eSports & Gaming

Most picked and banned LoL champions during MSI 2023 play-in stage

The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational play-in stage wrapped up on Sunday, May 7, acting as the preliminary part of the tournament and determining the three teams advancing to the bracket stage.

After 10 best-of-three series and a best-of-five, we have now a better idea of how the meta is shaping up at MSI, and what we can expect going forward. 

Here are the most picked and banned League champions, as well as other notable stats, taken from the MSI play-in stage. 

Most-picked League champions at MSI 2023

MSI has seen a total of 64 unique League champions picked so far, according to stats site Games of Legends. During the first phase of the tournament, there was one champion above the others: Aphelios was picked a total of 13 times out of the 25 games played. 

The ADC was particularly popular for two players: PSG Wako and LOUD Route, with five and four games played respectively. With only three bans on the board, it’s likely Aphelios will continue to be picked in the bracket stage. 

Behind him sat K’Sante on 12 games. The top lane champion was also played as a mid laner once: GG Gori took the win in the Last Chance Qualifier against PSG Talon. After dropping in priority at the end of the Spring Splits, it seems like teams are still thinking highly of this pick. 

Other notable popular picks are Jinx, Rakan, and Zeri, each on 11 games, according to Games of Legends. The League bot lane meta didn’t shift that much, although Lucian is making a swift return to the priority list, having totaled 15 bans: he might be one to watch out for going forward. 

Most-banned League champions at MSI 2023

Speaking of bans, there are only two League champions having more or the same amount of bans as Lucian in London. Kennen and Vi are currently the two most important picks in the MSI meta, boasting an 88 and 92 percent presence (pick and ban combined) rate, according to Games of Legends.

Despite the nerfs to Vi in Patch 13.7, the jungler is still one of the most effective engagers in the game thanks to her point-and-click ultimate. She’s still tanky and the synergize with Radiant Virtue is too powerful for teamfights, which are a common occurrence in professional play.

Kennen, on the other hand, has risen in popularity towards the end of the spring splits, especially over in the Eastern regions. The Yordle has incredible AoE damage with his ultimate, allowing him to blow teams up. Not to mention he gets a safe laning phase due to his ranged nature. 

In particular, Kennen is the champion at MSI with the highest amount of wins while having a perfect win rate. According to Games of Legends, the other champions with a 100 percent win rate are Blitzcrank, Darius, Galio, Nocturne, Swain, Rell, and Sett.  

There is one champion worth noting and to watch out for in the bracket stage: Draven. The ADC hasn’t been picked so far, but play-in teams have banned him out on 11 different occasions. Considering the presence of great Draven players like G2 Hans Sama at MSI, he might go up in priority. 

Other champions with a couple of bans but no picks at all are Varus and Rumble, with six and five bans respectively. The average ban turn for the top lane champion is 2.6, meaning teams are regarding him as an important pick in specific matchups. Varus, on the other hand, is usually taken off the board in the second phase, so it’s more of a situational ban to deny counter-picks. 

Highest KDAs at MSI play-ins

While KDAs are not the most important stats, they can be used as an indicator of a strong and reliable pick. The champion with the best KDA throughout play-ins is Cassiopeia, with a 14.0 KDA, according to Games of Legends. 

The mid lane mage was played on two occasions by LOUD Tinowns, but all the kills and assists were clocked up in their win against DetonatioN FocusMe. His other game on the pick saw him go 0/1/0, incapable of getting any kill participation. 

Behind Cassiopeia was Nidalee, who finished play-ins on a 12.2 KDA. This was mainly thanks to G2 Yike and BLG Xun, who dominated with the pick. Maintaining those numbers will be tough, especially considering the closer games we should be getting during the bracket stage. While Nidalee will be played in the next two weeks, it’s likely her KDA numbers will drop drastically.

In third place, there is one surprising champion who went under the radar for almost the entirety of the season so far: Ornn. The top lane champion was only played once by GG Licorice, in their last win against PSG Talon, achieving a 9.0 KDA, according to Games of Legends. Given the low popularity of the pick, Ornn might be the champion with the highest KDA at the end of MSI.

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