Now that the Worlds 2021 Play-Ins have concluded and the groups are set, I've simulated the outcomes of each group. In Group D, Gen.G, LNG Esports, MAD Lions, and Team Liquid 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 D are:
- Gen.G: GEN took home the most Championship Points in the LCK, and are Korea's second Worlds team.
- LNG Esports: LNG were the LPL Regional Finals runner-up, and China's fourth Worlds team. They swept their Play-In group, going 4-0 to join the Main Event.
- MAD Lions: MAD were the LEC champion, and Europe's #1 Worlds slot.
- Team Liquid: TL were the LCS runner-up and the second team representing North America at Worlds.
The first step of generating group predictions was to get matchup probabilities between each pair of teams:
In spite of having to make their way up through the Play-In, LNG are hardly out of their depth here. LNG, GEN, and MAD are actually all very similarly positioned, with almost identical matchups to each other. TL, on the other hand, are the lame duck of this group, though even they aren't completely outclassed. On blue side, they're still close to 50/50 on all three matchups, and if they find their stride could easily be in contention to move into the bracket as well.
After 50000 simulations of this double round robin, here's each team's average record:
No team deviates very far from an even 3-3 record. LNG are slightly more likely to perform a bit better than others, and TL are slightly more likely to do worse, but there isn't really a huge gap in skill. A four-way tie in groups is still incredibly unlikely to actually happen, but if it's ever going to, this would be the group it happens in.
Here is the distribution of each team's possible records:
Every team's distribution looks fairly similar. The big exception is TL's relatively high chance to end up with a 2-4 record, almost as likely as 3-3. The other three teams, conversely, are slightly better positioned to take a 4-2 winning record.
With only twelve total games played in each group, however, there's going to be a fair amount of variance in these outcomes.
Each simulation of 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|
TL are fairly unlikely to take first, but it's really anybody's place up for grabs amongst the other three teams.
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|
Same story here: when you have four very closely matched teams (even if one of them is half a step below the others), nobody can feel safe. Each of the top three teams are slightly more likely than not to move on to the knockout bracket, but one of them is going to end up disappointed. In fact, two might, since TL are hardly out of the running.
And finally, here is each team's distribution of possible placement:
Again, with a relatively even group, every team has a reasonable chance of ending up anywhere on the totem pole.
This is by far the most evenly matched group this year. Other groups all had one or two obvious powerhouses, but that simply isn't the case here. Three teams are incredibly similar and could really shuffle their ranks in any way, and the fourth team is just a smidge behind them in talent and could definitely stage some upsets. This group's two bracket slots are anyone's for the taking.
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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