It’s finally time for the Group Stage of Worlds 2021 to get underway.
It’s Day One of three days of frantic Group Stage action. With every team playing, we’re in for a long one. Until Thursday, there are eight games a day, so we’re going to be in for an intense ride and some nail-biting action. Day One gets things off to a fast start, as the two former Worlds Champions clash before RNG took on PSG Talon. Later in the day, our final two games feature back-to-back NA vs EU matchups. So strap in for a busy recap!
DAMWON KIA vs FunPlus Phoenix
To get the game started, it’s First Blood over to DK after a top lane brawl. With multiple members low and fleeing, it’s ShowMaker who Teleported into the top side to secure it on Doinb. Rift Herald was the next objective to fight over, and it’s DK that took the advantage. After claiming the buff, they managed to take down three members of FPX for one in return. Meanwhile, in the bot lane, Ghost and BeryL were able to dive and kill Lwx, which moved DK to 3k ahead at the 11-minute mark. Between Rift Herald spawns, the game was in a state of calm. However, DK picked up the second Rift Herald while they maintained their 3k lead and both sides looked to clear up outer towers.
At the 17-minute mark, we got our next trade, this time on the top side. At first, it looked to be going the way of FPX but it was eventually traded one-for-one. On the tail end of the fight, DK picked up a second kill, as they moved further ahead. There was another lull in play before FPX were once again caught out. Crisp was found in a bush before Tian sacrificed his life to save the rest of his team. Afterward, DK moved to claim the Baron buff and FPX had no way to stop it. Crisp was shut down once again, which meant DK moved to 11k ahead at the 25-minute mark. At this point, FPX looked lost at sea.
With Baron in their back, DK walked into the FPX base like a knife cutting through butter. The top and mid lane Inhibitors fell, then DK reset to look to claim the Soul Drake. But DK didn’t even need to wait for Soul before taking the base. They won one final fight and easily ran through to FPX’s Nexus. FPX was swept aside, and DK looked dominant as ever.
Teams: DK – FPX
Gold: 59.1k – 44.1k
Royal Never Give Up vs PSG Talon
RNG got off to the perfect start with a level one 2v2 play on the bot side. Picking up the First Blood, especially when their jungler had blown Flash so early, was a major win. Then there were more kills for RNG, this time in the top side, as they picked off Hanabi and River. As a result, RNG found themselves nearly 2k ahead by the seven-minute mark. A short time later, it’s another play, and more kills for RNG, as PSG just cannot manage to get into the game. By the 10-minute mark, PSG had finally found two kills on the map, and while the lead was still 2k in favor of RNG, PSG had shown signs of life.
But then disaster struck for PSG. RNG found a great engage and killed two from PSG, as well as a First Blood tower. The lead ballooned to 5k by 14 minutes as RNG dominated. RNG pushed into the bot side to force a play but it’s a disaster for them this time. After Kaiwing caught Wei under the tower, it’s PSG that came out on top. They’re able to get a clean Ace and PSG comes back into this match with a bang. It took until the 28-minute mark until we got our next major play, where Maple was able to catch out RNG as they picked up a one-for-zero fight. Despite low health bars, no one else fell and PSG continued to slow the game.
While PSG forced a play onto the Baron, RNG was killing off Hanabi. Because of this, PSG was able to claim the Baron, but they lost three members in return, ultimately not making the most use of the play. RNG was able to take down the top lane Inhibitor as PSG reengaged on the reset. The all-in failed as they lost their jungler, handing over Infernal Soul pressure to RNG. With the Soul claimed, RNG began to starve PSG out inside their base. River attempted to make a hail mary play but it’s just not good enough. RNG took the fight, brought down the Inhibitors and ultimately secured their first win of Worlds 2021.
Teams: RNG – PSG
Gold: 69.7k – 61.6k
Hanwha Life Esports vs Fnatic
While it wasn’t First Blood, a major early play saw Bwipo late invade and pressure Willer, starving the HLE jungler of any camps. By three minutes, Willer had just two camps to Bwipo’s five. Finally, First Blood came out for FNC after Adam roamed into the mid lane to pick up the important kill. Although, HLE soon got themselves onto the board by punishing Bwipo after they were able to pull the trigger quicker. It was an important kill for HLE, as shutting down Bwipo’s dominance was key. Sadly for HLE, however, they then lost a trade in the bot side two-for-one, handing the lead back over to FNC.
