MSI 2016 Recap: A Tournament of Champions

Hello eSports fans as well as followers of +100 Gaming! As many of you know, the Mid Season Invitational (MSI) just took place for League of Legends. This is a tournament that takes place at the end of spring split where the top teams from all the different regions duke it out to take home not only a trophy, but pride for their region. The teams competing this year were: RNG, CLG, G2 FW, SKT, and the international wildcard SM, a team coming from Turkey to compete with these other region’s Titans. Last year’s MSI winner was the LPL Region’s   Edward Gaming, taking the tournament off of the favorites, SKT. This year held different results from the start as RNG took up the reins instead of Edward Gaming to represent the LPL after beating the favorites (EG) of their region. Most of the teams listed above were expected, save for the  North American titan, CLG.  Last year NA LCS sent forward TSM, who happened to perform quite poorly on the international stage. This year hopes were high for CLG to do better,  since they were the only ones to take a regular season game off of the almighty Immortals who arose just this year. They still had an amazing regular season run, only losing one game in total. With all of these teams preparing to clash, MSI was already shaping up to be an outstanding showing.
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(Picture from: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/north-americas-warriors-step-challenge-koreas-kings in article by Paul Marshall)

Things got started off pretty hot with LPL’s RNG taking a game off of the North American team CLG. CLG then went on to take a game off of the Flash Wolves, showing they weren’t just here to get pushed around. Many other day one games went as expected, but things quickly turned toward the unanticipated. SKT, the expected winners of MSI and League of Legends champions, lost multiple games in an upset. Not only did they lose their first game of day two to RNG, but also lost the second game to Flash Wolves. This trend only continued further into the next day with SKT also losing to CLG, then losing a second time to the Flash Wolves. This surprising series of upsets left many fans wondering if SKT would even make it to the Knockout Stage. SKT quickly took that worry and took a complete 180 to show SKT was still here to compete. They seemed to gain a second wind and finished out with a four game win streak to finish the Group Stage 6-4. They had made it into the next round of play. Faker, their star player and Mid Laner, seemed to have gained new life in this stage as he began to play like the superstar we all know him to be. The next part of the tournament held almost as many surprises due to the exemplary play from NA’s Counter Logic Gaming. They surprised everyone,   by taking a game off of the amazing SKT. Not only that, but they finished the Group Stage 7-3; a better record than SKT had in this stage of the tournament. CLG had done something no other North America Team had done in recent history. outperforming other teams and securing their spot in the Knockout Stage. The other two teams had great performances. Those teams were the Flash Wolves, who finished with a 6-4 record. The powerful LPL titan, Royal Never Give up (RNG) also finished with an outstanding 8-2 record in the Group Stage. This made RNG the number one seed for the next stage and forcing them to take on the powerhouse that is SKT.
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(Picture from: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/koreas-sktelecom-t1-wins-2016-mid-season-invitational in an article by Paul Marshall)

It really says something about a team’s true strength, when a 4th seed into a second round of a tournament is the favorite. But this was the case with SKT this time around. SKT was striking back with a vengeance, and was ready to prove why they are the strongest team in League of Legends history. As well as prove why Faker is considered the best LoL player — period. RNG managed to take the first game of the best of 5 series off of SKT, and show that they are still a strong team and a force to be reckoned with. However, no one could prepare them for the crushing series of defeats that were about to take place. SKT came back to take the series with a 3 win streak – each one more convincing than the last. SKT finished out the series with what is considered to be a perfect win, by League of Legends standards. The long time kings were here to show the world why they are considered kings, and to finally take the one trophy they had yet to acquire… The trophy of MSI. Losing last year didn’t sit well with SKT, and they were not about to take another loss here lying down. They’ve shown that they’re now back and better than ever. SKT was and is out for blood. On the other end of the Knockout Stage, things seemed to be getting more and more hopeful for North America who has yet to see a finals stage of an international tournament.  CLG planned on doing just that, by taking game one with a decisive victory over Flash Wolves. Unfortunately for CLG this was short lived, as Flash Wolves came back to take game two.  However, just as SKT had something to prove, so did CLG. CLG was threat MSI to win some pride back for NA. Many other regions have considered NA as a non-competitor, as seen by the slew of comments on Twitch over Aphromoo’s SoNA pick. However, this team led by the shotcalling of Aphromoo, on his stunning Sona performance; as well as the outstanding mechanics of their new ADC this season, Stixxay. CLG moved on to the finals to take on SKT in this battle of champions!


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(Picture from: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/koreas-sktelecom-t1-wins-2016-mid-season-invitational in an article by Paul Marshall)

The finals stage, with two teams lining up against each other most would never expect to see. Korea’s own masters of League of Legends, SKT. And the little team that could, namely CLG. Both teams had something to prove, but only one could be truly victorious. The favorites were by far the Korean Powerhouse, but CLG went in with their heads held high ready for a David vs Goliath story, and hopefully a happy ending to it. However, no such happy ending would be found for CLG. Not even able to take a game off of the mighty SKT, the series ended 3-0 with SKT reigning supreme. SKT had done what they had set out to do, and claim the trophy they still had not been able to get their hands on, but CLG also accomplished their goal too. CLG finally showed that NA can compete with top tier teams, and are ready to take all of them on later this season at the World Championships . At the end of the day the favorites took home the trophy, and SKT only looks to keep this streak going moving forward. This year had probably the best and most exciting Mid Season Invitational, and can only leave us wondering what awaits us as we go further into the out of this world, exceptional Season 6 of League of Legends.

Article by: Kevin Kelley

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