With the 2021 League of Legends World Championship closing in on us, many ask themselves who they should consider being the strongest teams going into the tournament. Though Korea has dominated the scene for years, European teams have shown their ability several times that they are not afraid to Korean powerhouses. They have not only given then adversary a fair challenge but often proved to be superior on the Rift, when the two regions faced off against each other. In recent years however a third Region has also risen to power: unlike Europe, China has conquered Worlds before and many consider them to be the strongest region since last year already, despite being able to only come second last time.
Let us now take a closer look at which teams we consider to be the strongest contenders to win this autumn!
Check out our previous article, where we introduced ourselves here
When talking about the World Championship one must speak of last year’s winners, the Korean Super team: DWG KIA, who were formerly known as DAMWON Gaming. The reigning champions have shown their strength this year once again by winning LCK both in Summer and in Spring, with a convincing 3-1 Finals vs T1 and a 3-0 sweep against GenG. Despite their success at last year’s worlds and their national dominance many claim that their performance this year is less impressive than it was last year, and they could fail to claim the title this year.
Royal Never Give Up
One sign of DWG potentially not being the favourites for 2021 was the success of RNG against them at MSI in May, who managed to take down the champions in an exciting finals, which resulted in a 3-2 win for the Chinese team. MSI is the second most prestigious competition of the year for LoL, where the winners of spring split compete from each Region and being the best of the best in summer definitely says a lot about RNG, however, it is not uncommon that the team winning MSI ends up falling short at worlds, and we could see a clear drop-off in RNGs performance after MSI, when they failed to win many of their early matches, which meant that after one day of the lesser performance they were out of the spring playoffs. Despite their disappointing placement in Spring many still consider RNG one of the best teams, as they have finished the season with an impressive win streak of 9 series before dropping the last one to BG. Excluding the one unfortunate series against LNG they have dominated everyone else in the latter portion of the season and they still seem to be the best team in the world when it comes to situations around the Baron.
The big cats of Europe surprised everyone winning Summer Split, in a surprising reverse sweep against Rogue, who was at that time in their prime. Despite being a very new roster, with two rookies, and an overall very young roster, whose members have all only recently joined the scene, it was a shocking performance from the Lions. At MSI they have proven that their win over Rogue wasn’t just a one-time error, as they have shown a strong performance in the group stage and came close to dropping out DWG from the tournament, before throwing game 4 and being beaten in the final game. Just like RNG, MAD also needed some time to rest after MSI and started the season slower than the rest of the Region and it seemed unlikely that they would recover as G2, Rogue and MSF seemed to be on their top game. However, for the end of the Summer split they found their form, and even before the playoffs many considered them to be clearly the best team in the Region, probably the only one who could rival Asian teams at Worlds. They have lived up to the expectations and showed dominance during their final series, giving EU fans, the much-needed hope after G2 fell out of playoffs and Rogue showed a disappointing performance. It seems unlikely that MAD would be able to win the championship, but their performance definitely indicates that they could be one of the best 4-5 teams of the world, and just like G2 in their prime, MAD also has shown great resilience in high-pressure situations, so they could very well exceed expectations.
The Chinese powerhouse has all year long dominated the Region many consider to be the strongest in the world: LPL. Already in summer they were in a good form and were only taken down by RNG, who was at the time in their best form and proceeded to win MSI. In summer they have barely lost any games during the regular season and took down FPX in the finals with a surprising 3-1 result, which to many seemed like an impossible feat before watching the series unfold. In the power rankings, all of their players are in the discussion for being the best at their role. It is difficult to find flaws in their gameplay and teams struggle to find a weakness in their line-up. They are definitely one of the best teams in the world, and if they come in their form, it is unsure if anyone could stop them.
Not many teams are considered favourites after losing their regional finals, but FPX just seems to be too good to count out this year. They have been considered the best team in the world during Summer split and even after playoffs it is difficult to criticize a team as clean and dominant as FPX, for losing one single series against EDG.
Interestingly in the community votes none of the FPX players showed up to be in the best 20 players in the world, none but one: Doinb.
Even most of those who would never doubt Korea to defend their title, or those who believe in Europe to upset expectations agree that this guy is too good to not be considered the best player in the world. If Doinb is in your game you can be sure that he’ll dominate the game. He rarely ever has a bad game, can play an absurd amount of champions, and play both for himself and for his teammates, depending on what the game requires. He was the main reason why this team showed such a great performance in the LPL and he is the player to watch at the world championship. However, League of Legends is a team game, and EDG showed in the finals that with good preparation it is possible to tackle FPX, if they are not on their best day.
We are of the opinion that any of the above-mentioned teams have the ability to play the best League we will get to see this year and claim the title of World Champion for themselves. However, considering the relative strength of their regions FPX, EDG and DWG seem to be the 3 to watch out for. Teams like GenG or T1 from Korea or Fanatic, Rogue from EU did show a good performance regionally but it is clear that they are on a different level to the best teams in the world. From NA we didn’t consider teams to be one of the best, as even in one of the easier regions teams struggled to give a good performance.