As PAX Prime finished up this weekend in Seattle, the stage for Season 3’s World Championship begins to take form with qualifying teams filling up the brackets. Out of the 14 teams participating in the World Championships in Los Angeles, only 3 teams remain unaccounted for: two Chinese teams and one more Korean team. But what about the other 11 teams?
Starting in mid-August, qualifier tournaments have been taking place around the world with beginning with Southeast Asia and most recently with the NA LCS Regionals. Let’s go ahead and chronicle how the participating teams won their spots thus far in the Season 3 World Championships.
Held in Vietnam, the SEA qualifier hosted teams from this region including the countries of Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillipines, Singapore, and Vietnam. Entering the the tournament with high aspirations, the Singapore Sentinels featurings Allstar marksman Chawy and jungler HarLeLuYar had the hot hand looking for revenge against the Saigon Jokers who had beat them out at these same qualifiers a year ago for a spot at the Season 2 World Championship. Although SS did get their revenge, they fell again during the finals stages to the Filipino team Mineski. After an excellent debut performance from their marksman Exo, Mineski 2-0’d the Singapore Sentinels and clenched their playoff berth.
Coupled along with the EU Regional Playoffs at Gamescom, the International Wildcard allowed teams who lived in regions without premier leagues a chance at attending the season finals. At this event, Brazil’s paiN Gaming were the favorites as they had been consistently dominating their region taking 1st at their own regional stage. However, during the finals they faltered against GamingGear.EU. Instead of playing standard, paiN Gaming took a risk and played with an unfamiliar double AD composition that seemed counter-intuitive to their dive heavy playstyle. Due to their jungler’s Alunir and mid laner’s Mazzerin heavy roaming presence, they were able to sway the games in their favor and take the wildcard spot representing CIS and Lithuania.
Running concurrently along the International Wildcard was the EU Regional Playoffs. After a hectic end to the regular season split where an extra six games had to be played to figure out seeding, many were expecting Lemondogs to continue their success at the bracket level. Although they did secure a spot at World’s, they lost to Xpeke and Fnatic during the finals costing them a bye in the bracket stages at the World Championship. For the 3rd seed, longtime established behemoths Evil Geniuses and Gambit Gaming squared off. Although EG was able to take a game off of the Alex Ich and co., the Russians came out on top and clenched the final spot for World’s.
Fnatic, Lemondogs, and Gambit Gaming
With momentum picked up from outstanding performances in the Garena Premier League, many were looking to having either ahq e-Sports Club featuring star rank #1 solo queue player westdoor or Taipei Snipers, what many consider to be the spiritual successors of S2’s champions Taipei Assassins, take the qualifier spot in this regional qualifier. Expected to climb through the loser’s bracket after falling to TPS, ahq’s chances to go to World’s were crushed when they were upset by the Gamania Bears, a team hailing from the Taiwan eSports League. After not even being together for a year, the rookie Bears top laner Steak carried them to victory against seasoned vets TPS in the finals. With TPS’s MiSTakE not attending World’s, not a single member from last season’s championship team will be making an appearance on the competitive stage. In addition to taking a spot at World’s, the Bears will also receive a bye into the bracket stages due to TPA winning last year.
After nearly causing a media meltdown on Twitch, TSM buckled their boots and went headstrong into the weekend determined to take their place as kings of NA. After losing every game in the summer split to CLG, TSM held no punches back and swept CLG, sending them to play for 5th place in the loser’s relegation match and destroyed their hopes of attending World’s. Following their match, they pulled an upset off Vulcun proving that they still had the ability to turn it on when it counts. Although Team Dignitas was able to dispatch of Team Curse and deny them their perennial 4th place spot in NA, they weren’t able to match season powerhouse Cloud 9 and was sent to play against Vulcun for 3rd place. Mirroring their inconsistent play during this summer split, Dignitas lost to Vulcun resulting in a Zuna soapbox declaring their aspirations for World’s. Proving that they aren’t a fluke, Cloud 9 dismantled Reginald and crew during the finals securing their place in the brackets stage and breaking TSM’s season win-spree.
Cloud 9, Team SoloMid, and Vulcun
After winning NLB, Najin Black Sword accumulated enough Circuit Points after winning OGN Champions Winter to secure the 1st place slot in World’s. With OGN Champions Summer coming to a close, the winner would have massive implications beyond the participating teams with determining who goes to World’s and who doesn’t. In the best-of-five match finals between KT Rolster Bullets and SK Telecom T1, Insec and crew relied on a fast-push composition to secure an easy two games against their opponents. However, breaking tradition by playing past 3 games in the finals, SKT1 managed to counter KTB by using heavy skirmish teams and pull off an amazing 3-0 turn around. However, just because they won Champions Summer did not mean that they had secured a world spot. Since MVP Ozone had won Champions Spring and placed 3rd in Summer, they had secured enough points to place 2nd in Circuit Points. With Champions Summer now completed, the Korean qualifiers will be held this week to figure out the 3rd team to represent Korea. Amongst those competing are CJ Entus Blaze, CJ Entus Frost, SK Telecom T1, and KT Rolster Bullets. The winner of these regional qualifiers will secure the last Korean spot in Worlds.
Najin Black Sword, MVP Ozone, and ???
Clarification of Circuit Points in Korea
And finally the last region to have its teams qualify for the Season 3 World Championship, China. China will hold their regional finals on September 7 and 8 to determine the last two teams at World’s. Amongst the competing teams are OMG, Invictus Gaming, Royal Club Huang Zu, and Positive Energy. After dominating the Tencent LoL Pro League Summer Season, OMG are the heavy favorites in taking a world berth. It should be noted that World Elite did not make it to the qualifiers and thus WeiXiao, what many consider the best marksman in the world, will not be attending Season 3 World Championship. However, WE’s sister team Positive Energy is certainly in the right position to make a run for a spot at World’s. After a shaky Summer season in the LPL, iG looks to be the team teetering on momentum but their mid laner Zzitai should never be underestimated in any situation. Along with securing two spots at World’s, China’s 1st place team also will receive a berth into the bracket stages. Be sure to tune in September 7 to find out which of these teams are attending the Season 3 World Championships.
I hope that this helped draw out how the Season 3 World Championships are taking place thus far. With so many old faces out and new teams taking their place, it will most certainly be Riot’s most exciting showcase for League of Legends ever! Be sure to check back with us since we’ll be providing team spotlights as we approach the first day of finals on September 15.