The season 6 World Championship is in exactly one month and 10 out of 16 teams have already qualified to compete in the biggest annual League of Legends Tournament.
As playoffs conclude in all major regions, teams are qualifying as split champions or from accumulating the most championship points in their respective regions. Next up are the regional finals where the final representatives from Europe, North America, Taiwan and Korea will be drawn.
Finally, 2 teams from minor regions will join them once the Invitational Wildcard Qualifier concludes.
NA sends 3 Teams to the World Championship, the three teams qualified are:
- Seed 1: The NA LCS Summer Split Champions - Team SoloMid
- Seed 2: The Team with the highest number of Championship Points - Counter Logic Gaming
- Seed 3: The Winner of the NA Regional Finals
After a thrilling third place match that went the distance and featured 5 exciting bloodbaths between CLG and the victorious Immortals, the Air Canada Center in Toronto featured the highly anticipated finals between the almost undefeated Team Solomid and an increasingly stronger Cloud9.
Game 1 was a shock for many as the underdogs that had a shaky regular split came out swinging and showed TSM could bleed. The loss didn't phase TSM. Calm and collected, they immediately tied up the series in game 2 and not even Meteos' Pocket Zac Pick could save Cloud9 in game 3 as TSM took the lead off of an impressive performance by Bjergsen on Cassiopeia.
Going into Game 4, Doublelift's infamous Lucian was locked in and we had a thrilling back and forth match. Despite being behind early on, Cloud9 managed to pull it back off of a great carry performance from Impact on Gnar, acing TSM and leading to a baron to extend the lead.
However, in the end and after more amazing teamfights, TSM managed to pull through and take down the enemy Nexus.
As a result from TSM's win, CLG also qualified for worlds as the team with most Championship Points, following their Spring Split win and their 4th place during the summer split, netting them a total of 130 Points.
From the 3rd to the 5th of September, the 2nd to 5th ranked teams in North American Championship Points will qualify and compete in the NA regional finals.
EU has exactly the same format as NA to determine their three Worlds Representatives.
The three teams qualified are:
- Seed 1: The EU LCS Summer Split Champions - G2 Esports
- Seed 2: The Team with the highest number of Championship Points - H2K Gaming
- Seed 3: The Winner of the EU Regional Finals
Going into the finals, G2 Esports had already confirmed their presence at the world championship. A win over Splyce would mean qualifying as Summer Split Champions while a loss would have them qualify via Championship Points.
The Tauron Arena in Kraków filled up to watch the European Powerhouse go up against the big surprise of the split, that even had to battle through relegations during spring. G2 were favorites and quickly confirmed their status as such by taking out their opponents in game 1. But Splyce still had fight in them and managed to tie it up in the second match.
Eventually, G2's more experienced line up reigned supreme over the new kids on the block and despite a very honorable performance from Splyce, it wasn't enough to take out the 'villains' of Europe.
The day before, Poland saw two of their own players (Jankos and Vander) compete in home turf, as H2K took down the Unicorns of Love 3-1. H2K was rewarded for their consistency and their two top 4 finishes in both splits locked them in for worlds as Europe's second seed.
From the 3rd to the 5th of September, the 2nd to 5th ranked teams in European Championship Points will qualify and compete in the EU regional finals.
Korea also sends 3 Teams to the World Championship:
- Seed 1: The LCK Summer Split Champions - ROX Tigers
- Seed 2: The team with the highest number of Championship Points - SK Telecom T1
- Seed 3: The Winner of the LCK Regional Finals
The LCK has been a treat for the avid competitive League of Legends fans, bringing us two epic Best of 5 series in a short window of time. Following KT Rolster's amazing reverse sweep against SK Telecom, the final between ROX and KT delivered, going to 5 games as well.
League of Legends is a game of inches and an early smite by KT Rolster's Score allowed Smeb to steal the baron at 2 HP, putting ROX back into the game and eventually giving them the win. The 'We're number 2 so we try harder' mentality is finally over for the charismatic Tigers who qualified as Korea's first seed.
With the Tigers' win, SK Telecom guaranteed their slot as the team with the most Championship Points.
From the 29th of August to the 3rd of September, the 2nd to 5th ranked teams in Korean Championship Points will qualify and compete in the KR regional finals.
