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There’s no doubt that League of Legends is the most popular Esport right now and has the brightest future. With leagues on every continent and a developer committing to expanding its reach wherever possible, there’s no doubt that League of Legends will only continue to grow. It’s only a matter of time before the World Championship catches up to DOTA 2’s The International and has the most lucrative prize pool in all of Esports.

The Game

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that pits one team of five against another team of five with numerous non-player characters (NPCs) and objectives. Each side aims to eventually destroy the other’s nexus, but must level up and get experience in order to get to that point.

Players select a champion with a certain skill set and then start off at level 1 and can farm up all the way to level 18. Each champion has unique abilities and an ultimate that they unlock at level 6 that really escalates things.

Teamwork is essential in order to win in this game. Typically, there is one person in the top lane, one person in the mid lane, and two people in the bottom lane, with a jungler that roams around in order to farm and help his teammates out on gang kills (ganks).

The game is free to play so millions of players across the world play and enjoy the game.

The Competitive Scene

This is the most vibrant competitive scene of any Esport right now. There are five major regions (North America, Europe, China, Korea, and Taiwan) where most of the superstars reside, but regions like Turkey and Vietnam have made great strides in recent years.

Korea was the undisputed best region in the world from 2013 to 2017. A Korean team won the World Championship in all five of those seasons, and they have the greatest team (SK Telecom T1) and greatest player (Faker) in the history of the game.

There was a massive shakeup this offseason after Korea’s failures on the international stage in 2018 though, and they are looking to reaffirm regional supremacy in 2019.

China dominated the international scene in 2018 winning at Rift Rivals, the Mid-Season Invitational, and the World Championship. An LPL team defeated the LCK and LMS at Rift Rivals, while Royal Never Give Up won MSI and Invictus Gaming claimed the biggest prize of them all.

Europe is once again tinkering with its format as the region’s viewership numbers have lagged behind the other major regions despite similar success to Taiwan and North America. G2 and Fnatic have ruled the region since its inception, and they are the favorites once more in 2019.

North America didn’t have a lot of international success in 2018, but the region continues to experience rapid growth in terms of viewership and support. Even with traditional powerhouses like Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming struggling, teams like 100 Thieves and Team Liquid have taken their mantle and ran with it.

Taiwan is by far the smallest region, but they have a team that is perennially challenging the elite teams in the world in Flash Wolves. Flash Wolves have lost a lot of their talent over the last two years though, and if they cannot recover we soon may be talking about the four major regions.

The Future

There are going to be over a dozen regions with teams representing them at Worlds as this sport continues its rapid ascent up the food chain and surpasses traditional sports in terms of viewership. More people watched last year’s World Championship than the NBA Finals and people watch millions of hours of gameplay on Twitch and YouTube per week. The numbers are growing by the year and it will only get more and more popular.

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