In the electrifying arena of League of Legends (LoL) esports, the tales of underdog teams stand as testaments to the unpredictability and thrill of competitive gaming. These squads, often overshadowed by more renowned counterparts, have etched their names in history through sheer determination, unconventional strategies, and the heart to defy expectations. I’m Tyler Bennett, an esports enthusiast and analyst, diving deep into the dynamics of these unlikely heroes. In this exploration, we’ll highlight some of the most remarkable underdog stories that have unfolded in LoL tournaments over the years. From teams that rose from obscurity to clinch championship titles to those who triumphed against all odds, these narratives are not just about victory; they are about the spirit of competition and the essence of what makes LoL esports so captivating. Join me in celebrating these LoL underdogs, as we revisit their journeys and unravel what makes their victories so extraordinary and inspiring.

Defining an Underdog in LoL Esports

In the realm of League of Legends (LoL) esports, the term ‘underdog’ is ascribed to teams that enter tournaments with lower expectations due to various factors, such as lesser-known players, limited resources, or a history of lower performance compared to their more famed opponents. These LoL underdogs often lack the spotlight and support enjoyed by top-tier teams, yet they harbor a unique blend of talent, determination, and the element of surprise.

The essence of an underdog’s journey in major LoL tournaments lies in their ability to defy preconceived notions and expectations. These teams challenge the established hierarchy, often leveraging unconventional strategies and playstyles that catch their opponents off guard. They thrive under the radar, using the lack of external pressure to their advantage, allowing them to play without the burden of high expectations.

In major tournaments, underdogs have the potential to create seismic upsets, turning the predictable narrative of esports competitions on its head. Their victories are celebrated not just for the win itself, but for the sheer audacity to challenge and overcome giants in the field. These moments where LoL underdogs triumph against all odds are what contribute to the ever-evolving, dynamic nature of esports, keeping fans on the edge of their seats and proving that in the world of competitive gaming, anything is possible.

Historic Underdog Victories in LoL

The chronicles of League of Legends (LoL) esports are rich with stories of LoL underdogs who have defied expectations and claimed improbable victories. Among the most memorable are the triumphs of Fnatic in Season 1 and DRX’s astonishing win in Season 12.

Fnatic – Season 1 World Championship In 2011, the inaugural LoL World Championship was a nascent stage for what would become one of the biggest esports tournaments globally. Fnatic, then a relatively unknown team from Europe, entered the championship without the weight of expectation that burdened many of their rivals. The absence of Korean and Chinese teams provided an open field, yet Fnatic’s victory was far from assured. Starting with a shaky 1-2 record in their group, Fnatic demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability. The team, led by xPeke and Cyanide and starring the tournament MVP Shushei, navigated through the Best-Of-3s with strategic prowess and exceptional teamwork. Their underdog story culminated in a 2-1 victory against aAa in the finals, marking a historic moment in LoL esports.

DRX – Season 12 World Championship DRX’s journey to win the Season 12 World Championship is perhaps one of the most extraordinary underdog tales in LoL history. Entering the tournament as Korea’s 4th seed and having to battle through the play-in stages, DRX was not initially viewed as a serious contender. However, once in the group stage, they defied all odds by finishing first in their group. The knockout stage saw DRX in an underdog battle against giants, where they showcased their exceptional team synergy and strategic depth. Their journey to the finals was marked by nail-biting matches against the likes of EDG, Gen G, and T1. The narrative of their AD carry Deft, rumored to be in his final year as a professional player, added a layer of emotional depth to their campaign. DRX’s victory in a riveting five-game final against T1 was a testament to their perseverance, skill, and the unpredictable nature of esports.

In both these instances, Fnatic and DRX leveraged their status as underdogs to their advantage. They played without the high-pressure expectations that often accompany top-seeded teams, allowing them to execute their strategies with a clear focus and adaptability. Their victories underscored the importance of teamwork, strategic ingenuity, and the sheer will to succeed against all odds. These underdog stories are not just footnotes in the annals of LoL esports; they are powerful narratives that continue to inspire teams and fans alike, reminding everyone that in the world of competitive gaming, the David can indeed triumph over the Goliath.

