Now that the Worlds 2021 Play-In stage has concluded and the groups are set, I've simulated the outcomes of each group. In Group A, Cloud9, DWG KIA, FunPlus Phoenix, and Rogue fight to get to the knockout stage.
Group stage rules
In the group stage, each group plays a double round robin, which means that each team will play each other team twice. Placement is determined by overall record, and the top two teams will move on to the knockout stage.
Tiebreakers have some fairly complicated potential situations, which we won't cover in their entirety (but if you're interested, you can read the full rules here). The overall gist is that:
- In a two-way tie, head-to-head record and then a tiebreaker game are used. If the tie is for third place, there is no tiebreaker, as the bottom two teams get eliminated anyway.
- In a three-way tie, if all three teams have the same record against each other, game length of wins is used to seed a two-round bracket. If they all have different records against each other, that determines placement. If two teams have the same record, they follow two-way tiebreaker rules while the third team gets placed accordingly.
- In a four-way tie, game length of wins is used to seed a single elimination bracket
The four teams in Group A are:
- Cloud9: C9 was the third seed from North America's LCS, and had to fight through the Play-In to get here.
- DWG KIA: DK was the top seed from the LCK, and took Korea's #1 spot at Worlds.
- FunPlus Phoenix: FPX had the most Championship Points in the LPL, and took China's #2 spot at Worlds.
- Rogue: Due to Vietnamese teams not being able to participate this year, the VCS spot was given to Europe's third seed, which RGE took in the LEC.
To generate predictions for how this group will play out, first I needed to predict matchups between each pair of teams:
FPX and DK stand out as a head above the other two teams. FPX are just a bit more dominant, but we had those two teams as our No. 3 and No. 4 overall picks, so C9 and RGE are going to have a tough fight ahead of them.
I simulated this group's double round robin 50000 times, and here are the average records of each team:
As expected from the matchups, FPX and DK are a noticeable step up from C9 and RGE. FPX have somewhat of a gap to DK, while C9 and RGE are much closer to each other. However, since no matchup in this group is completely unwinnable (The most lopsided matchup is FPX v RGE, at 67/33 if FPX is on blue side), no team is expected to (again, on average) completely take over this group.
Here is the distribution of each team's possible records:
FPX have a 5% chance to end up 6-0, and more than a 50% chance to go at least 4-2. RGE, on the other hand, have about a one-in-five chance to win one game or fewer.
With only twelve total games played in each group, however, there's going to be a fair amount of variance in these outcomes.
In each simulated run of the group stage, records led to placements, with tiebreakers also accounted for as necessary. Ultimately, placement is what matters; if you're top in the group, it doesn't matter if you get there with a 4-2 record or a 6-0 record. First, let's take a look at each team's shot at placing first, and their median placement:
|Team Name||% 1st Place||Median Place|
C9 and RGE combined have a smaller chance at winning the group than either of the other two teams, and FPX are still significantly more likely to do so than DK.
First place has the benefit of a potentially easier matchup in the knockout stage, but the top two teams move on. What are each team's chances?
|Team Name||% Top 2|
While RGE have an uphill battle for sure, they still have more than a one in three chance of surviving the group stage and taking first or second. Even with a fairly significant power imbalance, no team in this group is completely out of the running - these are world-class teams, after all.
And finally, here is each team's distribution of possible placement:
FPX are more likely to take first than any other place, while DK are roughly equally likely to take first or second. C9 and RGE are most likely to take fourth, with a steady dropoff in probability for any other place.
Group A has two obvious tiers of power: FunPlus Phoenix and DWG KIA are both elite teams (and third and fourth in our power rankings, respectively), and will most likely be the two teams to move on from this group. Cloud9 and Rogue are the underdogs here, but these matchups aren't so lopsided as to make upsets impossible, and they each still have a respectable shot at pulling ahead of at least one of the top two teams.
As always, keep up with our suggested bets to see how our predictions stack up against the market, and where we would suggest staking your money.
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