The best and worst-case scenarios for every team at Worlds 2021

Every team has a breaking point.

Photo via Riot Games

Every year when the League of Legends World Championship approaches, analysts and fans alike theorize just how far professional teams can advance in the tournament if “everything goes right.”

On the other side of that coin, though, there’s a possibility that everything can go wrong for a League team at Worlds, forcing any given squad to settle for an early exit. Undoubtedly, this season’s tournament will be no different. It should be expected that at least one team will overperform and completely redefine their expectations, while others will fall short of the marks set for them. 

Across the board, though, every team at Worlds has a point at which they can climb the highest, as well as a point where they can fall out of contention as early as possible. Here are the best and worst-case scenarios for every team attending Worlds 2021. 

100 Thieves

Photo by Tina Jo via ESPAT/Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in groups

100 Thieves turned on the jets during the last weekend of the LCS Championship, winning six of seven individual games to nearly sweep through the playoffs’ final two rounds. The team will jolt into the World Championship as one of League’s hottest teams and could easily turn their hot streak into a deep bracket run. To be fair, though, 100 Thieves could just as easily run into a brick wall at Worlds, considering a six-week break and elevation in competition will ultimately work against them. 

Beyond Gaming

Ceiling: Group stage
Floor:
Eliminated in play-in stage

With four major region teams taking up spots in the play-in stage and just four group stage berths up for grabs, Beyond Gaming could be on the outside looking in. Still, there’s a slight possibility the team can upset some of the weaker top squads in play-ins—teams like Cloud9 and Rogue, for example—and barely squeak into the tournament’s main event. 

Cloud9

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in play-ins

One would think that a team built around a former LCS MVP and a nine-time domestic champion would have more than a teetering shot at Worlds. But Cloud9’s chances of safely securing a group stage berth are in jeopardy when recent results are taken into account. That being said, if the right circumstances fall into place and the team catches fire at the tournament, those proven commodities could be enough to push C9 into the deeper stages of the World Championship. 

Detonation FocusMe

Ceiling: Group stage
Floor:
Eliminated in play-ins

Detonation FocusMe looked like one of the strongest minor region teams ever earlier this year at MSI when they defeated C9 and nearly took a game off of DWG KIA. If that version of the team shows up at Worlds, they could certainly crash the party and sneak a group stage berth. Like all minor region teams, though, Detonation FocusMe are facing a glaring climb. But they might be poised enough to actually pull it off. 

DWG KIA

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: World champions
Floor:
Quarterfinals

The defending world champions are just as much of a threat as they were last season. Riding high off a third consecutive LCK title, DWG KIA are in a prime position to make a deep run into this year’s World Championship and could easily win the whole thing once again. On paper, they’re the safest team to put your faith in, especially considering they’re the only team in the world to have won over 100 individual games this season. 

Edward Gaming

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: World champions
Floor:
Quarterfinals

Six years have passed since Edward Gaming claimed their last international title at the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational. Since that point, the team has qualified for Worlds four different times, reaching the quarterfinals on three of those occasions. This year, with a tournament field so closely stacked, EDG’s sights should at least be on the Worlds bracket stage, while top-tier players such as Scout, Viper, and franchise support Meiko could finally land the elusive Summoner’s Cup. 

FunPlus Phoenix

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: World champions
Floor:
Quarterfinals

After a down year in 2020, FunPlus Phoenix are returning to the World Championship with largely the same roster that they won the tournament with in 2019. With a roster filled with recent champions and top-tier players at every position, FPX should at least reach the quarterfinals. If all of them are playing at their peak, well, we’ve already seen what they can do as recently as two years ago.

Fnatic

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

Fnatic are coming into Worlds as one of the hottest teams in pro League. Their retooled top-side duo of Adam and Bwipo have already proven they can put up a fight against some of the most prevalent players in Europe. Whether they can continue to build momentum and prove themselves against the best players in the world is a completely different story. 

Galatasaray Esports

Ceiling: Play-in stage
Floor:
Play-in stage

While results have varied between TCL squads like SuperMassive Esports and Istanbul Wildcats at recent international events, what’s remained stagnant is the region’s overall performance. No TCL team has ever made it past the play-in stage at Worlds since its inception in 2017. 

Gen.G

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

Gen.G reached the quarterfinals of last year’s World Championship and haven’t changed a thing about their roster since that point. The team doesn’t look any stronger (or weaker) than they did at this time last year. Judging by prior history, a repeat of last year’s quarterfinal-level performance should be in the cards for Gen.G.

