With the biggest League of Legends tournaments just over a month away from starting, it is time to talk about the newest changes to the game and what can be expected in Worlds.
This year in League of Legends is special for a lot of reasons, but let’s talk about why based on the gameplay first. There is an argument to made against this claim, but League of Legends as a game is the most balanced it has been in a long time. As much flak as Riot Games gets for creating an environment where there are only very few champions that feel strong to play, they have made this champion pool much larger this year.
Champions that have been weak for years, never to be seen in professional play, are making a comeback with a new item and rune builds or even slight reworks to make them more viable. These are champions that are over a decade old, like Twitch, Shyvana, Poppy, Amumu, and the list goes on and on. Not seen in pro play for several years, these champions are making a comeback with a vengeance, being able to go toe to toe with some of the newest champions. This is incredibly important because the newest champions like Zeri, Vex, and Akshan have been widely acknowledged as overpowered, but these older champions that are now coming back are able to deal with the newer threats in a better way than ever before. Just this should make for a more diverse and exciting Worlds experience, but there is more.
Jumping into Summoner’s Rift, there are noticeable changes to the mechanics of the map that will make Worlds more competitive than ever. Scaling objective bounties were in League of Legends last Worlds, but pro players have had another year to learn and understand them. This mechanic makes it easier for the losing team to come back by getting extra gold for making down Towers, Dragons, and Barons. However, with new health and resistance scaling mechanics on Dragons and Barons, it makes the team play much more important around these neutral objectives. These changes make a professional team play all the more interesting as there are new strategies for both the losing and winning teams to take advantage of.
Moving on to the player base and pro players, the range of ages from player to player is as diverse as ever. This World Championship will be the 12th League of Legends World Championship, and some of the most storied players are likely going to be there, like Korea’s Faker, who has been playing professionally for nearly a decade, to North America’s Danny, who is turning 19 years old very soon and started playing professionally at 17 years old. Younger players will be playing against players who have been playing League of Legends professionally for over half their lifetime. It is a true testament to how successful League of Legends is a game and an E-sport, rivaling the likes of the NFL and NBA in viewership.
Finally, the locations Worlds will be played this year. It has been a while since worlds was in North America, but this year it is. Worlds will start with the play-ins in Mexico City, Mexico. Teams will have to fight for their tournament lives in best of one game to be able to make it the next stage. The group stage moves to New York, New York, where four groups of four teams each will battle it out, with only two teams from each group will advance to the Quarterfinals. The Quarterfinals are also in New York and will be played in a best-of-five format; this is where the most exciting part of the competition begins. The Semifinals move to Atlanta, Georgia, with the same best of five formats.
The most exciting match, the Finals, will be played in no other place than TGON’s backyard, the Chase Center in San Francisco, California.
These finals should be the most interesting one in a while. Not only has 2022 made the game more balanced, but the expectation is that Chase Center will be packed full with little to no Pandemic restrictions. If you have ever seen how hype a Warriors game is at the Chase Center, just wait until you see a League of Legends game the Chase Center; it is bound to be unforgettable. Worlds starts on September 29th and the Finals will be November 5th. Between these dates is over a month’s worth of the best League of Legends players and teams in the world, throwing down the gauntlet and dueling to see who really is the best!