The 2021 League of Legends World Championship (aka Worlds) kicks off tomorrow, October fifth, marking the start of a month-long event the place 22 of one of the best League of Legends groups will face off to take residence the Summoner’s Cup.

Whereas Worlds is likely one of the largest esports competitions on the planet, League of Legends isn’t precisely the best sport to start out watching. This time of yr is likely one of the greatest instances to leap in, although, as you get to see one of the best groups at their peak.

If you wish to be taught extra in regards to the sport — or are a longtime fan who simply needs to know extra about Worlds earlier than it begins — we’ve put collectively this primer for you.

What’s Worlds?

Worlds is the concluding event within the League of Legends esports yr. Groups from across the globe have certified for the occasion after having profitable seasons of their native leagues. Consider it form of just like the Champions League in soccer; all yr lengthy, groups compete regionally for the possibility to face off in opposition to one of the best from different areas.

This yr, Worlds takes place in Reykjavík, Iceland, on the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting area. The situation implies that if you happen to’re within the US, video games would possibly happen within the morning or early afternoon.

No followers might be in attendance on the matches themselves because of COVID-19 restrictions. The occasion was initially going to happen in China, however League of Legends developer Riot Video games needed to transfer the placement within the eleventh hour because of journey restrictions and COVID protocols.

What are the principles?

Here’s a very fundamental clarification of League of Legends. It’s a technique sport pitting two groups of 5 “champions” in opposition to one another. Every champion is managed by one participant, and every has totally different talents. The purpose of a sport is for one crew to interrupt into the opposite crew’s base and destroy an enormous crystal, known as the Nexus.

Gamers can’t simply stroll in and whack on their opponent’s Nexus from the start of the sport, although. The bases are guarded by turrets that shoot highly effective magic power, auto-spawning soldier models that march towards the opposite crew’s base, and, after all, the enemy crew. Over the course of a sport, which generally lasts about 30-45 minutes, gamers will degree up, earn in-game cash to purchase gadgets, skirmish in opposition to the enemy crew, and, ultimately, assault the Nexus.

I’m glossing over a number of what occurs in a typical League of Legends match, however that’s the gist of it. For a brief video explainer with extra element, try Riot’s introductory video made for final yr’s event. For a barely deeper dive, I like to recommend ESPN’s written article and video.

Who ought to I root for?

Like several sport, that’s not a straightforward query to reply. There are massive canines and underdogs, and also you would possibly determine to root for a crew based mostly on their identify, their emblem, or since you assume one participant is thrilling to observe.

If you wish to root for a US crew, there are three at Worlds this yr, representing the League Championship Collection (LCS): 100 Thieves, which just won the 2021 LCS Championship, Workforce Liquid, a constant powerhouse within the LCS, and Cloud9, probably the most storied groups within the league. (Cloud9 punched their ticket to Worlds by beating longtime rival TSM.) Europe is represented by League of Legends European Championship (LEC) groups MAD Lions, Rogue, and Fnatic. (Fnatic additionally earned their Worlds journey in dramatic vogue, beating one among its rivals, G2 Esports.)

They’ll be up in opposition to some powerful competitors, although. Final yr’s champions, Korea’s Damwon Gaming, have certified once more, as has Korea’s T1, the house of maybe probably the most well-known League of Legends participant of all time, Faker. The 4 groups from China’s League of Legends Professional League (LPL), together with the 2019 world champions FunPlus Phoenix and LPL 2021 champions Edward Gaming, might show to be formidable opponents as effectively.

Dot Esports has a superb rundown of the 22 teams that have qualified for Worlds.

Match Format

Play-Ins

Competitors begins with Play-Ins, the place 10 groups will compete for 4 spots within the Group Stage. The ten groups might be break up into two teams of 5. Every crew will play one match in opposition to the opposite groups of their group.

The crew with one of the best file in every group routinely strikes on to the Group Stage. To find out who will get the ultimate two Group Stage spots, the third- and fourth-place groups in every group will play in opposition to one another, after which, the winners of these matches will play the second-place groups in every Play-In group. Whoever wins advances to the Group Stage.

Play-Ins kick off at 7AM ET on October fifth and can run via October ninth.

Group Stage

The Group Stage pits one of the best groups on the planet in opposition to one another in 4 teams of 4. Three groups in every group have already been locked in, and one among every of the Play-In victors might be added to the teams.

Every crew will play one another crew of their group twice. The 2 groups with one of the best file in every group will transfer on to the Knockout Stage, which is the ultimate stage of the event main as much as the championship match.

Teams go on for a bit longer than the Play-Ins. The primary spherical of matches runs from October eleventh via the thirteenth, whereas the second takes place from October fifteenth via the 18th.

Knockout Stage

Lastly, there’s the Knockout Stage, the place the highest eight groups from Teams vie for the championship. On this stage, groups will compete in a single-elimination bracket, taking part in one another in best-of-five matchups.

The video games happen over three weekends: a quarterfinals spherical set for October twenty second via twenty fifth, a semifinals spherical scheduled for October thirtieth and thirty first, and the finals match on November sixth to find out the world champion.

In the event you don’t tune into anything, take into account testing the Knockout Stage. The excessive caliber of groups which have superior that far are nearly at all times price watching. That doesn’t imply there aren’t blowouts or mismatches — the champions in each 2018 and 2019 received in 3-0 sweeps — however you possibly can anticipate to see some very thrilling matchups throughout these three weekends of the event.

The best way to watch and schedule

You’ll be able to watch video games stay on the Riot Games Twitch channel, the League of Legends esports YouTube channel, and at https://lolesports.com/. And if you wish to see the complete schedule, it’s right here.

And don’t miss out on the cool graphics

Riot normally makes use of Worlds to placed on a spectacular present that may be as attention-grabbing because the competitors itself. The 2017 Worlds finals ceremony included a giant virtual dragon. 2019’s opening ceremony featured holograms. And final yr, Riot made an astonishing blended actuality stage. Annually, Riot appears to do every little thing it might to prime the final, so it certainly has some spectacular technological wizardry up its sleeve for the 2021 occasion.

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