The 10 League of Legends teams participating in the first franchised season of the LCK in 2021 were revealed last night, according to Korizon and Fomos reporter Kenzi.
Twenty-one companies reportedly submitted applications to join the league earlier this year, including South Korean organizations competing in the Challenger League and Overwatch. International organizations like FaZe Clan and NRG also reportedly considered applying but ultimately decided not to.
Another organization launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of reaching $20 million, but it didn’t come close to that goal and ultimately decided to cancel the project.
Out of the 10 selected teams, only one wasn’t already in the LCK. Brion Esports will replace SeolHaeOne Prince, who came in last place in the 2020 Summer Split. This choice was supposedly already made in August since the reported finalists match the definitive list that was recently revealed.
In 2021, franchising will aim to “strengthen LCK’s competency and ultimately create a more satisfying experience for all participants of the league,” according to Riot. Here’s the list of the 10 selected organizations to participate in the newly franchised LCK.
1) DAMWON Gaming – DAMWON are the team to beat heading into next year. After earning a Worlds spot in 2019 and losing in the quarterfinals to G2, they came back stronger than ever this season with skyrocketing results in the 2020 LCK Summer Split.
2) DRX – DRX first entered the LCK in 2015 under the name “Incredible Miracle.” Then, the org rebranded to Longzhu Gaming in 2016, which was acquired by Kingzone DragonX in 2018 and ultimately renamed to DRX this year.
3) Gen.G – Gen.G, formerly known as KSV Esports, entered the LCK by acquiring the Samsung Galaxy roster in 2017 shortly after they won the World Championship.
4) T1 – T1 is the most successful League esports team in the world, even if their performance has become more inconsistent lately. After grabbing three world titles and six regional championships, they won the 2020 LCK Spring Split and then faltered by placing fifth in the summer. T1 failed to qualify for the 2020 World Championship with a 3-0 loss against Gen.G in the Regional Finals.
5) Afreeca Freecs – This organization joined the LCK in 2016 by acquiring the roster of Rebels Anarchy, who succeeded in being promoted to the professional league in 2015.
Despite being able to qualify for almost every LCK split’s playoffs since they joined the league, Afreeca have yet to win a regional title. They also failed to qualify for the 2020 World Championship by losing to T1 in the Regional Finals.
6) KT Rolster
7) SANDBOX Gaming
8) Team Dynamics
9) Hanwha Life Esports
10) Brion Esports
LCK teams that join the league in the 2021 season will be protected from relegation to the Challengers League since they bought their franchise spots in the league for several seasons to come and will receive a portion of its revenue.