Similarly to all the major regions mentioned above, China also sends 3 Teams to the World Championship:
- Seed 1: The LPL Summer Split Champions - Edward Gaming
- Seed 2: The team with the highest number of Championship Points - Royal Never Give Up
- Seed 3: The Winner of the LPL Regional Finals - I May
China is the first region to confirm all their World Championship Participants. The finals in Guangzhou featured the undefeated Edward Gaming against Spring Split champions Royal Never Give Up. Yet another final for Uzi and unfortunately for him, yet another second place.
Clearlove's trophy case seems to keep growing more and more as he racks up yet another domestic title. The finals were probably the most one sided in all major regions, as Edward Gaming swept RNG 3-0.
The regional finals immediately followed as Snake Esports, Team WE and I May fought for the final spot.
Snake fought valiantly as they had to play two best of 5 series in one day, but ended up falling to Team WE in game 5, after playing their 10th game in a short period of time.
The following day, a rematch of the 3rd place match of the LPL Summer Playoffs would follow and the result ended up being the same. I May, previously EDG's sub squad EDE in LSPL managed to take out Team WE in an incredibly close best of 5 and guaranteed their trip to Worlds.
In just over three months, the squad was promoted to the top flight of Chinese League of Legends and managed to reach the biggest international tournament.
Despite being a major region like the other 4, a smaller region and smaller league means Taiwan only sends two representatives to the World Championship.
- Seed 1: The LMS Summer Split Champions - Flash Wolves
- Seed 2: The Winner of the LMS Regional Finals
After a dominating regular split, J Team (formerly TPA) were the favorites to take Taiwan’s first seed and a chance to get a pool 1 slot.
However, experience showed to be a very important factor and the veteran squad of the Flash Wolves, who were quarter finalists in last year's World Championship, clean swept J Team 3-0 in the LMS Finals.
From the 2nd to the 4th of September, the top 4 teams from 2016 LMS Championship Points will qualify and compete in the LMS regional finals.
Last but not least, the two last slots for worlds are for the minor regions, that will face off in the International Wildcard Qualifier.
Latin America North, Latin America South, Brazil, Turkey, CIS, Japan, South East Asia and Oceania are the 8 Minor Regions that have to qualify via the International Wildcard in order to make it to the World Championship.
The qualifier features each region’s champion
- Kaos Latin Gamers from LAS
- INTZ e-Sports from Brazil
- Dark Passage from Turkey
- Albus NoX Luna from CIS
- Saigon Jokers from SEA
- Chiefs from Oceania
- Lyon Gaming from LAN
Group Stages are almost over and the top 4 are already locked. The top 4 teams will move onto the main event in Curitiba, Brazil where first placed team Lyon will face whoever ends up in 4th.
INTZ, locked in second place will face the third place team. Both games will be Best of 5 and the winner of each series will qualify to worlds.
On the 2nd and 3rd of September the two remaining seeds will be chosen as the top 4 IWC teams face each other off in the rift.
Currently Qualified Teams
Below is a table with all the qualified teams currently. As mentioned above, 10 out of 16 slots are already filled.
In recent patches two junglers have completely dominated competitive play. Rek’sai and Gragas are present in almost every single match either being picked or banned. But what makes them so dominant and why are they a clear-cut above the rest?
A look at previous patches
In lane swaps, the junglers used to be more isolated and could just keep farming for the first few minutes, skirmishes and fights were non-existent, a perfect scenario for Hecarim, who has a very weak first clear.
Before Hecarim, Graves, Kindred and Nidalee were at the top of the pick priority for junglers, but successive nerfs to their kits progressively pushed them away.
The current patches in competitive (6.15-6.16)
It all changed when Patch 6.15 hit. The removal of fortification from the bot lane turret essentially meant that lane swaps are defunct. Not only would the team swapping take more time to take down the turret, they would also fall behind due to the addition of the first brick gold, giving extra gold to whichever team takes down the first structure.
These changes brought a bigger emphasis in snowballing from laning phase as early kills coupled with the first brick gold can give a team a huge advantage going into mid game. With that in mind and with lane swaps fully out of the picture, junglers need to have a strong early presence, with strong clearing and even better ganking.
