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Leaguesports: Worlds Group Stage Recap

North American Miracle Run, Korean Dominance, Under - performing Europeans, The Disappointed Chinese, A Four-Way Tie & More.

League of Legends continuously proves why it is the world’s most popular Esport title with its crazy #Worlds2021 tournament matches. Whether you’ve been keeping up with it or not (you should), we recapped the group stage matches for days 1 through 3 and 5 through 8! (No matches were played on day 4).


Group Stage: Day 1

To kick off the main stage action at Esports’ greatest tournament, it was the defending world champions of DAMWON Gaming KIA (DK) up against the supposed mighty Chinese squad of FunPlus Phoenix. DWG KIA completely owned that game, though, causing a lot of speculation around FPX’s team performance and how they may place in their group. Sure enough, the last time the Chinese team won the Worlds championship, they started off with somewhat poor results, coming close to being eliminated from their group to an insane and unstoppable run with a clean sweep grand finals win over G2 Esports.

Seven games followed it that day, with Royal Never Give up (RNG) winning over PSG Talon (PSG), Hanwha Life Esports (HLE) winning over FNATIC (FNC), GENG winning over Li-Ning Gaming (LNG), T1 winning over DetonatioN FocusMe (DFM), Edward Gaming (EDG) winning over 100 Thieves (100T), Team Liquid (TL) winning over Mad Lions (MAD), and Rogue (RGE) powering over Cloud9 (C9) to end the day.

Seven games followed it that day, with Royal Never Give up (RNG) winning over PSG Talon (PSG), Hanwha Life Esports (HLE) winning over FNATIC (FNC), GENG winning over Li-Ning Gaming (LNG), T1 winning over DetonatioN FocusMe (DFM), Edward Gaming (EDG) winning over 100 Thieves (100T), Team Liquid (TL) winning over Mad Lions (MAD), and Rogue (RGE) powering over Cloud9 (C9) to end the day.

At the end of the day, there weren’t many surprises. Matches followed through with the majority of people’s predictions except for a strong starting performance from Team Liquid, who impressively took down LEC’s (League of Legends European Championship’s) 2021 Summer split winner Mad Lions. None of the other fellow North American teams showed nearly as promising of a start as TL did, with 100T losing by a margin of 15K gold and C9 losing by a margin of 13K Gold with only half of the number of kills. Although it seemed like they wouldn’t make it far— not that they were expected to in the so-called “group of death,” especially after struggling in the Play-Ins stage, Cloud9 midlaner Luka “Perkz” Perković maintained a slight smile on his face as he carried away his peripherals backstage.

The record of all teams at the end of day 1 was as follows:

1. DAMWON Gaming KIA (1W-0L)
2. Royal Never Give Up (1W-0L)
3. EDward Gaming (1W-0L)
4. T1 (1W-0L)
5. GENG (1W-0L)
6. Rogue (1W-0L)
7. Team Liquid (1W-0L)
8. Hanwha Life Esports (1W-0L)
9. FunPlus Phoenix (0W-1L)
10. Mad Lions (0W-1L)
11. Li-Ning Gaming (0W-1L)
12. FNATIC (0W-1L)
13. 100 Thieves (0W-1L)
14. PSG Talon (0W-1L)
15. DetonatioN FocusMe (0W-1L)
16. Cloud9 (0W-1L)

In reality, there was an eight-way tie for both 1st and 2nd place as each team had only played one match; however, teams were ordered based on EsportFire’s League of Legends Power Rankings.

Group Stage: Day 2

In Day 2, we were given a great match kick off the day, with LCK’s (League of Legends Champions Korea’s) 4th seed T1 taking on LPL’s (League of Legends Pro League’s) EDward Gaming. EDG rounded out on top after a not-so-close match as they won with a 12K gold difference and made sure to get the ACE (1) before destroying their opponent’s Nexus.

Rogue took on DAMWON Gaming KIA, one of the tournament’s favorites, in the second match of day 2. Despite losing, Rogue put up a decent fight against LCK’s 1st seed and managed to take down four of their turrets and land 9 kills, surviving nearly 37 minutes before losing by a 7K gold difference. The position and map control is what allowed DWG KIA to come out on top in that game, not giving up a single objective to Rogue. As disappointing as it was for the European team, it was an expected loss and was still a performance that can be looked up considering they were against the defending world champions.

