The League of Legends World Championship is one of the premier esports events of the year, spanning more than a month's time through multiple cities across a designated host region, with the winning team in a field of 24 walking away with more than $1 million in prize money and the Summoner's Cup.
This year's event, running from Oct. 2 to Nov. 10, begins in Berlin before transitioning to Madrid for the knockout rounds before the tournament's final stop, Paris, where the two remaining teams will play for the world title at the AccorHotels Arena.
As the world championship looms, ESPN has you covered with each team qualifying for the showdown for the Summoner's Cup, from the favorites to the underdogs.
You can read about the first four teams that qualified here.
Below are the latest teams that have booked their tickets to Berlin.
Team: J Team
Region: Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao
How they qualified: Picking up the pieces of a fragmented region. In the world of professional League of Legends, there are five regions that are considered a tier (or two) above the rest. These are what are commonly known as the major regions in the League of Legends scene. South Korea, China, Europe and North America are the four that are routinely brought up when discussing the best teams in the game -- as each of these regions receives three seeds at the world championship -- with the League of Legends Masters Series (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao) often getting overlooked.
J Team, the recently crowned champions of the LMS, are the hope for a region that has become a hollow shell of its former self. The spiritual successors of the Taipei Assassins -- the first and only LMS team to ever win the world championship (2012) -- Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou bought the organization in 2016 and rebranded it in his image. Last year at the world championship, the LMS was an embarrassment, combining for a record of 3-15 in the group stages. If J Team and the LMS have another world championship showing like last year, the region might be in danger of losing its designation as a major region.
Player you need to know before October: Chu "FoFo" Chun-Lan
The best thing about J Team qualifying for the 2019 world championship is that their ace player in the mid lane, FoFo, will finally get his chance to perform on the international stage. FoFo has been regarded as one of the true breakthrough stars in a region that has dwindled in size and lost many of its top players to the allure of China's pro league. While others have left, FoFo has continued on J Team, and after putting up MVP numbers consistently throughout the years, he is now rewarded with a shot at creating an even larger legend on the grandest stage of them all.
Worlds expectations: A .500 or better in the group stages. While a knockout-round finish would be considered a gigantic win for J Team, at least going 3-3 in their six group stage matches feels like a more realistic target. J Team is going to be under pressure to take games off some of the best teams in the world, and for LMS to win back any kind of respect from the international audience, they can't flounder like a majority of their teams did in South Korea last year at worlds.
Team: SK Telecom T1
Region: South Korea
How they qualified: Systematically destroying and humiliating the rest of the competition in South Korea. When the summer split began for SKT T1, the winningest franchise in League of Legends history, they came out of the gates looking like a team lost and ready to give up. They fell to G2 Esports in the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) semifinals and returned to South Korea seemingly hungover from defeat, beginning the split with a 1-5 record and on the verge of collapse.
Then, as they've done throughout their illustrious history, SKT woke up. They shook off the early defeats, made it all the way to the top of the standings, and then, after a small slip at the end of the season, qualified for the wild-card round of the LCK playoffs with a win over Sandbox Gaming in their final game of the regular season. Come playoff time, though, it was over for the rest of South Korea. SKT won four straight matches by a cumulative score of 11-2 to win back-to-back domestic titles and lock themselves into a No. 1 seed for the world championship.
Player you need to know before October: Kim "Clid" Tae-min
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is obviously the biggest name in League of Legends history, and rightfully so, with eight domestic titles alongside his three world championships. You'll hear his name enough during worlds that you'll go to sleep with his name bouncing around your head. Clid, though, might be even more important to SKT's success at worlds than the GOAT himself.
When Clid, the team's starting jungler, is in the zone, he's arguably one of, if not the best player in the world. At MSI, during those highlight performances, he was far and away the best player in the field among a slew of world-class talent. If Clid and Faker are on the same page and are rolling in rhythm, no one is stopping them. When Clid is out of sync, however, that's where things go awry for SKT. Faker is expected to be consistent as he has for most of his historic career, but it'll be up to Clid to be the player who takes the South Korean champions to the Summoner's Cup.
