The League of Legends World Championship is the culminating event of the LoL Esports season, during which the ultimate League of Legends Global Champion is determined. Worlds 2022 will take place from September 29 to November 5, 2022 in North America.
The various stages of LoL Worlds ’22 will take place in four different locations: Chase Center (San Francisco), State Farm Arena (Atlanta), Madison Square Garden (New York) and Arena Esports Stadium (Mexico City).
This year, the event is finally hosting a live audience throughout the event. Read our article on how to get LoL Worlds tickets .
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As the League of Legends scene and player base grew, especially with the growing interest in esports, the League of Legends championship followed. Compared to the first iteration, which featured only eight teams, mostly from the EU or North America, LoL Worlds 2021 will feature twenty-two teams from around the world. The steady growth of teams has led Riot Games to extend the tournament format several times.
The World Championship currently consists of three competitive stages: Play-Ins, Group Stage and Knockouts.
Both the Play-In and the group stage are played in a round robin group format. The play-off stage is played in a one-elimination play-off format in which best-of-five series play.
Table of Contents
HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The first LoL Worlds took place back in 2011 at DreamHack in Sweden. Team Fnatic became the first League of Legends world champions. Since then, six different teams have won the trophy, with SKT T1 being the only team to achieve the triple crown. For the next season, Riot Games ordered a winner’s trophy (the Summoner’s Cup) that weighs over 70 pounds. Raising the Summoner’s Cup is the highest achievement for all novice players and athletes of the League. In addition, the World Championship offers a huge prize pool in excess of US$10,000,000.
Beginning in 2011, the tournament went through several changes over the years. The prize pool, venue, competing teams and ruleset are constantly being adapted and adjusted as the tournament grows. Since 2014, Riot Games has released an official event song to coincide with their Worlds event. An overview of LoL Worlds songs can be found in the following article.
The ever-increasing demand for League of Legends action only helps ensure that the event continues to grow in the future. Let’s now take a look at all previous seasons of the League of Legends World Championship.
RIOT SEASON 1 CHAMPIONSHIP
THE FIRST LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: THE BEGINNING OF THE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS ERA
The first World Championship, known as the Season One Championship, took place from June 18 to 21, 2011 at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden. With a total prize pool of $100,000, eight teams from North America, Southeast Asia and Europe took part in the tournament. Over 1.6 million viewers watched the event live, including over 210,000 in the latter stages. It was the Fnatic team that walked away with a victory after meeting Against All Authority in the final.
The tournament featured some of the current top League of Legends teams. Players such as Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid were in attendance, along with well-known esports organizations such as Epik Gaming, Gamed!de, Team Pacific and Xan.
Having not suffered a single defeat in the upper bracket, Fnatic were the favorites on the way to the final. aAa were defeated by Fnatic in the early stages, and the final was a step forward for the French organization. Fnatic took home the $50,000 winning prize pool with Team SoloMid taking third place.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2
Following the success of the first season, Riot Games announced that $5 million would be paid out during the season two championship. Riot partners such as the IGN Pro League received $2 million, with another $2 million going towards the Riot Season 2 qualifiers. The rest of the funds will go to organizers who hosted select independent LoL tournaments during the calendar year.
The Season 2 Championship was held in October 2012 in Los Angeles and was once again the final competition of the League of Legends season. Twelve teams took part in the tournament, four more than in the first season. Korean and Chinese teams participated for the first time.
At the time, the event offered a generous $2 million prize pool, the largest in all of esports at the time. The grand final was held at USC on October 13 in front of over 10,000 fans. Over 8 million esports fans from around the world watched the competition throughout the competition, including 1.1 million during the final.
The Taiwanese team Taipei Assassins won by defeating the South Korean Azuba Frost. The 3-1 victory earned the Taiwanese team $1 million in prize money, with the Moscow Five finishing in third place after defeating CLG Europe in the playoffs.
The tournament will be remembered for all the controversy surrounding it. The event’s format, cheating, and technical issues plagued the event from the start. Teams such as the reigning champions Fnatic and Azubu Blaze skipped the tournament, opting to compete in IGN Pro League 5 instead. In addition, Azubu Frost player Jang Gong Un was caught cheating while watching the big screen at the Galen Center with his team receiving a $30,000 fine as a result.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 3
FIRST SK TELECOM T1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The League of Legends World Championship Season 3 Grand Final was held on October 4, 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In total, 14 best League of Legends teams took part in the event. Korea’s SK Telecom T1 became the champion, taking home the Summoner’s Cup and US$1 million in prize money. Other competing teams included Fnatic, Lemondogs, OMG, Royal Club and Gambit Gaming.
The 2013 World Cup Final was watched by over 32 million people, significantly more than the 2012 Final. Tickets for this final were sold out in just an hour.
