The League of Legends World Championship 2020 draws near. On the 25th of September the Play-In stage kicks off to determine which teams will make it to the main Worlds event starting on October 3rd. While the VCS will not be sending representatives due to COVID-19 restrictions the Vietnamese government has implemented, there’ll still be 22 other teams competing for the most prestigious title in League of Legends esports. In this article, we briefly go over all the teams that have qualified for the World Championship and how they got there.
*Note: This article will be updated as regions lock in their final representatives
Top Esports has been nothing short of dominant in the LPL. While they struggled a bit with the stronger teams in the early weeks of the Spring Split, they finished fourth in the regular after all. They fought their way to the Spring Split Finals, where they were defeated by JD Gaming in after an intense series. But Top Esports turned it around for the Summer Split. They consistently stayed at the top of the standings and, in a revenge match in the Summer Split Finals, defeated their nemesis JD Gaming, automatically granting themselves a ticket to the World Championship.
Unlike their direct competitors, JD Gaming has performed well in the LPL all year long. They closed out the regular Spring Split as second in the LPL, but maneuvered past reigning World Champions FunPlus Phoenix and Top Esports to claim the title. They didn’t slow down in the Summer Split at all either. JD Gaming brushed off LGD in the Summer Split Playoffs semi finals. While they lost in the Grand Finals of the Summer Split Playoffs, JD Gaming had scooped up enough championship points with their consistent performance to qualify them for Worlds.
Suning needed a wake-up call after the Spring Split. They missed out on the Spring Split Playoffs altogether. After a slow start in the Summer Split, Suning took off. They did not drop a single series until the ninth week, and closed out the season with an impressive 12-4 score, netting them a top four finish. In the Summer Split Playoffs, it was Suning who convincingly put a stop to Victory5’s miraculous resurgence. Suning qualified as third seed for the LPL at Worlds through the league’s Regional Qualifier tournament.
If Suning needed a wake-up call after the Spring Split, LGD needed a revival. The team fell flat on its face at the start of 2020. Change was needed, and roster swaps came through. In the regular Summer Split, they finished with a 10-6 score. In the Summer Split Playoffs they pushed past WE and Invictus Gaming before being knocked down to the Regional Qualifiers by JD Gaming. There they once more faced off against Invictus Gaming, emerged victorious, and grabbed the fourth slot at Worlds for the LPL. They’ll have to go through the Play-In stage to make it to the main event.
G2, the silver medalist of the 2019 World Championship, had a strong start to the year. They finished the Spring Split in first place and, after a surprise loss in the upper bracket of the Playoffs, recovered easily and won the Spring Split title. In the Summer Split, they dwelled among the sub-top for weeks, and only towards the end started getting in shape again. Based off championship points earned by their Spring Split and Summer Split finishes, G2 still was #2 seed for the Summer Split Playoffs. After a relatively easy win over MAD Lions G2 was sure of their ticket to Worlds and with a 3-0 victory over Fnatic in the grand finals they locked in as first seed for Europe.
Like G2, Fnatic had a relatively easy time in the Spring Split. They finished second in both the regular Split and the Playoffs, earning themselves a decent amount of championship points. But the Summer Split was nothing short of a disaster for Fnatic, losing as many matches as they won and barely making it to the Playoffs stage. There, however, the team came together. In the upper bracket they obliterated Rogue and defeated arch nemesis G2 after a nailbiter of a series, advancing to the grand finals. While they were defeated there, Fnatic will still go to Worlds as Europe’s second seed.
In the Spring Split, Rogue appeared to be a decent, middle-of-the-pack team. The roster, which had carried over from 2019, at times looked truly fearsome. However, the results were too inconsistent for Rogue to be considered a top tier contender. When the Summer Split started, Rogue’s performances could be described with a single word: polished. From the beginning to the end of the regular Split they stayed on top of the standings. Because of the LEC’s Playoffs structure and Rogue being the #1 seed heading into the Playoffs, they automatically qualified for Worlds. In the Playoffs, Rogue recovered impressively after an early defeat, but wasn’t able to overcome G2 and became the third seed.
