With the Mid-Season Invitational just seven days away I thought this week I’d have a bit of fun with this week’s column.
The idea of the 90-50-10, stolen unashamedly from the League of Legends subreddit – who stole it from, er, statistics, I guess – is that you make predictions for each probability. For example, a popular pick for the 90 category in League of Legends is that an Asian team will win the event. On the other end of the scale, a 10 might be that an American team will win the event.
Simple enough, yeah? So let’s dive in. I promise I’ll to be a little more controversial than the examples above.
90 – Invictus Gaming wins it all
Not exactly a hot take to start with, but picking the winner of six-team– tournament (considering the fact that only six teams make it to the main event and Invictus Gaming are invited directly to it – is an easy way to end up looking silly.
On the other hand, picking the reigning world champions is about as safe as you can get.
It’s more than just that, though. For starters, China has a very good record at previous Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) events. Despite countless near misses on the Worlds stage, Chinese teams have won two of the four invitational tournaments since the 2015 inception, including the most recent one in 2018.
Maybe the fact that MSI is less prestigious than Worlds allows Chinese teams to play without nerves. Maybe Korean teams were saving strats for Worlds in those years. No, but it’s possible they didn’t prepare as thoroughly for MSI as they would for Worlds.
Even if, like me, you believe that previous form at this kind of event is not a predictor of future success, there is more evidence in favour of an IG victory. Most importantly, they emerged from the most competitive of the major regions to win a 3-0 playoffs final. Yes, G2 and SKT had incredibly one-sided finals matches, but neither of them had to beat the likes of Topsports and JD Gaming.
Oh, and yes, SKT beat the best team in Korea 3-0, but I think a strong case can be made for the fact that Griffin really beat themselves.
Really, this one comes down to the fact that IG were the best team in the world six months ago, and I have seen no evidence to the contrary since then.
50 – G2 Makes the final
Everyone and their uncle is expecting an SKT-IG final. Everyone except G2 fans is probably hoping for it, honestly, because it would make a great spectacle.
But I’m on the G2 hype train. I agree with the people who say this is the best European line-up the world has ever seen, and that is with the knowledge that Fnatic made the final of Worlds last year.
This G2 line-up stole that Fnatic’s best player, though, and kept all of its own. Remember that G2 without Caps had a similarly stellar showing at Worlds. And, sure, Caps didn’t really have his greatest performances against IG in the aforementioned final, but he didn’t have a great tournament in general. I bet he’s chomping at the bit for another shot at Rookie. I hope so, at least.
The point is, this G2 is better than that Fnatic, and I honestly, genuinely believe they can beat both SKT and IG on their day.
This is my 50 and not my 90, however, because that day might not come. Can beat is not the same as will beat. IG’s players have already proven themselves on a bigger stage than this and they swept G2 at the same time.
With G2’s knack for strategic innovation this year, though, who knows what could happen in a rematch? I’d favour IG, but I would expect a better match than we got last time these teams met.
In the end this pick might come down to when G2 meets IG. I don’t think an upset win is impossible, but they would rather avoid having to cause that upset until the grand final. I don’t think anyone except SKT and IG should really offer G2 much of a challenge, all things being equal, and I think the Europeans have a much better chance against a comparatively untested (internationally) SKT.
10 – Liquid pulls a Counter Logic Gaming
Once upon a time, America’s MSI attendees actually made it to the grand final. It seems extra crazy today when we see CLG struggling in their own domestic league, but 2016 was a different time. This was the tournament that gave birth to G2’s vacation memes and CLG’s 2-0 record against them helped to deliver it.
But CLG didn’t just beat a disappointing European champion who barely seemed to be trying; they took a game from both RNG and eventual champions SKT. It was one of the weirdest international events of all time until SKT annihilated them 3-0 in the final.
None of this really supports Team Liquid having similar success in any meaningful way, but that’s why this is my least confident pick. It’s possible that, like G2 in Europe, this Team Liquid is the strongest American team of all time, but that means a lot less. Crazy things can happen at MSI, but Liquid beating an IG or an SKT en route to a finals appearance would be the craziest yet.