worlds 2021 play-in stage

Power Rankings: Play-In Stage for Worlds 2021

LoL Teh “GravityWillFall” Wi-Liam

Our power rankings will feature all the teams that have already qualified for Worlds 2021.

And with that, we now have 22 of the 24 teams that will be going to the World Championship in Europe later this year. This comes after the conclusion of the LPL Regional Finals, which saw Royal Never Give Up take out Team WE in the upper bracket final to claim their slot in the group stages of Worlds. With that loss, Team WE dropped to the lower bracket finals where they faced up against LNG Esports , who took the win and with that, the last and final slot to Worlds. Safe to say that we already called it too.

As of right now, there are 11 teams in the group stage and a further 11 in the play-in stage. This is due to the ongoing issue with VCS and whether or not they will be able to send two of their representatives to Worlds. While this is still being sorted, it leaves both groups in a bit of a predicament; do they follow up from last year's Worlds and go with the same 22-team roster or do they open up VCS' slots for Worlds to the other regions?

Even if they were to go with last year's format, one team from the Play-In stage might just get bumped up to the group stages. But who? At this point, only Riot Games will have all the answers as we wait to see what they have to say. But I digress; back to the point at hand.

With these 22 teams, we will now be splitting our power rankings into two parts: the Play-In Stage first and then the Group Stages.

Play-In Stage

There are a total of 11 teams in the Play-In Stage, which is a bit weird considering there is now an odd number of teams. With no idea on how Riot plans to proceed with it just yet, we'll be tabling our power rakings from eleventh until first place. We'll be taking their overall Summer performances into account as well as their Spring results when looking at the power rankings in their respective regions.

11. DetonatioN FocusMe

After not making it through the group stages of MSI 2021, DFM went back to Japan to fine-tune their performances ahead of the LJL Summer Split. The team made a sole change, replacing Kazuta “Kazu” Suzuki with Yang “Gaeng” Gwang Yu . Ever since then, DFM has been on a great summer season run, winning 11 of their 14 games to tie with Rascal Jester . While they did lose to them in the upper bracket finals, DFM managed to take down AXIZ in the lower bracket finals, setting up a rematch with RJ. This saw them win the rematch three-nil, doing so in some style and securing their spot to Worlds once again after missing out last year.

10. Infinity Esports

The Latin American squad had a dismal showing at their last international tournament and they're hoping this year will be slightly different. Sticking with the same formula they went with at MSI 2021, Infinity went into the LLA Closing season in fine form, dropping only three games during the group stage and going on to top the phase two group stage as well. This earned them a slot in the grand finals of the playoffs where they faced off against Estral ESports , which ended in a thrilling 3-2 victory for Infinity. Their last appearance at Worlds ended badly back in 2018, can they avoid that this time around?


Peace has had a great 2021 and it got even better when they won the LCO Split 2. After coming in second to Pentanet.GG during Split 1 and losing out the chance to head to MSI, they went into the new season with a renewed passion for proving their worth. It didn't go as planned at the beginning though; Peace had an average group stage performance, finishing in fifth out of eight teams overall. However, it was their playoff performances that deserve plenty of praise. Starting in the first round of the lower bracket, Peace had a long climb to go and they did so in thrilling fashion. The team took three series on the trot before the grand finals, winning two of those games three-nil. They then went up against Pentanet once again and this time they took revenge on their last defeat in Split 1, winning all three games in the best-of-five series.

8. Galatasaray Esports

Image credit: Riot Games

Being a fairly young squad in the TCL, many didn't expect Galatasaray Esports to blow up the way they did. Being one of the few traditional sports teams with an esports org, Galatasaray shook up the TCL Summer split in an exciting fashion by topping the group with 15 wins and only three losses. They headed into the playoffs straight for the semifinals where they went up against fellow football rival, Beşiktaş Esports . This ended 3-1 in favour of Galatasaray before they headed off for the grand finals versus NASR eSports . This ended up being a cakewalk as well with Galatasaray winning 3-0. This will be their first time at Worlds and it will be interesting to see how they will fare against the other top teams.

7. RED Canids

They have been around for quite some time now but have never had the chance of qualifying for Worlds ever. After having to play in the minor leagues for the past two years, RED Canids were finally back in the CBLOL and they were planning to take full advantage of the opportunity this time around. Their Split 1 performances were encouraging to say the least with the team losing out to Vorax Liberty in the semifinals. Heading into Split 2, the team suffered inconsistent performances, which resulted in them finishing sixth in the group stage. Luckily, it still meant that they were in the playoffs and this was where they showed a different side to themselves. After dismantling Flamengo eSports three-nil in the quarterfinals, RED Canids had a date with destiny aka Vorax Liberty once more in the semifinals. Only this time, fortunes swung the other way and it was RED Canids who came out on top 3-1. As fairytale endings go, it couldn't have been any sweeter as they went onto the grand finals against Rensga Esports and won it convincingly.