The first major team fight broke out on the Rift Herald pit, where HLE picked up a huge lead, taking down two members of FNC. HLE didn’t get the Rift Herald but they did move ahead in gold by the 11-minute mark. Shortly after that, it’s another team fight and another major win for HLE. An extended 5v5 in the bot side saw HLE pick up two kills with no kills lost in return. It’s more picks across the map for HLE, picking up two more kills, while Bwipo did manage to get one in return. However, by the 20-minute mark, HLE had moved to 4k ahead. It’s followed up by another mid lane team fight and it’s once again HLE that took the team fight victory. HLE turned that into a Baron as they took control of the game.
Another three kills went to HLE with the third drake on the map, as it looked all over for FNC. FNC once again forced an engagement, and while they managed to get a kill, they lost three in return. With the second Baron spawning on the map, HLE found themselves at 11k ahead as FNC desperately tried to stay in the game. HLE claimed the Baron and only needed one last fight to end the game. It was a humbling game for FNC who will need to bounce back. For HLE, however, it will give them the confidence to move on in this group.
Teams: HLE – FNC
Gold: 65,6k – 50k
LNG Esports vs Gen.G
To start off on the right foot, GEN was able to pick up First Blood without any punishment coming in return. While it was only a small lead early, it brought Rascal back into contention with the farm on the top side, as he was in an early deficit to Alie. It’s a 1v1 next for GEN for another kill as the momentum started to build. Finally, LNG managed to get on the board at the 11-minute mark, picking up a kill onto Ale. But at the same time, GEN secured their second drake.
After this, the game quieted down on kills, but GEN made great use of a Rift Herald, taking it all the way to an LNG Inhibitor turret. GEN then picked up their third drake, as the Soul win condition opened up. When the drake reared its head, it was not only the Infernal Soul but also an Ace going the way of GEN. After a quiet middle period of the match, it all sprung into life when it counted most. In the aftermath of this fight, it didn’t take long for GEN to run down the LNG base and take their Nexus.
GEN was dominant and methodic in their approach to the game from start to finish. With this win, LNG loses their unbeaten streak. However, they’ll be able to dust themselves off and move on tomorrow. As for GEN, they showed why they’re a team to fear, as they continued the LCK’s 100% win rate on Day One.
Teams: LNG – GEN
Gold: 37k – 42.9k
T1 vs DetonatioN FocusMe
These teams had very different expectations today but both wanted to start their group stage off with a win. But this match was all T1 all the time. The action started in the bottom lane 2v2, where Gumayusi and Keria fought the DFM bot duo to killed Yutapon for First Blood. A few minutes passed, then a skirmish in the top side broke out, with T1 once again coming out ahead, this time with two kills plus a Rift Herald. Two minutes later, both junglers met in the top lane, where the 2v2 went, of course, in T1’s favor with a two-for-one trade.
Even early on into the game, Keria’s Yuumi was everywhere, often roaming around with Oner’s Talon. The duo ravaged DFM and shut Steal right out of the match. DFM Aria was holding it down in the mid lane for a long time, but he was inevitably killed under his tower at 10 minutes. At this point, the gold lead ballooned to 5k and DFM appeared out of it already. For the next few minutes, T1 played with their food. They found more kills across the map and took towers with ease. At one point, Oner and Keria essentially 2v4’d in the enemy jungle and base to kill four from DFM without dying themselves.
Baron would never grace the Rift as T1 stormed into the DFM base at only 17 minutes. It took them a couple of minutes and a few pushes, but T1 soon knocked down all of DFM’s Inhibitors. Sending it in one final fight, DFM couldn’t find the miracle fight and had to watch T1 slaughter four members, and ultimately, their Nexus. Finally back on the World Championship stage, T1 showed why they’re a true threat right out of the gates.
Edward Gaming vs 100 Thieves
The early game for these two teams was surprisingly uneventful. Even though there were some heavy trades in the lanes, the first 10 minutes didn’t see a single kill. At the 10 minute mark, however, EDG made the first big play by taking the Rift Herald and using it to knock some plates off the top tower. At the same time, 100T looked bottom, diving between towers to pick up First Blood. But they traded a kill back so it wasn’t too big a play.
