Meet the teams that will fight in Group B of the Play-ins!
The 2021 League of Legends World Championship is just around the corner. Some of the biggest names in the world will be competing under one roof in a bid to win the Summoner's Cup. Meanwhile, the defending World Champions DAMWON KIA will be looking to make it back-to-back titles. The tournament firstly kicks off with the Play-in Stage, one of the most exciting stages of the World Championship. With the Group A preview out, here is ESTNN’s preview for Group B.
North America’s best international team is back to the big dance after a year's absence. Many could argue Cloud9 should not have been here given their inconsistencies in the Summer Split. That being said, their class came through in the end as they punched their ticket to the World Championship.
C9 were in their comfort zone, scratching and clawing their way through the Lower Bracket, a scenario Cloud9 fans are all too familiar with. C9 had to bounce back if they were to qualify, they were rocked by Team Liquid and then had to go through multiple best-of-fives to even make it. Two quick 3-0 victories against Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses saw them go up against long-standing rivals TSM. Cloud9 struggled to get going in the opening games, scraping a victory in Game Two before going 2-1 down in Game Three. This is where C9’s class came into play. Luka "Perkz" Perković, Robert "Blaber" Huang and Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen put together two monstrous performances to see Cloud9 make it to Worlds.
Cloud9 should be the favorites to make it out of the group in first place. While they were able to avoid the two heavy-hitters in Hanwha Life Esports and LNG Esports, they must go up against the strongest emerging regions. We have seen in the past this be a banana peel for Cloud9. As recently as MSI 2021, C9 almost did not make it out of the players and relied on taking down DAMWON KIA in order to make it out. Plus, C9 has a long-standing rivalry with the LJL’s DetonatioN FocusMe, having faced them on multiple occasions throughout the years.
Beyond Gaming is one of the strongest teams in the Play-ins, depending on who you ask. The PCS side took PSG Talon, a pool one side, to five games twice during the playoffs. While they have not had exposure to the international stage, going toe-to-toe with PSG Talon, a side that did not drop a single game in the regular season, is mighty impressive. Chiu "Doggo" Tzu-Chuan is the most notable player on the BYG roster. The upcoming talent was a substitute for PSG at the Mid-Season Invitational this year, a tournament that let the world know who he is.
Given their performances against PSG in the Summer Split, by default, this should make Beyond Gaming a force to be reckoned with in Group B. PSG 2-0’d Cloud9 at MSI, showcasing that the PCS is not to be taken lightly. If Beyond is at the level of PSG, they are likely to be competing for that automatic qualification seed into the Group Stage.
Unicorns Of Love
The Unicorns Of Love is once again making its way back to the international stage. The CIS champions will be looking to make up for their MSI shortcomings after failing to make it out of a three-team group that included the LCO’s Pentanet.GG. UoL did not make it back in the cleanest way, however, as they were knocked down to the Lower Bracket after losing 3-1 to CrowCrowd. Arguably, CrowCrowd had their number as UoL had to reverse sweep their way through the Grand Final just to make it back to Worlds.
As Cloud9 and Beyond Gaming are the favorites to top their group, it will be about securing the third seed for UoL. Unfortunately for them, if other results go their way, it will mean they are going up against either Hanwha Life Esports or LNG Esports in a best-of-five. This will be a tall task for any team in the Play-ins this year. UoL’s best chance is to cause some upsets and somehow secure a top-two seed.
The unsung heroes of the play-ins, DFM will be looking to cause even more chaos at the 2021 LoL World Championship. The LJL side put up a valiant effort at MSI and probably should have escaped the Play-ins despite playing with a coach as their support. It was mistakes against DAMWON and Infinity that saw DFM sadly crash out.
DFM is a fun and vibrant side, and now with their complete starting lineup, they will be looking to make waves at Worlds 2021. They have the unique opportunity of consistently scrimming against Eastern teams, an opportunity that is not available to the Western teams in their group. DFM should be contending for one of the top three spots in their group, but if they are able to cause more chaos, fans could expect them to rise to the occasion and reach the all-important top two.
Galatasaray makes its way to the international stage for the first time. The Turkish side swept NASR in the final, coming into Worlds on a high note. Along with that, longstanding TCL AD Carry Ege "Padden" Acar Koparal is back at Worlds for the first time since 2017. Galatasaray dominated the Summer Split, finishing in first place in the regular season with a 15-3 record. This was followed by a strong showing in the playoffs, where they only dropped a single game.
While Galatasaray is not the favorites to get out of Group B, they are a dangerous Play-ins side that can cause problems for any team. The TCL is infamous for producing teams that can sucker punch even major region teams. They're never ones to go down without a fight, so despite not having super high expectations, fans should be optimistic for Galatasaray to bring the heat to the Play-in Stage.