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The 5 competitive League of Legends series you should watch this week

Royal Never Give Up returns after a successful MSI, the LCK season begins, and we'll find out the two qualifiers for the European Challenger Series.

Riot Games

The summer competitive League of Legends season has been slowly starting, but this week things really start to open up. The seasons in China and Korea both start, as do ones in Oceania and Latin America South. The European Challenger Qualifiers will come to a close, while seasons in Spain and Brazil march on.

North America and Europe don't start until next week, but there are plenty of series this week worth your time. Here are the five series you should definitely try to watch, plus the full schedule below.

Afreeca Freecs vs. Longzhu Gaming, LCK (best-of-three)

Wednesday, May 25, 4 a.m. Eastern (5 p.m. local time)

Watch: OGN, Twitch

The start of the Korean season is certainly an occasion to wake up early for. There aren't many marquee series in the first week, but this should be an intriguing opening matchup. Afreeca Freecs qualified for the LCK Spring Playoffs by finishing in fifth place, while Longzhu finished a disappointing seventh with one of the most talented rosters in the world.

It'll be our first look at Longzhu's new seven-man roster, starting Koo "Expession" Bon-taek over Lee "Flame" Ho-jong in the top lane and Shin "CoCo" Jin-yeong over Kim "Frozen" Tae-il in the mid lane. Longzhu also signed former G2 AD Carry Kim "Emperor" Jin-hyun, after a disappointing MSI for the European champions.

Edward Gaming vs. Newbee, LPL (best-of-three)

Thursday, May 26, 5 a.m. Eastern (5 p.m. local time)

Watch: Twitch

This will be the first series of China's summer season, and it might be between the two best teams in Group A.

Formerly known as Qiao Gu Reapers, Newbee has to recover from forfeiting their Spring semifinal and losing of starting AD Carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao. The mid lane, the position that led to the forfeit, has been cleared up, with Yu "HappyY" Rui (formerly known as Peco) moving to AD Carry and Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang moving to Newbee's team in China's secondary league. That leaves Bae "dade" Eo-Jin as the starting mid laner, and he said Newbee beat defending LPL champions (and Uzi's new team) Royal Never Give Up in scrims.

Edward Gaming has been a consistent presence at the top of Chinese League of Legends since the team was formed at the start of the 2014 season, winning three straight LPL titles and the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational. Now it's been two straight splits since EDG won the LPL, and the team has replaced long-time mid laner Heo "PawN" Won-seok with former SKT sub Lee "Scout" Ye-chan due to a back injury.

Royal Never Give Up support Mata. Photo via Riot Games.

Royal Never Give Up vs. Team WE, LPL (best-of-three)

Friday, May 27, 5 a.m. Eastern (5 p.m. local time)

Watch: Twitch

Likewise, these could be the best two teams in China's Group B.

Since a surprise showing at MSI, RNG signed Uzi to replace Wang "wuxx" Cheng at AD Carry and is favored to repeat as LPL champions. Korean veterans Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok and Cho "Mata" Se-hyoung both had excellent tournaments against international competition in Shanghai, and are meshing better and better with rising Chinese stars Liu "mlxg" Shi-yu and Li "xiaohu" Yuan-Hao.

Team WE had its best-ever showing in the LPL this Spring, finishing in second place in the regular season and third in the playoffs. The Korean bottom lane duo of Jin "Mystic" Seong-jun and Yoon "Zero" Kyungsup and strong performances from jungler Xiang "Condi" Renjie helped lead WE to a strong season, but RNG is as tough an opening matchup as possible.

TBD vs. TBD, EU Challenger Qualifier Finals (best-of-five)

Friday, May 27, 8 a.m. Eastern (2 p.m. local time)

Watch: Twitch

This will be two best-of-five series back-to-back, with the winner of each series qualifying for the European Challenger Series summer season.

The two teams that remain undefeated through three days of competition are Low Priority and Portuguese team K1ck Black, the two teams that met in the final of the Open Qualifier. It seems likely they'll be among the four teams playing Friday.

Other teams still in the running for qualification: British team Misfits, led by former H2K mid laner Marcin "Selfie" Wolski, former Giants jungler Kim "Wisdom" Tae-wan and rising UK top lane prospect Barney "Alphari" Morris; former EU LCS mainstay SK Gaming; Italy's Team Forge; and underperforming Fnatic Academy, with former Giants top laner Jorge "Werlyb" Casanavas and former Fnatic starting support Johan "Klaj" Olsson.

paiN Gaming at Worlds. Image via Riot Games.

KaBuM! e-Sports vs. paiN Gaming, CBLOL (best-of-two)

Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. local time)

Watch: Twitch

Two teams often found near the top of the Brazilian standings, KaBuM! and paiN look like two of the favorites once again.

