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Correction: This article initially listed DetonatioN FocusMe as one of the teams still playing to qualify for the Worlds 2021 Group Stage. It has since been updated to correctly list Cloud9 instead.

The 2021 League of Legends World Championship has sent its first two teams home. Infinity Esports, first seed of the Liga Latinoamérica, and Unicorns of Love, first seed of the League of Legends Continental League, finished last in their respective groups of the Play-In stage.

Infinity Esports fall first

Coming into the event, Infinity Esports were hoping to improve on their 1-5 record at the Mid-Season Invitational, but their return to Reykjavík, Iceland brought them a similar result. After losing to RED Canids and Hanwha Life Esports on the first day of the tournament, mid laner Cristian Sebastián “cody” Quispe Yampara told Upcomer that he remained hopeful.

Infinity put up a good fight against League of Legends Circuit Oceania champions PEACE on the second day, but they gave up too many leads. Infinity’s repeated slip-ups allowed PEACE to climb back into the game. This resulted in an 0-3 score by the end of Day 2.

Heading into Day 3 of the Play-In stage, a mountainous task awaited Infinity Esports. In order to have a chance at staying in the race and forcing tiebreakers, they would have to topple the undefeated LNG Esports. But it wasn’t even close. With one of the fastest losses at the world championship so far, Infinity Esports was sent packing.

Unicorns of Love follows shortly after

The story of Unicorns of Love at Worlds 2021 is eerily similar to that of Infinity Esports. The CIS squad also participated at the Mid-Season Invitational and were eliminated early on as well. Trying to improve their play, they managed to hoist the trophy in their region once more. But, in Iceland, things fell apart yet again.

Struggling to find a coherent playstyle, Unicorns of Love fell to both DetonatioN FocusMe and Galatasaray on opening day of Worlds 2021. When they also fell to Beyond Gaming, Unicorns of Love had to force a tiebreaker series. Their hopes rested on DetonatioN FocusMe defeating Beyond Gaming, after which the Unicorns had to take down Cloud9 themselves. DetonatioN FocusMe held up their part of the bargain. And in a miraculous turn of events, Cloud9 stumbled. Unicorns of Love pounced and made it to the tiebreaker game against Beyond Gaming.

Unicorns of Love spiced up their strategy in the tiebreaker game, picking a Senna/Wukong bot lane. But it wasn’t enough. By the force of Doggo’s Draven, Beyond Gaming came out on top for the second time in the tournament. Contrary to last year, where they made it to the Group Stage, Unicorns of Love ended their run as last-placed in their Play-In Stage group.

Two Group Stage spots left to hand out

By placing first in their groups, LNG Esports and Cloud9 have automatically qualified for the group stage. There are two spots left to be filled by the Play-In teams between Hanwha Life Esports, PEACE, RED Canids, Cloud9, Galatasaray Esports and Beyond Gaming.

On Friday, Oct. 8, each group’s third-placed team will play a best-of-five against the fourth-placed team in the same group. The winner of that series will advance to face the other group’s second-placed team on Oct. 9 for the final ticket to the Group Stage.

Tom fell in love with esports in 2015 and has been reporting on multiple scenes since. In his spare time, he dwells on the Howling Abyss in League of Legends, or on the vast oceans in Sea of Thieves.
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