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Worlds 2016: Guide to the 2016 Group Draw

A procedural guide to the Group Draw for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship.

As we previously announced, the Worlds 2016 Group Draw Pools are based on MSI 2016’s results. In this article, we’ll be going into greater detail on how the groups are drawn from a procedural standpoint. In the Group Draw Show on Saturday, September 10 at 11:00 AM PT, we’ll be holding the draw according to the rules and structure described below.

The info in this post is pretty dense and technical, and much of it mimics the 2015 guide. It’s designed to give you a solid understanding of the mechanics of the draw process and a clear idea of what to expect during the live draw. The draw process is the same as it was in 2015, but with LMS #1 being promoted to Pool 1 and EU #1 being demoted to Pool 2 due to MSI standings, some of the invalid draw possibilities have changed. We’ve updated the invalid draw example to illustrate that difference.

Group Draw Structure


Group Draw Rules

  • No group can have more than one team from the same region. So, for example, CN #1 and CN #2 cannot inhabit the same group.
  • Each group must have exactly one team from Pool 1
  • Each group must have exactly two teams from Pool 2
  • Each group must have exactly one team from Pool 3


The draw begins with the seeds physically separated into three bowls by Pool. The groups are arranged in alphabetical order from left to right - A, B, C, and D. First, all of the seeds from Pool 1 are drawn randomly, then Pool 2, and finally Pool 3.

When a seed is drawn, it is placed into the next group available in alphabetical order so long as that would not render the draw invalid at any future point by preventing another seed from being placed in a valid spot. For example, if placing the next drawn seed into Group A would make it impossible to place a future seed without violating a rule, that seed would need to “skip” Group A and be placed in B, C, or D, depending on what spot is available - more on this later.

In Pool 2, each group must have one Pool 2 seed before any group has two Pool 2 seeds, unless doing so would create an invalid draw.

For example, imagine #2 CN has just been drawn as the first team from Pool 2, but #1 CN already occupies Group A. Because of rule #1 (no group can have more than one team from the same region), #2 CN cannot occupy Group A, and is placed in the next available group, Group B, which currently has space for Pool 2 teams and has no CN seeds.

Invalid Draws

Because seeds are drawn randomly and there are several rules governing where those seeds can go, there are a few situations we can run into in which a draw cannot be completed, rendering the draw “invalid”. The general procedure for avoiding invalid draws is the same year to year, although the scenarios in which invalid draws can arise varies depending on which seeds are in which pool every year. Below is an example specific to 2016.


In the above example, there are two Pool 2 spots remaining (in Group C and D), two Pool 2 seeds that need to fill those spots (#3 CN and #2 EU), but Group D can’t accommodate either of those seeds because:

  1. Group D already has #1 CN, so another CN seed cannot inhabit that group.
  2. Group D already has #1 EU, so another EU seed cannot inhabit that group.

There are two ways to deal with situations like this. One would be to simply restart the draft until we avoid an invalid draw, but this could result in an infinite number of restarts and, since the show is live, isn’t realistic.

Alternatively, we could monitor the draw as it proceeds, and use a series of logical checks to identify when placement of a specific team would create an invalid draw down the road. If that happens (specifically before picks 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15), we can move the team to the first available placement that would avoid the invalid draw.

To see an example of how one such check would work, let’s revisit the invalid draw example pictured above. In that example, we’re already at a point where the draw cannot be resolved. The problem arose when #2 NA was drawn - when #2 NA was placed into Group B (despite satisfying Rule #1), that left two teams (#3 CN and #2 EU) who could only fit into one spot - the third slot in Group C.

However, if we rewind to before Pick 10 (when #2 NA was drawn), we can see that it’s possible to anticipate and prevent this by placing #2 NA in a spot that would not create an invalid draw further along in the draft. What follows is the logic for deducing where #2 NA must go when drawn at Pick 10.


In this example, exactly 1 CN and 1 EU team remain, and one of the 3 remaining groups already has both a CN and EU team. To avoid putting ourselves in an invalid draw, if the 10th overall pick is not a CN or EU team, it must be drawn into the next available group that contains both a CN and EU team. This means if we draw #2 NA next, it must go to Group D, which enables either CN3 or EU2 to be drawn into either Group B or C.


If we had instead drawn #3 CN or #2 EU at Pick 10, that team would be placed in Group B. These kinds of checks ensure that the draw can proceed without the need to restart and will stay in compliance with the rules of the draw.


To see how the groups turn out, watch the Group Draw Show on September 10 at 11:00 AM PT. Keep your eyes on Lolesports to catch all the exciting Group Stage action starting on September 29.