Riot Games’ Mid-Season Invitational provides a welcome release from the regimented and occasionally monotonous regional league structure. The scheduling of the international event however, is arguably more detrimental than it is beneficial to the teams in attendance, who return to regional duty unrested within days of the event’s conclusion.
Showcasing the Spring Split champions from across the globe, the Mid-Season Invitational serves to whet the appetite of League of Legends fans for the summer months and of course, the cherished World Championship. Shanghai’s 2016 annual iteration of MSI was considered to be a shining achievement. With previously unprescedented levels of production quality and gameplay to match, Korean powerhouse SK Telecom T1 and unlikely North American underdogs Counter Logic Gaming took the event to a climatic finale.
This year’s tournament will once more feature the ‘Kings of Europe’ G2 eSports, with Team SoloMid hoping to salvage their international reputation and pick up the torch where CLG left it. Where TSM will be hoping their path deviates from their regional rivals, will be upon their return to North America for the NA LCS Summer Split.
Drained from a deep tournament run and a best-of-five series with the reigning World Champions, Counter Logic Gaming found themselves back in action within days of landing back on Los Angeles tarmac. Whilst buoyed by their impressive international performance, the exhausted roster appeared off-the-pace compared to their rejuvenated regional competitors.
In what was a depressing summer for CLG, the team slumped to a 4th place finish after dominating the previous split. On account of their MSI heroics however, the team controversially qualified for the World Championship in place of Immortals, inarguably one of North America’s strongest rosters at the time.
The outcome of the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split highlighted the adverse effects of a length tournament run at the Mid-Season Invitational. On account of their early exit from the tournament, and after admittedly taking a vacation ahead of the event, G2 eSports managed to avoid an MSI hangover.
Though the European champions received widespread regional criticism, a source of brand damage to this very day, G2 proceeded to dominate once more in the summer of 2016. As with every other negative side-effect associated with competitive eSports, SK Telecom T1 can simply be considered to be immune.
The scheduling of the Mid-Season Invitational almost justifies G2 eSports decision to take some time off ahead of the event last year. 2017’s MSI will finish on May 20th, with the NA LCS Summer Split getting underway on June 3rd, leaving just 13 days for Team SoloMid to prepare between the finals and the beginning of seasonal play. To add insult to injury, TSM will face Cloud9 after their finals matchup in Spring.
Head Coach Parth “Parth” Naidu has since expressed his concerns with Team SoloMid’s hectic schedule:
“I think it’s a really strange decision to have MSI be this long because right after finals, in two or three days, we’re going to be leaving and going to MSI.
“Assuming we’re there for the entire time, it ends on May 21; two weeks after that is when Summer starts.
“I think at least in the future something needs to be remedied where either shorten MSI or they need a longer period of time between the next season start or they have a bye week for the team that went to MSI.”
Parth “Parth” Naidu
As Head Coach of the team, Parth is faced with a tough decision. With regional ranking and international points at stake, Team SoloMid will naturally give MSI their all – but do they go directly into the Summer Split without decompressing from the competitive tournament, or take a break from their tiring training regime to recuperate, but fall behind their competitors in the meta?
As a collective, Parth and TSM have chosen option B:
“We’ve already determined that after MSI, we’re going to take a week, week and a half off.
“Even if we’re somewhat rusty coming into Summer, hopefully it won’t hinder us too much.
“We’re going to take it slowly coming into Summer and hopefully build up momentum towards the end.”
Parth “Parth” Naidu
Whilst MSI provides fans with an exhilarating spectacle, the western teams in attendance will essentially sacrifice their entire regime to accommodate the event. Given the recent emphasis on burnout and early retirement within competitive eSports, the intense workload that the current MSI scheduling imposes on competing teams is certainly in need of revisal.
Team SoloMid’s Dynasty Of Nine Consecutive Playoff Finals