LPL’s RNG closed out the 2018 MSI by taking down Kingzone DragonX. Taking place for approximately a month, the champions of each region fought head-on during this tournament.
A total of 14 teams and 64 players participated in this event. As big as the event was, many awe-worthy moments were captured throughout it. We saw the old veterans, and we were able to witness teams take others by surprise with unorthodox picks and strategies. Many upsets happened throughout the tournament as well.
Many memorable stories were written in regards to the 2018 MSI. Here is a couple of them.
- Back After 3 Years
The first ever MSI took place in 2015. Comparing then to now, the annual tournament has grown exponentially larger. But every legend has an unforgettable start.
The 2015 MSI took place in the US. With all of its participants being the champions of their respective region, the tournament seemed small at first. The tournament began with promotion matches that had the format of a play-in stage and was named the Wildcard match. LCK’s SKT T1, LPL’s EDG, EU LCS’s Fnatic, NA LCS’s TSM, LMS’s ahq, and the winner of the Wildcard match, Beşiktaş e-Sports Club, competed against one another in the group stage.
At the time, SKT seemed unstoppable. Being the tournament favorite, SKT lived up to their fame and displayed exceptional performance throughout the group stage. Following right behind them was EDG. SKT and EDG finished the group stage with a close score, SKT having finished 5-0 while EDG,4-1. Although it was close, the fans still favored SKT.
During the semifinals, SKT barely advanced. Their series against FNC was way closer than fans have expected. On the other hand, EDG defeated ahq with a perfect score of 3-0. And during the Finals, EDG defeated SKT after playing a full set. With Pawn and Deft, EDG lifted the MSI trophy.
After that year, however, LPL wasn’t so fortunate with the MSI tournament. In 2016 and 2017, SKT came back stronger; almost as if they were furious for having tasted defeat in 2015. For two straight years, LPL wasn’t able to qualify for the Finals. The once popular statement that “LPL is the only worthy rival of LCK,” faded away.
Three years passed since 2015, and the LPL now holds the MSI trophy -- but this time, every player but Karsa is of Chinese nationality. The RNG players stood tall, surrounding the trophy -- reminiscent of 2015 when the LPL defeated LCK.
- Breaking the UZI/RNG Curse
In almost every sport, there exist fanmade “curses” that usually express a player or a team’s inability to win. The same exists in esports. During the StarCraft era, YellOw was the most well-known carrier of this curse. As for the LCK, Score was. Even the recent 2018 MSI champions, RNG -- more specifically, UZI -- had this curse.
Uzi receives a lot more praise from professional gamers and analysts than that he does from his fans. It’s thanks to his exceptional mechanics and carry potential. However, with all that said, he wasn’t a player that was known for winning. In both the LPL and most of the international tournaments, Uzi had always finished second. But in 2018, Uzi not only had won the LPL trophy but the MSI one as well.
Including Rekkles, Hans Sama, and even PraY during an interview, multiple professional players have mentioned that Uzi is the best ADC player in the world, and it brought surprise to the fans. The reason for the surprise is that Uzi has always been the main target for the enemy teams in international tournaments -- limiting his ability to carry his team. Simply put, Uzi hadn’t shown anything too impressive.
It was different this time around; with RNG, Uzi net himself his first international title. Although every team in the tournament had focused Uzi, he didn’t fall. As a matter of fact, Uzi overpowered his opposing laners all throughout the tournament.
Along with Uzi, RNG had won its first international title. Although the team had always been rated as LPL’s best, RNG had always failed time and time again on the international stage. However, through the 2018 MSI, fans witnessed the upgraded RNG.
- EU once again going beyond NA.
There are those renowned derby matches in the League scene. One can be the clash between the LCK and LPL, but if you go further back in time, there has been a more competitive and intense matchup: EU LCS vs NA LCS. The two regions have maintained their rivalry since season 1.
CLG did place on 2nd in 2016 MSI, going beyond EU’s G2. Also, in the 2017 Rift Rivals, NA managed to win the matchup against EU. However, some might disagree towards the fact that these two are actually ‘rivals’ because EU teams were clearly showing better performance in international events.
The result was pretty much the same in the 2018 MSI as well; EU’s Fnatic succeeded to advance to the semi-finals, whereas NA’s Team Liquid failed to get through the group stage. The two teams went against each other on the 4th place tiebreaker, and FNC came out ahead. EU was able to place themselves higher than NA, and they did it with their own hands.
With FNC's victory in the tiebreaker, EU fans from the League of Legends community can stand tall, and proudly comment, "EU > NA."
- A Name That'll Be Remembered Despite the Loss
NA failed to proceed to the MSI Knockout stage, letting their fans down once again. Team Liquid’s(TL) overall performance was poor compared to their rival, EU’s. As always, there were those hopes towards NA’s ‘improved’ performance, but again NA proved nothing different to their previous international event results.
However, Doublelift managed to stick out among the players in TL. He was thought of as a rather underperforming player in international tournaments. He sometimes has shown plays such as getting killed while trying to farm up in a sightless territory; some fans even named his careless style as the “Doublelift position”.
However, Doublelift’s 2018 MSI performance was enough to earn the fan’s respect. This veteran ADC was the one to step up for TL showing remarkable performance when the team was ahead, claiming the victory. Even when TL lost, Doublelift was the one who was still concrete, fighting hard to regain the advantage throughout the game. His performance was indeed amazing, given that he had to overcome a tragic family issue right before the NA LCS finals.
Although they failed to proceed to the Knockout stage, the ‘6th place’ EVOS Esports managed to show quality performance in this MSI. They used an interesting tactic - leaving the bottom lane to withstand and focusing their resources only on Top, Jungle and Mid. This aggressive strategy caught the attention of the international League fans. They ranked on the very bottom of the standings but their unique style was truly memorable.
Is ADCs’ main Spell shifting to Teleport?
LoL esports has existed for quite a long time and every year a new meta is introduced to the scene. Sometimes, a certain meta is improved and newly developed into another meta. In this year’s MSI, some ADCs shocked the fans by using Teleport as their Summoner Spell.
The start was from PraY. In the group stage, he went for the Teleport Ezreal alongside with his double Tear’ build. Ezreal gains power in laning and combat once his Tear of the Goddess and Sheen is built. Now he can get use of his early power phase by Teleporting into lane more quickly.
Once the tournament proceeded to bo5s, more and more ADCs started to choose Teleport for their Summoner Spell. In the finals, Uzi and PraY both mostly went used Teleport. Surprisingly, only in game 4. Heal was chosen as an ADC Summoner Spell. This wasn’t just for their Ezreal pick. They used this same strategy when playing other ADC champions because earning an advantage in Bottom lane was the key factor for the series.
Teleport wasn’t just used in lane phase. ADCs teamed up with the rest by using Teleport when the teams were pressuring the opponent’s Mid turret and to help out the team in small skirmishes.
A different patch will be used in the Summer splits. We’ll have to see whether the ‘ADC Teleport meta’ will still be chosen as the main strategy among teams.