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World Championship History - League of Legends

The League of Legends World Championship is one of the most significant and fascinating eSports events of the year. What is LoL World Championship? How to join League of Legends Worlds? Who is the Reigning Champion of the League of Legends World Cup? Find out more fun facts about the League of Legends World Championship History and the list of LoL World Championship Winners. 

What is LoL World Championships? 

World Championship or simply Worlds is an annual League of Legends competition that features only the best teams from all over the world. To qualify for League of Legends Worlds, the team must show one of the best results in its regional league during the whole season. LoL leagues are divided as follows: Europe – LEC (LoL European Championship), Korea – LCK (LoL Championship Korea), North America – LCS (LoL Championship Series), China – LPL (LoL Pro League), Latin America – LLA (LoL Latin America), CIS – LCL (LoL Continental League) and other regional leagues.

The action takes place at different biggest eSports Arenas of the world. For instance, in 2019 the tournament was hosted by three European cities. Play-Ins and Group Stage – Berlin, Germany. 1/4 Finals and Semifinals – Madrid, Spain. The Grand Finale – Paris, France. The teams fought for a lion’s share of $2.25 million and the League of Legends World Champions Title. LoL World Championship Winner is awarded with the trophy, called The Summoner’s Cup.

How to join League of Legends Worlds?

Only 24 the best teams are qualified to join League of Legends World Championship. The Winners of Major Regional Leagues automatically enter LoL Worlds. Meanwhile, other competitors are called to fight for the place at the biggest annual event. Such ‘fights’ are named Play-In and are held in the same Arena as the World Championship Group Stage.

League of Legends Worlds is organized by the game developer Riot Games. As highest priority, the Studio invites the best performing teams from each region that have proven their superiority during the whole season. The others compete in the Play-in Group Stage and the Play-in Knockout bracket. All matches of the pre-event qualifiers are played in a Double Round Robin best-of-one format. After the four rounds are played, the Play-in standings determine which teams advance to the next stage and which, unfortunately, have to pack the stuff and go home.

LoL World Championship Winners

Season 1

The first ever League of Legends World Cup was held in Jönköping, Sweden in June, 2011. The starting LoL World Championship prize pool was only $ 99,500. The event was held as a part of DreamHack Series. In the Final match Fnatic defeated “against All authority” with a score of 2-1 and became the Season 1 World Championship winners. A young Fnatic player from Poland Maciej “Shushei” Ratuszniak was crowned the tournament MVP.

Season 2

The second LoL World Championship took place in Los Angeles, USA from the 4th of October 2012 till 13th of October 2012. The players and viewers were hosted at Galen Center. It’s worth mentioning that the prize pool has significantly improved: from less than $100K just a year ago to $2 000 000. Quite a decent jump, huh? Those were Taipei Assassins and Azubu Frost who fought for the main chunk of the prize pool in the Grand Finale. A team from Taiwan Taipei Assassins defeated Korean representatives Azubu Frost with a score of 3-1 and won the trophy. The event MVP was not officially assigned in 2012. Unfortunately, both grand final participating teams are now disbanded.

Season 3

The third LoL WCS took place in Los Angeles, USA and the prize pool was almost no different as well - $2 050 000. However, the main feature was the place of the Grand Finale – world-known Staples Center, the home of Los Angeles basketball teams. Was that the day when eSports entered a divine battle with traditional sport? According to the records, the Grand Final viewership stats were as follows: 13K spectators at Staples Center, 8.5K live viewers and 32 million views in all-time total viewership. In the Grand Finale, Korean beasts SK Telecom T1 defeated Chinese Royal Club with a score of 3-0. The MVP was not officially assigned again.

2014 World Championship

In 2014, Riot Games finally decided to rebrand their most significant event. With a new name of League of Legends 2014 World Championship, the tournament travelled to Asia. Event dates – from September 18 till October 19, prize pool – $2 130 000, grand final arena – World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. The Grand Finale featured a battle of Korea and China one more time. Samsung White defeated Star Horn Royal Club with a score of 3-1 and brought a victory for South Korea for the 2nd year in a row. The MVP title was officially awarded to Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong from Samsung White. The payer left organization the same year on October 25.

