Group Stages are over and if you aren’t already, we’ll help you get acquainted with this year’s Top 8 teams
Worlds is League of Legends’ ultimate annual tournament and this year’s is shaping up to be one of the more intense ones in recent history. The pool of 16 pro teams that made it past the international qualifiers have been reduced further by the group stages. If you’re new to the world of e-sports and still have trouble telling one team from the next, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet to prep you so you know whom you might want to cheer for.
ALBUS NOX LUNA
Photo via WWG
Albux Nox Luna is the dark horse of this tournament and an extremely interesting one at that. They claimed their wildcard spot at Worlds from Lyon Gaming, one of the powerhouses of Latin American LoL. Not only that, but in the group stages they managed to survive against Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and G2 E-sports—huge upsets that would put them tied with ROX Tigers, the favorite to win this year. It also helps that Luna’s Likkrit is charismatic in front of the camera, for an e-sports athlete.
Photo via LoL Esports
Cloud 9 (C9) carries the dream of a North American victory in a knockout stage dominated by Korean, Chinese and European teams. Though Team Solomid (TSM) usually garners the majority of the support from the NA fans, They were just barely knocked out in their group by Royal Never Give Up. It’s been a long road for C9 to even get to Worlds, but now that they’re here they’re going to have to represent. Cue: U-S-A chanting.
Photo via League of Legends
Though the team seems new, they are actually the fusion of past powerhouses Samsung Blue and Samsung White. It would seem they’ve not lost any power in the merger however, as Samsung Galaxy blasted to the top of their group with only one loss throughout. It’s difficult to predict what will happen in the semifinals but their first match is against C9 and they’re heavily favored due to their stellar performance in the group stages.
Photo via ESPN
H2K is a UK-based gaming organization that has done historically well in the European LCS but has been having a bad year. They failed in the Spring and Summer Splits of this year, and only qualified for Worlds through championship points. Still, despite being one of the underdogs in this year’s Worlds, they still have a shot at proving themselves. In particular, the team is expected to rally behind their star player FORG1VEN, who plays the carry role in the team.
Photo via The Daily Dot
Despite the fact that Edward Gaming (EDG) finished the group stages as their group’s second seed, it’s hard to just ignore the fact that they were defeated by INTZ e-sports in day 1. It was only the one game, but the huge upset by the unassuming Brazilian team is likely to linger in fans’ minds for the rest of Worlds. The team is facing forward however and in the knockout stages will surely remind everyone that they weren’t China’s 1st seed with a 3-0 score in the regional qualifiers.
ROYAL NEVER GIVE UP
Photo via LoL Esports
Royal Never Give Up (RNG) is a Chinese team often overshadowed by their regional rival, EDG. They lost badly to EDG in the Summer Finals, though they were still able to make it to Worlds through championship points. They also faced TSM in their group, though they would overcome the Western favorite. Special mention to RNG’s Uzi, who is an absolute beast on the champion Ezreal.
Photo via Gamurs
Previously known as the KOO Tigers, the ROX tigers is another favorite to win this year and snatch the crown from reigning champions SKT. Their powerhouse team consists of Smeb, more or less the best top laner in the world, and the unpredictable but reliable Kuro, among their other top-caliber players. Peanut, their young and underrated jungler, is also becoming a fan favorite for his absolutely ridiculous and aggressive ganks.
SK TELECOM T1
Photo via The Score Esports
SKT is the best LoL team in the world. Though other teams have their heydays, too, SKT has consistently been the team to beat ever since they were crowned champions of Worlds in 2013. In 2015, they played an almost perfect season and won the World Championship again with only a single loss the entire tournament (it would be to KOO Tigers in the finals). The team’s members are all considered among the best in the world in their respective roles, but none quite so much as Faker, who is considered the best player in the world at the moment and is called “The Demon King” in Korea, despite his meek personality. It has come to the point that there are fans in Korea who want to give him the title of “Bonjwa,” a title reserved only for Starcraft players so dominant that e-sports history is named after their eras.