Unsure who to root for in the play-in stage of Worlds 2022? We’ve got you covered, with our handy guide to every minor region team at the 2022 World Championship, and why you should show them some love.
You know what everyone needs in their life? More League of Legends.
Sure, the major regions are fantastic. The LPL, LCK, LCS and LEC are all chock-full of incredible talent, and that talent will be showcased to the best of its potential at the 2022 World Championship. But the problem with the major regions is that most viewers will already have spent an entire calendar year watching their teams compete.
All have thriving English-language broadcasts, and all receive a deserved amount of attention throughout the year. But it’s Worlds season, and that means it’s time for the minor regions to strut their way into the spotlight.
While the minor regions don’t always get the same love as the big four, the World Championship absolutely would not be the same without them. They bring meta innovation, surprise upsets, and the kind of scrappy confidence that can only come from those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And it’s not like the minor regions just show up internationally to play a few games and go home. In 2021, the PCS’s PSG Talon made it to the semifinals of the Mid-Season Invitational, where they took tournament favorites DAMWON KIA to a nail-biting Game 5.
The VCS have consistently disturbed the peace in both the play-ins and the group stages of multiple international events. OCE saw its first-ever group stage qualification only last year, making it to the MSI rumble stage as their group’s second seed.
So if you’re looking to root for the little guy this year, but aren’t quite sure where to start – we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive guide to every minor region team at the 2022 World Championship, and why you should show them some love.
Chiefs Esports Club, representing the LCO
Ah, Chiefs. They’ve got a top laner who never stops going in, a jungler who WILL play Lee Sin (who cares if it’s meta or not?), and a mid laner who’s played just about every role in the game across his career.
Their win condition, however, is their bot lane – so keep an eye out for those post-20 minute team fights. As the representatives of one of the smallest regions in the competitive ecosystem, Chiefs are here to show that OCE is more than just that fateful Pentanet MSI run.
CTBC Flying Oyster, representing the PCS
With the uncontested best team name in esports, it’s PCS first seed representative CTBC Flying Oyster. They’re a young organization, and this will be their first time on the international stage, having only formed at the start of 2022.
But despite the youth of the org, the roster is chock full of veteran PCS talent – they’re a perfect microcosm of some of the best the region has to offer. Oh, and their support Lin ‘Koala’ Chih-Chiang is a Bard player. ‘Nuff said.
Beyond Gaming, representing the PCS
Although this is a very different Beyond Gaming roster than the one we’ve seen at previous international events, it’s no less exciting. Their jungler, Huang ‘HuSha’ Tzu-Wei, was one of the standout minor region performers at Worlds 2021, carrying multiple games on his pocket Xin Zhao.
And while Xin Zhao’s not exactly the height of a meta pick right now, the carry jungler spirit never dies. Expect HuSha to disrupt the top side of the map in tandem with top laner Liao ‘Likai’ Li-Kai.
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GAM Esports, representing the VCS
Roll out the red carpet: after a three-year absence, minor region royalty is returning to the international stage. GAM Esports, formerly known as Gigabyte Marines, are back at Worlds after travel restrictions and scheduling conflicts left them unable to attend a single international event throughout 2020 and 2021.
But why should I care that GAM are back, I hear you ask? Well, faceless reader, they’re only one of the most entertaining, aggressive teams from any region in the world – major or minor. Expect fighting from minute one, and also expect them to be able to get some real solid hits in against the major region representatives in their group.
Saigon Buffalo, representing the VCS
In GAM’s absence from MSI 2022, Saigon Buffalo captured the hearts and minds of international fans with their first-ever appearance on the international stage. Their AD Carry Nguyễn ‘Shogun’ Văn Huy was one of the most exciting surprises of MSI this year, and the only way is up for the Buffalos as they return at Worlds.
And if you thought CFO’s Koala being a Bard player was great, just wait till you meet Đinh ‘Taki’ Anh Tài. Roaming support, champion ocean as deep as the Marianas Trench – need we say more?
Detonation FocusMe, representing the LJL
If you like consistency, then let me tell you about a little old team named Detonation FocusMe. They’ve been to Worlds a whopping four times (including one International Wildcard tournament, the old system that allowed minor region teams to qualify for Worlds).
They’ve got one of the oldest rosters at the tournament, and they’ll be looking to show these young whippersnappers what for in the play-in stage. Keep an eye out for Shunsuke ‘Evi’ Murase, top laner and Gnar enjoyer who’s been DFM’s win condition throughout 2022.
LOUD, representing the CBLoL
The CBLoL, and LOUD in particular, have one of the most dedicated fanbases in the world – but they could always use another supporter, and that could be you! This will be LOUD’s first Worlds, with the org only having entered League of Legends in 2021.
But they’re bringing established Brazilian talents like top laner Leonard ‘Robo’ Souza and Thiago ‘Tinowns’ Sartori to make up for the org’s relative youth. Oh, and AD Carry Diego ‘Brance’ Amaral has been the undisputed king of Challengers Queue in the run up to the tournament – if not in LP then certainly in attitude.
Istanbul Wildcats, representing the TCL
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Istanbul Wildcats are running it back with exactly the same roster that we saw at both MSI 2022 and Worlds 2021.
They’re not the flashiest, or the best performing, of the play-ins teams. Not by a long shot. But they are a roster that’s stuck together for longer than pretty much any other team at Worlds this year, and you’ve gotta respect bros who stick together.
Isurus Gaming, representing the LLA
The LLA have, we’ll be honest, not had the best of showings internationally in recent years. But Isurus are looking to reverse that run of ill fortune at Worlds 2022, and they’ve got a hell of a roster to do it with.
Isurus is a mix of Latam stars and import talent, consisting of former LPL top laner Kang ‘ADD’ Geon-Mo and Afreeca Freecs support Song ‘Jelly’ Ho-Gyeong. Mid laner Édgar ‘Seiya’ Ali Bracamontes Munguía returns for his third Worlds appearance, while AD Carry Omar André ‘Gavotto’ Gavotto and jungler Jesús Alberto ‘Grell’ Loya Trujillo make their international debuts.