League of Legends’ crowning eSports event, the World Championship, will be held in Europe this year throughout the month of October. The three top teams from Korea, China, North America and Europe, two top teams from Taiwan, and two Wildcard teams will play in the tournament, to determine the best team in the World.
Lots of questions on regional strength will be answered at the event. China and Korea are both sending three teams that look worthy to compete on the grand stage, but European regional favorites Fnatic are considered one of the dark horses of the event and could make a run for the finals.
Introduction to League of Legends
For those that haven’t watched or played League of Legends, it is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) or action real time strategy (ARTS) game. Two teams take to the Rift to battle, the winner is the first to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus. To do that, players need to gain gold through last hitting autonomous minions, killing enemy champions, and destroying towers. They can also gain timed strength advantages by taking neutral objectives, like Dragon or Baron, alongside destroying inhibitors to spawn super minions that force waves of minions to crash into the enemy’s towers and base.
There are a diverse set of champions that offer different playstyles and advantages. All champions have three basic abilities, pre-set to Q, W, E on a keyboard. Another ability is unlocked once the player reaches level six, the ultimate, pre-set to R. Most abilities include active effects, like additional damage, healing or movement, but some have passive effects that do not need to be triggered.
Players also have two “summoners,” active abilities pre-set to D and F. These are standard across all champions, allowing players to heal, ghost, exhaust, barrier, cleanse, teleport, flash, ignite, and smite. Smite is a tool for jungle champions, or “Junglers” only, as it allows them to receive buffs from the neutral creeps.
The “meta” for LoL at the moment is a Top laner, Jungler, Mid laner, ADC, and Support. Each professional team has one player that is an expert at each of the five roles. The meta influences what champions are more viable in the current game. Even though LoL has 127 champions, including the recent release of Kindred, The Eternal Hunters, only a few are considered viable for professional play in each role.
The World Championship will played on Patch 5.18, which has a large set of updates to champions that may affect the metagame. Juggernauts, as coined by Riot Games, may play a big role in the championship with buffs to Garen, Darius, Skarner, and Mordekaiser, although all four received nerfs in the most recent patch.
Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, will hold the World Championship in four different European countries.
Group stages will be held at the Le Dock Pullman in Paris. There will be two three day events for groups, on October 1 – 4 and October 8 – 11.
We then head to London for the quarter finals at SSE Arena Wembley, which will take place on October 15 – 18. The semi finals will take place in Belgium at the Brussels Expo on October 24 – 25, and the grand finals will be held in the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany on October 31.
The group stages are best-of-one double round robin with four teams in one group. The two winners advance to the quarter finals. All games after the groups are best-of-five, considered the best format for finding the better team in League of Legends.
How To Watch
The games start with Fnatic vs Invictus Gaming at 3:30PM (all times GMT) on October 1. The broadcast will end at 8:30, after five best-of-one matches. Each game will last on average 35 minutes. After the match is over, Riot normally interviews a player from the winning team and allows the analyst desk to discuss the match and bring up key points for the audience.
On Saturday and Sunday (October 3 – 4), the broadcast will start at 1PM, two hours earlier. The next week, Thursday and Friday (October 8 – 9) will again start at 1PM, with the Saturday (October 10) broadcast starting at 11AM and Sunday starting even earlier at 9AM.
How To Get Tickets
Tickets are almost entirely sold out for all of the events, but for people wanting to attend there are ways to buy tickets from resellers at a higher price. The semi-finals and finals are going for over £100 currently, double the original price, but may drop in price closer to the date.
The ticket seller did not add fraud prevention, allowing a ticket re-seller to buy thousands of tickets with a bot. This should mean that a lot of the tickets are on the market, but they will be at a higher price. Remember to check for travel and hotel stay if you’re booking multiple days of tickets.
Considered the weakest group out of the four, Group A will have North America’s first seed Counter Logic Gaming, Taiwan’s second seed Flash Wolves, Korea’s second seed KOO Tigers, and one of the two International Wildcard (IW) teams, Brazil’s Pain Gaming.
KOO Tigers did not look as dominant as they did in the spring split, but still managed to grab second overall with a strong performance in the middle of the summer split, acquiring eight straight wins. CLG showed up at the end of the season with a strong spike in power, managing to defeat rivals Team SoloMid in a straight 3 – 0 at the NA LCS finals.
Players to Watch
Back in season two, DoubleLift was one of the best AD carries in the world, renowned for his impressive skill on multiple champions. He has been waiting for his chance to shine on an international stage for two years, and hopefully he impresses at this year’s World Championship.
