With the 2021 World Championship Group stage upon us at last, six regions battled on the Rift. Amid one-sided victories, we experienced some exciting games throughout Day 1. Ultimately, the LCK was the most dominant region across the board, and Western teams failed to find their footing.
LCK strikes first, strike hard
The LCK teams had strong showings throughout Day 1, and the games weren’t even close. All of them took their matches comfortably: throug early game proactiveness, they secured huge objective leads on the map and made it impossible for their opponents to oppose them. Yuumi appeared for the first time during the tournament, with T1 and DK picking her and utilizing her to the fullest.
Although many doubted T1 and wondered if they would show up on the first day, they neutralized DFM in the early game, reaching a total of 10k gold lead by minute 15, and they snowballed their lead into an easy victory.
A similar scenario unfolded when GenG faced LNG, with LNG predicted to win. However, BDD had an impressive individual performance on Zoe and swept over the map like a heavy tide.
As for DK, they first-picked Yuumi—a first in the tournament—against FPX, who seemed to draft as if it was the 2019 World Championship. The LCK champions heavily punished their short-range LPL composition early and won convincingly.
The West in Shambles
For the Western teams, Worlds hasn’t started yet—maybe tomorrow, n Day 2. Day 1 was not a good day for most teams, with Rogue and Team Liquid bringing a bit of joy to their respective regions.
MAD Lions suffered a devastating loss to Team Liquid as they weren’t clicking in the early game. Usually proactive, MAD out of sorts: Elyoya looked lost in the jungle, and top laner Armut lost 1v1 against Alphari on top. Although the LEC Champions did not play as expected, this is only the beginning in a long tournament.
Then, Fnatic started their substitute AD Carry, after Upset left Iceland due to an urgent family matter. Obviously, the team lacked synergy; despite starting the game well, they were eventually overwhelmed by Hanwha Life Esports and lost their first game of the tournament
As for North America, 100 Thieves faced LPL champions EDG, and it was looking good until it wasn’t. The team contested their opponent, particularly in the bot lane, but it didn't take long before they fell critically behind in gold and eventually lost them the game.
In the final game of Day 1, C9 lost to Rogue in a game that was out of their control from start to finish. To Rogue’s credit, the players stepped up across the board, and Inspired showed why he was considered one of the best junglers in the World, leading to a controlled victory.