- This year’s Mid-Season Invitational will retain the same format with a Play-In Stage featuring two rounds.
A double-round robin group stage wherein each team will face each other in a best-of-one match-up and a qualifying round in a best-of-five format.
The groups for the first round of the Play-In Stage are as follows:
Latin America North – Rainbow7
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – Gambit Esports
Latin America South – Kaos Latin Gamers
Southeast Asia – Ascension Gaming
Brazil – KaBuM! e-Sports
Turkey – SuperMassive eSports
Oceania – Dire Wolves
Japan – PENTAGRAM
Rainbow7 and Gambit Esports will be the teams to look out for in Group A.
Formerly known as Lyon Gaming, Rainbow7 remains the barometer for Latin America. However, their performance internationally has been consistently subpar. They will rely on their chemistry and familiarity in their quest for internarional glory with their roster intact.
Gambit Esports made their names known in the European League of Legends Championship Series before moving to the CIS’ League of Legends Continental League. Despite struggling early in the first few Splits, the veteran team picked up momentum and steamrolled through the league in Summer 2017 and Spring 2018. Gambit though shares their international struggles with their Latin American counterpart.
The Southeast Asian team, Ascension Gaming is the dark horse squad in Group A. The Thai team may have just been created in 2016 but their roster feature proven veterans to help them in theor MSI campaign. Playing second fiddle to Vietnam last year, the Thai team is raring to leave their own mark in the competitive scene this year.
In Group B, KaBum! E-Sports and SuperMassive eSports will be the teams to keep an eye on.
KaBum! E-Sports are no strangers to the international scene after having the honor of being the first Wild Card team to win a game at the World Championship stage. The team has been on a roller coaster ride since their historic win. Kabum dominated the Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) to qualify for MSI 2018.
SuperMassive eSports will be attending their third straight MSI tourney. The team has proven to be one of the top teams in their region after going to the Finals of every Turkish Champions League since 2016. Their roster has also since been fortified by two veteran Korean players, mid-laner Lee “GBM” Chang-seok and support No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong, while still keeping intact three mainstays.
Both veteran organizations will surely look to show they’ve still got it and then some. But they’ll also have to go through fellow veteran squads, Dire Wolves and PENTAGRAM (formerly known as Rampage).
Awaiting the two teams of the Group Stage will be Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau’s Flash Wolves and Vietnam’s EVOS Esports. While the Flash Wolves has been a mainstay in the international scene and can be considered a household name in their region, EVOS Esports have yet to prove their worth internationally.
The Vietnamese team, despite being a relatively new name internationally, have two names that will be familiar to those that followed the GIGABYTE Marine’s last year, AD Carry Nguyễn “Slay” Ngọc Hùng and jungler Phan “Stark” Công Minh. The veterans will look to continue the legacy that the GIGABYTE Marines left for the region, but also to make theor stamp internationally.
Only two teams will qualify for the Main Event and surely all teams hope to make their respective regions proud by continuing to face some of the best in the Main Event of the Mid-Season Invitational 2018.
Gambit Esports and Kaos Latin Gamers open MSI 2018 with the rest of the Group A playing their first round-robin throughout Day 1. It all begins later at 7 PM (Philippine Time, GMT+8).
Featured photo courtesy of na.leagueoflegends.com
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