We’re now into the second half of the year, and this is where things start to get serious. The League of Legends World Championship Finals at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris may still seem a long way off, but the ten LEC teams in reality are already jostling for those all-important Worlds spots. On November 10, will we have another European team competing for that coveted trophy? The road ahead is rocky, but EU has been down this road before, and we can do it again.
So, what does a European team have to do to get to the World Championship? The first place team from the Summer Split will automatically qualify for the main event, but for everyone else, Championship Points are an important factor. The second through fifth place teams in total Championship Points will be going through to the Regional Finals, the winner of which will go through to the main event as Europe’s second seed. The runner up will go to the Worlds Play-In Stage.
G2 Esports are in the driving seat right now. Their Spring win gives them 90 Championship Points, and their current record of 5-1 means they’re on track to reach the Summer Playoffs. There are multiple paths to Worlds for G2. You wouldn’t put it past the Spring Champions, and in case you forgot, the MSI Champions, to win the entirety of Summer. But even if they don’t, it’s likely they’ll still have enough Championship Points to make it to Regional Finals. They beat tournament favourites RNG at Worlds last year, but fell to Invictus Gaming at the semifinal stage. Can they do better this year?
Origen are having a tougher time of things in the Summer Split as compared to their fantastic run in Spring, where they finished runners-up. They’re tied for fourth place right now with a record of 3-3, but don’t be surprised to see that shoot up to 7-3 by the end of Week 5, with matches against lower ranked teams coming up. They’ll probably qualify for Playoffs, and their current Championship Point total of 70 is looking pretty healthy too. Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez was still holding it down in the mid lane during Origen’s last run at Worlds in 2015, and he’d love to see them back there again.
Fnatic have a point to prove, and a score to settle. After losing a few games at the start of the Spring Split and finishing third overall they almost became a bit of a dark horse in the LEC. Don’t forget, Fnatic were in the Grand Final of Worlds last year, and they’re now playing with a chip on their shoulder, making them even more dangerous. They’ve already beaten G2 in an undefeated Summer Split so far, and they’re sitting on 50 Championship Points. Fnatic have only missed out on the main event twice in the history of professional League of Legends. Would you bet on them missing another?
While G2, Origen, and Fnatic are the most likely teams to be making Worlds based on results so far, anything can happen in a knockout situation. Splyce have 30 Championship Points right now, and they’ve been quietly doing well in Summer too, with a record of 4-2. They went to Worlds in 2016, and have been itching to get back ever since. Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup is the only surviving member from that line-up, but he certainly has team-mates around him now that can get him and Splyce back to Worlds again.
Vitality and SK Gaming are each sitting on 10 Championship Points right now. Not a lot, but it’s a start. SK went through Spring with a 50 percent win ratio, and they’re doing exactly the same thing in Summer so far. It’s probably going to be enough to get into the Playoffs, but we’ll need to see improvement if they’re to go deep and have a chance of qualifying for Worlds. SK have been to Worlds before, but the last time the organisation was there, no one on the current lineup was playing professionally.
The same goes for Vitality – they have a chance, but need to improve first. They won ten matches in Spring, but they’re off the pace in Summer so far with only two wins from six. However, don’t rule out Vitality just yet. Remember that at Worlds 2018 they were a whisker away from progressing through the group of death which contained Cloud9, RNG, and reigning World Champions Gen.G. And of course, the Grand Final is in France this year...
Then there are the four teams who missed out on the Spring Playoffs: FC Schalke 04, Misfits Gaming, Excel Esports, and Rogue. They’ve all had glimmers of hope at some stage during the season, but their main problem is just how strong Europe is as a region right now.
FC Schalke 04 are up in the playoff spots at the moment, and will need to keep their decent run of results going for the rest of the Split. Misfits have been unable to maintain consistency throughout the season, and look some way off the form that saw them almost knock off SKT at Worlds 2017.
Excel haven’t managed to get a win in Summer so far, and it’s going to be a miracle if they can qualify for playoffs from here. Rogue have managed two wins, equalling their total from Spring already, but they’re still yet to play Fnatic and Origen. It’s going to be a tough journey for them too.
Whoever makes it to Worlds this year, teams from every other region will be taking notice. Europe came very close in 2018, and this time around, we’ve got home field advantage. The battle cry of “EU, EU, EU,” will ring around arenas across the continent and strike fear into the hearts of our international opponents. Will 2019 go down in history as the start of European dominance in League of Legends? The road to global glory is laid out, and all one of these 10 teams has to do is walk it.