Anyone familiar with eSports and eSports betting will have heard of League of Legends (LoL). As one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, it is often used in major tournaments where the best teams showcase their talents. Now, the League of Legends World Championships are just around the corner, and excitement is building.
In the game, each of the 5 LoL esports team members assumes the role of a Summoner, who takes control of a Champion with unique abilities. A game is won by destroying the opposing team’s Nexus, which is the main structure at the heart of the base. The Nexus is surrounded by defensive structures and other defensive mechanisms. While there are plenty of LOL tournaments and matches throughout the year, the biggest and most important event is the upcoming Championship.
The Event Structure
This year, the 2018 League of Legends World Championships will kick off on the 1st of October with South Korea hosting the competition. The event is culmination of the LOL 2018 competitive season, with only the best teams from around the globe qualifying for the tournament. In 2018, there are 24 professional teams participating, 12 of which gain automatic qualification into the group stage.
The structure of the event is designed to create the most competitive selection of teams from each region. There are 3 ways a team can ensure their spot at the tournament. Winners of their regional titles gain qualification, as do the LoL eSports teams with the highest season points. Teams that reached the regional finals are given the chance to compete in the Play-in stage.
Play-in Stage Qualifiers
The League of Legends World Championships consists of multiple rounds. The first round, which will start on the 1st of October is the Play-in round which ultimately decides which of the lower seeded teams join in with the main event. The 12 teams competing in the Play-in stage include:
- Edward Gaming
- Dire Wolves
- Bahçeşehir SuperMassive
- Ascension Gaming
- Cloud 9
- KaBuM! e-Sports
- DetonatioN FocusMe
- Kaos Latin Gamers
The League of Legends eSports Play-in Stage sees each team playing in a double round robin where the 12 teams are split into 4 groups of 3 teams each. This means that each team will face their group members twice before advancing to the knockouts. This year, the Play-in matches will be held in Seoul with a best of one structure. After the 4 days, the 2 top teams in each group will move on to the Play-in Knockouts while the third team is eliminated.
In the knockouts, the highest ranked team from one group will play the second place team from a different group. Again the structure is a double round robin, but this time, the matches are best of five. If you want to catch the knockout action, the matches will be played on the 6th and 7th of October.
The winner of each League of legends eSports match in the Play-in knockout stage will move on to the Group stage to join the 12 teams that have automatically qualified. This year, the qualifiers include:
- kt Rolster
- Team Liquid
- Gen G
- Team Vitality
- Flash Wolves
- Afreeca Freecs
- 1000 Thieves
- MAD Team
- Royal Never Give Up
- Phong Vũ Buffalo
- Invictus Gaming
The Group Stage is where the competition starts heating up. It often happens that a qualifier from the Play-in stage will upset one of the most prominent teams, even though, they don’t’ go on to win the event. The 16 teams are split into 4 groups of 4, which are randomly selected. Staring on the 10th of October, each LoL eSports team plays a double round robin event facing off against their group opponents twice. The matches will mostly take place in Busan, South Korea.
The final knockout stage of the League of Legends World Championships will get underway on the 20th of October where the top 8 teams compete in the quarterfinals. This is a single elimination event with a best of 5 setup. The winning team then moves on to the semi-finals. Starting in Busan, the event then moves to Gwangju and finally Incheon.
The League of Legends eSports semi-finals will also be a best of 5 event, where the 4 teams compete to be in the finals. Held over 2 days, each team has an entire day to prepare and compete. The 2 winners from the semi-finals then move on to the Championship Final. This is the highest honour a team can achieve in the world of eSports, and especially in LoL. Such is the status of the Championship that the prize money for 2018 is over 2 million Euros.
What to Expect in 2018?
Last year, the final SK Telecom T1 took on Samsung Galaxy in the finals. After being the reigning LoL eSports champions for two years running, SK Telecom T1 fumbled and lost the finals 3-0 to Samsung Galaxy who were runners up in 2017. This year neither team is in the qualifiers list, leaving the door open for Royal Never Give Up who were semi-finalists in 2017. The winner of this years League of Legends World Championships receive the Summoner’s Cup and ultimate bragging rights.