Why Rek'sai and Gragas dominate
Rek’sai is a fantastic early game jungler that scales well into the late game and can still pack a punch despite only traditionally building one offensive item. Her clears are fast and healthy due to Fury of the Xer’Sai and Tremor Sense allows her to control the map exquisitely. With use of her tunnels and unburrow her ganks are deadly and frequent. Post level 6, she can use Void Rush, further increasing her presence.
As for Gragas and while his clears aren’t as fast or as sustained as Rek’sai’s, he’s still a phenomenal ganking jungler with multiple CC tools at his disposal. Post level 6 he can use Explosive Cask to knockback enemies, making him extremely strong at picking off targets and isolating targets in fights.
Patch 6.17 brought nerfs to these two dominant junglers and these changes have already been felt during the last few days in ranked matches, but they will only hit competitive at a later date.
Cooldown: 20/19.5/19/18.5/18 seconds ⇒ 26/24/22/20/18 seconds
R: Void Rush|
Cooldown: 150/110/70 seconds ⇒ 180/140/100 seconds
On 6.17, Rek'sai’s mobility with her tunnels is severely hindered and with a cooldown increase on her ultimate, her global presence is much less menacing. Maxing Tunnel second could be an option, but it would come at the expense of less damage from having to max unburrow last.
E: Body Slam|
Cooldown: 12 seconds ⇒ 16/15/14/13/12 seconds
R: Explosive Cask|
Travel Time: 0 - 0.58 seconds (based on distance) ⇒ 0.55 seconds
It’s likely that these changes will completely kill the competitive viability of the champion. Body Slam is usually maxed last, meaning this nerf hits hard until late game. But the bigger nerf is the one to Explosive Cask. By making the travel time fixed, Riot end up introducing clunkiness to the Rabble Rouser’s kit. With a fixed travel time the ultimate becomes easier to predict, and Gragas’ ability of using it point blank after Body Slam to knock back a target into the claws of the enemies is much harder to do.
The Gragas Nerfs are already noticeable, as his popularity has been declining ever since Patch 6.17 hit.
Nerfs to the two main junglers mean that other options will show up once 6.17 hits the rift in competitive and while Rek’sai is still probably a top tier jungler, Gragas likely won’t be played at all. This means there are room for more picks.
Let's have a look at some of them:
They were already the two main jungle picks behind Rek’sai and Gragas.
Elise is a strong, early game jungler that is extremely proficient at skirmishing and ganking, not to mention that she can pull off tower dives early on with Rappel. Overall, her strength lies mainly in pick off compositions, blowing up a target after landing a Cocoon, but she can still be a menace in skirmishes and teamfights if played correctly.
The Nidalee changes seem to not have done much to stop her and she remains an aggressive duelist that can also gank well, provided her laners have crowd control.
Buffed recently. Strong Ganker.
In a meta where laneswaps don’t exist, Evelynn gets to thrive as she absolutely needs standard lanes to show up unannounced and start picking up kills. The cooldown reduction buff on Agony’s Embrace on Patch 6.17 also ensures that she’s stronger at small skirmishes and teamfights, because she can now use it more often.
Tank Jungler. Fills in the niche
With Rek'sai banned most of the time and Gragas not being an option in the future as a gank heavy tanky jungler, Zac might just be the option for teams looking for a tank from the jungle. Zac's clears are extremely healthy, but what really sets him apart from all the other junglers is his unique gank pathing. With Elastic Slingshot, Zac can gank from afar and from angles the enemy is not expecting. In teamfights he functions as a main initiator or as followup, with a barrage of CC abilities including a strong set of knockbacks from Let's Bounce!
A new post by League of Legends lead producer New001 shows some new changes coming to the top of the ranked ladder, as well as hinting at what will be a new features for the 2017 ranked ladder.
The more immediate changes are:
- Challenger tier going solo queue only, Diamond and Master are solo/duo.
- Tighter decay rules in Challenger and Master.
- Adding some sort of physical rewards for Challenger tier.
- A new grace period on being autofilled, and players can no longer be autofilled during a promotion series.
For the rest of the ladder we can look forward to more details in September:
"We’re also currently closing in on our final designs for the 2017 Ranked experience, with the commitment to designing a system that provides legitimate standings for players of all competitive types. It’s clear we made too many trade-offs this year on the Ranked experience, but we think we’re now on a better track. Details are still being finalized, and we’ll have more in September, along with a reveal of our end of season rewards."
