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LoL esports works with an in-house esports program run and operated globally by Riot Games. Each region from North America to China is split into its own groups, with some of those (like Europe) split even further into national or sub-regional groups (Such as France or the Nordics). The closed system has created a controlled environment for Riot Games to grow the echo system within LoL Esports. However, the franchise model does close the top leagues from anyone trying to get into the league. Sadly, the only route, for now, is to buy a spot off a selling team. Maybe Riot will increase the number of organizations per league down the road. For now, it remains just the 10 per league.
The Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides teams who win their regional Spring/first split a chance to compete against the best of the best. This event normally occurs in more "unusual" countries that couldn’t support Worlds being played there. For example, we recently had Iceland host MSI, a country that couldn’t support an event the scale of Worlds.
MSI is a much shorter event, usually taking place over a 2 to 3-week period. For teams that attend. However, they return to their regional leagues and start their Summer Split shortly after. Adding a level of competitive fatigue to those sides who compete.
Worlds is the top dog of LoL esporting events. Taking place yearly, Worlds moves across the globe each year. From China to Europe, and in 2022 America. One difference from MSI, is that Worlds is played over multiple venues. For example, the 2022 Worlds event had its Play-In stage in Mexico before moving to Canada for the main Group Stage. The Finals stage then moved to the USA. Sometimes it is contained within one country like China, France, or South Korea. But, Worlds as a format allows for this movement.
When Worlds is on, it takes place over 4-5 weeks of action. Starting with a Play-in stage featuring the "Wild Card" regions and the lowest seed side from the major regions. The winners of the Play-in stage then move on to the Group Stage. There’s usually a 5-7 day gap between stages. After the Group Stage, we get a second, much smaller gap as teams prepare for the Knockout stage.
Worlds always takes place on one patch throughout the duration of the event. This is generally a fairly stable patch, often slightly tweaked from the patch each team uses in their regional knockout stage.
The LCS is the foremost North American League of Legends esports league. Featuring 10 teams, all of whom have been brought into the league via a franchising model. The region is considered the weakest of the four major leagues, with the LCS often relying on European and Asian imports.
The LCS has gotten closer to the global title in recent years. Sadly for them, however, when they did get close, it came against the LEC’s G2 Esports, who were able to stop them. One worry for the LCS is that the region's popularity has dwindled in recent years due to poor showings in international events. This is more of a problem for Riot Games as they’re based in the region.
The LCS normally gets underway in mid/late January and runs for 8/9 weeks of regular season matches. These take place on a Saturday and Sunday afternoons (local US time), with all games being Best of One.
The LEC (Formally EULCS) is the top tier of European LoL esports. Like the LCS, the LEC is a franchised league of 10 sides. The LEC has cemented itself as the third-best league, claiming just one global title (MSI) since the beginning of the global LoL esports network. Note - Fnatic won the very first Worlds event, though it only featured sides from North America and Europe.
The LEC is probably one of the most competitive of the regions. With 4 or 5 teams competing for the LEC title, most splits and with four different teams picking up the title since it started. However, the league has had a few teams drop out, with other organizations buying up the spots. Though, thus far, those seem to have improved the league rather than taken away from it.
The LPL is the main league in China. In recent years the league has rapidly climbed above the rest to become a real challenger at Worlds and MSI. Despite that, many cling to the nostalgia of the Korean LCK.
The LCK is the South Korean LoL esports league and has long been the best region in the World. In recent years they've mostly battled against sides from China and the odd side from Europe. Despite recent Chinese success, many consider the LCK the best region.
Learn the game - It cannot be understated how important it is to know how to play a game before you commit to betting on it. Lol is a game that's relatively easy to learn but challenging to master. Learn the basics, improve your knowledge, and bet using what you learn.
Stick to a region - With so many regions to choose from, it's best to pick one, and focus on learning that. The LEC and LCS would be good starting points for this and the teams are set in stone, with only rosters changing year to year.
Avoid in-play at the start - in-play betting is the ideal evolution to your betting arsenal as you improve your knowledge of the scene. However, at the start, focus on overall winners and event winners, and you learn the ropes.
Don’t bet with bias - You will learn the game and the esports scene as you play. It’s essential to remember that a team or player you like isn’t always the most effective option. While knowing more about a team is critical, betting on them because you support them isn’t. Bet with your head and not your heart.
