LoL: Worlds 2021 Play-ins Day One Recap

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LoL: Worlds 2021 Play-ins Day One Recap

Recapping the first day of Worlds 2021 Play-ins, headlined by Hanwha Life Esports and LNG Esports!

The League of Legends Worlds 2021 has begun and teams are ready to achieve glory and bring the Summoner’s Cup to their region. Before the Group Stage starts, Play-ins is happening with best-of-one matches that will bring some more teams to the main tournament.

Hanwha Life Esports vs LNG Esports

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Hanwha Life Esports and LNG Esports with a shot of the Worlds 2021 stage in the middle.

The first match of Worlds 2021 started with a lot of early skirmishes, where LNG forced a Flash from Deft, which later resulted in them picking up First Blood. While HLE secured the first dragon of the match, a sharp Teleport from LNG made sure they further pushed their lead against the enemy bot lane by getting more kills. LNG secured the next dragon of the match and both teams made their way into the mid-game by farming safely.

LNG found Morgan in the bottom lane and tried to kill him quickly. However, HLE was smart to read the map and quickly rotated to get a favorable fight, snag three kills and jump back into the match. After winning the team fight, HLE secured their second dragon of the match. Then, LNG caught Deft in the mid lane this time and took a 2v1 fight to stay in lead. Afterward, they secured another dragon for themselves.

After a few spare kills, a major team fight broke in the bottom river, where HLE wanted to force LNG to check the bushes for the dragon. However, the Chinese team came out on top and they won the team fight very convincingly to get their hands on their third dragon and a Baron Nashor. With the help of the Baron, they pushed all the lanes and set themselves up for the fourth dragon, i.e. Soul point of the match. The sheer power of LNG Ale's Jax was very difficult to deal with in the late game. After getting a kill in the mid lane they pushed through the lane and took the first match of the tournament for themselves.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: HLE-LNG
  • Time: 40:40
  • Kills: 5-18
  • Turrets: 3-8
  • Gold: 66.3k-78.5k
  • Dragons: 2-4
  • Barons: 0-1

Infinity Esports vs RED Canids

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Infinity Esports and RED Canids with a shot of the Worlds 2021 stage in the middle.

There was a very slow start to the match as both teams were playing safely and trading onto the enemy players. At the eight-minute mark, INF secured their first dragon and made a joint effort to take down the enemy mid laner. The team fight was in their favor and they got three kills at the cost of only one. After that, RED was quick to respond and got another one in the mid lane but INF also secured kills in the bot lane and mid lane to maintain their lead.

Infinity looked very dominant coming into the mid-game and they secured another kill to claim their third dragon of the match. RED, feeling the pressure, initiated a beautiful engage in the mid lane where they grabbed a kill for themselves. Then INF overextended in the lane and got caught in the jungle, while RED missed no opportunity to gain ground back. After that, RED took the opportunity to shift the momentum of the match and took a really good team fight in the enemy jungle to get even further, get Baron and secure their first dragon of the game.

During the late game, RED made nearly no mistakes and pushed the waves into the enemy towers while taking down objectives. The match was slowly getting out of Infinity’s hands and they had to face check the Baron in a desperate attempt to come back into the match. However, RED was very quick in their decision-making. They turned off the Baron and took down the whole enemy squad, marching through the mid lane afterward to take their first victory of Worlds 2021.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: INF-RED
  • Time: 32:29
  • Kills: 6-15
  • Turrets: 2-9
  • Gold: 50.5k-59.7k
  • Dragons: 3-2
  • Barons: 0-1

LNG Esports vs PEACE

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between LNG Esports and PEACE with a shot of the Worlds 2021 stage in the middle.

The match started in a bloodbath as both the teams actively traded with each other everywhere. However, the First Blood came out when LNG Tarzan ganked Vizicsacsi in the top lane and punished his lack of vision. After that, Tarzan kept assisting Ale to push his lead and they ganked the Gangplank under his tower to sweep up another kill. While PCE secured one kill for themselves and got the first dragon, they lost another one in the bottom lane.

After that, LNG was in a comfortable position to look for engages on the enemies. They did exactly that and got themselves a ton of kills. After that, they were pretty much out scaling the enemies as LNG Ale and Icon dealt enormous amounts of damage to the enemy.

