Sports
2021 Mid-Season Invitational returns after last year’s cancellation
Published : Mar 2, 2021 - 14:46
Updated : Mar 2, 2021 - 14:46
2021 Mid-Season Invitational (Riot Games)

The Mid-Season Invitational for League of Legends, featuring 12 teams from regions across the world, will be held in Reykjavik, Iceland from May 6 to 23, according to Riot Games on Tuesday.

As the second biggest LoL event of the year, behind only the World Championships in the fall, the MSI was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

One of the biggest awards for winning the spring split for teams around the world is punching the ticket to MSI. It is one of few opportunities for teams in minor regions to compete with top teams in the world, where fans get to see the strength of each region.

With Korea’s spring champion T1 and North America’s spring champion Cloud 9 both failing to qualify for the World Championships in the fall last year, the absence of the MSI event could be felt more than ever, as fans wondered how these teams would put up against the rest of the top teams around the world.

The MSI format has been changed this year in that all 12 spring split champions of each region will have equal footing. In previous years, teams from non-major regions -- Oceania, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, Latin America, among others -- had to get through the play-in stage, where only winners could advance to the group stage to compete with teams from major regions -- Korea, North America, Europe and China.

This year, all 12 teams will be divided into three groups of four, where after a single-set double round robin, the top two teams will qualify for the “rumble stage.” The six teams that qualify for the rumble stage will then play another single-set double round robin to have the top four teams advance to the knockout stage.

The knockout stages will be best of five, with the finals on May 23.

All the matches will be played without an audience at the Laugardalsholl indoor sporting arena, where the iconic 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fischer of the US and Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union took place. Participating teams will go through quarantine upon arrival in Reykjavik, though it is subject to change according to the virus situation.

Meanwhile, Riot Games’ squad-based shooter Valorant will also have its first international event, Valorant Champions Tour, following MSI at the same stadium.

Riot Games also announced that Verizon has been chosen as the official global partner to provide 5G wireless service for both events.

“We are thrilled to showcase high-level Riot esports competition to a country as stunning and unique as Iceland, underscoring that passion for our esports can be found in every corner of the globe,” said John Needham, global head of esports for Riot Games.

Details on the prize money and skins, or in-game character accessories available for purchase, for the MSI have not yet been announced.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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