Overview of the MSI Play Ins Group A

MSI Teams are official, and with that, we preview the Play Ins Stage. Today we start with an overview of Group A, breaking down the match ups and how each team got here.

Over the past week, both the LEC and VCS finished Spring Play as both regions finalized who their representatives for the Mid Season Invitational would be. With all twelve participating teams locked in, we have the bracket for the play-in stage of MSI finalized. Today we’ll quickly look at all of the matchups in Group A of Play Ins. 

BiliBili Gaming vs Movistar R7

When: Wednesday, May 3rd – 8 AM ET

This match-up sees the LPL’s 2nd representative Bilibili Gaming going up against the LLA’s sole representative Movistar R7. League of Legends fans often have low expectations for LLA teams though this year’s representative may surprise some. 

Movistar R7 finished the Opening Regular season of the LLA in 3rd place with a respectable but not great 4-3 series record. Movistar R7 started the playoffs with a 3-2 win over the 2nd seed Isurus before falling to Six Karma in the Winner’s Semifinals. They found a dominant win in the Loser’s semifinal, beating Estral Esports 3-1 before getting revenge on Six Karma in the Finals in a hard-fought 3-2 victory. 

Bilibili Gaming finished the 2023 LPL Spring Split with a 10-6 series record which saw them enter the playoffs as the 5th seed. Their playoff run started in the 2nd round, where they beat RNG in an easy 3-1 match before dismantling Weibo Gaming in a similar fashion, winning 3-0. In Round 4, they would suffer a 2-3 loss to JDG Intel Esports Club. After finding 3-2 wins over OMG and Edward Gaming Hycan, they qualified for MSI despite falling to JDG again in the finals. 

GAM Esports vs Golden Guardians

When: Wednesday, May 3rd – 11 AM ET

GAM Esports will once again be the representatives from Vietnam, showing absolute dominance in their domestic play this year. They had a perfect match record going 14-0 this year, entering the playoffs as the first seed. After having an easy go through playoffs, this team is confident they’ll be able to put on another strong international performance. Fans will recognize GAM’s jungle Levi who spent time in NA before returning to his former organization in the VCS. 

Golden Guardians shocked everyone this split by qualifying for the Mid Season Invitational. With a roster made up of fan-favorite veteran NA talent with some Korean talents to fill in the gaps, many had their doubts. The doubts were reasonable as Golden Guardians had a rough start to the year before having a strong finish and squeaking into playoffs as the last seed with a 9-9 record. 

Golden Guardians had no room for error as they started in the Loser’s Bracket, where they would beat 100 Thieves in the first round 3-2 before dominating Evil Geniuses 3-0. They then had to face on FlyQuest, who was a top team in the league during the regular season. They won 3-2 before losing to Cloud9 in the finals 3-1. They showed everything you could want from a team in their playoff run, remaining cool under pressure and the ability to press on the gas when needed.

Wrap Up

All the teams in Group A are fierce competitors who all have a shot at making it out of the Play Ins and into the main MSI tournament. Though they all took different paths to get here, they’re all worthy and will put on a great start to the MSI event. You won’t want to miss any of the action when these teams take the rift.