The League of Legends World Championship group draw is done, and there’s plenty to discuss as the Worlds 2021 picture clears up. Who is most likely to make it out of the group stage? Who got stuck in the Group of Death? What are each region’s chances of landing in a solid knockout stage spot?
From the favorites to the underdogs and every team in-between, here are the Upcomer staff’s reactions to the Worlds 2021 group draw.
Which group is the Group of Death at Worlds 2021? Which is the Group of Life?
Tom Matthiesen : Group A is, without a shadow of doubt, the Group of Death. It has the 2020 world champions and the 2019 world champions, and both teams looked on top of their game for the majority of 2021. For the second year in a row, Rogue is pulled into a group with two tournament favorites again. It’s bitter for the Europeans, but if anything, they could not see a better chance to prove themselves.
The Group of Life, that has to be Group C for me. Fnatic and Royal Never Give Up each have glaring flaws in their approach to the game, and while PSG Talon are a cut above them for sure – you don’t make the Mid-Season Invitational semifinals by being bad – they too can be tackled. Any team can make it out of this group.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) September 22, 2021
E.G. Kant: No one can say otherwise: Group A is the Group of Death. DWG KIA, winners of League Champions Korea, are the reigning 2020 world champions. They were also finalists at MSI 2021. FunPlus Phoenix’s resume includes a 2021 summer finalists spot in China, and the 2019 world champions have mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang, who’s in the midst of his best season ever. This is a Worlds 2021 final-caliber matchup in the group stage. Being stuck in the same group as these two teams is an unenviable position.
This group cannot draw LNG Esports or Hanwha Life Esports from the play-in stage, but anyone else that enters will be in for a crucible. Rogue are very unlucky to be drawn into this group, especially after the way they ended summer, but their strength has shown to be in best-of-one scenarios, giving the team a path to possibly playing spoiler.
The Group of Life for me is Group D, but even then I think it’s close, especially if LNG Esports make it out of play-ins and get drawn there. MAD Lions and Gen.G look to be the favorites, but if LNG make it, this group can quickly become a toss-up.
Declan McLaughlin: Group D is the Group of Life for me as it looks like every team has a chance to make the knockout stage. While MAD Lions are the favorites, both Gen.G and Team Liquid are not too far behind in skill level and can match up pound-for-pound in each role. The only thing separating the teams is playstyle, as Gen.G and Team Liquid prefer a slower pace while MAD Lions can hit different speeds and styles. As for the Group of Death, it’s easily Group A. DWG KIA and FunPlus Phoenix are two of the top teams in the world and will make life tough for Rogue and whoever joins them from play-ins.
Warren Younger: Group B is the group of death this year. Everyone knows how well EDward Gaming have performed all year. Meanwhile, T1 have had a fantastic resurgence and 100 Thieves are entering as the LCS first seed. Group B is the only group with two No. 1 seeds and also features a very scary LCK third seed who just came off a summer split where they finished second.
Group D is the group of life for sure. Although MAD Lions won the LEC and are the favorites in the group, the two other teams that have been shown so far have not had the best of seasons. Out of the four groups, this one is the hardest to determine the top two. Team Liquid and Gen.G both have what it takes to make some noise, but they could also fall flat. Every play-in team will be eying Group D, but Group C is also a contender. Although PSG Talon and Royal Never Give Up performed well at MSI, both teams have had hiccups in their summer splits.
Who are the top teams in each group?
Matthiesen: DWG KIA and FPX are the favorites to make it out of Group A. In Group B, I think EDG and T1 have the best odds of making it out so far. They compete in a league much more competitive than the LCS, and while T1 have fallen in and out of shape this year, I expect their experience to carry them.
Group C should go to PSG Talon and RNG. While Fnatic fought bravely and tirelessly to reach the finals of the LEC, their overall strength is just not that high; there was a visible big gap between them and MAD Lions. In Group D, MAD Lions should make it out easily. Gen.G and Team Liquid both have much room to improve, but with Gen.G’s overall higher level of play, I expect them to make it out as second seed from Group D.
Kant: For Group A it’s undoubtedly DWG KIA and FPX, no matter who makes it from play-ins. They are contenders for making the Worlds 2021 finals, after all. In Group B, EDward Gaming and T1 are pretty clear favorites no matter who comes from play-ins, but there might be some potential to upset in this group due to EDG’s history at Worlds and T1’s inconsistent tendencies.
Group C is tricky. Fnatic are an explosive team that could go 0-3 and then 3-0 after, and RNG have had recent difficulties. For now, I’ve got PSG Talon and RNG as favorites, but Fnatic can contest that. If Hanwha Life makes it from play-ins, they could contest too. If LNG makes it into Group D, I’d pick them and MAD Lions. If not, I’d go with MAD Lions and Gen.G. The Group of Life is wide open.
