League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational: A Historic Final Four

Daniel Gomez, Editor-in-Chief

The League of Legends Mid-Season International has entered it’s final two stages and will begin later this week. MSI brings together 13 regional League of Legends champions from Riot Games’ global professional leagues. The regions involved are North America, Europe, China, South Korea, Oceania, Turkey, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Latin America, Southeast Asia, LMS, and Vietnam. All these teams met in Vietnam for a two-week long tournament to name the best region in the world. After two weeks of play, only 4 teams remain and will compete in a single elimination bracket until one remains.

North American Underdogs Fight a Giant

First seed and the latest World champions Invictus Gaming faced North American representative Team Liquid in the first semifinal. Invictus tore through the group stage with a 9-1 record and earned the right to choose their opponent. Team Liquid barely scraped through the group stage and North America has historically struggled in international competitions. To the shock of everyone, TL adjusted their playstyle and beat IG 3-1 to give North America their highest placement in 3 years. Many called this series the greatest upset in the nearly 10-year history of League of Legends. Invictus Gaming was on top of the World going into this series, looking unstoppable throughout the year. The weakest major region in the World beat the best team in the World.

A Brawl for the Final

The next semifinal put Europe’s G2 Esports against South Korea’s SKT T1. Analysts predicted this series to be much closer and it showed. Every game a true battle where both teams were pushed to their limits. G2 is by far the best team in Europe and wanted to prove themselves internationally. SKT is the winningest team in League of Legends with 3 World Championships, a true dynasty. In the 5th and final game, G2 secured the victory with an explosive team fight. For the first time in the history of international play, there would be a North American vs European final.

The First NA vs EU Final in International History

Not many people knew what to expect from this final. While G2 looked strong throughout the tournament, no one expected Team Liquid to make it this far. A team that only went 4-6 in groups defeated the most recent World Champions. Either team could win this series, but on this day G2 showed what world class play looks like. They completely shut out Team Liquid 3-0, ending their fairy tale run. G2 Esports became the first European champions in 9 years and did it in the fastest final ever recorded. This final is more than just one team’s victory, for the first time in League’s history, the Western teams have proved that they can compete. In a game that has been dominated by Korean and Chinese players for the past 7 years, an entirely European roster sits on the throne.

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