David Hollingsworth
David Hollingsworth
David has written for games media outlets for the last seven years. With his first major esports role being with Esports News UK covering mostly UK League of Legends. David is also a member of the British Esports Association and is an advisor to them on World of Warcraft Esports. More recently David has worked for Esports Insider and Red Bull as an esports journalist.

LoL: Everything You Need To Know About MSI 2021

The text "MSI 2021" peeks out from behind a mountainside with a sprawling town in front of it with some green circles scattered around.
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It’s finally time for our first major international League of Legends event of 2021 as the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) gets underway.


It seems like an age since we last had an international event, and the lack of the 2020 MSI event hasn’t been forgotten. Now, in 2021 we have an MSI, and it’s on LAN, and we couldn’t be happier. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need about MSI 2021.

Where can I watch MSI 2021?

As always, the best bet is lolesports.com. You can watch on a variety of platforms through that and see live stats during the games. Or if you want it even easier, you can just head to the official Riot Games Twitch stream.

When does MSI 2021 start?

The 2021 MSI gets underway on Thursday, May 6. As of publishing, the Grand Final is due to take place on May 22.

Due to the event being an international event being hosted during the pandemic, there’s a significant gap between the end of most regular seasons and the event. This was also lengthened by the later start and longer duration of certain leagues’ Spring Split.

What teams will be at MSI?

Eleven teams in total will attend MSI this year, each winning their regional league. They are divided into four pools, which split apart into three groups, one team from each pool being in a group.

Pool One:

  • China: Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
  • Korea: DWG KIA
  • Europe: MAD Lions

Pool Two:

Pool Three:

  • CIS: Unicorns of Love
  • Latin America: Infinity Esports
  • Turkey: fastPay Wildcats

Pool Four:

  • Brazil: paiN Gaming
  • Japan: DetonatioN FocusMe
  • Oceania: PentanetGG

The aforementioned groups for the Group Stage are as follows:

Group A:

  • Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
  • Unicorns of Love
  • Pentanet.GG

Group B:

  • MAD Lions
  • PSG.Talon
  • fastPay Wildcats
  • paiN Gaming

Group C:

  • DAMWON Gaming KIA
  • Cloud9
  • Infinity Esports
  • DetonatioN FocusMe

What is the MSI format?

This year, MSI will feature three groups of three to four teams. The regions have been placed into pools, then divided up. Previously, the lower-ranked regions had to battle it out in play-in stages. For 2021, and with the risk of COVID-19 still looming, Riot Games has opted to throw everyone right into the group stage.

Below you’ll see how the rules will play out across the three stages, starting in groups, before heading to the new “Rumble” stage. Basically, come first or second and advanced, come the six remaining sides will then play in a smaller knockout event, with the top four advancing.

Event Information

  • Location: Laugardalshöll Sport Center, Reykjavik
  • Prize Pool: TBA

Stage 1 (Groups)

  • Teams are drawn into three groups based on seeding
  • Double Round Robin
  • Matches are best of one
  • Top two teams from each group advance to Stage 2
  • The remaining teams move down to the Rumble

Stage 2 (Rumble)

  • Double Round Robin
  • Matches are best of one
  • The top four teams advance to Stage 3
  • The remaining teams go home

Stage 3 (Knockout)

  • Single elimination bracket
  • Matches are best of five

Who’s favorite to win MSI 2021?

It’s going to be fair to assume that China or Korea will be favorites. North America will be feeling good after Cloud9 qualified, while Europe has sent the hungry MAD Lions. As for the rest, Turkey is always worth a look, though the likelihood of anyone outside the top four regions taking the title is unlikely.

Additional World spot up from grabs

MSI 2021 adds a new layer of importance to the mid-season event. This year the winner of MSI will be given an extra spot at Worlds 2021. So if China were to win the event, the region as a whole would gain another slot, which is enough to spread fear to many other regions.

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