For League of Legends fans making their Worlds 2021 predictions, few are looking past FunPlus Phoenix, as the Chinese giants look to make it two World Championship titles in three years.
But, as you would expect, the tournament is stacked with high-quality teams capable of upsetting the odds as the season reaches its climax in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Riot Games took the decision to move the tournament from China to Europe in an effort to ensure most teams could attend, while Covid has prevented a live audience from being there, 22 LoL rosters from 11 regions are due to take part in the tournament, which starts on October 5.
So, it’s time for some Worlds 2021 predictions. Let’s take a look at the teams involved and try to assess their chances of success.
Worlds 2021 predictions - what the odds tell us
When looking to make our Worlds 2021 predictions, the best place to start is with the LoL Worlds betting odds. At the time of publishing, FunPlus Phoenix are the clear favourites with odds of 2.90. That means a winning bet of €10 would return €29.
Next up are DAMWON Gaming, and EDward Gaming, both available at odds of 4.33. Royal Never Give Up are fourth favourites at 6.00 and then it’s 10.00 for MAD Lions.
Infinity Esports are the big outsiders at 451.00 - a winning €10 bet on them would return €4510 if they were to complete the unthinkable.
- FunPlus Phoenix - 2.90
- DAMWON Gaming - 4.33
- EDward Gaming - 4.33
- Royal Never Give Up - 6.00
- MAD Lions - 10.00
- T1 - 11.00
- Fnatic - 15.00
- Gen.G - 15.00
- LNG Esports - 19.00
- Rogue - 19.00
- PSG Talon - 23.00
- Hanwha Life Esports - 29.00
- Cloud9 - 46.00
- Team Liquid - 46.00
- 100 Thieves - 46.00
- Beyond Gaming - 96.00
- Unicorns of Love - 226.00
- RED Canids - 226.00
- Galatasaray Esports - 226.00
- Infinity Esports - 451.00
- DetonatioN FocusMe - 451.00
- PEACE - 751.00
Worlds 2021 Play-in Stage Predictions
For LoL fans happy to wait before making their Worlds 2021 predictions, our first glimpse of some of the teams will be during the Play-Ins.
The Worlds 2021 Play-In stage divides teams into two groups of five teams, with four teams making it through to the main stage.
Let’s take a look at each Play-in Team’s chances to inform our Worlds 2021 predictions.
Hanwha Life Esports
HLE were ranked eighth before the regional qualifiers, and with players like Chovy and Tarzan on their roster, they are the natural candidates to qualify. However, being the fourth team in their group, that stage could end their dreams early.
Along with Hanwha Life, LNG do not belong here and they know that. Last year, LEC's MAD Lions had a very bad record in the group stage and were eliminated before the main tournament. LGD, of LPL, also had a very bad group stage, but they came back in the best-of-five stage and made it to the main tournament. Even if LNG do not do well in the best-of-one stage, you have to keep an eye on them in the best-of-five stage. They are the type of team that eats best-of-five opponents for breakfast.
Fans were expecting more from Infinity Esports at MSI but they were disappointed. There’s no reason to believe Worlds will be much different.
At MSI 2021, Pentanet.GG were able to do something big by qualifying for the main tournament ahead of Unicorns of Love. However, this year PEACE will be competing in their place and they will not have their top laner. Oceania will probably fall behind in any split, so PEACE don’t look too much of a threat. That said, their run at Worlds 2020 was not too bad, so keep an eye on them.
RED Canids were by no means favourites to progress from the Brazilian league, which is renowned for its unpredictability. They were sixth before the playoffs and arrive at Worlds targeting more shocks.
The Taiwanese team defeated PSG Talon in the PCS semifinals to ruin Talon’s perfect split and end a 21-match winning streak. Beyond secured their ticket to Worlds 2021 before PSG, but still lost to them in the final. They are definitely not a fluke team and are sure to fight hard. However, when it comes to Worlds 2021 predictions, reaching the main event might be too much for them.
Cloud9 are the North American representatives and, although NA has a reputation for failing in international events, they have a pretty good record against Play-In teams. Cloud9 could easily defend that reputation, with Perkz and a strong roster. However, progressing beyond the Group Stage might be too much to ask.
