Esportsmanlike Conduct

Staff writer Harrison Green provides a look into Worlds, the League of Legends World Championship

Harrison Green, Staff Writer

With all four finals of the summer season over for the four major regions (North America, Europe, China, and South Korea), the only thing left is the world championship in Reykjavík, Iceland. 

There are a total of 22 teams participating in the tournament.  Four teams from both China And South Korea, three teams from Europe and North America, and eight other teams from emerging regions like Asia Pacific and South America.  

For the uninitiated, the tournament starts with all eight teams that did not immediately qualify for the main round-robin stage to have their own mini round-robin.  Four of these teams will advance to the main round-robin. After the play-in, the four teams join the remaining 12 that have already qualified. The 12 teams are all randomly seeded into four groups of four where they play a double round-robin (each team plays each team twice) and the top two teams from each group advance to the bracket stage. 

In the playoff round the eight teams play in a single-elimination bracket, where the 1st placed team of each group faces the 2nd placed team from another group.

2016 Finals Arena, courtesy of Patar Knight. Photo

The favorites to win the tournament are a mixed bag of new and old faces. The team that has the best odds of hoisting the Summoner’s Cup is undoubtedly the 2019 world champions and the second seed from China, Fun Plus Phoenix, led by their star Korean Mid laner Doinb. Doinb is looking to prove himself as the consensus number one player in the world. 

Although FPX is the favorite to take it all, there are a lot of teams with a good shot at the crown. 

Not too far behind them are the number one seed from China, EDG (Edward Gaming). You might ask yourself, “Harrison, if they are the number one seed from what is widely considered the strongest region in China and seeded above FPX, why are they not the favorites to win it all?”

Great question. It’s because even though EDG experienced the most success domestically this year, they still are largely unproven on an international level. For example, their superstar mid-laner Scout has dominated within his country, but has still yet to get past quarter-finals at worlds. 

On the other hand, Fun Plus Phoenix is a team of champions who have all won the world championship in either 2019 or, in the case of their new pickup this year, the top laner Nuguri, in 2020 for DamWon Gaming. 

Speaking of DamWon as the 2020 world champions, they are eager to defend their world’s crown this year. I would say that even though they won it all last year and made it to the finals of the midseason invitational (where they lost in a very close 2-3 set to the three seed from China, RNG [Royal Never Give Up]), they still aren’t better than FPX or EDG. 

However, being the best team from historically the best region, with an immensely talented roster who has had a chasm between them and the rest of Korea for the last two years, there are still expectations for them to perform. 

I think that all teams that I have mentioned above are considered to be the ones with the strongest chance at winning the finals. This being said, there is still a group of teams not too far behind them that could ruffle some feathers and take down one of the favorites. 

One of these teams is the one seed from the LEC (League of Legends European Championship): the Mad Lions. The Mad Lions sprung onto the scene last year as a new organization in the LEC and immediately became the team to beat. In a brief two years, they dismantled the legacies of the two kings of Europe, Fnatic and G2, by beating them both in best of fives in the spring and summer playoffs of 2021. 

The one seed from Europe has made the finals in two of the last three world championships, in 2018 and 2019. This will be their first world appearance and second time representing Europe at an international event. Their first international appearance was at the 2021 mid-season invitational, where they took Damwon to a game five in the semi-finals but eventually lost.

The last team that I could see winning or at least making the championship would be the third seed from China and the 2021 MSI champion, RNG. If I was writing this five weeks ago I would most definitely have had RNG up there with the other big boys, but because of a slip in play recently I have to knock them down a peg. However, if we see a return to form from historically China’s most storied franchise, they very well could contend to win it all.