League of Legends: Mid-Season Invitational

Photo Credit: Alex Haney

The competitive League of Legends scene is in an interesting predicament. The entire structure of power seems to be in flux following the annual Mid-Season Invitational across the four major regions: China’s LPL, North America’s LCS, South Korea’s LCK and Europe’s LEC.

China is a prime contender for the most interesting mid-season shakeup. Royal Never Give Up (RNG) went 14-2 in the Spring Split, winning the right to go to MSI. There, they took their success a step further and unseated Korea in the finals to earn the title of the best team in the world. However, several weeks into the following Summer Split, they plummeted to a 3-5 record and were placed number 12 in the LPL. It was the third-place team from their Spring Split, EDward Gaming, who capitalized on the open spot at the top. They are 10-1, boasting the best record across the four major regions.

Korea’s representative, DWG KIA, isn’t nearly as hopeless as RNG. They still sit at 7-3, just one game behind the spring’s runner-up Gen.G, who hold an 8-2 record. However, the strange developments lay closer to the middle of the standings. SKT T1, the most successful team in the history of the game, holding three world championships and the greatest player in LoL history (mid-laner Faker), are at 5-5 as the Summer Split begins to head into its final weeks. As of July 14, their head coaches Daeny and Zefa left the team in a startling conclusion to what has been a rollercoaster of a year. Meanwhile, on the upswing is the unknown Nongshim RedForce, with no claim to fame or past accolades. In their first split of LCK experience, they went 7-11 and placed number six in the playoffs. Now, they’re at 7-3 with largely the same roster and only currently losing out to DWG KIA by tiebreaker.

In Europe, MAD Lions became the fourth team to win LEC since the summer of 2015. They represented the region at MSI and finished in the semifinals. Now this team is just one game out of the first-place tie at 7-4. The eternal powerhouse, Fnatic, holds a tie with Rogue at 8-3; Rogue is one of the other teams to disrupt Fnatic and G2’s stranglehold over the European region. G2 sits a bit lower in fifth place at 6-5.

Of course, Cloud9 has experienced a fall from grace similar to RNG in North America. Since returning from MSI, they tanked their season record from 13-5 to 22-14. This pushed them from being the undisputed best team in the region to a tie for third place with Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid. The other strong teams haven’t been able to capitalize, either. TSM has gone 12-6 in Summer and is still in second, while Team Liquid’s only gone 10-8 and is in that three-way tie for third. The two surprises are the other teams that make up the top five. 100 Thieves has gone 14-4 in the Summer so far, giving them a lone first-place record of 25-11 making them look like the team to beat. Meanwhile, flying under the radar is the rise of Evil Geniuses who have put together a 12-6 record in the summer and have won eight straight matches. Their team is firing on all cylinders, and if they can keep with the momentum they will be a force to be reckoned with.

The 2021 World Championship is on the horizon, approaching slowly. Teams lower in the standings are starting to run out of time to make their move. In just a few month’s time, a champion will be crowned and will give their region the claim to fame for the next year.