6. Unicorns of Love

Having already attended Worlds for two consecutive years, UOL makes it three in a row after a dominant showing in the LCL Summer Split. They started strong, winning 12 of their 14 games and looking formidable like they were pre-MSI. Heading into the playoffs, they were thrown back to reality thanks to CrowCrowd , who has been a thorn in their sides all year long. This time, they managed to strike a lethal blow to UOL, winning their semifinal clash 3-1 and sending them to the lower bracket finals. There, UOL went up against One Breath Gaming who were also out for revenge against CrowCrowd but unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be as UOL won the series 3-2. This set up another grand final match-up between UOL and CrowCrowd with the last one ending in favour of the former. It was a lot closer this time with CrowCrowd bringing the series to all five games. Sadly, they just didn't have enough juice left in the tank to keep going as UOL took game five and the ticket to Worlds once more.

5.  Hanwha Life Esports

Coming from one of the strongest regions in competitive LoL, HLE has got their work cut out for them as they try to stand out amongst the crowd. With four years worth of experience in the LCK, this will be their first-ever appearance at Worlds. They have had a topsy-turvy season so far with their impressive Spring Split run that was unfortunately cut short. However, their Summer Split performance was far from it as they crumbled during the group stages, finishing third from last. The only reason they even got a slot in the LCK Regional Finals was due to their Spring performances. Thankfully, they capitalised on the chance and proceeded to wipe out both [team]37067[team] and Nongshim RedForce in successive games. While they did lose the final game against T1, it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things as they are still going to Worlds.

4. Beyond Gaming

After acquiring ahq e-Sports Club 's slot in the PCS lineup as well as most of its players, Beyond Gaming made their debut in the 2021 season to much anticipation. They started off the Spring Split well, finishing only second to PSG Talon in both the group stage and the playoffs. The Summer Split looked to be that way as well with PSG Talon topping the group once more, going undefeated in the process. However, Beyond Gaming showed the world that they are capable of making a god bleed. After disposing of Machi Esports in the playoff semifinals, they managed to even knock PSG Talon down to the lower bracket, winning their series 3-2. Unfortunately, they couldn't replicate their performance for a second time as PSG Talon wound up clawing back to face them in the grand finals and won it 3-2 in their favour. While they did end up losing, Beyond Gaming still secured a Play-In slot to Worlds and hopefully, they'll be able to make it to the group stages at the very least.

3. LNG Esports

This year's LPL Summer Split proved to be one of the more exciting chapters in its storied history with LNG Esports becoming one of the unlikeliest teams to actually qualify to Worlds. While their Spring Split run left something to be desired, it was their Summer Split performances that really caught people's attention. Their overall group stage showing was decent, finishing in eighth place out of 17 teams. However, it was their playoff run that got many going mad. Not only did they take out two of last year's top teams, Suning Gaming and Top Esports , but they also managed to defeat the MSI 2021 winners, Royal Never Give Up . Sadly, once making it to the double-elimination bracket, that was where things went downhill as they got demolished by FunPlus Phoenix before losing to EDward Gaming as well. But due to their dream run, they managed to accrue enough points to compete in the LPL Regional Finals. From here, they went on to take out Rare Atom in the first round before meeting Team WE in the finals. With their destinies firmly in the palm of their hands, LNG was not going to be denied as they went on to win 3-1 to secure their slot.

2. Cloud9

Ah, C9. Arguably one of NA's most recognised teams, there are still plenty who doubt C9's potential, even after acquiring one of the best mid players in the form of Luka “Perkz” Perkovic . C9 have had an eventful year thus far, winning the Spring Split and representing NA at MSI where they finished fifth. In the Summer Split, they managed to place fourth in the group stage, which was enough to send them to the playoffs. Things didn't pan out though as Team Liquid sent them packing to the lower bracket in the first round. From there, it was a long road for C9 as they had to fight from the very bottom. Miraculously, the team found its form, eliminating Golden Guardians , Evil Geniuses , and TSM in consecutive series. Alas, their run was cut short by 100 Thieves , who eventually went on to win the entire split. Even so, due to NA's performances at past Worlds, they were given three slots and with C9 finishing third overall meant that they automatically got the third and final spot. While they will have another arduous journey to look forward to, don't put it past C9 to actually make it all the way to the playoffs.

1. Rogue

Ending our list at the number spot on our power rankings is Rogue, one of the LEC's most underrated teams at the moment. They were only second to MAD Lions during the Spring Split, which shows just how formidable they can be. They proved it once more in the Summer Split, topping the group stage with 13 wins and five losses. They even continued their strong run in the playoffs by first defeating Misfits Gaming before setting up a winner bracket finals match against MAD Lions. But if history were any indication, it would mean that Rogue would fall short and so they did once more at the hands of MAD Lions. They still had a chance to make it but alas, it was not their time to shine as Fnatic had their very own Cinderella story going on. Having lost to Fnatic as well, Rogue would finish the season in third but was given a lifeline due to the LEC being given three slots to Worlds.


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Teh “GravityWillFall” Wi-Liam
A failed pro-am gamer turned into a filthy casual with an unhealthy obsession for streetwear and sneakers.


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