LEC 2021 Summer Playoffs Recap

LEC 2021 Summer Playoffs Recap

MAD Lions, Fnatic, and Rogue will be representing Europe at Worlds, having taken the top three places in the LEC 2021 Summer Playoffs. Let's dive right into that tournament to see what transpired!

The Results

Here's the final bracket:

source: lol.fandom.com

And final placements:

Team Name Actual Place
MAD Lions 1st
Fnatic 2nd
Rogue 3rd
G2 Esports 4th
Misfits Gaming 5th
Team Vitality 6th

Expectations / Predictions

As with the other major regions, we simulated this tournament before its onset, and estimated each team's probability of placing in the top three:

Team Name % 1st Place Median Place % Top 3 Actual Place
MAD Lions 27.55% 2nd 81.71% 1st
Fnatic 1.70% 5th 11.63% 2nd
Rogue 30.78% 2nd 89.89% 3rd
G2 Esports 34.62% 2nd 81.86% 4th
Misfits Gaming 5.29% 4th 33.51% 5th
Team Vitality 0.06% 6th 1.40% 6th

Rogue were our favorite to qualify, going in. We had them placed slightly lower than G2 Esports to actually take first, based on that specific matchup. MAD Lions were also a strong contender. Between MAD and G2 facing off in the first round, we believed either team would have a strong shot at fighting their way through the lower bracket to come back to the semifinals...

...and then Fnatic happened. Starting from the No. 5 seed, above only Team Vitality, they swept through the lower bracket in a series of upsets to make it to the finals and take home second place. Most of their matches were very close, winning 3-2 against VIT, MSF, and G2, but they did shut out RGE. It was an outside shot for them to even qualify, but 11.63% isn't zero, and that's just how statistics work. Our model did not have FNC strongly unfavored in any match, the low odds were simply a testament to the long path ahead of them. If every single match was a 50/50 coin flip, winning three in a row to make it to the lower bracket semifinals would happen one in eight times, or 12.5%.

G2, on the other hand, underperformed their expectation pretty massively. They had fairly even matchups against both MAD and FNC (49/51 and 54/46, respectively). Again, losing two coin flips in a row is fairly plausible, and happens one in four times. G2 just had to avoid either loss to make a top three appearance, but one team's luck is another team's misfortune.


Here are the placement distributions for each team, that we had created in our initial predictions (with actual outcomes highlighted now):

Fnatic performing almost at the very top of their projected range pushed both Rogue and G2 down by a placement each. MAD, MSF, and VIT all landed in their most likely spots.

We can also compare each team's placement to their distribution, and quantify their percentile performance:

Team Name Actual Place Percentile
MAD Lions 1st 100.00%
Fnatic 2nd 94.79%
Rogue 3rd 36.41%
G2 Esports 4th 29.62%
Misfits Gaming 5th 43.83%
Team Vitality 6th 83.85%

Again, same story. FNC massively outperformed their median, and RGE and G2 hit the lower ends of their ranges. VIT's high percentile score is really just a statement of their low expectation. When you've got an 84% chance to lose your first match and take 6th place, and that's exactly what happens, then you're pretty close to the top of your range.


Of the eight matches in this tournament, most were surprisingly even:

match_name team_name team_name_opp pct_win pct_win_opp score score_opp winner
Round 1 Winners' Bracket Match 1: RGE vs MSF Rogue Misfits Gaming 78% 22% 3 2 Rogue
Round 1 Winners' Bracket Match 2: MAD vs G2 MAD Lions G2 Esports 51% 49% 3 1 MAD Lions
Round 1 Losers' Bracket: FNC vs VIT Fnatic Team Vitality 76% 24% 3 2 Fnatic
Round 2: MSF vs FNC Misfits Gaming Fnatic 50% 50% 2 3 Fnatic
Semifinal 1: RGE vs MAD Rogue MAD Lions 54% 46% 0 3 MAD Lions
Round 3: G2 vs FNC G2 Esports Fnatic 54% 46% 2 3 Fnatic
Semifinal 2: RGE vs FNC Rogue Fnatic 55% 45% 0 3 Fnatic
Finals: MAD vs FNC MAD Lions Fnatic 55% 45% 3 1 MAD Lions

The only massive skews were in round one:

RGE had a 78% chance of beating MSF, which they did, but in a fairly close 3-2. This seems to have been somewhat indicative of their future performance, as they then dropped two 0-3 sets consecutively against MAD and FNC in what should have been slightly favored matchups. They may have simply lost their focus, but we'll leave that sort of analysis to sports psychologists and armchair analysts.

FNC were similarly favored against VIT, and similarly had to go to five games, but then went on to win a bunch of even matchups in the same fashion. Maybe their forte is game 5, and they're good at playing in stressful situations?

Outside of those two matches, every single one was a 55/45 edge or closer, which is pretty surprising. There were no real upsets on a match-by-match basis. The upset came from the fact that Fnatic won four matches in a row, with fairly even odds of losing any of the last three of them. I guess we can call that a meta-upset, but with so many even games this bracket is actually just about as likely as any other single bracket. Every sequence of coin flips is equally likely, but only one actually happens.

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