Take a look at the past winners of the League of Legends World Championship, notice anything?
It has been completely dominated by Koreans since 2013. Last year, China won for the first time ever. Even though China and Europe have made it to semi finals pretty consistently, the skill gap between Korea and the rest of the field has been massive. In many competitions, if two Korean teams were playing each other in the semi finals, it was considered by many to be the “real final” between the two best teams.
Last year, everything changed. Not only did a Chinese team win worlds and a European team come second for the first time ever, the European team G2 Esports won MSI with the American representative, Team Liquid, coming in second. MSI stands for Mid Season Invitational and is the only other global competition in league of legends. It takes place in the middle of the season with the best team from each region attending, rather than the top three which is the case for the World Championship.
This is the first tournament to be played since the west dethroned the east at MSI. What makes it even more exciting is how the teams are going to be practicing. In the past, every team that could afford it would travel to Korea to boot camp and scrim against Korean teams. They were the best region and had very low ping. The downside to this was a lot of teams abandoned what gave the success domestically to try and emulate the strategies they saw the Korean teams performing. This year, things are different. For the first time ever, western teams are going to be boot-camping in Europe prior to the World Championship, which is set in Paris.
Europe is now the location of the best team in the world, G2. Not only that, but now teams aren’t even going to be scrimming the eastern teams at all prior to worlds. This means that teams are going to be relying on their core identity rather than just copying what the Asian teams do. Never before have we seen such an investment into the competitiveness of the west. Even just a few years ago, Asian import players were all the rage. Now European imports on North American teams have a much larger presence.
This years world’s will be, for the first time (no one counts season 1 since Korea wasn’t even playing back then), a true “East vs West” tournament. Korea and China wants to prove that they can still be the best. Europe wants to prove that their success isn’t a fluke. North America just wants people to stop laughing at them. No one’s going to try and copy Korean strategies. This competition has to potential to create a new world order in the League of Legends scene.
If you follow esports, this tournament is a must watch. Make sure to tune in on October 2nd