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Hello all, and welcome to the second instalment of our series covering the MSI 2023 Fantasy Tournament! In this article, we’ll take a look at the results from the play-ins before introducing the five teams that await the three play-in victors in the bracket stage. Then, as you read on, you’ll be able to learn a bit about each of the upcoming match-ups, so that you know exactly how to reform your fantasy team for the bracket stage and beyond!
The play-ins were perhaps unsurprisingly quite lopsided and explosive. Most of the games, even the ones that were somewhat close, ended 2-0, with only a couple of series going to three games. LPL's second seed Bilibili Gaming and EMEA's second seed G2 Esports advanced to the bracket stage first, and, after two more series in the lower bracket, they were joined by LCS' second seed Golden Guardians. Each of the four major regions have two teams in the bracket stage after all.
Meet the Bracket Stage Teams
MSI Stage 2 Overview
Admittedly, the MSI bracket stage draw was a bit of a disappointment. In the coming days, we'll be able to watch the two LCK teams battle the two EMEA teams, then the two LCS teams battle the two LPL teams. LCK and LPL, are, naturally, favoured, which may lead to a lower and upper bracket run that will be entirely local region vs local region. That said, if there are any upsets to be had, MSI will be very interesting. Speaking of potential upsets, let's talk about Gen.G versus G2 Esports, which will be the first best-of-five at the MSI bracket stage.
Group Stage Preview
EMEA's second seed G2 Esports will face Gen.G, LCK's champions. As second seed, G2 has just finished playing two series in the play-ins for a chance to join this bracket stage. While their Spring Split was somewhat shakey, and they did lose to MAD Lions in the playoffs at LEC, G2 had basically immaculate games in play-ins, which spells good stuff for LEC fans. Of course, G2 were facing teams of a far lower calibre than what they will have to fight at Stage 2 now. Gen.G. is the kind of team you expect to face in the finals, but G2 will have to defeat them off the bat to advance more smoothly through MSI. Can the clean and clinical Gen.G be thrown off by G2's more happy and messy gameplay? As an LEC fan, I say yes, though, objectively? Maybe not. Probably not. We'll see!
I wanted to highlight Yike out of all of G2's fantastic lineup because he has been performing phenomenally both in the LEC and at MSI (his first international event) so far. His KDA at MSI is a crazy 7.7, and especially impressive is his Nidalee, on whom he has a KDA of literally 20. Caps and Hans Sama are likely to do very well, considering they are the primary carries, but I had to also highlight BrokenBlade who has been performing far above expectations, even though he's been considered G2's weakest player in the past.
Chovy's been on Gen.G for the past year, but was previously known as the mid laner of Hanwha Life, DRX, and especially Griffin. He is notorious for his nearly flawless laning and insane creep scores, making him a perfect fantasy league mid lane pick-up. In the bot lane, you may also want to consider recruiting Peyz. This 17 year old superstar golden boy was hyped up as an insane talent, and he's delivered on that promise and then some. This will be Peyz' first international event, and he certainly will be working to make it a memorable one.
We already talked about the miracle run MAD went through to get to the LEC championship. A few weeks ago I'd have said there was no way they'd even get one close game against T1. That may still be true, but it's hard to keep doubting this team after all they've been through. T1 is an iconic team, strong in every lane, yet they bleed, as was proven by DRX at the last international event, and by Gen.G more recently.
There are lots of worthy players to highlight on the MAD Lions team, but I'm gonna have to give it to Chasy and Carzzy. Chasy was pivotal in MAD's final few series in the LEC playoffs, defeating the best top laners EMEA had in Adam and Photon, and he made it look easy too. Chasy is a fairly versatile top laner, but what's most impressive is that he can bring out the carries - Fiora, Gwen, Jayce, and do really really well with them. Carzzy has had a lot of meh, and even below meh games in the LEC, but something flipped in him after they made it to the group stage in Spring this year. Now, anytime he gets a little ahead, he goes, well, crazy. His Jinx is absolutely terrifying and he's proven that he can play really well under pressure, which is vital when you play against a team like T1.
Gumayusi has been T1's star bot laner since 2021, and he's back with his team at another international event, this time hoping for more than just second place. Guma has always been a reliable player and the current hypercarry meta suits him to perfection. Keria has been his trusty support since the dawn of time, and the man is indisputably the best support in league right now. There's nothing Keria can't and won't play on stage, and we're sure to see plenty of his spicy and traditional picks carry T1 to victory.
This may arguably be the most favourable western match-up in round 1 of the bracket stage. Not to say C9 won't struggle against BiliBili, but if Golden Guardians were able to take a game off them, then C9, who are the better LCS team, has got to have a chance as well. If (and it's a pretty easy if) BiliBili can get Elk ahead, though, this chance could slip away from NA’s grasp.
Fudge is probably the best LCS toplaner right now. He's had a great Spring Split, and, like Chasy, has been able to whip out some aggressive picks like Fiora with success. In the bot lane, we have the role-swapped former beloved ADC-now-support Zven, alongside Korean prodigy Berserker, who had previously spent a year playing for T1's academy team. He has been positively dominating in the LCS so far, and he's ready to shine at his second ever international tournament.
If you've watched the play-ins, then you already know to watch out for Xun, and Elk in particular. Xun was styling in all of his games, and his aggressive playstyle should serve him well as MSI goes along. Elk should've chosen a carnivorous animal for his IGN because the man is a monster. The only game BLG dropped was because Elk was able to be muzzled by GG. And BLG will probably take steps to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Golden Guardians have truly performed admirably so far at MSI, and after a great split in the LCS, I expect them to show some good stuff even in the bracket stage. That said... it's JDG. LPL's 1st seed. Against LCS' second seed. To say GG is an underdog in this match-up would be a severe understatement. However, when JDG can’t solely rely on their mechanics (hands diff), they can be beaten. If GG can get an early game advantage, there is some hope to defeat these LPL giants.
Basically everyone on JDG is a terrific pick-up, though I will highlight 369 and Knight, former solo laners of TOP Esports, in particular. 369 is arguably the best top laner in the world, or at the very least the most versatile one. He can play all styles at a high level, and, most crucially, he performs well in high-stakes games. Similarly, Knight is probably the best Chinese mid laner. He had a top three KDA among mid laners in both regular season and playoffs, and can play about anything as well.
In their play-in matches, I was most impressed with Licorice and Stixxay's performances. Licorice has brought games around at multiple junctions with his excellent play and decision-making. Stixxay has a KDA of nearly 6, playing especially well on Zeri, Jinx, and a special mention goes to his pentakilling Tristana.
You've reached the end of our second article covering MSI! International tournaments can be quite daunting for fans who normally only watch one or two regions, and it can be quite hard to form the right fantasy team when you don't know half of the teams or players participating in these huge events. We hope this article helped you, and wish you the best in the fantasy tournament!
Once again I must extend a huge thanks goes to Silverman43 for his thoughts and insights on all of the above teams! Credits also go to LoL.fandom Wiki for their collection of player portraits, up-to-date statistics, overviews and all-around fantastic work documenting LoL esports.