Time for a brief history lesson to give everyone a background about how League of Legends evolved to where it is now. The first official “Worlds” tournament of season 1 was in 2011. The teams consisted of three NA teams, three EU teams and two SEA teams (from the Philippines and Singapore).
Two EU teams made it to the finals with FNC winning (after going 1-2 in group stage) and TSM finishing third for NA, which is a fact that EU fans like to remind NA fans of to this day. EU would see a six-year drought before another finals appearance and NA has never made it to the finals.
It did not take long for the Asian regions to assert their dominance from that point forward with a Taiwanese team Taipei Assassins from the now defunct LMS region winning season 2 and the infamous SKT T1 winning season 3.
It was not until 2014 that Worlds would take the shape as we know it today (and for the Super 4 regions LPL, LCK, EU and NA to become established). In the main Worlds tournament there are four groups of four teams that compete in a double round robin BO1 format.
Each of the top two teams from the groups advance to the bracket stage of the tournament where three rounds of BO5 play determine the Worlds winner. The path to qualification for the Worlds tournament has been changed for each region many times throughout the years.
Since 2014-2019, there have been a maximum of three teams for the CN, KR, EU and NA regions (with additional teams from the LMS or PCS). In 2017, the Play In stage of Worlds was added to allow a better chance for teams outside of the major four regions to qualify for Worlds.
In the 2020 Worlds, CN and EU (the two regions with the best two-year cumulative performance) have received an opportunity to qualify an unprecedented fourth team. There have been no new regions added to Worlds this year.
The PCS (a combination of the former LMS and SEA regions) was hardest hit this year dropping a combined four seeds in 2019 (two direct seeds and two play in seeds) to two seeds (one direct and one play in) for 2020. The VN region is unable to travel/compete due to COVID restrictions.
The dominance of the top four regions (CN = LPL, EU = LEC, KR = LCK and NA = LCS) is easily visualized by looking at their domination in both the Worlds main and play in tournaments (from 2014-2019 for Worlds and from 2017-2019 for the play ins).
Of the regions that have fielded three teams in each Worlds since 2014, NA has performed the most poorly advancing two teams to the quarterfinals, one team to the semifinals and no teams to the finals. NA also failed to advance from group stage in 2015 and 2019.
KR and CN have been traditionally the strongest regions although EU has outperformed KR in the past two years. No region outside of the top four have advanced teams past the group stage since 2017.
The play in seeds from CN, EU and KR have advance more teams (6) in three years than NA (5) has advanced in the last six years. This is another mark of how poorly NA has performed compared to the other three top regions.
Dating back to 2014, here have been the results.
Here is what the 2020 Worlds group stage draws like.
Over at the DFS Headquarters, we will be providing content for the entire Worlds tournament. If you are interested in our premium membership package, follow us on Twitter at @DFSHeadquarters and send us a DM and we can get you hooked up.
Also, follow me on Twitter at @Excomm_ as I will be posting starting lineups on my timeline!