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PCE tried very hard to come back into the match however, with the pressure that LNG was putting on the OCE representatives, it was literally impossible to pick a kill unless it was a mistake from the Chinese team. Another final desperate attempt at a team fight to turn things around by PCE happened but LNG routed them. After they wrapped them up, LNG finished with one final push in the mid lane, securing two wins on their first day at Worlds 2021.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: LNG-PCE
  • Time: 24:31
  • Kills: 15-5
  • Turrets: 9-0
  • Gold: 49.6k-36.2k
  • Dragons: 2-1
  • Barons: 0-0

Hanwha Life Esports vs Infinity Esports

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Hanwha Life Esports and Infinity Esports with a shot of HLE coach Son "Kezman" Dae-young in the middle.

The match’s early game was sort of quiet, but the first major team fight broke near the dragon as Infinity looked to sneak a dragon under HLE’s vision. While the dragon was secured by INF, their opponents showed up and grabbed two of their key members to make it a sour-sweet exchange. Another dive in the top lane secured another kill for Morgan, however, he took a bit too many tower shots and it ended up being an equal exchange. The second dragon of the match was taken by HLE but INF collapsed on the enemy near the Rift Herald and caught them by surprise to get the necessary kills and make a comeback into the match.

The third dragon of the match was secured by HLE, though it was a very slow mid-game for both the teams as they slowly scaled towards the late game. After that, there were a few scrappy kills where HLE got the better of most team fights and eventually took down Baron. With the help of the Baron, HLE pushed all the waves and created a lot of pressure on Infinity. Finally, Infinity was caught in the top jungle by Hanwa and the players started falling one by one as HLE comfortably ended the match that seemed to be a lost cause in the early game.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: HLE-INF
  • Time: 31:24
  • Kills: 12-8
  • Turrets: 11-2
  • Gold: 59.7k-50.0k
  • Dragons: 3-1
  • Barons: 1-0

Unicorns of Love vs DetonatioN FocusMe

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Unicorns of Love and DetonatioN FocusMe with a shot of the LoL Esports logo in the middle.

UOL vs DFM started off strong with unique picks during the drafting phase. Once in game, DFM’s early Talon gank on the top lane assured the First Blood for the team. After that, a great team effort took down UOL’s mid laner while Unicorns traded that kill by killing Evi’s Gnar in the top lane. DFM secured the first dragon on the map but UOL made sure to get early towers in return. Shortly after, DFM got one more kill for the Talon and secured the second dragon of the match. Then, Steal’s follow-up on unsuspecting enemies in the top lane netted him more kills to become a completely untouchable assassin on his pick.

UOL realized that they were losing their grip on the match and they tried to force the dragon. Though they claimed it, DFM got one more kill while UOL retreated. Afterward, Unicorns of Love were caught overextending by DFM again and were punished heavily by intercepting their path to their base. After getting many kills on the chase, DFM moved straight to the Baron and pushed all the waves to secure some towers. They also secured the third dragon of the match by taking advantage of the pressure generated by the empowered minions.

Sheer dominance from DFM

From here, DFM was in a commanding position so they grouped in the bottom lane to take down the outer turret of the base. However, UOL held their ground and, with a great Lee Sin insec on to Yutapon's Miss Fortune, successfully delayed their push. The next major team fight took place near the dragon, as DFM patiently took the team fight and secured the Mountain Soul for the team. UOL was very shaky and they were punished further by the Japanese team. Here, DFM took some more kills and took another Baron and pushed the lanes to secure an easy victory for the team.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: UOL-DFM
  • Time: 35:20
  • Kills: 7-19
  • Turrets: 5-8
  • Gold: 56.8k-66.0k
  • Dragons: 1-4
  • Barons: 0-2

Galatasaray Esports vs Beyond Gaming

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Galatasaray Esports and Beyond Gaming with a shot of the Worlds 2021 stage in the middle.

The sixth match of the day started with a top lane dive on BYG Jarvan by GS. While Maoan Teleported to the top lane to support his laner, GS took no risks and called in their mid laner as well to assist in the dive. GS got hold of both the players, though Crazy fell to the last tower shot. After that, both the teams continued farming and BYG got their first dragon. Galatasaray decided to dive the top laner again and Maoan’s Teleport was used in vain as he couldn’t save his top laner. However, PK Teleported to the jungle and got one back as he came back to his lane. BYG also secured one kill on Ryze by using PK's Jarvan ultimate.

