After a horrific, winless start in the group stage, and one of the most difficult group stages in the bracket, all hopes for a Cloud9 2018 repeat were lost. With 2 more matches to play, no one was expecting Cloud9 to secure the second, and final, slot in Group A for the quarterfinals.
With tough opponents in the 2019 League of Legends Worlds Champions FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), the 2020 League of Legends Worlds Champions DAMWON Gaming (DWG KIA), and 3rd place LEC Summer qualifier Rogue, Group A was aptly labeled the “group of death.”
Expectations for Cloud9 were low, but their first match against Rogue gave NA fans some hope. With a definitive 17-9 kill tally, Cloud9 went in for their first of three matches. Fans were ecstatic, and the hype started on Twitter with #Cloud9Win trending after the first of 3 critical NA wins.
Hope for C9 reached its peak after game 2 against FPX where C9 absolutely obliterated the 2019 WCS Champions. With an 18-4 kill tally, C9 demonstrated just how badly they wanted a repeat of their 2018 performance. After these crucial wins, and a Rogue win over FPX, C9 was now tied with FPX and Rogue in the bracket, meaning the three would have to go into a tiebreaker.
Group A’s Three-Way Tiebreaker
While DAMWON Gaming continued their sweep to a 6-0 lead in the group, reminding everyone that they were not done after last year’s championship victory, the final slot in Group A for the quarterfinals was left to a tiebreaker between the remaining three teams. The first match, between Rogue and FPX spelled a serious blowout in favor of Rogue with a 22-8 kill tally, knocking FPX out of championship contention.
Now, all that stood between C9 and a quarterfinals appearance was a final match against Rogue, whom they had already beaten earlier that morning. In one of the closest matches of the entire tournament, C9 edged out a critical victory over Rogue.
With a kill tally of 17-15, and a nearly hour-long match timer, C9 narrowly scraped out the much-needed win to see themselves into the 2021 LoL WCS Championship Quarterfinals.
T1 Dominate, Knocking 100 Thieves Out of Championship Contention
After losing to T1 a few days prior, hopes were low for a 100 Thieves quarterfinal appearance. With Edward Gaming (EDG) topping the bracket and T1 below them, a path was cut for 100 Thieves to win, but it was not going to be easy. 100 Thieves needed EDG to beat T1 and DemolitioN FocusMe, and then win all of their own matches. This was the only path to victory.
100 Thieves’ quarterfinal dreams fell apart as they lost their first match to T1, making it mathematically impossible for 100T to reach the quarterfinals; with two matches left to play, 100T had needed three wins.
Although now down for the count, 100T did show some resilience by beating the now second place team in the bracket EDG, after EDG’s loss to T1 earlier that morning.
With NA favorites 100T out of Worlds 2021 and Cloud9 in, all eyes are on Team Liquid as Day 6 of the group stage will open on October 17th. In the most contested group in the series, there’s a 1 win gap between 1st and 4th position in the group, and TL is looking to take it. Although currently seeded 3rd, TL has the potential and opportunity to show C9 they are not the only NA team who wants to win it all.
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