MSI 2021 Group Stage Preview

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Our Esports expert looks at the in-form teams ahead of the MSI League of Legends 2021 Tournament.

MSI League of Legends trophy

With Spring Splits now over, it’s time to shift our focus to the international League of Legends as the Mid-Season Invitational gets underway.

Starting on May 6th with the Grand Final due to take place on May 22nd. With all teams now confirmed (excluding Vietnam due to COVID travel issues), MSI 2021 is set to be a good one. Below you’ll find our preview of the Group Stage, for more information about the event, check out our full guide here.

Group A

  • Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
  • Unicorns of Love (LCL)
  • Pentanet.GG (OCN)

Group A will be a unique first group as it only features three sides, not four. Sadly, the Vietnam side wasn’t able to attend the live event in Iceland due to COVID travel restrictions. Event organiser Riot Games has said, however, that this won’t impact the group’s format. Each side will still play each other twice, with the top two sides qualifying for the Stage 3 knockout, while the third-place side will go into Stage 2.

China’s RNG will likely find the group easy to qualify from, and with Vietnam being the second seed side all will be to play for between Unicorns of Love and Pentanet. Both sides are pool 3 and 4 respectively, so wouldn’t’ve expected to have to fight for their place via the Stage two Rumble event. Unicorns of Love will likely be odds on to make it through this stage, with their showing at Worlds 2020 still fresh in most people’s minds.

Group B

  • MAD Lions (LEC)
  • PSG.Talon (PCS)
  • fastPay Wildcats (TCL)
  • paiN Gaming (CBLOL)

Group B looks like one of the more interesting ones on paper. First seed side MAD Lions will go into the group as favourites on paper, however, their lack of international experience will have most see them as an easy target. Both PSG and paIN have a wealth of recent experience on the international stage, so will feel they have a chance.

MAD Lions did have a good showing in the LEC, however, and that will count for something. While they might not have been the side many expected to progress from Europe, the MAD Lions’ style of play could be a breath of fresh air for a European audience who’ll be looking to win back-to-back MSI titles after G2 Esports’ success in 2019.

As for the rest of the group, it’s likely that PSG and MAD do end up top two, though a surprise is certainly likely in this group. MAD Lions are, however, a good side, and could be a wildcard themselves for sides outside of Europe, who would have been expecting to face off against G2 Esports.

Group C

  • DAMWON Gaming KIA (LCK)
  • Cloud9 (LCS)
  • Infinity Esports (LATAM)
  • DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL)

Group C is likely to be the most hotly contested. The safe bet is that Korean side DAMWON Gaming Kia will take first place. Most people would expect a seed 1 side to do nothing less. That said, Cloud9 comes in as second seed after an impressive run in the LCS. As for the seed 3 and 4 sides. Infinity Esports comes from the LATAM region and will be looking to cause an upset for their northern neighbours in North America. Lastly, we have DetonatioN who come from Japan. Despite being the fourth seed in the group, Japan has often produced sides capable of causing an upset.

This will likely be the group to watch, with a good mix of quality sides and plucky underdogs, Group C could spring a surprise. I’d suspect that DAMWON is a dead certainty to make it out in first, though Cloud9 has to deal with a history of North American sides disappointing at international events. Despite being the fourth seed, DetonatioN could be the shock package of the group.

You can find odds for all these matches at MansionBet, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

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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