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League of Legends Worlds Venue Moved From China To Europe

After patiently waiting, the League of Legends community now has its eyes set on Reykjavík, Iceland as the host of the 2021 World Championships. 

After Upcomer first reported the venue would move, Riot Games Global Head of Esports, John Needham, updated the public that the League of Legends World Championships would indeed be shifting due to travel restrictions.

 

“With vaccines being distributed worldwide this year, we anticipated a return to some sort of normal in 2021,” Needham said via the LoL Esports update. “ Well, unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. With the Delta variant, travel restrictions and COVID protocols have been even more difficult to navigate in 2021 than they were in 2020. Sadly, we’ve reached a point where it is extremely difficult to guarantee that qualifying teams and their best players would be able to attend Worlds this year. As a result, we’ve made the tough decision to pivot Worlds from China to Europe.”

Initial plans would have qualifying teams travel and compete in a circuit across China, featuring cities like Shanghai, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Shenzhen. However, with the COVID-19 global pandemic taking a recent turn for the worse, thanks to the Delta variant, Riot Games has made the decision to move the long-awaited 2021 World Championships to Europe. 

This follows a string of major esports events having to adapt their plans to the changing tide of COVID-19 restrictions. Activision Blizzard’s flagship esports product, the Overwatch League, originally had plans to host their seasonal playoffs with stops in Los Angeles, California and in Dallas, Texas. Citing issues with confidently bringing their international teams to the United States, the Overwatch League 2021 Playoffs will remain online with western teams travelling to Hawaii. 

Valve has also seen its fair share of hurdles with DOTA 2. After a myriad of delays and postponements, Valve announced that The International 10 will officially be held in Bucharest, Romania.

This move tails Riot Games other hit esports title, VALORANT, after they hosted their VALORANT Championship Tour (VCT) 2021: Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík, Iceland as well. This event featured teams from across the globe and happened without many setbacks. However, their most recent outing in Berlin, Germany saw South East-Asia representatives Bren Esports unable to attend after not being able to obtain a visa in time to travel to Europe.

The following teams have qualified with direct seeds into the main event of the League of Legends 2021 World Championships:

  • 100 Thieves (North America)
  • Team Liquid (North America)
  • Cloud9 (North America)
  • Rogue (Europe)
  • MAD Lions (Europe)
  • Fnatic (Europe)
  • Gen.G (South Korea)
  • DWG KIA (South Korea)
  • T1 (South Korea)
  • EDward Gaming (China)
  • FunPlus Phoenix (China)
  • Royal Never Give Up (China)

The League of Legends World Championships kick off on October 5th and stretch to November 6th where the 2021 World Champion will be crowned. Festivities will begin with the World Championship Play-In qualifiers featuring teams from the likes of Cloud9 representing North America’s LCS, Unicorns Of Love representing the LCL and Hanwha Life representing South Korea’s LCK. 

Images via Riot Games

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