May 20, 2021, 5:36 PM

MSI 2021 Knockouts Stage Head-to-Heads Preview

Could we see an upset in the Semifinals?
MSI 2021 Knockouts Stage Head-to-Heads Preview
The Semifinals matches for MSI 2021 begin on May 21.
By Jorge Pedraz
Filed Under
We're just one day ahead of MSI 2021’s Semifinals' kick-off on Friday, May 21. Now is the perfect time to use all the data collected during MSI to analyze and preview both of the upcoming series.
Before the Rumble Stage started, we developed a model using our TrackLoL Team Rating (TTR) and other metrics to forecast what the odds are for each team to win MSI.
Now it’s time for the best-of-5 series, where the champion pools, the drafts, the adaptation to the series, and the mental game play a major role on the way to the MSI Finals.
Having secured the first seed after the Rumble Stage, DWG KIA got to choose their rival in the Semifinals. They chose between PSG Talon and MAD Lions. They opted to play against the European representatives, so PSG Talon-RNG and DWG KIA-MAD Lions are the MSI Semifinals.
Here at TrackLoL, we've prepared an infographic with all you need to know ahead of both series using team and player stats as well as champion preferences. You can check the average objectives taken per game for each team, KDAs for every player, or the average length of games won among many other stats.
Take a look at the result:
Let’s use all of that data to preview both best-of-5 series:

RNG vs. PSG — May 21

MSI Head-to-Head

They’ve split both games as PSG upset RNG for the first time in the MSI on Rumble Day 3.
They responded to RNG’s aggressive style with more aggression, securing early kills and brilliantly snowballing the game via neutral objectives. Leading by three drakes to none, they forced RNG to contest the next objectives, but PSG were stronger at that point and after winning a key team fight, they added a baron Nashor and an Infernal Dragon Soul later to close the game.
On Rumble Day 4, PSG had the early lead even if the gold difference was pretty much even because they managed to secure 3 drakes versus 1 standing on Cloud Soul point. They had their chances of adding a baron on top of that, but they were not able to get it. After a successful dive into the mid tier 2 tower, RNG secured the baron and later the game with a brilliant 4-man ‘Lilting Lullaby’:

Stats

During the first two stags of MSI, we can clearly distinguish two different types of playstyle. The Eastern one, oriented to snowball and dominating lanes, and the Western, relying more on team fights.
In RNG vs. PSG, we will witness a clash of two Eastern teams, both wanting to take control from the early game and snowball via pure aggression and through early objectives. Both teams have the lowest average time of games won, PSG with 28:53 and RNG with 27:31.
PSG averages more dragons (2.6 vs. 2.2) and RNG does so with towers (7.7 vs. 6.6). In the head-to-head, PSG were first to take two dragons in both games while RNG got the first tower so we could expect PSG to prioritize the first drake trading with RNG for the first herald in the fight for early objectives.

Highlight matchup

The lane where all eyes will be on is the bot lane. Two of the best AD carries and supports of the tournament will clash in an epic 2 vs. 2 lane.
Doggo is not even the starting ADC for PSG Talon. He substituted for Unified, who could not travel with the team due to health concerns, but it’s difficult to say that PSG have missed the star marksman. Doggo is second in KDA between ADCs with 6.5, only 0.1 behind Ghost, and third in gold per minute with 491.2. Kai’Sa, Xayah, Tristana, and Aphelios have been his picks in the MSI.
Along with him, Kaiwing, is second between supports in KDA with 3.92, but first in assists/game (11). Brilliant on Thresh, Leona, and Nautilus, he has been one of the best supports of the MSI finding key engages for his team.
On the opposite side of the Rift, the bot lane composed of GALA and Ming is definitely one to be afraid of. Ming leads in KDA among supports (4.3) and GALA is 3rd between ADCs (6.0). Besides, GALA excels in gold per minute with 493.8. Kai’Sa has been his favorite pick in this MSI but his champion pool also includes Xayah, Kalista, and Varus. Ming usually favors the meta engage picks like Nautilus or Leona.

The keys

As our TTR reflects, RNG (2871 TTR) are favored over PSG (1511 TTR) to advance to the finals. But RNG should definitely not take PSG for granted. PSG have beaten them once and were close to beating RNG the second time. What the stats point out is that we are likely to watch a fast-paced snowball-oriented series.
Both top laners, Xiaohu (RNG) and Hanabi (PSG) are used to play carries. Jayce, Gnar, or Lee Sin could be their priorities, knowing that one of Xiaohu’s signature picks, Lucian, will be probably banned as well as Renekton.
The jungle could be formed by two of these three meta picks: Udyr, Rumble, and Morgana. We’ve seen a great River (PSG) performance on Udyr dominating a game from minute 1 over Elyoya on Rumble, punishing his weaker level 1. Apart from the meta picks, Wei (RNG) can often be seen on Olaf, one of his signature picks.
Maple (PSG), former LPL mid laner for Suning and LNG Esports and with plenty of International Competitions on his shoulders playing for Flash Wolves, is favored to pick Zoe, who could combine well with a top lane Jayce for a poke composition. In any case, both Maple and Cryin (RNG) have deep champion pools including Orianna, Sylas, Syndra, and Ryze.
We’ve already talked about the bot lane where Kai’Sa plus Nautilus could be the priority, but they are likely to be traded so Kai’Sa-Leona and Xayah-Nautilus are an example of bot lanes that we can see. If Thresh, Tahm Kench, or Senna are open, we might see Thresh paired with Aphelios, Senna/Tahm Kench duo, or Varus with either support.
RNG tops all teams in the MSI Knockouts in Kills (324 total, 18 kills per game), with PSG being second with 268 total, 16.75 on average. RNG are just slightly favorites in an aggressive series where PSG will fight fire with fire.

