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After one of the most exciting Group Stages yet in the history of the League of Legends World Championship (Worlds), only eight teams from the 16 that competed in the tournament's Group Stage remain in contention for this year's Summoner's Cup in the Playoffs.
DAMWON Gaming KIA (DWG KIA), T1, Hanwha Life Esports (HLE), and Gen.G Esports from South Korea's LCK; Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and Edward Gaming (EDG) from China's LPL; Cloud9 (C9) from North America's LCK; and MAD Lions from Europe's LEC have all qualified for the Playoffs after they placed in the Top 2 of their respective groups.
Read on for a breakdown of all the action in the Group Stage:
DAMWON Gaming KIA
DWG KIA earned the top seed of Group A after going undefeated en route to a 6-0 record. The defending Worlds champions made it clear that they're the team to beat this year with the patience and intelligence they used to win every match they played.
The team notably defeated their former teammate, Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon of Fun Plus Phoenix (FPX), and breezed through their games against Rogue and C9 to qualify for the Playoffs. Midlaner Heo "ShowMaker" Su was a key player throughout DWG KIA's run, leading all players with a 14.2 KDA and recording only five deaths throughout the entire Group stage.
While DWG KIA breezed through the Group Stage, C9 had to fight tooth and nail for their spot in the Playoffs.
The LCS' third seed struggled mightily in Group A, which many have dubbed as this year's 'Group of Death,' and went winless in the first week of the Group Stage. However, C9 managed to bounce back against Rogue and FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), then put DWG KIA at the edge of their seats in a close loss.
With C9, Rogue, and FPX all finishing with a 2-4 record, a three-way tiebreaker ensued for the last Playoff spot from Group A. With their shot at the Summoner's Cup on the line, jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang and midlaner Luka "Perkz" Perković stepped up for C9 and led the team to winning the tiebreaker to punch their ticket to the Quarterfinals.
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and T1 secured their return to the main stage of Worlds with a blast by topping Group B with a 5-1 record.
After losing to EDG in day two, T1 bounced back and went an incredible winning streak by beating DetonatioN FocusMe and 100 Thieves (100T) before exacting their revenge on EDG to secure the top seed of their group.
The LCK team showed their strength in their laning phase and map control, with Faker continuing to showcase the skill that had won three Summoner's Cups before.
With Kim "Canna" Chang-dong also proving to be a difference maker alongside his legendary midlaner, T1 will surely be one of the teams to watch in the Playoffs.
LPL's EDG had to settle for second seed in Group B after getting a 4-2 record.
EDG unsurprisingly dominated the first week of the Groups. However, they lost the opportunity for a tiebreaker match against T1 after an upset loss against 100T in the final game of Group B.
Despite only being the second seed of their group, EDG is known for adjusting to their opponents well in a best-of-five series so a chance for the Summoner's Cup is still definitely possible for this team.
Royal Never Give Up
RNG finished the Group stage with a 4-2 record as Group C's first seed. In the first week of the group stage, the team came in strong and swept all the other teams in their group with clean, well-executed team fights.
However, the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational Champions struggled on week two, losing against Fnatic and HLE.
This then forced a tiebreaker against HLE, where RNG regained its dominance and secured the top seed of Group B en route to the Playoffs.
Hanwha Life Esports
HLE came in second in Group C with a 4-2 record.
The excellence of Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon and the versatility of Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu pushed HLE through to the Playoffs, as they took out PSG.Talon in a revenge match on week two before crushing Fnatic with Chovy's dominant LeBlanc performance.
While they only ended up being second in their group, HLE showed immense growth in their skill and teamwork from the play-ins and throughout the groups to prove they are a formidable opponent this year.
For the first time in Worlds history, Group D ended with a four-way tie after Gen.G, Mad Lions, LNG Esports, and Team Liquid all notched 3-3 records.
In an intense series of high-stakes tiebreakers, Gen.G defeated Liquid and MAD Lions in the tiebreakers to come out on top in Group D and qualify for the Playoffs.
The LEC's MAD Lions were the second team to emerge from the bloodbath that was Group D.
After splitting their matches against the three other teams in their group, MAD Lions won against LNG before losing the top seed to Gen.G.
As a result, Liquid and LNG had their hearts broken as MAD Lions grabbed the final Playoffs spot.
Here are the final standings for the Worlds 2021 Group Stage:
In the Playoffs, each team will battle in a single elimination bracket in the quarterfinals and the semi-finals, with all matches being a best-of-five.
The last two teams standing will then face each other in the finals in one last best-of-five showdown, with the winners claiming the coveted Summoner's Cup and the title of 2021 League of Legends World Champions.
Here's the Worlds 2021 Playoff bracket:
The Playoffs will commence on 22 October, with the quarterfinals concluding on 25 October. Below are the schedules of the matches for the quarterfinals:
Royal Never Give Up vs Edward Gaming: 22 October, 8 PM SGT
Gen.G vs Cloud9: 23 October, 8 PM SGT
T1 vs Hanwha Life Esports: 24 October, 8 PM SGT
DWG KIA vs MAD Lions: 25 October, 8 PM SGT
This will be followed by the semi-finals on 30-31 October. The last two teams will face each other in the grand finals on 6 November, where the coveted Summoner’s Cup and the title of 2021 League of Legends world champions will be at stake.
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