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For the second year running, the League of Legends World Championship was due to take place in China. A multi-city tour including five distinct locations from Shanghai in the opening stage of the tournament to Shenzhen in the finals had been planned.
But to accommodate as many teams as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Riot had to make the tough decision to pivot Worlds 2021 from China to Europe.
“We figured 2020 would be the hardest Worlds we ever had to produce,” Riot’s head of esports John Needham said on Aug. 24. “With vaccines being distributed worldwide this year, we anticipated a return to some sort of normal in 2021.
“Well, unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. With the Delta variant, travel restrictions and COVID protocols have been even more complicated to navigate in 2021 than they were in 2020.”
With China out of the question, Europe was the next best option for the end-of-year event. “After considering all potential options, we concluded that moving Worlds to Europe provided the best opportunity for the most teams, and their best players, to compete,” Needham said.
Worlds 2021—no matter the location—will bring together the top teams from 12 regions to compete for the Summoner’s Cup.
All in all, 24 teams are expected to face off at the event, including four teams from China and Korea, three teams from Europe and North America, two teams from Taiwan and Vietnam, and one team from each of CIS, Latin America, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, and Oceania.
Here are all of the teams attending Worlds 2021.
- FunPlus Phoenix (qualified for groups)
- EDG (qualified for groups)
FunPlus Phoenix clinched their first Worlds berth since winning it all in 2019. Their dominant semifinal sweep of WE ensured them a spot in the domestic finals and, at minimum, the highest amount of championship points of any team with 180.
EDG qualified for Worlds 2021 following a convincing win against Team WE in the LPL Summer Split semifinals. With 160 championship points, behind only FPX in the standings, the team advances straight to the group stage of the end-of-year event.
- DWG KIA (qualified for groups)
DWG automatically qualified for Worlds 2021 based on championship points gained over the season. A total of 190 points—90 from the Spring Split and 100 from the Summer Split—secured qualification for the reigning world champions.
Gen.G secured a spot at Worlds 2021 after picking up 150 championship points. A strong performance in the spring and summer regular seasons cushioned the blow for the team’s early exit in the playoffs.
T1 made it to Worlds 2021 despite setbacks throughout the season. A run through the Summer Split playoffs—beating SANDBOX in the quarterfinals and Gen.G in the semis—earned the team 100 championship points, adding to the 30 gained in spring.
- MAD Lions (qualified for groups)
- Fnatic (qualified for groups)
In a repeat performance of the LEC Spring Split playoffs, MAD Lions beat G2 Esports 3-1 to secure a spot at Worlds 2021. The former LEC champions left much to be desired in the best-of-five series.
Fnatic overcame long-time rivals G2 Esports to earn a spot at Worlds 2021. Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau’s switch from the top lane to the jungle paid dividends in the playoffs.
After placing first in the LEC summer regular season with a 13-5 record, a hard-fought win against Misfits was all Rogue needed to qualify for Worlds 2021. The addition of Odoamne in the top lane has been vital to the team’s success over the past eight months.
LCS (North America)
- 100 Thieves (qualified for groups)
- Team Liquid (qualified for groups)
For the first time since 2018, 100 Thieves qualified for Worlds after beating Evil Geniuses in the LCS Summer Split playoffs. A roster reshuffle in the offseason made a sizable difference to the team.
Team Liquid qualified for Worlds 2021 after a decisive 3-1 win over TSM in the LCS Summer playoffs. The team got it together when it mattered the most, despite issues with health, player management, and coaching staff throughout the split.
A return to form for spring champions Cloud9 saw the team qualify for Worlds 2021 after a narrow 3-2 win against TSM in the loser’s bracket of the Summer Split playoffs. NA’s most successful team will once again represent the region on the world stage.
- PSG Talon (qualified for groups)
- Beyond Gaming
PSG Talon were crowned the PCS champions following a flawless 18-0 run through the summer regular season. A nail-biting 3-2 win against Beyond Gaming in the grand final secured the storied squad a spot at Worlds 2021.
Beyond Gaming took down reigning champions PSG Talon in the semifinals in five games after overcoming a 2-1 deficit to punch their ticket to Worlds 2021. It is the org’s first Worlds appearance in as many years since acquiring the spot of ahq eSports Club in January.
LLA (Latin America)
A 3-2 win over Estral Esports in the LLA 2021 summer final saw Infinity Esports qualify for Worlds 2021. A multi-cultural blend of Uruguayan, Peruvian, Chilean, and Argentinian talent, the team will look to make their mark in Europe later this year.
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