2018’s Mid Season Invitational will be played on patch 8.8, meaning that one of League’s biggest patches of 2018 will play host to the first international tournament of the year. The patch, released a little over two weeks ago, brought some pretty big changes to the game. Many champions have undergone massive overhauls and the game has experienced some expansive changes since many pros took the stage. Here are the 5 champions that could define the way the game is played over the course of this year’s MSI.
LeBlanc– LeBlanc has been ignored by professional mid laners for quite some time now. Although her pick/ban presence reached an all-time high in 2017 at 65%, the Deceiver has only been a part of 4.7% games this year. With only 18 picks this Split, LeBlanc was heavily overlooked in the mid lane meta, as the nerfs she received last Spring were a heavy blow to her kit. When you factor in the rise of other prominent mid lane champions like Zoe, Taliyah and Azir in competitive play, it makes sense why many of the world’s best mid laners opted to stay away from LeBlanc. However, with major tweaks to her passive and Q, and all-around buffs to the rest of her kit, LeBlanc has become a major pick on the Solo Queue ladder. If she gets into the hands of some of the most talented mid laners in the world at MSI, her capabilities are incredible.
Azir– As one of the staples of the mid lane in 2018, Azir was mastered by the strongest mid players in the world. With a 75.8% pick/ban rate during the first half of 2018, the Emperor was played across every single league, making him one of the most influential picks in all of League of Legends. And now, as MSI approaches, it’s important to note that some of the world’s best Azir players like Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang of Flash Wolves and Eugene “Pobelter” Park of Team Liquid will be competing at the tournament. If Azir is prioritized as heavily as he has been throughout the season so far, it’s possible we could see him play a major role at MSI.
Kai’Sa– Although Kai’Sa was disabled for many regions’ playoffs, she was fair game for many of the regions who held their playoffs later in April. In 6 of the 8 regions where she was enabled for the playoffs, Kai’sa experienced at least a 90% pick/ban presence. Additionally, some of the strongest AD Carries in the world like Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Kim “PraY” Jong-in were not afraid to bust out Kai’Sa in their respective regional playoffs, and although the Daughter of the Void experienced some nerfs in Patch 8.8, she should still be on the table to make an impact at this year’s MSI.
Sejuani– As one of the strongest, most involved, and reliable jungle champions in all of League of Legends, it would be incredibly shocking if we didn’t see Sejuani controlling the meta at this year’s MSI. During the first half of the season, Sejuani had a presence of 77%, the third highest in the entire game. Among all other jungle champions, only one had a presence over 50%: Jarvan IV. Look for Sejuani to take center stage in the jungle, yet again at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational.
Vi– Although Vi has not seen any serious play on the competitive level since 2013, a few intermittent appearances over the years have kept her in the conversation. And now, in Patch 8.8, Vi received some serious buffs that could bring her back into the spotlight. With buffs to her armor growth and base health regen, as well as some serious reductions on the cooldowns of her passive and Q, Vi could find strength on the international stage, as her chances of being involved in both the top lane meta and the jungle meta have spiked immensely.