MSI stands for Mid-Season Invitational and it's a Riot Games tournament, which is held from the 6th to the 23rd of May in 2021. The first and second splits out of all regions compete for the MSI title. The last tournament winners were G2 Esports in 2019. The tournament in 2020 was officially canceled due to travel restrictions.
The format of the event is split into three stages:
- Stage 1 – teams are drawn into groups and after a series of best of one matches, only two teams go forward to the next stage.
- Stage 2 – played in a double round-robin format and only the top four teams advance to the next stage.
- Stage 3 – it's in a single-elimination bracket and the matches are played as best of five
The tournament will be played on patch 11.9, but new champions Viego and Gwen will be disabled and players can't pick them.
What is the Prize Pool and What Sums Will Each Team Receives?
The prize pool for the tournament is $250,000. The winner of the tournament will receive 30% of the prize pool ($75,000), the second finalist will receive 20% ($50,000) and the teams, which were eliminated in the semi-finals will receive 10% ($25,000).
All other teams will receive anywhere from two to seven percent of the prize pool depending on the position they finish in. Right now, the only sure outcome is that Unicorns of Love will receive 3.33% of the prize pool because they finished in a 7-9 position.
Compared to the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, the prize funds are considerably lower, and then the winner took home 40% of the million-dollar prize pool.
MSI 2021 Participants
Twelve teams were supposed to participate in the tournament, but only eleven teams will go on because GAM Esports (the Vietnamese team that won the VCS) weren't able to come to Iceland due to travel restrictions. It was decided that they will receive compensation due to not being able to attend.
The other participants are:
- RNG (Royal Never Give Up)
- MAD Lions
- DWG KIA
- PSG Talon
- Unicorns of Love
- Infinity Esports
- İstanbul Wildcats
- PaiN Gaming
- DetonatioN FocusMe
Due to health reasons PSG Talon's “Unified” couldn't participate in the MSI, so Beyond Gaming's Doggo was loaned for the duration of the MSI. The head coaches of Could9 and RNG will be playing remotely because they weren't able to travel to Iceland for various reasons.
After the three groups were drawn and already some of the matches have been played, the favorites of each group were decided.
Here is what each group looks like after the drawing process:
- Group A consists of Unicorns of Love, Pentanet.GG and Royal Never Give Up.
- Group B consists of MAD Lions, PSG Talon, paiN Gaming, and İstanbul Wildcats.
- The final Group C consists of Cloud 9, DWG KIA, DetonatioN FocusMe, and Infinity Esports.
More than a half of the Group stage games have been played and we are only waiting for the results from the rest of the group stage matches to determine the roster for the “rumble” stage.
Right now, the favorites are MAD Lions, DWG KIA, or RNG. Royal Never Give Up is the only team that has won a Mid-Season Invitational back in 2018 out of all participants this year. DWG KIA has been on a roll with three wins so far and MAD Lions are also likely to win. It will be an interesting third stage once it begins.
MSI 2021 Schedule
The MSI Group Stage is spread out in six matchdays where the group stage will take place. The start of the group stage was on May 6th and it will end with the last matches played on May 11th. If there are any ties it will be decided when the matches will be played.
On May 14th the second stage of the tournament will begin and it will last for five matchdays until May 18th. After the second stage ends, we will see which four teams will go to the semi-finals this year.
On May 21st and May 22nd, the semi-finals will take place and on Sunday (23rd of May) the final between the best two teams will take place. All semi-finals will start from 16:00 CET and will be streamed as all League of Legends matches are for free on the Riot Games platform, so you can watch them if you want to.