MAD Lions, a rebrand of the team formerly known as Splyce, entered 2020 with four rookies. Quickly they showed that they were a top contender, and finished in an impressive third place in the Spring Split Playoffs. They continued to impress in the Summer Split, sitting at the top of the standings until the very last day, when they dropped to a second place. In the Playoffs, MAD Lions lost to G2 but recovered against Schalke 04 in the lower bracket and secured their spot for Worlds. After a subsequent loss against Rogue, MAD Lions was sure of being the fourth seed of the LEC, meaning they’ll have to go through the Play-In stage.
DAMWON Gaming, quarter-finalists at the League of Legends World Championship 2019, did not have the best start of the year. They finished fifth in the regular Spring Split, and fourth in the Playoffs. However, the team came back with a vengeance. In the Summer Split, DAMWON was terrifyingly dominant. The team tied for the most convincing win/loss record in the LCK ever, and look like one of the strongest teams in the region’s history. After completely dismantling DRX in the Summer Split finals with a 3-0 victory, DAMWON secured their ticket to Worlds as the first seed for the LCK.
DRX, who started the year as DragonX, opened strongly in the LCK. The Spring Split ended in a three-way tie with DragonX, T1, and Gen.G all at the same score. Based on tiebreakers DragonX was seeded third, which is the position they claimed after losing to T1 in the semi finals. In the Summer Split, the team now known as DRX left its former opponents behind them, finishing the regular Split as second, behind DAMWON Gaming. After a win against Gen.G in the Summer Playoffs DRX had automatically qualified for Worlds based on championship points, and will be going as the second seed of the region.
2020 started well for Gen.G. At the end of the regular Spring Split they were in the same three-way tie DragonX found themselves in, but due to tiebreakers Gen.G was seeded first in the Spring Split Playoffs, meaning a direct spot in the finals. They were swept by T1 in said finals, finishing the Split as second overall. The Summer Split went almost exactly the same way for Gen.G, finishing the Split with the exact same score. However, both DRX and DAMWON had even better records, placing Gen.G as third seed in the Playoffs. They were eliminated and dropped to the final opportunity to qualify for Worlds: the LCK’s regional qualifiers. In the finals they swept T1, and became the LCK’s third seed.
For TSM, making it to Worlds would mean a return to the highest stage after five years of being a bystander. At the end of the LCS Spring Split TSM had won as many games as they had lost, and finished fourth in the Playoffs. The Summer Split went much better for the team. They ended fourth in the regular Split and after an early loss in the upper bracket of the Summer Split Playoffs had a long path to Worlds, having to go through the lower bracket. But TSM persevered, fought all the way through the lower bracket of the Playoffs and defeated FlyQuest in the grand finals to become NA’s #1 seed for Worlds.
FlyQuest has flown under the radar this year internationally, but the team has been a true contender in the LCS all year long. In the Spring, a three-way tie for second place put FlyQuest in fourth place based on tiebreakers. Through a long run in the lower brackets they made it to the Spring Split finals, claiming a silver medal. In the Summer Split FlyQuest claimed the third spot at the end of the regular Split. After defeating Evil Geniuses and upsetting Cloud9, FlyQuest secured both a spot in the Summer Split finals and a spot at the World Championship. With a loss against TSM in the grand finals, FlyQuest is the LCS’s second seed.
2020 started disastrously for Team Liquid. The renowned team flopped hard in the LCS Spring Split, ending ninth out of ten teams. After Yilian “DoubleLift” Peng left to join TSM, Team Liquid promoted academy bot laner Edward “Tactical” Ra to the main team and hired Joshua “Jatt” Leesman as new Head Coach. In the Summer Split, Team Liquid finished as first in the regular Split, staying consistent while opponents Cloud9 fell off towards the end. In the Summer Split Playoffs, Team Liquid defeated Golden Guardians to grab their ticket to Worlds. After a loss against TSM in the Summer Playoffs lower bracket, Team Liquid is seed #3 for the LCS and will play in the Play-In stage.
The year could not have started better for Machi, competitively. In dominant fashion the team claimed the first place at the end of the regular Spring Split. Their run continued in the Playoffs, all the way until the finals, where they were defeated in a rematch against Talon Esports. The Summer Split itself went less smoothly for Machi. While they still competed with the top teams, they ended in fourth place. This time, the tables were turned in the Playoffs. They lost their first match against PSG Talon, but took revenge in the grand finals. With a 3-0 victory, Machi E-Sports qualified for the Worlds main event.