Six more games followed that day, with PSG Talon winning over HLE, RNG winning over FNC, FPX winning over C9, 100T winning over DFM, MAD winning over GENG, and LNG taking the win over TL to finish off an exciting day of League.

North America and Europe continued their inconsistent performances, and kept a tie-record at Worlds, with both regions winning 2 and losing 2, causing a lot of banter but also some serious concerns to be directed at the LEC trio.

100 Thieves took revenge for fellow North American team Cloud9 by winning a close match against DFM, who took down Cloud9 earlier that tournament in the Play-Ins stage.

MAD Lions pulled off an impressive upset over GENG after a very well-fought and lengthy match that spanned 47 minutes, allowing both teams to reach a point in Gold value where it no longer became a factor in the game. It was a relief for European fans after their Summer split winners lost to North America’s second seed the previous day; dropping 30 kills against a team such as GENG was more like the MAD that EU fans were hoping to see.

At the end of day 2 in the group stages, the record of teams was as follows:

1. DAMWON Gaming KIA (2W-0L)
2. Royal Never Give Up (2W-0L)
3. EDward Gaming (2W-0L)
4. T1 (1W-1L)
5. GENG (1W-1L)
6. Mad Lions (1W-1L)
7. FunPlus Phoenix (1W-1L)
8. Rogue (1W-1L)
9. Li-Ning Gaming (1W-1L)
10. PSG Talon (1W-1L)
11. Hanwha Life Esports (1W-1L)
12. 100 Thieves (1W-1L)
13. Team Liquid (1W-1L)
14. DetonatioN FocusMe (0W-2L)
15. FNATIC (0W-2L)
16. Cloud9 (0W-2L)

(1) An “ACE” in League of Legends is when the entire 5 player team has been slain. It does not necessarily need to be done by one player.

Group Stage: Day 3

Day 3 saw the continuation of RNG’s streak of playing early matches as they started the show in a match against HLE. The Korean team put up a very good fight but Royal Never Give Up is called “Never Give Up” for a reason; they held strong and despite losing the late game baron (which was supposed to be the game decider), they instead used their nearly fully built legends to take down four of five HLE members in a team fight and due to the long respawn time, they managed to rush their way into the enemy’s base and take the Nexus and the win before any HLE member was there to force them back. In a tight game with evenly skilled players, decision-making tends to be the most impactful factor in the results. Hanwha Life Esports took the baron but perhaps overcommitted to it and were caught out by RNG in the process. With that win, RNG maintained their undefeated record and realistically guaranteed at least a 2nd seed finish in their group.

Mad Lions once again had a shaky game and lost to LNG, while fellow LEC team Rogue faced off a stronger showing FPX, also losing, and FNC going down against PSG Talon, pushing them down to a winless record. The Twitter banter of NA > EU wasn’t over though, as all three LCS teams also lost their respective matches. The LEC and LCS regions were tied still at a record of 2W-5L.

Day 3 also featured eight matches in total, with RNG winning over HLE, LNG winning over MAD, FPX winning over Rogue, PSG winning over FNC, GENG winning over TL, DK winning over C9, EDG winning over DFM, and T1 winning over 100T. With their losses, Cloud9, FNATIC, and DetonatioN FocusMe remained the only teams with a winless record. To their credit, though, Cloud9 was facing teams where they were expected to finish winless in their group anyway despite being close to an upset win at a couple of their matches. Just as there were three winless teams at this point, there were also 3 teams who were undefeated.

At the end of Day 3, rankings were tough to draw with many inconsistent performance and close matches, but eventually rounded out to be as follows:

1. DAMWON Gaming KIA (3W-0L)
2. Royal Never Give Up (3W-0L)
3. Edward Gaming (3W-0L)
4. FunPlus Phoenix (2W-1L)
5. T1 (2W-1L)
6. GENG (2W-1L)
7. Li-Ning Esports (2W-1L)
8. PSG Talon (2W-1L)
9. Rogue (1W-2L)
10. Hanwha Life Esports (1W-2L)
11. Mad Lions (1W-2L)
12. Team Liquid (1W-2L)
13. 100 Thieves (1W-2L)
14. Cloud9 (0W-3L)
15. DetonatioN FocusMe (0W-3L)
16. FNATIC (0W-3L)

As for overall group standings, it all seemed to be going as expected with some surprises and many ruined Pick’Ems, but it all took a twist after the one-day break that players received on Day 4.

