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Highlighting The 2021 Worlds Group Stage

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

21st Oct 2021 17:43

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The 2021 League of Legends World Championship hasn’t failed to deliver. From teams unexpectedly making it to the group stage to historic matches to even a four-way tie to make it out of the group stage. The Worlds group stage has been nothing short of spectacular.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of these eyebrow-raising moments in the tournament thus far.

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DetonatioN FocusMe Making It To Groups

As a first for the region, DetonatioN FocusMe were able to finally take the Japanese region to new heights after a long five-year wait. Not only did the team surpass expectations but they did so while captivating the hearts of new fans. 

They were placed in the tougher of the two play-in groups and not only got through to the group stage, but they did so as the first seed, not even having to play an extra set of matches. Unfortunately for them, their Worlds run was just that, a history-making group stage appearance as they went winless in the group stage.

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FunPlus Phoenix’s Collapse

There are several teams that end up going below expectations throughout the years at the most prestigious international event of the year. Team’s like China’s LGD in 2015 and Team SoloMid in multiple years come to mind. But FunPlus Pheonix’s collapse takes the cake. 

For all intents and purposes, alongside DAMWON Kia, this was their group to take. A group that had Cloud9 and Rogue as their counterparts should’ve been light work for this Chinese representing squad, but it wasn’t. The group had the expected DAMWON Kia dominance finishing 6-0, but it still had to figure out its second seed. 

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images
Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

The first round-robin went as expected for this team, losing to DAMWON Kia but taking care of Cloud9 and Rogue. But once in the second round-robin, that performance didn’t continue. Loses to both Cloud9 and Rogue put them in a perilous situation of having to play a tiebreaker versus Rogue in order to play Cloud9 for the final knockout stage spot. And they lost it. This was the second seed coming from China, and the reigning World Champions from 2019, it was theirs to take.

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Cloud9 Making It Out Of Groups

Seeing the organisation’s past, it should come as no surprise that once again they’ve made it to the quarterfinals. In every year Cloud9 has been to Worlds they’ve yet to miss it. And that streak continued at this year’s Worlds. Everyone was expecting them to not make it out but thanks to the aforementioned FunPlus Phoenix collapse and a showing up when it mattered, Cloud9 did it. 

Out of all of the teams that partook in the historic past LCS offseason, Cloud9 can definitely be crowned the winners. Lock In tournament finalists, Spring Split winners that led to an MSI trip, a third place in the LCS Championship and now quarterfinalists. 

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North America Winning Their First Tiebreaker To Make It To The Knockout Stage

According to the LoLEsportsSats official Twitter, prior to this Worlds, North America was 2-8 in tiebreakers with those two wins coming from the play-in stage. This meant that the region has never won a tiebreaker to make it past the group stage. Until Cloud9.

Alongside that aforementioned stat line, four of those eight losses came from Cloud9, meaning they were 0-4. This all changed once they had to fight against Rogue in the final Group A tiebreaker to make it out of the group stage. Cloud9 were able to break the curse and got the region through.

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Cloud9 And Rogue’s Historic Match

There are little to no stakes higher than the one that was presented for both of these teams, a quarterfinals visit. Like mentioned before, Cloud9 and North America had all of the history against them, while Rogue had it in their favour. All of this tension lent itself to becoming one of the best matches in Worlds history.

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images
Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

Although it was a slow start, the match quickly heated up with a constant trading of blows between both of the squads. Cloud9 were constantly brute-forcing engages while Rogue had to play around them. It all finished in a critical moment where the North American representatives took their advantages in the late game towards Elder. In a last-ditch effort to turn the tables, Rogue made the decision to have all of the team take a Ryze ultimate to stop them, but Cloud9 thwarted it.

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First Four-Way Tie In Worlds Groups History

Group D was considered to be the most contested of the groups at Worlds. A group housing Korea’s Gen.G, China’s LNG who came through play-ins, Europe’s MAD Lions and North America’s Team Liquid was bound to be a close intramural but not this close. 

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images
Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

Gen.G started the group strong in the first round-robin with LNG Esports closely following behind, this meant that a Team Liquid win over MAD Lions put them in third and fourth place respectively. Once in the second round-robin though, the way matches were going began to change. LNG Esports failed to show up, apart from a victory over Gen.G that was somewhat handed to them on a silver platter and Team Liquid and MAD Lions began winning. This led to the first four-way tiebreaker in Worlds history. 

The tiebreaker ended up in a mini bracket, Team Liquid had to face off against Gen.G for one spot, and MAD Lions had to face LNG Esports for another. Winners of each would not only qualify for the knockout stage but play a final tiebreaker in order to decide seeding. Although they looked strong, Team Liquid were molly whopped by Gen.G while MAD Lions gave tournament watchers a game that rivalled the Cloud9 and Rogue tiebreaker match, beating LNG Esports. The final tiebreaker ended with Gen.G getting down to business and dominating MAD Lions for the first seed. 

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Cloud9 Never Settles: A Paragon In The LCS

Oshin Tudayan/Riot Games via ESPAT

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

27th Nov 2021 13:39

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