Much like Europe, North America will be sending three representatives to Worlds. Two will go straight into the Group Stage, with one battling it out in the Play-ins. For the LCS, Worlds 2021 presents an opportunity for the region to improve on its 2020 showing. After failing to get a single team out of the Group Stage, despite some early promise from Team Liquid in the Play-ins stage, the LCS left fans disappointed. With Worlds 2021 in the back garden of their regional rivals in the LEC, North America must perform.
After their poor run in the regular season, at one stage it looked like Cloud9 would miss out on Worlds altogether. However, after making it through they found their form in the knockout stage, picking up the third seed from North America at Worlds. It’s a case of so close, yet so far for Cloud9, who’ll now face the added challenge of making their way out of the Play-ins stage before getting a shot at the Group Stage.
As with any third seed, it’s not going to be easy for Cloud9. They’ll come in as an underdog, but given their roster that might work in their favour. With experience in the form of ADC Zven, and Worlds finalist and MSI winner Perkz in their roster, Cloud9 could spring a surprise. Going in earlier also gives Cloud9 the opportunity to get more game-time on the Worlds patch. While it does allow teams to scout them, experience at LAN on the tournament patch could be key to Cloud9’s success at Worlds 2021.
The shock loser at the 2021 LCS Championships Grand Final, Team Liquid will head to Worlds as the LCS second seed, which could see them face a tough group. After coming through so strongly in the playoffs, Team Liquid failed to make it count when they needed to in the Grand Final. Much like Fnatic in Europe, Team Liquid will need to channel their energy back into performing in Iceland.
Team Liquid showed that they can perform, and while they were disappointing in the final moments, with Group Stages being best-of-one, Team Liquid might fare better. Like Cloud9, Team Liquid has a lot of experience, in fact, they might even have more than Cloud9. With Alphari, Santorin, Jensen, Tactical, and CoreJJ. Team Liquid will certainly be a side that can kick it with the very best of them, but without knowing the groups at this time, it’s hard to get too carried away. Especially given North America’s sketchy past at Worlds.
The surprise first seed coming out of North America, 100 Thieves, could be set to shock the World. With some Worlds experience in Closer, Ssumday and huhi, 100 Thieves will have the least experience of sides in North America. Being first seed, however, means they should end up with a much more favourable group, taking on lower-seeded sides from other regions. Though, in theory, that makes your life easier, second and third-seeded sides from China and Korea are rarely easy opponents.
Crucially for 100 Thieves is, they’ve made it to Worlds, and they’ll start out in the Group Stage. They’ll probably be an underdog first-seed side, so they can harness that “power” they might just surprise people. The team proved in the LCS that they’re not here to make up the numbers, and they could well be a side to keep an eye on in 2021. The player to watch for 100 Thieves is rookie ADC FBI. He picked up the LCS All-Pro Team pick for 2021, and he’s going to be a key member of a winning 100 Thieves side.