The 2021 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is set to kick off in just one week. The best team from each region will look to capture glory as they represent their league on the international stage for the first time this season.
But just like every international League of Legends tournament, the winner of MSI 2021 will first have to get through the opening hurdle known as the group stage before they can leave Iceland on top of the global professional scene. This season, the MSI format is altered slightly, as the top two teams from each group will advance to a secondary group stage. From there, just four teams from the original 12 will compete in a single-elimination bracket to determine the MSI champion.
And while it seems pretty easy to predict that each of the pool one teams have a strong chance of emerging from their respective groups on top, it would be careless to sleep on representatives from the competitive scene’s minor regions, especially when there are so many teams from emerging leagues competing on the MSI stage. With that being said, here are our predictions for the winners of each group at the MSI 2021 group stage.
Group A: Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up saw their top competition for the Group A title vanish when GAM Esports were declared ineligible to compete at MSI due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The VCS champions and their 32-7 record this spring could have posed a serious threat to RNG at the tournament—but alas, it appears that the LPL champs will most likely find a way to speedrun the group stage with just two opponents alongside them in Group A.
Unicorns of Love and Pentanet don’t hold much of a candle to RNG, a team that could easily be designated as the hottest in the world right now. RNG are sprinting to Iceland on the heels of three consecutive victories in best-of-five series over top-tier contenders from the LPL. Wins over Top Esports, Edward Gaming, and FunPlus Phoenix—all of whom could easily qualify for the World Championship later this year—have put RNG on the map as one of the best teams in the world. Best-of-ones against squads from minor region teams should be a walk in the park for a team that looks to be unbreakable as of late.
The only on-paper worry for RNG at this time is how well they can adapt to the immediate spike in matchup difficulty once the secondary group stage arrives. Once they advance past the group stage, the sudden shift from matches with a pair of minor region teams to matches with undoubtable championship contenders such as DWG KIA and MAD Lions might be a bit of a culture shock.
Group B: MAD Lions
For the first time in seven years, a team not named G2 or Fnatic won an LEC split, and frankly, there’s not many better teams out there who could have taken up that mantle than the 2021 iteration of MAD Lions.
The last time MAD Lions represented the LEC at an international tournament six months ago, they were getting bounced from the Worlds play-in stage. Since then, the team made roster swaps in the jungle and in the top lane, adding Rookie of the Split and all-around Wonder Boy Elyoya into the mix alongside Armut, the same player who knocked MAD Lions out of last year’s World Championship when he played for the TCL’s SuperMassive Esports.
This year, though, the team looks hungrier than ever to find redemption. After being denied a chance to play with the big dogs of the global League scene at Worlds, the bottom lane duo of Carzzy and Kaiser is poised to stand toe-to-toe with duo pairing such as DWG’s Ghost and BeryL as well as Cloud9’s Zven and Vulcan.
Over the course of the last month, MAD Lions have proven that every time they’re faced up against titans like G2 and Rogue, they can rise to the challenge. Don’t be shocked if this team of LEC upstarts advances past the MSI group stage with ease and starts to find their first victories over world-class teams from beyond the boundaries of Europe.
Group C: DWG KIA
Despite being the only pool one team to have another major region team in their group, DWG KIA have no reason to fear any other team in Group C. The defending world champions are still the undisputed best team in the world coming into MSI 2021 and should have an incredibly easy time at the tournament. In a group where they obviously stand out as the favorites, DWG should make quick work of their opponents in not just the group stage, but potentially the entire tournament as well.
If there’s any one team that is going to give DWG trouble in the group stage, it’s going to be Cloud9. Perkz, the team’s newly-signed million-dollar man, is one of the only mid laners at the tournament who can stand up to ShowMaker in any sort of capacity.
Throughout their careers, Perkz and ShowMaker have squared off a total of eight times and have split the all-time head-to-head series four to four. All of those games were played during best-of-five series at various World Championships, and more importantly, they were played while Perkz was in the AD carry position for G2. Sure, Perkz and ShowMaker have passed each other like two ships in the night on several occasions, but to see them go head-to-head in lane will be a spectacle all on its own.
Regardless, DWG KIA are still poised around the map to dispatch anyone who might stand before them in the group stage. The departure of Nuguri hasn’t left a gaping hole for the team on the top side of the map, as a refined Khan is looking more and more like his 2018 self with each game. With the best players in the world at multiple positions, including the MVP-caliber mid-jungle duo of Canyon and ShowMaker, the Korean titans should easily waltz out of Group C and cause a ruckus throughout all of MSI.
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Sprout eliminate FaZe from Flashpoint 3
Sprout beat FaZe 2-1 in the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket after losing in the opening round to Heroic, and have now survived the first round of elimination matches. Josef “faveN” Baumann and company fell behind after the initial map in the series, Mirage (10-16), but were able to win their own pick of Dust2 in-extremis (16-14) before closing the series out on Train (16-10).
