Games at the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational flew by. On average, they were completed in just 29 minutes and 13 seconds, according to league stats site Games of Legendsmaking for the quickest average game time among all international tournaments in league‘s history.
The average game time at any international event had never fallen below the 30-minute threshold prior to this year’s MSI. At last year’s Mid-Season Invitational, the average game time sat just over 30 minutes with an official mark of 30:04.
Games at MSI were abnormally quicker this season than contests across the major regions of the world during the Spring Split. Regular season and playoff games in the LPL, LCK, LEC, and LCS all eclipsed average game times longer than 31 minutes, according to Games of Legends. The LCK Spring Split featured particularly longer games, topping out all major regions with an aggregate game time of 34 minutes and 17 seconds during the first half of the 2022 regular season, according to Games of Legends.
Once teams hit the international stage at MSI, though, the tone was set from the very beginning of the event. On the first day of the tournament, four of the five games played were completed in 28 or fewer minutes. The following day, the quickest game of the tournament between T1 and Team Aze was played in just over 20 minutes. Even the final four games between T1 and Royal Never Give Up in the grand final were decided in fewer than 30 minutes.
While there are no concrete trends between average game times and individual league tournaments (and their separate stages), it is fair to claim that the game as a whole has been getting faster over the course of the last four years. Nearly every tournament between the 2014 World Championship and the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational posted an average game time of over 34 minutes. Since 2019, no international tournament (with play-in stages included) has hit that threshold.
At the halfway point of the 2022 league season, Riot Games implemented a “durability update,” increasing hit points and resistances for every champion in the game. The update, which has been live on leagues servers for over a week, aims to slow down the pace of combat in both solo queue games and on the professional stage, which may, in turn, increase the length of games in the competitive scene.
Pro leagues around the world are set to resume later this month, with the LEC and LCS beginning on June 17.