The numbers are in from the Group Stage portion of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. Here is how the meta is shaping up ahead of the highly anticipated Rumble Stage.

The Group Stage portion of the Mid-Seasonal Invitational has officially concluded. Riot’s second-biggest LoL tournament, MSI, has often been the trendsetter as far as the regional meta’s goes heading into its World Championship. This year is no different with unique picks on display, specifically in the jungle. The tournament also saw a return of many strong champions that dominated the Spring Split across the globe. Here is the esports.gg’s meta check-in ahead of the Rumble Stage.

Morgana and Rumble own the Jungle

Riot decided to shake things up ahead of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. Two of the unlikeliest of champions, Morgana and Rumble, have been the most hotly contested champions at MSI. Starting with Morgana, the champion has been heavily regarded as a mid-laner and support for years. In patch 11.8, Morgana’s W ability, Tormented Shadow, saw a massive increase in her ability to kill jungle monsters, making her clear speed unrivaled.

This buff saw Morgana rise to the top of the jungle mountain with “The Fallen” having a large presence at MSI this year. Being picked or banned 34 times, Morgana has a 73% win rate. Damwon Kia’s Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu has been playing the champion a lot in solo queue. Morgana has been one of his most played picks on his route to earning rank one on the ladder.

Rumble has been hotly contested thus far throughout MSI. The Yordle has found its way into the jungle and has been a force to be reckoned with. Rumble’s increased attack speed and damage output when overheated made him a surprising addition to what was a stale champion pool throughout the spring split. Cloud9 content creator IWillDominate made a sarcastic tweet that outlined the champion’s strengths in the current meta as a jungler.

While there are many strengths to playing Rumble in the jungle, the champion has not seen as much success as its fellow counterparts at MSI. Despite being one of the most picked champions in the tournament, Rumble has a negative win rate at 47%. Professional players have been struggling to adapt to the playstyle needed to get the most out of Rumble. North America’s Cloud9 even allowed the opposition to pick Rumble in two of their three games on the final day of Group C.

Udyr is still a monster at MSI

A familiar champion in Udyr came in with the third-highest pick/ban presence during the Group Stage. Udyr was a prominent champion throughout the entirety of spring, being played global, and was often matched up against Hecarim. With Hecarim out of the picture, Udyr finds himself lower down in the pecking order with Morgana and Rumble being a higher priority in the jungle. Udyr had a pick and ban presence of 89% and had a win rate of 69% in the group stage.

Familiar faces still at large

Gnar and Kaisa remain monstrous

Despite seeing new faces at MSI, there were two champions who continued to destroy the competition. While he was not everyone’s cup of tea, Gnar has remained a monster in the top lane for the entirety of the 2021 season. Gnar has been particularly strong because of the Stridebreaker mythic item, which gives Gnar double the number of gap closers to chase down opponents. This was seen in the opening game of MSI when Kim “Khan” Dong-ha was able to chase down Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami inside of C9 top laners jungle.

Despite champions such as Varus and Jinx becoming more and more viable, Kai’Sa still reigns supreme in the bottom lane. The Daughter of the Void has been the most picked champion with 27 games. Being one of the most popular champions in the game means Kai’Sa will always be relevant. If professional players believe Kai’Sa is at the minimum “viable”, then it will be picked. Kai’Sa joins Gnar as the two champions with the most wins at MSI 2021.

The 2021 Mid-Season Invitational returns Friday May 14 with Damwon Kia taking on Royal Never Give Up.

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Jordan Marney -

Jordan Marney

| Twitter: @official_marn

Jordan "Marn" Marney is an esports journalist from across the pond. Marn specialises in telling stories about League of Legends and Call of Duty. Marn has been a passionate esports fan since 2014 and has written for publications Unikrn, Esports Network, ESTNN and The United Stand.