Start small - As you begin your journey into the world of online betting, it is wise to start with smaller bets.
Set a budget - As starting small is essential, it is also important to have a budget. To begin, you may want to start with $50 (or close to that amount) and avoid placing it in one or two large bets at a time. Never bet money you can't afford to lose. If you feel like your gambling has become a problem, reach out to a helpline.
Fear the underdog - This is especially true at Worlds and in the early stages of the groups. There’s always a chance one of the small teams can cause an upset, especially in the best-of-one stages. Also, if you bet on the number 1 seed against the lowest seed, it’s often not worth the risk to bet on the favorite.
Thriving esports scene - as we mentioned earlier in the article. LoL esports is massive globally, which makes it one of the most exciting scenes to bet on. With a constantly running esports program throughout the year, LoL is also something you can stay involved with all year round. From regional leagues such as the LEC, so mid-season events like MSI. You’ll also find minor league events such as the EU Masters taking place in parallel to the main leagues.
Highly competitive leagues - Another critical aspect of LoL esports is how competitive each region is. Looking at the LEC as an example, the league has had four different winners over the past 3 years, with a new team, Rogue, winning most recently. Then, once teams move to global events, the competition ramps up even more. While the major regions have always won, the "wildcard" regions have given more than a solid account of themselves in recent years.
Evolving meta - Not only does LoL meta change from event to event, but Meta can also shift during an event. With no changes to the game happening during an event like Worlds. Some teams have been known to hold back "secret" picks for later in the tournament. Pay close attention to how a side is playing, especially those from the top regions.
Shifts within a series - When it comes to Best of Fives, LoL has seen many series go 2-0, only to end 2-3. The nature of LoL is that momentum can swing very quickly. Something about that 2-0 scoreline can make it a blessing and a curse. The 2022 Summer Split LEC Grand Final showed us exactly why. With Rogue looking down and out going into, they caused a huge upset to walk the split. So keep an eye out when betting on a "sure thing".
Regions collide - Different regions have a different meta, so when they meet at Worlds it can have fascinating consequences. We’ve often seen the LCKs slower, more methodical style of play clash when they face off against an LCS side looking to ARAM all game. It’s important to pay close attention to the conflicting styles of teams when betting on major events.
Variety of markets - LoL may well be the most diverse betting market in esports. From match winners to what Drake will spawn first, LoL is similar to Football when it comes to pure variet in playable markets.
Match-winners: The simplest form of LoL bet is the match-winners market. In this market, you can pick which team will win. This won’t matter how many games there are in a series etc., you are just betting on the individual match/game.
Series score: Here, you’re looking at guessing the score for the series. Firstly an over/under bet on a number provided by the bookmaker is the most likely option. Alternatively, you can bet on the total number of matches in a series. For a best-of-three series, that will be between 2 to 3. For a best-of-five series, it will be between 3 and 5.
Tournament winner: The ultimate winner of an event or tournament. Here, you want to place a bet on the team that you think will claim the final title. This can either be done pre-tournament, or mid-tournament.
First Blood: Betting on which team will secure the first kill. This is one of the most exciting parts of a game of LoL. While it doesn’t determine how the game will go, it significantly impacts the early game.
Most kills: A team bet placed on which side is likely to secure the most kills. Normally, this is the winning side, however, in longer matches that isn’t always the case.
Penta kill: Will a player in the match claim a Penta Kill on this map. A Penta Kill is one player slaying five players on a team within a set period.
First Tower: Similar to the first blood market, the first tower looks at teams who are more objective-focused. This is a bet that can be placed with slightly more planning, as you can see what sides statistically claim the first tower the most often.
First Drake kill: Another objective-focused market. Here you’ll look at who will kill the first Drake on the map.
First Drake Element: Bet on which of the six Drakes will be the first to spawn on the map. Your odds here are 1 in 6, and there’s no way of knowing prior to it actually spawning
League of Legends is undoubtedly one of the two most exciting esports to bet on. From global esports leagues, weekly events, and yearly worldwide events. League of Legends is a special game, and it’s something that’s worth getting involved in. With so many pre-game and in-play markets to choose from. LoL is a game that rewards people with knowledge of the game and offers one of the most comprehensive esports betting markets.