The 2021 League of Legends World Championship is finally underway, with eight teams already locked in the knockout stage. One of the most prestigious esports tournaments in the world, the LoL Worlds kicked off on October 5, with two rounds of play-in matches, before the Group Stage started on October 11, bringing back that MOBA action we’ve been craving for some time.
After being held in China last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 LoL Worlds returned to Europe, and is being held in Reykjavik, Iceland, at Laugardalshöll Indoor Sporting Arena. Organized by Riot Games, the eleventh edition of one of the largest esports events in the industry will feature a prize pool of over $10 million, with the Finals scheduled to be played on November 6.
Ahead of the knockout stage, DWG KIA are the clear favorites to take it all, after blasting through the competition in the group stage with a perfect 6-0. T1, who finished first in Group B with a 5-1 record against the field, and Gen.G, who led Group D despite a few disappointing results, are also among the favorites in the quarterfinals. Worlds 2021 action will resume on October 22, and the playoffs will run through October 31.
Twenty two teams from 11 regions qualified for the tournament, which features three stages of play: Play-Ins, Groups, and Knockouts. The Play-Ins Stage featured 10 teams that were drawn into two groups of five, in which they competed for four available Group Stage berths. The top team in each group, LNG Esports and DetonatioN FocusMe, advanced to the Group Stage, and after another round of play-ins, Cloud9 and Hanwha Life Esports also clinched a spot in the Group Stage.
After the Play-Ins, these four teams joined the twelve teams that gained direct entry from China, South Korea, Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America. The 16 squads were split into four groups, with each competitor playing against every team in their group twice. The top two teams from each of the four groups advanced to the Knockout Stage.
The remaining eight teams will now compete in a best-of-five single elimination bracket in the Knockout Stage, progressing through quarterfinals, semifinals, and the Finals, which will feature the last two teams standing in a best-of-five series with the winners being crowned the 2021 League of Legends World Champions.
With two of the best teams in the tournament, Group A consisted of defending champions DWG KIA, FunPlus Phoenix, who entered the group as the odds-on favorites, Rogue, and Cloud 9. DWG KIA marched to a perfect 6-0 record, while Cloud9, FunPlus Phoenix and Rogue were in a three-way-tie for second place. After the tiebreaker, Cloud9 advanced to the Knockout Stage.
T1, EDward Gaming, 100 Thieves, and DetonatioN FocusMe were seeded into Group B. T1, who had a shaky first half, made up for it in the second half and finished the group at the top of the table with 5 wins. Despite being the LPL summer champions, EDward Gaming went 1-2 in the second half, and finished second in the group.
Group C was seeded with Royal Never Give Up, Hanwha Life Esports, PSG Talon, and Fnatic. Royal Never Give Up had a hot start, going 3-0 in the first half, before falling short against HLE and Fnatic in the second half. However, after the tiebreaker, RNG secured the first place, and HLE finished with the second seed.
Group D finished with all four teams – Gen.G Esports, MAD Lions, LNG Esports, and Team Liquid – in a four-way-tie, for the first time in LoL Worlds history. After a thrilling tiebreaker bracket that ended the World 2021 group stage, Gen.G won both matchups and took the first seed, while MAD Lions qualified as the second seed.
After an exciting group stage full of tiebreaker matchups, teams were drawn into the knockout stage bracket on October 18. The quarterfinals will take place between October 22 and 25, and the semifinals will be played on October 30 and 31.
Royal Never Give Up will face the LPL summer champions EDward gaming, who are the favorites entering the matchup, at -159 odds. The winner of this matchup will go up against Gen.G or Cloud9, who face each other on the same side of the bracket.
The other side of the bracket will feature a rematch from the LCK’s Regional Finals, between T1 and Hanwha Life Esports, as well as a rematch from the MSI 2021 semifinals, between MAD Lions and the overwhelming favorites DWG KIA.
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