The League of Legends (LoL) World Championship is two weeks away, but some of the biggest stars in LoLesports all have their energies focused on the ongoing 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where LoL is a medal event in Esports.
The 19th Asian Games’ LoL medal event takes place from 25 September to 29 September, with 15 countries participating.
These include China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hongkong, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Palestine, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, India, and Saudi Arabia.
While 11 teams have already faced off in the Group Stage, four teams have secured a Playoffs slot straight after winning their region’s Road to Asian Games competition.
Team Saudi Arabia have a team of professional players. However, none of the players have competed at the World Stage or in A-tier or S-tier competitions. However, they have defeated five other countries namely Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, and Bahrain, to ensure a favourable seeding at the Asian Games Playoffs.
These teams are China for East Asia, Malaysia for Southeast Asia, India for Central and South Asia, and Saudia Arabia for West Asia.
After the conclusion of the group stage, South Korea, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, and Macau all came out on top and qualified for the Playoffs.
Which teams are going head-to-head? And who are the big names in these teams?
China is undoubtedly one of the strongest teams in the competition, especially since all the players hail from the LoL Professional League (LPL). And as China is the host country of the Asian Games, they made sure to go big and field some of their finest players, including two World Champions.
Some of the most familiar names may be EDward Gaming players Zhao "Jiejie" Lijie (jungler) and Tian "Meiko" Ye (Support), who won the 2021 LoL World Championship.
Meiko is considered one of the most talented LoL supports in the world, having won several regional titles and an MSI title in his career. He’s known for his timely heals and shields and his always accurate hooks.
They are joined by Chen "Bin" Zebin of BLG, who will be the team’s top laner and has the 2022 MSI championship title under his belt.
On top of this, they have one of the strongest mid laners in the world this season, Zhuo "knight" Ding, who won the 2023 MSI championship with JD Gaming and was named the tournament’s MVP. He is also this year’s LPL Summer Finals MVP.
Peng "XUN" Lixun (jungler) and Zhao "Elk" Jiahao (bottom laner) of Bilibili Gaming (BLG) round up the roster. The team is being coached by Zhu "KenZhu" Kai of EDG, the same coach that led both EDG and Royal Never Give Up (RNG) to victory at Worlds 2021 and MSI 2022.
Team China, with the full force of their best players, is surely a force to be reckoned with and will be a heavy contender for the gold.
Another heavy-hitting team and fan favourite would be the South Korean team, being led by none other than LoL G.O.A.T. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. They dominated the group stage, sweeping Group A with a 2-0 record.
The South Korean contingent consists of the best players from both the LoL Championship Korea (LCK) and the LPL.
This includes three members of the winningest team in LoL history, T1. Despite a shaky Summer season for the team due to Faker’s injury, Choi "Zeus" Woo-je (Top lane) and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok (Support) have shown consistency throughout the past few years and have been the best in the region.
They also have another mid laner in Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon of Gen.G, the current winner of the LCK Spring and Summer. Chovy has been described by fans and fellow players as being perfect in the laning phase, “like a robot.”
From the LPL, South Korean players Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok (Jungle) and Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk (bottom lane) of JDG round up the roster. With both having such a strong showing throughout the entire season, winning both the LPL Spring and Summer Championship and this year’s MSI, they’re surely the most qualified for the South Korean national team.
The team’s coach is another huge name, Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun, the current director of DAMWON Gaming. He is also a two-time World champion, being teammates with Faker from 2015-2017, where they won two World Championships and two MSI championship titles.
With a team that's a powerhouse in its own right, South Korea are on track to be a major contender for the gold.
It’s only quite a shame that South Korea and China will most likely face each other in the semi-finals, based on the Group draws and results. One would have to defeat the other on their way to the gold-medal match.
Team Malaysia earned its way into the Asian Games Playoffs by winning the Road to Asian Games Southeast Asia tournament, where they had to defeat four other countries: Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.
The team consists of current and former members of SEM9 and current members of Impunity. These include Tam “Shine” See Kheing (top) and Beckham “Arashi” Ang Jing En (jungle) of Impunity.
From SEM9 are Jireh “Sleep” Soh (mid), Lim "Clayx" Siang, and Alvin “Felia” Ming Sang (Support). Their coach is Ong "AhWood" Kar Kian, the former coach of SEM9.
Another country with a formidable roster is Team Vietnam. The Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) League may not be one of the strongest leagues in the World, but they’ve competed and won in gold medal events before, like the Southeast Asian Games.
Their aggressive playstyle can trap other teams in a corner, and this was exactly how they dominated Group B in the Group Stage, sweeping Japan and Palestine 2-0.
In an interview published by Inven Global, South Korean Support player Keria admitted that Vietnam is one of the strongest teams in the competition, aside from China.
The team consists of three members of the 2023 VCS Dusk and Dawn Champions GAM Esports: Trần "Kiaya" Duy Sang (top), Đỗ "Levi" Duy Khánh (Jungle), Đặng "Kati" Thanh Phê (mid).
They are joined by VCS Dusk runner-up and Worlds 2023 qualified team members Lê "Glory" Vinh (Mid), Trần "Artemis" Quốc Hưng (bot), and Trần "Bie" Hiếu (Support).
