Here is how eight teams made their way to the 2021 LoL World Championship quarter-finals.
In what was one of the best group stages in tournament history, eight teams prepare for the quarter-finals of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. For the first time since 2018, all four major regions will be featured in the latter stages of the tournament. Here is a summary of how these eight teams got here:
There is no better place to start than with the defending champs. DWK’s group stage was nothing short of excellence with the LCK #1 seed going 6-0. While FPX did drop the ball, not many teams in the history of the World Championship have gone undefeated heading into the quarter-finals.
Top laner Khan was one of the standout performers for his side. With the veteran retiring at the end of the season, there would be no better way than to go out winning his first World Championship. Their performances are reminiscent of the old Damwon, forcing the Worlds meta and playing their own game. DWK started the Yuumi trend in game one, first picking the championship against FPX.
Showmaker was also a monster in the group stage, not dying until they played Rogue in their fifth game. Fans even got to witness the LCK superstar play Kassadin in their final match against Cloud9. The North American side pushed them to the brink but in the end the Kassadin out-scaled.
North America’s best international team proved why they own that title. The MSS champions Cloud9 stunned the world as they once against passed the group of death to qualify for another quarter-final. Things did not start off so well for Cloud9 either, the NA side went 0-3 to start off Group A and was left with a 1.56% chance of making it out. Just like Han Solo, Cloud9 ignored the odds as they took down Rogue and FPX to guarantee themself a tiebreaker at the end of the day.
Optimism was not with the fans, however, North America and C9 specifically have not done well in tiebreakers. Coming into their decider against Rogue, Cloud9 was 0-4 in tiebreakers. Their most recent loss was at this very World Championship against DetonatioN FocusMe in the play-ins. Blaber was arguably Cloud9’s best player in the group stage. This is a refreshing sight for North American fans who were down on the 2x MVP after a poor showing at MSI.
After the collapse of FPX and the rise of the LCK, T1 is one of the favorites to win it all. While it is a tough road ahead, T1 showed in the group stage why they should be feared. The three-time World Champions went 5-1 to secure the first seed in Group B.
Statistically, T1 was favored in some areas compared to tournament favorites Damwon. T1 had the best early game rating according to Oracle’s Elixir at 77.9. Their strong early game earned them a monstrous +3617 gold lead at fifteen minutes. This was the highest in the tournament but a large margin. The greatest of all time Faker is back at Worlds for the first time since 2019 and they will need him at his best if he and T1 are to win number four.
It would not be EDG at the World Championship without something eventful happening. Edward Gaming has progressed to yet another quarter-final stage. The LPL champions will be looking to break their top eight duck as they have never reached the semi-finals. EDG missed out on the opportunity to face T1 in a tiebreaker for first place after they surprisingly, or unsurprisingly depending on who you asked, dropped a game to 100 Thieves.
While the first seed is always the goal for teams, the draw worked out in their favor with Gen.G, RNG, and Cloud9 being on their side of the bracket. This is a great opportunity for Edward Gaming to face their demons and finally progress past the quarter-finals.
The 2021 MSI Champions Royal Never Give Up finished first in Group C. While it was not the easiest of routes for the LPL side, they showed their composure as they took down HLE in the tiebreaker. RNG has been a surprisingly strong side this year despite the hype for teams like FPX and EDG. With their swift exit in the LPL playoffs, RNG finally has the chance to test their strengths against Edward Gaming in the quarter-finals.
As stated earlier, the bracket has been awfully kind to RNG. RNG has their best opportunity to reach the finals, a feat they were surprisingly unsuccessful with when they had superstar ADC Uzi on their roster. Both EDG and RNG match up well and it will be interesting to see how RNG gets on in the Worlds quarter-finals.
Hanwha Life Esports
A team that probably should not have been at the World Championship, is in the quarter-finals. This is the incredible run of Hanwha Life Esports. Despite being poor for the majority of the season, Hanwha has grown since the regional qualifier. When a team has Chovy on it, you are guaranteed to have some advantage in the game. The LCK superstar is one of the players of the tournament and he alone could take Hanwha Life beyond the quarter-finals.
Hanwha Life finished second in their group after losing the tie-breaker to RNG. They were at least able to take a game off of the MSI Champions, however, were unable to secure what would have been a lifeline for them given how weaker that side of the bracket is.
The 2017 World Champions Gen.G are back in the knockout stage once again. In what was a thrilling end to Group D it was the LCK side who came out on top. Gen.G has been a mixed bag and there is a slight concern for them going into quarters and beyond. BDD had a remarkable second day was ultimately the reason they were able to secure a place in the top 8.
There is no doubting the skill of this Gen.G roster. They have some remarkable players and that alone can get you very far. The problem they are facing is their proactivity in the early game. Gen.G this season has been a slow and reactive time and has been dubbed soulless when going into best-of-fives. While they are favored against Cloud9, the North American side will push them early and make them uncomfortable.
When all hope was lost for Europe, the LEC champions MAD Lions pulled a Rabbit out of a hat and punched their ticket to the quarter-finals. This would have been the first time since 2014 a European side had not made it to the knockout stage of a World Championship. If people thought Group A was wild, Group D said “hold my beer”. For the first time in LoL history, there was a four-way tiebreaker to determine who would make it out.
For MAD to even make it to the tiebreaker was incredible. They were down 1-3 heading into a do-or-die game against Team Liquid. Luckily for the LEC hopefuls, they were able to pull through. What was so inspiring to see from MAD was their resilience. LoL content creator LS praised MAD Lions for their ability to keep in games. This makes them a difficult team to prepare for in the best-of-fives.
The 2021 League of Legends World Championship continues this Friday as T1 takes on Hanwha Life Esports in the first of four quarter-finals.