Hanwha Life Esports

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

It’s fair to say that any team with Chovy and Deft at the carry positions can make it decently far into any tournament. With a favorable draw, those two players can bring a roster of young players and unproven commodities deep into the World Championship—just as they did last year with DRX. 

Infinity Esports

Ceiling: Play-in stage
Floor:
Play-in stage

Infinity are attending their second consecutive international event this season, but we don’t expect much of an improvement to have been made between MSI and Worlds. It’s tough to envision a universe where Infinity make it out of play-ins. 

LNG Esports

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Group stage

As one of the weakest eastern teams at Worlds 2021, LNG are facing a bit of an uphill battle. Still, they should be expected to make it past the play-in stage with ease, while having a shot at the quarterfinals if they’re able to play as well as they did during the second half of the LPL season. 

MAD Lions 

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: World champions
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

Year after year, League fans compliment Eastern teams on their ability to play aggressively, build early-game leads, and perfectly execute upon late-game teamfights. For the last eight months, MAD Lions have been able to do all of those things and more on the LEC stage. If their abilities and accomplishments translate from regional play onto the international level, there’s no reason not to judge MAD Lions alongside many of the other great teams of the world right now.

The difference between MAD Lions and the rest of the aggression-focused teams across the globe is that MAD Lions know exactly when it’s time to push the envelope and when it’s time to hold back. The ability to show restraint is a rare intangible factor in a team that’s so young. Granted, that youth and relative inexperience could be MAD Lions’ Achilles’ heel in a tournament filled with teams who have all “been there” and “done that.” 

PEACE

Ceiling: Play-in stage
Floor:
Play-in stage

In what’s been a tough year for the Oceanic scene—one in which it attempted to rebuild after the dissolution of the OPL—it’s hard to imagine PEACE having the resources to contend with the rest of the world’s contenders. 

PSG Talon

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Grand finals
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

PSG Talon were a top-four team in the world back at MSI. And since that point, they’ve only gotten better. PSG hold a record of 66-15 across the entire 2021 season—the best among all teams at Worlds. With experienced players like Maple, Unified, and Hanabi lining the roster, the team could easily take their momentum all the way to the final rounds of the World Championship. That being said, PSG Talon could just as quickly get outclassed by scary opponents from leagues with far more talent than the PCS, resulting in a group stage floundering. 

RED Canids

Ceiling: Play-in stage
Floor:
Play-in stage

RED Canids will be the fourth different CBLOL team to represent the league over four straight international events. The previous three have all finished near or at the bottom of the tournament field at each event, and we don’t necessarily expect much of a different result for the Canids. 

Rogue

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Semifinals
Floor:
Eliminated in play-ins

With five players who could all be considered MVP candidates back home in the LEC at their respective peaks, it’s very possible Rogue make a run through the bracket stage of the tournament, going toe-to-toe with some of the world’s best players. They’re on a six-game losing streak, however, and will be participating in the play-in stage thanks to back-to-back sweeps at the hands of MAD Lions and Fnatic to close out their playoff run. If Rogue don’t sharpen up quickly, they could most definitely fizzle out of Worlds contention early on in the tournament. 

Royal Never Give Up

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: World champions
Floor:
Quarterfinals

RNG captured international glory as recently as four months ago, but the Worlds field is far more stacked than that of MSI. Still, the team has enough individually talented pieces to contend with the best squads in the world, so a second international title this season shouldn’t be too far out of the question for RNG. 

T1

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Quarterfinals
Floor:
Eliminated in group stage

The presence of Faker alone should be enough to propel T1 through the group stage. But with relatively weaker links around the G.O.A.T. at nearly every position on the Rift, it’s going to be a tall ask for T1 to spark some memories of World Championships past. 

Team Liquid

Photo via Riot Games

Ceiling: Semifinals
Floor:
Eliminated in groups

Liquid are built for international play. With proven names like Alphari and CoreJJ holding down the corner positions—two players who could be considered among the top five in the world at their respective roles—it’s likely Liquid will march out of the group stage this season. On the flip side, with a tough draw and a few fickle losses here and there, Liquid could easily finish third in whatever group they’re placed into. 

Unicorns of Love

Ceiling: Play-in stage
Floor:
Play-in stage

UOL could blend in with a mid-tier major region team on most good days. But at the World Championship, it’s likely they’ll be outclassed by many of the more qualified squads in the play-in stage.


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