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League of Legends: Champion Priority at MSI Versus Spring Playoffs

Picks, bans and presence of champions at MSI 2019.

The 2019 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational main event group stage has wrapped up, with Invictus Gaming, SKT, G2 and Team Liquid moving on to knockouts. The competition itself has been enjoyable, and the draft priority has slightly shifted since Spring Split playoffs. Some champions have climbed to higher presence in the draft, while others have waned.

MSI brings competitive League to patch 9.8, which, when combined with 9.7, buffed Cinderhulk and nerfed some high-presence champions. Several familiar faces seem to have hung around from Spring Split to MSI, such as Ryze, Jarvan IV, Jayce and Braum. However, many of the most popular playoff picks have been replaced so far at MSI Play-Ins. Here are some key champions that shifted the most and their respective presence at MSI and four major regions’ Spring Split playoffs.

NAUTILUS

MSI-54%  LPL-3%  LCK-8%  LCS-0%  LEC-0%

Picks, bans, and presence of Nautilus at MSI versus LCK Spring Playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Nautilus at MSI versus LCK Spring Playoffs.

Nautilus has seen the largest priority difference between the major regions’ Spring Split playoffs and the MSI main event. The Asian regions did draft Nautilus a few times, but he was not on Western teams’ radars. Riot gave buffs to Nautilus’ passive and Dredge Line in patch 9.8, pushing him back into meta relevance. The jump to 54 percent presence is only for the main event, not taking into account the priority during MSI play-ins. Minor regions even slotted Nautilus into mid lane.

LISSANDRA

MSI-14%  LPL-87%  LCK-67%  LCS-82%  LEC-81%

Lissandra's picks, bans and presence at MSI and LCK playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Lissandra at MSI versus LCK Spring Playoffs.

On the other hand, Lissandra has seen a decline in priority at MSI since the last time we watched these teams in playoffs. Her main wave clear ability – Ice Shard (Q) – got nerfed on patch 9.7. Pro players have decided Lissandra is not as universally effective in mid lane, making space for other champions. Akali, Irelia, Sylas and Ryze have risen to the height of draft priority, mostly due to their flexibility between top and mid lane.

AKALI

MSI-100%  LPL-42%  LCK-58%  LCS-95%  LEC-48%

Picks, bans and presence of Akali at MSI versus LPL spring playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Akali at MSI versus LPL Spring Playoffs.

While Akali has been popular among pros since her rework, MSI brought her presence to pick-or-ban. China, Korea and Europe already featured Akali in every other draft, while North America already highly prioritized her. Since most teams at MSI feature highly skilled solo laners, Akali has become a premier flex champion. Jensen, Caps, Faker and Rookie have played Akali mid lane, while Hanabi, Zeros and TheShy took her top. She currently has a 72.7 percent win rate among these elite teams.

IRELIA

MSI-82%  LPL-26%  LCK-42%  LCS-95%  LEC-33%

Picks, bans and presence of Irelia at MSI versus LEC Spring Playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Irelia at MSI versus LEC Spring Playoffs.

Irelia has a similar uptick in presence at MSI, when compared to regional Spring Split playoffs. She has not quite reached complete pick-or-ban status, but 82 percent presence is much higher than the LEC, LCK or LPL’s individual rates. Like Akali, the top LCS teams already placed higher priority on Irelia than the other major regions prior to MSI.

TARIC

MSI-68%  LPL-0%  LCK-0%  LCS-59%  LEC-19%

Picks, bans and presence of Taric at MSI versus LEC Spring Playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Taric at MSI versus LEC Spring Playoffs.

Taric is the final pick that North America picked up quicker than other regions in their domestic playoffs. The Taric-Sona bottom lane duo soared in popularity during LCS Spring Split playoffs, because Cloud9, TSM and Team Liquid won games with it. 1907 Fenerbahce was actually first to play Sona-Taric on stage, with European and North American minor league teams adopting the strategy first, followed by the LEC and LCS. So far during the MSI main event, only Mata and CoreJJ have been allowed to draft Sona and Taric together. Otherwise, Taric has been banned 18 times.

TAHM KENCH

MSI-86%  LPL-29%  LCK-83%  LCS-77%  LEC-38%

Picks, bans and presence of Tahm Kench at MSI versus LPL spring Playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Tahm Kench at MSI versus LPL Spring Playoffs.

Tahm Kench is another support to gain traction at MSI compared to spring playoffs. His Devour and Abyssal Voyage bring a safe laning phase and global pressure in a way most other supports do not. While the LPL and LEC picked or banned Tahm Kench in one of every three to four matches, the LCK and LCS only left him out of the draft in one of three to four matches. These regional differences have somehow turned into an 86 percent presence for the catfish at MSI, as G2 in particular have drafted Tahm five times now.

LEE SIN

MSI-50%  LPL-61%  LCK-58%  LCS-5%  LEC-0%

Picks, bans and presence of Lee Sin at MSI versus LCS Spring Playoffs.
Picks, bans and presence of Lee Sin at MSI versus LCS Spring Playoffs.

The only jungle champion on the list, Lee Sin is an age-old favorite of professional junglers. His high-tempo style allows top-level teams to bring something riskier to the draft. While the Eastern regions drafted Lee Sin quite a bit in their playoffs, North America and Europe barely paid any attention to him. MSI has brought these two jungler pools together, allowing Lee Sin’s presence to sit right at 50 percent. Clid and Ning are the only two to play him more than once, but Xmithie and Jankos used him one game, too. Jarvan IV and Rek’Sai continue to dominate the jungle pool.

 

CREDITS

All statistics from Games of Legends: MSI, LPL, LCK, LCS, LEC

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