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| 30. April 2021

Mid-Season Invitational 2021 Preview and Predictions

Mid-Season Invitational 2021 is quickly approaching. The tournament is scheduled to take place between May 6th – 23rd and will feature 11 of the world’s strongest League of Legends teams. Normally there should have been 12, but because of the ongoing global crisis one of them could no longer participate. The competitive format, however, stays the same.

Mid-Season Invitational 2021 Details

Mid-Season Invitational 2021 has the following participants:

  • Cloud9
  • DAMWON Gaming
  • DetonatioN FocusMe
  • Infinity Esports
  • Istanbul Wild Cats
  • MAD Lions
  • paiN Gaming
  • GG
  • PSG Talon
  • Royal Never Give Up
  • Unicorns of Love

The big favorites, of course, are the competitors that represent the 4 big leagues:

  • LCK: DAMWON Gaming
  • LPL: Royal Never Give Up
  • LEC: MAD Lions
  • LCS: Cloud9

The winner, almost for sure, will be one of these four.

Competitive Format

The competitive format of Mid-Season Invitational 2021 includes 3 stages.

Group Stage

For this stage, the teams will be divided into 3 groups. One of these groups will have 3 teams (instead of 4), while the other two will have 4. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the next stage. Each group consists of a double round-robin.

Rumble Stage

Just like the previous stage, this one consists of a double round-robin. There’s only one group of 6 teams. The top 4 of them advance to the Semifinals. The bottom 2 are eliminated.

Knockout Stage

This stage is played in the single-elimination bracket format. All matches are Bo5. For the previous two stages, the match format is Bo1.

Favorites

Here’s a brief analysis of the 4 teams that are most likely to win the trophy.

DAMWON Gaming

A simple glimpse at DAMWON Gaming’s accomplishments over the last 18 months will tell you all you need to know about their chances. This is the team that won LCK Summer 2020, Worlds 2020, and LCK Spring 2021. And during these months, their roster only got stronger. Khan was brought in from FunPlus Phoenix toward the end of 2020 and Malrang, a second Jungler for the team, was transferred from the academy team just a few weeks ago.

DAMWON’s Group Stage during the LCK Spring was pure domination. They played a total of 18 matches and only lost 2 of them. The Playoffs Stage was even easier: 2 matches, 2 wins. Without losing a single game. And keep in mind, these were Bo5 matches!

Based on everything we’ve seen from DAMWON this Spring, I think they’re the number 1 contender for the Mid-Season Invitational 2021 title.

Royal Never Give Up

RNG was the winner of LPL Spring 2021 but unlike DAMWON, this was their first success in more than a year. The team didn’t even participate at Worlds 2020 and their results during the 2020 season were poor.

The big changes for RNG occurred at the end of 2020, when the team brought in a new Top and a new Jungler. Since then, the team’s performance has changed drastically. In the Group Stage of LPL Spring 2021, RNG played 16 matches and won 14 of them. In the Playoffs they struggled a bit and even lost the Upper Bracket Round 1 against FunPlus Phoenix. But they went on to win 3 matches in a row to claim the title.

Given the competitive level in the Chinese region, I think you should regard this team as the second-best at Mid-Season Invitational 2021.

MAD Lions

Believe it or not, MAD Lions entered LEC only last year. And their performance was good: 3rd place in LEC Spring and 4th place in LEC Summer, followed by a 19th – 20th place at Worlds 2020. Now, in 2021, they actually managed to win the title at LEC Spring 2021. This was a huge surprise for everyone involved, as their Group Stage performance hadn’t been amazing: 10 wins – 8 losses.

Another spectacular thing is how they won. Not only did they defeat G2 and Rogue in the process. But they defeated Rogue twice. And the second time was in the Grand Finals, after being led by two points!

Despite their spectacular regional achievements, MAD Lions have little to no chance against the other big rivals present at Mid-Season Invitational 2021. I expect them to finish somewhere around 3rd – 6th.

Cloud9

Cloud9 upgraded its roster at the end of 2020, bringing in Fudge and Perkz. These two players quickly proved to be very strong relative to the region’s competitive level. And they allowed C9 to win the LCS Spring 2021, just like they had done the previous year.

It remains to be seen just how strong C9 is relative to the other champions present at Mid-Season Invitational 2021. My expectation is that the NA squad will finish 3rd – 4th.

 

Photo credit: Riot Games