Fragster | 19. October 2021

LoL Worlds 2021 Group Stage Recap: A Dominant LCK and Crumbling LPL

The second round robin of the 2021 World Championship Group Stage has concluded, and the top eight teams in the tournament have been confirmed. With the best of fives finally on the horizon, the Summoner’s Cup gets closer and closer. We take a look at how we got here. 

The LPL crumble

The LPL teams had a dominant first half, but the second half left fans wanting. 

FunPlus Phoenix seemed lost in the meta. Their champion pools did not favor most of the meta champions. They had bizarre drafts, and their play did not exhibit confidence. After ending groups 2-4, they were in a three-way tie. This squad, with five former world champions, lost the first tiebreaker match, an abrupt end to their World Championship run. 

Edward Gaming made it out of their group in second place, which was unexpected as they were the LPL summer champions. After a perfect first half, they then went 1-2, losing their matches against T1 and 100 Thieves. Royal Never Give Up were 3-0 in the first half as well, but faltered against HLE and Fnatic in the latter half. They redeemed themselves in the tiebreaker against HLE, securing first in their group. 

LNG found themselves in the first four-way tie in Worlds group stage history. Their form was erratic throughout groups, but had a considerable advantage in their tiebreaker against the MAD Lions. In the end, they were unable to close it out, and were eliminated from the tournament. 

The LPL only won four games in the second half, and will want to redeem themselves in the knockout stage. 

Europe pin all of their hopes on MAD Lions

Rogue had a pretty rough showing at this tournament. Nothing was expected of them as they were in what was thought of as the group of death. Some unexpected results gave them the chance to get into quarters because of the three-way tie, but after a long back-and-forth game, they lost to Cloud9. 

Fnatic was met with some unfortunate events. They had to play with a substitute due to an emergency. This was then followed by a lot of speculation on the side of the fans and the community, which one could imagine was not very helpful. They had a lot of competitive games in their group, but only ended up with one win. 

The MAD Lions did not have an easy road to the quarterfinals. They ended up with a 3-3 scoreline. The problem was that every other team in their group also had the same record, and they were in a four-way tie. In their tiebreaker against LNG Esports, they had to stage a comeback after getting set behind due to a lot of failed dives. They lost their second tiebreaker match against Gen G, which means they came out second. 

The whole of Europe will have to put all of their hopes on MAD Lions for the knockout stage. 

North America with their best performance in years 

Despite having only one out of three teams make it out, it can be argued that North America exceeded expectations in this tournament. Fans have not exactly believed in the LCS’ ability to make a statement, as no teams have made it out of groups since Cloud9’s historic run into the semifinals in 2018. 

It comes as no surprise that once again it was Cloud9 that made it through to at least quarterfinals. Following FunPlus Phoenix seemingly never finding their footing in the tournament, C9 found itself in the middle of a three-way even though they went into the second half with a 0-3 scoreline. The improvement in the North American squad was clear and noticeable. Upon making it through what appeared to be a group that belonged to Damwon and FPX, can Cloud9 continue to make miracles?

Team Liquid and 100 Thieves both bowed out of the tournament with 3-3 records in the group stage. Both teams were 1-2 in the first half, but had rather impressive upset wins in the second half that made their groups rather competitive. 100 Thieves took down the LPL first seed, Edward Gaming, even after they were eliminated. Team Liquid made it to a tiebreaker against Gen G, but lost a very close game. 

The LCK finish groups strong

Four teams from South Korea went to the World Championship, and four teams got out of the group stage successfully.

Damwon Kia topped their group without ever dropping a game. The meta seems to suit them very well, and their individual members seem to have hit a rather good form. While they have been challenged in some of their games so far, they might be the favorites to win the entire tournament. 

T1 had a shaky first half, and then made up for it in the second half. They showed more patience in their play, and also showed a degree of flexibility with their drafting. This squad with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and his young teammates clearly have more to show in the tournament. 

Hanwha Life Esports looked like they were not going to make it out after the first half, but surged in the second. They seemed to improve the longer they stayed in the tournament, but faltered in the final hurdle against RNG in the tiebreaker. Nevertheless, they made it out, which gives fans some cause for celebration. 

Gen G had a rather long second half of groups, but cleared their tiebreakers against both Team Liquid and MAD Lions. With this group appearing to be, for the most part, equally matched, they will look to show a more consistent form outside of groups. 


(Header image via Twitter/lolesports)