Cloud9 secured its first win of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational during day 3 of the group stage against Infinity Esports, and after the North American representative's win, C9 mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perković joined Laure Valée on the broadcast for a post-game interview. During one of his answers to Valée's questions, Perkz admitted that despite a strong carry performance on Tristana, he was a bit at a loss for what has actually defined the mid lane throughout the first three days of MSI.
"I don't really know what's actually strong in mid," Perkz said, stating that Tristana was simply a pick for the composition Cloud9 drafted. Before its win against Infinity Esports, C9 has certainly struggled to start MSI, losing to DWG KIA and then Detonation FocusMe, the latter in far more unexpected fashion.
However, Perkz doesn't seem to be the only one unsure of what's best in the mid lane meta on Patch 11.9 — through three days of MSI 2021, 15 unique mid lane champions have been picked, the most of any role at the tournament. MSI has seen far more physical damage dealing mid laners than previous international events, which has shaken up the meta significantly, and Unicorns of Love mid laner Lev "Nomanz" Yakshin points towards the changes in the jungle meta as the primary influence.
"If you watch the matches, there's a lot of Nidalee, Morgana and Rumble, and even Udyr deals more magic damage than physical damage," Nomanz explained in a post-game interview with Inven Global after UOL's day 3 matches.
"In a fully AP jungle meta, you have to play AD mids to be strong individually, or you pick a control mage with Udyr and play to outscale or something like that."
The role of the mid laner in the competitive context hasn't changed much when compared to previous patches, but because of the changes to the jungle pool, the way in which that role is fulfilled can look very different than competitive matches seen around the world earlier this season. Perkz may be the only player to have acknowledged this uncertainty out loud, but if the current state of the mid lane pool is any indication, many of Perkz's peers share his sentiment.