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Revenge and punishment

Shortly after, BYG secured their second dragon, but while going for the third one, GS Mojito stole it away from them. After that, they sought revenge and took down the enemies while BYG continued to struggle. GS continued to push some waves and caught some enemies in the jungle and further escalated their lead in the match. After that, BYG got some kills to stay in it and went for the dragon to secure it. GS, already having the advantage, engaged on BYG and got some more kills before going for the Baron and securing it. With the rising pressure, they also secured their second dragon of the match.

BYG needed to get the next Baron to remain relevant, however, just as they started damaging the objective, GS came knocking with their Teleport and ended all the hopes for them. They had a perfect team fight and ran straight to the mid lane to push the minions and win the game!

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: GS-BYG
  • Time: 34:18
  • Kills: 17-9
  • Turrets: 7-2
  • Gold: 63.8k-53.5k
  • Dragons: 2-3
  • Barons: 1-0

DetonatioN FocusMe vs Cloud9

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between DetonatioN FocusMe and Cloud9 with a shot of the Worlds 2021 stage in the middle.

After a fantastic win earlier in the day, DFM looked to go 2-0 on the first day of Play-ins, while C9 showed up to make a statement. After gaining a huge advantage in the draft, C9 came out swinging in their first game of Worlds 2021. At four minutes, the C9 duo lane roamed mid, where they killed Aria's previously unkilled throughout summer LeBlanc. Shortly after that, Fudge and Perkz dove and killed the struggling Evi in the top lane. Though DFM snagged a Rift Herald, C9 responded by claiming a dragon.

When DFM decided to use the Herald, C9 was ready. Steal dropped it in the mid lane but C9 collapsed and picked up two kills. With a ballooning gold lead, C9 grew it further by slaying Herald and used it to take the First Tower bonus. Finally, DFM showed a sign of life when they sent three members top to take down Fudge. However, it didn't matter much.

That's because at 22 minutes, C9 found yet another winning fight, this time in the top lane off of DFM's aggression. Here, C9 slaughtered three from DFM and secured Baron after. Equipped with the Baron buff, C9 made short work of two of DFM's Inhibitors, flooding DFM's base with minons, then claimed the Infernal Soul too. Against such a huge deficit, DFM was powerless to stop C9 from pushing through the top lane, killing four of their members and smashing their Nexus.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: DFM-C9
  • Time: 28:23
  • Kills: 4-13
  • Turrets: 3-10
  • Gold: 43.8k-55.5k
  • Dragons: 0-4
  • Barons: 0-1

Unicorns of Love vs Galatasaray Esports

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Play-ins broadcast, showing the drafts between Unicorns of Love and Galatasaray Esports with a shot of Kim "Crazy" Jae-hee in the middle.

In the final match of Day One of the Play-in Stage, Unicorns of Loved looked to bounce back after a rough loss and Galatasaray hoped to go 2-0 on the day. Things started off very well for GS, as though the game was quiet early, GS accumulated neutral objectives across the map. At eight minutes, in the midst of a messy fight, GS crept ahead in a top lane fight to go up three-for-two in kills. Three minutes later, UOL tried to punish the top lane, but GS collapsed on the play to rout them and trade three-for-one in their favor. Meanwhile, Alive solo killed Argonavt in the bottom lane.

With these fights and the multiple neutrals, GS was feeling good. They soon claimed the First Tower bonus, found a pick onto Nomanz and gained two more kills worth of gold in a skirmish. Even as early as 15 minutes, the game looked dire for UOL. As at 16 minutes, GS forced another fight, this time in the mid lane, to claim three more kills and a third dragon. UOL managed to get some gold back with a Herald and a tower take, but it was too little too late.

It wasn't long until the Ocean Soul dragon spawned, where both teams met. Though it was an equal two-for-two kill trade, GS did secure the coveted Soul. This helped them in the next few minutes, where a long series of drawn-out fights resulted in more kills to GS, and ultimately, Baron Nashor. Once they had the uber buff, GS was unstoppable as they pushed down every lane and eventually dove into the UOL base to kill multiple champions and the UOL Nexus too.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: UOL-GS
  • Time: 29:03
  • Kills: 9-23
  • Turrets: 2-9
  • Gold: 45.0k-58.3k
  • Dragons: 0-4
  • Barons: 0-1
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Rijit Banerjee
Rijit Banerjee is a freelance esports and gaming journalist who covers games like Fortnite, Valorant and League of Legends. He was formerly associated with Sportskeeda, GG Recon and Gamezo.