League of Legends Worlds Brackets: Mechanics and Scenario Analysis

League of Legends Worlds is the biggest tournament of the year and with one of the most complicated formats, various brackets and a myriad of combinations. In this article, we will be detailing as many scenarios as possible and looking at how the groups would look going into the Group Stage. It’s time to check out the League of Legends Worlds brackets!

League of Legends Worlds Brackets: Play-Ins

Before talking about all the pairings, let’s first take a look at how the Worlds League of Legends brackets are structured. The play-ins stage features two groups of five teams placed based on seeding. The teams within the same group will play against one another in a single round-robin, with best-of-one matches.

The number one team from each group will advance directly to the main stage, while the last placed team will be directly eliminated. The teams from the second to fourth placings, however, will go to Round 2 and fight for their teams’ lives in their first League of Legends Worlds brackets.

league of legends worlds brackets
Image credit: LoL Esports

The two lower-placed teams of the same group will face each other in the first match, with the winners of these facing the second-placed team from the other group. All matches will best-of-five, and the winners of these two series will get the last two spots at the Worlds Group Stage.

It may sound hard to understand, but the Worlds League of Legends brackets are easier to understand once it plays out.

League of Legends Worlds Brackets: Group Stage

Following the end of play-ins, we will go into the Group Stage, with the League of Legends Brackets Worlds coming back later into the Worlds LoL tournament. The 16 teams that locked a spot will be divided into four groups (based on seeding), in a double round-robin, with best-of-one matches. While it’s quite straightforward, there are rules regarding how the groups will be divided to ensure more balanced pairings.

The main rule used in the Group Stage is that teams from the same region cannot be seeded together in the same group. For example, if the LCK first seed is in Group C, like Gen.G Esports in this year’s Worlds, all the other remaining seeds from that same region cannot end up in Group C, even if they are drawn in Group C. This means that the LoL Worlds brackets and groups will look much different compared to the drawing order, with almost one representative from the major regions in the same group.

league of legends brackets worlds
Image credit: LoL Esports

This year, however, there will be an exception. Due to the LCL being suspended, the LEC was awarded an additional fourth slot that will have to go through to play-ins. If there’s a scenario where all the other teams have been seeded due to the rule, then a second LEC team might end up in the same group as another European team. While it may mess up with the Worlds League of Legends bracket, it was the only solution Riot had for this special situation.

Having said that, we will now go through the potential combinations, taking the strengths of the teams into consideration and try to predict how the League of Legends Worlds Brackets would look like in play-ins, as well as in the group stage and the following League of Legends Worlds quarterfinals brackets.

League of Legends Worlds Brackets: Expected Pairings in the Play-Ins

Now that we’ve explained how all the League of Legends Worlds brackets work, we’re going to consider the most expected scenarios.

Out of all the teams in the play-in stage, in order to understand how the Worlds Brackets League of Legends will be, we have to consider which are the four teams that will advance to the Group Stage. The irony of fate has put the two eastern teams, DRX and RNG, in the same group together with MAD Lions, meaning that either one of the two eastern teams will have to play in the eliminatory League of Legends Worlds brackets and one of these three will be out after this stage.

On the other hand, the other bracket seems clearer in terms of predictions. Fnatic and Evil Geniuses are the most probable choices, even though Beyond Daming and DetonationFocusMe come from some of the better wildcards. Last year, for example, DFM made it to the next stage as the first-place team from their own group.

Evil Geniuses LoL Worlds Brackets
Image credit: Evil Geniuses/Twitter

Let’s first take two scenarios and see how those would work. Since they come from the strongest regions, imagine that both RNG and DRX advance to the group stage, with Fnatic and EG coming from the other group. With these pairs of teams and taking the “one region per group” rule, the groups would look like this:

  • Group A: C9, T1, EDG, FNC (LEC team added to the group)
  • Group B: JDG, G2, DK, EG (LCS team added to the group)
  • Group C: RGE, TES, GAM, DRX (LCK team added to the group)
  • Group D: GEN, CFO, 100T, RNG (LPL team added to the group)

In this scenario, all four teams will be hard-locked into the groups shown above, regardless of how they perform in the play-in LoL Worlds Brackets.

