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League of Legends
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World

Worlds 2021 Play-In: Group A Preview and Predictions

The Play-In’s Group A has in store a lot of epic duels to follow close, making it the best to kickoff the World Championship.
All is set up for the start of the Worlds 2021 Play-In, the stage where all summer champions from minor regions will battle against the lower seeds of major ones for the last four spots to the Group Stage.

As we get ready for the kickoff of this epic fight in the Summoner’s Rift, it’s time to make our predictions around who will survive this entire journey, and join the best of the best in the next round of the 2021 World Championship.

Worlds 2021 Play In Groups
Worlds 2021 Play-In Groups. (Picture: Riot Games)

Since the Worlds 2021 draw show held a few days ago, Group A has been one of the most talked-about by both players and professionals, having the fourth seeds from China and Korea, LNG Esports and Hanwha Life Esports, in a single group against the teams from Brazil, Latin America and Oceania.

And if there is one thing we agree on with all of them, it’s that this group will leave us great encounters that will give us a lot to talk about, ahead of the start of the Group Stage and the main event of Worlds 2021.

LCK #4: Hanwha Life Esports

Worlds 2021 Play In Hanwha Life Esports
LCK 2021 Regional Finals runner-up, Hanwha Life Esports. (Picture: Hanwha Life Esports)
  • Best scenario: 1st place
  • Worst scenario: 3rd place

Since their arrival at the LCK in 2018, Hanwha Life Esports has gone from less to more in terms of results within the multi-champion region if we take into account their close relegation in 2019 to 2021, where they managed to reach their first playoffs during the spring season.

Their performance during the summer season was somewhat disappointing when compared to the above, after finishing in eighth place and having to go through the Regional Finals to access their first world championship, all thanks to the power of the Korean region in the international.

Now, facing the start of Play-In, Hanwha Life is a squad that leaves more doubts than answers. Although they have all the potential to secure one of the first places in their group, their irregularity is a factor to be taken into account with squads like INFINITY or even RED Canids, who could take advantage of this and score a point more than needed to survive.

LPL #4: LNG Esports

Worlds 2021 Play In LNG Esports
LPL 2021 Regional Finals runner-up, LNG Esports. (Picture: Riot Games)
  • Best scenario: 1st place
  • Worst scenario: 2nd place

LPL teams have us used to expecting great participation in international events, so placing LNG Esports as one of the favourites to take the direct spot to the next phase is not unreasonable.

Although they managed to classify Worlds as the fourth seed of China, during their journey they managed to eliminate great teams such as Team WE, Suning and Top Esports, in one of the evenest Worlds qualifiers that the LPL has seen, so there is no doubt that LNG has what it takes to access Groups without a problem.

On the other hand, we must not forget that during Worlds 2020, LGD Gaming had a worrying journey in the Play-Ins, being almost eliminated by teams from wildcard regions, and as seen on previous occasions, Chinese teams usually don’t have their best presentation at this stage.

LLA #1: INFINITY

Worlds 2021 Play In INFINITY
LLA 2021 Closing Split champions, INFINITY. (Picture: INFINITY)
  • Best scenario: 2nd place
  • Worst scenario: 5th place

The case of INFINITY is more than interesting in terms of international experience, as their participation during 2018, where they managed to beat Edward Gaming in an unexpected way in the Play-Ins, contrasts too much with their poor performance in the MSI 2021 where they finished last.

For Worlds 2021, INFINITY has maintained the same roster with which they managed not only to qualify again for the world championship, but also win a back-to-back title, something that hadn’t been seen since 2019.

However, beyond this result, the arrival of INFINITY to another consecutive international event will have many spectators from all over the world pressed to their seats, as many expect both a surprise against the main regions, as well as a stumble against Brazil and Oceania, which could sentence the region as the worst of the entire competitive scene today.

LCO #1: PEACE

Worlds 2021 Play In PEACE
LCO 2021 Split 2 champions, PEACE. (Picture: ESL Australia)
  • Best scenario: 3rd place
  • Worst scenario: 5th place

After Pentanet.GG's phenomenal success at MSI 2021, being the first team from Oceania to advance to the next phase of an international Riot tournament, many expect great things from PEACE for the Play-In, having won to Pentanet in the LCO finals with a 3-0.

But, as in the case of Galatasaray Esports in Group B, the fact that both the squad and their players will have their international debut in Worlds is a great influence on their performance, if we take into account the results of the champions of the first split mentioned before.

Despite this, if we have learned something from regions such as Oceania, it’s that many times we have to expect the unexpected, so we wouldn’t be surprised if PEACE manages to dent the crown of the Latin American and Brazilian representatives, and in the best of cases, get a victory against the Korean team.

CBLOL #1: RED Canids

Worlds 2021 Play In RED Canids
CBLOL 2021 Split 2 champions, RED Canids. (Picture: RED Canids)
  • Best scenario: 4th place
  • Worst scenario: 5th place

To finish with Group A, we must talk about the champions of Brazil, RED Canids. As with Hanwha Life, the Canids have undergone many transformations in recent years, in which they went from being the best in 2017, to their relegation during 2019 and 2020 to Brazil’s second tier, the Challenger Circuit.

As such, the only experience RED Canids has had in terms of international tournaments dates back to MSI 2017, where they finished second in the group only behind Turkey, so for Worlds 2021, they have generated a lot of expectation by having conquered the playoffs of the second split of 2021, after having finished sixth in the regular season.

As for Brazil as a region, its results have been very far from those of past years, finishing many times in last places and being placed as the worst region competitively, so the hopes of its league will all be placed on a decent performance against to INFINITY and PEACE, because a victory against those of Korea or China sounds more like an illusion than a reality.

And with this, we close our predictions section of Group A of the Worlds 2021 Play-In. You can check more information about this year's World Championships, as well as how to watch it in the link below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our League of Legends dedicated section for more news, guides, updates, and esports coverage.

Featured image courtesy of Riot Games.