PSG Talon, who began 2020 as Talon Esports, is new to League of Legends and joined as the PCS was formed. The Spring Split went well for the new team, ending the regular Split as fourth. Talon Esports won their first Split impressively, beating Machi E-Sports in the Spring Split finals. After partnering with Paris Saint-Germaine, PSG Talon was born. In the Summer Split they ended third, but once again fought their way to the finals. They were defeated by Machi E-Sports this time, but had nevertheless made it to the Worlds Play-In stage.
Unicorns of Love
Two teams dominated the LCL in the Spring Split: RoX and Unicorns of Love. The two both ended the Split with a 13-1 score, only losing to one another. However, in the Spring Split Playoffs Unicorns of Love hit hard and defeated RoX with a 3-0 score. In the Summer Split it was Gambit—who had bought almost the entirety of RoX’s lineup—who tried to contest with Unicorns of Love. But Unicorns of Love ended the Split without suffering a single loss. While they did drop a game against Gambit in the Spring Split Finals, Unicorns of Love won the Summer Split dominantly and locked in their Worlds Play-In spot.
There was a pretty clear division in the LLA this year between the top teams of Rainbow7, Infinity Esports, All Knights, Isurus, and the rest of the league. Rainbow7 finished the LLA’s Opening Split (equivalent of Spring Split) as second, but didn’t reach further than third place in the Playoffs. In the Closing Split (Summer Split), it looked like All Knights would steamroll to Worlds. But Rainbow7, after finishing third in the regular Split, fought back. They reverse-swept and upset All Knights in the finals, scooping up a World Championship Play-In spot.
With three new players to kick off the year, Legacy kicked off 2020 strongly. Split 1 (the Spring Split) was hardly a challenge for the team, who ended the regular Split as first and claimed the championship title losing only five games in the entire season. Split 2 (the Summer Split) went only slightly worse for Legacy, who still looked incredibly dominant. This time around they only lost one extra game in the regular Split. In the Playoffs, Legacy defeated opponents ORDER twice with a 3-1 score: once in the upper bracket and ultimately in the grand finals. By winning Split 2, Legacy made themselves the OPL’s representatives at the World Championship.
Papara SuperMassive had a controversial start of the year. Support player Mustafa Kemal “Dumbledoge” Gökseloğlu left during the Winter Split (equivalent of the Spring Split), citing suffering homophobia and bullying from teammate Berkay “Zeitnot” Aşıkuzun. Papara SuperMassive. While they found a replacement, the team finished the split as 5th/6th in the Playoffs. They brought South Korean players Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon and No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong for the Summer Split—a change that worked out excellently. After finishing third in the regular Split, Papara Supermassive fought past Beşiktaş, Galakticos, and 5Ronin to claim the championship title and a ticket to the Worlds Play-Ins.
Split 1 (CBLoL’s Spring Split) did not go according to plan for INTZ. They ended the regular season in seventh place out of eight competitors, sending them to a promotion/relegation match against Team oNe eSports. INTZ escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, winning the series 3-2, and stayed in the CBLoL for Split 2 (Summer Split). With many players on its roster, INTZ shifted and puzzled. They found success, and ended the regular Split as second. In the Playoffs, INTZ defeated Split 1 champions KaBum! e-Sports and the popular PaiN Gaming to advance to the Play-In stage at Worlds.
After missing out on Worlds 2019, losing to DetonatioN FocusMe in the finals of the Summer Split, V3 Esports made three roster changes bringing in a new jungler, bot laner, and support. Especially the jungler, South Korean Lee “Bugi” Seong-yeop, proved his worth early on. As the “Bugi show”, with other teammates coming online later on, V3 found success, ending the Spring Split as third overall. The team had faith in its lineup and the faith was rewarded. In the regular Summer Split, V3 only lost two games. In the grand finals of the Playoffs they met DetonatioN FocusMe, a rematch of the Worlds qualifier match from a year before. This time V3 narrowly beat their rivals 3-2, locking a spot at the Play-Ins.