SK Telecom T1 and G2 Gaming will face off against each other in the opening match of 2019 Mid Season Invitational on May 10th at 12:00 CEST.
SKT Telecom T1 are the most recognizable name in the League of Legends esports world, and for the right reason. They are by far the most successful Korean team, with 7 LCK titles and the only team that has won the Worlds 3 times. Despite their renome, SKT fell on hard ground in the last two years. 2017 was when SKT started to decline and reached their lowest point in 2018 when they finished 4th in the LCK. This called out for a rebuilding process, which is exactly what SKT did. They released all their players except Faker, and built a team around him. SKT have added some of the most dominant players in the world, which include “Mata”, “Khan”, “Clid” and “Teddy”. With a new and much-improved team, SKT once again reached the summit of LCK, and got themselves into MSI, where they are ready to prove to the world they are still as dominant as they once were.
G2 Gaming, the European powerhouse who bear in mind won 4 splits in a row, which is almost unheard of in major regions (Korea, China, EU, NA) due to incredibly strong opponents teams need to face off. This is what G2 is known for. They are a dominant team in Europe with some of the best players from the old continent. Their strength, however, does not lay only in the exceptional talent they have, but the style of play they have. They approach the games in an untypical way, which pushed the opponents into positions they have never been in before. This does not only give them an advantage but also makes watching their games highly entertaining, which is exactly what we expect to see against SKT.
G2 have dominated opponents in Europe, however, that can barely compare to the opponents they will face at MSI. While they boast strong players, such as Wunder, who is possibly one of the best Western top laners, and Caps, who is arguably the best western player overall, there is an elephant in the room we must address. G2 star support, Milkyx has suffered a wrist injury, which could mean two things. Either he plays and is not 100% or he sits out, which will leave G2 severely weakened. That alone will be a huge problem for them, especially against SKT who has one of the best bot lane duos in the world (Mata and Teddy).
SKT does come off as a perfect unstoppable team, however, they as well have their own weaknesses. Their players tend to be mistake-prone, which is especially true for Khan, who is the team’s weakest point. Faker, while still being considered the Michael Jordan of LoL, is past his prime and could be punished if he underestimates Caps. While SKT shines in team fights, their slow start of the match could result in them falling back a bit in the early game.
To draw a conclusion, G2 are understandably the underdogs, however being that we are watching a Bo1 match, an upset is not out of the question. While it may be tempting to predict G2 to win, it will just come down to hoping for an upset. This early into the tournament, we can’t safely know how teams play against each other, so a more cautious playstyle is expected. SKT have a lot to lose if they don’t perform well and win the tournament, so they cannot afford to play too aggressively. This spells out a close match, which should belong to SKT, however kill-wise, we expect the teams to not be too far apart.
Prediction: G2 +6.5 kills
Odds: 1.90 Bet365