LoL Worlds 2021: LNG, DFM, HLE and C9 qualify for the Group Stage

From left to right: LNG Esports' Lee
From left to right: LNG Esports' Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong, DetonatioN FocusMe's Shunsuke "Evi" Murase, Hanwha Life Esports' Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, and Cloud9's Luka "Perkz" Perković. (Photos: LoL Esports/Riot Games)

The Play-ins stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, more popularly known as Worlds, concluded on Sunday (10 October), with LNG Esports from China, DetonatioN FocusMe (DFM) from Japan, Hanhwa Life Esports (HLE) from South Korea, and Cloud9 (C9) from North America emerging victorious from a field of 10 teams to qualify for the Group Stage.

LNG and DFM finished the first round of the Play-ins at the top of their respective groups, which automatically qualified them for the Group Stage and allowed them to skip the second round of the Play-ins, where HLE and C9 earned their own Group Stage spots.

Play-Ins Round 1

Round 1 of the Play-Ins followed a single round-robin format and split the 10 teams into two groups of five each. The top teams of each group automatically qualified for the Group Stage, while the bottom teams of each group were eliminated.

China’s fourth seed LNG finished the Play-Ins undefeated, sweeping their opponents in Group A en route to four clean wins. LNG’s Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong faced off against former teammate Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon in an epic battle against HLE, where LNG were able to pull off a comeback win. LNG then proceeded to defeat PEACE, RED Canids Kalunga, and Infinity Esports to lock up the top spot in Group A and qualify for the Group Stage.

Meanwhile, DFM made history by being the first team from the League of Legends Japan League to qualify for the Group Stage in Worlds. The Japanese hopefuls started strong on day one, defeating Unicorns of Love before losing to C9. DFM then bounced back in the coming days, beating Galatasaray Esports on Day 2 and Beyond Gaming on Day 3. Finally, they secured a slot in the Group Stage after exacting revenge against C9 in a tiebreaker match at the end of day three.

While each group’s second to fourth-placed teams moved on to Round 2 of the Play-ins, Infinity Esports and Unicorns of Love finished at the bottom of their respective groups to end their run at Worlds.

Play-Ins Round 2

Round 2 started with the third and fourth-placed teams of each group going against each other in a best-of-five series. The winners then moved on to challenge the second seed of the opposite group in a deciding best-of-five for a spot in the Group Stage.

The second round started with a battle between Galatasaray Esports and Beyond Gaming. While Galatasaray took the first two games, Beyond Gaming managed to bounce back and notch three-straight wins to complete the 3-2 reverse sweep and advance to the next round.

This was followed by one of the bloodiest matches of Worlds this year between PEACE and Red Canids Kalunga, with PEACE outlasting the Red Canids in a 3-2 thriller. Both teams showed a lot of aggression across five marathon showdowns that featured a combined kills per minute of 1.51. But a fatal mistake by the Red Canids in the decider gave PEACE the chance to take the series victory and advance to the next round.

Day five started with HLE clean sweeping Beyond Gaming, 3-0, and securing their Group Stage slot. Beyond Gaming were notably hampered by some last-minute adjustments to their roster, as Hsieh “PK” Yu-Ting had to sub in for Chien “Maoan” Mao-An, who was suddenly suspended from Worlds for gambling association.

C9 became the last team to make it to the Group Stage after a landslide 3-0 win over PEACE. A bloodthirsty PEACE dominated early into game one, but C9 were able to punish their over-aggression to take the win. C9 then cruised through the next two games to advance to the Group Stage and conclude the Play-Ins.

LNG, DFM, HLE, and C9 will be rounding out the 16 teams in the Worlds 2021 Group Stage alongside the 12 teams who received direct seeds to the second stage of the tournament.

The Worlds 2021 Groups roster is as follows:

The 2021 Worlds Group stage will take place from 11 to 18 October, with a one-day break on the 14th.

Two teams from each group will advance to the playoffs, where the final eight teams will be battling from 22 October to 6 November for the right to raise the Summoner's Cup and be crowned LoL world champions.

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