LoL: MSI 2021 Group Stage – Day Three Recap

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LoL: MSI 2021 Group Stage – Day Three Recap

Day Three of MSI 2021 continued to deliver top-level League of Legends.

Following on from a Day Two that saw absolutely no upsets, and certainly not Cloud9 losing to a Wildcard region, Day Three would surely be another calm day of competitive LoL. Obviously, this is MSI, so it was anything but calm, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Royal Never Give Up vs Unicorns of Love

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and Unicorns of Love. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of RNG Ming above.

Jumping into game as the expected victors, RNG didn't waste any time getting on the board as they picked up a three-minute first blood, and UOL had it all to play for. The second and third kills follow on soon after as RNG moved 2k ahead. If you thought the game was starting slowly, another team fight breaks out and sees UOL finally got on the board. Though it was at the cost of two more kills. It seemed like every time UOL got something, RNG was there to claim something for themselves. Despite their best efforts, it was one step forward, two steps back.

With no action for about three minutes, and the game approaching the 15-minute mark, RNG finally started to slow down as they moved to just over 8k ahead. Again, it was UOL trying to make plays to get themselves back into the series, but RNG was always ready. As the clock struck 20-minutes, the lead for RNG moved to 10k as UOL ran out of options.

Eventually, RNG claimed the Baron and the UOL base started to crumble. Despite their best attempts, UOL was unable to do anything to stop their mid-lane and bottom-lane Inhibitors from falling. After a reset, RNG moved to the top side and the rest was history. RNG took the game and moved to 4-0 in their group as they looked to secure a Knockout spot.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 24:56
  • Kills: 24-7
  • Turrets: 10-2
  • Gold: 53.5k – 39.5k
  • Dragons: 3-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Unicorns of Love vs Pentanet.GG

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between and Unicorns of Love. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of the 2021 MSI Stage above.

This was a critical match for the fate of this group. To kick things off, UOL picked up first blood, quickly making up for the poor result against RNG. While a great start, it wasn’t to last as PGG got a kill back in reply before a mid lane 2v2 went their way, which moved them into the lead. Then, tt’s an early 5v5 around the Rift Herald. PGG claimed the Rift, and with UOL looking to escape, it went horribly wrong. PGG took down four members as they started to create an almost insurmountable gap.

The next 5v5 goes exactly like the first. PGG made a massive statement on the Rift as they looked to keep their playoff hopes alive. They picked up a free Baron on the tail end of it as they took control of the match. UOL started to look completely spent in the match despite being just 3k behind. Dropping kills at every opportunity, it looked as if it would take a massive upswing for UOL to turn the tide.

The two sides squared off yet again, UOL took their moment, but it amounted to nothing. The loss saw UOL go 0-2 on the day as PGG suddenly became a real threat to UOL’s chances of advancing in the tournament.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 31:30
  • Kills: 4-15
  • Turrets: 4-8
  • Gold: 52-1k – 57.9k
  • Dragons: 2-3
  • Barons: 0-1

DAMWON KIA vs DetonatioN FocusMe

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between DAMWON KIA and Detonation FocusMe. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of DFM Yutapon above.

Emboldened by an upset win against c9 yesterday, DFM got off to the dream start in today's match, picking up a massive first blood in the top lane on Khan, who was caught out being greedy without Flash. DFM tried to do the same thing again in the bottom lane but they over-extended and handed two free kills over to DK. DFM decided they didn’t fancy losing this series it seemed. Khan continued to be the target for DFM, even giving over a solo kill, causing the top lane gap to continue to grow.

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Moving forward, DFM simply never let up. After yet more pushes across the map, they were able to take a massive Baron buff as they look to spring an upset. Afterward, DFM got yet another solo kill and their gold lead grew to 4k against the reigning World Champions. As DK took down a drake, DFM moved to secure the second Baron of the game. It started out badly for DFM and ended just as badly. They took down two members of DK but lost three in reply, as the DAM scaling started to claw them back into this match.

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DFM didn't want to wait for the DK scaling to become a factor after a close Baron fight. So DFM pushed in the mid lane and found a massive pick onto Canyon. With this, DFM took down the mid and top lane Inhibitors but lost a member and decided to peel away. By this point, the gold lead was pointless, and it all came down to whether or not DFM could hold their nerves. As the game calmed down a little, DFM took the third drake, and with Inhibitor respawning, we entered the calm before the storm.

Leading up to the climax, DFM pushed into the bot lane, but they overextended and lost it all. The ensuing team fight resulted in four lost members for DFM as DK countered and threw members into the mid lane. DFM couldn’t respawn in time and DK blasted the LJL representative's Nexus, moving to 3-0 in the group.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 38:57
  • Kills: 15-13
  • Turrets: 7-10
  • Gold: 70.2k – 69.5k
  • Dragons: 2-4
  • Barons:0-3

Cloud9 vs Infinity Esports

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between Cloud9 and Infinity Esports. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of C9 coach Mithy above.

