The best League of Legends teams in the world gather in venues across the United States to duke it out in the world’s biggest esports tournament. If you’ve never followed a League event before, Worlds is always a strong access point, with production values at their peak and a wide cast of players to follow.
How to watch:
Alright folks, this is the one. The biggest tournament of the year for the biggest esport in the world. Regardless of what you think of League of Legends’ depth or mechanics compared to other MOBAs, the game draws a global crowd, and it’s probably worth tuning into for the spectacle alone. The tourney will run through the month of October, and spans the United States with events across San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and finally, Los Angeles.
This being the Season 6 tournament, Riot Games knows a thing or two about producing a tournament at this level of visibility. In contrast with past years, the production around Worlds 2016 has revolved much less around pure, unadulterated hype, and more around the diversity of teams around the world. Where previous years primarily focused on North America and their ability to progress past the tournament’s opening stages, the new narrative is all about “closing the gap” between regions.
Historically, Korea has been the clear leader among League’s regions. They have the world’s best player, Faker, and perhaps the strongest esports infrastructure that’s ever existed. This has made past years a race for second place, but this time around, something in the air is different. Anyone—even a wildcard team—has the chance to win. And while there are still some massive skill discrepancies between the regions, the gap between them is closer than it’s ever been before, and it shows.
This makes for a rich, diverse lineup of teams that each have their own stories and ambitions as we head into the World Championship tournament. Faker and his team SK Telecom T1 are used to victory, but need to defend their title against the new Korean challengers, ROX Tigers. North American teams like TSM, C9, and CLG have shown potential in the past, but might actually be good enough to get to the finals this year for the first time since season one. Chinese teams like Royal Never Give Up and Edward Gaming, while often relatively isolated from the other regional metas, are looking to prove their strength on the Worlds stage. Finally, European teams like Splyce and G2 are looking to regain some prestige after a few sub-par performances at the international level.
You can measure the strength of a tournament on whether or not it’s worthwhile to watch games for the teams you’re not specifically rooting for. With such a wide gap in regional strategies and a lot to cheer on in every Worlds competitor, the League of Legends 2016 World Championships are looking to be some of the game’s finest yet.