Ranking the teams that won MSI based off of dominance

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Note: For the data that we used to rank the teams, please scroll down below. However keep in mind that statistics only show one side of the coin.

At the start of June we ranked the teams that won the prestigious Worlds Championship based off of how dominant they were during their run. An event that holds less value but is nevertheless the second most important international event is the Mid-Season Invitational. Following the same format and structure that we used for the Worlds version, at the end of June we will now rank the five teams that have won MSI since its inception in 2015, based on how dominant they were during their run in their respective winning year.

5. G2 Esports (2019)

Wunder (Top) / Jankos (Jungle) / Caps (Mid) / Perkz (AD) / Mikyx (Support)

It’s pretty weird that possibly the most dominant team in European history is at the bottom of the standings right? Well there’s two reasons for that. The first is that it just goes to show how good the other teams that won MSI were. And the second is that while G2 did win MSI, they struggled a lot more than they would have liked to get to that point. The simple fact is that while G2 had the fastest average game time amongst these five teams, they are last or outclassed in pretty much every other statistic. And their faster average game time is helped quite a bit by the faster meta which we saw during the 2019 season as opposed to most other seasons of the past.

The thing we can say in favor of G2 is that their opposition wasn’t easy. They faced off against a solid SK Telecom T1 team, the reigning World Champions Invictus Gaming and a hyped up Team Liquid who ended up upsetting IG and making the finals. Add in a weaker Flash Wolves team that was still able to take a win off of TL and you get a pretty strong field of teams. Previous iterations of MSI did feel like they had weaker competition so that speaks in favor of G2 managing to win MSI. Still, when it comes to dominance they had the least dominant run and the facts show it.

4. SK Telecom T1 (2016)

Duke (Top) / Blank (Jungle) / Faker (Mid) / Bang (AD) / Wolf (Support)

This was a hard choice to make and it might upset a lot of SKT fans out there, but we decided to rank the 2016 SKT roster in 4th place for a couple of reasons. The first one is that statistically while not the least dominant of these five teams, they are right in the middle and didn’t showcase anything spectacular. Yes they did have good vision control and objective control, but that doesn’t compensate for their lack of pure dominance.

The second reason for putting them 4th is their weak Group Stage run which in the context of who SKT are as a team is even worse than you’d think. The team suffered at least one loss to RNG, Flash Wolves and CLG. They were only able to defeat G2 and SuperMassive decisively which doesn’t say much as G2 didn’t prepare properly for the event and SuperMassive was by far the weakest team and not on the same level as any of the other teams. If not for G2’s collapse at the event, SKT could have faced the possibility of not even advancing past the Group Stage. Yes they did get their stuff together and pushed through to win in the end but it definitely wasn’t a smooth ready getting there.

3. Royal Never Give Up (2018)

LetMe (Top) / Mlxg (Jungle) / Karsa (Jungle) / Xiaohu (Mid) / Uzi (AD) / Ming (Support)

Right in the middle we have Royal Never Give Up, a team that in terms of stats was only slightly better than G2 Esports and at first glance was nothing impressive compared to the two SKT iterations and EDG. What makes RNG stand out a bit more was that unlike both G2 and 2016 SKT, they didn’t struggle much in the Group Stage and for the most part advanced to the Knockout Stage relatively smoothly.

Even better for RNG was that they dominated the Knockout Stage and easily beat both Fnatic and Kingzone DragonX, two teams that were considered favorites for the event as well due to how good they both looked in their respective leagues. Despite weaker stats, RNG did have very good objective control and was overall a clean team with a clear gameplan of playing around the bot lane.

2. SK Telecom T1 (2017)

Huni (Top) / Peanut (Jungle) / Faker (Mid)  / Bang (AD) / Wolf (Support)

Of the two SKT rosters that won MSI, the 2017 one stands out more due to how easily they won the title. The only two losses they suffered in the group stage was to Flash Wolves and Team WE, two teams that were both quite strong at the time. Flash Wolves already had a pre-existing reputation for being good against South Koean teams while Team WE was all-around a solid team.

Statistically this SKT line-up was almost tied with the 2015 EDG line-up in terms of how dominant they were. Their roster was for the most part stacked and didn’t have many weak spots, something that was a contributing factor to how easily they won. Overall while not our #1 pick, 2017 SKT came very close to clinching 1st place and in our eyes remains as the second most dominant team in MSI history.

