After two stages over two weeks and 66 best-of-1s, the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) has finally reached the knockout stage. RNG have already sent Evil Geniuses home, whereas G2 and T1 will meet tomorrow in their third international semifinal clash—after MSI and Worlds in 2019.
This year and 2019 have a lot in common: the world is finally going back to normal as the pandemic is waning, fans are back in arenas, and G2 is playing semis vs. T1 again.
2019: When the rivalry started
MSI 2019 marks the beginning of the G2 vs. T1 (SK Telecom T1) rivalry and a turning point for both organizations.
After a rough 2018 where they finished seventh in the LCK and missed Worlds, the Korean giants rebuilt their roster around Faker by adding four superstars: Khan, Clid, Teddy, and Mata. T1 was ready to get back on track with an international trophy, but Mr. G2 CarlosR of xPeke backdoor fame had other plans.
Following up on their 2018 Worlds semifinals showing, G2 signed Caps, Mikyx, and Wunder; and they formed the best western team in LoL history. They rolled over LEC Spring and brought an international trophy to Europe after a decade (insert Phreak’s basement joke here). They beat T1 twice in groups, then prevailed 3-2 in the semifinals, before they dismantled Team Liquid in a shortest best-of-5 in MSI history.
Faker vs. Baby Faker
When Caps joined the LEC, he was one of the most hyped young talents ever. It didn’t take long for him to earn the “Baby Faker” nickname for his insane mechanical prowess and raw talent.
Source: G2 Esports
The Danish mid laner had already lifted many LEC trophies and reached the Worlds finals when he first faced his idol at 2019 MSI. Yet, it was his time to prove that he was worthy of the moniker and more.
Boy did he prove it. Caps and G2 eliminated Faker in two straight international semifinals. His head-to-head record against the GOAT speaks for itself, standing at 9-4 heading into the MSI 2022 semis.
G2’s midlaner is not hiding his respect for his idol. “He was a big inspiration to me,” Caps said in a postgame interview. “I wanted to become good at League after seeing him at Season 3 Worlds and winning the trophy.”
The rivalry is back
Although the rivalry is hype once again, a lot has changed since 2019. G2 went through highs and lows and rebuilt a young talented roster around Jankos and Caps. After a turbulent regular season, G2 found their groove in the playoffs, won 12 straight games, and secured their ninth LEC title.
G2’s fine form carried on to MSI, and G2 would go on to win 24 straight games before losing to PSG in the Rumble stage. And everyone other than NA afterwards. This is fine.
On the flipside, G2 is playing solid and well-balanced League of Legends, with a top-form Caps leading the way. Despite a couple of hiccups in the second half of the Rumble stage, the Danish mid laner is one of the best players in the tournament.
Source: Riot Games
But G2 is against T1—the same T1 that broke LCK records in the 2022 spring split, where they went undefeated all the way. They came to MSI as clear favorites to win it all, but they aren't looking nearly as convincing as they did in South Korea.
Faker said numerous times how motivated and hungry for revenge he is. Although T1 had a relatively shaky Rumble stage by their unbeaten LCK standards, they are coming into the semifinal matchup as favorites.
The talent on this young roster is unreal, and there is no better veteran leader than Faker.
Is third time the charm for T1, or will G2 silence the packed stands of Busan’s BEXCO Center? Who will face RNG in the Grand Finals? Find out on Saturday, May 28th at 10 a.m. CEST / 4 a.m. EST / 1 a.m. PST. You don’t want to miss it.