Worlds 2021 knockout stage roundtable: This is why my team will win
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However likely it is for your favorite team to win the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, someone at Upcomer is rooting along with you. Sure, there are “favorites,” but we all know they rarely win (looking at you with your 0-4, FunPlus Phoenix). There are always surprises in the knockout stage, be it G2 Esports beating a superpowered Royal Never Give Up in 2018 or Misfits nearly stealing away a series against SK Telecom T1. There is always something to spice things up.

Call it hopium, or copium or just sheer big-brained analysis, but your favorite team definitely has a shot at securing the Summoner’s Cup at Worlds 2021. And whoever that team may be, the League writers at Upcomer have it covered, (even if you’re rooting for Hanwha Life Esports).

Edward Gaming

Look, The League of Legends Pro League has been straight-up awful during the second week of Worlds 2021. But best of ones never tell anyone the full story. Edward Gaming came into this event as one of the top three teams in the tournament, and even though they dropped two best of ones to a really good T1 team and, uh… 100 Thieves, this team has shown incredible resilience all year.

Perceptions change overnight, and that has been especially true at Worlds so far. In a best of five, EDG have been able to make the adjustments needed to conquer every foe in the LPL, and there is no doubt they will be able to do it now. This team is still stacked from top to bottom, and they have the talent to match up against anyone, on paper.

They can’t even play against T1 (a team they split games against by the way) until the finals, and even though DWG KIA are now the clear favorites, the DK vs EDG series was bound to happen anyway. EDG will change perceptions once again as they look show why the LPL is still the region to beat and that they are still the team to beat.

— Warren Younger

Royal Never Give Up

RNG, who won MSI, are at the top of Upcomer's machine learning LoL Worlds power rankings
RNG won MSI just a few months ago, but can they win Worlds? | Provided by Riot Games

Everyone said DWG KIA would win the 2021 Mid Season Invitational, but there I sat screaming at my coworkers that Royal Never Give Up would pull it off, and I was rewarded for my faith. So, here I am again, rolling with RNG as my pick, which would be the legendary team’s first-ever World Championship title.

It seems as though most people have already forgotten about the LPL third-seed because they bombed out of the summer playoffs. Unfortunately for “most people,” RNG are just going to be the quiet underdogs, akin to Suning last year. But instead of replicating Suning’s performance, RNG will go all the way to lift the Summoner’s Cup.

They’ve got EDG in their quarterfinals, so they can rely on the curse to win that match. Then they’ll face Cloud9 in the semis, which will be an easy 3-1. And then they’ll have whoever wins the rematch of the LCK Finals at the bottom of the bracket to face them in the Worlds finals, and RNG will bring the title back to the LPL, just like the last time Worlds was in Europe.

— Parkes “parqueso” Ousley

DWG KIA

Are you kidding me? This is DWG KIA! The South Korean, 6-0 powerhouse that beat FPX so dominantly in the opening match of Worlds that FPX were still dizzy by the time they got sent home. This team has penta-Khan in the top lane (Kim “Khan” Dong-ha), Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu’s champion ocean in the jungle and superchad Heo “ShowMaker” Su in the mid lane. They also have Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee. DWG KIA are the most well-rounded team by miles and they’re here to establish their era with a back-to-back world championship titles.

— Tom Matthiesen

Cloud9

Well, Cloud9 already won the first part of this war by getting the best quarterfinal draw possible to make it to the finals. Gen.G are a superb team and earned that No. 1 seed in Group D, but after testing their mettle against DWG KIA and even pushing the South Korean champs to the brink, nothing Gen.G could do should surprise them. Gen.G are a late-game focused team with not too many tricks up their sleeve, and we’ve seen C9 in the second half of the group stages disrupt the status quo around Robert “Blaber” Huang’s aggressive jungling and the team’s roaming death squad.

