The League of Legends World Championship – “Worlds”, as it’s often called – begins this week. To prepare for the event, we’ve put together a small beginners guide for those looking to enjoy the landmark event.
It’s a landmark because this iteration of Worlds is the 10th time the event has taken place, with the first being all the way back in 2010 when it was held at a Dreamhack event in Sweden. The European side, Fnatic won that event.
Now, 10 years on, the tournament is a behemoth compared to that first attempt. 22 teams from all corners of the globe have flown out to China to take part in the tournament that will hand out up to $5 Million in prize money.
So what do you need to know?
Where to watch
Your best bet is to tune into either Twitch or Youtube, as both platforms will be hosting a variety of streams in different languages to accommodate viewers from all over the world. But, for a full listing, head over to the lolesports website. We’ll post all the links below.
When to watch
Again, the easiest thing to do here is to head on over the lolesports website to find the full schedule, but we’ll break it down for you a little clearer here.
The tournament begins this Friday with the “play-ins”. These are, essentially, on-site qualifiers for the main event. The ten teams who almost, but didn’t quite make the cut, are placed into their own groups to see which four teams can grab the final spots left in the tournament.
LGD Gaming (China), Team Liquid (U.S), and MAD Lions (EU) are three of the favourites to progress here, and it’s MAD Lions who kick off the play-ins with their opener against Brazilian outfit, Intz. For those in the UK, that’ll be at 9 AM on Friday morning.
The play-ins run through to September 30, and once the four winners are found, Worlds takes a two-day break before returning with the group stage – and the start of the main tournament – on Saturday, October 3.
To make life even easier, a fan whipped up a handy plugin for your Google calendar. Import the entire Worlds 2020 schedule into your calendar to track every game, easily.
Who are the favourites – Will anyone from Europe or North America win?
The short answer is…probably not. But the longer answer is, well, maybe.
Betting sites currently have TOP Esports as the fairly heavy favourites for the event. The Chinese team are the best in their region and retain the services of Zhuo “Knight” Ding – considered one of the best players in the world. South Korean legend – and still one of the best in the world – Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok will not be competing this time around, giving Knight an opportunity to start building a legacy.
DAMWON Gaming, Gen.G, and DragonX will pose a threat out of South Korea, while TOP Esport’s countrymen in JD Gaming and Suning also have outside chances.
In the western world, the real hope is G2 Esports. The European side reached the final last year but was demolished by their Chinese opponents. Their roster hasn’t changed since that outing, and most will expect them to compete up to the Semi-Finals at least.
Fnatic, also European, pose an outside threat, but likely won’t have the talent to go all the way, while North American representatives TSM and Team Liquid will likely be satisfied with progression out of the group stage, rather than competing in the latter stages of the tournament.
Where is the event taking place? Isn’t COVID an issue?
COVID has presented a big issue for Worlds 2020, and as such, fans will not be in attendance for the live event. The players are, however, going to be playing from the same location in China.
As of the time of publication, all of the competing teams have arrived in Shanghai. Unfortunately, it was determined that no teams from Vietnam could attend the tournament, due to travel restrictions. Thus, Team Flash and GAM esports were replaced by Korea’s DragonX.
Teams who can compete have been quarantined at a hotel in China for 14 days. Players aren’t allowed to leave their rooms for any reason at all until the time period is over. Teams have been provided with computers to practice on, along with rudimentary fitness equipment, and a steady supply of meals delivered right to their doorsteps.
It’s certainly a different experience, and not unlike the “bubble” that has been employed to allow for the restart of the NBA.
We fully expect Worlds 2020 to be a spectacular event – regardless of the restrictions placed upon it by the COVID outbreak. This is one of the biggest events on the esports calendar, and anyone looking to learn more about the esports industry should be keeping on top of it.
In 2019, Worlds viewership peaked at 4 million concurrently, with an average viewership of 1 million at any given time. This is not an event to be ignored.
And with the lack of fans in-person, along with lockdowns and furlough keeping people indoors or working from home. We expect those numbers to be even higher this year.
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