What team to root for at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship

Meet the candidates.

Photo via Riot Games.

Are you new to watching League of Legends esports? Did your favorite team fail to make it to the tournament, so now you’re not sure who to root for? Or maybe you’re a North American fan who wants to root for a team that actually has a shot at winning it all? Then this is the article for you.

This guide is for all League fans that don’t have a team to root for at Worlds. It’s also for Team Liquid fans looking for a backup for when they get eliminated from the group stage. More than anything, it’s a celebration of the teams that made it and what makes them unique and fan-worthy, regardless of where they came from.

There’s not enough space to highlight all 24 teams from around the globe that made it to Europe for the tournament. But in the teams below, you should find at least one squad you can throw your fan hat in with.

If you want to root for the favorites: G2 Esports

Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports are kings of the League world. They won the last major international tournament, the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, by beating Korean super team SK Telecom T1 in a thriller.

Jumping on the G2 train at this point may earn you derisive remarks from other fans but pay them no heed. The term “bandwagon fan” will probably be thrown at you on online forums or social media, but remember, those are just words. When G2 brings home the Summoner’s Cup, you’ll have something tangible to celebrate. Words are fleeting, trophies are forever.

If you want to root for the real favorites: SKT

G2 may be the shiniest team on the block, but their history at Worlds is pretty lackluster. They’ve been eliminated from the group stage more times than they’ve advanced. So if you want to root for a team that has actually shown up at this tournament, it’s SKT. Mid lane star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has won three Cups, and this might be his most talented supporting cast. After a slow start to the Summer Split, they’re in peak form again. And remember: Last time SKT lost at MSI, they went on a rampage during the 2015 World Championship. This is the real bandwagon team.

If you like pop music: J Team

Are you a huge fan of the K/DA concert Riot put out for Worlds 2018? Do you look forward to the official Worlds music video every year? Do you still rock out to “Legends Never Die” will playing solo queue? Then there can only be one team for you: J Team.

J Team was founded by Mandopop superstar Jay Chou. That’s why it’s called J Team. Long considered just a fun vanity project, the team rose to prominence this year after the fall of longtime LMS champions Flash Wolves. Mid laner Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan is one of Taiwan’s most famous players and it’s finally time to see what he can do on the big stage.

If you’re from NA and you like best-of-fives: Cloud9

Cloud9 aren’t the best North American team—they haven’t won an LCS title in forever, after all. But every year at Worlds, they make it to the knockout stage. The last three years, they’ve been the last North American team standing, so if you’re from NA and want to see the quarterfinals, better join forces with Cloud9.

If you’re from NA and you DGAF: Clutch Gaming

Photo via Riot Games

Clutch Gaming are the ultimate YOLO team. They fired their coach with weeks left in the Summer Split, beat TSM in a reverse sweep in the gauntlet final, and now they’re at Worlds. ADC Cody Sun has made the tournament the last three years with three separate teams. He’s a “go big or go home” type of player, which makes Clutch a fun team to watch.

If you’re a TSM fan: FunPlus Phoenix

If you miss TSM after two years out of the tournament, there’s hope. FunPlus Phoenix are also built around the singular talents of a star mid laner: Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. They embody TSM’s original “Baylife” attitude of going for big plays and playing freely better than TSM do at this point. And they’re a legitimate threat to win it all.

If you loved the EU LCS: Unicorns of Love

Photo via Riot Games

The first year of the LEC in Europe was pretty great, but we lost some fun teams in the franchising process. Unicorns of Love were never Europe’s best team, but they were one of the most interesting with the pink uniforms. Against all odds, they rebuilt and joined the Russian CIS. Now they’re at Worlds for the first time. They’re probably not going to make it out of the play-in stage, but it will be good to see them again.

If you’re ready for new blood from Turkey: Royal Youth

For the last several years, the Turkish TCL has been dominated by just a few teams. This year, Royal Youth tried to crash that party by signing veterans like Lee “GBM” Chang-seok. Failing that, they signed lesser-known players and somehow beat SuperMassive in the TCL final.

If you’re an anime fan: Fnatic

Photo via Riot Games

Over the last few years, League has embraced anime culture with the Star Guardians event and skins. But anime is about more than just cool songs and flashy videos. It’s about storylines that feature incredible swings from the depths of despair to the triumph of victory.

This year’s anime character is Fnatic. We’d accept Royal Never Give Up in that role as well, but since Riot put ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao at the end of last year’s Worlds video, we believe that they already had their shot. This year it’s Fnatic’s turn, and the storyline is amazing.

Fnatic made the Worlds final last year only to get beaten down by Invictus Gaming. Then, their star mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther, left to join their bitter rivals, G2. Now Caps and G2 are the favorites to win the whole thing. That’s a lot of baggage before we even get to ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s long history at the international tournament. If you love drama, Fnatic is your team.

If you just can’t help yourself: Team Liquid

Liquid has the talent to win this thing. If they play flawlessly, they can beat anyone—just ask IG what happened in the semifinals at MSI. The team, especially ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, feels a bit cursed now. But if you just can’t help yourself, or if you love punishment, feel free to join Liquid for one last hurrah.