Some players are so good that they are part of a professional team. There are 5 major regions in LoL: North America (NA), Europe (EU), Korea (KR), China (CN) and Taiwan (TW). As well as other lesser regions such as Japan, Brazil and Oceania.
Each game begins by a pick & ban phase. Teams take it in turns to ban out a champion, until both teams have banned 3. Then the team on blue side pick 1, 2, 2 and the red side pick 2, 2, 1 on their respective turns. Lots of thought must go into the pick & ban phase as it can win or lose games from the get-go. From here, they proceed into game to see who the victor is.
Every year there are various tournaments that occur, as well as the World Tournament, where teams from all 5 major regions, as well as international wildcards from minor regions compete to lift the Summoner’s cup, a sign of the best team in the world.
Each winning team also has a series of champion skins created for them to signify their victory at worlds.
The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS)
In EU and NA, the regular season, called LCS takes up most of the year. Ten teams all compete playing two games a week for 9 weeks, attempting to reach the top of the standings. After each split (spring and summer) there are playoffs to determine who is the very best. The top 6 teams from the regular split go into playoffs, where each position determines seeding. (Top two teams get a first round bye).
In EU and NA, there is also a challenger series (CS), where 6 teams that aren’t quite LCS standard, battle it out for a chance to be in the LCS. The team that comes 1st in playoffs gets automatically promoted, where spots 2 and 3 play teams from the LCS that placed 8th and 9th.
In KR, the season is split into 2×6 week sets, where each team plays 1 best of 3 match per week. Due to the best of 3 format, substitutes are allowed between games, which is why Korean teams have a higher substitute usage than teams from the LCS. The top 4 teams in the regular season go through to playoffs.
In CN, the season consists of an 11 week split, where each team plays a best of two each week. If a team wins 2-0, they receive 3 points, and if they go 1-1 both teams receive 1 point. Then the top 8 teams go to playoffs to see who is crowned the champion in China.
In TW 16 teams are split into 4 groups of 4, with best of 1 matches to find the top 2 teams in each group. Then for the regular split, matches are best of 1 and each team plays all other teams 3 times. The top 4 teams from the regular split go through to playoffs.
Apart from the regular seasons, there are various tournaments around the year that teams can participate in:
IEM: This is a series of tournament hosted in many different places from San Jose, Katowice to Taipei. Eight teams play in two groups of 4, where only two teams advance. Two semi-finals are played and a final to determine the winner.
This event was split into two parts:
All-star invitational: This was an invitational event to the top team from all 5 major regions. The top 4 team were placed into the playoffs bracket, with the winners going to the final, and then the winner of the final gaining the trophy.
All-star challenge: Initially, fans voted for their favourite professional players who they wanted to see in this challenge.
It started with Hexakill. A game mode where there are 6 player per team, on a standard 3v3 map. Meaning that there was lots more action and the whole game was more bloodthirsty than usual! The winning team gets 2 points.
Next was URF mode, or Ultra Rapid Fire, where all cool downs are reduced by 80% and there are no mana/energy costs. Each team had to have 1 player play as Ezreal, due to the fans voting. The winning team gets 2 points
The third game mode was called Pick 10. Where fans voted on which champion each player should play. The winning team gains 2 points.
1v1 and 2v2: Teams compete in 2 regular 1v1 matchups (worth 1 point each), a 2v2 match (worth 2 points) and a final, high stakes 1v1 (worth 3 points).The all-star challenge was meant to be a refreshing change to normal match, and was designed to simply be a bit of fun for both the pros and the fans, especially as they had some control over these game modes.
Mid-Season invitational ( MSI)
Known as the Mid-Season invitational, the teams who placed first in the spring split all attend this event. After 1 round robin between the 6 teams, the top 4 advance to a semi-finals and then a finals. This is one of the few major tournaments between the best teams in the world, halfway through a season, so can be a good way of telling which teams are strong.
Worlds: This is where each team strives towards. With a chance to play against the very best teams, and to show what you’re really worth, worlds is the place to shine. 16 Teams will go to worlds each year. (3 NA, 3 EU, 3 KR, 3CN, 2 TW, 2IWR). Split into 4 groups of 4, where no two teams from the same region can be in the same group. The top two teams from each group advance into the quarter finals, where best of 5’s are played right up to the final, where the winner is crowned.
The winner is also awarded a special set of skins, designed around their team’s logo/colours, and their signature champions. These skins are available for everyone to purchase for a limited time.
In the previous 4 Worlds tournaments, the winners have been, and their skins are:
Season 1: Fnatic (Corki, Janna, Gragas, Jarvan IV, Karthus)
Season 2: Taipei Assasins (Ezreal, Dr. Mundo, Orianna, Nunu, Shen)
Season 3: SK Telecom T1 (Zed, Lee Sin, Jax, Vayne, Zyra and a Ward skin)
Season 4: Samsung White. (Singed, Talon, Rengar, Twitch, Thresh)