Welcome to the Big Smoke, League of Legends fans. The 2023 Mid-Season Invitational officially began today in London and four of the world’s best professional teams collided on the first day of the tournament.
Riot Games has changed up the international mid-year event with a fresh format that has every team jump into best-of gameplay from the opening day, which should allow each roster to show off their strategies and ability to adapt in the face of adversity.
There were only two series played on day one, and although they ended in sweeps, G2 Esports, LOUD, PSG Talon, and DetonatioN FocusMe kept the London crowd on the edge of their seats by keeping their foot on the gas pedal from the first minute onward. In the end, two teams earned their place in the next round of the play-in stage, while two others will be fighting for their tournament lives soon.
Here are the biggest highlights from the first day of MSI 2023.
Wako wakes up, dominates DFM in opening series
Although the first game of their series against DetonatioN FocusMe was much more lopsided, PSG Talon had to claw their way to a series victory after their opponents accrued nearly a 9,000 gold lead at the 25-minute mark of their second match.
Longtime DFM AD carry Yuta “Yutapon” Sugiura took off on Zeri, dominating the early teamfights with her superior mobility, while mid laner Lee “Aria” Ga-eul found multiple key charms to isolate PSG’s carries. It looked like the series would extend to three games, but as the second game dragged on, PSG ADC Tsou “Wako” Wei-Yang farmed well enough to become a massive carry threat on Aphelios.
After 50 minutes of back-and-forth action, the 24-year-old blasted his way to eight kills and nine assists while also racking up an incredible 57,700 damage. PSG needed to take three Baron buffs and four Infernal Drakes to get the win, while surviving a late-game Elder Dragon push into their base.
Caps revives Nautilus mid against LOUD
The last time competitive League fans saw Nautilus being played in the mid lane at an international tournament was back in 2019 when Doinb shocked G2 by picking the champ in the Worlds finals. Today, Caps brought back the pick for G2’s first series against LOUD, and it was a huge pick for their late-game efforts.
Wielding Nautilus’ massive anchor, the iconic European mid laner ended with two kills and 30 assists as he roamed around to set up easy ganks for his jungler and side lanes. Later into the series, his hook became the go-button for G2’s teamfighting efforts as he dove under towers and fearlessly jumped into the face of LOUD’s entire team composition to kick off a skirmish.
G2 had to shake off the rust in game one, but they stomped their opponents in 20 minutes in the second match of the day, leaving no doubt of their capabilities as a unit. The team’s rookie jungler Yike also had a perfect MSI debut, ending the day with 18 kills, 22 assists, and only two deaths on Nidalee. He even led the team in damage in the second game as he continuously landed spears and perfect combos on the enemy carries.
With these victories, both G2 and PSG will face off against each other in the second round of the winners bracket, while LOUD and DFM must scratch and claw their way to a second chance at the second stage starting on Tuesday, May 9.