Worlds is the most exciting League of Legends event of the year with all the best teams from the top regions competing for $2.1 million...
What is League of Legends?
League of Legends is a PC game that pits two teams of five players against each other.
Players pick their chosen characters at the start of each game, and must destroy the enemy’s base (or Nexus) before theirs is taken.
Players must work together to destroy enemy towers and pick up kills along the way.
The more kills and towers they claim, the more gold they will amass, allowing them to buy new items and make their characters stronger.
Games can typically last anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour or so, but are usually finished by around 30 to 40 minutes.
A full match usually consists of three games, and in latter stages of a tournament matches are usually a best-of-five.
The game has built up an enormous following – it now has 100 million players – and its own competitive eSports scene. You can now even place bets on professional matches.
How does it compare to football and other sports?
For one, League of Legends always has the same playing environment.
Like a football pitch, the in-game arena (known as Summoner’s Rift) is always the same shape for each match that is played.
But unlike a football pitch, the Rift is a square shape, with three core ‘lanes’ of play.
A lane along the left and top of the square, a diagonal lane through the middle, and a lane running on the bottom and right of the square.
One team’s Nexus is at the bottom left while the other is at the top-right.
Instead of defenders, midfielders and strikers, you will usually have a marksman and support player in the bottom lane, a mid-laner, a top-laner and a jungler, who will typically roam around the map and make surprise attacks to help their teammates.
Some of the most exciting parts of a game could be a Pentakill (one player taking down all five opponents in one go), another narrowly escaping death, or a losing team turning it around right at the end to snatch a win against the odds.
You could compare these moments to scoring a skillful goal in football, saving a penalty or seeing Wigan Athletic beating Manchester City in the FA cup final.
Who are the best players?
Like any sport, there are professional players and teams in League of Legends that have their own fans and critics.
Some of the players regarded among the world’s best include South Korea mid-laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and top-laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, who play for SKT Telecom T1 and the Rox Tigers respectively.
Think of these as the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of League of Legends.
In terms of the West, North American outfit Team SoloMid is one of the most well-known organisations.
It features American marksman Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, and one of Europe’s best players – Danish mid-laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, to highlight a few.
What is the World Championship and who are the best teams?
The League of Legends World Championship (aka Worlds) features 16 of the best teams, split into four groups.
The tournament gets underway on Thursday September 29th at 4pm Los Angeles time (in the UK it starts at 12am midnight on Friday September 30th).
The favourites for Group A are undoubtedly the Rox Tigers, while G2, the number one seed from Europe, are expected to perform strongly.
But don’t rule out long-running NA organisation CLG or Russian side Albus Nox Luna.
Group B has reigning champions SK Telecom T1 from South Korea (think the Barcelona of League of Legends), Taiwan’s Flash Wolves, China’s I May and NA’s Cloud9.
While Flash Wolves are expected to finish second, I May and Cloud9 will be looking to cause an upset.
Moving onto Group C, China’s Edward Gaming will likely top this group, and you bet that Taiwanese organisation AHQ e-Sports Club will put up a fight.
H2K is the only organisation technically based in London who are participating at Worlds, and alongside Brazilian team INTZ, they hope to make things difficult for Edward Gaming and AHQ.
Finally, Group D features Europe’s Splyce, China’s Royal Never Give Up, NA’s TSM and South Korea’s Samsung Galaxy.
Splyce have already admitted they are “just here to learn”, but things might get close between the other teams. This could prove to be one of the more exciting groups at Worlds.