With the conclusion of the CBLoL’s playoffs resulting in the victory of paiN Gaming, all 12 regions have finally shown which teams they’ll be sending to the Mid-Season Invitationals. Now that we know who’s coming to the international tournament, we’ll be having our MSI 2021 Power Rankings to determine which teams we think have the best chances of taking home the MSI Cup and securing an additional slot for their region at the Worlds 2021 Tournament.
MSI 2021 Power Rankings
The stage is now set for the regional representatives to travel all the way to Iceland in order to compete for the 2nd biggest tournament this year. Unfortunately, the Vietnamese representatives will once again be restricted from attending the tournament because of the country’s strict no-travel policy. Therefore, GAM Esports will be out of contention, leaving only 11 teams left to compete in for the trophy. Riot Games will not be changing the tournament format despite this news.
MSI 2021 is a stage where only the best team from each region are invited to compete. Once a representative is out, all hopes for the region are thrown out of the window. This MSI tournament seems closer than most fans think. Our MSI 2021 Power Rankings will be based on both Regular Season and Playoff performance. Previous performances have no standing because most of these teams have undergone major roster changes as well as the need for adjustment on the meta.
11. DetonatioN FocusMe
DetonatioN FocusMe continues to be the LJL’s top team as they consistently make it to the finals and even defeat the Summer 2020 champs in V3 Esports during the Final Round. This didn’t come easy as the team had to replace their oldest player, Ceros, with a young Korean talent – Aria. The team has looked more consistent with the changes and are undoubtedly the best Japanese team in the League.
Unfortunately, the lack of serious competition in Japan continues to be the region’s biggest hurdle. Most of the region’s top players are imports from bigger regions. Even though DFM managed to take home the victory in the Playoff Finals, their performance throughout the split and even during the playoffs make you question how this team made it to the professional scene. While most of the other regions are climbing up the ladder, Japan remains stagnant in growth.
10. Infinity Esports
Infinity Esports, against all odds, were the only Latin American team that didn’t make use of Korean players to make it to the top 4. The team managed to topple down Furious Gaming, the region’s Top 1 Seed, in a heated best-of-5 after completing a Reverse Sweep. The team has a lot of veterans that managed to make it into the International Stage before which will be important when facing off against some of the biggest names in League of Legends.
Latin America likes to rely on random picks and cluttered teamfights. This is due to the fact that a lot of teams like to create pincer tactics, collapsing on the enemy team down the middle. Other regions have already strayed from this tactic and like to stick together in coordinated teamfights which will most likely throw Infinity Esports off their game. Despite having the right idea about which champions are meta, it still looks like they aren’t using the team synergy of these units to their full potential.
PentanetGG is essentially the remnants of the OPL put into one team. All of the best players that didn’t go to North America banded together into one team. One of Oceania’s best jungler – Pabu – will finally be able to make it to an international stage and showcase why he’s such a powerhouse in the region. However, one man isn’t enough to propel an entire team up through the MSI 2021 Power Rankings so his teammates will also have to prove themselves.
PentanetGG absolutely dominated the regular season having only 1 loss the entire split. Although, one could argue that PGG easily managed to pick this achievement up considering that almost all of the teams in the LCO were freshly built with the majority of the competition either retired or moved to other regions. Regardless, the team has enough talent to become top contenders in the Mid-Season Invitationals and might even prove our MSI 2021 Power Rankings wrong.
8. Istanbul Wildcats
Turkey as a region is starting to climb towards the upper brackets of the wildcard regions. Europe has even started taking an interest in Turkish talent to which they have recruited 3 of the best TCL players they can find in the past year. Istanbul Wildcats contains some of the youngest players in the League but they’ve already proven that they are the best team in the League after an impressive 2nd place run in the regular season and a dominant finish to the playoffs.
None of the Istanbul Wildcats players have ever made it to the International Stage before which will surely affect the way they play. Experience is a big factor in League of Legends and a team that hasn’t faced against teams with different playstyles as them might easily crumble under the unfamiliarity of the situation. This is the only reason why Istanbul Wildcats aren’t higher in our MSI 2021 Power Rankings but we believe that there is a good chance IW will exceed our expectations.
7. paiN Gaming
BrTT has finally made his grand return to the international stage with his former teammates in Flamengo Esports – Robo and Luci by his side once more. paiN Gaming may not have the strongest split but they proved that they still have the killer instincts and experience to prove that they are the top players in the region. PaiN Gaming has moved away from the Brazilian signature aggression and has adapted a more calculated approach that makes them look like a major region.
The core members of paiN Gaming may be ready for the international stage but with such a heavy emphasis on the Jungle, CarioK will need to step up and not crumble against the competition. In terms of this role alone, they are severely outmatched by all 6 teams above them in this MSI 2021 Power Rankings. Good news for CBLoL fans is that the ADC role also has a big impact in the game during the next patch so BrTT should be able to showcase what he does best.