Group Stage: Day 5

Day 5 of the #Worlds2021 group stage was by far the most intense one and a day to remember; the entire tournament took an unexpected turn here. Day 5 featured only Group A matches. At the beginning, the table was looking clear, DAMWON will top off their group, FPX in second, Rogue in third, and Cloud9 in last; but only one of those ended up happening. Inevitably, DK did top off their group, and they did it in a dominant fashion, not dropping a single game despite coming close to a loss against Cloud9.

At the beginning of that day, the group standings were:

1. DAMWON Gaming KIA (3W-0L)
2. FunPlus Phoenix (2W-1L)
3. Rogue (1W-2L)
4. Cloud9 (0W-3L)

Realistically, it would have been DK in 1st and FPX and Rogue battling it out for 2nd seed, but Cloud9’s Worlds buff proves itself to be real every year. DAMWON Gaming KIA took down FPX at the beginning of the day, knocking them down to a 2-2 record. Cloud9 dismantled Rogue, winning in 25 minutes with a 12.5K gold lead after taking 17 kills (versus 7 for RGE) and 8 towers (versus 1 for RGE). It happened to be an indirect favor for FPX until Cloud9 played a second match directly afterward and managed to take down FPX in a just as dominating fashion as they did against the LEC 1st seed; they won in 28 minutes with a 12K gold lead after taking 18 kills (versus 4 for FPX) and 9 towers (versus 2 for FPX). All of the sudden, fans around the world were witnessing a completely different Cloud9 who saw a miracle run in the making. Crucially, those two wins set up a potential 3-way tie for second place if:

1) DK took down RGE
2) RGE took down FPX

and, 3) if Cloud9 took down DK, they would finish second in their group and directly qualify to the quarterfinals due to C9’s quick wins.

To nobody’s surprise, DK ran over RGE, but the European team was able to bounce back in their second game vs FPX and take the win. That set up Cloud9 in a situation where if they win, they directly qualify, or even if they lose, they will only have to play one tiebreaker match. While they did end up losing, C9 gave the defending champions the toughest match of this tournament yet.

As a result, there were 2 matches left in the group to decide who will claim the last quarterfinals spot. Rogue, once again, was able to take down FPX and made it look easy. At the end of the match, Rogue had a 10K gold lead and took more kills, towers, and objectives. With that, FunPlus Phoenix ended their 0-4 day that also saw the end of their run at Worlds. It was quite unbelievable as no one predicted that the Chinese team, who began with a 2W-1L record, would end the tournament as the last place of their group with a record of 2 wins and 5 losses.

Rogue went on to face Cloud9 in the final match of the group. Both teams played their hearts out and battled it out for the quarterfinals spot. Twitch chats and NA vs EU were more intense than ever, but C9 managed to overpower RGE for the second time that day and completed the miracle run to qualify. Sure enough, everyone’s Pick’Ems were ruined solely from the first group.

At the end of the day, group A results were:

1. DAMWON Gaming KIA (6W-0L)
2. Cloud9 (3W-4L)
3. Rogue*** (3W-5L)
4. FunPlus Phoenix*** (2W-5L)

*** Indicates elimination from Worlds 2021.

Group Stage: Day 6

Day 6 featured only Group B matches and was relatively shorter than the previous group’s matches as in group B, there were no tiebreaker matches. Well, it was close.

At the beginning of the day, the group standings were:

1. EDward Gaming (3W-0L)
2. T1 (2W-1L)
3. 100 Thieves*** (1W-2L)
4. DetonatioN FocusMe*** (1W-2L)

EDward Gaming and DetonatioN FocusMe started off the day in a very one-sided match in the favor of EDG. A sub-26 minute match, they had a 13K gold lead with a kill score of 14-2 at the end of the match and also dominated the map, losing zero towers.

