Looking back: Wildcard History

By LeonButcher

One of the best opportunities to measure national strength at the international stage, the Wildcard tournaments create the unique atmosphere of “all for one”. It’s the Champion of every IWC country carrying their flag, putting rivalries aside in the name of regional pride.

Since 2013, between Invitationals (the ones that qualify to MSI) and Qualifiers (Worlds!), we’re heading to the sixth Wildcard edition. Brazil has a strong international presence, winning two editions, being finalist in other two and falling in the semifinals in another. Let’s see the retrospect:

  2013 2014 2015 2016
Invitational ---------- ---------- Finalist (INTZ) Semifinalist (INTZ)
Qualifier Finalist (paiN) Champion (KaBuM) Champion (paiN) ----------

Past editions

2013 – International Wildcard Qualifier

Venue: Gamescom 2013 (Cologne, Germany)
Regions:
Brazil (paiN Gaming), CIS/Russia (GamingGear.eu), Latin America (Lyon Gaming), Oceania (Team Immunity) and Turkey (Dark Passage)
Champion:
GamingGear.eu
Prize:
Spot at Worlds 2013

With the rising number of Wildcard regions and their constant improvement, it was organized a tournament between the regions, granting the winner a place at Worlds. It was the first time Wildcard regions could test their game level in an official international stage. The Brazilian representative, paiN Gaming, ended the Group Stage in first place and defeated Dark Passage in the semifinals. GamingGear.eu eliminated Team Immunity in the other bracket, and would eventually become champions beating the Brazilians in the BO3 finals with a 2-0. The Lithuanians would also become the first Wildcard team to win a match at Worlds (against a TSM using a Teemo ADC).


2014 – International Wildcard Qualifier 1

Venue: Gamescom 2014 (Cologne, Germany)
Regions:
CIS/Russia (Russian Force), Oceania (Legacy eSports) Turkey (Dark Passage)
Champion:
Dark Passage
Prize:
Spot at Worlds 2014

With more regions joining the Wildcards, for the first time the tournament was split in two editions, each one with a certain number of regions. In the first competition , with European and Asian regions, Dark Passage finished first against Legacy eSports, becoming the first Turkish team in a World Championship.

2014 – International Wildcard Qualifier 2

Venue: PAX 2014 (Seattle, United States)
Regions:
Brazil (KaBuM eSports) and Latin America (Pineapple Express)
Champion:
KaBuM eSports
Prize:
Spot at Worlds 2014

Against the neighbors of Latin America, Brazil conquered their first spot at Worlds in 2014. PEX had defeated the favorites Lyon Gaming in the Copa Latinoamerica finals, while KaBuM surprised the Brazilian region by defeating Keyd and CNB. In the BO5 finals to dispute the crown, KaBuM won convincingly by 3-0. 


2015 – International Wildcard Invitational

Venue: Volkswagen Arena (Istanbul, Turkey)
Regions:
Brazil (INTZ eSports), Southeast Asia (Bangkok Titans), Latin America (KLG), Oceania (The Chiefs), Japan (DetonatioN FocusMe), CIS/Russia (Hard Random) and Turkey (Beşiktaş eSports)
Champion:
Beşiktaş eSports
Prize:
Spot at MSI 2015

For the first time since 2013 all Wildcard regions were united in a single tournament, this time with the addition of Garena (after the division of Southeast Asia) and Japan. The teams battled for a spot at the recently created Mid-Season Invitational. Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Garena would make their way to the semifinals, writing the first chapter for a rivalry between the regions. Playing at home in front of their fanatic crowd, Beşiktaş turned the BO5 in their favor, beating INTZ by 3-1.

2015 – International Wildcard Qualifier 1

Venue: Movistar Arena (Santiago, Chile)
Regions:
Brazil (paiN Gaming), Latin America (KLG) and CIS/Russia (Hard Random)
Champion:
paiN Gaming
Prize:
Spot at Worlds 2015

After a single Invitational, Wildcard regions were again separated for the Worlds’ Qualifiers. This time, Russia, Latin America and Brazil would fight for one spot. With the group stage being played in Brazil, paiN and KLG qualified to the finals, moving on to Chile, where the Brazilians repeated the same result of 2014 against the rivals, beating them to 3-0. PaiN would also break the Wildcard regions record of most wins at Worlds, beating Flash Wolves and CLG.

2015 – International Wildcard Qualifier 2

Venue: Riot Turkey Studios (Istanbul, Turkey)
Regions:
Japan (DetonatioN FocusMe), Oceania (The Chiefs), Turkey (Dark Passage) and Southeast Asia (Bangkok Titans)
Champion:
Bangkok Titans
Prize:
Spot at Worlds 2015

For the second Qualifier, Turkey was again the stage welcoming three other regions: Japan, Oceania and Southeast Asia. The home team, Dark Passage, unlike Beşiktaş, couldn’t manage to exit the group stage though, and Bangkok Titans moved on to the finals. The Chiefs, even with the first place in the group stage, couldn’t keep up the pace in the finals, and lost to the Titans by 3-1.


2016 – International Wildcard Invitational

Venue: Palacio de los Deportes (Mexico City, Mexico)
Regions:
Brazil (INTZ eSports), Southeast Asia (Saigon Jokers), Latin America North (Lyon Gaming), Latin America South (Isurus Gaming), Oceania (The Chiefs), Japan (DetonatioN FocusMe), CIS/Russia (Hard Random) and Turkey (SuperMassive eSports)
Champion:
SuperMassive eSports
Prize:
Spot at MSI 2016

The last Wildcard tournament to reunite all the regions, this time with eight participants, after the Latin America region was divided into South and North – before that both regional champions would have to play a BO5, and the winner would be their Wildcard champion. Again, Brazil, Turkey, Southeast Asia and Russia proved their superiority, and added some more spice to the rivalry. In the grand finals, the Turkish team proved itself one more time, this time against Hard Random. Turkey would remain to be the only Wildcard region to participate in a Mid-Season Invitational.


Photo: Guia Geográfico - Imagens da Capital Paranaense

For the first time since 2013 all Wildcard regions will play a single Qualifier. A lot of questions will be answered when they finally enter Summoner’s Rift on August the 24th: Will the Latin American brothers surprise everyone? After trying for so long, will Oceania finally get to Worlds? Japan always seems to hold an ace in their sleeve, will they play it? Southeast Asia will prove themselves again and return to Worlds? And what can we expect of the Brazil-Russia-Turkey rivalry?

Don’t lose any second of all the action in this clash of regions starting on August 24and culminating in the qualifying series at the Ópera de Arame, on September 3rd and 4th .


3 years ago


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