Did Side Selection Impact the Outcome of MSI 2022 Finals?
China’s Royal Never Give Up (RNG) won the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022 for the second consecutive year, making this victory its third MSI trophy. The final best-of-five (BO5) series between RNG and T1 delivered in terms of hype and entertainment. Both the teams played exceptionally well and took the series till game five and brought it down to the wire.
Analysts, fans, and the audience were all curious about one major thing at MSI 2022, which happened to be the drafting and champion select phase. Notably, in the grand final, the team which happened to play on the Blue side of the map won the game.
The team on the blue side of Summoner’s Rift has the ability to choose a champion first, while the team on the red side can counter the blue side’s picks.
How does side selection work in the finals of MSI?
According to Riot Games’ , side selection for Game 1 of the finals will be determined by coin flip. The team that wins the coin flip will be required to provide their side selection to the officials. For all games after the first one, the losing team of the previous game will get to select its side.
Let us now look at which team played on which side of the map in the finals of MSI 2022.
Match 1: RNG Blue side
Match 2: T1 Blue side
Match 3: RNG Blue side
Match 4: T1 Blue side
Match 5: RNG Blue side
Since RNG played the Blue Side of Summoner’s Rift in Game 1, it is a given that the team won the coin toss behind the stage and decided to pick the advantageous side of the map.
T1’s coach comments on side advantages
After the series, T1’s head coach Choi "Polt" Seong-hun spoke to Inven Global and addressed the media. According to , Polt said that the team that could choose sides always went for the Blue side and won. “I believe that the blue side is advantageous. We tried to prepare as much as we can from the red side, but we weren’t able to win the match,” he opined.
When he was asked to rate T1 players’ performances and why they lost to RNG, Polt stated that he could not really put a number on the performance of players or coaches. He added, “The reason we lost was as I just said — because we weren’t able to play on the blue side three times.”
Notably, star player Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok stated that none of the RNG players stood out to him and that T1’s performance was a bit disappointing and he was only focusing on that.
RNG comments on side selection
Addressing the media after winning the trophy, Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao said that he thought side selection does not matter. According to , he reportedly said, “The blue side can take OP [overpowered] champions, and the red side can do the same. Even in the games that we lost on the red side, we lost just because of our champion pool.”
However, RNG’s support Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming opined, “I think it’s accurate to say that, but they lost the coin toss. On Media Day, Polt said that they should win 3-0, but that they’ll actually win 3-1 because they lost the coin toss. I don’t understand why he’s bringing that up again.”
It seems very likely that being on the Blue Side has its advantages both in champion selection and inside the game, like better access to Baron Nashor. According to , at MSI 2022, the Blue Side has a win rate of 53.2%, and the Red naturally has a low win rate of 46.8%.