If you missed out on the second day of the 2023 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, you might be stunned to find out the games between Movistar R7, Bilibili Gaming, Golden Guardians, and GAM Esports only lasted about three hours.
The competition was relatively one-sided today with each series only going two games, but they were still full of surprising picks and exciting moments to write home about. Some players were making their long-awaited international debuts, while other popular veterans were finally stepping back onto the MSI stage for the first time in years.
From absolute domination on Summoner’s Rift to perfect executions and a pentakill along the way, here are the biggest highlights from the second day of MSI 2023.
Aurelion Sol arrives, but BLG bully R7 into submission
Not many people expected much from Bilibili Gaming’s series against Movistar R7—and for good reason. The LPL’s second seed is a powerhouse, featuring some of the best players in their role at MSI, while LATAM representatives have always been an underdog at best at international events.
Although BLG made short work of R7 at the end of the series, the Chinese reps didn’t look completely infallible. The first game was a wash, but in the second match of the day, R7 mid laner Jeong “Mireu” Jo-bin built a decent lead against Zeng “Yagao” Qi on Aurelion Sol. Top laner Cho “Bong” Bo-woong even scored a rare solo kill against Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin, who many consider one of the best top laners in the world.
Unfortunately for R7, there was a massive disparity in strength in the bottom lane as BLG’s AD carry Zhao “Elk” Jia-Hao brought down punishment on his lane opponents from the first minute onward. He and Luo “ON” Wen-Jun were relentless in their early poke, and with the help of jungler Peng “Xun” Li-Xun, they stomped their opponents with brutal dives.
BLG support ON had two kills, 36 assists, and two deaths in today’s series. Elk finished with 21 kills and 16 assists without dying once. With their firepower and late-game scaling, BLG used superior aggression and teamfighting skills to overwhelm their opponents as they didn’t have a game over 26 minutes.
Welcome back to MSI, Huhi and Stixxay
Stixxay hadn’t been to an international tournament since he attended the World Championship with CLG in 2016. But in his first series at MSI 2023, the veteran superstar didn’t miss a single step. With his trusty lane partner Huhi, the veteran duo helped Golden Guardians crush GAM Esports while featuring some unique picks and exciting plays along the way.
Huhi played 12 unique support champions during the 2023 Spring Split, but he still managed to add some spice today by picking Sett and Amumu support for the first time this year. He ended up being the lynchpin for the team as he found picture-perfect angles to engage on either champion, ending today’s match with 30 assists.
Not to be outdone, Stixxay also caught fire with 17 kills, 15 assists, a single death, and the first pentakill of the tournament on Tristana. Fans can tell this Golden Guardians squad is rolling after their improbable LCS finals run and that they are enjoying every moment on stage together.
Golden Guardians’ top lane leader Licorice might not have had as flashy a game as his bottom lane counterparts, but the 25-year-old veteran was an unsung hero for his team as he absorbed a ton of pressure from GAM jungler Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh. He was able to knock away multiple ganks with Poppy’s hammer and soaked up enough attention while his bottom lane scaled to unreachable heights.