LoL Worlds 2021 - Play-In Group B Predictions

LoL Worlds 2021 - Play-In Group B Predictions

Following Group A, we've simulated the likely outcomes for Group B in the League of Legends Worlds 2021 Play-In. Beyond Gaming, Cloud9, DetonatioN FocusMe, Galatasaray Esports, and Unicorns of Love compete to join the Main Event.

Play-In Setup

We covered it in our Group A predictions, but a quick refresher on the Play-In format:

In the group stage, each groups plays a single, best-of-one round robin. The top team advances to the main event, the bottom team is eliminated, and the other three teams move on to the knockout stage. These teams are seeded based on their group stage performance, and there's some crossover between groups at this stage. Given how critical group stage placement is, and the fact that each team only plays four games, there are some pretty complicated tie-breaker rules.

The Teams

Presenting Group B's five contenders:

  • Beyond Gaming: coming into the PCS Summer Playoffs as the No. 2 seed, BYG actually beat eventual champions PSG Talon 3-2 in the semifinal before ultimately taking a similarly close 2-3 loss in the final. Second place still secured this Taiwanese team a Play-In spot.
  • Cloud9: C9's No. 4 seed in the summer season gave them an upper bracket start in the LCS Championship, where they immediately got pushed to the lower bracket by eventual second place finisher Team Liquid. From the lower bracket, C9 fought their way through to the semifinal, losing only to eventual winner 100 Thieves, for a third place finish and North America's Play-In spot.
  • DetonatioN FocusMe: a first place summer season finish let DFM start in the "Juggernaut" match of the LJL Summer Playoffs. They were able to convert this into a first place win and the Play-In spot that came with it, representing Japan.
  • Galatasaray Esports: a dominating first place finish in the TCL summer season let GS start in the semifinal of the Summer Playoffs. From there, two quick victories with only a single game loss gave this Turkish team a first place finish and a Play-In spot.
  • Unicorns of Love: with a 12-2 summer season record, UOL entered the LCL Summer Playoffs with a first-round bye. They lost their first match to CrowCrowd, but were able to come back to the finals and redeem themselves, and now represent the CIS region at the Worlds Play-In.

Our Predictions

We generated predictions for every single matchup in this group, with the same caveats as before:

  • Without knowing which team would have side selection advantage before the matches are fully scheduled, we ran our prediction for either possibility and took the average.
  • Tiebreaker rules were implemented to determine actual placement outcomes. However, game length is practically impossible to predict (and largely depends on drafts), so if outcomes came down to game length matchups we randomized the outcomes (only within the tiebreaker set, of course).


There is some spread of team strength in this group, but no matchup is completely lopsided:

LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In Group B Matchups

Contrary to popular opinion, our model finds GS to be the most dangerous team in this group. C9 are a close contender, with that matchup being within side selection differences, but GS have a slight edge overall. BYG are fairly solidly at the bottom of the pack, while DFM and UOL are very evenly matched and round out the middle.

Expected Records

The record we expect each team to end up with follows the same order. After 10000 simulations, here's each team's average win-loss record:

Team Name Wins Losses
Galatasaray Esports 2.282 1.718
Cloud9 2.1848 1.8152
DetonatioN FocusMe 1.9442 2.0558
Unicorns of Love 1.9093 2.0907
Beyond Gaming 1.6797 2.3203

Even GS, the top dog, aren't expected to significantly deviate from a 2-2 record. While the teams are somewhat mismatched, none of the games are so lopsided as to be considered guaranteed wins (or losses) for anybody. Similarly, BYG will on average lose more than they win, but with four not-terribly-unfavored upset possibilities, they've got a decent chance to pull off a couple upsets.

Here's the probability distribution for each team's possible record:

LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In Group B Record Distributions

The most likely outcome for each team, individually, is to go an even 2-2. Of course, the odds of each team doing this are quite low - we calculate a 2.07% chance of a perfectly balanced round robin - but no team has can claim an easy path to the Main Event.

Expected Placement

With the ruleset of the Play-In, records are only half the picture. With so few games, some ties in records are likely, and final placement will depend on the aforementioned tiebreakers. Simulating all of that, we can track how likely each team is to take first place and skip the Knockout stage:

Team Name % 1st Place Median Place
Galatasaray Esports 28.49% 2nd
Cloud9 25.38% 3rd
DetonatioN FocusMe 17.61% 3rd
Unicorns of Love 16.75% 3rd
Beyond Gaming 11.77% 4th

GS and C9 have a real shot at winning overall, while the other three teams aren't out of the running but have some tough battles ahead of them.

Second, third, and fourth places have a second chance in the Knockout stage, so teams just have to make sure they don't come in dead last in their group in order to survive (though higher placement will give them a better chance):

Team Name % Top 4
Galatasaray Esports 87.69%
Cloud9 85.23%
DetonatioN FocusMe 79.02%
Unicorns of Love 78.70%
Beyond Gaming 69.36%

Once again, no single team looks like they will obviously take last place. One team has to, and obviously the team with the lowest expected wins is the most likely to do so, but even BYG have an almost seven in ten chance of squeaking by on the misfortunes of another team.

Finally, here are the distributions for each team's possible final placements, after tiebreakers:

LoL Worlds 2021 Play-In Group B Placement Distributions


Group B of the Play-In is a bit tighter than Group A, but there's still a sort of obvious hierarchy. Our model predicts that Galatasaray Esports are actually the strongest team in this group, followed pretty closely by market favorite Cloud9. DetonatioN FocusMe and Unicorns of Love are very similar to each other in all of their matchups, and Beyond Gaming bring up the rear. With only ten games played, however, the stage is ripe for upsets.

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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