Who should you support at MSI 2022? - Dexerto
League of Legends

Who should you support at MSI 2022?

Published: 4/May/2022 16:00 Updated: 4/May/2022 16:26

by Meg Kay

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Been out of the loop with competitive League of Legends? No problem – we’ve got you covered, with a comprehensive guide to who you should root for at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational.

International competition is officially back for League of Legends, with the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational kicking off at the BEXCO arena in Busan, Korea, on May 10.

It’ll be the first international tournament of 2022, and it’s already shaping up to be pretty spicy. Representatives from 11 of League’s competitive regions will do battle for international supremacy and the right to call themselves an international champion (or a world champion, according to G2 owner Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodríguez).

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But if you’ve been out of the loop with international League of Legends, MSI can be pretty daunting. Eleven teams, all from different regions, all with their own unique play styles, motivations, and fan bases. If you’re not a super-invested regional fan, then it can be impossible to choose who exactly you should be rooting for on the rift.

Never fear. Here is our comprehensive guide explaining why each team might be worthy of your support at MSI 2022.

If that one European international title is the best thing that’s ever happened to you, root for G2 Esports

Michal Konkol/Riot Games
G2 Esports are the only Western organization to ever win an MSI title.

May 2019 was one of the best months of your life. Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road had just been released, Avengers: Endgame was hitting cinemas – and G2 Esports won Europe’s first-ever MSI championship, beating North American representatives Team Liquid in the fastest international League finals of all time.

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The lineup may not be exactly the same in 2022, with only Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther and Marcin ‘Jankos’ Jankowski remaining from that MSI-winning squad.

But this G2 roster is looking to make waves at this year’s MSI, qualifying for the tournament off the back of a 12-game winning streak through the lower bracket of the LEC playoffs.

Think Ahri mid lane, think impeccable teamfighting from bot laner Victor ‘Flakked’ Lirola, and think Jankos screaming his head off every time the team clutch a game. It’s that usual G2 flair, with the addition of two talented rookies and a top laner who is the living embodiment of ‘1v1 me, bro’.

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And more importantly, it’s the continuation of the EU/NA rivalry by a team full of the biggest memers in Europe. With Jankos promising to send Evil Geniuses’ mid laner ‘back to Fortnite’, the rivalry is alive and kicking, and G2 are milking it for all it’s worth.

Want to make NA great again? Root for Evil Geniuses

Parkes Ousley
EG’s rookies are reigniting the hype for homegrown North American talent.

Is that a bald eagle screeching somewhere in the distance? No, it’s just the cries of jubilant NA fans, rejoicing at the fact that this year’s LCS MSI representative will have not one, but two, incredible homegrown rookies.

Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Joonpyun and Kyle ‘Danny’ Sakamaki are, unquestionably, the future of North American league, especially for what they represent – they are the successful product of one of NA’s best amateur to LCS talent pipelines, set up by Evil Geniuses to scout the best the NA server has to offer.

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Rooting for the LCS means rooting for the future of North American talent. The region’s international record is… shall we say less-than-stellar, but there’s no time like the present to get on board the LCS hype train in the hopes that Evil Geniuses will pull off the upset at MSI.

Mid laner Jojopyun has already done his part to set the stakes for EG at MSI, promising fans that they would ‘sh*t on EU’, who they’ll face in their group. Whether or not his prophecy comes true, how can you not love that kind of self-confidence?

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If you have never rooted for the underdog (and you’re not about to start now) then RNG is your team

RNG MSI 2021
Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games
Not only did RNG just win the LPL Spring Split, but they’re coming to MSI as the tournament’s reigning champions.

If you travelled back in time to 2016 and told someone that the LPL would be the world’s most dominant international region, there’s a high chance they wouldn’t believe you.

Royal Never Give Up’s victory at the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational sparked a reign of dominance for the LPL. The region has won five of the last seven international events in League’s tournament calendar, with their most recent being a victory against the LCK’s DAMWON KIA in the 2021 World Championship Finals.

