As most of you guys know, Worlds 2021 begins on October 5th with Play-Ins. Unfortunately, Vietnam was not able to join this year, which will affect the format slightly and make Play-Ins even closer. All of the other minor region champions will be participating in Play-Ins along with the third/fourth seeds from the major regions.
As always, Play-Ins are expected to be a fierce contest between teams hungry for a shot at Worlds glory. That being said, there are a few sleeping giants in the Play-Ins that are expected to stomp their way through to the Worlds 2021 Group Stage. Below are the assigned groups for these teams.
- Hanwha Life Esports - LCK
- LNG Esports - LPL
- Infinity - LLA
- PEACE - LCO
- RED Canids - CBLOL
- Beyond Gaming - PCS
- Cloud 9 - LCS
- Unicorns of Love - LCL
- Galatasaray Esports - TCL
- DetonatioN FocusMe - LJL
Some of these teams are relatively well known. For example, Hanwha Life Esports has a thriving fan base and a long history in the LCK. Of course, Cloud9 has historically been one of the strongest LCS organizations as well. Now that we’ve taken a look at the groups, let’s get into our predictions.
Who Will Make it Out of Group A?
- LNG Esports -This team is the obvious pick to run the table in Group A. They showed a lot of improvement throughout the year. Initially playing 9th/10th in the Spring Split, they were able to pick things up the following split. They ended up placing 4th in the LPL Summer Split and 2nd in Regional Finals following a 1:3 loss to Team WE. This team has the ability to compete with the best of the LPL, which is arguably the strongest region at the moment.
- Hanwha Life Esports - Hanwha Life Esports had a really rough summer split in the LCK. Despite dominating the majority of the Spring Split, they really dropped the ball and were trying to regain their form. However, whatever they did seems to have worked. They were able to fight their way through the Regional Finals to meet T1 in the finals. Although they lost 2:3 in a brutal best of 5, their past year still shows a team that doesn’t give up easily.
- Infinity Esports - Some fans might recall watching this team at MSI 2021. Unfortunately, the LLA representative failed to make it out of Group C with a 1-5 record. They were only able to take a game off of DetonatioN FocusMe. However, that experience has to count for something, and I’m sure they will be eager to prove that they’ve learned from it.
- RED Canids - Admittedly, this team is a bit new to me. After doing some research, I decided to give them 4th but would love to be proven wrong. I think this roster has a lot of potential, they placed 3rd in CBLoL Spring Split and then 1st in Summer. Some claim that RED Canids are the strongest group of individuals in regards to mechanical skill and raw talent that CBLoL has ever sent to an international tournament. However, this is a very young group of players. That lack of experience may come to hurt their chances at Worlds.
- PEACE - The LCO representatives are facing an uphill battle in Play-Ins, no doubt. They had a fairly successful year in the Oceania circuit, placing 2nd in Spring and 1st in Summer. I’m sure they deserve to be here, but I’m not positive that they can make it any further. They’ll have to work hard in scrims and learn from their matches quickly to have a chance of progressing.
Who Will Make it Out of Group B?
- Cloud9 - I don’t have to really explain this, do I? I might be biased as a diehard LCS fan, but I think this group is a walk in the park for the 3rd Place LCS team. There are so many factors we could talk about here, the fact that they have Perkz? The fact that they made it out of Groups in MSI 2021 despite roster/management issues? Blaber learning to not die for Scuttle Crabs? Did I already mention Perkz? Jokes aside, this team has a lot to prove after a disappointing end to their summer split. I think they’re gonna be eager to get Play-Ins out of the way. Barring some major upsets, I think this is a confirmed lock.
- Unicorns of Love - This was easily the hardest choice for predictions. However, I think UoL as an organization has a little more experience at Worlds compared to Beyond Gaming. They went 2-6 in Groups at MSI 2021, so they definitely have international experience as well as the desire to outperform their previous results. C9 might wanna watch out, because UoL is aiming to upset.
- Beyond Gaming - I felt pretty bad putting these guys at 3rd, but they just don’t have the international experience. Liang and Doggo: the Top Laner and ADC respectively, have participated on the World stage before. However, the rest of this team is quite young. Don’t count them out though, these guys have a lot of spirit and are hoping to outperform PSG Talon (their region rivals) at Worlds 2021.
- DetonatioN FocusMe - I wish I could put this team slightly higher, as they gave us some very exciting matches at MSI 2021. However, they weren’t able to make it out of the Group stages with a 2-4 record. It is worthy to note that this LJL rep was able to take games off of C9 as well as Infinity. Maybe they can repeat those upsets and claim their place in Groups?
- Galatasaray Esports - TCL fans might be upset at me here, but this team just doesn’t make the cut for me. Some of their players do have international experience, which could be what they need to break out of play-ins and into the group stage. I’d love to see them succeed, but it won’t come easy to this stack.
Well, those are our predictions for the Worlds 2021 Play-Ins. Hopefully we got everything right, but we'd love to see some upsets! Make sure you all tune in on October 5th for the start of Worlds 2021. Who do you think is gonna make it into the Group Stages?
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