Unicorns of Love
Unicorns of Love are not the same since Gadget left, so Nomanz will have to step up if they want to be surprising underdogs again.
Galatasaray Esports will be participating in an international tournament for the first time and could relish the occasion. TCL is a strong league and they have lost very few matches there. They could do something big on a first appearance for a TCL team since 2017.
DetonatioN FocusMe also had a great run at MSI 2021, even though expectations were low. Worlds 2021 predictions? They could be a bit of a surprise package.
Worlds 2021 Group Stage Predictions
And now to the big guns. With the LoL Worlds 2021 schedule set, the Group Stage teams will be joined by four teams from the Play-Ins to form four groups of four teams. And there is some real quality on display, with defending champions DAMWON Gaming and 2019 winners FunPlus Phoenix set to clash in Group A. Here’s a look at each team in the Main Stage.
DAMWON are still the powerhouse we know, but they are much weaker than they were in 2020. They will still be strong and will still hold their own against LPL, but fans can expect a tough time. Nuguri's spot is tough to fill, even for Khan. They will have to face FunPlus Phoenix, but the rest of the group will be very weak compared to their level.
You could call FPX the best team in the world and few would have disagreed until the LPL Summer finals, when they were beaten 3-1 by EDward gaming. FunPlus look a little more beatable but remain the favorites in their group, which also includes DAMWON. The fact remains that FunPlus Phoenix are one of the best teams in League of Legends history, hence being favourites and top choice in most fans’ Worlds 2021 predictions.
Anyone looking to make Worlds 2021 predictions should know Rogue face a tough group draw. The Europeans have struggled on the international stage in the past and their chances here look very limited.
EDward Gaming was a disappointment to their fans before the LPL playoffs. They started the season well, but were outclassed by FunPlus Phoenix. However, in the finals, EDG did not disappoint and got their revenge over FunPlus Phoenix with a first ever victory over their rivals. If you can beat FPX 3-1 in a best-of-five game, you are a title contender for sure. Their group draw looks favourable, too, so they'll be confident.
100 Thieves are the NA champions but history tells us that doesn’t count for much on the world stage. 100 Thieves with their innovative, fresh looking squad will be here to experience Worlds and maybe upset some big teams. While they have what it takes to surprise everyone, their chances are pretty slim.
T1 is not the old SKT T1 that we know anymore, unfortunately. The legacy is a very old story by now but they have come a long way thanks to the rejuvenation programme. They face a struggle to get past the group stage and will be looking to finish second behind EDward Gaming.
PSG Talon are still the team you know and continue to dominate PCS. There is debate about whether they deserved a Pool 1 spot, but they were in the semifinals of MSI 2021 and Cloud9 were not, so the discussion ends there. PCS is known for sweeping big regions, and PSG Talon would certainly like to make it out of the Worlds groups after a long period of disappointment. If Hanwha Life Esports make it through, that group will be full of incredible teams, and PSG thrive in such competition.
Fnatic did well to eliminate G2 in the LEC playoffs and made it to the finals, but looked very weak against MAD Lions in the Summer Split final, losing 3-1, meaning there’s not much cause for optimism at Worlds.
Now read: The International 10 predictions
Royal Never Give up
Royal Never Give Up have odds of 6.00, even though they are the third ranked team in their region because LPL is so good. RNG are strong and could easily contend for the championship in any other region in the world. Unfortunately for them, they share a region with two much stronger rosters. Royal Never Give Up’s group is a tough one, but they are the clear favorites.
MAD Lions got a proper international stage experience at MSI 2021 without having to endure a 14-day quarantine like they did at Worlds 2020. After a losing streak, their performance improved during the LEC playoffs. They will be strong and European fans are counting on them to take G2's place. It's a tough task, but their group seems favourable and they have the ability to pull it off.
Gen.G had some problems during the LCK summer playoffs, losing to T1 and missing the chance to play in the finals and there’s not much reason to believe they will go deep into Worlds 2021 in Iceland.
They have their strengths, but, like Rogue, Liquid has not been able to use them on the international stage, and their performance in the playoffs has not shown anything that would win the trust of their fans.
Picture: LoLEsports / Flickr