League of Legends World Championship Headed to Reykjavik

Worlds 2021 kicks off in October.
Worlds 2021 kicks off in October. / Photo courtesy of Riot Games

The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will be held in Reykjavik, Iceland, Riot Games announced Thursday.

Players will descend on the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena's Hall A beginning Oct. 5 and compete through the finals set for Nov. 6. In the interest of public safety with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, no in-person crowd will attend the event. The competition was previously scheduled to take place in China, but Riot changed course to allow as many players as possible to attend and compete without creating too large a health concern.

Riot used a similar setup to host its Mid-Season Invitational in May, which the company says resulted in zero COVID-19 infections among players, staff and partners.

Worlds 2021 will bring 22 teams together for competition across three stages: Play-Ins, Groups and Knockouts. They'll be played according to the following timeline:

  • Play-Ins: Oct. 5-9
  • Groups: Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 15-18
  • Quarterfinals: Oct. 22-25
  • Semifinals: Oct. 30-31
  • Finals: Nov. 6

The Play-Ins will feature 10 teams:

  • RED Canids (Brazil’s CBLoL)
  • DetonatioN FocusMe (Japan’s LJL)
  • PEACE (Oceania’s LCO)
  • Unicorns of Love (The Commonwealth of Independent States’ LCL)
  • Infinity Esports (Latin America’s LLA)
  • Galatasaray Esports (Turkey’s TCL)
  • Beyond Gaming (Southeast Asia’s PCS)
  • Cloud9 (North America’s LCS)
  • LNG Esports (China’s LPL)
  • Hanwha Life (Korea’s LCK)

These teams will be drawn into two groups of five. Each team will play all the other members of its group. The top performing team from each group will advance to the Group Stage, but other teams will still have a chance to advance. The third- and fourth-place teams from each group will play a best-of-five set, and the winners will then play another set against the second best performing team in their group. The winner of that match will then advance to the Group Stage.

In the Group Stage, they'll meet 12 more teams:

  • DWG KIA, Gen.G, T1 (Korea's LCK)
  • FunPlus Phoenix, EDG, Royal Never Give Up (China's LPL)
  • MAD Lions, Fnatic, Rogue (Europe's LEC)
  • 100 Thieves, Team Liquid (North America's LCS)
  • PSG Talon (Southeast Asia's PCS)

The 16 total teams will be sorted into four groups of four. Each team will play the others in its group twice, and the top two teams from each group will advance to the climactic Knockout Stage. There, they'll play a single elimination bracket of best-of-five matches until only one team is left standing.

Matches will start at 8 a.m. ET during Play-Ins and Groups. Once the tournament reaches the quarterfinals, match time will shift to 9 a.m. ET.