LCS At Worlds 2021 Group Stage Day 3
The 2021 League of Legends World Championship is here, and North America sent out three teams to represent the region. 100 Thieves is at the tournament as the first seed after winning the LCS Summer Split, Team Liquid went in as the second seed after losing to 100 Thieves in the Summer Split finals, and Cloud9 rounds it all out as the third seed after finishing third in the same playoffs.
While Cloud9 had to battle in the play-in stage in order to qualify for the main stage, both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid got to play their first match of Worlds. The day ended with North America going 1-2 for the day.
Going into the tournament, each team had a different set of expectations. As the team that dominated the spring and got to represent the region at MSI, Cloud9 were looking to right the wrongs of the past. The past goes as far back as their 2020 season in which, like this season, they dominated the spring, giving themselves their first-ever MSI trip. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSI didn’t happen - Cloud9 missed out on something they sought for years. This season culminated with the organisation missing their first-ever Worlds.
Thankfully for them, they began to right the wrongs this season by winning the Spring Split, making it to their first MSI and eventually making Worlds.
Team Liquid, on the other hand, didn’t necessarily have to right any wrongs from the 2020 season, but still had to endure their own battles. Although they won the first LCS Lock In tournament, they weren’t quite up to par once the spring split regular season began. This led to them meandering in the middle of the pack until the playoffs rolled around. Once playoffs rolled around they got back in shape but were quickly knocked down a peg by Cloud9. This called for a rematch in the finals in which Cloud9 took the victory over a hobbled Team Liquid who had to play with a substitute jungler - this would be the beginning of their problems.
Their problems continued in the Summer Split as they benched their top laner and their jungler once again had to step down, this was rounded out by their head coach resigning. Nonetheless, Team Liquid were able to keep themselves afloat all the way through the end of the split. Once in the summer playoffs, like the spring, they returned to form—it was an even better Team Liquid. This version of Team Liquid got themselves to the finals, in which they faced off against the team they sent into the losers’ bracket, 100 Thieves. This ended matchup ended in a swift, almost record time series victory by the Thieves.
100 Thieves on the other hand were different from the other two. Like Team Liquid, they started off the Lock In tournament well, but unfortunately were knocked out prior to reaching the finals. They were able to continue this momentum in the regular season of the spring split but weren’t able to close it out. This called for midseason changes.
A swap in the mid-lane and a bringing of a new head coach was all this team needed as once in the summer, the Thieves were on in full force all the way into the playoffs. In the playoffs, they won a close 3-2 bout versus Evil Geniuses but later lost the finals qualifying match versus Team Liquid, being sent into the losers’ bracket. In the losers’ bracket, they quickly made work of Cloud9 and subsequently made quick work of Team Liquid in the finals, winning their first-ever LCS championship.
We already talked about these three teams on Day 2 of the group stage, now here’s Day 3.
LCS teams at Group Stage Day 3
Cloud9 kept is closer than what many thought they would have against DAMWON Kia today, but by no means is this team back on track. The inconsistent level of play they’ve shown thus far—ranging back to the play-in stage—continues to show. Credit to them, keeping it close in terms of kill count early on, but DAMWON Kia’s gold lead and superior macro play—constantly finding proactive plays—came to the forefront.
The Thieves just got counterpunched all throughout the early game in everything that they did in their match against T1 today. This led to T1 slowly but surely giving themselves a gold lead that later ballooned out of control for 100 Thieves very quickly.
Out of all the Group D matchups - aside from the one versus MAD Lions - Team Liquid beating Gen.G was a real possibility. Unfortunately for Team Liquid, an even more dominant than expected Gen.G showed up. This led to Team Liquid constantly being on the back foot in every play they attempted and made. Although they were able to get some jabs in the form of a punishing of Gen.G’s overstep in a 22-minute dive in the bottom lane, that was all they were able to do.