As with the Season 2 Championship, Riot Games chose the four teams that won their respective regional competitions while the other competitors battled it out in the group stage. The top two teams in the groups advanced to the next round. The second round consisted of the winners of the regional playoffs and the winners of the group stages in a best-of-three elimination match.
While SK Telecom and Royal Club came in second and second respectively, NaJin Black Sword and Fnatic came in third and fourth. SKT’s victory over RYL started a rivalry between the two teams for years to come. It even set the stage for intense competition between the two main regions, Korea and China.
SK Telecom T1 remains one of the best teams in League of Legends to this day, and Faker is still signed to this day, continuing to be one of, if not the best player in the world.
2014 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
THE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HAS BEEN RENAMED
In 2014, Riot Games decided to rebrand the competition, changing its name to the League of Legends World Championship. Unlike previous events, the 2014 tournament was held in different regions before the Grand Final was held in Seoul, South Korea.
Sixteen qualifier teams have been successful by winning a major professional league such as the Mid-Season Invitational or a regional qualifier. After that, a round-robin tournament was played with the participation of sixteen teams, after which the remaining eight teams took part in the playoffs of the competition.
The competition was once again dominated by Asian teams, with Samsung Galaxy White winning their first ever LoL World Championship. Second place was once again taken by the Chinese royal club StarHorn. The semi-finals were all Korean and Chinese, with Samsung Galaxy Blue and Oh My God placing third and fourth respectively. The Grand Final was attended by a record 40,000 viewers, as well as approximately 280 million views on television and through online platforms such as Youtube and Twitch.
There was more controversy in 2014 when SK Gaming player Dennis “Svenskeren” Jonsen caused a storm by acting in a race-insensitive manner while playing on a Taiwanese server. The Dane was fined $2,500 and suspended for the first three matches of his team’s tournament.
In the 2014 League of Legends World Championship, the gap between Western (EU/NA) and Eastern (CN/KR) teams widened. It will take years for Europe and North America to reach the strength of the eastern regions. Once again, the US$2 million prize pool was shared among all participating teams.
2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
THE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RETURNS TO EUROPE
For the first time since opening in 2011, the LoL Worlds schedule returned to Europe in 2014. London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin have been chosen to host the different stages of the competition. International wildcards Bangkok Titans and paIN Gaming have joined the usual suspects.
While many were expecting a serious challenge from 2011 winners Fnatic, after their 18-0 record in the EU LCS Summer Split and battling SKT T1 for five games at the Mid-Season Invitational, the European team will have to come to terms. for third place. The Best of China also fell short of expectations this year. The North American representatives of Team SoloMid did not stand aside either.
SK Telecom T1, who claimed their second world title by defeating their South Korean rivals KOO Tigers in the final. The finale is estimated to have received 36 million views.
By this event, controversy and technical problems had become a staple of every World Cup. Cloud9’s Hai Lam was fined $500 for making an offensive hand gesture at an opponent during the group stage. In addition, an in-game bug involving Fnatic’s Kim Woo-jin occurred which prevented their matches from being completed. Riot Games also decided to pull the character “Gragas” from the rest of the tournament along with “Lux” and “Ziggs”.
2016 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The League of Legends World Championship 2016 is the sixth round of the LoL Worlds series, which took place from September 29 to October 29 in the USA. Sixteen teams again qualified for the tournament.
South Korean super team SKT once again won the trophy. With the likes of “Faker” and “Bengi” in their roster, they led their team to a hard-fought victory over rivals Samsung Galaxy in the finals. In the end, with a 3-2 win, Faker was named the MVP of the tournament and the team also took home over $2.6 million in prize money.
SKT T1 became the first three-time world champions with their victory.
The final was watched by over 43 million people worldwide, and its success was considered vital to encourage those in charge of Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics to include an esports presentation in their pitch. The 2016 World Championship offered the largest prize pool in League of Legends history, and only ” The International ” from the world of Dota 2 could compete with such numbers at the time.
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Following the success of the 2016 event, LoL Worlds 2017 was held in four different cities in China. It was also a strategic decision given the significant growth of League of Legends in China, giving hope to fans that their home teams could finally win the League of Legends World Championship.
SK Telecom T1 claimed a third title in a row, given the fact that the South Koreans had already won the Mid-Season Invitational this year. The 2017 World Cup promised to be an explosive event, with host fans clamoring to end their dominance of the competition. Unfortunately for the Chinese, the Koreans once again took the lead in the Leaderboards, with Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom coming in first and second respectively.
