The Group Stage of the 2021 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational wrapped up on Tuesday with Group C as reigning world champions DWG KIA (5-1) earned the first seed and Cloud9 (4-2) claimed the second seed.
Coming into Tuesday's slate, DWG KIA held a 3-0 record and only needed to win one moregame to reach the Rumble stage. In contrast, Cloud9 sat at 1-2 tied with the other two teams in Group C, international darlings DetonatioN FocusMe (2-4) and Infinity Esports (1-5).
The day started with Cloud9 picking up a statement win over DWG KIA in a 45-minute slugfest. Both teams traded control of the game throughout the early and mid-game, but it was Cloud9 who eventually came out on top. C9 excelled in large part thanks to DWG KIA jungler Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu's Rumble whiffing several Equalizer ultimates in late game teamfights, allowing Cloud9 to safely fight without dying to the residual burn damage.
With the win, C9 put themselves in pole position to take the second berth into the Rumble stage from Group C. DWG KIA would have to wait until their next game vs Infinity to officially qualify for the Rumble stage. DWG KIA took down the Latin American representatives in 37 minutes, eliminating them from Rumble contention.
In a big rematch from the first round of the Group C round robin, Cloud9 got revenge against DetonatioN FocusMe by taking a 31-minute win on the back of star mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perkovic's Yone. Perkz was a monster throughout the game, picking up solo kills and outplaying groups of opponents at a time while his team dominated the map.
While DFM had some bright spots, they couldn't contend with Cloud9's superior teamfighting composition. DFM showed signs of promise throughout the tournament as a potential dark horse to knock out a major region and earn Japan's first major placement in an international tournament. Unfortunately, all DFM could do Tuesday was finish with a win over Infinity.
DWG KIA and Cloud9 both took down Infinity on Tuesday to finish the Group Stage at 5-1 and 4-2, respectively.
The 11-team Mid-Season Invitational, which runs through May 23, is being held between the first and second splits of all regions. Teams were drawn into three groups based on seeding. Groups B and C are double-round robin while Group A is quadruple-round robin. The top two teams from each group advance to Stage 2.
Stage 2, the Rumble Round, consists of a double round robin from which the top four teams will make the knockout round. As in Stage 1, all Stage 2 matches are best-of-one.
The knockout round will consist of single-elimination semifinals and the final, with all three matches best-of-five. The championship team will receive 30 percent of the prize pool, which will be a minimum of $250,000.
League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational standings
1. Royal Never Give Up, 4-0
2. Pentanet.GG, 1-3
x-3. Unicorns of Love, 1-3
1. MAD Lions, 5-1
2. PSG Talon, 4-2
x-3. paiN Gaming, 2-4
x-4. Istanbul Wildcats, 1-5
1. DWG KIA, 5-1
2. Cloud9, 4-2
x-3. DetonatioN FocusMe, 2-4
x-4. Infinity Esports, 1-5
--Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media