Last updated: Sept. 11
The League of Legends World Championship kicks off on Sept. 29 with 24 of the best LoL teams in the world vying to hoist the brand new Summoner’s Cup. This year’s Worlds will be held in North America with the play-in stage happening in Mexico City, groups and quarterfinals in New York City, semifinals in Atlanta and the final in San Francisco.
The 24 teams hail from 11 different regions around the world: Korea; China; Europe; North America; Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Southeast Asia; Vietnam; Brazil; Japan; Latin America; Oceania; and Turkey. Only the CIS region of Eastern Europe will not send a team due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine causing the cancellation of that region’s season.
To get you ready for the start of Worlds 2022, here’s a brief primer on each of the qualified teams.
Gen.G are the champions of Korea this summer. It was the organization’s first LCK championship. They beat T1 and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok in the LCK summer final to claim Korea’s No. 1 seed at Worlds. Team veteran Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk, who was LCK MVP this summer, has been with the org through all the ups and downs, but he’s no stranger to big wins. He was on the 2017 Samsung Galaxy world championship team that was later acquired by the org that became Gen.G. Winning the LCK summer championship also was a huge victory for young mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon in beating his legendary mid lane counterpart Faker.
Photo credit: Riot Games
The team wasn’t quite as good in the summer as it was in the spring. In the spring, T1 went undefeated, qualified for the Mid-Season Invitational and finished second at the first international League of Legends tournament of the year. T1 weren’t quite as invincible afterward, losing three matches in the LCK summer split and losing to Gen.G in the summer playoffs final, but they’ve made it to Worlds, which is ultimately more important. Even though Faker and T1 haven’t won Worlds since 2016, you can’t doubt the greatest League of Legends player of all time and the most internationally successful org in the game.
The 2020 world champions and 2021 runners-up will be making their third consecutive trip to Worlds. The team formerly known as DAMWON Gaming when they won Worlds in 2020 might not be as dominant as they were two years ago or even last year, but they have an experienced roster. Mid laner Heo "ShowMaker" Su and jungler Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu are the team veterans, having both been with the team in their previous two Worlds runs. Top laner Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon, who was on the 2020 team, returned to the team this year after a year in China with FunPlus Phoenix.
After winning two five-game series in the LCS Regional Finals, DRX captured Korea’s fourth seed at Worlds. DRX are going back to the world championship for the first time since their debut in 2020. The only players on the roster who remain from that Worlds team are jungler Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon and bot laner Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu. DRX’s most notable offseason addition was longtime DAMWON Gaming/DWG KIA support Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee.
It’s fitting that EDward Gaming are back at Worlds to defend their world championship. EDG have been one of the best Chinese League of Legends teams over the past decade and finally broke through for their first Worlds title last year. They haven’t looked quite as strong this year, but they beat the Mid-Season Invitational champion, Royal Never Give Up, in China’s Regional Finals to reach their second consecutive Worlds. This is one of the longest tenured rosters at the tournament with no new players this year and Tian "Meiko" Ye having been with the team since 2014 and Lee "Scout" Ye-chan since 2016.
JD Gaming are back for the second time at Worlds. Their previous appearance was in 2020. JDG have a brand new bot lane duo this year of Lou "Missing" Yun-Feng and Wang "Hope" Jie, but their brand name offseason addition was Bai "369" Jia-Hao, who manned the top lane for Top Esports since 2018. JDG beat Top Esports in both the semifinals and final of the LPL summer playoffs this year to claim China’s No. 1 seed at Worlds.
It’s starting to feel like 2020 again, as Top Esports join JD Gaming in returning to the world championship for the first time in two years. In their previous appearance in 2020, Top reached the semifinals where they lost to fellow Chinese team Suning. Only mid laner Zhuo "knight" Ding and bot laner Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo remain from that roster. JackeyLove also was on the Invictus Gaming team that won Worlds in 2018. Among the new players on this roster this year, Top have a rookie top laner in Huang "Wayward" Ren-Xing and an LPL veteran in the jungle in Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang, who won Worlds with FunPlus Phoenix in 2019. Top also added a new support this year: Ling "Mark" Xu.
