After the past few weeks, most League of Legends fans were convinced the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational was going to be a stark testament to the gap between Eastern and Western teams. But after a fiery battle between G2 Esports and Bilibili Gaming, some supporters have garnered some respect for the LEC as the region made its final appearance at the tournament.
Before the day began, many people expected BLG to sweep through the day in dominant fashion, especially with how strong the LPL representatives have looked across the event. Through the first game, the status quo seemed to fall in line after star AD carry Zhao “Elk” Jia-Hao took over with 12 kills and 12 assists. The team’s superior late-game teamfighting shone, and many people expected a quick sweep.
G2 showed a level of resilience and confidence that took BLG by surprise from this point on in the series, however. Even though it was rarely clean and they made many mistakes, G2 took the fight to BLG and after a huge positioning mistake from Elk in the mid-game, the European hopefuls snowballed their lead to victory with fearless engages from rookie jungler Martin “Yike” Sundelin and top lane star Sergen “BrokenBlade” Çelik.
In fact, many fans and analysts were impressed by Yike’s performance across the series, and throughout the event. Despite it being his MSI debut, the 22-year-old was the most consistent player on the roster, and he showed poise and confidence against some of the toughest competition he’s faced in his career thus far.
Unfortunately for EU fans, his efforts weren’t enough to stem the LPL tide, and after a misclicked Stopwatch by Broken Blade and bad positioning from Steven “Hans Sama” Liv, BLG finally wrestled back control of the game and series. The fourth and final game of the day was much more lopsided, and even though G2 tried their hardest, they were felled in under 30 minutes.
As G2 departs, only one more representative from the West remains: Cloud9. The North American champions will be riding into battle against another behemoth: Chovy, Peanut, and the LCK’s latest kings, Gen.G. This should be an explosive match that will be pitting two of the world’s fastest-rising marksmen against each other, with Kim “Peyz” Su-hwan colliding against Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol as one of the most-important matchups on the Summoner’s Rift.