NEW LOL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT
In the same year, a Play-in stage was added to the event. Due to the growth of the tournament, 24 teams representing 13 League of Legends professional leagues were invited. LoL Worlds 2017 took place from September 23rd to November 4th . Teams from Brazil, China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Latin America, North America, Oceania, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Turkey made up the competing teams, expectedly bringing together the majority of the best players from their respective regions.
The final was to be held at the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, a former Olympic venue. Although the number of spectators at the play-in stage was lower than for the rest of the tournament, this was expected and was still well received by the fans. In addition, Riot Games has once again increased the prize pool offered to successful teams with a base amount of $2,250,000 plus crowdfunding donations for World Cup themed purchases in the in-game store. The final prize pool reached $4,940,000, a fitting end to the 2017 season.
WORLD CUP 2018
The 2018 League of Legends World Championship was held exclusively in Korea at various venues across the country. The play-in stage started in Seoul, the capital of Korea. He then moved to Busan to compete in the group stage and quarter-finals. Unusually, the semi-finals were held in the Gwangju Women’s Universiade Gym. The final ended in Incheon at the largest venue of all, with a capacity of 50,000 people.
Following the format of LoL Worlds 2017, a play-in stage was included before the main event, to which a total of 24 teams from all over the world were invited. Teams competed for a share of approximately $6,450,000, the largest prize pool in League of Legends history to date.
Always the strongest region, Korean teams took first and second place in the 2017 League of Legends World Championship. This led to the 2018 League of Legends Worlds event going to Korea. It also allowed Korean teams that qualified from the LCK to directly qualify to the main group stage, skipping the preliminary stage that teams from some other regions were supposed to participate in.
Despite a fairly strong performance in the group stage, the Korean teams, to the surprise of many, flew into the quarterfinals. This paved the way for North America or Europe to finally reach the final (for the first time since the first season) and get a chance to win the championship. In the end, everything was in vain.
KOREA LOST FIRST PLACE?
Obviously, Korea was not the strongest region in 2018. The region was showing signs of weakening, with SKT consistently losing and not even qualifying for the LoL World Championship. For the first time since 2016, a Korean team failed to take first place in the Mid-Season Invitationals. However, KT Rolster had poor matches, facing Invictus Gaming in the quarterfinals losing 2–3 while Invictus won the championship.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2019
Rumors returned to Europe, stopping in Germany for the play-in and group stages, moving to Spain for the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and ending in Paris, France for the final.
The prize pool was set at $2,250,000 (base). The sale of LoL Worlds passes and special League of Legends World Championship skins was supposed to increase the prize pool, but as of today, we do not know the exact amount.
No changes were made to the format of the 2019 World Cup. 24 teams from all over the world, including; The event was attended by China, Korea, Europe, North America, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Vietnam, Brazil, CIS, Japan, Latin America, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Turkey. Given that Invictus Gaming won the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, all of China’s qualifiers failed to make it through the play-in stage.
With both the European and Korean teams looking strong, the 2019 World Cup was the most competitive event to date. G2 Esports, who won the Mid-season Invitationals 2019, made it to the final to face the LPL Champions FunPlus Phoenix.
All the hopes of Europe were tied to G2 winning the trophy on home soil. In the end, FunPlus won the final, beating the EU challengers 3-0.
2020 SEASON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2020 World Championship was conceived as a traveling road show across China. The final was to be held at the Pudong Football Stadium in Shanghai. However, due to the growing global crisis, the event was reduced to Shanghai. All players had to undergo a long period of quarantine and medical examinations before arriving in China.
Also, the original 24-team format had to be changed due to the Vietnamese teams canceling their participation. Adjustments were made to the preliminary game and the group stage, in particular, all Korean teams advanced directly to the group stage.
Pre-tournament favorites TOP Esports and JD Gaming lost out at the event as a new rising superstar team was established at Suning. Ultimately, it was the LCK that reigned supreme and regained the League of Legends dominance they had lost two years earlier. Damwon Gaming became champions after dominating throughout the competition. They have only lost three matches in the entire 2020 World Cup.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2021
The 11th LoL Worlds was to be held in Shenzhen, China as the host city. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, a last-minute venue and venue change was announced. Reykjavik, Iceland was chosen as the venue. Worlds 2021 will take place at the same location as the Mid-Season Invitational earlier this year.
Once again, the original format of 24 teams had to be changed due to the Vietnamese teams canceling their participation. This time around, Rogue, who finished third in Europe, went straight into the group stage as a result.
Despite the move to the game in Reykjavik, it was China and the LPL that regained the World Cup trophy. EDward Gaming defeated DAMWON in the final, stopping the two-two-back title for the LCK. It became the fourth other LPL team to have their name engraved on the Summoner’s Cup. In addition, for four years in a row there has been an exchange between the Chinese LPL and the Korean LCK.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2022
The 2022 League of Legends World Championship is currently underway.