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Welcome to the daily Worlds 2021 match ratings. Every day, I, your designated guinea pig and critic, will watch all of the world championship games so you don’t have to. I will be here to dish out star ratings for every game (and then series once we hit the best-of-five matches) and let you know if I recommend the slew of fights that day at worlds.

My rating scale is from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) stars. Here’s what each star rating means in layman’s terms:

* = Boring. Utterly skippable and something no one will remember by tomorrow.

** = Watchable. Possibly recommended based on your rooting interests.

*** = Good. Something I’d recommend checking out, even if you’re not a fan of either team.

**** = Must-watch. A game or series that you need to watch if you have any interest in League of Legends.

***** = An all-time classic. This perfect rating is only achievable if a game or match is at the highest level of entertainment, gameplay and will go down in the lexicon as a moment no League of Legends fan will ever forget.

Without further ado, here are my match ratings for the opening day of play-ins at Worlds 2021.

LNG Esports vs. Hanwha Life Esports:

** 1/2 stars

So Tryndamere is going to be a thing in this tournament, isn’t he? A relative back-and-forth match between the two expected best teams in the Worlds play-ins. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon spun around like a Beyblade for the majority of the game, and LNG’s Hu “Ale” Jia-Le put on a hell of a performance with his Jax.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. local time for this game and didn’t fall asleep, so though it wasn’t as much of a barnburner as hoped for, I give it a solid grade to begin Worlds 2021.

Infinity vs. RED Canids:

RED Canids’ Kalunga, Alexandre ”Titan” Lima reacts during the League of Legends World Championship Play-Ins Stage. | Photo by Michal Konkol for Riot Games

** 3/4 stars

The game between the champions from Latin America and Brazil was the equivalent of eating a greasy cheeseburger after a night out drinking with friends.

Was it exceptionally well-made or anything special? No.

But was it a nice wakeup after a slow first game, with two teams trading blows continually in wombo-combo team fights? Definitely.

LNG Esports vs. PEACE

* 3/4 stars

This game was the definition of a better side playing with their food. Though it’s an easy single-star game, I give it a few extra points for LNG picking a fun composition of aggressors like Fiora, Qiyana, Leona and LeBlanc. PEACE tried to counter with a Zed in the jungle, and the ultimate layering of Miss Fortune and Amumu in the bottom lane, which at least made a foregone conclusion at least a bit of fun.

Hanwha Life Esports vs. Infinity

** stars

A game that seemed over in the opening 10 minutes and should have been as straightforward as the previous match swerved into unexpected territory. Overall, neither team will be happy with how they played this particular game or their first day at Worlds 2021. HLE vs. INF was the definition of a watchable game due to some sloppiness from the team that got into the lead early.

Detonation FocusMe vs. Unicorns of Love

DetonatioN FocusMe reacts after a victory at the League of Legends World Championship Play-Ins Stage. | Photo by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

** 3/4 stars

This was a fun fight between two teams of equal skill level facing off to get their first win at the world championship this year. It parallels the Infinity vs. RED game where, at the end of the tournament, no one will point back at this game as something you need to re-watch.

It was an enjoyable romp, though, and on an extended matchday with eight games, there’s a need for these types of brawls to make sure you aren’t caught snoozing.

Galatasaray Esports vs. Beyond Gaming

** 3/4 stars

A lot of superb team fighting by the winning team in this match. Coming in, Turkish League of Legends might have been at its lowest point in a long time whilst Beyond Gaming were soaring with how well they placed in Asia-Pacific. After this opening duel, those narratives are out the window. This is one of the first games at Worlds thus far where I want to see both teams play again to see how they evolve throughout the play-ins.

Cloud9 vs. Detonation FocusMe

** 1/2 stars

In Iceland, snow is frequent. If you scoop the snowy ground and sculpt it with your hands, you can form a snowball. Once you build that snowball and roll it down the icy cliffs, that frozen sphere can transform into an avalanche, overrunning all who stand below its mighty girth. That’s all I have to say about this game.

Galatasaray Esports vs. Unicorns of Love

Unicorns Of Love’s Aleksandr “SaNTaS” Lifashin arrives at the League of Legends World Championship Play-Ins Stage. | Photo by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

** stars

After nine hours of games, analysis, tech pauses and Mastercard ads, I hoped we’d end the first day with a game that blew us all away. Instead, this was another classic matchup where one team was on the front foot from the laning phase and never stopped the pressure until the enemy Nexus exploded.

Round-up

We’re still searching for our first, true three-star match rating of Worlds 2021 (though GSE vs. BYG was on the edge). Though not the best day in terms of quality and excitement, the worst day of Worlds is still better than most esports-filled days.

Tomorrow, maybe my tired, overly critical heart will award a three stars to a game.

# of * matches: 1

# of ** matches: 7

# of *** matches: 0

# of **** matches: 0

# of ***** matches: 0

Match of the day: GSE vs. BYG (** 1/2)

Tyler Erzberger is entering a decade of covering esports. When not traveling around the world telling stories about people shouting over video games, he’s probably arguing with an anime avatar on Twitter about North American esports.
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