McLaughlin: DWG KIA in Group A as the reigning world champions just edge out FPX for me because the first stage is full of wacky best-of-ones. EDG should advance from Group B because they have the best individual players by role in their group. RNG in Group C are easily the top team as they are more consistent than Fnatic, but they are closely matched by PSG in terms of skill. Lastly, MAD Lions are the top squad in Group D since they pulled two of the more predictable teams in the tournament in terms of drafts and playstyle.
Younger: I’d say FPX are the best team in Group A. They looked like the best team in the LPL all year until the finals and are at least the 1B to EDG’s 1A. I stand by the LPL being the best region in the world, so I’ll stick with FPX being better than the LCK’s first seed too.
That makes my Group B choice easy too: It’s got to be EDG, champion of the LPL. And you can guess where I’m going with Group C: Don’t sleep on RNG, the reigning MSI champs, who got the best draw possible and are the clear favorites in that group. MAD Lions, similar to RNG, are a cut above the other teams in Group D, so the LEC champions are an easy bet as well.
Who makes it out of play-ins?
Matthiesen: First, let’s embrace the beauty of Cloud9 and DetonatioN FocusMe meeting yet again, this time in Group B of Worlds, after the two went head-to-head at the Mid-Season Invitational. DFM have upgraded their roster since, and I cannot wait to see them play. I think Hanwha Life Esports and LNG should easily make it out. Beyond Gaming put up a great fight against PSG Talon in the PCS summer split finals, so I think they make it out too. Then, it’s a toss-up between Cloud9 and DetonatioN FocusMe for me, and I’m going to give it to the Japanese team. Let’s spice it up this year.
Free Group B #C9WIN
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) September 22, 2021
Kant: The play-ins draw set up some interesting matchups. Group A: LNG and Hanwha Life. No questions asked. Third will be tricky, and they will have a tough time facing anyone from Group B, but I want to believe PEACE with Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás can make it and prove Oceania will not be silenced.
Group B is the toss-up. No one wants to face LNG or Hanwha Life in a best-of-five, and the group has many strong prospects. It would be easy to say Mega Bank Beyond Gaming and Cloud9, but having DetonatioN FocusMe, Galatasaray Esports and Unicorns of Love in the same group? It could very well be a fight to the finish. If I had to make a spicy, spicy prediction, I would say DetonatioN FocusMe make it over C9 (MSI 2021, anyone?) and Beyond Gaming will surprise everyone with the power of their goodest boy, Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan.
McLaughlin: LNG and Hanwha Life Esports will cruise to a Group Stage berth off of raw skill alone. Group B is a little harder, but Beyond Gaming and Cloud9 are the favorites in my eyes; however, they could also fall at any point to some of the stronger wild card regions.
Younger: Hanwha Life Esports and LNG are miles ahead of anyone in Group A, but Group B will be a bloodbath. Cloud9 and Beyond Gaming arguably drew the three best wildcard region teams, and in a single-game format, anything goes. Cloud9 still seem like the best team in the group, but the second seed could go to anyone. DetonatioN FocusMe showed a lot of promise at MSI, and this will be the best chance they have at proving that their performance at the event was no fluke. The four teams making it out of play-ins will be LNG, HLE, C9 and DFM.
What are your spicy predictions based on the Worlds 2021 group draw?
Matthiesen: I’ve favored LCK teams in my predictions above, but let’s spice things up in the fringe scenarios. I’m going to double down on a bold prediction I made on Twitter when prompted by the LoL Esports account: DWG KIA will be the only LCK team to make it out of the Worlds group stage. Instead of T1 in Group B and Gen.G in Group D, I think there is a very small but realistic chance that a play-in team advances.
If I follow my predictions for the play-ins, LNG would be slotted into Group D automatically. Should Beyond Gaming indeed advance to the group stage, there is a big chance they’re put into Group B, and I think they will actually manage to put up a decent fight. Let’s see if these teams can exploit the flaws of the LCK teams!
Kant: Sorry, LEC. I love ya, but if I had to make a spicy prediction, it will be an all-LPL Worlds 2021 finals. The LCK and LEC will fall into the top four at best. LPL autumn finals, let’s go?
McLaughlin: I think Group B will have some of the most entertaining games of the tournament. Spare me with your narratives or stylistic miss-matches, this group has three of the top bot lanes at the tournament and they all love to scrap. This group will play some of the best games of the entire tournament.
Younger: The LCS and LEC will have the same number of teams in the knockout stage.