Next in our League of Legends Esports series of MSI previews is Group B. This is the second of three initial groups and it will feature four teams. The Istanbul Wild Cats, Mad Lions, Pain Gaming, and PSG Talon will be the members of this grouping. Let’s see how they got to this point and if they have a chance to make it to the rumble stage.
First up is the Istanbul Wild Cats out of the TCL. During the season they went 14-4 and earned the second seed in the playoffs. This gave them a bye to the semi-finals, where they defeated Galatasaray to reach the finals against 1907 Fenerbache Esports. The series went four games with the Wild Cats winning 3-1 to earn the birth at MSI. This is the first time this team has reached an international event.
The TCL is usually a team that finishes in the middle of the pack at MSI, missing out on the top six. I think the top six would be an achievement for this team. On one hand, I wouldn’t consider them a favorite to make it out with Mad Lions and PSG Talon in this group. Though on the other hand, I feel this could be a dark horse team in the group. They could probably give any team in this group a fight and won’t be a tough out. Though I do feel the lack of international experience compared to the other teams in their group will be a hindrance.
Group B is set for the MSI 2021
The second team in the group is the LEC champion Mad Lions. After a third-place showing in the regular season, Mad Lions went on a playoff run that saw them best Rouge twice and 2019 MSI champion G2. They are coming into the tournament as a pool one seed and should be considered the favorite to win their group and reach the top six.
Though Mad Lions did fail to make it out of play-ins at Worlds in 2020 and this team has most of that roster back. I would say this is the most vulnerable of the top seeds to not advance, but I do favor them in this group.
Next, we have Pain Gaming Out of Brazil. Pain was the fifth seed heading into the playoffs of the CBLOL. they then went on a run, defeating Loud, Flamengo, and Vorax to win the championship. This is Pain’s first international event since 2015 Worlds. Through three-fifths of this roster made it to Worlds in 2019 as a part of Flamengo, but they finished anywhere from 21st to 24th place. Not a very good finish.
I don’t feel like this team is going to make much noise at MSI in 2021. In fact, they would be my pick for the last place in their group. The CBLOL has struggled to do well at MSI and I don’t feel this is a good group to change that.
The final team in the group is PSG Talon. They went 17-1 during the PCS regular season and then didn’t lose in nine playoff games to win the title. This is their first trip to MSI, but their second international event. They went to Worlds in 2020 where they finished between 9th and 12th place, taking wins off JD Gaming and Rouge. Four of the five players that were a part of that team are still with them today, so that should help experience-wise.
I feel like they should be a strong second seed with the possibility to even win the group. While Mad Lions are probably the favorite to win Group B I would say PSG Talon has to be the second favorite to win. It wouldn’t shock me if they beat Mad Lions and win the group either.
I think this group will be fun to watch if you’re looking for a potential top seed to falter. I think the PCS and TCL both have decent shots of advancing as the second seed. Should be worth tuning in to see who makes it out of this group.