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 C, Fnatic, Hanwha Life Esports, PSG Talon, and Royal Never Give Up 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 C are:
- Fnatic: FNC were the LEC runner-up after MAD Lions, and are Europe's #2 seed at Worlds.
- Hanwha Life Esports: HLE were the LCK Regional Finals runner-up, and thus Korea's fourth Worlds spot. They took second in their group in the Play-In and then breezed through an easy victory over Beyond Gaming to make it to the Main Event.
- PSG Talon: (what's the acronym?) were the PCS champion, and are the sole representative of the Pacific region at Worlds.
- Royal Never Give Up: RNG were the LPL Regional Finals champion and China's third Worlds spot, but are actually our overall pick for strongest team.
The first step of generating group predictions was to get matchup probabilities between each pair of teams:
RNG have 65%+ matchups against all three other teams, and are looking like a real powerhouse. FNC and PSG are fairly evenly matched, while HLE are just a touch below them and will likely struggle to keep up.
After 50000 simulations of the double round robin, here are the average records of each team:
|Royal Never Give Up||3.89464||2.10536|
|Hanwha Life Esports||2.42418||3.57582|
RNG are looking absolutely dominant in this group, as expected by their matchups. They're likely to be a full win ahead of the competition, with the other three teams clustered together. FNC look like the next best team, but PSG definitely have a chance at taking over and coming in second. HLE aren't completely out of the running, but will have to fight hard.
Here is the distribution of each team's possible records:
RNG have about a 7.5% chance to end the stage with six wins, though their most likely outcome is 4-2. FNC and PSG are both centered around an even 3-3, so if either of them takes a game off of RNG that could be the deciding factor for this group.
Of course, a total of twelve games played in the group opens up lots of room for variance.
Each simulation simulated the twelve games, took final records, and then applied tiebreakers as necessary to determine final placement. Here's how likely each team is to take first:
|Team Name||% 1st Place||Median Place|
|Royal Never Give Up||51.85%||1st|
|Hanwha Life Esports||11.20%||3rd|
RNG have over a 50% chance to win the group. A series of flukes or upsets could change that, as none of their matchups are complete shutouts, but odds of that aren't great. FNC have the best chance of causing said upsets.
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|
|Royal Never Give Up||77.77%|
|Hanwha Life Esports||31.78%|
HLE have a less than one-in-three shot at moving on from the group stage, with a group as tough as this. FNC are sitting at a cool 50/50 (or close enough to it), largely determined by whether or not PSG can overtake them. RNG have relatively little to worry about.
And finally, here is each team's distribution of possible placement:
Royal Never Give Up are the obvious favorite in Group C, and no other team looks ready to take their crown. They were our overall favorite for the tournament, though their gap to the other top teams wasn't enormous. In this group, however, they're unlikely to face that kind of competition. Fnatic and PSG Talon will have to duke it out for the second spot out of the group stage. FNC have a slight advantage, but anything can happen. Finally, Hanwha Life Esports will likely struggle here, but can't be completely counted out.
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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