The biggest event in Esports each year is the League of Legends World Championship. Although Dota 2’s The International has the largest prize pool in Esports by a mile, no Esports event draws more viewers than the premier tournament in League of Legends. Teams from Korea and China have long dominated this competition, and they are once again the teams to beat for this year’s Worlds in China.
The Defending Champion
DWG KIA won last year’s World Championship under the name DAMWON Gaming, and they have continued to assert their dominance in the first two months of domestic play in 2021. They overcame the departure of star top laner Nuguri by adding Khan, and this team looks like it hasn’t missed a beat. Although DWG KIA haven’t been as crisp as we saw through the 2020 LCK Summer Split and into Worlds, they appear to be the most polished team on the planet.
ShowMaker is arguably the best mid laner in the world even though he has been largely relegated to Syndra duty, and Canyon and BeryL are playmakers that know how to set their damage dealers up in the mid to late game. Ghost continues to play well in the bottom lane, while Khan has shown he is strong on weakside tanks. There are still some questions about Ghost and Khan though, so a meta change could lead to a shift in this team’s fortunes.
The Chinese Juggernauts
It’s a shame that the LPL is only allowed to send four teams to the League of Legends World Championship, as this is the deepest league in the world by a wide margin. There are six teams that are legitimate contenders, and only a handful of teams would be successful in the LPL.
EDward Gaming have been the most surprising team of the season. The last few years haven’t been great for this once-proud organization, but they are currently unbeaten halfway through the 2021 LPL Spring Split. Flandre is doing a superb job in the top lane, and the addition of Viper has given this team some punch in the bottom lane too.
The most talented LPL team is probably FunPlus Phoenix, but there are some real concerns with this team after jungler Bo admitted to match-fixing last year. He has since been suspended indefinitely, and we are unsure of if or when he might return to the roster. Still, they have two of the most dominant laners in the world in Nuguri and Doinb, so they have to be considered a contender.
Top Esports were the favorites ahead of last year’s Worlds, and they brought back four of five starters from that team. However, Knight has not been as dominant in the mid lane, leading to this team struggling through the first half of the Spring Split. Karsa is a potential game changer in the jungle, and JackeyLove can hard carry in the bottom lane, so TES can’t be dismissed.
The same is true for 2018 Worlds winners Invictus Gaming. TheShy and Rookie are still very strong laners, and they are out to make amends after failing to qualify for Worlds last year.
The Western Hope
Only one team from Europe or North America has a real chance of contending at Worlds. G2 Esports won the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, finished runner-up to FunPlus Phoenix at 2019 Worlds, and fell to DAMWON Gaming in the semifinals of last year’s Worlds. They improved in the offseason by adding the best Western AD Carry of all-time in Rekkles, establishing themselves as Europe’s most talented team ever.
G2 continue to coast through the regular season, so it’s hard to tell just how much of a challenge this team will represent at Worlds. The only real competition in the LEC is Rogue, and that means they won’t be as battle tested as teams from the LCK (Korea) or LPL (China).