During MSI, we as the viewers have the spectacular opportunity to watch and learn from the best of the best in the business. From crazy cheese picks, to meta-standard clean play, each team brought a bit of their own spark to the tournament, which ultimately lead to many upsets and opportunities.
The meta also shifted significantly to favor certain regions, unknowingly. As such, there are many champions and picks that held significance over the others. Let’s break down the meta at MSI, 2019.
Teamplay was all the rage
Just like many other tournaments, the meta favored teamplay champions more than individual outplays. With many games played, we saw the likes of Galio, Ryze, Sylas, Rek’Sai, and Jarvan be played an excessive amount. Indeed, Galio was picked 40 times out of 79 games played, with a 53% win rate total.
However, not all champions held success on the rift. Although he holds strong abilities for mobility and macro-movements, Ryze came out with 35 games played total, but only holding a low 37% win rate total, making him one of the weakest champions while still being relatively popular.
However, the largest surprise came from the mid lane and top lane. Boasting a 62% win rate total over the course of 34 games, Sylas managed to storm his way onto the rift, with ever-expanding flexibility through the usage of powerful stolen ultimates.
The jungle was the most significant role throughout the tournament, however. Highlighted in the finals, but present throughout the entire tournament. Jarvan IV and Rek’Sai made their homes in enemy homes, with constant pressure and counter-jungling ability. Jarvan IV held a surprising 50% win rate throughout the whole tournament, and Rek’Sai held a 48% win rate. But, if taken in a smaller window, Rek’sai held a 56.3%winrate in the main event period, with a record of 9 to 7.
Bruisers/Assassins were in the spotlight
Unsurprisingly, we saw the return of some old faces that not many people enjoy. Akali, Jayce, and Sylas all held a 100% Pick/Ban rate over the course of the main event. Akali was possibly the largest factor, with a massive KDA of 5.54 over all matches she was played in, and holding a 69.2% win rate over the main event period.
Just like all years prior, Jayce came back into the MSI meta, but not in the way you would normally think. Unlike years prior, where we saw teams from the East and West play him excessively, MSI 2019 saw him sit on the bench in all but 3 games of the main event. Holding 39 bans out of 42 games, his Win Rate was a lowly 33.3%, having lost 2 games in his 3 games played.
We touched on it a little bit as well, but Sylas saw more play as well, even though he was said to be nerfed along with Akali. He boasted 19 bans and 23 picks throughout the 42 games, and held a 56.5% win rate.
Scalers are out
After looking at the assassins and bruisers, there were a number of champions that seemed to flounder at MSI this year. These picks included the likes of Hecarim, who has been terrorizing the solo queue ranks, and Nautilus, the monster in the bottom lane. They held a 28.6% win rate and 30% win rate, respectively, which surprised many that were hoping to see them take over the games.
Along with that were many of the spellcasters and mages. Azir and Zoe both held below 25% win rates, much to the enjoyment of some zoe haters. Orianna also held a disappointing 25% win rate, at 2 and 6.
An obvious trend towards the faster games
Although the meta champions were still favored even from previous patches, there was a noticeable trend of shorter games with more hectic early games shown throughout MSI 2019.
One of the most contrasting styles we got to see was the gametime changes throughout the entirety of the tournament. We went from 40 minute game times through the main event group stages, to the fastest international best of 5 total gametime set, with most of those games cresting just 20 minutes in each between G2 and Team Liquid.
This was caused by a number of different reasons. Number one was the functional power of many of the champions. Although the LCK champions of SKT and the LPL powerhouses IG tended to play a more stalwart style of building up their advantages and secure small advantages for mid to late game, the champions themselves forced a different narrative. Options like Jarvan and Rek’Sai signaled early game moves, where we saw teams like G2 fire off a series of early game aggressive games throughout many of their matches.
If you needed further proof of this, the last game played of the tournament saw the fastest game in MSI history be played, with G2 Esports finishing off Team Liquid in an 18:05 stomp.