MSI 2021 Week In Review: Group Stage

The Groups have concluded for MSI 2021, and we’ve seen some banger games already! Let’s break it down group-by-group, team-by-team.

Group A

RNG

The LPL representatives completely bossed their group, as expected. In fact, it seemed as if they never really even broke stride, going from one dominant game to another. Special praise must go to Wei, their jungler, who was instrumental in forcing some significant early game leads for the team. Wei, GALA and Ming were the highest scorers in their position during Groups, and they’ve made a strong case for why they will win the tournament outright.

Unicorns of Love

Arguably the biggest disappointment of the Group Stage, UOL really looked off color and not anything like the giant slayer we’ve seen at international tournaments gone by. They subbed in Lodik instead of playing Frappii, who played much of Spring, and it showed in the form of some poor team cohesion and questionable decisions. UOL will be hoping to redeem themselves at Worlds, because their trip to Iceland was definitely one to forget.

Pentanet.GG

Well, who would have expected this? The OCE minnows, who don’t even have a formal league, made it out of their group after beating UOL in a tiebreaker. This is a great advert for OCE League of Legends and the strength of the region, but unfortunately, a single win in the Rumble stage will be a good result for PGG- they collapsed in their matches against RNG, and it’ll likely be the same when facing DK, MAD, C9 & PSG as well as RNG.

Group B

MAD Lions

The LEC representatives topped their group with a score of 5-1, which looks solid on paper. However, MAD went closer than they would have liked in most of those games, and they will need to tidy up their play coming into Rumble, because the likes of RNG and DK will capitalize on those mistakes a lot more than PSG, paiN or the Wildcats did. Elyoya looks solid in the competition so far though, and many of the MAD players are top 3 in terms of points in their position for Groups.

PSG Talon

PSG earned a lot of fans when they made the miracle run out of Play Ins last Worlds with 3 subs, and they’re looking solid this MSI too. A 4-2 record is nothing to be sniffed at, and while their work is cut out for them going into Rumble, it’s entirely possible that they take a game off of MAD or C9. Despite being a last-minute sub, their ADC Doggo has looked reliable and a good pairing with Kaiwing, so who knows? Perhaps the PCS representatives can play spoiler to some of the big boys.

paiN Gaming

Brazil isn’t exactly known for being good internationally, but this paiN roster was a surprise. They took the fight to their opponents in every game they played, and came agonizingly close to taking down MAD, were it not for an inhibitor respawning. Expect to see this roster back at Worlds, and it’s very much likely they’ll take a few games off some solid opposition.

Istanbul Wildcats

Despite finishing last in the group, Istanbul were far from a bad team. They ruined MAD’s perfect Group stage and with their star ADC, HolyPhoenix, leading the line, the TCL representatives looked genuinely fearless. While none of them are world beaters, it’s impressive to see the depth from the TCL every year, and if things fall their way in Summer, it will be a pleasure to see the Wildcats getting their fangs stuck into Worlds 2021.

Group C

DAMWON KIA

As expected, DK make it out of the group in 1st place, but not without dropping a game to C9. The DK we’ve seen so far at MSI is not the same one that dominated Worlds, and it’s clear they have some exploitable weaknesses. However, despite this, the LCK representatives still look solid enough to make it to the Final of the competition, and while they may be making some more mistakes than normal, they still have their ruthless streak when it comes to punishing other peoples’ mistakes, and it’s likely this will be enough to see them through many of their matches.

Cloud9

Cloud9 had an awful start to the group, and there were mutterings of another NA team going 6-0 and catching the early flight home. However, Perkz’s power shone through during the second round robin, with the EU midlaner picking up every single MVP award in the three games they played on Tuesday. It will be a tough Rumble stage for C9, and they will need to be wary of an upset from PGG or PSG, but they should make it out of Rumble, and might even be able to push a 3rd place tiebreaker with MAD.

DetonatioN FocusMe

What a solid showing from the LJL representatives this time round. They took a game off of C9, and came incredibly close to beating DAMWON KIA as well. DFM have been a mainstay at Worlds for some time, but never really do that well- now we may have a new great wildcard team to add to the list during Play Ins. Yutapon was very impressive from Bot lane, having made the switch from Top this season- we can definitely see DFM upsetting some big teams in the future.

Gilette Infinity

It was a tough MSI for the LLA representatives. Being put in a group with 2 major regions as well as a resurgent wildcard was going to be a big ask, and as expected they didn’t do that well points-wise, or results-wise. Their midlaner Cody looked like a solid player throughout Groups, first blooding ShowMaker in one game, and WhiteLotus did as much as could have been asked of him from Bot. However, ultimately this team hasn’t shown us much to be convinced the LAA can be a threat in tournaments to come.