And now, RNG are back at MSI, and they’re looking to make themselves the first-ever team to win three MSI titles. The LPL’s international pedigree cannot be overstated for even a second. Although their domestic tournaments are, to phrase it lovingly, a little bit of a clown fiesta, they are a terrifying force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

More importantly, this RNG team come into the tournament as reigning MSI champions and with minimal changes to their 2021 roster. If they’ve done it once, who’s to say they can’t do it again?

If you’re putting money on the outcome of MSI and you need a safe bet, root for T1

Riot Games
Even if you’ve never watched a game of competitive League, chances are you’ve heard of T1 Faker

This one’s pretty simple. T1 are the only team at MSI who went undefeated in their home region – if that’s not a guarantee of high performance, then frankly I don’t know what is.

There are very few cracks in T1’s armor. Their gameplay is solid, and they have one of the most exciting bot lanes at the tournament in Ryu ‘Keria’ Minseok and Lee ‘Gumayusi’ Minhyeong. They’re not perfect by any means, but they’re arguably one of the least exploitable teams at MSI this year.

Alongside RNG, they are strong candidates to win the whole tournament. After a shaky few years for the team, it finally feels like the SKT spirit has returned to T1, who might finally claim their first international title since MSI 2017.

Oh, and they have Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok. Enough said.

If you think the major regions are getting just a little too big for their boots, root for PSG Talon

Twitter @PSG_Talon
PSG Talon are looking to shake things up at MSI 2022, following their semi-final run at the tournament in 2021.

Minor regions in League of Legends don’t often get the love they deserve. The conversation at international events is almost always focused around League’s big four – the LCK. LPL, LCS, and LEC. But they’re just a small section of the diverse landscape of competitive league.

The PCS has been one of the most internationally successful minor regions ever since it took the place of the LMS in 2019. Its most famous son is AD carry Chiu ‘Doggo’ Tzu-chuan, currently bot laner for Bilibili Gaming in the LPL. But he is by no means the region’s only star, and it would be remiss to discount the PCS just because Doggo is no longer a part of it.

Top laner Su ‘Hanabi’ Chia-Hsiang was part of the legendary Flash Wolves LMS roster that surprised the world time and time again on the international stage, proving that minor regions were more than just a sideshow attraction to the big four. Now, he’ll look to make his mark once again at the helm of PSG Talon.

If you’re a champion of the off-meta pick, particularly in support, you should root for Saigon Buffalo

Twitter @MrBuffalo7
Saigon Buffalo will be the VCS’s first international representatives since 2019.

Camille. Sylas. Sett. Sion. What do all these champions have in common, and what do they have to do with VCS representative Saigon Buffalo?

If you said ‘they’re top laners’, then technically you’d be correct. But on Saigon Buffalo, these are support picks. Support Đinh “Taki” Anh Tài is the king of the counter pick, and he’s bringing that sweet sweet VCS flavor to MSI 2022.

He played 18 different champions across the VCS Spring split, many of which weren’t even really supports. His most played are Nautilus and Leona, and he’s got a strong preference for champions where he can show some agency to set up for his team with engage potential.

If you want to be part of one of the most vocal fan bases in the world, root for RED Canids

@REDCanids
RED Canids represent one of the world’s most devoted fan bases at MSI 2022.

No fanbase in the world gets hype like the Brazilian League of Legends fanbase.

Whether it’s spamming Twitch chat or going crazy on Twitter, CBLoL’s fans are some of the most dedicated in League of Legends. And at MSI this year, they’ll be cheering for RED Canids, who represented the region at the 2021 World Championships but were unfortunately eliminated from the play-in stage by Oceanic representatives PEACE.

RED took down CBLoL giants paiN Gaming to represent Brazil at MSI 2022 in a tense five-game series – but they’ve got no time to rest on their laurels. This will be the team’s third time representing the CBLoL, and in their previous appearances at international events they failed to make it beyond the first stage of the competition.

Regardless of how they perform, you’d better believe that the Brazilian fans will be cheering their hearts out on social media every step of the way – so why not join them?

If you’re still riding the Zeta Division VCT hype train, root for Detonation FocusMe

Twitter @teamDFM
MSI 2022 will be Detonation FocusMe’s sixth appearance on the international stage, representing the LJL.