T1 and 100 Thieves took the stage next; and while 100T kept it tight for most of the match, T1 got the better of them in the late game and managed to close out the match with an 8K gold lead. The Korean team played another match directly afterward, this time against EDG, who are a much tougher opponent than 100T are. However, it seemed to be a much smoother win for T1 this time, leading in gold also by 8K but only losing 2 towers this time with 1 total team death this time.

100T were back on stage after that, facing off DFM, who were winless at this point. Arguably one of the best group stage matches, it spanned a long 50 minutes and was very close throughout the entire game. Despite being down 3K in gold, down in towers, and down in kills, 100T managed to win the game.

T1 took the stage again, this time against DFM, and after taking down the first and to date only Japanese team to make it to the main stage of Worlds, they were sent back home winless (a record of 0 wins and 6 losses). They got close several times but could never finish off a match, regardless, it was an impressive effort by them. It is just crazy to think they were close to knocking out Cloud9, current quarterfinalists, in the Play-Ins stage.

To end the day, 100T and EDG took the stage one last time. For the thieves, they were already out of the tournament, it was a matter of doing a favor for T1, who were set to face EDG in a tiebreaker match for the 1st seed in their group if EDG won that much— or maybe it was a matter of a last dance, a goodbye; because 100T absolutely dismantled the LPL runner-up. It was quite a scene. Though 100T didn’t make it past the groups stage, they gave fans around the world games to remember, and sure enough, this is the one to be most proud of. Not only did they win by a lead of 12K gold, but they also five times the number of kills, took down more towers, more objectives, and took an ACE before destroying their opponent’s Nexus.

At the end of the day, group B results were:

1. T1 (5W-1L)
2. EDward Gaming (4W-2L)
3. 100 Thieves (3W-3L)
4. DetonatioN FocusMe (0W-6L)

Group Stage: Day 7

At the beginning of the day, group C standings were:

1. Royal Never Give Up (3W-0L)
2. PSG Talon (2W-1L)
3. Hanwha Life Esports (1W-2L)
4. FNATIC (0W-3L)

Hanwha Life Esports began the day with a dominant win over PSG Talon. In a sub 30 minute match, they lead in every aspect, with a 16K gold lead, a 15-2 kill score, 9-3 towers destroyed, and 4-0 objectives claimed. It was the beginning of a solid run that day for the Korean team.

FNATIC took the stage next, going up against the group’s number one seed Royal Never Give Up. Considering the poor performances from the European team, most people predicted a quick loss and trip back home for them; however, they breathed life and hope for their fans by winning against RNG and set themselves up for a miracle run, similar to the one pulled off by Cloud9 a couple of days prior. With that win, RNG took their first loss in the group stage and that kept DAMWON Gaming KIA the only undefeated team at Worlds.

RNG stayed on stage for another match, this time vs PSG. Expectedly, they released their wrath on the Pacific team, dominating that match and knocking them down from their second place in the group.

FNC was then back on the stage in a do-or-die match against HLE, who themselves were in a race for the second seed. Unfortunately for EU fans, HLE took down FNC and ended their hopes of a miracle run early on in the day. They took another win against RNG directly afterward which secured them the 2nd seed and knocked out PSG Talon from the quarterfinals run. Along with the second seed granted to them, they were set for a tiebreaker match for the 1st seed, which was played at the end of the day.

PSG Talon and FNATIC separated that rematch, and as they both sought to play a strong final match at the tournament, PSG triumphed victorious and kept FNC at the bottom of their group.

HLE and RNG rematched at the end of the day, but HLE couldn’t twice in a row take down one of the tournament favorites, which secured RNG the 1st seed in their group by a margin of one match only. Despite losing, HLE had smiles all over their faces as they had a magical 3W-1L day to get them from nearly last to second in their group and secure them the quarterfinals spot.

As for PSG Talon, it was a disappointing and especially upsetting end of their run at Worlds, as they finished equal or better than the other three groups’ 3rd seed.