Royal Never Give Up
Chinese teams are so strong that the region’s fourth seed at Worlds is the team that was the best in the world in the spring after winning the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI): Royal Never Give Up. It’s not like RNG had a bad summer. They went 13-3 and were tied for third in the standings and then finished 5th-6th in the playoffs. With the exception of the top lane, where the team had Chen "Breathe" Chen replace Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin this summer, this is the same lineup that won MSI in the spring. It’s also largely the same lineup that won MSI last year when their current (and longtime) mid laner Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao had role-swapped to the top lane. This legendary Chinese franchise has had plenty of success on the international stage, but they are still looking for their first world championship title.
Photo credit: Riot Games
After missing the League of Legends World Championship last year, G2 are back. They finished in the top four every year from 2018 to 2020, highlighted by a runner-up finish at Worlds 2019. Rasmus "caPs" Borregaard Winther and Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski are still at the core of this team along with a young bot lane duo and solid top laner in Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik. They were the champions of Europe in the spring and reached the semifinals of the Mid-Season Invitational. When G2 are at their best, they’re one of the best teams in the world.
Rogue are going to Worlds for the third consecutive season, and for the first time are champions of Europe. Although G2 and Fnatic have typically been the European heavyweights, Rogue have emerged as a counterweight to those two teams. Despite losing jungler Kacper "Inspired" Słoma and bot laner Steven "Hans sama" Liv to NA teams last offseason, Rogue replaced them with Kim "Malrang" Geun-seong (top lane) and Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos (bot lane) and haven’t lost a beat. After winning their first LEC title, reaching the knockout stage at Worlds would be the next big step for this org.
Like Rogue, MAD Lions have emerged as one of the stronger and most consistent European teams in recent years. They are going to the world championship for the third straight year. Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser is the elder statesman on this team, having been with MAD Lions for both of the team’s previous Worlds runs, but Javier "Elyoya" Prades Batalla and İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek also bring plenty of experience from last year. Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer might be a newcomer to the team but he’s a League of Legends veteran with two Worlds appearances with other teams on his resume. The only youngster on this team is William "UNF0RGIVEN" Nieminen who made his LEC debut this year.
Fnatic continue to set the bar for League of Legends Worlds appearances. They have qualified for their 10th world championship, more than any other esports org. They had a rockier summer than spring, but they beat Misfits in the LEC summer playoffs to secure EU’s fourth and final spot at Worlds. All of the players on this roster have been to the world championship with Fnatic or another team except Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz, who will be making his Worlds debut.
Photo credit: Riot Games
It’s unusual in esports for teams to keep the same roster from one year to the next, and it’s even more rare for a team to maintain a high level of success with the same roster year over year. That’s exactly what 100 Thieves has done in qualifying for Worlds in back-to-back years with Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho, Can "Closer" Çelik, Felix "Abbedagge" Braun, Ian Victor "FBI" Huang and Choi "huhi" Jae-hyun. They did about as well as can be expected of an NA team last year in winning a few group games. The question is can they take the next step and reach the knockout stage this year in front of North American crowds in New York?
Of course, Cloud9 are back at Worlds. They’re the NA standard bearer and have only missed one world championship since 2013. Despite a rocky spring split, C9 blew up everybody’s predictions in beating Evil Geniuses in the LCS playoffs to claim their spot at Worlds and ultimately winning the LCS Championship with a dominant 3-0 over 100 Thieves. Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami is back in the top lane after a brief experiment playing in the mid lane, and Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen has role swapped to support in order to allow LCS rookie Kim "Berserker" Min-cheol to shine as the team’s AD carry. Oh, and Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen is back after a brief retirement to stabilize the mid lane. They might have been overlooked this LCS season, but nobody will be underestimating them at Worlds.
EG are following up their first-ever Mid-Season Invitational appearance with their first-ever trip to Worlds. The North American spring champions beat Team Liquid in the LCS summer playoffs to secure NA’s third spot at the world championship. With NA hosting Worlds this year, Evil Geniuses are set to showcase some homegrown NA talent, including the brash Joseph Joon "jojopyun" Pyun and the ration king himself Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme. It's unclear if the team's other homegrown star, AD carry Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki, will be at Worlds as he is taking a mental health break.
