The 2021 League of Legends World Championship is heading to Iceland.
Riot had originally planned to host the end-of-year event in China for the second year running but, due to unforeseeable circumstances, had to make the decision to pivot to Europe.
“We figured 2020 would be the hardest Worlds we ever had to produce,” said John Needham, Riot’s head of esports, in a statement in August. “With vaccines being distributed worldwide this year, we anticipated a return to some sort of normal in 2021.
“Well, unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. With the Delta variant, travel restrictions and COVID protocols have been even more complicated to navigate in 2021 than they were in 2020.”
Having hosted the Mid-Season Invitational in May, Europe was the next best option outside of China. “After considering all potential options, we concluded that moving Worlds to Europe provided the best opportunity for the most teams, and their best players, to compete,” said Needham.
For the most part, the change of location has had a minimal impact on teams. But, according to a report by TheThao on Sept. 1, teams representing Vietnam could miss out on the event due to “visa issues.” This means just 22 teams (down from 24) will compete at the event.
Worlds 2021, like MSI, will be held in Reykjavík’s Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena from Oct. 5 to Nov. 6, according to a report by Dot Esports on Sept. 6. There won’t be a live audience.
This report was confirmed by Riot on Sept. 9. “After close collaboration with European authorities and Riot Games’ trusted risk assessment and safety partners, Worlds 2021 is headed to Reykjavik, Iceland,” Riot said.
“While maintaining our focus on ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved in hosting, producing, and competing at the event, Worlds 2021 will not host a live audience,” Riot added.
The play-in stage will take place from Oct. 5 to 9. The group stage will run from Oct. 11 to 18. And the knockouts, including the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals will take their course from Oct. 22 to Nov. 6.
- Play-ins: Oct. 5 to 9
- Groups: Oct. 11 to 13 and Oct. 15 to 18
- Quarterfinals: Oct. 22 to 25
- Semifinals: Oct. 30 to 31
- Finals: Nov. 6
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