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The 2021 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational begins Thursday at 9 a.m. ET, with Cloud9 and DWG KIA headlining Day 1 of the main event. For the first time since the 2020 world championship, onlookers will see how the best regions in the world stack up against one another.

A lot has changed since the start of the 2021 season, especially for the players. Rookies have become champions and earned a chance to shine. Old names have reinvented themselves and proved that there’s still a seat for them among the best of the best.

Here are the five best AD carries at MSI this year.

1. Chen “GALA” Wei (Royal Never Give Up)

Replacing a player such as Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao is a monumental task. However, RNG’s GALA has shown that he has what it takes to be a worthy successor. The 20-year-old AD carry helped RNG finish first in China’s League of Legends Pro League regular season and helped his team earn the spring split title over FunPlus Pheonix as well.

According to Oracle’s Elixir, GALA finished the LPL spring split with the highest amount of kills and second-highest KDA in the league. GALA continued his impressive regular season performance in the playoffs, with his teamfighting in the final series against FPX earning him MVP honors for the series.

2. Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun (DWG KIA)

While Ghost and his support, Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee, play a weak-side style, they still remain crucial to DWG KIA’s success. Ghost helped the reigning world champions take over in their first League of Legends Champions Korea playoff game against Hanwha Life Esports despite huge early mistakes. His ability to stay alive in extended teamfights helped DWG KIA eventually scramble back for the win and Mid-Season Invitational berth.

Ghost is quite different from his AD carry counterparts on this list. When compared to most, he has far fewer gold and experience difference advantages in the early game. However, he makes up for this with his mid-to-late-game play and impact in teamfights and still manages to stand his ground against stronger bot matchups.

3. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen (Cloud9)

zven cloud9 msi
Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, middle, is back on the international stage after helping Cloud9 claim a second straight LCS spring split title. | Provided by Riot Games

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational, Zven missed the opportunity to showcase his skills internationally after a dominant spring split.  This year, he and Cloud9 will get a chance to do just that.

Zven is one of the few consistent AD carries North America has. His dominant laning phase as well as his contribution to extended fights helped his team lift the League of Legends Championship Series spring split trophy for the second time in a row, and his synergy with support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme also makes them a very hard bot lane duo to play against.

While DWG KIA are favorites to win Group C, Zven and Vulcan can certainly cause troubles for the LCK squad’s bot lane, especially in the early game. Experience on big stages matters, too, and Zven has plenty of reps on the global stage, not to mention that he’s now reunited with a former teammate and fellow international event veteran in Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.

According to Oracle’s Elixir, Zven finished the LCS Spring Split with the highest assists and gold lead difference in the early game among AD carries. However, Zven must now show that he can be “Mr. Consistent” in those more competitive settings.

4. Matyas “Carzzy” Orsag (MAD Lions)

Carzzy struggled a bit during what was a history-making split in the League of Legends European Championship for MAD Lions, but jumped up the list with PSG Talon’s starting AD carry Wong “Unified” Chun Kit out for the Mid-Season Invitational and Carzzy’s ascendance throughout the LEC playoffs.

Carzzy struggled throughout the regular season in the laning phase and in two-on-two bot lane fights. He finished the split with 51 deaths, the second-most for an LEC AD carry.

However, he had a much better playoff performance, especially on Jinx. While Carzzy still needs to do more to be in consideration for a spot among the top Western ADCs, his resurgent form at the LEC playoffs is good for MAD.

After a rough League of Legends World Championship debut in 2020, Carzzy and his teammates might have some extra motivation going into MSI.

5. Felipe “brTT” Goncalves (paiN Gaming)

While brTT is an old face in the competitive scene, the Brazilian League of Legends veteran has been missing from international competition for two years.

The veteran’s aggressive bot lane playstyle helps paiN Gaming take control of the early game and objectives, and his leadership led paiN to their first international appearance in more than six years with this year’s Mid-Season Invitational. CBLOL’s most decorated player, known for stunning international performances against Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng that birthed the “brTT>Doublelift” meme, has his first shot at international competition since 2019 as well.

This Mid-Season Invitational is a perfect chance for brTT to help his team in completing the perfect redemption story. However, brTT and his support, Han “Luci” Chang-hoon, must battle against stacked bot lanes to make it out of the group stage.