CTBC Flying Oyster
Who are CTBC Flying Oyster? That’s the question everyone will be asking at Worlds because this team is brand new this year. Plus, they have the coolest name of any team at Worlds. Flying Oyster are the first of two teams from the PCS to qualify for the world championship, beating more internationally known PCS teams PSG Talon and Beyond Gaming during the PCS summer playoffs. Three of the players on this team -- Lin "Koala" Chih-Chiang, Huang "Gemini" Chu-Xuan and Sung "Atlen" Ya-Lun -- joined from the now defunct Machi Esports, who went to Worlds 2020, and two were on Beyond Gaming last year.
Beyond Gaming are returning to Worlds for the second consecutive year. Chu Wu "Kino" Hsin-Jung, Huang "HuSha" Tzu-Wei and Wu "Liang" Liang-Te are back for this Worlds run, but Liang has essentially been replaced in the top lane this summer by Liao "Likai" Li-Kai. Beyond were sixth in the PCS standings this summer but went on a run in the playoffs, beating PCS powerhouse PSG Talon to reach the summer final and qualify for Worlds.
Saigon Buffalo are heading back to the international stage after being Vietnam’s representative at the Mid-Season Invitational. At MSI, they finished 5th-6th as they made it out of their group but were eliminated in the rumble stage. This roster has been playing together since last year, and the longest-tenured Buffalo player is Lâm "Hasmed" Huỳnh Gia Huy, who joined the team in 2019.
We’re finally going to see GAM Esports on the international stage. They would have been Vietnam’s Mid-Season Invitational representative if it weren’t for the SEA Games. GAM were perfect in the VCS spring split with a 14-0 record and only two maps dropped. They followed that up with by winning the spring playoffs, but as the winner they were committed to go to the SEA Games, and instead the runner-up Saigon Buffalo went to MSI. Now GAM will join Saigon Buffalo at Worlds. GAM haven’t been quite as dominant in the summer, but they’ll give Vietnam another strong team at Worlds.
DFM are representing Japan for the fourth consecutive time at an international event. They have gone to the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, Worlds 2021 and MSI 2022. Top laner Shunsuke "Evi" Murase, jungler Mun "Steal" Geon-yeong and bot laner Yuta "Yutapon" Sugiura have been on the team for all of these global appearances. DFM won the LJL summer final by beating Sengoku Gaming, the only team that they lost to during the summer season.
Latin America (LLA)
Isurus were previously at Worlds in 2019, but only one player remains from that roster, Édgar Ali "Seiya" Bracamontes Munguía. What a treat it will be for Seiya and the two other Mexican players on this team to compete on the grandest stage in League of Legends in their home country. A Latin American team has never made it past the play-in stage, so it would be a cool story if this team were to break through.
A year after joining the top Brazilian League of Legends circuit, LOUD are going to Worlds. The organization already has made a lot of noise internationally in VALORANT, and LOUD will now introduce themselves to a global League of Legends audience. The two most notable players on this team are top laner Leonardo "Robo" Souza and mid laner Thiago "tinowns" Sartori. Robo has been to three international tournaments: MSI 2017 with Red Canids, Worlds 2019 with Flamengo Esports and MSI 2021 with paiN Gaming. Tinowns will be returning to the international stage for the first time since Worlds 2014. He was on the KaBuM! s-Sports team that won one game that tournament, but it was a notable one as it came against the European summer champions Alliance to deny them a chance to reach the Worlds playoffs.
Chiefs Esports’ trip to Worlds is well-deserved. They went undefeated in the summer (21-0) and only dropped one game in the playoffs. This followed a 19-2 spring season in which they lost the spring playoffs final 3-2 to just miss out on a trip to the Mid-Season Invitational. This will be the Australian organization’s first appearance at the world championship.Three of the players on this roster have previously gone to Worlds. James "Tally" Shute and Ryan "Aladoric" Gregory Richardson went to Worlds last year with PEACE and Tally and Quin "Raes" Korebrits were at Worlds 2020 with Legacy Esports.
Photo credit: Riot Games
The Istanbul Wildcats have followed up their spring title and Mid-Season Invitational appearance by winning Turkey’s summer championship and qualifying for Worlds. This will be the organization’s first appearance at the world championship. All the players on this roster will be making their debut at Worlds except Anıl "HolyPhoenix" Işık who is returning to the biggest annual League of Legends tournament for the first time since 2014 with Dark Passage.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games