Be sure to check out the full post by New001 - Riot Pls: Ranked Pls
Patch 6.17 is bringing changes on 26 champions, making it a very wide patch. Many of them are pretty minor changes, but there are some significant ones mixed in. A lot of the utility ADCs are being brought a bit more in line and forced to rely more on that utility. We are also seeing the high mobility tanky junglers of Gragas and Rek'Sai pulled back a bit, and it might open up the jungle to some new picks.
Be sure to check out the full changes below:
After a long wait, Riot has finally revealed their rework of Yorick, The Shepherd of Lost Souls
Riot opened up the champion reveal with this description:
"Yorick has always been a practical man. He knew he'd need strength to destroy the Black Mist that corrupted the Blessed Isles, even if it meant fighting evil with evil. So he harnessed a whole world of evil in the cape that now clings to his shoulders; in the unknowable depths of the cloak swirls the essence of a thousand damned souls. When the Shepherd summons forth a being from that seething miasma of lost spirits, only he hears the wretched assembly's great wailing and gnashing of teeth—this is his burden, and the source of his power. In his quest to free these souls, he'll use them (and they'll use him) to crush anything in their way. "
Let's take a look at his kit and how he will play out.
Riot labeled him as a Juggernaut, and here is the original definition from the subclass post:
Juggernauts are melee titans who relentlessly march down the opposition and devastate those foolish enough to get within their grasp. They are the only subclass who excel at both dealing and taking significant amounts of damage, but in turn they have a tough time closing in on targets due to their low range and extremely limited mobility.
just like champions such as Nasus or Darius, he will have a tough time closing in on targets due to his low range and limited mobility, but when he can successfully close the gap he can be devastating. Landing Mourning Mist and Dark Procession is key to ensure he gets to be devastating though.
Similarly to most Juggernauts, his itemization will be a mix of offensive and defensive items. 1 or 2 key offensive items to help him use his kit more efficiently and the remaining slots on defense to be able to weather the storm.
Passive: Shepherd of Souls
Q: Last Rites/Awakening
Yorick's next basic attack deals bonus damage and restores some health. IfLast Rites kills a target, it creates a grave. If there are at least three gravesnearby and Last Rites is on cooldown, Yorick can instead cast Awakening to raise Mist Walkers from the graves.
W: Dark Procession
Yorick summons a destructible wall of corpses that encircles a target area for a few seconds.
E: Mourning Mist
Yorick hurls a globule of Mist that deals magic damage, applies a slow, and marks a target. Yorick and Mist Walkers get a movement bonus when heading toward marked targets.
R: Eulogy of the Isles
Yorick summons the Maiden of the Mist (at higher ranks, she'll bring some Mist Walkers with her). The Maiden moves and attacks on her own. When Yorick attacks the Maiden's target, he'll deal bonus magic damage based on the enemy's maximum health.
Given his very low effective range and reliance on hitting Dark Procession and Mourning Mist to close the gap, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing Trinity Force or Black Cleaver on him as one of his core offensive items, using Phage to close the gap. Aside from that and to enhance his preferred role of a split pusher, Ravenous Hydra seems like a natural fit, giving him AoE waveclear and a ton of sustain.
In the defensive side of things, probably the usual items such as Dead Man’s Plate, Spirit Visage and Randuin’s Omen to give him more durability while being kited or chasing around enemy carries.
Speaking of Split Pushing, it seems like it will be his preferred role of playing out most games.
With Mist Walkers and the Maiden doing damage to structures and even tanking shots for Yorick, he becomes a fearsome split pusher, that will quickly wear down structures if enemies allow him to be alone in a side lane. The Maiden doesn't deal much damage on her own, but if both the Maiden and the Shepherd target the same enemy, Yorick's attacks will do bonus magic damage based on the opponents maximum health, meaning he is also a very strong duelist in 1v1 scenarios.
When both side lanes are unoccupied, the Shepherd has a chance to show off the most unusual ability in his kit: splitpushing two lanes at once. It works like this: the Maiden of the Mist is fairly intelligent by AI-companion standards, and she'll continue to push a lane even if Yorick is no longer there. He can plop the Maiden into top lane, then TP down south to splitpush bot lane on his own. With adequate distance between the two, both are free to raise their own armies of Mist Walkers, up to four each, and push down two lanes at once (so long as the rest of your team can just hold mid for one minute). Of course, Yorick's a lot weaker without his ghoulish sidekick, so split wisely.