2015 World Championship

The 2015 LoL WCS featured a triumph of Korean SK Telecom T1 at Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Berlin, Germany. Event MVP Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan and his SK Telecom T1 overplayed the fellow South Korea team KOO Tigers with a score of 3-1. The event was held in October, from 1st till 31st. The 2015 LoL World Championship prize pool remain unchanged – $2 130 000. It was a record-breaking event in terms of viewers – 334 million eSports fans watched the live broadcast during a month of intense fights, in average 4.2 million viewers were tuned in at the same time.

2016 World Championship

The sixth League of Legends annual World Cup has moved to US. However, this time it was not just Los Angeles. It started with group stage in San Francisco, continued with Quarterfinals in Chicago and Semifinals in New York and came to an end at the Staples Center, Los Angeles. The Venue capacity was just slightly more than 18K and it was overcrowded. Overall live peak viewers reached 28,2 mil, according to Esports Charts. In 2016, the League of Legends World Championship winners were SK Telecom T1 who defeated the other Korean team Samsung Galaxy with a score of 3-2 and raised the Summoner’s Cup again. Event dates – from September 29 till October 29, prize pool – $5 070 000, MVP – Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok from SK Telecom T1.

2017 World Championship

The 7th LoL Worlds featured a long-expected defeat of SK Telecom T1 by Samsung Galaxy who took a revenge for last year’s grand finale in front of Chinese audience. The final score of 3-0 on Samsung favor does not reflect the tensions between the teams and their fans heading into the main match of the year. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk from Samsung Galaxy was crowned as 2017 WCS MVP. 80 million people at the same time watched the Semifinal between SK Telecom T1 and Royal Never Give Up. However, the Grand Finale had 58 million unique viewership data. Event dates – from September 23 till November 04, prize pool – $ 4 596 591, grand finale Venue – Bird's Nest, Beijing.

2018 World Championship

LoL Words 2018 took place in South Korea from October 1 till November 10. The Grand Finale Venue in Incheon, Munhak Stadium had a capacity of 50,2K spectators. The entire arena witnessed how Chinese Invictus Gaming roster smashed European roster of Fnatic 3-0. IG player Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning was named the event MVP. The 2018 LoL WCS had a prize pool of $6 450 000, almost $2.5 mil of which went to 2018 LoL World Champions Winners – Invictus Gaming. 2018 annual competition for the Summoner’s Cup was not an exception and broke down the last year’s viewership record with 99.6 million viewers that watched the Grand Finale.

2019 World Championship

LoL WCS 2019 took place in Europe (Play-in and group stage – Berlin, Quarterfinals and Semifinals – Madrid, Finals – Paris). 2019 World Championship featured one more China vs Europe Grand Finale, this time with different teams but same outcome. FunPlus Phoniex vs G2 Esports 3-0 at AccorHotels Arena. Event MVP is Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang. So, the only officially crowned World Championship MVP outside Asia was “Shushei” in Season 1.

2020 World Championship

Worlds 2020 was meant to take place in China at classic time – late September - early November. However, due to world pandemic the defining League of Legends tournament – Mid-Season Invitational was cancelled. Moreover, Riot Games changed the seeding, giving China and Europe one extra place each while PCS lost one spot as a result of their merger with LMS. At the moment, none knows when Worlds 2020 starts. Nevertheless, the biggest eSports event of the year has great chances to take place in China due to the COVID-19 situation improvements in the region. The alternative option is holding the tournament online, which is not what we expect, but much better than cancelling the event like the Olympics in Tokyo or Football Euro-2020 this summer.

Here, at BuffHub League of Legends we will keep an eye on everything connected to LoL eSports and Worlds 2020. Make sure to bookmark the website not to miss new info regarding the League of Legends World Championship. 

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