The 2021 League of Legends World Championship group stage is in the rear-view mirror, as only eight more teams remain in the race for the coveted Summoner’s Cup. The LoL Worlds Playoffs will begin on Friday, October 22, with the opening match of the quarter-finals.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 18, 2021
The LoL World Championship draw has produced quite a few exciting matches, including an all-Chinese clash between EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up and a Korean derby between T1 and Hanwha Life. On the other side, we will get to see Europe’s MAD Lions take on the reigning world champions, DWG KIA, and North America’s Cloud9 clash with Gen.G.
Game 1: T1 vs Hanwha Life Esports
T1 and Hanwha Life Esports will kick off the 2021 LoL World Championship playoffs on Friday, October 22. It will mark a rematch from the final match of Lol Champions Korea (LCK) 2021 Regional Finals, where T1 edged out a 3-2 victory.
Even though Hanwha Life Esports showed a lot of fight in their most recent meeting with T1, it seems unlikely that they’ll see the same level of success on Friday. T1 might have had some struggles in the earlier stages of the LoL World Championship, but the three-time world champions found their stride just in time to show to the world that they still “got it.”
T1 ended the group stage as Group B’s top-seeded team, with a 5-1 record. During their group stage run, T1’s only loss came against Chinese champions, EDward Gaming, who they defeated in the rematch.
On the other side, Hanwha Life Esports claimed Group C’s second seed by the skin of their teeth. Although they have done enough to secure a spot in the playoffs, HLE were anything but impressive.
T1 should be heavily favored to win this bout and make it into the semi-finals.
Game 2: Royal Never Give Up vs EDward Gaming
The second match of the 2021 LoL Worlds quarter-finals will serve us with a treat as Royal Never Give Up clash with their regional rivals, EDward Gaming. These two LoL Pro League (LPL) teams last met during the regular season, when Royal Never Give Up won.
However, EDG ended up with the LPL 2021 Summer title in their hands, thanks to their phenomenal run through the playoffs. Having established themselves as one of the top teams at 2021 LoL Worlds, the expectations put on EDG were high.
Unfortunately, EDG weren’t very impressive. After a solid start to the group stage, EDG slipped and dropped games against T1 and 100 Thieves, ending the group stage in second place with a 4-2 record.
Royal Never Give Up were just as unconvincing, and while they have managed to claim the top spot in Group C, they also finished with a 4-2 record.
Both are strong teams, but they’ve also both underperformed at the World Championship so far. It will be interesting to see who makes it out alive, but one thing is for sure – it won’t be an easy match for either of them.
Game 3: DWG KIA vs MAD Lions
As the reigning world champions, DWG KIA will be heavily favored to defeat MAD Lions, which is fair. However, based on what we have seen from these two sides so far, there is a world where MAD Lions cause an upset.
The European champions have shown the best mid-late game of the tournament. But fittingly, the only other team that can compare to them in that regard is DWG KIA.
DWG KIA should win more often than not, but if they happen to slip for just a second, MAD Lions will be there to take full advantage of the situation. It’s not beyond the realms of possibilities for the Europeans to make a splash here – even though they have already lost to DWG KIA twice during the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational in May.
Game 4: Cloud9 vs Gen.G
The LoL Championship Series’ lowest-seeded team, Cloud9, are also the only North American team to make it into the playoffs. Although much of their success is thanks to FunPlus Phoenix’ disastrous performance during the group stage, it’s not like Cloud9 didn’t deserve to advance into the next stage of the competition.
Fortunately, Cloud9 also drew Gen.G, who haven’t looked too good so far in this tournament. Although Gen.G have a very high ceiling and have done well in the group stage (3-3), most of their wins looked shaky.
The Koreans will be favored to win, and that’s fair. However, if they don’t improve their decision-making and get more out of their star players, this match could get spicy.
There is a huge upset potential in this match, and while a lot will have to go right for Cloud9 to make it into the semis, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise of the tournament if they do.
T1, EDG, DWG KIA, and Gen.G should advance into the semi-finals in a perfect world. However, there’s a real possibility for Cloud9 and MAD Lions to replace Gen.G and DWG KIA on that list. Similarly, the EDG vs RNG game is a complete coin-toss, with no clear winner.
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