MSI 2023 Team Preview: Bilibili Gaming

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MSI 2023 Team Preview: Bilibili Gaming

The LPL’s second seed must start from the Play-In Stage of the MSI, but for a team this strong, it just means a little practice before the real challenge.

The 2023 Mid-Season Invitational began yesterday, and after 2 very exciting matches, G2 Esports and PSG Talon proceeded to the qualifying match of Group B, while LOUD and DetonatioN FocusMe has to take the long route through the Loser’s Bracket. Today, the teams of Group A start their journey – and presumably, LPL 2nd seed Bilibili Gaming wants to spend the least amount of time in the Play-In Stage.

The Journey of Bilibili Gaming

The Chinese squad once fielded legendary player Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, but before the start of the 2023 season, they swapped out almost all of their players. The only player that stayed from the previous roster is Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin, the toplaner who Bilibili acquired after the won the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational with Royal Never Give Up. Alongside Bin, BLG signed three young players, Peng “Xun” Li-Xun for the jungle, Zhao “Elk” Jia-Hao as the AD Carry of the team and Lou “ON” Wen-Jun as his support. They also got former JD Gaming midlaner Zeng “Yagao” Qi to pull the whole roster together.

The Chinese 2nd seed didn’t have the best run in the 2023 LPL Spring Split, as they finished 5th out of the 17 teams participating in the tournament. While Bilibili Gaming had a massively positive winrate, beating 10 out of their 16 opponents, they couldn’t best teams such as JD Gaming, Team WE, former World Champions Edward Gaming and LNG Esports.

Bilibili Gaming the players of the Chinese Second seed

Nevertheless, they qualified for the Playoffs with ease, but they had to start their run from Round 2, which meant that Bin and co. had quite a distance until they reached the finals. They beat Royal Never Give Up 3-1 in their first Bo5, then defeated Weibo Gaming 3-0, proving to be stronger than anyone anticipated. Sadly, they couldn’t best the winners of the Regular Season, but they got very close, as JD Gaming needed the full 5 games of the series to knock Bilibili down to the Loser’s Bracket. XUN and his teammates then battled with OMG and EDG in 2 5-match series, fighting tooth and nail for that rematch against JDG – which they got at the end. However, JD Gaming was on a roll after 3-0-ing EDG, and they managed to defeat BLG a third time, and even faster than the last time around.

Nevertheless, Bilibili Gaming made it to the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational after finishing 5th in the Regular Season, which is a huge achievement on its own! The Chinese squad have already begun their journey, beating LLA Champions Movistar R7 with ease – but the victory yesterday was just their first step towards glory.

Players to Watch on Bilibili Gaming

The most interesting player in the squad is most definitely Elk, the 21-year-old ADC. After playing for Team WE and Ultra Prime, he levelled up among the ranks of Bilibili Gaming, pulling crazy damage numbers according to statistics site Games of Legends: he does more than 32% of his team’s overall damage, he is an adept on Aphelios, but has showed prowess on Jinx as well. While he has some years behind him, it’s going to be interesting to see how high Elk can rise.

With ON, they make a killer Lucian – Nami duo in the botlane, but they support’s best pick is definitely his Rakan, which was banned against BLG in their first series at the 2023 MSI. However, that didn’t really faze ON, who can play almost anything to complement Elk, and now he and his midlaner can flex Nautilus as well.

Of course, Yagao is worth a mention as well, as the veteran midlaner brings the stability to Bilibili Gaming. He has played picks such as Veigar, Galio and Annie to facilitate his squad, but is also capable of carrying. During the second day of the MSI, he also picked Nautilus midlane, showing the competition that he can adapt to the meta.

Bilibili Gaming Nidalee
Nidalee could be a pick of interest for the team

Just like XUN, the young jungler of the team. While in the Spring LPL, he was known for his Vi and Wukong, he dabbled in picks such as Kindred (which is the most banned Champion against Bilibili Gaming), Lee Sin and Viego, and even played some Nidalee games before the 13.8 Patch got implemented to tournaments, making the Vastayan Huntress one of the strongest junglers in the game. Bilibili’s new mid-jungle dynamic seems to be working, but they can always fall back on the older tactics if need be.

Thanks to his teammates, the redemption arc of Bin looks pretty good. Last year’s MSI Champion said that he felt like his team carried him to the victory last year, but this year, he wants to prove that he is more than capable of winning a Mid-Season Invitational. His Jax and Kennen is scary, his team is one of the best at the competition – now he just has to win it all.

While Bilibili Gaming starts the event in the Play-In, it just means they have some practice matches before the Bracket Stage – as they have proved in the match against Movistar R7. While teams such as T1, Gen.G, and especially JD Gaming can give them a headache, they are more than capable of taking the trophy home – if they get to the finals.

Where to watch Bilibili Gaming

You can find Bilibili Gaming on the official Riot Games Twitch channel, the LolEsports YouTube channel and today at 17:00 CEST when they play against the Golden Guardians to see who will be the first to qualify for the Bracket Stage. Don’t forget to follow ESTNN as well to find all the latest Previews and Predictions for the Mid-Season Invitational!

MSI 2023 Team Preview: Bilibili Gaming
Bence Loksa
Bence "Atreus" Loksa is a freelance journalist and League of Legends shoutcaster, covering all things esports and gaming, also yelling loudly at big plays happening on the Summoner's Rift. While his main focus is Riot Games' hit MOBA, he also dabbles in Call of Duty, VALORANT, and as of recent, the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 - where he looks to make some grudges with his Leagues of Votann army.