The Mid-Seasonal Invitational is just around the corner with Royal Never Give Up, Pentanet.GG and the Unicorns of Love all in action in Group A.
ESTNN is back with its second of three 2021 MSI role-by-role power rankings. Due to the removal of the VCS from this tournament due to immigration issues, this group stage power ranking will be shorter than the rest with only three teams participating. Here are ESTNN’s Group A role power rankings.
- Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao - Royal Never Give Up
- Brandon “Biopanther” Alexander - Pentanet.GG
- Vladislav “Boss” Fomin - UOL
Xiahou returns to the international stage for the first time since his shocking role swap to the top lane. The move has worked wonders for Xiaohu after being nominated as the best top laner in the LPL with a first all-pro team award. Xiaohu has finally been unleashed and is looking to win his second MSI title.
Biopanther has been rock solid for Pentanet all season long. He was the first player to win the Finals MVP in the LCO and will now get the opportunity to test himself against the best players in the world. Biopanther is known for his tank play and will be a force to be reckoned with if he is allowed on one of his comfort tank picks, such as Ornn or Sion.
Boss has been a strong member for UOL this season and third on this list is not indicative of how good he is as a player. The man is well known on the international stage and is not one to shy away. But he will have to adapt given the different styles both of his lane opponents like to play. Xiaohu is known for being extremely flexible given he was a former mid lane, while Biopanther loves to play tanks.
- Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei - Royal Never Give Up
- Kirill “AHaHaCiK” Skvortsov - UOL
- Jackson “Pabu” Pavone - Pentanet.GG
Wei debuted in the spring of 2020, immediately turning heads for his impressive performances on eStar. After signing with RNG, Wei has not looked back and has vastly improved split after split. He tied Viper in the regular season MVP standings and earned himself first-team all-pro, beating out the tough competition of Karsa and Kanavi. This is Wei’s opportunity to earn some well-needed reputation on the international stage before facing much stronger junglers in the Rumble stage.
Ever since his time on Vega Squadron, AHaHaCiK has been the driving force for UOL. The CIS jungler has vast international experience playing in previous MSI’s and World Championships. AHaHaCiK’s most played champion this split was Lillia, winning five games and losing just the one time. While UOL came into the MSI qualifiers as the fourth seed, AHaHaCiK put together some big performances in the Final to ensure UOL once again gets to compete at an international event.
Pabu comes into this Group Stage as a major underdog in comparison to his jungle counterparts. Xiaohu is not the only player in this group to have changed their role in the past year. Pabu has flourished since moving from the top lane. For Pabu, MSI 2021 will simply be a learning experience for him, as he is heavily outclassed in the individual matchup.
- Lev “Nomanz” Yakshin - UOL
- Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei - Royal Never Give Up
- Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney - Pentanet.GG
This is where the ESTNN power rankings go up a level. With Nomanz being ranked as the #1 mid laner in this group. Nomanz is a monster and simply could easily be playing for a solid team in North America or Europe right now. The mid laner is the carry of UOL and matches up well against his fellow mid laners in this group with the license UOL gives him through lane bullying champions. In addition, Cryin and Chazz will have to watch out for his pocket pick Kassadin. Nomanz played it three times this split and boasted a huge 22 KDA.
While it may be a surprise to see the new LPL Champion Cryin in second place, Cryin is arguably the least standout player on the roster. It's important to note that he's not a strong laner by the LPL standards. Cryin is best known for being able to coordinate with his team on champions such as Twisted Fate. If Nomanz is able to keep Cryin at bay, this heavily impacts Cryin’s ability to play the map which, is a big avenue for UOL to play around.
While Chazz has a solid split on Pentanet, he is going up against two strong players that will heavily punish the mistakes he got away with in his region. This is an uphill battle for Chazz and could very well be a rough one for him. Both Nomanz and Cryin play two very different styles, with Nomanz looking to bully you, while Cryin will have you blinded by his quick thinking when it comes to cross-map plays.
- Chen “Gala” Wei - Royal Never Give Up
- Mark “Praedyth” Lewis - Pentanet.GG
- Stanislav “Lodik” Kornelyuk - UOL
Gala had a monstrous performance for RNG this split and was worthy of his LPL Finals MVP, where he completely outclassed 2019 World Champion LWX. While it is going to be hard to fill the shoes of legendary ADC Uzi, Gala is carrying on the success Uzi brought with him on RNG.
Praedyth will have big questions to answer for heading into the Group Stage portion of MSI. Kai'sa was his most played champion by far, with 10 games on the champion. While he picked it up in the Playoffs, Praedyth needs to make sure he is comfortable on more champions in the meta if he is to thrive against his opponents in this group.
Lodik has only been with UOL a short time which makes it difficult to rank him any higher in this power ranking. There was only a small sample size to work with and will be fighting an uphill battle from the get-go. Luckily for Lodik, he is surrounded by a strong core of players who will make the transition easier. This Group Stage should give Lodik time to warm up before potentially making it to the Main Stage.
- Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming - Royal Never Give Up
- Aleksandr “SaNTaS” Lifashin - UOL
- Daniel “Decoy” Ealam - Pentanet.GG
Ming was extremely close to snatching up the LPL Finals MVP for himself with an incredible performance in the Grand Finals against FPX. He is the third player to find himself on the first all-pro team. Ming showed up when it mattered with exceptional performances in the Playoffs. He may have had a rough 2020 but Ming is in championship form and looking to march RNG to another MSI trophy.
SaNTaS did not have the best of times this split but performed the best he could given the revolving door of ADC’s. SaNTas looked very solid in the Playoffs with strong performances on both Tahm Kench and Alistar to help his side book a ticket to Iceland. Now that UOL has established a permanent bot lane, going into Worlds later in the year, UOL will be a force to be reckoned with after a learning experience at MSI.
Decoy will, despite any odds, be looking to have a solid appearance at MSI this year. However, the LCO support lacks the international experience to hang with the other two supports in his group. Decoy had a great showing in the regular season but slowed down during the Playoffs. The Pentanet support is known for his variety of champions and this will be his key strength coming into Group A.