Worlds expectations: No. 4 in the trophy case. When SKT comes to the world championship, it doesn't matter if they're flying or struggling. They don't play for anything other than first. This will be Faker's first appearance at worlds since failing in Beijing two years ago when he lost in the grand final to fellow South Korean side Samsung Galaxy. T1 spent a lot of money to put together a team that could help Faker get his redemption, and anything other than the Summoner's Cup will feel like it was an opportunity wasted.
Team: ahq esports
Region: Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao
How they qualified: Returning to prominence at just the right time. Along with Flash Wolves, ahq esports were staples of the world championship until last year when ahq combusted by finishing sixth in the spring split before finishing even worse in the summer with an abysmal record of 3-11, good enough for last in the LMS. In 2019, the old standard of the LMS reinvented themselves, getting a much-needed facelift following their aging roster's decline the prior year.
Ahq didn't win either the spring or summer split title in the LMS, but their consistency, finishing third in spring and second in summer, was good enough to grab an invitation to the world championship. Now, they'll need to play better than what they have throughout the year to have any chance of making noise in the upcoming group stage in Berlin.
Player you need to know before October: Chen "Alex" Yu-Ming
As with many teams heading into worlds, ahq is another squad whose jungler is an integral part of their success (and sometimes failure). With ahq, we have Alex, a 19-year-old who found himself playing in China last year on FunPlus Phoenix before transferring back to his home region of LMS to take part in the reinvention of ahq. In his first season with ahq, he was named MVP of the LMS region.
Worlds expectations: A big upset in the group stages. It's not the nicest thing to say, but ahq is the team that every team heading to Berlin will be hoping they draw in the group stage. This isn't to say ahq is a terrible team -- no team that qualifies for worlds can be considered a terrible team -- yet, facts are facts, and LMS is on the downswing, and it's not like ahq lit the world on fire this year with their bronze and silver medal finishes in the LMS spring and summer splits. Their goal should be to play spoiler take at least one game from one of the favored teams in whatever group they're drawn into. Anything more than a big upset would be considered a massive success for an organization still trying to find its identity.
How they qualified: Making aggressive roster moves to become the top dogs of Oceania. In the 2018 offseason, coming off a disappointing first split in Oceania's major domestic league, Mammoth, well, made some mammoth maneuvers. They went out and signed some of the bigger names in the region, reaffirming a decision to gun for the top spot in Oceania and get to the world championship. The first season of 2019 could have gone better -- a fifth place finish in the playoffs -- though we'll write that off to new teammates learning to play together, as they got off to a hot start in the second split of 2019 en route to taking home the championship in an impressive 3-0 showing with a mammoth (no more puns, I promise) comeback in the third and final game of the series to win the organization's first hardware.
Player you need to know before October: Calvin "k1ng" Truong
Simply put, k1ng is king. Since the Oceanic Pro League's inception in 2015, Mammoth's AD carry has played in eight of the league's ten finals, his most recent victory giving him his fifth championship. Be it on Dire Wolves, Legacy Esports or Mammoth, k1ng has found himself occupying a spot in the OPL finals, more often than not getting his hand raised in the end. For one of the veterans of the OPL, this tournament will be all about garnering respect from the international audience, as Oceania is currently the minnow of the 12 professional League of Legends regions across the globe.
Worlds expectations: Play-in finals. Historically, Oceania is the weakest region of the 12 pro leagues around the world. That's not to say they've always been a punching bag at international events, though they often end up that way in the end. Oceania has had its moments internationally but nothing of note. Mammoth believes they're the best team Oceania has ever sent to the world championship, and if true, that means they're going to at least need to make it to the final rounds of the play-in stage. Anything other than that would keep Oceania once more at the bottom of the regional hierarchy.
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
How they qualified: Being the best team in the deepest region in the world. China is the home of the reigning world champion, but Invictus Gaming is not the No. 1 seed coming out of China this year. That would be FunPlus Phoenix, the re-imagined franchise that went from being a middling team in 2018 to having the most consistent lineup in China in 2019. If there were two words to identify FPX, it would be "skirmish" and "stylish." They're one of the bloodiest teams in a region known for its high-elimination games, and come their first international appearance in Berlin, you should expect nothing less than a show from the Phoenix.
