League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational Groups Announced
The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational has long been considered the halfway point of the LoL esports season. Still, in the past, it has drawn some criticism for being an inconsequential event, aside from international bragging rights and the opportunity for international competition. Riot is now making strides to fix this issue by granting the winning region an extra slot at Worlds, meaning that one more team from their region will get to go to the big show.
Why Does Having an Extra Worlds Slot Matter?
This is a huge deal, as it not only increases the chances that a given region has to win Worlds, it also opens the door for a team that placed third overall to still give it their best shot on the World stage.
Additionally, a Worlds slot will be awarded to the region at the top of the official 2021 power rankings, which also considers performance at MSI. This means that a region could, in theory, earn up to two extra slots at the event.
In the past, Riot awarded China and Europe extra slots at Worlds due to their past performance. Still, it seems that the Tencent-owned giant wants to make the slot distribution more reflective of current performance rather than just previous trends. This could benefit regions like North America, which have traditionally not performed very well on the World stage but could have a breakout year this year as rising talent has begun to replace old veterans.
Worlds 2021 will again occur in China this year, with a touring show ending up in Shanghai. Worlds was set to return to North America this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, China was awarded the chance to host their originally planned event.
Mid-Season Invitational Group Draw Complete and Ready for Results
As part of the announcement, Riot also revealed how League of Legends MSI groups would be structured and the draw for different regions and compete based on how they finish locally.
The different regions were separated into tiers, as follows:
1 – China (LPL), Europe (LEC), Korea (LCK)
2 – North America (LCS), Vietnam (VCS), Southeast Asia (PCS)
3 – Turkey (TCL), CIS (LCL), LATAM (LLA)
4 – Japan (LJL), Brazil (CBLOL), Oceania (LCO)
There would be one team from each of the tiers in Group A, Group B, and Group C. The results of the draw were as follows, as selected randomly. As there will be no play in tournament this time around, every team is on an equal playing field.
Group A: LPL, VCS, LCL, LCO
Group B: LEC, PCS, TCL, CBLOL
Group C: LCK, LCS, LLA, LJL
The qualifying teams will be the winners of the Spring Split from each region. As the playoffs currently run in various regions, we can’t be sure which teams will be playing at MSI. But with much more on the line than usual, this could solve the old problem with League of Legends esports of the Spring Split being largely irrelevant to organizations and especially to pro players.
The Mid-Season Invitational will run from May 6-22 in Iceland and held offline, one of the first major esports events to do so in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Riot also similarly ran Worlds last year and won’t host a live audience. Players will quarantine upon arrival in Iceland. They will play their matches live at the Laugardalshöll, an indoor sporting arena, where the historic “match of the century” 1972 World Chess Championship was held.