It’s the most wonderful time of the year for League of Legends fans. During the next five weeks, the world champion in this popular esports will be crowned.
Following successful events across Europe and North America the past two years, this year’s World Championship will be played at a series of venues across China. The action starts in Wuhan Sept. 23-26 with the Play-In Stage 1. This will immediately be followed by the Play-In Stage 2, which will take place on Sept. 28-29 at the same venue.
The group stage and each of the three playoff rounds will take place in different cities across China:
- Wuhan (Play-In & Group Stages)
- Guangzhou (Playoff Quarterfinals)
- Shanghai (Playoff Semifinals)
- Beijing (Playoff Final)
LoL Worlds 2017 – Play-In Stage 1
Both play-in stages have been added to Worlds this year to increase the number of competing teams, especially from emerging League of Legends regional sections. This new structure retains the group stages of the original.
After a lengthy qualification process all over the world, the play-in teams have been drawn into the following initial groups:
- Group A – Team WE (China), Gambit Esports (CIS), Lyon Gaming (Latin America North)
- Group B – Cloud9 (North America), Team One (CBLOL), Dire Wolves (Oceania)
- Group C – Fnatic (Europe), Young Generation (SEA), Kaos Latin Gamers (South America)
- Group D – Hong Kong Attitude (T/HK/M), 1907 Fenerbahce (Turkey), Rampage (Japan)
Each team will play the other teams in their group twice over consecutive days. The top two in each group qualify for the Play-In Stage 2. Groups A and B will play Sept. 23 and 24, and Groups C and D square off Sept. 25 and 26.
Play-In Stage 2
The eight teams that progress through the first play-in stage will enter a random draw. Each team will face one other qualifier across four Stage 2 games.
These games will be played Sept. 28-29, and it is a very simple prospect for the teams. The winner will earn one of the available group stage positions. The loser goes home.
LoL Worlds 2017 – Group Stage
Twelve of the very best League of Legends teams have already earned a place in the group stage. They will watch how the play-in stages pan out with interest.
The four groups for this later stage have already been drawn, apart from the four qualifying teams from the play-in. The groups are as follows:
- Group A – EDward Gaming, SK Telecom T1 (Holders), ahq e-Sports Club, Play-In Qualifier
- Group B – Longzhu Gaming, Immortals, GIGABYTE Marines, Play-In Qualifier
- Group C – G2 Esports, Samsung Galaxy, Royal Never Give Up, Play-In Qualifier
- Group D – Flash Wolves, Misfits, Team SoloMid, Play-In Qualifier
From here on in, Worlds takes on a familiar look. The four group stages will be completed across one busy week of action. In each group, the top two teams will qualify for one of the eight available playoff spots.
The teams will play each other teams in their groups in a Double Round-Robin format, meaning they play each team twice in best-of-one series.
Unlike several other esports events, the League of Legends World Championships don’t offer a double-bracket elimination process. Instead, it is a straight knockout event between the teams.
The eight qualifiers from the group stage will be drawn against each other in the quarterfinals. The top team in each group will be seeded first and the runner-up seeded second. Top seeds will take on No. 2 seeds in the quarterfinals.
After this, it’s a simple process. Winners move on, and losers go home. The semis take place a week later, and then the finals a week after that.
Who do the bookies think will win?
Now that all the qualifiers for Worlds are known, the bookmakers’ work begins.
Currently, Bet365 is offering joint favourites for the event. The two Korean giants, SK Telecom T1 and Longzhu Gaming, are both priced up at 7/4. Korean sides dominate the lowest price options, and Samsung Galaxy is rated as a 13/2 shot.
Such is the dominance of the Korean sides that the next team priced up is World Elite, who have to qualify from the Play-In stage but are still priced as 14/1 to win the event. EDward Gaming are 16/1, and Team SoloMid are 20/1. After this, you are heading into the realm of the teams that would require something of a miracle to win it all.
If rank outsiders are your speed, Dire Wolves and Young Generation are both 1250/1 to win the tournament outright.