Underdog Strategies and Play Styles

LoL underdogs have often distinguished themselves through innovative strategies and playstyles that deviate from the norm, enabling them to catch more dominant teams off guard. These unconventional approaches become their signature, contributing to some of the most memorable upsets in the history of League of Legends esports.

A key element in the playbook of underdog teams is their willingness to experiment with unusual champion picks or team compositions. Unlike top-tier teams that might adhere to the meta more rigidly, underdogs often embrace flexibility, choosing champions that are not typically seen in professional play. For instance, Doinb of FPX during Season 9 was known for his unorthodox mid-lane choices, such as Nautilus, which disrupted the conventional mid-lane dynamics and gave his team an edge in unexpected ways.

Underdog teams also tend to adopt aggressive playstyles, taking risks that more established teams might avoid. This aggressiveness can manifest in early game skirmishes, surprise ambushes, or unconventional map movements. This strategy banks on the element of surprise, aiming to gain an early advantage and disrupt the rhythm of their opponents, who might be more accustomed to a standard style of play.

Another aspect where underdogs differ is in their mental approach to the game. Without the burden of high expectations, these teams often play with a level of fearlessness and resolve that can be unnerving for their adversaries. This mindset allows them to remain resilient even when facing setbacks during a game, as they are more inclined to stick to their unique game plan without the pressure of upholding a legacy or reputation.

Moreover, underdog teams often exhibit exceptional team cohesion and synergy, compensating for what they might lack in individual star power. Their success often hinges on collective effort and well-coordinated teamwork, with each member playing a crucial role in executing their strategies effectively.

In essence, LoL underdogs challenge the status quo through their willingness to innovate, take risks, and display a level of tenacity that can turn the tides in high-stakes matches. These distinctive strategies and playstyles not only level the playing field against more dominant teams but also add a thrilling dimension to LoL tournaments, keeping fans and opponents alike on their toes.

The Future of Underdogs in LoL Esports

The landscape of League of Legends (LoL) esports is ever-evolving, and with it, the potential for new underdog stories is vast. The current esports scene, with its dynamic shifts and emerging talents, sets the stage for future LoL underdogs to rise and make their mark in the competitive arena.

One significant factor contributing to the emergence of underdog teams is the continuous evolution of the game itself. With each new season, changes in game mechanics, champion updates, and meta shifts offer opportunities for innovative teams to exploit new strategies. Teams that can quickly adapt to these changes and find creative ways to utilize them are often well-positioned to challenge the established order.

Emerging regions are also fertile ground for potential underdog stories. While regions like Korea, China, Europe, and North America have traditionally dominated the scene, other regions are showing increasing competitiveness. Teams from regions such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the CIS have been making strides, showing that they can compete at a high level. These regions could very well produce the next TPA or Albus Nox Luna, surprising the world with their performances at international tournaments.

Additionally, the rise of developmental leagues and grassroots initiatives in various regions is nurturing a new generation of talent. These young players, often bringing fresh perspectives and playstyles, could be the key figures in future underdog teams. Their hunger for success and lack of fear in facing established pros can be a significant advantage in high-pressure tournament environments.

The Impact of Underdogs on the Esports Scene

Underdog victories are the lifeblood of excitement and unpredictability in LoL esports, injecting a vital sense of dynamism into the scene. These LoL underdogs, often overlooked, bring about thrilling twists and turns in tournaments, breaking the monotony of predictable outcomes. Their unexpected triumphs not only captivate audiences but also inspire other emerging teams, fostering a more competitive and vibrant esports environment. These stories of David vs. Goliath battles enhance the allure of esports, making every tournament a potential stage for the next big upset and keeping fans perpetually engaged and on the edge of their seats.


The saga of LoL underdogs is a captivating narrative thread in the tapestry of esports, offering unexpected twists and heartfelt triumphs. These underdog stories are pivotal in enriching the competitive landscape, adding depth, diversity, and excitement to the world of League of Legends esports, and keeping the spirit of competition vibrantly alive.

Dive Deeper into Esports Underdog Tales

Craving more exhilarating stories of resilience and unexpected victories? Step into the realm of the unanticipated and explore our collection of Esports underdog picks. Uncover the tales of teams and players who defied the odds and etched their names in esports history. Join us on a journey through the thrilling and unpredictable world of competitive gaming.