Preview and Analysis for LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In

By Jerry Summer in Esports
| October 1, 2021 10:25 am PDT

The LoL Worlds 2021 is almost here, and I honestly can’t wait!

The best teams from all over the globe (without Vietnam this year) will fight for the Summoner’s Cup in Iceland.

I already shared my early Worlds preview that includes crucial info about the tournament, odds, an overview of the teams, and more useful stuff. Since the post is focused on the competition as a whole, I believe a separate LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In is required!

The opening stage of the event starts on October 5 and four teams will have the chance to progress to the Main Event.

I explore the draw and analyze their chances here, so let’s jump into it.

LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In Format and Draw

Let me quickly explain how the format works for those of you who don’t know much about it.

Ten teams enter the LoL Worlds Play-In to fight for four spots for the Main Event. They are separated into two groups by a draw and the teams from the four leading regions have higher seeds, so only two of them can end up in the same group.

Here’s how the LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In groups look like, starting from group A.

Group A
Team Region
Hanwha Life Esports Korea
Infinity Sports Latin America
LNG Esports China
PEACE Oceania
RED Canids Brazil

And here’s group B.

Group B
Team Region
Beyond Gamings Pacific
Cloud9 North America
DetonatioN FocusME Japan
Galatasaray Esports Turkey
Unicorns of Love CIS

The teams in each group will face the rest of the group once in a round-robin format. Each match is best-of-one and the top teams in the standings progress to the Main Event directly, while the last-placed sides are eliminated.

The third and fourth squads in each group face each other in a best-of-five elimination clash. The winner then proceeds to meet the second-best team from the other group for a place in the Main Event.

If two teams are tied after the group stages, there’s an additional best-of-one match to split them up.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the format, so let’s move on and take a look at what each group has to offer.

Play-In Group A Analysis

The first group is very interesting because it features two teams that might be talented not just to qualify for the Main Event but to fight for the Summoner’s Cup as a whole.

I will be very curious to see what LNG Esports can offer. Any Chinese team is a threat, and this is an relatively new roster that’s making a debut at the international stage.

The squad had some exceptional matches in the LPL in 2021 and the lack of consistency has been the main issue. That’s to be expected for a new team and I believe that LNG is by far the most talented squad in the Play-In as a whole.

They have a true superstar in their jungler Tarzan who is awesome when it comes to clutch moments around big objectives. Just check his highlights if you don’t believe me!

The only team that looks strong enough to challenge LNG Esports is Hanwha Life Esports. The team is full of experienced and talented players, but the 2021 season has been mediocre.

It looked like the side would miss the Worlds, but a last-ditch effort helped Hanwha Life Esports earn a spot. The mechanics are certainly there and the big question is if the team can stay consistent enough.

The other teams in this group don’t have much of a chance for the top spot unless both favorites underperform massively. They are not on the same level talent-wise, but anything could happen in a best-of-one!

I’m sure that Infinity Esports and RED Canids will be eager to at least reach the knockouts, while I don’t have a clue what to expect from PEACE.

The team was pretty bad during the LCO Split 2 regular season but improved big time in the knockouts to qualify for the Worlds.

Group A Predicted Final Standings

  • LNG Esports
  • Hanwha Life Esports
  • Infinity Esports
  • RED Canids

Play-In Group B Analysis

Group B of the 2021 Worlds Play-In stage should be way more competitive and there’s only one team that stands out, at least on paper. Cloud9 arguably has the most talented squad here and a lot of people believe this team could go deep in the Main Event.

On the other hand, Cloud9 has been wildly inconsistent in 2021. We saw excellent moments but also tough ones where the chemistry simply wasn’t there.

Fudge is the undisputed leader of this roster and the most reliable player, but he will need more help. If his teammates step up, Cloud9 should comfortably reach the Main Event.

Beyond Gaming certainly is the main threat to the North Americans. The Asian squad was only formed at the start of this year and grew stronger with every passing month.

The biggest proof of Beyond Gaming’s progress was the PCS Summer Playoffs final. The team pushed the mighty PSG Talon to five games and looked really strong in the process.

I believe we could see more of the same and I certainly view Beyond Gaming as one of the LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In favorites.

The other two teams in this group that deserve some attention are Galatasaray Esports and Unicorns of Love.

Both sides have dominated their regions and the Russians even made it to the Main Event last year.

Both sides will be hoping for a solid performance and that leaves the Japanese side DetonatioN FocusMe in a tough spot. The team looks doomed at this point and I don’t think it can go beyond the group stages.

Group B Predicted Final Standings

  • Beyond Gaming
  • Cloud9
  • Unicorns of Love
  • Galatasaray Esports
  • DetonatioN FocusMe


I obviously expect to see Beyond Gaming and LNG Esports in the Main Event, but my 2021 Worlds Play-In preview won’t be complete without predictions for the other two spots.

They might be boring to most people, but I don’t think we’ll see major surprises. Hanwha Life Esports and Cloud9 have been inconsistent this season and they might struggle at times next week as well.

And yet, the knockouts are in the best-of-five format, so their superior skill level should be enough for a spot in the Main Event. If you disagree with me, I would love to read your opinion in the comments below!

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