MAD vs. DK — May 22

MSI head-to-head

Saturday’s semifinal, on paper, looks more one-sided. Both Rumble Stage games fell into DWG KIA’s pocket in dominating fashion. It was a clash of the Eastern and Western playstyles, with DWG KIA getting all the early pressure and snowballing the game while MAD Lions were waiting for the laning phase to be over and regroup on teamfights.
Unfortunately for them, those teamfights never happened and when they did, they were too far behind to contest. They dropped both games against the World Champions without a real chance to fight.
However, that can very much change on Saturday. We’ve seen MAD Lions struggle especially during Rumble Stage on Days 3 and 4 when they lost to PSG Talon and DWG KIA twice, but they stood up to defeat RNG with a statement win that sealed their ticket to the Knockout Stage. MAD Lions’ strengths are the teamfights and their team cohesion. They always believe in themselves no matter what as we could see in the LEC Finals.
On the other side, DWG KIA will leave them no room to breathe, they will try to get pressure in all lanes, play through their best players, ShowMaker and Canyon, and punish every single mistake that MAD Lions can make.

Stats

DWG KIA leads the MSI in fewer deaths/game with just 9.9 and they head the table in average Towers, Dragons, Barons, and Inhibitors. They are dominant indeed, but they have also shown their flaws during the tournament. They’ve lost to Cloud 9 once and almost twice, a key Morgana’s Black Shield saved them from a defeat against all odds versus Detonation FocusMe, and in the Rumble Stage, they dropped both games against RNG.
MAD Lions are 3rd in kills/game with 16.4, 2nd in average Towers, and 3rd in Nashors per game. They’ve had great performances against the top teams with clear victories against C9, PSG, and RNG with DWG KIA as their only kryptonite.

Highlight matchup

Elyoya, LEC rookie of the Split, will have in front of him the arguably best jungler in the world in Canyon.
Canyon leads among junglers in KDA with 5.8 while Elyoya is third with 5.1. In gold per minute, Canyon is 2nd and Elyoya 3rd with 377.9 and 360.2, respectively, a stat in which Wei leads the table.
Elyoya has been playing the meta picks Udyr, Rumble, and Morgana with different degrees of success. Some of his Rumble performances were put into question, but he has been better with the champion in his last two games. During the Split, he has been great when he was a source of engage for his team along with Kaiser, so we can expect him on picks like Udyr, Rumble (especially with Udyr banned) or off-meta picks like the Volibear.
We can also expect Canyon to respond with one of the meta picks. His total control of the map, having in mind the respawns of the camps, maximizing the effectiveness of the jungle, together with the use of the lanes pressure to dominate the matchup, characterize his playstyle.

The keys

With a 2905 TTR, DWG KIA is the favorite against MAD Lions, with 2282 TTR. If MAD Lions resist the pressure in lane and avoid DWG KIA’s snowball through early advantages they’ll have their chances, especially in teamfights. The best-of-5 format can favor DWG KIA due to their consistency and their experience, they are the World Champions and back-to-back LCK winners.
In the top lane, we can see a wide variety of picks. Armut usually plays carry top laners and uses quite a lot of resources from his jungler. Gnar, Jayce, Lee Sin or his signature pick, Wukong can be his choices. Khan could also very well use a carry like Jayce or Lee Sin, respond to the Lee Sin pick with Aatrox, or take a more tanky style on Sion like he did last time when he could even farm some jungle camps with his zombie:
In the mid lane, it will be difficult to see Humanoid in anything different than control mages like Viktor or Orianna. Lucian could well be one of MAD Lions’ priorities in the draft, but we expect him to be banned or even picked by DWG KIA side in a meta of AP junglers, because of the powerful AP jungle-AD mid combination and the risk of losing the mid lane pressure.
ShowMaker’s champion pool is wide. From Zoe to control mages like Viktor or Syndra or the option of Sylas if there are worth-stealing ultimates. He leads the MSI in KDA with an astonishing 8.7.
Last but not least, the bot lane can be the turning point of the series especially for MAD Lions. The Carzzy-Kaiser duo has stepped up during LEC Playoffs and MSI. Carzzy has a deep champion pool, Kai’Sa, Xayah, Tristana, Varus, or Senna could be his choices. Kaiser is one of the main sources of engage and play creation when he roams. Leona and Nautilus could be his main picks.
From the DWG KIA side, BeryL has been the weakest point of his team in some games. Caught too many times, he is the support with the highest deaths/game from the four remaining teams. However, Ghost leads ADCs in the MSI in KDA with 6.6 and averages the fewest deaths/game with 1.38.
DWG KIA is favored in a series where MAD Lions should give their best to try to defeat the World Champions. The bot lane and jungle matchups could be their way to upset DWG KIA, who took both Rumble Stage games in dominating fashion.
The stakes are high before the win-or-go-home series of this weekend. Follow all the action from Friday at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT with the RNG vs. PSG.

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