Now, let’s see how the League of Legends Worlds brackets and groups would look like if a wildcard team from Group A advances instead of EG or FNC. Below you can find both combinations:

Fnatic misses out – DFM (or any team aside from BYG) and EG advances, RNG & DRX advancing on the other group:

  • Group A: C9, T1, EDG, DFM (LJL team added to the group)
  • Group B: JDG, G2, DK, EG (LCS team added to the group)
  • Group C: RGE, TES, GAM, DRX (LCK team added to the group)
  • Group D: GEN, CFO, 100T, RNG (LPL team added to the group)

EG missing out – DFM (or any team aside from BYG) and FNC advances, RNG & DRX advancing on the other group:

  • Group A: C9, T1, EDG, FNC (LEC team added to the group)
  • Group B: JDG, G2, DK, DFM (LJL team added to the group)
  • Group C: RGE, TES, GAM, DRX (LCK team added to the group)
  • Group D: GEN, CFO, 100T, RNG (LPL team added to the group)

In this case, DFM would slot into whatever group is left with no teams from the major regions. With BYG, the result would be the same if both DRX and RNG make it to groups.

worlds quarterfinals brackets league of legends RNG
Image credit: Royal Never Give Up/Twitter

The question now, though, is, what if one of the two doesn’t make it? How would that change considering the level of the teams in Group B, the probable candidate to beat one of the two would be MAD Lions. With this in mind, check out the situation where RNG and MAD make it to the groups stage with FNC and EG, regardless of how the Worlds league of legends brackets are made in play-ins:

  • Group A: C9, T1, EDG, FNC (LEC team added to the group)
  • Group B: JDG, G2, DK, EG (LCS team added to the group)
  • Group C: RGE, TES, GAM, MAD (LEC team added to the group)
  • Group D: GEN, CFO, 100T, RNG (LPL team added to the group)

The combination ends up putting MAD in the same group as RGE, despite coming from the same league. In such a scenario, the regional restrictions would be lifted, and the two LEC teams will have to compete against each other.

In other words, should both third and fourth seeds from the LEC advance to the Worlds Group Stage, regardless of whether they win the group or come out victorious from the play-in League of Legends Worlds brackets, MAD will have to face another LEC team.

The rule will be in place if European teams advance and RNG advances as well since the Chinese team is hard-locked into Group D for the rule. If they don’t make it, although it is very unlikely, MAD would slot into Group D in their stead.

LoL Worlds Brackets: Groups and Quarterfinals

Depending on how the groups perform, the Worlds quarterfinals brackets league of legends will include the top two teams from each group. It will be a single elimination bracket, with the first-place teams being randomly matched with any second-place team, as long as two teams from the same group do not end up in the same half of the bracket. To make things easier to understand, let’s make a concrete example with the worlds quarterfinals brackets league of legends with last year’s edition

In 2021, the following teams advanced from Group Stage in this order:

  • Group A: DK, C9
  • Group B: T1, EDG
  • Group C: RNG, HLE
  • Group D: GEN, MAD
worlds league of legends brackets T1
Image credit: T1/Twitter

Last year, RNG was drawn first, followed by Gen.G, T1 and DK last. Based on the rule, both MAD and HLE cannot be seeded in the upper bracket. In fact, despite HLE being drawn first from the second pool, they were put into the first available spot in the lower bracket, which was T1. After that, the three remaining teams were added accordingly. In the end, the Worlds quarterfinals brackets League of Legends looked like this:

  • Upper Bracket Match 1: RNG vs EDG
  • Upper Bracket Match 2: GEN vs C9
  • Lower Bracket Match 1: T1 vs HLE
  • Lower Bracket Match 2: DK MAD

For this year’s Worlds, the League of Legends Brackets Worlds will depend on which teams will advance, but with so many LCK and LPL teams in the groups, we will likely have a series with two teams coming from the same region.

Worlds Brackets: Recap

The League of Legends Worlds brackets are quite complicated if you take all the probabilities into consideration. While we made examples by taking the strongest teams on paper, we must not count out the wildcard teams. The smaller regions are known for bringing innovative or atypical drafts and play-styles on stage, which can reshuffle the League of Legends brackets.

Following the play-in stage, Groups will determine the top eight teams that will be slotted into the League of Legends Brackets Worlds. There are some restrictions there too, but they were added to guarantee an explosive Knockout Stage. If you want to know all the specific LoL Worlds rules for how matches will be played in the League of Legends brackets Worlds, you can check out them here!