The best Top laner in the group, it will be interesting to see what Smeb picks in the group stages. KOO Tigers coach Nofe has previously designed compositions around weird champion picks, and we would be surprised if KOO didn’t come up with some weird strategies involving Smeb.
One of the best Supports in the Taiwanese league, SwordArt offers a large champion pool with picks like Thresh, Leona, Braum, and Alistar. He is also capable of working with his team to establish vision and attempt smart ganks on the Top and Mid, providing his team with advantages in the mid-game.
Group B is considerably stronger than Group A, featuring the Europe’s first seed Fnatic, China’s third seed Invictus Gaming, Taiwan’s first seed AHQ and North America’s third seed Cloud 9.
Fnatic went on a nearly undefeated run in the summer split of EU LCS, reaching 21 undefeated games in the regular season and playoffs before dropping two games in a best-of-five against Origen. Invictus Gaming and Cloud 9 both peaked at the end of the summer split. IG beat Vici Gaming and Edward Gaming to gain third place. Cloud 9 won three straight best-of-fives against Gravity, Team Impulse, and Team Liquid.
Players To Watch
One of the best Junglers in the world, KaKAO amazed everyone with his incredible run in the OGN Summer 2014 tournament on KT Arrows, where they beat favorite Samsung Blue. Even though KaKAO missed his chance to go to the World Championship last year, he returns on Invictus Gaming with his KT Arrows’ teammate RooKie.
Despite his team being ranked unanimously fourth in the group by almost all pundits, Sneaky stands out as one of best AD carries in the West. His performance on multiple champions throughout C9’s playoff run showed his potential to push the team forward and win some games against arguably better teams.
The best Top laner in the West, Huni has shown a wide selection of champions that he can play to a high level, alongside offering team orientated picks that push Mid laner Febiven and ADC Rekkles forward. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against some of the Top laners internationally.
Group C is the rematch of MSI finals between SK Telecom T1 and Edward Gaming. While SKT have improved and went onto a 17 -1 season, EDG slumped in the playoffs losing to both LGD and IG. Pundits still have EDG as one of the strongest teams at Worlds, and with H2K and Bangkok Titans the two MSI finalists are both expected to make it out without issue.
Players To Watch
Considered the greatest player ever to play League of Legends, SKT Mid laner Faker won the World Championship in season three by carrying his team to the finals. Even though his team slumped during season four, Faker maintained a solid level of play and returned with a revamped roster in 2015 to surpass all competition.
He is known as a master of almost all champions, pulling out off-meta picks like Irelia and Master Yi against the best teams in Korea. His understanding of champion damage and skillshot accuracy is sensational to watch, along with his ability to dodge almost all skillshots from the enemy team. Faker will most likely be the headline for another World Championship.
Originally not seen as particularly mechanically gifted, Deft shone in the latter stages of S4 with amazing positional play on champions like Kog’Maw, Corki, and Ezreal. Now, playing for Edward Gaming, Deft has shown an aggressive side capable of pushing the team forward, but will need to perform at a higher level to be considered on the same tier as his ex-sister teammate Imp.
One of the best Supports in the EU LCS, KaSing is recognized as one of the main reasons for H2K’s growth into a top three team. His smart vision control around objectives and ability to get Ryu and Odoamne rolling allows H2K to survive a rough early game.
Named the ‘Group of Death’ by pundits, Group D has two of the best teams in the world in LGD and KT Rolster, first seed from China and third seed from Korea, alongside the third seed from Europe and the second seed from North America. TSM is a favorite across the world, but most expect the team to not win a game considered the amount of talent in the group.
Players To Watch
Possibly the best Top laner at this tournament, Ssumday has a lot riding on his performance at this event. He has already shown exceptional play on champions like Riven, Yasuo, and Maokai in the LCK, but needs to transition that performance into the World Championship.
The best AD carry at the tournament, Imp has shown impeccable performance during his time at LGD. After winning the World Championship with Samsung White last year, Imp was cast into the shadows with Jungler Dandy and Support Mata receiving most of the acclaim for the victory, but has burst out of that shadow with his new Chinese team, showing he can compete without his Samsung buddies.
A great veteran Top laner, SoAZ should not be underestimated in the Group of Death. His performance in the playoffs of the EU LCS was incredible, winning Origen games against Fnatic with his Gangplank. With all of the changes in the Top lane meta, we expect SoAZ to pull off some wacky style of play that seems counterproductive, but manages to outplay the enemy Top laner.