The first day of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational held in Reykjavik, Iceland finished amid a tremendous display of riveting action, a new drafting style, the realization of highly-anticipated matchups, incredible comebacks, and absolute stompings from the field of 11 teams.
Every team will have to regroup for adjustments on Day 2, but at the end of Day 1, here are the current standings of the Group Stage. The top two teams of each group will advance to the Rumble stage.
Let’s check out the highlights of Day 1 from MSI 2021.
DWG KIA, RNG Matching Up to Expectations
Leading off the tournament was DWG KIA of the LCK and Cloud9 of the LCS squaring off in a pseudo grudge featuring the world champions and the defending MSI champion in Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.
Cloud9 couldn’t get most of their lineup rolling as the drafting of DWG, which featured Morgana on the jungle for Canyon, prevented them from exerting their influence on Summoner’s Rift. At the same time, DWG took clear control of the game on the macro side, slowly taking down objectives to build an insurmountable that not even C9’s impressive bottom lane of Zven and Vulcan could overcome.
Fortunately for North America’s representatives, this match is the first of five in the double-robin group stage, so they should have enough time to recover their winning ways. As for DWG KIA, all is to be expected from the best team in the world, and with Infinity Esports and DetonatioN FocusMe up on their schedule, they should sit at first.
The same easy start in the journey for international grandeur happened for Royal Never Give Up, the reigning LPL champion, as they dispatched Pentanet.GG of Oceania in a sub-20 minute contest, handing them their first of two losses of the day (the second PGG match defeat was given by Unicorns of Love).
The Chinese side went through their motions in defeating the OCE’s best team. They weathered PGG’s aggressive playstyle and overwhelmed their opponent by the difference of quality they wield. Jungler Wei proved how terrifying of a pick Rumble was through its paralyzing abilities.
Infinity, PaiN Gaming Starting on Right Foot
The southern and middle part of the Americas enjoyed the winning end of their hard-fought matches as Infinity Esports and PaiN Gaming opened their time in MSI.
Infinity Esports fended off a resilient DetonatioN FocusMe from Japan’s LJL on the back of rookie mid-laner cody, who went 5/0/6 on his Sylas, proving everyone outside of Latin America just how good he really is at such a young age. Detonation scored a few moments of life during their test such as the ultimate made by support Kazu with his Rell to stun four Infinity players, but even then it wasn’t enough to turn the tides of victory into their favour.
For PaiN Gaming, their victory wasn’t as clean as Infinity Esports. Frankly, it wasn’t clean at all. They had to claw their way back from a near 5,000 plus gold deficit and an unfavourable kill score to defeat the Istanbul Wildcats, the representative of the TCL, the CBLOL’s fiercest international rival, to secure the victory.
Although PaiN targeted IW’s ADC HolyPhoenix by banning three of his champions during the draft, the Turkish play still had his way with them on Samira, barraging forth with an 8/2/5 line in spite of the eventual turnaround.
But it was integral handiwork of top laner Robo and mid-laner tinowns that rescued PaiN from the brink of defeat. They led the Brazilian to the comeback in about 40 minutes of action with precise micro-management and their superior scaling in the late game, putting them on the driver’s seat for progression from Group B.
New Drafts on the Board
Above all else, nothing dictated the opening day of MSI compared to the list of new picks displayed during the draft of its games including Lee Sin mid, Morgana jungle, the emergence of Rumble, and Renekton mid. Some picks ended up serving well for teams, whereas others did not.
No matter the result, don’t be surprised to see more of these picks coming through in future games. As a result, the days of always playing Udyr and Hecarim for the movement speed advantage his Turbo Chemtank item provides is beginning to subside–at least for a day. Pain’s CarloK and DFM’s Steal selected both champions in their games so it looks as though their presence in the meta will remain in the 2021 Mid-Season invitational.