The League of Legends World Championship is one of the premier esports events of the year, spanning more than a month's time through multiple cities across a designated host region with the winning team in a field of 24 walking away with over $1 million in prize money and the Summoner's Cup.
This year's event, running from Oct. 2 to Nov. 10, begins in Berlin before transitioning to Madrid for the knockout rounds before the tournament's final stop, Paris, where the two remaining teams will play for the world title at the AccorHotels Arena.
As the world championship looms, ESPN has you covered with each team qualifying for the showdown for the Summoner's Cup, from the favorites to the underdogs.
Here are the initial teams to book their tickets to Berlin.
G2 Esports (Europe)
They qualified by: Being the best team in the world. It's fitting that the odds-on favorite to win a world championship held in Europe is the first to qualify for the event itself.
G2 Esports made it to the world semifinals last year in South Korea, losing to eventual winner Invictus Gaming of China, and then upgraded their team by signing away the ace player of their archrival and the top player in the Western region, Rasmsus "Caps" Winther. The move transferred team captain and fellow world-class talent Luka "Perkz" Perković into a new position and instantly declared a challenge to the rest of Europe: We have more talent than you. Come and try to beat us.
So far, no one has dethroned G2. They won the spring European season, won the Mid-Season Invitational and are the best team on the planet heading into worlds.
Player to watch: Rasmus "Caps" Winther
It's cheating a bit to use Caps, but whether you're a diehard League of Legends fan or just interested in world championship, the 19-year-old Dane is must-watch. One of the few generational talents to come into their own in recent years, Caps played in the 2018 world finals on Fnatic in a losing effort against iG and then left for G2 Esports.
Since then, he has turned G2 into a nearly unbeatable juggernaut in their region and was the MVP of MSI earlier this year in Taipei, Taiwan. Forget the West: It might seem improbable, but Caps has earned the title of best player in the world going into October.
Worlds expectations: Win it or bust. This team knows it can take the title on home soil, and anything other than being the first European team to hoist the Summoner's Cup would be a disappointment.
Griffin (South Korea)
They qualified by: Taking care of business in the regular season. While the League Champions Korea squad didn't win the domestic title in the spring, losing to three-time world champion SK Telecom T1 and certified GOAT Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok in the final, it didn't matter when it came to qualification. Griffin were the No. 1 seed in the spring regular season and followed that up with a slightly less impressive showing in the summer that still gave them the top spot in South Korea.
For those new to Griffin, they are the leaders of an era change in South Korea, the region that dominated the world championship up until 2018 when the LCK failed to send a team to the final for the first time since 2011. Griffin came from the minor leagues of South Korea when the rest of the region's established organizations were faltering and burst onto the scene to make the domestic final in their rookie season.
Since being promoted, they've qualified for the domestic finals three straight seasons in a row.
The first two? Devastating losses.
Now, auto-seeded into their third final as a reward for finishing atop of the regular season standings, Griffin will have one more chance to prove themselves in a pressure situation before getting on the plane to Europe for the world championship. They'll either head to Berlin with a gigantic monkey off their back as the South Korean champions or have questions surrounding their mental fortitude throughout the tournament.
Player to watch: Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong
The man who stirs the drink for Griffin, Tarzan enters the world championship as one of the best players at the jungler position. Often disappearing in the background when it comes to statlines in favor of his teammates, Tarzan might not always put up the biggest numbers but has an influence that is hard to catch from only reading scoresheets.
Worlds expectations: Semifinals. Griffin has the talent to win the Summoner's Cup and do it in dominant fashion, but worlds is different than any tournament they've played in before. None of their players have ever played on a stage this grand, and as long as they do well in the early stages and win at least one best-of-five in the quarterfinals, Griffin should be able to go back home to South Korea with their heads held high.
Team Liquid (North America)
They qualified by: Picking up the best talent money can buy and beating down everyone in their region. Team Liquid feature the best roster in North American League of Legends history and are on the verge of an unprecedented four-peat if they can defeat Cloud9 in Detroit next weekend at Little Caesars Arena.