Player you need to know before October: Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang
In a league full of megastars and prodigies, Doinb stands out as one of this year's main characters. A South Korean-born player who has all but adopted China as his new home, he is as unique as they come in esports. Every match FPX plays becomes a guessing game of what Doinb will play in his starting mid lane position. He'll play tanks, supports, mages and more at his role, and his plethora of picks has made him one of the hardest players in the world for whom to create a game plan.
Whereas many mid laners use their junglers to get ahead, Doinb is the opposite, as his oddball picks are used to propel the team's star jungler Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang. For years, the diehard League of Legends community that follows the Chinese scene has awaited Doinb's debut at the world championship. Finally, the man known as the "Super Carry" is here, and he's ready to put on a show.
Worlds expectations: Reaching the finals. Normally, a No. 1 seed from a region as strong as China should be "title or bust," yet, with FPX, getting to the final would be a top accomplishment. FPX, at their core, are a team that runs through Doinb. They love to select the red side when in the drafting phase to allow him a counter pick. It'll be Doinb and Tian's first world championship along with the rest of the team, and for that alone, a final appearance in Paris would be a proud moment for the FPX franchise. The Summoner's Cup? That would just be a cherry on top.
Team: Royal Youth
How they qualified: Going all-in at the right time. At the end of the opening split of the 2019 season, Royal Youth lost in the semifinals. It was a decent finish. They had rebranded from Royal Bandits to Royal Youth, ushered in an entirely new roster and still did well enough to make top-four in one of the toughest non-major regions. Still, it wasn't enough. Royal Youth saw their most well-known player, Lee "GBM" Chang-seok, leave and replaced him with another South Korean mid laner in Yu "cyeol" Chung-yeol -- the ultimate journeyman, having played in South Korea, China and Taiwan before finding his way to Turkey in the middle of the year.
The gambit paid off, and the makeshift roster bested Turkish powerhouse Bahçeşehir SuperMassive in the most recent domestic final to qualify for this year's world championship.
Player you need to know before October: Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung
Not all featured players are legends or upcoming megastars. This time around, it's Pilot, a player who will most likely never become a legend, and his days of being a blue-chip prospect are long in the past. Pilot was once thought to be a player capable of reaching those heights, first making a name for himself on the Jin Air Green Wings in South Korea. After a stint of middling results in his home country, he moved to Europe to play for a superteam of the soccer world looking to invest in esports, Paris Saint-Germain. That didn't work out, and Pilot's once-promising career turned into a nightmare. He tried again to make it work in South Korea and failed, eventually moving to Turkey to play on the fledgling Royal Youth roster.
After a six-year career, Pilot's moment in the sun has come at 23-years-old. It's his chance to change his own narrative in one tournament.
Worlds expectations: Group stage. Turkey as a non-major region has to qualify for the group stages through the play-ins, and Royal Youth, though not the scariest-looking team the region has ever sent, should still be a threat to make it to groups. With LMS sinking as a region, Royal Youth should have a chance if they get a good draw to make waves in play-ins and battle for the all-important spots in the group stage. Play-ins might be a part of the world championship, but worlds really starts when the best teams begin playing. That's Royal Youth's goal.
Team: Isurus Gaming
Region: Latin America
How they qualified: Making a statement in Latin America. In the first half of the 2019 season, Isurus struggled a bit with their new roster, having replaced four out of their five starters in the offseason. They were big upgrades talentwise, but like most teams littered with the top talent, it took time for chemistry to develop. Isurus finished 13-8 and fourth in the regular season and then turned it on in the playoffs where they took the domestic title. At MSI, Isurus performed below expectations, going 2-4 and not making it to the group stages. In the summer, they picked it up a notch, only dropping five games the entire split and winning the Latin America final to qualify for worlds with a 3-0 blowout.
