With May 6th fast approaching, teams are gearing up for the yearly international event that is the Mid-Season Invitational for League of Legends. Each year, Riot Games invites several teams to participate in the event, whose format tends to change depending on the power level of competing regions. As expected, this year will be running on a different patch and meta, but the format of the tournament itself is more intriguing. Here’s a look at the League of Legends 2021 Mid-Season Invitational format and other information.

2021 Mid-Season Invitational Format, Patch, and Restrictions

Group Stage

The 12 MSI teams are separated into four tiers based on their regions’ past international performances. As such, Tier 1 teams will house the strongest contenders and vice-versa for those in Tier 4. The group stage will consist of one team from each tier participating in a Double Round Robin Best of One format, with the top two teams advancing to the ‘Rumble’ stage. Even with GAM Esports’ withdrawal, Group A will still proceed with the same format and number of winners.

Image via LoL Gamepedia

Rumble Stage

The Rumble will take the top 6 teams from Groups and pit them in a Double Round Robin Best of One format. The main difference from the Group Stage is the top four teams advancing as opposed to the top two. The next stage will be populated with the winners of this collective group.

Image via LoL Gamepedia

Knockout Stage

Any sports enthusiast will immediately know that the bracket stage is where the showdown really happens. Immediately jumping into the semifinals, the MSI will place the top 4 teams in the bracket, with all games from this point onward being a single-elimination, best of five format.  

Patch, Bans, and Other Information

The entire MSI tournament will be played on patch 11.9, which has yet to be released by Riot Games. The two most recent champions, Gwen and Viego, will be unavailable for the tournament. The banning of the latter champion is somewhat controversial because Viego has been available in-game for multiple patches to date.

The largest difference between this years’ MSI and those of the past will be the item overhaul. 2018 saw the Runes Reforged update, which changed the entire landscape regarding playstyles and meta. The introduction of Mythic and Legendary items will have a similar effect in that results from the MSI may bleed into regional leagues worldwide until the LoL World Championship in Fall.