Credit: LCK

MSI Preview: Unstoppable T1 on track to break LCK’s five-year MSI draught

Bar any upsets, the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational will become T1’s possession. However, lifting the trophy would be an addition to an already sensational spring split and season so far.

As DWG KIA fell from grace, T1 surged and reclaimed its past glory with forever franchise player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok at the helm. As his young teammates evolved around him, T1 rampaged throughout the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK).

Their task: to reclaim the LCK’s glory in full, and assert South Korea as the region to beat, as was the case in Faker’s heydays.

Not shown here is a 18-0 regular season record. Talk about domination.

How they got here

T1’s entry to MSI was a foregone conclusion before the LCK spring split ended: their stellar macro and its players’ top-notch mechanics made them the ideal team on paper. Their performances speak for themselves: undefeated in bo3s and bo5s (20-0), with an overall record of 42-8 (84% win ratio).

The organization has somehow fielded its strongest team ever, taking under consideration the juggernaut 2013 lineup. And in their shakiest performance—a 3-1 finals victory over Gen.G—they somehow beat their opponents before the entire team was diagnosed with Covid-19. Imagine styling on top-notch competition while being sick; wait, there’s no need to imagine, T1 has done that.

Player to watch: Ryu “Keria” Min-seok

We could put “the entire team” as a player to watch as each T1 player is the best at their position come MSI, but that would be lazy.

Amid tall trees stands Keria, a top-tier support whose skill was established long ago, yet somehow levelled up at T1. No longer the inexperienced yet dazzling DRX support, he has ascended to heights not seen since previous Korean support greats Hong “MadLife” Min-gi and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong.

Keria’s movements define T1’s macro moves, providing him the key to undoing opponents across the board. His skill will be needed against the only team that could surprise them in the early-game, Saigon Buffalo, and in solving the trickier Royal Never Give Up and G2 Esports problems.

Jaxon’s predictions: MSI winners

T1 are the team to beat, and Royal Never Give Up is unlikely to have a say in the matter. Neither will G2 Esports, nor will insane Group A opponents DetonatioN FocusMe (a lesser T1 on paper) and Saigon Buffalo. Unless the meta has transformed, T1 will lift the MSI trophy when all is said and done.

Adel primarily covers League of Legends, with a particular emphasis on League of Legends esports competitions. He has over 10 year of experience covering the LEC and other LoL competitive events across Europe.