Former World Champion Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang shocked fans on a recent livestream after explaining that LPL teams may not compete in this split’s MSI due to scheduling issues.
This shocking situation is due to China’s current quarantining policies and September’s Asia Games. The Asia Games are set to be held in September, between the LPL Summer split and the 2022 World Championship, meaning that the LPL playoffs are likely to conclude earlier than usual to allow their national side appropriate preparation time for the tournament.
The Asia Games begin on September 10 and, for comparison, the 2021 LPL Summer playoffs did not finish until September 2.
While this already looked set to lead to a more condensed LPL Summer schedule, traveling to Busan, South Korea for MSI would ultimately cause further issues for China’s representative. Traveling to Korea would currently not require players to quarantine, however their return to China would be met with a 21 day isolation period. During this time, players would have to play from hotels if they didn’t want to see their spots filled with a substitute or academy roster, the latter of which would undoubtedly put the yet-undecided Spring champions at a competitive disadvantage for Summer.
LPL considers competing at MSI remotely
The alternative solution, as DoinB explained, is for the LPL’s MSI representative to compete remotely rather than traveling to Korea. This would not be possible if the tournament were held somewhere further away. However, since the two are almost neighboring countries this does provide a possible workaround.
The most likely scenario would be for matches involving LPL teams to be played on a steady level of ping, artificially enforced to ensure that both the teams in Busan and their remote opponents in China are competing on a level playing field.
There is some precedent for this. The 2020 Mid-Season Cup, one of many tournaments created to replace that season’s canceled MSI, was a tournament held with Chinese and Korean teams, all playing remotely with an artificial 30ms ping to keep all sides on an equal connection.
Though such an option is the best-case scenario to keep LPL sides involved in MSI this year, there would arguably be an issue with competitive integrity involved with a decision to have most teams traveling and playing in a new environment while the Chinese side is able to play in comfort from their usual training facilities.