Hoping to rebound from a blundering match yesterday, Cloud9 got off to a nightmare start in their match against INF today. It all started when INF engaged a 3v3 skirmish in the bottom lane. Here, Perkz attempted to Teleport in but got blocked off as INF got away with murder. It went from bad to worse for C9 when Fudge was caught out and killed in the top side. Then, INF pulled off yet another fantastic kill in the bottom side of the map. Fortunately for C9, they did manage to break the mid tier one tower, so the INF gold lead was only 1k.

A short while later, Perkz finally got C9 on the board with a Teleport play on the top side of the map. INF remained around 1k gold ahead, but C9 had already picked up two drakes. C9 looked like they'd calmed down as they equalized the gold and picked up a third drake, which gave them a clear Soul win condition. A 5v5 around the fourth drake saw the fight go one-for-one, though C9 was able to pick up two picks on the tail end of the fight. C9 converted that win into a Baron as they finally started to move into the lead.

C9 finally made good on their lead and made it look easy in the end. With Perkz taking the Elder Drake, they pushed through the INF base like a hot knife through butter, ultimately smashing the Nexus. That result means that three sides now all have one victory each, making Tuesday an exciting day for everyone involved.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 33:33
  • Kills: 11-5
  • Turrets: 11-3
  • Gold: 64.9k – 54.4k
  • Dragons: 5-0
  • Barons: 1-0

MAD Lions vs paiN Gaming

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between MAD Lions and paiN Gaming. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of the 2021 MSI stage above.

Moving into the fifth game of the day, MAD started it off with a great first kill, invading the PNG jungle to claim a significant early lead. The game goes even better for MAD as they managed to steal away a drake from under the nose of PNG. Then, MAD turned the screw on the match by picking up a second kill and securing an early 1k lead after Robo started a fight in the top side he could never win.

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But PNG made a huge play to get back into the match when they picked up multiple kills in the mid and bot lanes. Though MAD maintained a 3k lead at this point, PNG started to look like a threat. However, the game had a small lul as we approached the 20-minute mark. Around this point, MAD was able to pick up one more kill to help maintain their lead. With Baron on the Rift, MAD pulled the trigger on it and forced INF to respond. A team fight erupted, and though MAD got the early kill, Kaiser overextended and lost his life. But MAD does come out ahead and continue to posture around the Baron. Yet, it was PNG who made the potentially game-changing play, as they steal the Baron from right under the noses of MAD.

PNG Left it late, but the inhibitor betrayed them

Not too long later, PNG made another huge call to go for the MAD base while MAD was on the Drake. Tt saw them claim a MAD Inhibitor and one Nexus tower, but they just barely didn't have the initial damage to go further. Striking back, MAD won the fight three-for-two but lost so much of their base as a result. The next Baron is the goal for both teams. MAD started it up but PNG Teleported in to counter. It was a messy fight, which again saw MAD come away slightly ahead and turned the game became a nail-biter. But it was PNG who pulled the trigger on the game-ender. In an all-or-nothing attempt, they Teleported and Tahm Kench ultimated into the MAD base to back door the Neuxs. When it looked like it was all but over, they died when the inhibitor respawned. As a result, MAD sprinted straight down to the other end of the map and took down the PNG Nexus to go 3-0 in the first round of matches.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 38:52
  • Kills: 20-10
  • Turrets: 9-9
  • Gold: 72,3k – 66.2k
  • Dragons: 3-3
  • Barons:0-1

PSG.Talon vs fastPay Wildcats

A screenshot from the LoL Esports broadcast for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) match between PSG.Talon and fastPay Wildcats. The picked and banned champion drafts appear at the bottom of the image with a shot of the 2021 MSI stage above.

To kick off the last game of the day, IW got off on the wrong foot as they got caught out on the bottom side of the map.  Here, they were trying to make a play on the bot lane but PSG collapsed on them and got an easy double kill. Afterward, a skirmish broke out on the top side, and while it was PSG that began the engagement, it was IW who came out on top. They picked up two kills for themselves and closed the gold lead slightly. Keeping the action going, there was another big fight, but this time it goes the way of PSG. They reset themselves on the Rift and moved their lead to 5k gold ahead.

Things continued to go badly for IW, as they lost their mid lane tier one tower and two kills along with it. As a result, PSG moved to 7k ahead and looked to secure a 2-1 first-round start. It started to get a little desperate for IW, who continued to try and make plays. But PSG continued to knock them back. PSG won team fight after team fight, as they moved 12k ahead. From here, a PSG victory appeared inevitable.

PSG eventually decided it was time to win and they pushed IW aside with ease. The win puts PSG in a great position to go on and qualify for the playoffs. As for IW, they’ll need to show up in the coming days if they want to avoid the Rumble.

Quick Stats:

  • Time: 27:57
  • Kills: 22-6
  • Turrets: 10-1
  • Gold: 58k – 44.1
  • Dragons: 3-1
  • Barons: 1-0
LoL: MSI 2021 Group Stage – Day Three Recap
David Hollingsworth
David has written for games media outlets for the last ten years. With his first major esports role being with Esports News UK covering mostly UK League of Legends. David is also a member of the British Esports Association and is an advisor to them on World of Warcraft Esports. More recently David has worked for Esports Insider and Red Bull as an esports journalist. David later became Editor at ESTNN and now leads the current team.