Player you need to know before October: Édgar Ali "Seiya" Bracamontes Munguía
Seiya is Latin America's Faker. He is Latin America's Michael Jordan. He is Latin America, really. Since 2014, Seiya simply hasn't lost much in Latin America. He has won almost every split he has competed in. In 2015, they created a Latin America North domestic league, and he won all the titles, except in 2018. In 2019, they combined Latin America North and South, with Seiya choosing to sign with Isurus where he has won back-to-back titles. No player in League of Legends has as many domestic titles as Seiya. The Mexican mid laner is still searching for that moment at an international event which takes him from national hero to worldwide phenomenon, and this world championship has all the makings of that moment.
Worlds expectations: Group stage. Similar to Turkey, Latin America is a region stuck between two tiers. They're not so much like Oceania where a few wins in play-ins will feel like an accomplishment, and they're not decorated enough to expect to make group stages and do damage when they get there. Isurus will be frustrated with how they finished at MSI and should do better in Europe.
Team: Royal Never Give Up
How they qualified: Showcasing form is temporary, class is permanent. Royal Never Give Up were supposed to take home the Summoner's Cup in 2018. They were the best team entering the tournament, had won MSI, and won both of their domestic splits. It was supposed to be the ushering in of a new age in which China was the kingpin region with RNG being its greatest son, paralleling South Korea with SK Telecom T1. China brought home the Cup, but it was Invictus Gaming who took home China's first world championship, as RNG fell to Europe's G2 Esports in the quarterfinals -- the biggest upset in game history at the time.
This year has been nothing like their fairytale story heading into the 2018 world championship. The team didn't even make it into the semifinals during the spring split and entered the summer playoffs in a position where if they lost their first playoff match they would have been eliminated from worlds contention. RNG, as their name suggests, didn't give up, and though they lost to FPX in the summer split finals, they go to Berlin as one of the favorites to lift the Summoner's Cup.
Player you need to know before October: Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao
League of Legends isn't a game in China -- it's a culture. China is the hub of League of Legends, with their franchised league growing by two teams each year until they reach 20 (there are currently 16). All of these teams are building their own home arenas. China's League of Legends Pro League has become the one every other domestic league looks up to. That leads us to Uzi, the face of the LPL, having played in the league since the beginning. He made his first world championship final in 2013 and returned the next year, losing both times. Considered by many as the game's all-time greatest AD carry, all that is missing from his collection is a Summoner's Cup victory.
Worlds expectations: It has to be the Summoner's Cup. They lost to FPX in the LPL's summer final, yet when it comes down to which Chinese team is more equipped to take it all, it has to be Royal Never Give Up. Their star players aren't going to wilt under the stress of travel and living in a foreign country for over a month. The pressure of having to be the first Chinese team to win a world title is now gone from their shoulders. Like Faker, Uzi won't be happy with anything other than a Cup. He has made two worlds finals and failed. The third time? RNG hope it's the charm.
Team: Damwon Gaming
Region: South Korea
How they qualified: Showing South Korea how to win lane and win the game. Over the long history of South Korean League of Legends, the way to win has always been to play slow and safe. The greats, the ones who won worlds and lifted the Summoner's Cup were the teams that knew how to choke the life out of opponents. SK Telecom T1 won back-to-back world titles by shrugging off early games and using a counterpunch strategy that turned any small mistake by the opponent into a sweeping loss.
Damwon are not your mother's South Korean League of Legends contender. They deploy a pair of solo laners who love to get ahead early and fight. They play fast and loose, sometimes too loose, which results in them losing gigantic leads that should have been surefire victories. The team's identity makes sense when you realize that they are actually the young punks of LCK, having only been promoted to the league at the start of the year.
Player you need to know before October: Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon
No player personifies Damwon's style of play better than their best player, and they all orbit around in Nuguri. The top laner doesn't really know what the words "danger" and "risky" really mean. He believes that he needs to be putting on the pressure at all times, and that's true if he's up in gold against his opponent or if he has been killed three times in lane. What this creates is a player who, when he gets ahead is unstoppable, and when he falls behind still finds himself instrumental in his team's victories. So far in South Korea, Nuguri hasn't found a single top laner he has feared going up against one-on-one in lane. We'll see if that remains true in Europe.
