Every year NA fans make the same claims. They say, “this is the year!” To be honest, who can blame them? The fun of sports is rooting for a team or region, even when they are bad. It makes the victories like TL making MSI Finals or even just TL beating G2 and MAD last year so much more incredible. At least at Worlds, NA has not put up a respectable result since 2018. This has lead to many from the region abandoning it and going to greener pastures. Whether its the LEC, LCK, LPL or a minor region, it seems that everyday more and more fans lose hope. It’s sad really.
For those who still cling on and dream of smacking EU, NA Hopium is here and it’s not entirely baseless. There is a very possible case that NA gets out just as many teams as EU from the Group Stage and frankly, that is a win. Here is how it’s possible.
Well to be frank, Cloud9 have the slimmest chance of making it out. C9, along with Rogue, were thrown into the group of death consisting of what many would consider the two best teams in the tournament, Damwon Kia and FunPlus Phoenix. What is crazy though is that C9 somehow have this uncanny ability to win when they shouldn’t. Look back at the best run for NA at Worlds ever, 2018. This was the year C9 escaped the “Group of Death” and then beat the Korean two seed Afreeca Freecs in the Quarterfinals.
This is all to say it’s possible. C9 has done it before, but is it the best source of Hopium? Not really. Imagine it more like a shady flea market vender. There is a chance one might get something good, but don’t get their hopes up. The way C9 escapes is on paper possible.
- C9 need to beat Rogue 2-0
- Either FPX or DK needs to win both of their head to head
- C9 take a game off of either FPX or DK
- Rogue get a W on preferably the team that lost the DK vs FPX head to head
This is the way for C9 to advance with the lowest amount of wins possible. Of course, win more, it gets easier. Fans would need a massive amount of Hopium to believe in this and one should expect nothing less out of passionate NA Fans.
C9 gets a 1.5/5 on the Hopium Scale.
Group B is Chaos:
From everything that has been said so far in Worlds 2021 interviews, 100T seem like the strongest NA team. This makes sense of course, they won NA. But does this mean that they have the best chance of escaping groups? Well, sorta.
100T has the benefit of playing versus two teams that really bolster their chances. Starting off is DetonatioN FocusMe. DFM are an incredibly skilled team as shown in Play-Ins. Evi, Aria, Steal, Gaeng and Yutapon proved that the LJL can be a competitive region. The question now arises on whether they can keep up that level of play in Groups? The easy answer is no, but that feels dishonest. DFM proved at MSI and now Worlds that they can compete with top level talent. Should they be expected to place top two. No, but they can certainly cause chaos and that is what 100 Thieves wants.
The other questionable team is one that many wouldn’t expect, EDward Gaming. EDG is a great team. A team needs to be great to win the LPL, but EDG has a curse. They have never once played up to expectations at Worlds. To be fair to EDG, every time except once they made it out of Groups except once, but if there was a number one seed in an NA Group, fans should want the team with a history of choking.
The Weird Enigma that is T1:
Finally there is T1. T1 are weird for a couple reasons. The first being that their roster isn’t confirmed yet. T1 have two amazing ADC players in Teddy and Gumayusi. This is a kiss curse. On one hand, they have two amazing players who each bring something unique to the team. On other hand, the lack of stability for a roster has seemed to hurt T1 all year. T1 played Teddy in the LCK finals, but then played Gumayusi in the Regional Qualifiers. Frankly, whichever ADC they play is great, but the team looks better under Teddy and the results back this.
What makes T1 even more weird is how they can look so amazing in Playoffs, but then almost throw a series to Hanwha Life. T1 should make it out of this group, but there is no telling how they will do it or who they start until fans see them in action. They are just weird this year and this helps 100T. The closer the competition is, the better.
How 100T Makes it Out:
Much like with C9, 100T needs to win the easy games versus the LJL rep of DFM. This is a lesson that teams like TL didn’t learn in 2020 and it cost them the group. The easy wins matter the most. Lose them and the team is doomed. 100T should go 2-0 versus DFM. Now things get spicy. How do 100T pickup hopefully two wins?
The answer comes in the form of a split. 100T take a game off of T1 and EDG. T1 and EDG both had some baffling moments in their playoff runs. EDG lost to WE, a team that was on a hot streak, but didn’t deserve to be in World’s contention. Sure, they beat them in the losers bracket, but 100T coaches should really be looking into that series. Same with T1 and the awful Hanwha games. Generally, T1 lost those games more than HLE won them, but the series went to a Game 5 which kills a lot of confidence in T1 and their ability to consistently perform, which is beyond important.
If 100T do this they escape, or at the very least do a tie breaker. 100T is the best NA team and the best chance for NA Hopium.
100T gets a 4/5 on the Hopium Scale.
Gen.G are Trash:
Honestly this should be a whole separate article. Gen.G are the most over rated team at Worlds this year and it’s not even close. What did Gen.G do to obtain this spot at Worlds? Well they went from sixth place to second on the final day of the LCK which auto qualified them for Worlds and got them a bye in Playoffs. Unfortunately, the extra prep time proved for not and they got slaughtered by T1.
The issue with the LCK is that the Summer Split was so close. Gen.G was only a single win ahead of Afreeca who was the sixth seed. Every big game Gen.G lost too. They were 0-2 versus DK and T1, but consistently won the easy games. T1 on the other hand went 1-1 versus DK, but lost some easier games. Gen.G the entire Summer have not shown the ability to beat a top team. They are frauds plain and simple and frankly T1 deserved the second spot, but alas, they got it. 0-6. They won’t beat a single team. This leads into how TL makes it out.
The Curse is Broken:
So TL along with MAD and LNG now have two free wins. Honestly, it would not be shocking if LNG sweep this Group. LNG have shown nothing but impressive performances all Worlds. And sure, they played versus weaker Play-In teams, but their late game even versus HLE dominated the Korean roster. It is possible they drop a game, but for arguments sake, let’s say they don’t. TL versus MAD is what it will come down to. Last year TL beat MAD in Play-Ins rather convincingly, but this MAD is a who new beast with Armut and Elyoya. So how does TL break MAD?
Alphari is the answer. Now many will be quick to point out how strong of a laner Armut is. This is true, he had some great playoff stats, but one shouldn’t forget how bad his Summer Split stats were. Armut had some straight up baffling games and he ended the Split with negative laning stats. TL should try to “recapture” his inting magic and use it as the catalyst to bring TL ahead. TL already plays Top Focused and it shouldn’t be unreasonable for them to continue this style of play. As long as they go 1-1, they can force the tie breaker which TL hopefully wins.
TL gets a 3/5 on the Hopium Scale.
Support Your Teams:
NA isn’t the best region, but this may be the year that they show that NA isn’t a wild card region. The wins mean more than making it out of Groups. It’s a way to silence the haters and the elitist from other regions who think their teams are infallible. This year will be fun regardless of results, but The Game Haus will be up rooting for our region.
You can find more Worlds 2021 content like “Worlds 2021 Play-Ins Group B” and you can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Michael!
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