In teamfights his initiation is weak and his kill potential is very dependant on how much crowd control his team has, seeing that his isn’t nearly enough for engaging and forcing fights. That said, good initiations with powerful lockdown will make it very easy for Yorick to layer his own Crowd Control, especially Dark Procession.
It’s important to note that the new Yorick needs good setup to thrive, he won’t always have enough graves available to summon Mist Walkers. That said, Eulogy of the Isles in higher ranks will bring Mist Walkers with the Maiden, so he can maximize his DPS in fights.
For more information, including video previews of Yorick's abilities, make sure to check out the Champion Update Reveal!
Champion Select is a huge part of League of Legends and before each player locks in their own champion they get to ban certain picks as they see fit.
Even in ranked games there is strategy behind banning champions. Usually the most banned champions are characters who are strong in the current meta, but players will often opt to ban out champions they aren't good against or champions that counter intended picks.
Recently, Riot Games admitted that they are looking to increase the number of bans from 6 up to 10. These changes will only be tested in pre-season, later in the year. But it's still huge news as the amount of bans has been the same for years. In past seasons it didn't make as much of a difference as the number of available champions wasn't so large.
After the pre-season, we’ll look into potentially changing to 10 bans in draft games. We’re just starting to gather feedback on that from both regular players and pros. We know there’s some definite interest in more bans. There are some potential issues we’d want to make sure we were able to address though before adding extra bans, including:
- We feel champ select’s too long already. We’d want to find ways to not increase its duration further as a result (e.g. multiple people from the same team banning at the same time?).
- We want to ensure that increased ability to target ban a position doesn’t create issues with how many champions a player needs to be able to play well (extreme scenario, 11 champs for one position - is that appropriate?)
- Adding four more bans increases the number of champions needed to play ranked by four. Is that a problem? A benefit?
Impact in Ranked Games
The number of bans being increased by 4 means that the number of champions needed to play is also increased. For the most part this is a benefit, as newer players will have to play more normal games to accumulate more IP to then buy the extra 4 required champions. Some rookie players have the tendency of jumping straight to ranked games and this change makes this slightly more delayed. This is a positive aspect as most newly turned level 30 players are not experienced enough to play ranked.
More importantly, the addition of extra bans in ranked games allows for players to go for niche bans, such as counters of champions they intend to play or just champions they dislike playing against.
Currently, with only 6 bans on the board there are a lot of limitations and players are frequently pigeonholed into banning the meta picks, as leaving them open might lead to the enemy picking them and even eventual grief from teammates. With 5 bans on each side, players will have more flexibility and be able to mix between meta and niche bans.
Impact in Competitive Play
Pro play is a complete different beast and a much more delicate subject. In professional play, while “banning the OPs” or meta picks is still a thing, there’s much more room to go for target bans, as teams scout each other and study each other before matches.
Increasing bans to 5 per team in competitive could result in teams using them to target ban a star player that performs exceptionally on certain picks or conversely, abuse a player’s smaller champion pool to completely ban him out.
That said, Riot has admitted that they’re also looking to change champion select if they increase the number of bans. To give an example of a different and successful system, DotA 2’s Captains Mode allows players to pick heroes before they are all banned out, allowing for unique strategies. Teams can figure out what kind of composition the opponents are trying to go for and ban it out mid way, for example.
The big advantage of increasing the number of bans would be champion diversity. Currently and while the Mid Lane champion pool is quite diverse, the other positions tend to be quite stale. In the jungle, Gragas and Rek’sai are present in almost all games and banning one meaning the other is usually going to be banned as well. The AD Carry pool is dominated by Ashe, Jhin and Sivir and top lane is only currently seeing Ekko, Gangplank and Gnar as primary picks.
The ban increase could result in a more role targeted ban phase, meaning other champions could start showing up more. For example, if Jhin, Ashe and Sivir are all banned out in a professional match, teams will likely start picking up Caitlyn, Tristana, Ezreal and maybe even Twitch. More bans could allow for the champions who aren’t top tier to show up more often and thus have a more diverse meta, with more diverse strategies.
An argument can be made that this would require professional players to have bigger champion pools, but this already is the case with professional players, that dedicate their time learning and mastering most if not all relevant champions in each meta, for their position.