- Edward Brady
Final day of Worlds Play-ins wraps up. The expected teams advance.
The World Championship (also known as Worlds) is the second of two-yearly international tournaments in the League of Legends Esports scene, where players compete on franchised teams for fame, pride, a considerable salary, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
22 teams from 12 regions (The Vietnam Championship Series couldn’t send their 2 teams due to covid travel restrictions) will compete for the ultimate prize in LoL esports, the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup. The tournament started with the play-in stage on October 5th, before advancing to the main stage groups which will take begin on October 11th before eventually ending with the finals on November 6th.
Day 5 has wrapped up and the expected result paid off. I wanted chaos. I got 3-0 stomps. It’s an anticlimax but I’m glad the best teams are moving on I will be going through each game, giving the result, a headline that sums up the match, and a summary of how the game went, and a look at who the teams will play next.
TLDR: The match is over before it begins
Summary: This was always going to be an uphill battle for the PCS. HLE were considered one of the strongest teams in the play-in tournament, BYG had issues to clean up, and when most of your success can be traced back to one man, you know your opponent is going to do everything in their power to shut him down.
However, this series was a quick and brutal 3-0 thanks to the efforts of one man.
Chien “Maoan” Mao-An. After having a not-so-stellar tournament where he only showed up for 1 game, he was not satisfied with making life harder for his team on the rift. He needed to go even further beyond.
At 5:45 pm CST, Riot Games announced that mid laner Maoan would be suspended for the rest of Worlds 2021, with further penalties and a full investigation in the near future. Why? Because he was leaking draft strategies to gamblers. His boss turned on his stream minutes after the news broke to say that he would be firing Maoan immediately. Riot announced the suspension soon after, and even worse, BYG didn’t bring a mid-lane sub to Iceland. This meant that sub top laner PK would be playing off role against Chovy. To not only violate competitive integrity on the biggest stage, but to completely screw over the entire organization of Beyond Gaming at a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, less than 24 hours before your do-or-die best of 5 is appalling. If there is any justice in the world, Maoan and anyone else involved will likely never wear a professional jersey again. He isn’t well-liked enough to get away with a slap on the wrist penalty. A full investigation is coming, and I hope Riot throws the book at him.
Is anyone even surprised the series was a one-sided sweep? Chovy dominated PK in every single game while HLE made special effort to shut down Doggo by ensuring he never got to play the game with pressure from Willer. BYG’s fate was sealed the moment Maoan got busted. Hanwha enjoy your free win, you get drawn into group C with PSG, FNC, and RNG. There is very little to take from this series for either team due to the extenuating circumstances.
TLDR: 1 game is competitive while C9 takes care of the rest.
Summary: That was about what was expected, but I still don’t have the highest of expectations for C9 going forward. Game 1 was actually competitive as Violet and Aladoric got the 2v2 first blood and the fights would be frequent and often. Unfortunately for PEACE, Perkz would have a great game on Syndra, hitting key stuns and blowing up the main targets. Babip did a good job early, but his decision making wasn’t the greatest in the mid game. Vizicasi had a pretty terrible game, not being on the same page as his teammates and getting caught out in mini-Gnar constantly. It certainly wasn’t perfect for C9 in game 1 as neither Zven nor Vulcan stepped up, but the rest of C9 did to take a hard-fought game 1.
That was the only competitive game of the series. The rest was a complete and total decimation of everything PEACE held dear. Although Violet and Aladoric would get first blood again, Blaber’s Olaf was an absolute monster. He had his Goredrinker by 7 minutes. He was capable of taking literal 1v4s by mid game. Nobody on PEACE could stop him and he led the charge in the completely one-sided victory of game 2. By game 3, even the bot lane wouldn’t go PEACE’s way. There were no points of power, no opportunities to come back. The final kill score was 21-1. I’m still not sold on C9 as this stomping was against Oceania and they are going into the group of death. But it’s a start.
That wraps up the play-in stage and there were some exciting moments. DFM making the miracle run is a story for the ages, but at the end of the day, ¾ pool 1 seeds advanced and the only one who didn’t was marred by a massive scandal. Most of the major region vs minor region games were completely one sided. This does set up some exciting groups though, and I look forward to the main event starting up on Monday.
With the play-in stage wrapping up, there are two final teams who will not be moving onto the group stage. The first is…
Beyond Gaming (PCS) (2-3), 0-3 L to Hanwha Life Esports: Poor Doggo…
What did he do to deserve this? Doggo was having an incredible tournament. Even in the ugly losses where nobody else showed up, he was still performing. In the wins he looked fantastic. He was the one who dragged BYG kicking and screaming out of the group stage and through the reverse sweep. His reward? To be backstabbed by his midlaner after their moment of glory and get camped by the LCK. My heart goes out to him as one of his best showings on the year was completely wasted. At first by almost nobody else showing up, then because Maoan is an idiot who doesn’t deserve to wear a jersey, much less appear on the biggest stage. He did nothing to deserve having to 1v9 in game and eventually literally 4v5. I hope he finds either more success with Beyond Gaming or a big contract for a good team elsewhere. He would deserve it after everything he has shown this year.
I also feel for the rest of the Beyond Gaming organization. PK had to sub in a role he wasn’t signed for against one of the best mid laners in the world. The owner, former pro player Dinter, put this team together this year and they made it to Worlds and almost dethroned their region’s overlord. Everyone (unless they were also involved) suffered for Maoan’s inexcusable decision.
The final team to not advance was…
PEACE (LCO), (2-2), 0-3 L to Cloud 9: Mixed feelings
That was simultaneously way more, and way less than I was expecting. When PEACE got the final spot over Pentanet.GG, I had no expectations for the LCO. I saw very little that impressed me, and I just thought they would be a punching bag for the major regions. Then when Vizicsacsi was announced as a sub, I had some hope that getting a historically better player would give PEACE an X-factor.
This mostly played out. PEACE showed almost nothing against the 3 major region teams they played. Honestly, Cloud 9 was beatable in game 1. Even in the rest of the series, they still made mistakes. But PEACE was just nowhere near C9’s skill level. On the other hand, they did go even in groups and win a best-of-5 to match Legacy Esports’s placement in 2020. Overall, props to them for getting here after the gauntlet run and for being a bit of a fan favorite as they were in good spirits the entire time. The LCO had little hope going into 2021, and the two international reps this year gave a lot of it back.
The World Championship will continue with the main group stage on October 11th with South Korea’s Damwon KIA and China’s FunPlus Phoenix at 6am CST You can find the full schedule at https://lolesports.com/, and catch every match there, on the LoL Esports YouTube channel, or athttps://www.twitch.tv/riotgames.