UPDATE 9/26: Riot Games has changed the layout of the Pick'Ems page on the LoL Esports website for the 2021 World Championship. In addition, a statement from the Digital Director was posted in a Tweet from the LoL Esports Twitter account, stating that the previous page layout with language about the Play-In Stage was published in error and that Pick'Ems were planned for Worlds 2021 before the late pivot in the hosting region from China to Iceland forced its removal.
Riot Games has confirmed that the 2021 League of Legends World Championship Pick'Ems, which allows fans to cast their predictive brackets for how the entire tournament will play out, will not include teams in the Play-In round.
In what can only be described as an attempt at banter, Riot Games stated that "Play-ins are happening and we don't support that fiesta." to an overwhelmingly negative reaction by the community at large as well as pivotal figures within the scene.
The language has since been changed following community backlash, in which Riot Games was criticized for language that implies minor region teams are, at best, not worth attempting to predict due to a lower skill level, and at worst, language that invalidates the minor region teams as a whole.
Criticisms of Riot Games' language around the exclusion of Play-ins from the Pick'Ems far outweighs the actual exclusion itself. Riot has never previously explained why the Play-ins were excluded from Pick'Ems.
Perhaps no Tweet sums up the reason for the ire drawn by Riot Games than one made by Pentanet.GG jungler Jackson "Pabu" Pavone.
Despite zero financial support from Riot Games, the League of Legends Championship Oceania managed to send a representative to the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational in Pentanet.GG that exceeded expectations.
This was punctuated by a win for PGG over NA representative Cloud9, which mathematically eliminated the League Championship Series champion from advancing to the Knockout Stage at MSI 2021.
The Play-ins were first introduced as part of the international format in League of Legends esports to allow teams from wildcard regions to test their mettle properly against the top teams from other regions, as well as to give these teams an opportunity to represent their regions on the largest international stage. Riot Games almost certainly did not mean any harm with its attempt at wit, but the criticism was justified, and the changed language on the website is indicative of that.