For the second year running, the League of Legends World Championship was due to take place in China. A multi-city tour including five distinct locations from Shanghai in the opening stage of the tournament to Shenzhen in the finals had been planned.
But to accommodate as many teams as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Riot had to make the tough decision to pivot Worlds 2021 from China to Europe.
“We figured 2020 would be the hardest Worlds we ever had to produce,” Riot’s head of esports John Needham said on Aug. 24. “With vaccines being distributed worldwide this year, we anticipated a return to some sort of normal in 2021. Well, unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. With the Delta variant, travel restrictions and COVID protocols have been even more complicated to navigate in 2021 than they were in 2020.”
With China out of the question, Europe was the next best option for the end-of-year event. “After considering all potential options, we concluded that moving Worlds to Europe provided the best opportunity for the most teams, and their best players, to compete,” Needham said.
Worlds 2021—no matter the location—will bring together the top teams from 12 regions to compete for the Summoner’s Cup.
All in all, 24 teams are expected to face off at the event, including four teams from China and Korea, three teams from Europe and North America, two teams from Taiwan and Vietnam, and one team from each of CIS, Latin America, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, and Oceania.
Here are all of the teams attending Worlds 2021.
DWG KIA (qualified for group stage)
DWG qualified for Worlds 2021 based on championship points gained over the season. A total of 190 points—90 from the Spring Split and 100 from the Summer Split—secured qualification for the reigning world champions.
Gen.G secured a place at Worlds 2021 after accumulating 150 championship points. A strong performance in the spring and summer regular seasons cushioned the blow for the team in the playoffs.
T1 made it to Worlds 2021 against all the odds. A run through the Summer Split playoffs—beating SANDBOX in the quarterfinals and Gen.G in the semis—earned the team 100 championship points, adding to the 30 gained in spring.
MAD Lions (qualified for group stage)
In a repeat performance of the LEC Spring Split playoffs, MAD Lions beat G2 Esports 3-1 to secure a spot at Worlds 2021. The former LEC champions left much to be desired in the best-of-five series.
After placing first in the LEC summer regular season with a 13-5 record, a hard-fought win against Misfits was all Rogue needed to qualify for Worlds 2021. The addition of Odoamne in the top lane has been vital to the team’s success over the past eight months.
LCS (North America)
Team Liquid (qualified for group stage)
Team Liquid qualified for Worlds 2021 after a decisive 3-1 win over TSM in the LCS Summer playoffs. The team got it together when it mattered the most, despite issues with health, player management, and coaching staff throughout the split.
For the first time since 2018, 100 Thieves qualified for Worlds after beating Evil Geniuses in the LCS Summer Split playoffs. A roster reshuffle in the offseason has made a sizable difference to the team.
A return to form for spring champions Cloud9 saw the team qualify for Worlds 2021 after a narrow 3-2 win against TSM in the loser’s bracket of the Summer Split playoffs. NA’s most successful team will once again represent the region on the world stage.
LLA (Latin America)