Twenty-fourt of the best League of Legends teams are about to come together and compete in this year’s World Championship competition. Maybe you’re someone who likes a good wager and you’ve found yourself placing bets on who will win it all. Maybe you’re new to competitive League of Legends and you simply don’t know which players are “good” nor which team to root for. In either case, if you’ve already read our recent Worlds introduction article then you can use this guide here to help you assess which teams have a shot at making it to the final stages of the tournament.
Play-In Group A
If you’ve been following the Korean pro-scene even a little bit this year (or if you’ve browsed the League of Legends subreddit even once) then you’ve probably heard of Chovy. The “Hanwha Life Esports” midlaner has made quite the highlight reel for himself all year, so it’s not a stretch to say HLE is a favorite to make it through Play-Ins.
“Li-Ning Gaming” won’t be too far behind with Tarzan as their jungler either. Back in 2019 while on the South Korean team "Griffin", Tarzan lost in the LCK finals in both summer and spring splits to “T1”. Tarzan’s dreams of vengeance might be enough to get LNG out of their Play-In group so he has a chance to settle his vendetta against T1 in the Group Stage of the competition.
Play-In Group B
Just based on statistics alone, “Cloud 9” is historically the best performing North American team on the Worlds stage. While C9 might not have had the performance they would have hoped for during LCS Summer which put them in a Play-In position, it’s still a safe bet to say they’re the strongest team in their group. Their jungler Blaber has achieved praise from his peers and analysts alike while their midlaner Perkz is no stranger to overcoming the odds against international opponents.
Taking the definition of “wildcard” to heart, the Japanese team “DetonatioN FocusMe” proved at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational that underdogs really can’t be counted out. Not only did they take a game off C9, but they also put up a serious fight against defending champions “DAMWON Gaming” - a match that almost everyone thought would be a blowout. Fresh from their first place win in their regional league, DFM will be looking to show that they can handle the weight of international competition and their surprise run at MSI 2021 wasn’t just a fluke.
Group Stage - Group A
This “group of death” has to be the toughest group of the whole tournament...and for good reason. You have DWG who are the defending world champions fresh from their victory in LCK Summer, plus you have “FunPlus Phoenix” with Doinb and Nuguri at the top of their rankings for their respective roles of mid and top. That’s a lot of pressure for any team that got drawn into this group, which unfortunately was the case for LEC’s 3rd place team “Rogue” (who got placed into the hardest group last year as well). Despite going a disappointing 1-5 at Worlds last year, it’s possible that it’s too early to count out Rogue just yet as they’re sure to have a few surprises prepared.
Group Stage - Group B
T1 and “EDward Gaming” are for sure the favorites out of this group. After failing to qualify to Worlds last year, T1 and their infamous midlaner Faker are back and are coming to show they haven’t fallen off like the community says they have. Don’t fall into the hivemind mentality that Faker has “too small of a champion pool” to compete with the likes of Chovy, Doinb, and DWG’s ShowMaker. Faker still has the most international success and tournament experience out of almost anyone, so he’ll be looking to lead his team out of Group B and into the finals in redeeming fashion. However, sometimes you have to look at the present, not the past, and right now EDG’s Viper, not Faker, is the man to beat out of this group. Coming in as potentially the best ADC in the world right now, it’s time EDG reminds people why they should be feared in international competition.
But who’s to say “100 Thieves” doesn’t have a shot? As the #1 seed coming out of North America, 100T will be looking to prove all the doubters wrong about LCS’ performance internationally. To be fair, “Team Solomid” was the #1 seed last year at Worlds from the LCS and they went 0-6 in their group. Hopefully 100T doesn’t repeat history and they’re able to overcome their odds with some upset wins.
Group Stage - Group C
This group might be the toughest to call because no team here is a pushover. Based on statistics and strengths, “Royal Never Give Up” is the team to beat here. Xiaohu (top) and GALA (ADC) are some of the best talents the LPL has to offer and it would take some serious underperforming to even consider them not making it out. Then the question is who’s stronger between “PSG Talon” and “Fnatic”. Sure PSG has Maple, River, and Hanabi, all of whom have had a great 2021 winning both PCS Spring and Summer, but is that enough to rank them over Fnatic? Bwipo has one of the most successful debut role-swaps in history going from top to jungle while Nisqy’s return to EU has been met with nothing but praise. Time will tell if those factors alone will be enough.
Group Stage - Group D
This is another hard group to call, but we’re leaning towards “Gen.G Esports” and “MAD Lions” (sorry "Team Liquid"). Gen.G honestly doesn’t get enough credit for the strength of the roster that they have. Not only has Clid been a consistent rock for the team, lets not forget that their ADC Ruler is a Worlds champion himself having won with “Samsung Galaxy” back in 2017. But again, we have to extrapolate from the present, not necessarily the past, and the present tells us that the Lions are playing at top shape having won LEC Spring and Summer this year. This is especially true considering Elyoya (jungle), Humanoid (mid), and Kaiser (support) might be the strongest players of their respective roles coming out of Europe.