At the end of the day, group C results were:

1. Royal Never Give Up (5W-2L)
2. Hanwha Life Esports (4W-3L)
3. PSG Talon (3W-3L)
4. FNATIC (1W-5L)

Group Stage: Day 8

Day 8 featured only Group D matches. The best for last, as they say; day 8 had nine matches as it saw a 4-way tie for 1st place, the first time in Worlds history.

At the beginning of the day, group standings were:

1. GENG (2W-1L)
2. Li-Ning Gaming (2W-1L)
3. Mad Lions (1W-2L)
4. Team Liquid (1W-2L)

GENG started the day facing off the very angry Mad Lions. Definitely another game to remember, it was close throughout the entire game until the final team fight and baron play at the 40-minute mark. GENG managed to steal the baron and scored a very quick ACE, they then quickly made their way to MAD’s base with low HP and claimed the game victory.

Team Liquid then battled Li-Ning Gaming and managed to overpower. It was a crucial opening win for the North American team as they tied the now-second seed’s record and still saw hope for qualifying to the quarterfinals to join fellow LCS team Cloud9.

LNG did however bounce back and manage to upset GENG in a match directly afterward, which was just as crucial of a win as any other match as it maintained their second seed and fended off the NA and EU team looking to claim it.

Then was a classical EU vs NA match; MAD faced off TL in a very important game for both teams. We saw Jensen and Liquid being pushed to their limit, but after 37 minutes of intense fights and close matches, the skill difference between North American and European players began to show, as MAD took a baron and eventually pushed their way into TL’s base to claim the victory.

Team Liquid played GENG next and managed to upset them. Similar to every other group, these sort of underdog upsetting tournament favorite level teams were the excitement factor of every group. With their win, Team Liquid doubled the chances of a 4-way tie for 1st place. Which, with MAD Lions’ win vs LNG in the next game, was made possible.

For the first time in Worlds history, a 4-way tie occurred, at a record of 3W-3L for all teams. Every team, every region, and every fan had hope. Upsets weren’t far off realistic thinking, in fact, they were logical, they made sense, especially in the BO1 format.

Unfortunately for North American fans, they were matched up against GENG in their first tiebreaker match, and well, they did it once, but almost nobody can beat GENG twice, and certainly nobody twice in the same day. GENG took revenge on the LCS team who beat them just a couple of games back and knocked them out of Worlds, putting them in the final place of their group.

MAD managed to pull off a win versus LNG in what may be one of the closest matches of the tournament so far. Nearly tied in Gold, number of kills, and towers destroyed, yet far off the mark from objectives, Mad Lions’ Carzzy pulled a clutch double kill that secured MAD the at least second-place finish, which also meant the quarterfinals spot. It’s definitely worth a watch.

The battle for the first seed could also claim the tournament’s best match; the action and intense fights given by all the teams were unmatched in comparison to any other Worlds tournament. Mad Lions miraculously kept up with GENG and both teams pushed each other all the way with crazy team fights and super close matchups. In the end, GENG came out on top after claiming a back-to-back baron and dragon buff.

At the end of the day, group D standings were:

1. GENG (5W-3L)
2. Mad Lions (4W-4L)
3. Li-Ning Gaming (3W-4L)
4. Team Liquid (3W-4L)

Final Results and Predictions

And at the end of all the Group stages, we saw three Korean teams at the first seed of their group (with the only exception being HLE, who finished in second to the Chinese squad of RNG in group C), one North American team, the same North American team, the region’s only hope, and one European team. We’ve placed the leftover teams 8 teams on where we think they will finish at Worlds:

1st DAMWON Gaming KIA
2nd Cloud9
3-4th Royal Never Give Up
3-4th T1
5-8th GENG
5-8th EDward Gaming
5-8th Hanwha Life Esports
5-8th Mad Lions

If we were to place them how we want them to place, that list would look a lot different.

Want to Watch?

Catch all the World's 2021 action on twitch.tv/RiotGames or on YouTube.com/c/LoLEsports

The quarter-finals action will kick off on Friday, October 22nd, with T1 taking on Hanwha Life Esports; both teams Korean, they will face off against each other in a highly anticipated Best of 5.

T1 is set to take that series 3-2.

For the full schedule, check out LoLEsports.com/schedule.

From our EsportFire team: LET’S GO WESTERN TEAMS!

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