LoL Worlds Group Stage Preview – World Champions Lock Horns

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The stage is set for the League of Legends Worlds 2021, so let's take an early look at the Group Stages and pick out some potential winners.

LOL Worlds 2021 trophy.

While we won’t know who the fourth team in each group will be for a number of weeks. We do already know the three higher-seeded teams. With 12 teams split into four groups, we’ve had an interesting mix of fortune for LEC & LCS sides. Below, we’ll take a look at the four groups, and take a look at how the North American and European teams could match up.

For a full preview of Worlds 2021, including the schedule and full list of attending sides, read our preview here. You can also view our previews for the North American sides here & European sides here

In total, five sides from the LCS and LEC are present, with Europe sending three, while North America will send two. Cloud9, the LCS’ third side, will need to come through the Play-in stage first.

Group A: World Champions Meet

Group A is the one many fans wanted. With the 2020 Worlds Champions DAMWON Gaming, and the 2019 Worlds Champions FunPlus Phoenix lock horns. DAMWON come into it as the top seed from Korea, whereas FunPlus join as the second seed out of China.

While Worlds fans are excited for Group A, European fans won’t be quite so excited. European third seed, Rogue, will also enter Group A and will be underdogs even without a fourth team added. While Rogue will feel they have a chance, their best bet is going to be a 2-0 between DAMWON and FunPlus. Crucially, however, Rogue is going to need to beat one of them at least once, and not drop a match against the Play-in side that joins later.

Group B: Faker Returns to Worlds

Group B sees the return of T1, and with them, Faker. After not attending in 2020, the legendary South Korean mid laner returns to Worlds with a point to prove. While his side come in as Korean third seed, they found form late on in the split that should give them hope. They’ll be joined by Chinese first seed EDward Gaming, and North American first seed 100 Thieves.

EDward Gaming is the clear favourites for the group, with T1 likely to back themselves for the second spot. From our point of view, 100 Thieves are likely to be a side that teams assume are an easy win. However, 100 Thieves are the first seed for a reason and could be the side to finally bring some success to North America. Though we don’t expect them to win Worlds, the LCS is desperate for a side to reach the finals stage, and 100 Thieves could be the side to do it.

Group C: All to Play For

In what might be the most evenly contested group at Worlds 2021, group C offers us up a fascinating mix of seedings. PSG Talong from the PCS come in as our first seed, joined by European second seed Fnatic and Chinese third seed.

The group lacks a clear standout, and while a case could be made for any of the three sides winning it, we wouldn’t bet our house on it. The main thing to note is that I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on PSG Talon. While they’re from a minor region, they are seeded in pool 1 for Worlds for a reason. Taking the place of North America in this year’s seeding. As for Fnatic and RNG, they’ve got a wealth of history as organisations, though both come into Worlds off the back of less-than-stellar splits. Despite making it to Worlds.

Group D: South Korea to Spoil the Party

The only group to feature a side from Europe and North America (prior to Play-ins results), group D might be our only chance of seeing an EU v NA rivalry at Worlds 2021. Gen.G, coming in from Korea, however, will be looking to get out of the group in first place, thus upsetting the NA EU apple cart.

The group should be fairly even. With a first seed from Europe, second seed from NA and Korea. MAD Lions should be the favourite, giving their back-to-back title wins in the LEC in 2021. The side is, however, relatively new to international events. With just Worlds 2020 Play-ins, and a Semi-Final run at MSI 2021 in their locker. Worlds 2021 offers MAD their first real chance to push on and prove their worth. As for NA, Team Liquid failed to win the LCS title after being beaten 3-0 by 100 Thieves. With their experience, Team Liquid should be able to show up this year, however, NA has a torrid history at international events which won’t play into Team Liquid’s hands.

And that’s it for now for the Worlds Group Stage. We’ll know more after the Play-in stage, though the current three sides in each group are the most likely to make it to the next stage.

David Hollingsworth has written for games media and esports outlets for the last seven years. His work has appeared in websites such as Esports Insider, ESTNN, Red Bull and Esports News UK. His focus is mostly on League of Legends and World of Warcraft, the latter of which he’s an advisor for with the British Esports Association. David shares his League of Legends betting tips with readers of the MansionBet blog every week.

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