All of the leagues are about to start the playoffs for the split and earlier today the groups for MSI was announced.
MSI makes its return after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Fans and teams are looking forward to the tournament as teams are trying to win the split to compete in Iceland. This article will focus more on the announcement earlier regarding the groups of MSI. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.
- Read More: LCK Spring Playoffs Quarterfinals Preview
Earlier today, it was announced on LolEsports that the MSI groups have been finalized. To give a small recap, all 12 teams will participate in the first phase of the tournament. Hence, the teams have been divided into 3 groups of 4 teams each. Furthermore, the teams were initially divided into different pools based on previous international performance to decide the groups. The pools were as follows:
- Pool 1: China (LPL), Europe (LEC), Korea (LCK)
- Pool 2: Southeast Asia (PCS), North America (LCS), Vietnam (VCS)
- Pool 3: CIS (LCL), Latin America (LLA), Turkey (TCL)
- Pool 4: Brazil (CBLOL), Japan (LJL), Oceania (LCO)
Each group will have one team from each pool. Thus, the teams were formed as follows:
In Group A sits the LPL, VCS, LCL, and LCO. Group B consists of LEC, PCS, TCL, and CBLOL. Lastly, Group C has LCK, LCS, LLA, and LJL. Judging at a glance, Group C looks like a very interesting group with 2 major regions in there. On the other hand, Group B looks relatively easier for LEC from the viewpoint of historical competitiveness of the rest of the leagues in that group.
Even though LPL currently is the most competitive league at the top, VCS is not a pushover of a team. VCS teams historically have shown that they are capable of winning games against other regions. Very early predictions would put GAM Esports into MSI but only time will tell. The LCL has been more competitive this split so far with most of the top teams taking games off each other. Hence, the LCL playoffs is something to keep an eye on. LCO is still new after the OPL got scrapped so much is not expected from them internationally. Pentanet.GG looks to be the favorite there.
Moving on to Group B, it is still a foregone conclusion that G2 will be the LEC’s representative. G2 is still a very strong team and should be there for MSI to prove that they can win an international tournament. However, PCS did have a strong showing at last year’s Worlds so they are not a pushover. It is not clear who the PCS representative will be as of yet.
TCL did try to make a Group Stage berth last year but that did not happen for them. Despite SuperMassive Esports losing all of their players, them along with Istanbul Wildcats are the likely teams to come to MSI. Finally, the CBLOL representative will take the last spot in the group. CBLOL is going to have its Semifinals this week and that will clear up who might be the representative.
Lastly, Group C will have the LCK and LCS along with LLA and LJL. LCK representative will likely be DK unless something goes awry there. However, LCS will likely be between TL and C9 based on their performances so far in the playoffs.
LLA is also in its mid-playoffs stage and the representative from there will likely be from either Infinity Esports or Furious Gaming. Finally, LJL takes the last spot in the group and any of the teams remaining in the playoffs could make a run for MSI.
With that said, it is still expected that the major regions will win our the groups and they will advance to the next phase. Whether that will be the case is yet to be seen. The prize of MSI will be an additional team spot at Worlds. After the tournament is over they will recalculate the rankings of the World and then assign slots in that regard.
So there is a lot to play for the teams that represent their region and try to make a stand for themselves for the coming Worlds later this year. There are many storylines to look out for. Whether DK will continue on their dominant run or will the LPL show its recent prowess at the international stage or will LEC finally capture an international tournament win. All these will be answered when MSI kicks off from May 6th until May 23rd in Iceland.