The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is the first of two major international tournaments in the League of Legends professional calendar. After play-ins were decided, the Group Stage held representatives from six different regions, set to compete for the title of best team in the world. The Chinese Legends Pro League was represented by reigning world champions Invictus Gaming. The League of Legends Champions Korea was represented by three-time world champion SK Telecom T1. The League of Legends European Championship was represented by G2 Esports. Taiwan’s League of Legends Master Series representatives were the Flash Wolves. The Vietnamese Championship Series sent Phong Vu Buffalo. North America sent Team Liquid through their League of Legends Championship Series.
In the four days of the group stage, results were more or less what analysts had predicted. Invictus Gaming were sent to defend their world championship title from last year, and did so in dominating fashion. They finished the double round robin with a 9-1 record, solidifying them in first place. Their only dropped game was on the final game of the final day to SKT, whose 7-3 record was good for second place.
SKT finished the group stage on a four-game winning streak, but definitely showed their own weaknesses. While one loss was in their first game against Invictus Gaming, they also went 0-2 against G2, who are set to be their semifinal opponents. Their jungler Clid showed up as potentially the best jungler SKT has ever had and was instrumental in their wins.
G2 finished in third with a 5-5 record after dropping both their games in the final day of groups. Aside from two losses to Invictus Gaming, they dropped two games to PVB and their final game versus Liquid. Mid laner Caps showed that while he can hard carry games if he’s on, his bad games are just terrible. Losing two games to PVB is definitely not the best mark on their record, but they showed they could compete with top teams like SKT.
Team Liquid fulfilled their prophecy of placing fourth, finishing strong with a 4-6 record. They went 3-1 against the bottom two teams, showing that at the very least they were in the top four teams in the tournament. They split the games with G2, and went 0-4 against the top two teams. This was an average showing in groups by an average team. Top laner Impact did a lot of the heavy lifting in their wins, with AD Carry Doublelift putting in his fair share of the work.
These four teams made it to the semifinals, with Flash Wolves and PVB placing too low to advance. Invictus Gaming chose Team Liquid as their opponent, meaning SKT would have to face G2. While not absolute, this is a good idea of how well regions are stacking up moving forward. We won’t see these teams at an international event like this until October, so the results here are what we will have to look at until then.