Riot apologize for “joke” mocking play-ins for Worlds 2021 after backlash

Riot Games

Riot Games have apologized following criticism for comments that seemingly downplayed the importance of the Worlds 2021 play-in stage.

League of Legends fans were surprised when participating in the Worlds 2021 ‘Pick’ems’ event to find a message critical of the play-in stage after submitting their choices.

Professionals and fans alike were quick to take to social media to criticize the wording of the message, saying that it treated play-ins as not a part of Worlds.

Riot Games were quick to apologize, stating that the message was an “ironic joke” written as a placeholder copy that was mistakenly published.

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League of Legends Worlds TrophyRiot Games
Worlds 2021 is being hosted in Iceland

Play-ins belittled

Play-ins were introduced in 2017 to expand the scope of the tournament. It allows for teams from smaller regions to have a chance at competing in the main group stage, as well as giving more teams from the bigger regions the chance to take part in the event.

The Pick’em game goes back as far as 2014. The service provided by Riot allows players to predict match winners at Worlds, with prizes on the line for those who can achieve a ‘perfect bracket’.

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However, fans were confused when making their initial pick for the winner of Worlds 2021 after receiving a dismissive message following the confirmation of their pick.

Many voiced their disapproval of the “we don’t support that fiesta” line. Particularly strong reactions came from those affiliated with play-in teams, such as Unicorns of Love head coach Fabian ‘Sheepy’ Mallant.

Riot were quick to apologize for the mistake, explaining on Twitter that the text used was an “ironic joke” intended as placeholder text that was mistakenly published, and that the company is fully supportive and appreciative of the play-in stage.

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The play-in stage of Worlds 2021 begins on October 5, opening with a highly-anticipated match-up between Korea’s Hanwha Life Esports and China’s LNG.