As the Mid-Season Invitational rolls around for 2018, a chance for international competition to carve a name for themselves under all the lights, some people have been caught unaware by format changes.
With that in mind, here's a guide to the new format of one of the most competitive League of Legends tournaments of the year.
There are really only two main changes you need to understand as a viewer:
1) Vietnam (with the VCS) has been added to the list of competing regions, increasing the number of teams to 14. It's important to note that Riot has not added the extra slot to the play-in stage (which we will go over in a moment,) but has rather given an extra slot for top teams who will get byes to the group stage.
2) The regions that receive the top four slots are now decided by their performances over the last two years at both Worlds and MSI. Keep in mind, the seedings are determined by the regions performance, not any one team's accomplishments. That is to say, if NA has two group finishers in worlds, they will both be considered for future MSI tournaments.
This year, the top four teams were from the NA LCS, EU LCS, LCK, and the LPL. This means that the representative teams for North America, Europe, Korea, and China will get a pass straight to the group stages, avoiding the Play-In stage.
Speaking of which...
The Play-in stage
The Play-In stages represents the first two parts of the Mid-Season Invitational, where we'll see the ten teams below the top four.
The first stage is played by the lowest ranked eight teams, split into two groups of four. The winners of these two groups (A and B) will then face the other two remaining teams who didn't have to compete in the first stage.
The two winners of those games move onto the Group stage, where they will meet the top four teams that had received byes.
The top four teams of that group stage move onto the Knockout stage.
With MSI 2018, the fans get new opportunities to represent their favorite teams by dawning their logo and receiving an xp boost for choosing the correct region to win the whole tournament, and even contribute to the prize pool of the tournament by purchasing the Conqueror Varus skin and/or the 2018 Conqueror Ward, both limited time options.
MSI 2018 starts Thursday, May 3rd at 1:00 pm CEST or 4:00 am Pacific. Good luck recovering from that morning when it comes.