The Worlds 2021 Group Stage concluded last October 19th and the results have been nothing short of surprising for the international fans and even more so for LPL fans specifically. Even though the LPL had impressive Week 1 going 10-2 overall, their 2nd week ended up in absolute disaster as the teams seemingly imploded and got annihilated by the west. What happened exactly with the LPL representatives that made them go from the world’s best to clueless monkeys in the span of 10 days.
Worlds 2021 Group Stage: Week 1
Worlds 2021 kicked off with the 2020 champions – Damwon Kia – facing off against the 2019 champions – FunPlus Phoenix. This was expected to be the most hype match at Worlds but some really early game mistakes caused Damwon to steamroll FPX in an absolute stomp. Regardless of that result, not that many viewers doubted FPX since they were against DK after all. However, when FPX faced off against Cloud9 and Rogue, the world wondered if they were really a good team even though they won.
The rest of the LPL picked up FPX’s slack by dominating their groups. While the LCK, LCS, and LEC teams put up a fight, the LPL representatives were consistent in showing that they are worthy of being the top region. Royal Never Give Up and EDward Gaming ended the Group Stage both 3-0 and were alongside Damwon Kia as the 3 favorites during week 1. Everyone expected the region to perform the same way at Week 2 but everyone’s expectations would be shattered really hard.
The Disastrous Week 2
The Week began with FunPlus Phoenix and everyone expected both Damwon and FPX to get out easily. There was no surprise that FPX lost to DK in the first game but the disaster really began when FPX would lose to NA’s Cloud9. FPX was still expected to come out as long as they beat Rogue but we all know that did not happen. At the end of the day, a 3-way tiebreaker would decide who would come out and for the 4th time in a row, FunPlus Phoenix would lose against Rogue, eliminating them from Worlds at the Group Stage.
Everyone thought that it was only FPX that underperformed but all of theother LPL representatives went 1-2 in their groups with the difference being in the tiebreakers with only RNG coming out as the 1st seed. EDG got out as the 2nd seed and LNG got eliminated after losing to the MAD Lions in the tiebreaker. Only 2 LPL representatives got out while their LCK counterparts got all 4 representatives out of the Worlds 2021 Group Stage. The fans would be even more disappointed when RNG and EDG would face off really early in the Quarterfinals.
What happened to FunPlus Phoenix?
Everything may sound like excuses at this point but there are some valid reasons that might’ve caused FunPlus Phoenix’s terrible performance. One reason is that Tian has been experiencing wrist and arm problems the entire year. Ever since their substitute jungler, Bo, got suspended due to matchfixing, Tian has been forced to play on the starting roster to which he managed to do so satisfactorily. No one suspected that maybe he was hiding the problem due to how good he was during the regular split.
Doinb also performed out of his mind during the regular split which is why we placed our faith on him as the best player at Worlds but it feels like he didn’t have a champion he was comfortable with at the World stage. The LCS, LCK, and LEC reps were also prepared for his heavy roam style and managed to punish him easily. Nuguri seemed like he was slowly becoming worse throughout the split and it only got worse at Worlds. As for Lwx and Crisp, they were always unimpactful whenever they couldn’t be pushed to have a lead.
The LPL Overall Performance
Every analyst and esports fan, including us, believed that the LPL was the dominant region and that they would go unchallenged in the international scene. Unfortunately, none of them performed up to the expectation of many which led to their demise at the Worlds 2021 Group Stage. It’s disappointing to say the least but Best-of-1 formats are always bad in any situation to which EDG and RNG proved by giving us a banger of a Quarterfinals being the only team to go 5 games.
Now that EDward Gaming has successfully defeated RNG in the Quarterfinals, they are the last hope against the Top 3 Korean teams awaiting them in the road ahead. The final LPL representatives may have had a shaky performance thus far but they will have to prove that they are able to reclaim their LPL Summer 2021 form by beating Gen.G, arguably the weakest of the three opponents awaiting them if they are to prove that the LPL is still a relevant region despite their hiccups in the Worlds 2021 Group Stage.
EDward Gaming: The Last Hope For the LPL
Even though all of us placed FunPlus Phoenix as our favorite team to win at Worlds 2021, we still believe that the LPL has what it takes to fight against the reigning world champion region – the LCK. The era of Damwon Kia is looming as they face the previous rulers of the dynasty that got a chokehold of the League of Legends esports scene for years. This is EDG’s first Semifinals appearance after how many years of trying and the wait of an entire region rests on their shoulders to reclaim the trophy.
If you ask any LPL fan if they think that EDward Gaming has a chance to win, they hesitate to say that they might pull it off whether they face Damwon Kia, who is currently undefeated at Worlds, or T1, who has already defeated them once before in the Worlds 2021 Group Stage. Regardless, any true LPL fan knows that EDG is not what they showcased in the previous weeks and they will get a chance to prove that in the Semifinals. But the titans of the LCK will not make it easy. After all, it takes more than hope to beat the titans awaiting them next week.