KaBuM! went 4-0 in the first weekend and stands alone in first place, but played two of the league's weaker teams in Operation Kino and Big Gods. Mid laner Guilherme "Vash" Del Buono and AD Carry Pedro "Matsukaze" Gama are first and second in the CBLOL in kills, creep score and gold per minute, respectively, while support Jorge "Verfix" Silveira, top laner Luccas "Zantins" Zanqueta and jungler Daniel "Danagorn" Drummond are first, second and third, respectively, in assists.

paiN's start hasn't been quite so smooth, dropping a game to last-place Big Gods, but it swept Operation Kino to salvage a 3-1 opening record and a tie for second place with CNB e-Sports. The team's core of jungler Thúlio "SirT" Carlos, mid laner Gabriel "Kami" Santos and AD Carry Felipe "brTT" Gonçalves has been together with the team since 2012. If paiN wins, it'll tie KaBuM! for first place in CBLOL.

This week's full schedule:

All times Eastern.

Monday, May 23

OPL Split 2 (Oceania, best-of-three)

4 a.m. Chiefs vs. Sin Gaming

7 a.m. Hellions vs. Abyss

LVP División de Honor (Spain, best-of-two)

11 a.m. PainGaming vs. G2 Vodafone

12:45 p.m. Dimegio Club vs. ASUS ROG Army

2:30 p.m. Baskonia eSports vs. eMonkeyz

4 p.m. Giants Only The Brave vs. KIYF e-Sports Club

Tuesday, May 24

OPL Split 2 (Oceania, best-of-three)

4 a.m. Tainted Minds vs. Avant Garde

7 a.m. Legacy vs. Dire Wolves

EU Challenger Qualifiers (best-of-one)

11 a.m. Fnatic Academy vs. Tricked eSport

12 p.m. SK Gaming vs. Misfits

1 p.m. Melty eSports vs. Low Priority

2 p.m. Mousesports vs. Euronics Gaming

3 p.m. Team Forge vs. K1ck Black

4 p.m. Szef+6 vs. G2 Vodafone

Fnatic Academy support Klaj. Image via Riot Games.

Wednesday, May 25

LCK Summer Split (South Korea, best-of-three)

4 a.m. Afreeca Freecs vs. Longzhu Gaming

7 a.m. CJ Entus vs. ESC Ever

EU Challenger Qualifiers (best-of-one)

11 a.m. Low Priority vs. SK Gaming

12 p.m. Melty eSports  vs. Fnatic Academy

1 p.m. Tricked eSport vs. Misfits

2 p.m. G2 Vodafone vs. Team Forge

3 p.m. Szef+6 vs. Mousesports

4 p.m. Euronics Gaming vs. K1ck Black

LAS Closing Cup (Latin America South, best-of-two)

7 p.m. Isurus Gaming vs. Kaos Latin Gamers

9 p.m. Last Kings vs. Hafnet

Thursday, May 26

LPL Summer Split (China, best-of-three)

5 a.m. Edward Gaming vs. Newbee

8 a.m. Snake vs. Game Talents

LCK Summer Split (South Korea, best-of-three)

7 a.m. ROX Tigers vs. Samsung Galaxy

LAS Closing Cup (Latin America South, best-of-two)

7 p.m. Furious Gaming vs. Rebirth

9 p.m. Hafnet vs. Isurus Gaming

KT Rolster at Worlds. Image via Riot Games.

Friday, May 27

LPL Summer Split (China, best-of-three)

5 a.m. Royal Never Give Up vs. Team WE

8 a.m. OMG vs. I May

LCK Summer Split (South Korea, best-of-three)

7 a.m. MVP vs. KT Rolster

EU Challenger Qualifiers (best-of-one)

8 a.m. 1st seed Group A vs. 2nd seed Group B (best-of-five)

After that: 1st seed Group B vs. 2nd seed Group A (best-of-five)

Saturday, May 28

LCK Summer Split (South Korea, best-of-three)

1 a.m. Jin Air Green Wings vs. Longzhu Gaming

LPL Summer Split (China, best-of-three)

1 a.m. Edward Gaming vs. Snake

4 a.m. Game Talents vs. Saint Club

7 a.m. Newbee vs. Invictus Gaming

CBLOL Winter Season (Brazil, best-of-two)

12 p.m. CNB vs. Operation Kino

2 p.m. INTZ vs. RED Canids

LAS Closing Cup (Latin America South, best-of-two)

7 p.m. Furious Gaming vs. Rebirth

9 p.m. Hafnet vs. Isurus Gaming

Sunday, May 29

LPL Summer Split (China, best-of-three)

1 a.m. LGD Gaming vs. I May

4 a.m. Royal Never Give Up vs. Vici Gaming

7 a.m. Team WE vs. OMG

CBLOL Winter Season (Brazil, best-of-two)

12 p.m. Big Gods vs. Keyd Stars

2 p.m. KaBuM! vs. paIN