The reigning World Champions, DWK Kia, are heavy favorites entering MSI 2021.
- The 2021 Mid-Season Invitational begins on May 6th and runs until May 23rd
- The first place team from 11 international regions will compete in Reykjavik, Iceland
- The winner of MSI earns their region an extra team slot at Worlds 2021
With the League of Legends spring season in the rearview mirror, 11 league winners from around the world will compete at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. The field was supposed to be made up of 12 teams, however, GAM Esports from Vietnam are unable to participate because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The reigning World Champions, DWG Kia, are heavy favorites at -167. They followed up their 2020 World Championship by winning the LCK 2021 Spring Season. Not to mention, they are the current favorite in the 2021 LoL World Championship odds. They proved they’re superior than their regional opposition, but can any of the international teams knock them down a peg?
Let’s take a look at the MSI 2021 betting odds:
MSI 2021 Odds
|Royal Never Give Up||+140|
|Istanbul Wild Cats||+8000|
|Unicorns of Love||+8000|
Odds as of May 4th at Betway
LCK vs LPL
According to oddsmakers, MSI is really between two teams: DWG Kia and Royal Never Give Up. Based on what we’ve seen so far in 2021 and the history of international events, it’s a fairly safe bet that one of those two will win MSI. As previously mentioned, DWG Kia won the 2020 World Championship. They also swept their way through the LCK Spring Playoffs to secure their spot at MSI.
As for Royal Never Give Up, their road to MSI was significantly more turbulent. They got knocked to the lower bracket by FunPlus Phoenix. Then with no room for error, RNG ripped off nail-biting wins over Top Esports, Edward Gaming, and finally FPX in the grand final. Royal Never Give Up are playing their best League of Legends of the year entering MSI, but is it enough to topple DWG Kia?
Looking at a larger scale, the LCK and LPL have dominated the international League of Legends scene. The Korean league held the title of the best region in the world for several years, before China ripped that title away by winning the 2018 and 2019 World Championships. In 2020, DWG Kia (formerly DAMWON Gaming) put the LCK back on top. It really has been an arms race of sorts between these two regions. For the 2021 season, as impressive as RNG has been, it’s hard to bet against DWG Kia in their current state.
The Rest of the World
Behind DWG Kia and RNG, the team with the next highest odds are the MAD Lions at +1200. It’s a very dramatic drop but one that’s fairly deserved. The MAD Lions should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments in the LEC Spring Season. Europe had been ruled by G2 and Fnatic for several years, but in 2021, MAD Lions shook that trend to win their very first LEC title. They did so by defeating Rogue twice, and G2 Esports once to earn their spot at MSI.
Although they overcame some of Europe’s best, the MAD Lions are still fairly new to the international scene. They did qualify for the 2020 World Championships, but they were eliminated somewhat shockingly in the Play-In Stage. MAD Lions have definitely improved since then, however, I doubt it’s enough to compete on the level of DWG Kia.
As for the North American representative, Cloud9 could prove to be a tough out, but a first place finish at MSI would be quite a shock. North America has a notable lack of international success. Over the last few years, only a couple of North American teams have been able to shake loose from that generalization.
With ‘PerkZ’ on the roster, C9 could perform higher than expectations. The +1600 is tempting, but we have to stay realistic. Aside from a historical upset, this tournament should be between DWG Kia and Royal Never Give Up.
The rest of the field is comprised of some other talented teams from around the world, such as PSG Talon and paiN Gaming. They might be able to surprise with a couple of wins in the group stages, but besides that, teams outside of the LCK, LPL, and LEC have had limited success on the international stage.
Don’t overthink this one. I’m taking the odds-on favorite at MSI 2021.
Pick: DWG Kia (-167)
Growing up, Matthew was in love with sports. So, following his undergrad, it only made sense to dive head-first into the world of sports media. Rather than sticking to traditional sports, Matt found his way to eSports and gaming. He also produces, edits and serves as an analyst for SQUAD.