Once this blood was shed, EDG was vengeful and made their presence known. Jiejie visited both the mid and bottom lanes within the next two minutes, getting 100T laners in both places killed. At 14 minutes, EDG propelled further ahead when they outplayed a team fight to win it two-for-one in kills, leading to an Infernal Drake secure right after. A one-for-one trade at 17 minutes gave hope that 100T might scale up enough to find a way back in but the gap widened again as Scout solo killed Abbedagge in the side lane.
Now past 20 minutes, the game seemed to have slipped far out of 100T’s grasp. Though they tried to force plays, they couldn’t make engages stick or outplay EDG enough to get gold back. While the game slowed down for a few minutes, 100T couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. The inevitable team fight happened at 26 minutes, where Jiejie dominated and picked up a Quadra Kill, and EDG Ace’d 100T. They secured the Baron off of this, and cracked open the 100T base too. All EDG need from here was to win one last fight four-for-one and blast 100T’s Nexus.
Team Liquid vs MAD Lions
Jumping into game, all eyes were on the top lane Camille vs Jax matchup that could snowball to a win by itself if one side won hard enough. Knowing that, it was TL who made the first move there, diving Armut under his tower and killing him for First Blood at only three minutes in. TL kept up the pressure, catching out Humanoid in a rotation in the river and slaying him, then standing their ground in a Mexican standoff and calmly securing a Rift Herald.
As expected though, MAD was ready to fight their way out of the early deficit. Elyoya ganked top, giving Armut a much-needed kill onto Alphari. TL responded with a skirmish win in the mid lane and an Ocean Drake secure. Feeling the pressure, at 16 minutes, MAD three-man dove top to kill Alphari again, though they lost a kill back as well as the First Tower bonus to Tactical in the bottom lane. But MAD found their moment at 20 minutes, as TL overextended in the top lane and were chased down. The resulting fight resulted in a four-for-two kill trade in favor of MAD, who still looked ready to brawl.
However, the teams met in a 5v5 two minutes later, in which TL killed three from MAD, allowing them to take a Baron on the back end of the play. Empowered with the buff, TL steadily chipped away at MAD but didn’t crack and Inhibitors. At 25 minutes, TL forced a team fight on MAD, but MAD turned it around to get a kill. Feeling confident, they chased, but it was way too far. After getting chased all the way to their mid tower, TL turned around and re-engaged, slaughtering MAD where they stood. After a clean Ace, TL picked up an NA win over EU by pushing in and taking MAD’s Nexus.
Rogue vs Cloud9
After watching MAD fall to TL, RGE wanted to get one on the board for the NA vs EU rivalry. And, of course, get a win closer to making it out of Groups. However, it was C9 who drew First Blood, as their bottom lane duo brawled the RGE duo and traded up two-for-one in kills. It was a great start, but Blaber threw it away by dragging Vulcan into the enemy jungle, where the two were easily collapsed on, giving RGE two freebies. To make things worse, Odoamne solo killed Fudge, though Perkz equalized that by roaming top to kill him.
While the C9 duo got ahead more by diving and killing Hans Sama under his tower, C9 couldn’t leverage the advantage and lost across the other parts of the map. After taking Herald a few minutes before, RGE used it top to take the First Tower bonus. Then, a few minutes later, capitalized on C9’s positioning to take two-for-zero kills in a team fight. Zven, having an individual lead, was focused by RGE, with them even diving him under his tier-two tower to bring him down. Trying to avenge their ADC, C9 tried to chase RGE down, but in the 4v5 they only donated more gold to RGE, who was happy to take it.
While C9 did strike back with a kill at 23 minutes, nothing too impactful happened in the next few minutes. That was until 27 minutes, where RGE smacked C9 down in the top lane to pick up three kills and a Baron buff to boot. But in typical C9 fashion, they found a winning fight at 29 minutes to stop RGE’s assault. Holding the line, C9 waited for the next fight, but RGE forced onto Zven and killed him straightaway. After that, RGE charged straight into the C9 base, blasting through it and taking the Nexus without much contest.