It’s been a red-letter year for Japanese esports in 2022, with Japanese team ZETA Division finishing third at the VCT Stage 1 Masters in Reykjavik. Now, Detonation FocusMe are looking to ride that wave of international love all the way through the Mid-Season Invitational.

Detonation FocusMe are the most famous team from a region that often goes unrecognized in the wider world of League. They’ve attended five international tournaments as LJL representatives, but they’ve always been just outside of playoff contention.

However, 2022 sees the team add two new weapons to their arsenal – former Fredit Brion mid laner Lee ‘Yaharong’ Chanju and KT Rolster support Lee ‘Harp’ Jiyoon. MSI will be the first time the entirety of DFM will be able to meet in person, with Harp and Yaharong having competed remotely from Korea due to ongoing travel restrictions.

Japan is on the up and up in the esports world. After ZETA Division’s historic VCT run, the team released a video ‘passing the baton’ to DFM to keep the ball rolling for Japanese esports. And now, all eyes will be on DFM to bring the LJL to new international heights.

They’re also the oldest team at MSI, with an average age of 23. So if you’ve got a soft spot for esports boomers, look no further.

If you love a carry jungler and also thrive in chaos, root for ORDER

Twitter @ordergaming_gg
Don’t let the memes fool you – Order mean business, and they’re hoping to continue OCE’s recent international resurgence at MSI 2022.

It’s been a rough few years in Oceanic League of Legends. The dissolution of the OPL and the announcement that OCE players no longer took up an import slot for NA teams saw an exodus of OCE talent, which represented a huge blow to the region.

But if there’s one thing you should know about OCE, it’s that they will never, ever, go down without a fight. The region achieved its best-ever international showing at MSI last year with Pentanet after the dissolution and reformation of its domestic league. And now ORDER will look to continue that legacy, facing off against NA and EU in the group stage.

Their jungler, Shane ‘Kevy’ Allen, is a pocket pick Evelynn player, with a 100% win rate on the champion across the LCO Spring split.

Is Evelynn meta at the moment? No. Will Kevy pick it anyway? Pretty likely.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’re bringing that classic OCE meme flavor to the tournament. If you don’t already, we recommend following the team on Twitter to keep up with their MSI escapades – everything from quarantine meal reviews to solo queue antics.

If you understand the value of imports, then root for Team Aze

Twitter @TeamAzeGG
Team Aze will be the first-ever LLA team to field import players on the international stage.

It’s a common misconception that only major region teams look to import talent.

League is a multinational and multicultural game – the free movement of players from region to region is one of its greatest strengths, and that’s not limited to the four biggest regions in the game.

And nobody knows that better than Team Aze. At MSI 2022, they will be the first-ever LLA team to attend an international event with import players. Top laner Han ‘Lonely’ Gyujoon and AD Carry Park ‘5Kid’ Jonghyeon, both hailing from South Korea, joined the team at the start of the 2022 Season, and the team steamrolled their domestic league.

The topic of imported talent and its usefulness will always be a controversial one. There are those who say that it’s a band-aid solution to avoid nurturing homegrown talent. There are others who say that imports are a cornerstone of competitive League, and help develop domestic play styles with new ideas from other leagues.

Team Aze have combined the best of both worlds, taking tried-and-tested Latin American talents and combining them with Korean talent fresh out of the LCK Challengers league.

And if that wasn’t enough to get you hyped, 5kid will face off against former KT Challengers lane partner Harp in the group stage. Both players looked overseas after stints in the LCK CL – 5kid in the LLA, and Harp in the LJL.

If you’re tired of roster swaps, then root for fastPay Wildcats

Twitter @IWcats
What team? fastPay Wildcats!

Turkish representatives fastPay Wildcats are the only team at MSI this year that has not made a single roster change since their last international appearance.

Formerly known as Istanbul Wildcats, this roster represented the TCL at MSI 2021. And although they failed to make it out of groups at that particular MSI showing, they’ve now had more time playing together than almost any other team at MSI 2022, and that has got to count for something.

Synergy can’t make up for pure skill, but it can give a team an edge. The Wildcats come into MSI on a high, clean-sweeping their domestic playoffs to qualify for the tournament – and now they’ll have to see if that momentum can carry them out of their group, where they’ll face off against RNG, PSG Talon, and RED Canids.