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There are only a few days left before the League of Legends (LoL) 2021 World Championship, more commonly referred to as Worlds, kicks off.
The tournament features 22 of the best LoL teams that will be embarking on a month-long campaign for the title of the LoL world champions, which may make it hard for more casual fans or newcomers to the scene to choose a team to follow.
Well, Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia is here to help you out. Read on for our list of the five teams in Worlds that you should be looking out for:
The Defending Champions: DWG KIA / DAMWON Gaming (South Korea)
South Korea's DWG KIA is arguably the team that have the best chance of winning the 2021 Summoner's Cup. The Worlds 2020 defending champion have been both dominant and consistent all season, even bagging the championships of both of the 2021 LCK's Spring and Summer Splits.
That said, DWG KIA aren't quite as invincible as some would think. Fans have divided opinions about the addition of Kim "Khan" Dong-ha as a top laner in November last year, and while he has done well in regional competitions, it remains to be seen how he fares at Worlds. Another player on the team to keep an eye on is Heo "ShowMaker" Su, who is projected to be nothing short of spectacular this year.
What could make or break DWG KIA's campaign for a second-straight Summoner's Cup is whether or not Khan can overcome the overwhelming pressure of playing on the biggest stage in LoL esports, and if ShowMaker can continue to live up to both his name and reputation.
DWG KIA can boast some of the best talent, communication, and chemistry out there. With the momentum they have gained from absolutely dominating Korea, they're definitely one of our best bets to at least take one of the Top 2 spots in Worlds.
DWG KIA roster:
Kim "Khan" Dong-ha
Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu
Heo "ShowMaker" Su
Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun
Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee
The Demon King's Comeback: T1 (South Korea)
T1 have finally made it back to Worlds after missing out on last year's tournament. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, the Unkillable Demon King himself, has returned to try to claim his fourth Summoner's Cup.
While Faker's abilities and past accomplishments are well known, he won't be solo carrying the team this time around. The likes of Ryu "Keria" Min-seok and Park "Teddy" Jin-seong are more than capable players in their own right, but having them alongside someone like Faker is what makes a T1 a formidable foe for just about any other squad at Worlds.
With that said, T1 are a bit of a wildcard this year when considering their absence from last year's Worlds. However, they are sure to have some surprises up their sleeves on their return to a stage they have become so familiar with over the years. If nothing else, you can expect nothing less than a great show from the Demon King and his retinue.
Kim "Canna" Chang-dong
Moon "Oner" Hyeon-joon
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok
Park "Teddy" Jin-seong
Ryu "Keria" Min-seok
Fan Favourite: FunPlus Phoenix (China)
While FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) is only the second seed from China, they have been favourites among the community for good reason. They won the 2019 Summoner's Cup with some of the most explosive plays in the history of the game and have not lost that form as they hunt for their second title two years later.
All eyes are on the team's top laner, Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon, this year. Nuguri has been the key player for the team throughout the LPL Spring and Summer seasons, and will have to take up that mantle once again for Worlds. Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang is another player to look out for, as his stable play will be crucial in keeping FPX a well-oiled machine in their hunt for another Summoner's Cup.
As one of the four returning champions in Worlds 2021, FPX has as good a chance as any in claiming the mantle of world champions. However, they will have to muster some the same magic that brought them ultimate victory in 2019 if they hope to be in the running for their second title this year.
FunPlus Phoenix roster:
Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon
Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang
Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang
Lin "Lwx" Wei-Xiang
Liu "Crisp" Qing-Song
Hungry for Redemption: MAD Lions (Europe)
While MAD Lions have dominated Europe throughout the year, they will be entering Worlds as a team that still have a lot to prove. They had high hopes in last year's tournament, only to be massively disappointed as they were one of the first teams to be eliminated in the Play-In Stage.
But instead of being discouraged by last year's setback, MAD Lions have returned to Worlds roaring and hungry for redemption. Newcomers Irfan "Armut" Tükek and Javier "Elyoya" Prades have fuelled the team's resurgence, and they will be key in finally giving their team that much-awaited breakthrough at Worlds.
While they won't have to go through the Play-Ins and will instead be starting in the Group Stage this year, the pressure is still on MAD Lions to live up to their potential. If this relatively-untested squad can overcome the mammoth opposition they are sure to face, their hunger for redemption could quickly turn to a hunger for championship glory.
MAD Lions roster:
Irfan "Armut" Tükek
Javier "Elyoya" Prades
Marek "Humanoid" Brázda
Matyáš "Carzzy" Orság
Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser
The Dark Horse: PSG Talon (Southeast Asia)
While Southeast Asia has yet to make its mark in Worlds, more on more surprises have come from the region. With a mix of players from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, PSG Talon are leading the way for Southeast Asia's rise to prominence as they secured a group stage spot in Worlds 2021.
PSG Talon embrace aggressiveness, both as individuals and as a group, and relish in engaging in skirmishes that never end like some LPL teams. While some fans aren't too keen on such a playstyle, it did allow them to dominate Southeast Asia and finish the regular season of the PCS Summer Split with a clean 18-0 record.
PSG Talon have shown they have the knack for being the dark horse in this year's Mid-Season Invitational, where they massively exceeded expectations en route to a 3rd-4th place finish. If they can show that same tenacity and skill in Worlds, even the most seasoned contenders there should watch their backs.
PSG Talon roster:
Su "Hanabi" Chia-Hsiang
Kim "River" Dong-woo
Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang
Wong "Unified" Chun Kit
Ling "Kaiwing" Kai Wing
Worlds 2021 will kick off with the Play-in Stage on 5 October and will run until 6 November. Fans can watch the matches live on lolesports.com as well as the official LoL Twitch and Youtube channels.
For everything you need to know about the 2021 LoL World Championship, check here.
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