North America), VCS (Vietnam), PCS (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia)
Tier 3 — TCL (Turkey), CIS (Russia), LLA (Latin America)
Tier 4 — LJL (Japan), CBLOL (Brazil), LCO (Oceania)
These twelve teams will then be randomly divided into three separate groups, with each group having a single representative from each tier — much like at Worlds. Teams will then compete in the Best of 1 format (double round robin), with the two best teams from each group advancing further into the Rumble stage.
The Rumble Stage is where the remaining six teams will compete in yet another batch of Best of 1s (double round robin yet again), with the four best teams advancing to the Knockout Stage.
The Knockout Stage will mark the shift to Best of 5s. The first seed will be able to pick either the third or fourth seed as their semifinal opponent. After these two semifinal match-ups are done and dusted, the last two remaining teams will then clash for all the marbles on May 23.
Who’ll come out on top is anyone’s guess at this point, although it’s fair to say that China, Korea, and Europe reign supreme as far as competitive League goes. Regardless of the final outcome, you’d be wise to mark your calendars as the 2021 MSI event will be one to remember for the LoL history books!