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The champions you'll probably see a lot of at MSI

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Yeah, there will probably be more of Ekko, Nidalee and Ryze, but Bard, Zilean and Rumble should get some play too.

Riot Games

MSI approaches this week, with six of the best teams in the world slugging it out in China for international honors and a chance at nearly half a million dollars in prize money.

Here were the picks in the LPL/LCK/IWCI playoffs last week:

The most common bans? Ryze, Sivir, Maokai and Nidalee.

So what might we see in Shanghai? We can tell a good amount from what happened last week in the playoffs, but those games were played on Patch 6.7. MSI will be played on 6.8, with the reworked Taric disabled. As far as I can tell, Aurelion Sol will be active, which means we could see the space dragon for the first time in major competitive play (though I wouldn't count on it).

Top lane:

Highly contested: Maokai, Ekko, Poppy, Trundle

Somewhat contested: Gragas, Nautilus

Sleeper picks: Rumble, Fiora, Fizz

The top lane has been heavily tank-focused for a few months now, but with nerfs to Grasp of the Undying and Iceborn Gauntlet and a big buff to Rumble, that could shift a bit in Shanghai. CLG top laner Darshan had a ton of success on Fiora earlier in the season ... could the tank nerfs bring her back into play?

Jungle:

Highly contested: Nidalee, Kindred, Graves

Somewhat contested: Elise, Gragas, Rek'Sai

Sleeper picks: Sejuani, Rumble

The jungle meta has been relatively stable as well, with a clear priority on carry junglers and some old familiar fallback options behind them. After buffs, we could see Rumble here as well, but don't be surprised if Sejuani gets some play: she's great at team-fighting, was buffed recently, and if teams do end up straying away from tanky top laners, they'll need some more beef coming out of the jungle.

Mid lane:

Highly contested: Ryze, Lissandra, Azir

Somewhat contested: LeBlanc, Zed, Varus, Corki, Twisted Fate

Sleeper picks: Zilean, Vel'Koz

In 6.7, we mostly saw two kinds of team compositions, and the easiest way to tell what a team was doing was the mid lane pick. Someone like Ryze, Lissandra, Zed or LeBlanc with an offensive summoner spell like teleport or ignite? That team's running a 1-3-1. Someone like Azir, Varus or Corki with a defensive summoner spell like heal, barrier or cleanse? Probably a 1-4 siege composition.

Those have been the most popular picks recently, as well as frequently-banned Twisted Fate. But Faker's pulled out the Zilean a few times, as it synergizes particularly well with top jungle pick Kindred, and Vel'Koz is a strong Azir counter that has been seeing some play around the world.

AD Carry:

Highly contested: Sivir, Caitlyn, Kalista

Somewhat contested: Lucian, Ezreal

Sleeper picks: Twitch, Tristana

You could probably move Lucian and Ezreal into the top group here, but I think Sivir (for team fight control), Caitlyn (for poke) and Kalista (for objective control) are going to be the three main AD Carries in the tournament.

We saw Twitch in the LPL and LCK finals, which makes sense: hypercarries are given time to get gold in the lane swap meta, and there are many champions in the current meta capable of protecting glass cannons like Twitch and Kog'Maw. Tristana's also been a semi-popular pick with Rageblade, and one that CLG's Stixxay is prone to pull out as a pocket pick.

Support:

Highly contested: Alistar, Braum, Bard, Soraka

Somewhat contested: Thresh, Trundle, Janna

Sleeper picks: Tahm Kench, Poppy

Braum and Alistar have been by far the most popular support picks in recent weeks, but Soraka has been banned pretty frequently and some of the best Bard players in the world will be at MSI. But Tahm Kench (Wolf) and Poppy (Dumbledoge) are pocket picks for two of the supports in the tournament, and Dumbledoge even pulled out the unheard-of Elise support in the International Wild Card Invitational.