This team was already the best in North America in 2018 but faltered when it came to international events. Two domestic titles meant nothing at MSI and worlds, where Liquid failed to make it out of the group stages at both tournaments. Liquid, known for not being afraid to spend cash, went out and upgraded heavily at the mid lane and support positions, bringing in Cloud9 standout Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen in mid and former world champion Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in at support.
How did the aggressive shopping work out for Liquid? They won their third straight domestic title, went to MSI and then shocked the world by upsetting world champion Invictus Gaming to make it to the final against G2. They lost to G2 -- and no, it wasn't close -- but after failing to even make it out of groups the previous year, it was money well spent for Liquid.
Player to watch: Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng
When it comes to American players, it all begins and ends with Team Liquid's trash-talking AD carry.
He began his career in 2011, and like fine wine, Doublelift, 26, is only getting better with age. He won his first domestic MVP award last year and helped his new partner in the bottom lane, CoreJJ, pick up his own MVP hardware during this year's spring season.
The running joke around Doublelift before MSI was that regardless of how decorated of a player he is domestically or how respected he is by world-class players around the world, he still couldn't get out of the group stage at an international event.
Well, that roadblock is no longer in front of Doublelift. He broke through that obstacle and then some at MSI, and he still has something to prove after getting smoked by G2 in Taiwan.
Worlds expectations: Semifinals. Team Liquid might have made it to the finals of MSI, but that tournament has fewer teams and more condensed schedule. There, the American team had to outdo only four other regional champions to make it to the final.
At worlds, they'll need to knock off a lot more teams over the course of more than a month if they want to get that far. With that being said, a top-four finish would be enough to consider the 2019 season a successful one, albeit a little bittersweet.
Cloud9 (North America)
They qualified by: Being Cloud9. Yes, Team Liquid might be North America's best hope of winning the Summoner's Cup in 2019, but if there is one team the region and its fans can count on, it's C9. Ever since C9 formed in 2013, the team has gone to every single world championship, making the quarterfinals in five of its six appearances.
The most notable part of that improbable run is that outside of its debut season, C9 have never been the best team coming out of North America; they haven't won a domestic title since the spring of 2014.
Really, that sums up C9. They're not perfect. Sometimes they'll do things that aren't the norm and pay for their offbeat ways. Yet, like clockwork, no matter what moves they make in their roster or if the community at large harasses the owners for "losing the offseason," Cloud9 are there when the world championship kicks off, and they're always dangerous.
In 2018, they were supposed to be cannon fodder in the "group of death," which featured the 2017 world champions, Gen. G of South Korea, and the tournament favorites, Royal Never Give Up of China, but Cloud9 made it out while almost grabbing first place in the group.
Player to watch: Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi
If you bring up Doublelift, the next name that comes up is Cloud9's Sneaky. In some ways, the two are polar opposites. Doublelift is fiery and doesn't mince his words. Sneaky is a lighthearted jokester who is famous for taking even the worst gut-punch losses in stride, always ready to shrug and move forward.
Doublelift trumps Sneaky when it comes to domestic success, but Sneaky, the longest-tenured player in North America, has been with C9 throughout its yearly trips to the world championship and always seems to come alive when it matters the most. He was an important factor in C9 making it all the way to the semifinals in the 2018 world championship, and if the team wants a similar outcome in 2019, he'll need to turn it up a notch as he's been known to do at the biggest tournament of the year.
Oh, and he also moonlights as one of the most popular cosplayers on the internet in his free time. What a legend.
Worlds expectations: Quarterfinals. Although a top-eight finish might feel like a step back coming from going to the semifinals last year, that round of four appearance came out of nowhere. C9 were almost eliminated in the play-in rounds needed to even qualify for the group stage and only turned things around in the middle of the group stage. As long as C9 can keep their streak of making into the knockout rounds alive, it'll be a win for the boys in blue and white. And hey, if they make it into the quarterfinals, all bets are off.
It's C9; anything could happen.