The 2021 League of Legends World Championship main event will kick off with a bang when two former world champions clash.
It will be a match between defending world champion DWG KIA and 2019 world champion FunPlus Phoenix, who will be opening play in the group stage. This best-of-one match will set the tone for the tournament and potentially be one of the most competitive matches in the entire stage. With two world champions clashing, it’s expected to be a game with a high level of play and intensity.
The group also plays host to the LEC’s Rogue and an additional team coming up from the play-in stage. Even though these teams could create some upsets, it’s expected that this group will be all about DWG KIA and FPX. In the fight between the two, it’s going to be hard to predict who will come out on top. This first game will give a good indicator of the strength between the two, but could also be so close that no real conclusion can be drawn.
A lot of eyes will be on the mid lane, where DWG KIA’s Heo “ShowMaker” Su is taking on FPX’s Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. The two Korean mid laners have been in talks for the title of best player in the world going into this tournament and now it’s finally time to see what they can do on the biggest stage of all. The tyle of Doinb opens up for a lot of innovative picks, as his champion pool is known to be big and quite different compared to other mid laners.
Showmaker could be going the more traditional way and play a control mage, but he also isn’t shy about picking up LeBlanc or Sylas to be the main carry for his team. With such a competitive matchup in the mid lane, it’s also expected that the two junglers will focus on getting the ball rolling in mid.
DWG KIA jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu should be the one who is looking to be more aggressive in the early game, as he has constantly shown dominance in the LCK throughout the year. FPX’s Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang might be a bit more careful in this first game, as it’s his first time back at an international event since he and FPX won the 2019 World Championship.
While top and bottom could also end up playing a big role in this game, it’s likely that bot lane especially will be left on its own and wait for the big team fights to erupt. The top lane could also be a place of action as former DWG KIA player Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon is likely looking to prove that he made the right choice when he left the team to join FPX.
To counter that eagerness, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha will need to step up and show the incredible form he was in during the 2021 LCK Summer Split playoffs. Khan is a player with a lot of experience and this seems like the final year for him to win a World Championship title.
FunPlus Phoenix roster:
Riot has picked the perfect game to open the Worlds 2021 group stage, as FPX and DWG KIA are looking extremely close on paper. DWG KIA is the defending world champion and LCK champion, but it is FPX who will enter the match as slight favorites according to the bookmakers.
Despite losing the 2021 LPL Summer Split final, FPX is considered a solid team that can play in many different ways. Coming out of the competitive LPL, it’s also expected that FPX might have had better overall practice throughout the year. This gives the team a slight edge in this one.
Picking FPX as the winner will give odds 1.73 while a win for DWG KIA will give slightly higher odds of 1.97. Expect a lot of action and intense team fights.
The match between FPX and DWG KIA kicks off on Monday, October 11. Odds are taken from the time of publication.