Worlds 2021 format, explained

Here's everything you need to know about this year's format.

Image via Riot Games

The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will host 22 teams in a three-stage, month-long tournament in Iceland, Reykjavík’s Laugardalshöll Indoor Sporting Arena from Oct. 5 to Nov. 6.

Here’s everything you need to know about the format for the event.

Play-in stage

The play-in stage of the event will take place from Oct. 5 to 9 and feature 10 teams, including:

The first seeds from Brazil’s CBLoL, Japan’s LJL, Oceania’s LCO, the Commonwealth of Independent States’ LCL, Latin America’s LLA, and Turkey’s TCL.

  • RED Canids
  • DetonatioN FocusME
  • PEACE
  • Unicorns of Love
  • Infinity Esports
  • Galatasaray Esports

The second seed from Southeast Asia’s PCS.

  • Beyond Gaming

The third seed from North America’s LCS.

  • Cloud9

And the fourth seeds from China’s LPL and Korea’s LCK.

  • LNG Esports
  • Hanwha Life Esports

The teams will be drawn into two groups of five and will compete in a single round-robin to decide who advances to the group stage. The top team in each group will automatically advance. The third and fourth-place teams will play a best-of-five and the winners will challenge the other group’s second seed for the last two remaining spots. 

The two teams representing the VCS, Vietnam’s regional league, were ruled out of the event after failing to acquire the necessary visas to travel to Iceland, according to a statement by Riot on Sept. 9. As a result, the LEC’s third seed, Rogue, have been moved up to the group stage. 

To accommodate for travel restrictions, Riot is implementing a “limited loan program” that will allow teams to borrow a player from another team in their league.

Related: All teams qualified for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship

Group stage

This year’s groups will feature 16 teams, including:

The top three seeded teams from Korea’s LCK, China’s LPL, and Europe’s LEC.

  • DWG KIA, Gen.G, T1,
  • EDward Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix, Royal Never Give Up
  • MAD Lions, Fnatic, Rogue

The top two seeded from North America’s LCS.

  • 100 Thieves, Team Liquid

And the top-seeded team from Southeast Asia’s PCS.

  • PSG Talon

The four teams that qualify through the play-in stage will also compete in the groups.

In the group stage, each team will be split into four groups of four. From Group A to Group D, teams will compete in a double-round robin. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage. If there’s a tie, teams will play a tiebreaker to decide the outcome of the group.

Knockout stage

The knockout stage (or the playoffs) will feature the top eight teams in a best-of-five, single-elimination bracket. The matchups will be decided by a draw following the group stage on Oct. 18. As always, teams will advance through the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals to decide the winner.

The winner of the final best-of-five series will be crowned the 2021 League of Legends World Champions on Nov. 6.


Each match from the play-ins and groups will start at roughly 6am CT. Beginning with the quarterfinals, the event will kick off at the later time of 7am CT.