They are currently being coached by former LPL player Lê "SofM" Duy, who last played for Weibo Gaming and was a 2020 Worlds runner-up as part of Suning’s roster.
With both Malaysia and Vietnam bringing some of the best players in Southeast Asia, we believe they may be a contender for a medal.
Chinese Taipei are another team not to be messed around with, with their roster consisting of Pacific Championship Series (PCS) and LPL players.
The team’s top laners are both players from the PCS. Hsu "Rest" Shih-chieh of CTBC Flying Oyster has participated at Worlds and has won a regional championship. Meanwhile, Su "Hanabi" Chia-hsiang of Deep Cross Gaming has won multiple regional championships and participated at Worlds when he was part of PSG Talon.
From the LPL are Chu "FoFo" Chun-lan of EDG, Chiu "Doggo" Tzu-chuan (bottom lane) and Hu "SwordArT" Shuo-chieh (Support) of Ultra Prime.
Their jungler is Hung "Karsa" Hau-hsuan of Weibo Gaming, also from the LPL, where he had won multiple regional championships and joined Chinese powerhouses like Top Esports and RNG, along with having multiple showings at the playoffs at Worlds.
With a team that’s boosted with the best Taiwanese players, they are also favourites to bag a medal at the Asian Games.
The Macau contingent is a mix of LoL professionals and amateur players. The team’s mid laner, Sit “Error” Chong Fai (previously known as Faith), is a former member of Impunity Esports.
Meanwhile, Leong "SeaLion" Si Un, the team’s support is a retired professional who last played for ONE SEVEN EIGHT in 2018. They are being coached by Bernardo "BerNNas" Carvalho, who last coached for Portuguese Leões Porto Salvo.
Team Saudi Arabia have a team of professional players. However, none of the players have competed at the World Stage or in A-tier or S-tier competitions. However, they have defeated five other countries namely: Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, and Bahrain, to ensure a favourable seeding at the Asian Games Playoffs.
Meanwhile, Team India are sending a contingent of its best amateur players who have won in community tournaments or have a high solo queue ranking.
They are led by their team captain, Akshaj “akshaj” Shenoy, who is also the team’s mid laner, and currently ranked number 1 in South Asia.
Here are the teams still in the running for the LoL medal event for the 19th Asian Games:
Chen "Bin" Zebin (Top lane)
Zhao "Jiejie" Lijie (Jungle)
Peng "XUN" Lixun (Jungle)
Zhuo "knight" Ding (Mid lane)
Zhao "Elk" Jiahao (Bottom lane)
Tian "Meiko" Ye (Support)
Zhu "KenZhu" Kai (Coach)
Choi "Zeus" Woo-je (Top lane)
Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok (Jungle)
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (Mid lane)
Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon (Mid lane)
Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk (Bottom lane)
Ryu “Keria” Min-seok (Support)
Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun (Coach)
Tam “Shine” See Kheing (Top lane)
Beckham “Arashi” Ang Jing En (Jungle)
Jireh “Sleep” Soh (Mid lane)
Eric “QaspieL” Sia Sze Pin (Bottom lane)
Alvin “Felia” Lim Ming Sang (Support)
Ong "AhWood" Kar Kian (Coach)
Trần "Kiaya" Duy Sang (Top lane)
Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh (Jungle)
Lê “Dia1” Phú Quý (Mid lane)
Đặng "Kati" Thanh Phê (Mid lane)
Trần "Artemis" Quốc Hưng (Bottom lane)
Trần "Bie" Hiếu (Support)
Lê "SofM" Duy (Coach)
Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang (Top lane)
Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan (Jungle)
Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan (Mid lane)
Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan (Bottom lane)
Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh (Support)
Chen "WarHorse" Ju-chih (Coach)
Su “2oey” Jia Fu (Top lane)
Yau “NH” U Son (Jungle)
Sit “Error” Chong Fai (Mid lane)
Yang “HOU99” Haoliang (Bottom lane)
Leong "SeaLion" Si Un (Support)
Bernardo "BerNNas" Carvalho (Coach)
Hamza “Wickychi” Wazzan (Top lane)
Ajwad “Ajwad” Wazzan (Jungle)
Maan “Fear” Arshad (Mid lane)
Nawaf “Mimic” Al-Salem (Bot lane)
Meshal Albarrak (Support)
Ömer "Basei" Onay (Coach)
Sanindhya “Deadcorporal” Malik (Top lane)
Mihir “AngelsLotus” Ranjan (Top lane)
Aakash “BlackInfinity” Shandilya (Jungle)
Akshaj “Akshaj” Shenoy (Mid lane, Team Captain)
Aditya “Krow” Selvaraj (Krow)
Samarth “CrankO” Trivedi (Support)
The Playoffs will follow a single-elimination format with best-of-three matches that will feature the four teams that qualified from the group stage and the four directly-seeded teams.
Playoffs will kick off on Wednesday (27 September) with the match between South Korea and Saudi Arabia, with the Grand Finals concluding on Friday (29 September).
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.