FaZe’s ills continue with this loss as they are eliminated from the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament of the year in last place. The international squad have been struggling to perform since bringing on in-game leader Finn “karrigan” Andersen and star player Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken to revamp the roster and have since gone out in 9-12th place at IEM Katowice, 17-20th at ESL Pro League Season 13 and 13-16th at DreamHack Masters Spring.
FaZe got off to a good start in the series taking a 3-0 lead on the attacking side of Mirage, but Sprout were quick to retaliate and claimed the lead early on after putting up several strong defenses. karrigan and company made inroads to try and regain the lead, making it 7-7, but the Germans were able to win the final round of the half to remain ahead. Despite winning the pistol round, Sprout struggled with the task of attacking, and finally faltered as FaZe took their map pick 16-10.
Sprout took the lead on the offense in Dust2, but weren’t able to dominate early on as FaZe won a couple of close rounds to start to gain momentum and build an economy on the CT side. Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Marcelo “coldzera” David did much of the heavy lifting with dual AWPs on the way to a 10-5 lead. The German squad put forth a strong start on the defense and made a strong push to take the map. faveN made two big plays in crucial rounds which tipped the balance in Sprout’s favor as they managed to take it in the last round, 16-14.
FaZe won the first pistol round on the attacking side of Train, but three Desert Eagle kills on the forcebuy by Denis “denis” Howell gave his team the second round, after which faveN and company went on to dominate on the defense, giving up just four rounds to set up a possible upset. FaZe started to scale the comeback mountain on the CT side, but were cut short as Sprout cruised to a 16-10 victory to eliminate the international squad and stay alive in the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket.
Up next for the German squad will be the second round of lower bracket play, where they will play the loser of BIG vs. mousesports in another all-or-nothing match for survival in the tournament. “I don’t care who we play, but I think we’d have better chances against BIG,” faveN said in the post-match interview, “because it’s a domestic match-up and it’ll be about mental games, so I think BIG would be better for us.”
Results for 2021 Call of Duty League Stage 3 Major
The third Major of the 2021 Call of Duty League season has started—and it could be the last online tournament of the year with a return to LAN scheduled for the Stage Four Major.
The Stage Three Major will feature all 12 Call of Duty League franchises fighting for money, bragging rights, and those all-important CDL Points. This double-elimination tournament has a $500,000 prize pool and the winner will earn $200,000 as well as 75 CDL Points to help them move up in the standings.
Over the past three weeks, the CDL teams were competing in Stage Three group play matches to determine their seeding for this Major. The Toronto Ultra, the Stage Two Major champions, came out on top of Group A with a 5-0 record. The Florida Mutineers and Dallas Empire finished in second and third place, respectively, to take the group’s two other winners bracket spots.
In Group B, New York’s revamped lineup with the French phenom HyDra came in first place at 4-1, while the Atlanta FaZe and Los Angeles Thieves ended up behind them. The other six CDL teams, including OpTic Chicago and the Minnesota RØKKR, will immediately start the Stage Three Major in the losers bracket, meaning they’re only one series loss away from being eliminated.
Here are the results from the 2021 Call of Duty League Stage Three Major, updated with the most recent games on top.
Sunday, May 16
Toronto Ultra vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket semifinals)
OpTic lead 1-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-180 OpTic
Saturday, May 15
Atlanta FaZe vs. New York Subliners (Winners bracket finals)
New York win 3-2
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-181 New York
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-4 New York
- Raid Control: 3-0 Atlanta
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-165 Atlanta
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 New York
Florida Mutineers vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket round four)
OpTic win 3-0
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-139 OpTic
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Checkmate Control: 3-1 OpTic
Toronto Ultra vs. Los Angeles Thieves (Losers bracket round four)
Toronto win 3-1
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-14 Toronto
- Miami Search and Destroy: 6-1 Los Angeles
- Garrison Control: 3-0 Toronto
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-81 Toronto
Dallas Empire vs. OpTic Chicago (Losers bracket round three)
OpTic win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-151 OpTic
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Raid Control: 3-1 OpTic
Los Angeles Thieves vs. London Royal Ravens (Losers bracket round three)
Los Angeles win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-123 Los Angeles
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Los Angeles
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 Los Angeles
Friday, May 14
New York Subliners vs. Florida Mutineers (Winners bracket semifinals)
New York win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-149 New York
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-0 New York
- Garrison Control: 3-0 New York
Toronto Ultra vs. Atlanta Faze (Winners bracket semifinals)
Atlanta win 3-2
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-210 Atlanta
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-2 Atlanta
- Garrison Control: 3-2 Toronto
- Raid Hardpoint: 250-174 Toronto
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-3 Atlanta
OpTic Chicago vs. Los Angeles Guerrillas (Losers bracket round two)
OpTic win 3-1
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-148 Los Angeles
- Moscow Search and Destroy: 6-5 OpTic
- Raid Control: 3-2 OpTic
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-210 OpTic
Minnesota RØKKR vs. London Royal Ravens (Losers bracket round two)
London win 3-0
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-232 London
- Raid Search and Destroy: 6-3 London
- Garrison Control: 3-0 London
Thursday, May 13
Florida Mutineers vs. Los Angeles Thieves (Winners bracket round one)
Florida win 3-1
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-233 Florida
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Florida
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 Los Angeles
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-216 Florida
Atlanta FaZe vs. Dallas Empire (Winners bracket round one)
Atlanta win 3-0
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-209 Atlanta
- Checkmate Search and Destroy: 6-1 Atlanta
- Garrison Control: 3-2 Atlanta
Los Angeles Guerrillas vs. Seattle Surge (Losers bracket round one)
Los Angeles win 3-1
- Garrison Hardpoint: 250-183 Los Angeles
- Express Search and Destroy: 6-5 Seattle
- Garrison Control: 3-1 Los Angeles
- Apocalypse Hardpoint: 250-155 Los Angeles
London Royal Ravens vs. Paris Legion (Losers bracket round one)
London win 3-1
- Moscow Hardpoint: 250-106 London
- Moscow Search and Destroy: 6-4 Paris
- Checkmate Control: 3-2 London
- Checkmate Hardpoint: 250-150 London
This article will be updated until the Stage Three Major ends on Sunday, May 16.