After Luka “Perkz” Perković knocks Gen.G out of the quarters for a second straight year, they’ll take care of the remaining LPL team like the norm it has been at this tournament. In the finals, while they’ll obviously be underdogs against the probable favorites of either T1 or DWG KIA, it’s a single best-of-five. Anything can happen, and all it takes is one Blaber invade coin flip that becomes an early triple kill to turn everything on its head. I fully believe in Cloud9’s run to the championship.

I hope you guys enjoy writing about Finals MVP Perkz in two weeks.

— Tyler “FionnOnFire” Erzberger

T1

Faker at Worlds 2021
T1’s not-so-secret weapon, Faker, silencing the doubters. | Provided by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

T1 came into the tournament as a wild card team that could potentially throw a few different looks at opponents thanks to their bot lane trio of players and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s champion ocean. But after seeing their group stage performance, they have quickly turned into a tournament favorite. As a part of the only group that didn’t play tiebreakers, T1 smashed their competition and did not show any of the deficiencies they had in their regular season campaign. They left the group with the top seed and the second best record out of the entire group stage at 5-1.

T1 will Worlds 2021 because of their history, but also their future. The team has three young players, technically two rookies in Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong and Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon, and one of the best supports in the world in Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. With the T1 brand behind them and the ever present Faker to keep them together during tense moments, these players should put on their best performances, which they have shown can be world class.

They have also already beaten their first knockout stage opponent in a best of five recently, and have split their series against their potential next opponent, DWG KIA, in the regular season, domestically. So, with an international legacy to live up to and players that have shown they can perform on the high stage in the esports, T1 should lift the Summoner’s Cup after this tournament’s conclusion.

— Declan McLaughlin

MAD Lions

MAD Lions aren’t so great? Are you kidding me? When was the last time you saw a team that can comeback from any deficit and say “f*** the odds we love em”? MAD put- OK I’ll cut the copypasta short or Upcomer will fire me.

I will echo what everyone’s thinking at Worlds 2021: best-of-ones are rubbish indicators of a team’s strength. And what better example of that than MAD Lions. Remember the LEC 2021 spring and summer regular seasons? Exactly. They were consistently inconsistent as heck. But what happened the moment playoffs hit? MAD Lions became MAD LADions. It’s just how it is — I don’t make the rules.

So, Worlds 2021. Same sh- stuff, different teams. The lions have been sharpening their fangs and they will let you take the first game…. before they take your life. What’s that? DWG KIA in the first round? KIA sponsors the LEC. MAD will drive them to the ground. It’s not even close! Wrap Worlds up — the lion’s roar will be the last thing everyone hears as the five CHAD Lions hoist the Summoner’s Cup and drink Brennivín from it.

— EG “Megalodontus” Kant

Hanwha Life Esports

Hanwha Life Chovy stands alone at Worlds 2021
Chovy found his way to the knockout stage, but how many people will go to church? | Provided by Riot Games/Getty Images

If the church of Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon isn’t enough to get you on the Hanwha Life Esports train, then what is? And aside from having a cheat code called Chovy, HLE’s bot lane is also a force to reckon with.

But seriously, HLE have shown they are here to play at Worlds 2021. If not for the tie breaker loss against RNG in Group B, this team would have finished in first place. That is pretty impressive given that HLE clawed their way into the main event through play-ins. Finally, while they may be the fourth seed from Korea, we have already seen that the Worlds stage is no respecter of ranks.

— Rashidat Jimoh

Gen.G

League of Legends Champions Korea caster Maurits “Chronicler” Jan Meeusen said he expected Gen.G to “do the most Gen.G thing possible by making everyone upset by stomping their group and then not doing anything else in the tournament.” I’ll take it one further after their quarterfinals qualification and say that the most Gen.G thing possible would be to upset everyone by winning it all and edging out a tournament favorite along the way.

Gen.G are no longer the Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk show. Mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong is having a career tournament at the moment and, to be honest, I love that for our underrated king. Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee has also been performing better than his counterpart Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon and has been a solid presence in the top lane for the team.

Gen.G were probably the most consistent team in Group D. Their jerseys are clean (give or take a couple), their players are cool, their wins are calculated and, as first seed, they’ll have an easy path to the finals.

— Nick Ray

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