Reigning world champions Invictus Gaming head into the Mid-Season Invitational as one of the favorites to win the entire tourney. If they live up to these expectations, the LPL will have three MSI titles, surpassing the LCK’s two.
The LPL has had two different teams lift the MSI trophy: Edward Gaming in 2015 and Royal Never Give Up in 2018. Both of the LCK's wins in 2016 and 2017 came from SK Telecom T1. Since China won all three international tournaments last year over Korea (MSI, Rift Rivals, and Worlds), the rivalry between the two regions burns red-hot once again.
Both iG and T1 enter the tournament following 3-0 sweeps in their respective domestic finals matches. The two rosters are comprised of some of the best players in the world, and a case can be made for each player being among the top three in their position globally. Neither team is lacking in terms of individual skill, and a possible matchup between the two in the knockout stage or finals could be one of the most competitive series of all time.
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Here's a fun fact: The LCK has only ever defeated a western team in the finals of MSI. SKT defeated CLG in 2016, and G2 in 2017. SKT and Kingzone both lost to EDG and RNG in the finals back in 2015 and 2018, even after being considered favorites to win the whole tournament both years.
If an LPL team reigns supreme at MSI in 2019, the region would make history in two different ways. They would become the only region to demonstrate international dominance over the LCK for a year straight, and the only region to have more wins than South Korea in a major international tournament.
Do Invictus Gaming have what it takes to keep the streak alive and put China on top, or is this the beginning of the LCK's return to power?