League of Legends 2019 MSI Semifinals Preview – SK Telecom T1 vs. G2 Esports

Date | AuthorJonathan Willis

Last Updated: 2019-05-17

After a rather predictable Play-In Stage and Group Stage where there were no real surprises, we got a huge one on Friday morning. Team Liquid upset Invictus Gaming in the first semifinal of the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational to qualify for their first international finals ever. Invictus was a -3000 favorite at most betting websites, and some didn’t even bother to put a number on the board as they were simply assuming an IG victory. Now, G2 Esports are looking to make this an all-Western final and guarantee that a Western team wins a major international event for the first time since 2011.

League of Legends 2019 MSI Group Stage Betting Odds (Courtesy of BookMaker)

SK Telecom T1 -248
G2 Esports +177

Previous Meetings

It’s a testament to everyone’s belief in Korean teams that SKT are moderate favorites despite losing both of their previous games to G2 in the Group Stage. These teams opened the Group Stage against one another, and SKT drafted poorly and were quickly routed because of it. In the second game, both teams had pocket picks up their sleeves, but G2’s worked out great while SKT’s did not. Wunder’s top lane Pyke was fantastic, while Teddy’s decision to take Miss Fortune into the bottom lane did not pan out.

Top Lane

Khan is one of the most talented top laners in the world, but he can be inconsistent. He has had a rough time on the international stage as a member of both Kingzone DragonX and SKT, yet he will need to shake off those performances here. His famed Jayce fell flat against G2 in their last meeting.

Wunder has already taken seven champions into the top lane for G2, and Khan is the only player left he has really outdueled. He has shown a lot of flexibility with his selections, but his Ryze has not been good and that’s huge considering how valued the champion is as a flex pick.

Jungle

The key for SKT at MSI has been Clid. Clid has more individual MVPs than any other player at the competition, and that’s because he is instrumental in getting the ball rolling. He has a 7 KDA, and his Vi pick earlier versus Flash Wolves gives G2 something to ponder during pick and ban.

Jankos was very good against Clid in the previous two meetings between these teams, counter-jungling effectively to nullify his counterpart’s early game impact. If he can keep Clid in check again, G2 has an excellent chance of pulling off the upset.

Mid Lane

Faker is one of the two best mid laners in the world, and no player has more accolades than him in the history of this game. He has taken SKT to three World Championships and two MSI titles, and he has been the centerpiece of this organization through multiple overhauls. He has a 7.1 KDA at this tournament, but he has not been special on his two most played champions (Irelia and Azir). Meanwhile, he didn’t die in wins on Akali, Ryze, or LeBlanc, so don’t be surprised to see SKT prioritize one of those champions.

We have seen some middling performances from Caps at MSI. Fnatic’s former mid laner looked like he was set to shine at this tournament, but he has just a 2.7 KDA through 10 games per tracking website Games of Legends. Caps had big numbers on LeBlanc in the last game against SKT, yet a lot of those kills came after the game was already in hand. He doesn’t have to be elite, but he can’t let Faker bowl him over in lane.

Bottom Lane

Perkz and Mikyx have been better than almost anyone expected. We all though that this would be at least a solid bottom lane, but Perkz has come along well in his transition to an AD Carry and Mikyx has been a steady hand to help guide him. He has had his ups and downs at MSI, yet the skill is there.

This isn’t Teddy’s meta, but he has been very good regardless. Teddy is at his best when there are longer games and AD Carries have time to fully scale, yet he has shown he can scrap in the early game too. He has been good this tournament, and the surprise has been that Mata has struggled. More was expected of the support, but he did perform better in the last two days of the Group Stage.

Prediction

This is tough. G2’s innovative drafts have caused a lot of problems for SKT. They certainly have at least a couple new strategies ready to debut in Taipei, so I think they’ll win at least a game and maybe two. However, I’m going to put my trust in Faker and bet on SKT to make it to the finals.

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