League of Legends esports China Spring final: Reigning champion vs. new challenger
By Gong Zhe
China's JD Gaming (JDG) and reigning world champion Invictus Gaming (IG) came one step closer this weekend to the Mid-season Invitational (MSI), where League of Legends champions from around the world will compete for one million U.S. dollars.
The two teams qualified for the Chinese Spring final on April 20 after dispatching their respective adversaries.
JDG – sometimes called "the black eight," after the billiard ball, for its surprising performance in the play-offs – beat top team FunPlus Phoenix on Saturday to enter the final, while IG defeated TopSports (TOP) on Sunday with a score of 3-1.
Though TOP struggled hard in the four rounds, IG player Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok managed to crush his opponents and secured the victory.
"TheShy" already helped IG to the world title in 2018, saving his team many times from wipe-outs.
Now the question is whether JDG can slay the dragon to enter the international stage for the first time, or whether IG will go on reigning in the League world.
In any case, the Chinese champion will come up against a tough rival at the MSI.
South Korea's SK Telecom T1 (SKT) is three-time world champions but missed out on the title last year. Still, the team's star player Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is ready to show off his prowess again and take another world championship at MSI 2019.
The North America champion, Team Liquid, is also a team with legacy. 
The European champion was meanwhile being decided on Sunday with OG and G2 facing off in their own Spring final.
With a lot of familiar teams participating, this year's MSI is likely to see a great clash between new hopefuls and old legends.
This MSI will start on May 1, with teams from 13 countries and regions expected to participate.