Worlds expectations: Semifinals. This team is talented enough to win worlds. There's a definite possibility this team clicks at the right time, Nuguri finds a new level to his play and Damwon does what Invictus Gaming did last year -- when the ultra-aggressive, sometimes cocky squad wins it all through mechanics and dominating the early game. But there's also a definite possibility that Damwon gets into the group stage and flames out because of their mentality getting broken after a disappointing loss to a foreign team. As a young team, this won't be the last time these players reach the world championship, and thus, at least a semifinal should be enough to make South Korea proud.
How they qualified: Learning how to adapt after losing their best player and possibly being even better. Fnatic in 2018 reached the world championship final. They weren't just in the final -- they were the favorites. They toppled Invictus Gaming in the group stages and then went on to waltz through the bracket stage, dismantling North America's Cloud9 in the semifinals. When the final was actually played, though, Fnatic were the ones getting dismantled, iG toying with Fnatic like they weren't a threat to them at all. On that day, Fnatic were broken, and the team's prodigal son, Caps, left to join G2 Esports in the offseason.
Enter 2019: The starting five of the world final, sans Caps, decides to stick together, and they replace the superstar mid laner with a rookie from Slovenia by the name of Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek. It wasn't an instant success, as the team struggled mightily at times in the spring split, but they eventually got on the same page, and Nemesis has emerged as less of a liability and more of a weapon as Fnatic heads back to the tournament they almost won last year.
Player you need to know before October: Martin "Rekkles" Larsson
Rekkles is Fnatic. Fnatic is Rekkles. Outside of one split in the middle of his career when he played for a European side called Elements, Rekkles has donned the black and orange of Fnatic for six years. He has gone to several semifinals and international finals with the organization and collected a bunch of domestic titles. The one thing missing? The world championship. He thought he had reached the pinnacle of his career in South Korea in 2018 as Fnatic entered a grand final that didn't turn out to be that grand for Fnatic. This year is Europe's year to host, though, and nothing would be sweeter for Rekkles than to accomplish his life's dream in front of the fans he has dazzled since he was a teenager.
Worlds expectations: The Summoner's Cup. It might seem a bit ambitious to make this the goal of a team with a rookie mid laner, but what else would they be aiming for? Four of the five starters already made it to a final. Does anyone actually believe Rekkles would be happy if he made it to the final again and lost? A semifinal? Of course not. This team has gotten the best of G2 Esports at times this summer and feel as if they're on the same tier as the MSI champions. To Fnatic, it has be them, not G2, who'll be the first European team to ever lift the Summoner's Cup.
Team: Flamengo eSports
How they qualified: Finally living up to expectations at the right time. Brazil is one of the more fervent non-major regions, with a large player base and domestic league games broadcast on television. Since almost the inception of their professional league, it felt as if it would only be a matter of time until Brazil became a "major" region alongside North America, Europe, South Korea and China. But after some impressive results in 2014 and 2015 at worlds, the country's teams have regressed.
Flamengo eSports, the competitive gaming division of Brazilian soccer giant CR Flamengo, wants to bring pride back to a region that has lost its luster. The team mowed through the initial split of the year but then fumbled when it mattered most in the league final, stopping them from representing Brazil internationally at MSI. This split, Flamengo made it back to the league final, and this time capitalized, defeating INTZ e-Sports in a full five-game series to qualify for the world championship.
Player you need to know before October: Felipe "brTT" Gonçalves
At 28, brTT will be one of the oldest competitors at the world championship. He's an icon of the Brazilian League of Legends scene. When he makes posts on social media, in seconds, thousands react. He has won domestic titles. He's a multi-time All Star. All that's really left for brTT, like so many other legends, is a memorable moment at the world championships. In recent years, Brazil's fan base has had lowered expectations for competing teams at worlds, as they've been stacked with rookies and players who got hot at just the right time.
That won't be an issue this year. Brazil believes in brTT, and he will be flying into Berlin with an entire country behind him when Flamengo play their first match in play-ins.
Worlds expectations: Group stage. As with most of the stronger fledgling regions, a spot in the group stages is the ultimate goal. Flamengo has veteran players on the roster that have played abroad before and are backed by a supergiant when it comes to infrastructure. Anything other than a group stage placement would be considered a disappointment.