6. Unicorns of Love
As the undisputed kings of the Wildcard Regions, the LCL once again sends their number 1 team in Unicorns of Love. The Unicorns managed to make it all the way to the Group Stage last time but were 0-6 in the Group Stage. This time, however, the team finally has a bot laner that can play a champion other than Ziggs. Retaining a powerful core with a strong new addition, it was no question that they secured the Playoffs even though they didn’t rank high in the regular season.
Unicorns of Love and LCL fans must be going crazy right now considering that they only have 3 teams in their Group. This means that the only team that they should worry about is PentanetGG from the LCO. Although, we would’ve still ranked both the Unicorns of Love and GAM Esports as equal in terms of strength in our MSI 2021 Power Rankings if the VCS reps were allowed to leave the country because of the improvement that the team has shown over the years and in the Spring Season.
5. PSG Talon
PSG Talon is the embodiment of the LMS at its peak with the reunion of the strongest players from each lane back into one team. This team is literally a superteam that’s way above the level of the current PCS teams with 17-1 standing in the Regular Season (only losing to the 2nd seed) and a perfect 9-0 run in the playoffs. This team is on the level of the current Major Region teams and are looking to restore the reputation of LMS.
PSG Talon winning MSI 2021 would restore their 3rd seed, promoting them from their Intermediate Region status back to their Major Region status, the one which won Worlds Season 2. Unlike the other wildcard regions, the PCS actually has some good competition in the region which helps PSG Talon improve their gameplay. As long as the team doesn’t experience any Visa issues like they had in Worlds 2020, the team should be able to contest the first place spot in their group.
As much as we like to meme the LCS as a 4fun region, the fact is that Cloud9 came to play. Many of the analysts and fans like to argue that Cloud9 would have managed to compete for a playoffs spot if they hadn’t choked during the LCS Playoffs. This time, Perkz offers a fresh face to the team and is looking towards defending his title as the MSI 2019 Champion since G2 Esports didn’t manage to qualify for the tournament this year.
If it were Cloud9 or Team Liquid, the LCS may be below the PCS in our MSI 2021 Power Rankings this year but Cloud9 is a special breed that has some of the most bloodthirsty players in the world. Blaber, Perkz, and Zven are looking forward to showcasing what they got at the World Stage. People may joke about NA as a region but we’re pretty sure that C9 will be surprising all of the critics by showing up in the tournament… we think.
3. MAD Lions
MAD Lions surprised the world after two consecutive upset victories. After completely destroying G2 Esports in the upper bracket, people still thought that the entire victory was a fluke. Everybody though it was over when Rogue went up 2-0 in their Bo5 against MAD but the entire team rallied together to pull off the Reverse Sweep. MAD Lions may not be G2 Esports but they prove to the world that they are the Top 3 team internationally and should be taken seriously on the stage.
A lot of critics want to make fun of MAD Lions’ failure to make out of Play-Ins at Worlds 2020 but that time is different. With the addition of Armut and Elyoya, the team has found a playstyle that suits their identity. However, MAD Lions fans should be wary about the huge gap between the Eastern Major Regions with the rest of the world. There is no doubt that MAD will make out of Groups but securing the championship may be difficult with RNG and Damwon Kia in their way.
2. Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up may be situated as our Number 2 team in the MSI 2021 Power Rankings but make no mistake, the gap between this team and Damwon Kia is extremely small especially with the performance that they’ve shown during the LPL Playoffs. RNG currently holds the best Support and Best Top Laner in the world in Ming and Xiaohu which will definitely be a deciding factor in their battle for supremacy.
For the first time in LPL history, the region will send a full Chinese team to MSI. If they manage to take home the trophy in this tournament, no one will be able to say that “5 Chinese Can’t Win“. The team has worked hard in the tournament and they are looking like true teamfight kings and are the rulers of the top lane. However, in the battle between Damwon Kia and RNG, it is Cryin who will make or break the game for the LPL representatives.
1. Damwon Kia
Damwon Kia absolutely smashed the LCK. Despite losing their top laner, the team managed to replicate their dominance in the season even though they lost a few questionable games during the regular season. During the LCK playoffs, the team seemed untouchable and way above the competition. It was like a Korea Team fighting against a bunch of wild card teams. Although, many can attribute that the entirety of the LCK has grown significantly weak and that Damwon Kia has no legitimate competition.
Damwon Kia may just have the facade of dominance considering that the LCK has become a shell of its former self with only Damwon Kia holding up the standards of the region. In the fight against RNG, the team will have to prove themselves as the #1 Team in the MSI 2021 Power Rankings by defeating a team from a region where there are 6-8 World Caliber teams that were competing for the domestic trophy. Do they really have what it takes or are they just overhyped?