1. EDward Gaming (2015)

Koro1 (Top) / ClearLove (Jungle) / PawN (Mid) / Deft (AD) / Meiko (Support)

Ah the good old days where MSI had just been created and there wasn’t even a trophy made for the event yet, only commemorative gold medals. So what makes EDG’s 2015 MSI run so special and dominant? For starters, throughout the entire event EDG was challenged only by one team which was the other eventual finalist, SK Telecom T1. No other team was able to take down EDG which is something that none of the MSI winning teams have been able to replicate. They have all been challenged or beaten by at least two other teams, with the exception of EDG of course.

The second contributing factor to placing EDG 1st here is that they are statistically the most dominant team to win the event, with only SKT’s 2017 run being a strong challenge for them. And this happened during a time where the competition wasn’t weak at all. SKT was SKT, Fnatic was defying odds and made a name for themselves by taking SKT to a five game series and Ahq were no slouches either.

The most significant aspect of EDG’s win however was that it was the first time in history where a South Korean team was taken down in a best of five series by a non-South Korean team. This EDG line-up truly made history by doing something that hadn’t been done and inspiring both China and all other regions as a whole that South Korean teams can be beaten with the right mindset, practice, roster and dedication. Ever since this triumph for EDG, all other regions have gotten significantly stronger and have been able to challenge South Korea or even beat them at times. China in particular has become the best region since 2018, winning the past two World Championships and the 2018 edition of MSI.

In the context of stats, competitors and historical significance, EDG’s 2015 win is our pick for the most dominant run in MSI history!

Statistics:

(A note that for Objective Control and Vision Control, we used stats compared to the winning MSI team’s opposition at their respective Mid-Season Invitational. Comparing direct stats in this aspect would not be entirely accurate due to objectives and vision changing a lot throughout LoL’s different seasons and metas)

EDward Gaming (2015):

Win% – 10-3 (76.92%)

GD@15 – +2,960

GDM – 323

Average Game Duration – 33:08

Objective Control – 1st in Towers Killed, Towers Lost, Dragon% and Baron%

Vision Control – 2nd in Wards per Minute, 1st in Wards Cleared per Minute

Notes – Uncontested in almost every category despite suffering three losses throughout the tournament. Highly dominant all around.

SK Telecom T1 (2016):

Win% – 12-5 (70.59%)

GD@15 – +821

GDM – 263

Average Game Duration – 36:55

Objective Control – 2nd in Towers Killed, 1st in Towers Lost, 1st in Dragon%, 3rd in Baron%

Vision Control – 2nd in Wards per Minute, 1st in Wards Cleared per Minute

Notes – Not the most dominant champions in MSI history. Struggled in group stage and overall took time to ramp up throughout the tournament.

SK Telecom T1 (2017):

Win% – 14-3 (82.35%)

GD@15 – +1,545

GDM – 343

Average Game Duration – 33:10

Objective Control – 1st in Towers Killed, Towers Lost, Dragon% and Baron%

Vision Control – 6th in Wards per Minute, 1st in Wards Cleared per Minute

Notes – Very dominant in some aspects but unimpressive in others. Very polarizing in terms of vision being dead last in wards placed but first in wards cleared.

Royal Never Give Up (2018):

Win% – 13-4 (76.47%)

GD@15 – +617

GDM – 209

Average Game Duration – 34:43

Objective Control – 1st in Towers Killed, Towers Lost, Dragon% and Baron%

Vision Control – 6th in Wards per Minute, 2nd in Wards Cleared per Minute

Notes – Similarly to SKT in 2017, last in wards placed but 2nd in wards cleared. Overall not a very dominant run compared to previous MSI champions and arguably the least dominant.

G2 Esports (2019):

Win% – 11-7 (61.11%)

GD@15 – +487

GDM – 69

Average Game Duration – 29:55

Objective Control – 3rd in Towers Killed, 2nd in Towers Lost, 4th in Dragon%, 3rd in Baron%

Vision Control – 2nd in Wards per Minute and Wards Cleared per Minute

Notes – Definitely not a very dominant run and at times G2 faced the possibility of getting knocked out. First in groups and then in their Semifinals match against SK Telecom T1.

Photos courtesy of Riot Games