The League of Legends World Championship Group stage gave us a few surprises and an electric finish, with Group D ending with a four way tie-break! There were some incredible matches including quite a few upsets, with the pressure proving too much for some teams (including a competition favourite). We are set up for an exciting Playoff series and GameDay Squad has got you covered with our preview and predictions!
Game highlights you NEED to go watch:
DWG vs FPX (Monday 11/10/21)
Rogue vs FPX (Saturday 16/10/21)
100 Thieves vs DFM (Sunday 17/10/21)
Gen G vs MAD (Monday 18/10/21)
LNG vs MAD (Monday 18/10/21)
The three favourites:
DWG (Damwon Gaming)
DWG have brought the heat to Worlds and have looked unstoppable. Khan has been incredible to watch and is a big reason why they have been able to get through the group stage undefeated. ShowMaker's Twisted Fate was deadly and will likely be banned away from him in the Playoffs. DWG mean business and have made a strong statement with their performance so far, which is why they go into the Playoffs as the odds on favourite.
EDG (Edward Gaming)
EDG are methodical with how they go about their game-play. There are no weaknesses and no egos in this team - all they care about is winning. EDG have a track record of playing well when it matters, stunning FPX in the LPL final. The way that Scout and Jiejie work together and support each other is nice to see. For EDG to go all the way they will need to focus on what they are good at, which is taking it slow and outsmarting their opponents.
T1 (Team One)
T1 have proven time and time again that they are one of the best, dismantling EDG in the Group stage. Faker is still the GOAT and as soon as you start to doubt his ability he does something to change your mind. T1's strength AND weakness is their confidence; they aren't afraid to commit to an offensive play. This often works out for them but sometimes it doesn't. Teams that have no business competing with T1 can take advantage of their overconfidence and bring themselves back into the game. This will be the reason they win or lose this competition, but T1 at their best can beat anyone and should not be underestimated.
C9 (Cloud Nine)
C9’s pick up of Perkz earlier this year is looking like a very smart decision and he is the main reason why C9 are the 2021 LCS Spring champions. They've had to earn their Playoffs spot the hard way, working through the play-in matches and coming from behind in the Group stage. C9 have nothing to lose and if they get going they can cause a few upsets. Being on the same page with their macro game is the key for them to go deep at Worlds this year.
FPX (FunPlus Pheonix)
FPX had such a strong season at the LPL level, but they never got their mojo back after being demolished by EDG in the Pro League final. FPX's confidence has been shattered and it's shown with the lack of team cohesion and confidence in the Group stage. Doinb was one of the favourites for MVP coming into Worlds but he just didn't show up. It's back to the drawing board for FPX and they will be bitterly disappointed with how they turned up to Worlds.
Player to watch:
Perkz has proven himself to be one of the most clutch players of all time
Not only does Perkz bring the clutch factor, he also provides raw skill to C9's roster that only a few players at Worlds can match. He is pushing towards making a fourth consecutive Worlds Semifinals appearance with a win over GenG, which would be a highly impressive feat. Adding to the narrative, Perkz was part of the G2 team that went 3 - 0 over GenG just last year in the World Quarterfinals. Now he is back with a new team from a different region, with his role-swap back to his preferred mid-lane position looking like a genius move from C9. He and his team are riding high with a strong Week 2, making a miraculous comeback to scrape through to the Quarterfinals. Whilst Perkz has not been as convincing as he has been in the past, he has found his form in the group stage and provided C9 with the game winning play in the tiebreaker! The odds may be stacked against C9 but this is not the first time Perkz has been in such a scenario. Looking back to Worlds 2018 Game 5 against RNG - Perkz pulled out one of the best individual performances ever produced on the world stage with Leblanc to pull his team over the line when nobody gave them a shot. GenG are looking less than convincing with their inability to convert their early leads which is why I’m predicting Perkz to find some of that old form and take C9 to the Semifinals.
T1 vs HLE
Hayden: T1 - 3 - 1
T1 is the much better team in this match-up. Watch out for Faker to go too deep and throw one of the middle maps. Bonus tip - T1 to get first herald in all of their matches.
Praneet: T1 - 3 - 0
One key point to note is that Faker is taking the least gold % out of all mid laners, whilst Chovy taking the most. Will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I think T1 will prove to be too strong in a meta that suits them.
RNG vs EDG
Hayden: EDG - 3 - 2
EDG’s discipline is much better than RNGs which is why they will hold their nerve in Game 5.
Praneet: EDG - 3 - 1
EDG’s roster is significantly better however I think Xiaohu will drag RNG over the line in one match.
GenG vs C9
Hayden: C9 - 3 - 1
C9 were impressive in the group stages and have the momentum. They looked organised and confident at times and I am expecting them to deal with GenG with ease.
Praneet: C9 - 3 - 2
GenG to take the early leads and not convert, then Perkz to clutch when it matters most in Game 5.
DWG vs MAD
Hayden: DWG - 3 - 1
MAD were very impressive in the group stages and they made some big plays to get themselves through the tiebreaker. MAD are just not in the same league as DWG however. At MAD’s best I think they can steal one game away from DWG and hand DWG their first loss of their World’s campaign. If MAD can do this I think they will feel pretty happy with themselves on the flight home.
Praneet: DWG - 3 - 0
DWG's solo lanes will prove to be too much for MAD to handle. Clean sweep for DWG.
World Champion prediction:
EDG's macro strategy and understanding of the meta is second to none and is the reason why I think they will win worlds this year. I believe they will punish their opponents for their mistakes without taking any unnecessary risks. They also have a track record of being decisive, patient and methodical even in high pressure matches which cannot be said for many of the teams at Worlds right now.
DWG look to be front-runners and are favourites to become World Champions. Both of their solo laners have been in incredible form and DWG have got through their group with relative ease. Not only do they have strong early games, but they have also been converting them into victories. One knock against DWG is their group turning out to be relatively weak in comparison to the other groups, particularly magnified by FPX’s under-performance in the Group stage. However I’m still confident they will show their worth in this finals series.
Who I’d have in my Squad:
Jungle: Canyon Mid: ShowMaker ADC: Viper
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