Four teams that represented Europe at Worlds for three consecutive years

In League of Legends esports, we see many teams succeed for a long time and it’s not something abnormal. However, Europe sent the same teams to Worlds for the third time in a row, raising some questions about the system and the teams that couldn’t get a ticket to Worlds for three years now.

MAD Lions, Rogue, Fnatic and G2 Esports are the only teams that could represent the region at an international level since Worlds 2019 where Splyce made it to the tournament alongside G2 Esports and Fnatic. Let’s have a look at why and how that happened and how that could be affecting the European League of Legends scene.

Domination from the same teams

At Worlds 2018, G2 Esports, Fnatic and Team Vitality represented Europe. Vitality players haven’t seen an international tournament since then. MSI 2019 was G2 Esports’ championship year, Worlds 2019 saw G2 Esports, Splyce and Fnatic. Splyce’s slot was then bought by MAD Lions, so you could argue that it’s the same organizations that represent Europe for four years even.

Image via Riot Games

MSI was cancelled, but G2 would be representing the region anyway. G2, Fnatic, Rogue and MAD Lions went to Worlds 2020, with MAD Lions being eliminated by a Turkish team in the play-in stage. Europe’s slots were dropped to three the following year, where MAD Lions dominated the LEC and represented the region at both MSI 2021 and Worlds 2021. Fnatic and Rogue went alongside them at Worlds.

This year, we saw G2 Esports rise back from the ashes and make it to MSI 2022, and they already managed to secure their ticket to Worlds 2022, alongside Fnatic, Rogue and MAD Lions. To decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing for a region, there are some questions that we should ask ourselves.

Image via Riot Games

Between 2019 and 2022, LJL’s representative at international events was DetonatioN FocusMe aside from one tournament that they missed. However, Japan is a minor region at League of Legends. We should compare LEC to major ones.

LPL, Chinese league, had 5 different champions in eight seasons. That number is two in LEC: G2 Esports and MAD Lions. Although other teams also make it to Worlds, like RNG with their consistent performance, it’s still a good example. Since 2019, we have seen Invictus Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix, Top Esports, JD Gaming, Suning, EDward Gaming, RNG, LNG Esports and more enter and leave the championship race in China.

Image via Riot Games

But let’s take a look at a similar league: LCK which has ten teams like LEC. Even though LCK also lives a similar fate, we have seen DWG KIA, T1 and Gen.G reach the championship trophy since 2019. While it’s not fair to include Gen.G directly as they only won 2022 Summer, it’s still a fact that even LCK has more competition than LEC right now. DRX, Hanwha Life, Griffin and more teams entered the championship race, but the most effective players of those teams were roughly the same.

Thus, while LCK is in a better position, their condition is very similar to that of LEC’s. Considering LPL managed to dominate both these regions, maybe it’s time to question if it’s good to see the same teams and the same players show up at Worlds for the sake of a region. G2 Esports’ changed roster is a nice start with Flakked and Targamas, but mainly it is the same players that bring success to MAD, Rogue, Fnatic and G2.

Criticisms of LEC’s format

Additionally, there were criticisms of how LEC decides their Worlds representatives in the last few years. MAD Lions managed to make it to Worlds 2022 without winning a single best-of-five in the year 2022. There is even a chance that they can make it to the group stage and the playoffs without winning one.

Many believe that the lack of Regional Finals and deciding directly through the playoffs hurts the competition, as only six teams could enter the playoffs and once two are out, the remaining teams don’t even have to do anything more. While LCS also decides through playoffs, they have eight teams fighting for three slots, creating better competition.

Since Worlds 2019 where G2 Esports made it to Worlds finals, Europe saw one Worlds semi-finals, one MSI semi-finals and two Worlds quarter-finals. Most analysts think that LEC’s level dropped heavily since the peak in 2019, and they won’t be able to get back to the top while LCK and LPL improved immensely over that period.

Image via Riot Games

It’s a fact that Europe was significantly outperformed by other major regions except NA, and the criticisms considering the format have solid grounds. While you may think that their decline can’t be attributed only to the format, my opinion is that it’s a heavy contributor. The lack of a gauntlet is a big mistake, as we have seen countless times Cloud9 or G2 Esports make it as the third seed and get to the semi-finals.

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