The first round of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational has concluded with the end of Group C. League of Legends Champions Korea champion and defending World Champion DWG KIA has qualified for the rumble stage as the 1st seed from the group, and a strong second round robin from League of Legends Championship Series champion Cloud9 earned the North American representative the 2nd seed from the group to move onto the rumble stage.
Before the start of MSI 2021, Group C was expected to be the easiest group to predict. The general consensus was that DWG KIA, the favorite of the tournament, would roll over the group. Cloud9, viewed as universally inferior to DWG KIA, was still expected to escape the group due to being evaluated as superior to League of Legends Japan League champion DetonatioN FocusMe and Liga Latinoamérica champion Gilette Infinity.
In reality, the group ended up being far less predictable. DWG KIA finished with a 5-1 record, dropping only one game to Cloud9, but DFM ruled the early game of both of its matches against DK and nearly took the nexus of the South Korean representative in the first round robin. C9 expectedly lost to DK, but then found itself on the losing end of its first match against DFM, resulting in a 1-2 start for the NA darling.
C9 looked to be playing far below the level that it showed when winning the LCS spring championship, but in the second round robin, it exceeded any previous expectations and toppled DWG KIA in a 45-minute epic. DWG KIA then took its frustration out on Gilette Infinity, eliminating the Latin America representative from MSI.
Cloud9 then faced elimination from Group C against DFM, but unlike its previous meeting, C9 jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang shook off an early First Blood death and re-stabilized with the help of his team to take the win.
DFM was then faced with the task it almost completed in in the first round robin: defeat DK, hope C9 loses to INF, and force a 3-3 tiebreaker for the final spot in the rumble stage.
DetonatioN FocusMe was able to repeat its strong early game against DWG KIA, but ultimately wasn't able to maintain its lead due in large part to the devastating Diana/Yasuo combination of DK jungler Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu and mid laner Heo "ShowMaker" Su. DFM joined Gilette Infinity, who lost its last game of the day against Cloud9 without stakes before the end of the group, in elimination.
Gilette Infinity and DFM are the fourth and fifth teams to be eliminated from MSI 2021 following Unicorns of Love, fastPay Wildcats, and paiN Gaming.
DWG KIA and Cloud9 round out the rumble stage alongside Royal Never Give Up, Pentanet .GG, MAD Lions, and PSG Talon.