1907 Fenerbahce (who won the TCL [Turkey] event) and Kaos Latin Gamers (Latin America South winners) will enter the competition at the new play-in stage. Three more established teams — Flash Wolves, Team SoloMid, and current reigning World Champions SK Telecom T1 — have also confirmed their places.
During the coming weeks, 19 other teams will join them as participants in either the group or play-in stages. It depends on where they’re seeded in their qualifying groups.
This autumn’s 2017 World Championships will be held at four venues across China from late September through early November. It’s a slightly longer duration than before due to the new play-in stage.
The history of the LoL World Championships
The 2017 World Championships will be the seventh iteration. They began back in 2011 with Europe’s Fnatic emerging as the inaugural winners of the event. Back then, the prize pool for the entire event was $99,500, and the teams consisted of three each from North America and Europe, plus one Singaporean team and one Filipino team.
By the second World Championships (held in the United States a year later), the prize pool had increased markedly to $2 million. This event also saw the first teams to come from South Korea, China, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, and Southeast Asia competing. The Taipei Assassins won Season Two earning the $770,000 top prize.
With a winning format now established and big sponsorship money coming in, the third World Championships took place in Los Angeles. This time it was South Korean giants SK Telecom T1 that claimed the top prize.
This began a period of dominance by South Korean teams, which has continued ever since. In 2014, Samsung Galaxy White claimed the top prize on home soil. The following year, SK Telecom T1 became the first team to win a second LoL World Championship with a superb victory in the final in Germany.
Last year in the United States, SK Telecom T1 made it three wins in total and two in a row with another outstanding victory.
Tournament changes for 2017
To freshen up the tournament and include more teams from the Wildcard leagues around the globe (of which there are considerably more nowadays compared to the early stages of the tournament), the tourney is trying out a new structure.
Now teams can qualify for a play-in stage. Let’s take a closer look at the teams that can make it through to each stage.
The play-in stage comprises No. 3 seeds from four of the major qualifying competitions. It’s the LPL (China), NA LCS (North America), EU LCS (Europe), and LMS (Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau). The No. 3 seed in the Korean LCK Qualifier, due to the relative strength of that league, will earn a spot direct into the group stage.
These four No. 3 seeds will then be joined by the following teams:
- Winner of the CB LoL (Brazil)
- Winner of LJL (Japan)
- Winner of OPL (Oceania)
- No. 2 seed from the GPL (Southeast Asia)
- Winner of TCL (Turkey) – (1907 Fenerbahce)
- Winner of LCL (Russia/CIS)
- Winner of CLS (Latin America South) – (Kaos Latin Gamers)
- Winner of LLN (Latin America North)
The 12 teams that qualify will play in one of four groups. The top two teams in each group will progress into Round Two. Here, there will be four matches between the winners and runners-up of each group. The victor there will receive one of the four remaining spaces in the group stage of the tournament.
A total of 16 teams will make it into the group stage. The qualifiers will comprise the following:
- Four teams from the play-in stage.
- The No. 1, 2, and 3 seeds from the LCK (Korean) qualifying section (SK Telecom T1 are already confirmed as one of the qualifiers from this section)
- No. 1 and 2 seeds from the LPL (China) qualifying section
- No. 1 and 2 seeds from the NA LCS (North American) qualifying section (Team SoloMid are already confirmed as one of these seeds)
- No. 1 and 2 seeds from the EU LCS (European) qualifying section.
- No. 1 and 2 seeds from the LMS (Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau) qualifying section (Flash Wolves are already confirmed as one of these seeds)
- No. 1 seed from the GPL (Southeast Asia) qualifying section
Teams will be drawn into four groups of four in the group stage. They will play each other once, followed by the top two teams in each group making it through into a knockout stage.
One interesting point to note: With SK Telecom T1 having already qualified, the Korean giants are not just seeking their fourth World Championship victory, but they have won every World Championship event in which they’ve played.
Will the 2017 World Championships in China prove any different? By Nov. 4, we’ll know the answer.