2020 Mid-Season Cup: LCK and LPL to bring back Rift Rivals memories
With the regular Mid-Season Invitational 2020 canceled as a result of everything that’s been going on, the League of Legends esports calendar was left with a barren May. To rectify this, developer and publisher Riot Games announced earlier this week that the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) and the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) would have an online tournament at the end of May.
Dubbed the 2020 Mid-Season Cup, this tournament will feature eight teams in total: four from South Korea’s LCK and four from China’s LPL. These teams were determined by their final placements as the top four from the LCK and LPL 2020 Spring split. Mentioning LCK vs LPL instantly brings back those Rift Rivals memories. One can only hope this event is as thrilling.
About the Mid-Season Cup
The Mid-Season Cup is the first international competition since the 2019 League of Legend World Championship (Worlds 2019). Of the six teams that had attended Worlds representing China and South Korea, four will now reconvene for the Mid-Season Cup: the LPL’s FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming and the LCK’s T1 (rebranded from SK Telecom) and DAMWON Gaming.
Of those four, FunPlus Phoenix and DAMWON Gaming are the only two to retain the same rosters, however, both have still seen changes to their starting line-ups. DAMWON now plays Yong-jun “Ghost” Jang in the bot lane with Jeong-hyeon “Nuclear” Sin moved to substitute, and FPX occasionally sees former SKT top laner Dong-ha “Khan” Kim play in place of Han-saem “GimGoon” Kim.
The LCK representatives are, in order of final placements:
- T1 (LCK 2020 Spring champion)
- DAMWON Gaming.
The LPL representatives are, in order of final placements:
- JD Gaming (LPL 2020 Spring champion)
- Top Esport
- FunPlus Phoenix
- Invictus Gaming
To ensure standardized and competitive environments, both teams will play from familiar domestic arenas. The LCK teams will play from the LoL Park in Seoul and the LPL teams will play from the Shanghai LPL Arena. In accordance with each city’s health and safety regulations, both locations will not feature a live audience.
Riot Games will also implement the usage of third-party tools to artificially standardize ping for both locations to 30-40m/s for the sake of competitive integrity. This is a workaround solution to the difficulty of maintaining fair in-game playing conditions when playing online internationally.
Introducing the 2020 Mid-Season Cup:
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) May 13, 2020
Possible Format Leaked
It’s exciting for fans to see these Worlds teams clash once more alongside newcomers to the international stage. Many of whose players have long histories with each other as rivals and/or former teammates. The manner of this showdown remains unknown, however, as the Mid-Season Cup does not at the time of writing have a confirmed format.
Per an accidental leak by Invictus Gaming’s Support player Zhi-Lin “Southwind” Su, the format is rumored to be a four-day event of two stages. The first stage will divide the teams into two four-team groups which will each play a single round-robin. The group stage will take place over the first two days. This likely means that the latter two days will be reserved for the playoffs, likely to be a double-bracket single-elimination affair between the four teams that finished top two in their respective groups. Finally, it is still unknown how each match will be played in terms of the best-of series.
Given the flimsy format, no result should be taken as conclusive from the Mid-Season Cup. However, it is still an opportunity to watch and enjoy the international League of Legends competition between two powerhouse regions that will serve as a substitute for the Mid-Season Invitational.
Still, it is unfortunate that, due to geographic and technological limitations, the MSI substitute will not feature the two potentially best teams in the world.
The Mid-Season Cup will take place from 28 May 2020 to 31 May 2020. At the time of writing, Riot Games has not yet provided a start time and streaming site. The most likely location to watch the English broadcast for the matches would be the LoL Esports website.