The best Structure decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
Structure decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links allow players to use ready-to-play decks with various tribes to learn the game easier while still being competitive.
If you want a good start to the game without being overwhelmed by all the cards, Structure decks are your starting point. With these decks, you’ll have a good foundation and a general idea of your win condition, which you can later upgrade as you learn the ropes of the game.
Here are the best Structure decks in YGO! Duel Links.
White Dragon of Legend
One of the most popular archetypes in the game is Blue-Eyes with various Dragons, spells, and traps to complement it. One of the most important cards in the deck is Cosmo Brain, which allows you to special summon the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, who can unleash devastation upon your opponents. This Structure deck is good at learning the ropes of playing and summoning the Blue-Eyes White Dragon and can serve as a good base for upgraded versions of the deck.
Masters of Chaos
Masters of Chaos decks use various Magicians to create the strongest Magician your opponents have seen. The archetype was targeted by multiple bans due to how strong it is and is a great starting point for this archetype. While the Structure deck might not have the best cards for the Dark Magician archetype, it does have various powerful cards you can use to build the ultimate Magician deck. A couple of cards that can be used are Dark Cavalry, Chaos Ritual Monster, and the Advanced Ritual.
Fusion decks are the staple of any YGO! Duel Links player since most players grew up watching the animated show where the main protagonist would fuse monsters to create the ultimate beast. While initially you might want to build a Fusion deck, you’ll likely lack proper Fusion cards. The Hero Generation Structure deck gives you access to most Fusion cards, which you can easily use in your other decks as well. On top of that, the deck is quite simple to play and allows you to learn the ropes of Fusion.
Ancient Gear Awakening
The Ancient Gear Awakening Structure deck is strong by default and can help you play against other meta decks and even beat them. The deck made appearances in various tournaments and can serve as a good base for other Ancient Gear decks.
While you’ll be leveling in the YGO! Duel Links world, you may notice some decks will be running Synchro and Tuner monsters. The King’s Resonance Structure deck has a lot of core cards to build a powerful deck with these types of monsters. While the deck by itself might not be that strong since it requires a lot of cards to combo together, with a small investment, you can upgrade it to a more powerful version, where you can easily summon special creatures with powerful abilities without having to play multiple cards in a single turn.
Hall of Ablution Resident Evil Village: How to Solve the Puzzle
The Hall of Ablution puzzle in Resident Evil Village is proving to be a bit tricky for some players.
This is the one obstacle standing directly between Ethan Winters and Lady Dimitrescu’s Key. Players find the Hall of Ablution just before gaining access to Lady Dimitrescu’s chambers. They’ll be prompted to follow her up a flight of stairs from the courtyard. Unfortunately, the door to her room is locked, leaving only the Hall as a point of access for Ethan.
The Hall of Ablution is less of a traditional hall and more of a small circular room made specifically for Lady Dimitrescu, herself. In the center is a pool of blood which we can assume she bathes in as “ablution” quite literally means ritual bathing. After all, it’s no secret that her mutation causes her to consume human flesh and blood as a means of maintaining her form. Who’s to say she didn’t take a page out of Countess Elizabeth Báthory’s book while she was at it?
The key to the puzzle is the inscription in the back of the room. It reads: “Women are blind to male advances, but the poor shall take their chances to give their Lord their bounty sown, so that soon the wine may flow.”
The two women, “blind to male advances,” should be facing each other and away from the men. The cluster of poor men presenting a box should be turned to face the mounted Lord to “give their Lord their bounty sown.” Finally, the Lord mounted on horseback should be turned to face toward the woman holding the bottle of wine “so that soon the wine may flow.”
Following this, the pool will empty itself, and the puzzle will be complete.
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