Day 1 of the League of Legends 2021 World Championships Play-In Stage is in the books. The first day of the play-in stage showcased some unexpected results as well as unexpected champions. Here are the lessons we learned from the exciting opening day of 2021 Worlds.
LNG look the best in Group A
Day 1 of Worlds started off with what many expected to be the best game of the entire play-in stage. The two favorites to reach the Group Stage from Group A, LNG Esports and Hanwha Life Esports, put on a show. The Griffin reunion between Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and Chovy did not disappoint.
The excitement began as early as champion select and lasted throughout the whole game. With the winner of this match gaining the inside track to win Group A, there were big stakes at hand — not only for their group but for the entire Worlds Play-In stage. At the end of the 40-minute game, LNG took the methodical win.
LNG also had a second game on the docket during Day 1. This time, it was against the Oceania representatives, PEACE. With their hardest match behind them, LNG did not waste any time dispatching PEACE. They closed out the game in under 25 minutes. PEACE didn’t even take a single tower.
With only two games left for LNG, they are already 2-0. They have a great shot at finishing 4-0, which would qualify them directly into the Group Stage.
Group B is wide open
When the two play-in groups were revealed a couple of weeks ago, one group appeared much closer on paper than the other. And after Day 1 of the Play-In Stage, that expectation held true.
Group B teams, which consist of Cloud9, Beyond Gaming, Detonation FocusMe, Galatasaray Esports and Unicorns of Love, all looked capable of winning the entire group. But there were still favorites within the group. Cloud9 and Beyond Gaming, being the top seeds, came into Day 1 as the expected teams to get out of Group B. While Cloud9 won their lone game, Beyond Gaming did not.
The hyped Beyond Gaming Squad received a wake-up from the Turkish reps, Galatasaray Esports, who came to play. More than a half hour later, GS took the Nexus and scored a very important game against one of the top seeds. Later in the day, GS showed their win against Beyond Gaming was no fluke by beating Unicorns of Love to end the day 2-0, putting them in a great spot to move onto the Group Stage.
Meanwhile, Japan’s DetonationN FocusMe also won their first contest of 2021 Worlds as they dismantled the CIS reps, Unicorns of Love. DFM dropped their second game to C9, though, to end the day 1-1.
With C9, GS and DFM picking up wins and BYG only losing to the only 2-0 team in the group, tomorrow should prove to be a very interesting day. Any of these four teams are one good performance away from advancing into the Group Stage.
Spicy picks take over Day 1
The 2021 season brought a big overhaul to the item system, and many underutilized champions grabbed the spotlight in competitive play. Champions like Udyr made their way into the metagame and even ruled it for some time. With the Worlds patch showcasing many more big changes, the rise of previously un-played champions was rumored to strike again. Day 1 of Worlds proved that true.
From the get-go, game one featured one of the most hyped solo queue champions of the current patch, Tryndamere. And while Hanwha Life Esports’ superstar mid laner, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, started off Worlds with a bang, he wasn’t the only one that turned some heads.
Throughout the entirety of Day 1, the play-in stage teams showcased their hidden picks. Assassins took over the jungle, with Talon and Qiyana not only getting picked, but also going undefeated in matchups against their safer non-assassin counterparts. Amumu also made his return to the bot lane as a support. Other champions made appearances in weird positions, too, like Zed in the jungle, and even Graves showed up in the top lane.
With so many spicy picks on Day 1, more are sure to follow.