All 16 teams have qualified for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship
It’s that time of year again. After two hectic splits, all 16 teams have qualified for the World Championship coming later this fall. With the regional finals in Europe and North America finishing earlier today, here are the final teams headed to Worlds from each region.
- Edward Gaming
Edward Gaming had an absolutely dominant regular season, not dropping a single series the entire summer split. EDG has a lot to prove after a disappointing showing from China at Worlds last year. Jungler Ming “ClearLove” Kai and AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu have proven themselves to be world-class carries and are expected to lead Edward Gaming to a deep playoff run this year.
- Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up consists of a group of exceptionally talented individual players hoping to mesh well to form a superteam. The team clearly has massive potential with the incredible bot lane duo of Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, but they are unable to defeat their regional rivals EDward Gaming, so it is extremely unclear how RNG will perform at Worlds.
- I May
I May, sister team to EDward Gaming, defeated Team WE in the Chinese Regional Finals to secure their spot at Worlds. Their roster is made up of “B-team” players, but they can easily surprise their opposition at Worlds with performances from top laner Shek "AmazingJ" Wai Ho and mid laner Ha-woon "Athena" Kang.
- ROX Tigers
With the help of KT Rolster, ROX Tigers was able to avoid yet another LCK finals against SK Telecom T1, who they are seemingly cursed to lose to. This time around, ROX Tigers look like the strongest team in the world and show no signs of slowing down. Top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho and jungler Yoon "Peanut" Wang-ho are the best in the world at their roles, and, barring an extreme upset, ROX Tigers should finish in the top-four at Worlds this year.
- SK Telecom T1
“Even year” SK Telecom T1 has struggled to find their stride with new jungler Kang "Blank" Sun-gu. Although they reigned victorious in the spring split, they were handily defeated by KT Rolster in the LCK summer semifinals and left a question mark on how the team would perform internationally. Can phenom mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok lead SKT to their third straight Worlds victory, or will their recent struggles hinder them come October?
- Samsung Galaxy
In the LCK regional finals, Samsung Galaxy defeated clear favorite KT Rolster, and Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong is on his way to his long-awaited first World Championship appearance. After a mediocre spring split, former ADC Jo "Core JJ" Yong-in switched roles to support, and the team has seen moderate success. However, success at Worlds is contingent on favorable group draws and exceptional individual and team performance.
Europe (EU LCS)
- G2 Esports
After an underwhelming performance at the Mid-Season Invitational, G2 had to prove their spring split domination wasn’t a fluke. With the addition of top laner Dae-Han "Expect" Ki, G2 appear to be Europe’s best hope at a deep run in the playoffs at Worlds. Bot lane duo Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez look to surprise international teams with their synergy and talent.
For a second consecutive year, H2k is headed to Worlds on seemingly improbable odds. After a brief, unsuccessful stint with Origen, ADC Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou rejoined H2k and led them to a second straight EU LCS semifinals appearance, where they fell short against Splyce. While it’s unclear at this time whether FORG1VEN or substitute Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek will start at ADC, H2k’s Worlds performance will hinge on Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski’s ability to generate first bloods and snowball games.
Yesterday, Splyce narrowly defeated Unicorns of Love to confirm their spot as the third team from Europe headed to Worlds. They had a miraculous regular season, dropping only a couple of series, but recent series have showed the team’s inconsistencies and macro shortcomings. Top laner Martin "Wunderwear" Hansen and mid laner Chres "Sencux" Laursen will need to prove they can carry Splyce on the international stage, and the team will need to clean up on their ability to close games if they are to see success at Worlds.
North America (NA LCS)
- Team SoloMid
History shows it’s dangerous to ever overestimate a North American team at Worlds, but Team SoloMid might actually be among the best teams in the world right now. Superstars Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng highlight this iteration of TSM, the greatest one to date. Expectations couldn’t be higher for the NA superteam, but can they defeat the Asian giants in EDG, ROX and SKT?
- Counter Logic Gaming
Counter Logic Gaming has, after immense success in the NA LCS spring split and Mid-Season Invitational, declined throughout the summer split. In particular, top laner Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaha and mid laner Choi "HuHi" Jae-hyun have struggled finding their stride and been outclassed by seemingly inferior opponents. The team has a lot to think about and learn from after a crushing 3-0 defeat by TSM in the summer split semifinals. However, CLG’s strength has always been their superior macro decision making and map control, and with Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black at the helm, CLG is likely to find success at Worlds.
After another consecutive successful gauntlet run, Cloud9 has found themselves headed to their fourth straight Worlds appearance, off the back of top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong’s absolute carry performances over the past few weeks. With the addition of renowned head coach Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu, Cloud9 has found their form and is looking like the clear second best team in NA. The question that remains is whether Impact can continue his solo kills against international competition, or if his play will fall back down to earth come Worlds.
- Flash Wolves
Not much has changed for the Flash Wolves’ roster since last Worlds, besides the replacement of top laner Chou "Steak" Lu-Hsi with Lihong-Yu "MMD." Flash Wolves found moderate success at the Mid-Season Invitational and continue to dominate the Taiwan region, winning both the spring and summer splits in dominating 3-0 fashion. Expectations, however, should be managed, as neither Taiwanese team headed to Worlds looks like they can tussle with the likes of ROX and EDG.
- Ahq e-sports Club
Ahq e-sports Club is the only team that hasn’t had a single roster change since last year’s World Championship. While they haven’t found the same degree of success as Flash Wolves in regional play, their long-standing team synergy should prove extremely beneficial in their hunt for blood in international play. Specifically, look for carry performances from mid laner Liu "Westdoor" Shu-Wei and ADC Chou "AN" Chun An, as they have had international success in the past and proved they can perform in important situations.
International Wildcard (IWC)
- INTZ e-Sports (Brazil/CBLoL)
INTZ e-Sports has yet to have a chance to prove themselves on the international stage after massive success in CBLoL tournament play. They won both the spring and summer competitions in Brazil and are headed to their first World Championship after easily qualifying in the International Wildcard tournament. The team leaves many question marks as they haven’t played against teams in more prominent regions, and my expectations are generally low for INTZ at Worlds; however, an upset here and there is not unlikely, and it is exciting for Brazilian teams to finally get more exposure.
- Albus NoX Luna (Russia/LCL)
Narrowly defeating Lyon Gaming in the International Wildcard tournament, Albus NoX Luna is headed to their first World Championship. Albus, formerly Hard Random, just missed reaching the Mid-Season Invitational after a 3-1 defeat in the spring IWC to SuperMassive Esports. Albus is unlikely to find much success at Worlds, but their victories will be dependent on mid laner Michael "Kira" Garmash’s performance.
Regardless of how the groups are drawn this Saturday, this year’s World Championship could be the most exciting and competitive League of Legends tournament of all time.
Who do you think will win Worlds? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.