Play-Ins are over and the group stage is about to begin in earnest, which means it’s time to do another round of Pick’Ems for Worlds 2021.
Group stage Pick’ems are going live and WIN.gg is here to help you win points and earn bragging rights amongst your friends. A fully correct Pick’ems yields some serious in-game swag with cosmetics galore. We’ll also help you scope out teams on Fandex set to overperform. So, who will win the group stage at Worlds 2021?
There’s always one group at a World Championship that seems to spell doom for western teams seeded into it. This year, that’s group A.
The four teams are the LPL’s FunPlus Phoenix, the LCK’s DWG KIA, the LEC’s Rogue, and the LCS’ Cloud9. While Worlds has had upsets aplenty, there’s unlikely to be anybody but DWG KIA and FPX advancing here. Rogue had an acceptable but underwhelming playoffs run, falling to a 3-0 from Fnatic and making it in as third seed. Due to the VCS’ absence, Rogue has been automatically seeded into the group stage. Given the struggle against LEC competition, it’s hard to imagine Rogue progressing over the LCK champions and Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang’s dark technology. Cloud 9 has much the same problem, struggling against North American competition does not bode well, despite a strong comeback in the play-in stage.
Our best pick to make is DWG KIA advancing as the first seed, FunPlusPhoenix in second, Rogue in third with C9 in fourth. With two world-class mid-jungle duos in Doinb and Gao “Tian” Tian-lang across from Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, other teams are likely to be collateral damage from these titans clashing for first. C9 found itself challenged by North American teams, and this group promises only more brutal opponents.
For safe Fandex options, the LCK and LPL representatives are never a bad choice. However, if you’re looking for overperformers who have the potential for some serious upsets, direct your eyes towards Rogue and C9. If Rogue can triumph over C9 and take one game off of DWG KIA or FPX, it’s already past its expected wins. If C9 can collect two wins, it’ll be ahead of its projected standing. It’s not unlikely that Luka “Perkz” Perkovic can solo carry the North American roster past Rogue.
Group B is no less dire for non-LCK or LPL prospects, but there’s a glimmer of hope. The group is made up of the LPL’s EDward Gaming, the LCK’s T1, the LCS’ 100 Thieves, and the LJL’s Detonation FocusMe.
Once again the LPL’s and LCK’s shadows loom large over the other two competitors. However, if there’s any North American team that stands a fighting chance at Worlds 2021, it’s 100 Thieves. EDward Gaming stands as the best team from the best region in the world, and its upset victory over FPX has only raised its standing.
And of course, T1 is the most decorated organization in LoL and boasts the most decorated player in Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. As the greatest player to ever touch the game, Faker stands as a contender at any international event he joins. EDG was the Crystal Ball Pick’ems choice to win the whole tournament.
The most likely outcome is EDG in first, T1 in second, 100 Thieves in third, and Detonation FocusMe in fourth. This group has the best potential for a western team to upset rivals from Korea and China. 100 Thieves’ aggressive playstyle netted the team a showy and dominant 3-0 victory in the finals of the LCS. 100 Thieves isn’t favored to win, but it has enough know-how to potentially take games off its opponents in best-of-one situations.
If you’re looking for Fandex options that could overperform, look to 100 Thieves. It’s rare for NA rosters to have an aggressive tilt to their play and 100 Thieves seems to be in peak form. There’s little downside to sliding in 100 Thieves and hoping for the underdog to punch up.
Presuming 100 Thieves is able to defeat DFM, all it needs to do is take a single game off of EDG or T1 to be up on the odds. EDG can be tempted into a bloody game early, and 100 Thieves have a fair chance in high-paced environments with room to punish. Detonation FocusMe is an underdog, and while fans will enjoy cheering the players on, we don’t think it’s a good prospect.
Group C has some much-needed breathing room for competitors hoping to escape a double-whammy of LPL and LCK tournament favorites. This group includes the LPL’s Royal Never Give Up, the LEC’s Fnatic, the PCS’ PSG Talon, and Hanwha Life Esports.
PSG Talon returns to the international stage after an impressive showing at the Mid Season Invitational. It’s close but our Pick’ems have HLE above RNG, but not by much, with Fnatic and PSG Talon following at third and fourth. There isn’t much need for creativity when it comes to this group, as Fnatic has issues to solve following a shaky finals performance. The roster still looked a step above most of its European competition, but it won’t be enough to see the knockout stage in our eyes.
Hanwha Life Esports is our value pick for this group, with Fandex probabilities projecting less than two wins. With a mid whose name strike fear in competitors the world over, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon has proven himself time and time again.
To us, it seems ready to collect enough wins to make picking HLE quite promising. Fnatic seems likely to fail to overperform its three predicted wins, and PSG Talon would need a miracle run to advance. RNG should be safe bets to advance one way or the other.
Group D is the most open of the groups. Made up of the LCK’s Gen.G Esports, the LEC’s Mad Lions, the LCS’ Team Liquid, and the LPL’s LNG, each team has the chance to advance.
It’s a genuinely tight race between these four teams if they all show up in peak form. Team Liquid and Fnatic both looked on-point in their leagues’ playoffs but had lackluster finals showings, despite making it all the way.
Our choice is to pick Mad Lions first, Gen.G second, LNG third, and Team Liquid fourth. Mad Lions is the latest breed of domestic European talent and will be looking for redemption after a poor showing in Worlds 2020. Mad Lions had a strong finals performance and have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Gen.G. Mad Lions isn’t the only world-class talents though, Gen.G is touting seasoned stars such as Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Kim “Clid” Tae-min, which exceeds the EU champions’ potential on paper.
LNG and Team Liquid are great pick-ups if you want to look for them to perform to their potential. Mad Lions seem likely to make it to the knockout stage, with the potential to come out first. Team Liquid will need to earn its wins, but with players like Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, it’s not out of the question in the slightest.
Group D promises to be the group most likely to kill fans’ hopes of having perfect Worlds 2021 Pick’Ems. It’s possible that any two of these teams could make it out, should the group become a brawl. LNG looked strong in Play-Ins and could definitely outperform our expectations and its Fandex projections.
Those are the World Championship Pick’Ems for the group stage, with EDG being WIN.gg’s pick to win it all. This year’s Worlds promises to be a competitive, cutthroat tournament. Groups begin on October 11, so log in and lock in picks before then.