The top eight teams in the world have made their way from the group stage, and now we look to assess how their matchups would go in a best of five. A loss would mean elimination, and each win is a step closer to the Summoner’s Cup.
T1 vs Hanwha Life Esports
We have, in fact, seen this matchup before. The LCK’s last best of five going into the World Championship was between these two teams. We saw Hanwha Life Esports fall to T1, and the former then started their World Championship journey in the play-in stage.
While the top lane matchup will still be lopsided in the favor of Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, Park “Morgan” Gi-tae might be able to bear it better this time. One must take note, however, that the meta seems to be favoring Canna a lot, with his pocket pick Kennen being one of the strongest champions in the tournament.
— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) October 13, 2021
Kim “Willer” Jeong-hyeon has shown great strides in this tournament. He looks like he can now properly coordinate with his laners, and Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon has also been a standout performer for his team. However, if he is attacked both in the draft and in the early game, he may not have much of an impact.
Both bottom lanes have been rather stable throughout the tournament, and both are rather effective late game insurance policies for their teams. Everyone’s eyes will be on the mid lane– Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon against Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok will always be notable, despite the champions that will be played.
T1 should be favored, but a Hanwha Life Esports win will not be very surprising.
Royal Never Give Up vs Edward Gaming
We last saw this classic LPL matchup in the spring lower bracket finals, where Royal Never Give Up took down Edward Gaming in a highly-contested best of five. That was six months ago, though. While RNG did go and win the Mid-season Invitational, they faltered in the summer, and EDG retained their strength domestically, and even became LPL champions once again after four years.
These two teams are so different in the way they want to play the game. EDG favors a slower, more methodical style that gives more attention to its bottom laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon. RNG, on the other hand, relies on Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao to carry. What will be vital here is seeing if the side they choose not to give resources to will withstand the attention that the enemy will give.
Another interesting point to talk about here will be the mid lane. Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei seems to have a very limited champion pool and only wishes to help the rest of his team get leads, but Lee “Scout” Ye-chan can also be a carry for EDG, and is usually very reliable in skirmishes. If left to their own devices, either mid laner can surely swing the game to their direction.
Damwon Kia vs MAD Lions
The last time we saw these two teams was in the Mid-Season Invitational, where the young European squad was able to bring the series to a fifth game. At Worlds, they have a lot to prove as they were knocked out in play-ins in 2020. After a slow start and a chaotic last day in a four-way tie, they secured a knock-out berth, but failed to get the first seed.
Damwon Kia seek to defend their title, a feat that has only been achieved by SK Telecom T1 before. They even look like they’re on the path to do so– they are the only team to have gotten out of the group stage with a 6-0. Having done so with a huge variety of team compositions and play styles, and with the meta clearly suiting them, the MAD Lions may have a difficult time against them.
The biggest problem for MAD is that their early games are rather lacking, and they make up for it by their mid and late games. With Damwon Kia showing strength at all stages of the game, will the European first seed ever find an advantage in the games?
A lot of the game will be decided by the jungle matchup. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu is close, if not in, his finals MVP form, and Javier Prades “Elyoya” Batalla has been a consistent force in their early games and in team fighting. If Elyoya gets stifled early, the rest of the team will surely suffer.
Damwon should be the favorites going into the match, but MAD have the chance of delivering a huge upset.
Gen G vs Cloud9
"Group of death? Damn, sorry to hear that FPX & RGE" pic.twitter.com/sooeY7MFZ1
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 15, 2021
Cloud9 came out second in a group with Damwon Kia after FunPlus Phoenix collapsed on the second half of the group stage, and Gen G came out first in the group that had a four-way tie. Both teams have shown some inconsistency and no one knows how much they can possibly improve over the days between the group draw and their match.
Gen G usually gets leads in the early game, and they are expanded with the help of jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min. The team usually gets a bit worse from the mid to late stages of the game, though. Their decisions are a bit erratic and questionable. C9, on the other hand, while their drafting is decent and they can more or less afford to survive laning phases against superior laners, tend to make very greedy decisions that can swing a game out of their favor. This is illustrated by their match against FPX where Luka “Perkz” Perkovic decided to split push on his Ryze while the enemy team was knocking on their base with a Baron buff.
With both teams having questionable decision-making, this best of five is up in the air.
(Image header via Twitter/lolesports)