Korea, China to face off in first regional Wild Rift Invitational
The Wild Rift Rivals 2021: LCK vs. LPL Invitational will kick off this Wednesday and run until Saturday. It will be the first time professional Korean teams participate in an official Wild Rift tournament.
Wild Rift, the mobile adaptation of League of Legends, was launched last October in Korea. This year, Riot Games announced plans to push the game as the "first truly global mobile esport" by "focusing efforts at the professional level." A domestic roadmap has not yet been made public, but the ecosystem will most likely revolve around squads owned by League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) franchises.
The tournament is meant to be a mobile revival of Rift Rivals, the annual inter-regional League of Legends event that did much to build and highlight rivalries between geographic neighbors before it was discontinued in 2020.
This invitational will feature three LCK teams and three teams from China's League of Legends Pro League (LPL). Representing Korea are KT Rolster, T1 and Liiv Sandbox; representing China are Edward Gaming, Bilibili Gaming and Oh My God.
On the first day, an exhibition match between ex-LCK and ex-LPL League of Legends pros will be played prior to the tournament proper. Names to star in the event include Yu "Misaya" Jingxi, Hong "MadLife" Min-gi, Kang "Cpt Jack" Hyung-woo and Lee "Flame" Ho-jong, all of whom rose to international stardom between 2011 and 2013.
Over the first three days of the tournament, teams will each play one best-of-three match against a team from the rival country, alternating opponents every day. Each day constitutes a round. The country to first reach two match wins takes home the round.
On Saturday, a best-of-five finals using a winner-stays-on format will be played. The country with more round wins in hand will have the right to see the other region's leadoff team before selecting theirs.
Although all games will be played remotely due to Covid-19, China is still the host country of this year's event, and as such, the tournament will be played on the Chinese server using the Chinese client. Korean teams will be competing from the Afreeca Colosseum in Jamsil, Songpa District, southern Seoul.
The broadcast will start at 1 p.m. on all four days and will be streamed through Twitch, YouTube, AfreecaTV and Naver. Many Wild Rift esports enthusiasts around the world are expected to tune in despite the lack of English commentary, as this event is one of the first instances of official inter-regional play between professional teams.
BY JEON YOUNG-JAE [firstname.lastname@example.org]