Worlds 2021 format

Riot announces 2021 World Championship format

By Olivia Richman


Sep 16, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

With the action getting underway early next month, developer Riot Games has now announced the format of the upcoming World Championship.

Held entirely in Reykjavik, Iceland, Worlds will once again be played out across three stages: Play-ins, groups, and knockouts. Unlike previous iterations, however, only 22 teams will compete rather than the usual 24 due to the absence of Vietnamese teams caused by ongoing travel restrictions.

Play-In Stage

Play-ins will see 10 teams, mostly from the game’s wildcard regions, compete to qualify for the main stage. The sides will be split into two groups of five with each group containing two sides from pool 1 and three from pool 2.

Pool 1:

  • LNG Esports (LPL)
  • Hanwha Life Esports (LCK)
  • Cloud9 (LCS)
  • Beyond Gaming (PCS)

Pool 2:

  • RED Candids (CBLOL)
  • Unicorns of Love (LCL)
  • DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL)
  • Infinity Esports (LLA)
  • Galatasaray Esports (TCL)

The best-placed team in each group will automatically move on to the group stage, while second to fourth from each group instead play in best-of-five knockouts to claim the final two spots. Play-ins begin on October 5 and conclude on October 9.

Group Stage

Joining the teams that qualified from play-ins, an additional 12 teams enter the group stage. Four groups of four teams all play a double round-robin to progress to the knockouts. Each group will see the top-two sides move on, where first-place teams will later be drawn against second-place sides. The 12 organizations entering at this point are split into three pools.

Pool 1:

  • EDward Gaming (LPL)
  • MAD Lions (LEC)
  • PSG Talon (PCS)

Pool 2:

  • FunPlus Phoenix (LPL)
  • Gen.G (LCK)
  • Fnatic (LEC)
  • 100 Thieves (LCS)

Pool 3:

  • Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
  • T1 (LCK)
  • Rogue (LEC)
  • Team Liquid (LCS)

The group stage starts on October 11 and wraps up on October 18.

Knockout Stage

Finally, the knockout stage will see the remaining eight teams play a single-elimination, best-of-five bracket with a straightforward quarter-final, semi-final, and grand final. The knockouts begin on October 22 with the grand final crowning the latest world champion on Saturday, November 6.


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