The groups of life and death at the 2016 LoL World Championships

SK Telecom T1 waits with the audience before taking the stage for the opening ceremony at the Mid-Season Invitational. Provided by Riot Games

Domestic play for the year has come to an end, and you know what that means: The World Championships are upon us.

Teams from across the world will embark on a journey to the United States in three weeks to face off with North America's trio of Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9 to crown this year's world champion. SK Telecom T1 from South Korea returns as the defending champion, but the runners-up from 2015's final, the ROX Tigers, appear to be the stronger team coming into the tournament as the region's summer champion.

The group draw will take place at 2 p.m. ET Saturday in the North American League Championship Series studio. And while you could go over every single possibility the ping pong balls can shoot out, in terms of forming the four groups in the opening round, we have you covered by theorizing about the toughest, easiest and most intriguing groups possible come Saturday afternoon.

The road to Worlds has finally started, and this weekend is the first stop toward the climax on Oct. 30 in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, when the surviving pair of teams will clash in the Summoner's Cup Finals.

Group of Death

Edward Gaming (Pool 1, China)
SK Telecom T1 (Pool 2, Korea)
G2 Esports (Pool 2, Europe)
Cloud9 (Pool 3, North America)

This is far and away the scariest group of death possible, come Saturday's group draw. Edward Gaming didn't lose a single best-of series in the entirety of the Chinese summer season, and it took down rival Royal Never Give Up in the domestic final 3-0.

SK Telecom T1 didn't four-peat in South Korea (falling to arch-nemesis KT Rolster in the semifinal), but is the defending champion and won the Summoner's Cup both times it has qualified for Worlds. The jungle position will be a gigantic question for League's first and still ongoing worldwide dynasty, but not even EDG would be happy with seeing its international adversary so soon in the tournament.

For G2 Esports, Europe's back-to-back champion, its position as a Pool 2 team is a self-inflicted wound. After taking the Mid-Season Invitational not nearly as serious as its fans and the European region would have liked, G2 failed to make the top four of the tournament and lost Europe's Pool 1 seed in the process.

While G2 would much rather be in Pool 1, the team has vastly improved its roster from the spring; the bottom lane of Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez can compete as one of the best one-two punches in the entire tournament, and two-time European MVP Kim "Trick" Gang-yun wants to establish himself as not only the best jungler in the EU LCS, but one of the best junglers in the world.

Cloud9 could be the best Pool 3 seed in the history of the World Championships. Although it failed to make the semifinals in the spring season, a revamped roster with a new head coach in legendary top laner Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu rocketed the club into the summer final versus Team SoloMid. While C9 failed to beat the North American champions in a competitive four-game series, it did make a statement by steamrolling through Team Envy (3-0) and Immortals (3-1) to make it back to Worlds for a fourth straight year. The re-emergence of former world champion Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong could be the key in getting C9 to the quarterfinals for the third time in club history.

Well, maybe not in this group.

Group of Life

Flash Wolves (Pool 1, Taiwan)
Counter Logic Gaming (Pool 2, North America)
H2K Gaming (Pool 2, Europe)
INTZ Esports e-Sports (Pool 3, Brazil)

From the scariest group possible to the "Group of Life," where every team would breathe a sigh of relief at the circumstances.

Flash Wolves would love to get another shot at a seemingly weaker CLG squad that bested them in the semifinals at MSI. CLG, who only finished fourth in NA LCS' summer season, would be happy to see the Wolves again while avoiding either EDG and ROX from Pool 1. H2K, thrown into a group with tournament favorites EDG and SKT last year, would be happy to at least have a solid chance of getting out of groups before it plays a single game. While INTZ wouldn't be favored to make it out of the group, it would still have a solid chance of being able to topple any of the other three teams.

If this group does happen, it would be eerily similar to last year's perceived easiest group in the opening round, where CLG, Flash Wolves and Pain Gaming all resided. The only difference -- and it's a major one -- would be H2K Gaming standing in for the ROX Tigers, who unexpectedly got second to Flash Wolves in 2015's "Group of Life" but still went on to ultimately to make the Summoner's Cup Finals.

Group of Faker

Edward Gaming (Pool 1, China)
SK Telecom T1 (Pool 2, Korea)
H2k Gaming (Pool 2, Europe)
Cloud9 (Pool 3, North America)

Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is the greatest player in the game's six year history, and this group would be chock-full of trips down memory lane for the two-time world champion.

First off, his former understudy on SKT T1, Lee "Scout" Ye-chan, is now the starting mid laner for Edward Gaming, the last organization to best Faker in an international final. Scout, considered an amateur prodigy, left SKT in the middle of the year to join EDG in China. Due to Heo "PawN" Won-seok's constant health issues, Scout has filled in as starter for a majority of the season and has improved leaps and bounds under the tutelage of the EDG staff. A meeting between the two would truly be a master versus apprentice matchup between the best mid laner of all time and one of the most promising.

If you've followed League at all over the past three to four years, we don't need to talk much about the history between Faker and H2K's mid laner Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook. In case you need a short reminder: Faker used Ryu as a metaphorical stepping stone in 2013 to win his first domestic championship in an iconic outplay, and ever since, Ryu has been haunted by it. The two faced off last year in the group stages, and the result, as it was in 2013, was the same: Faker and SKT T1 taking down Ryu's H2K 2-0.

In the case of Cloud9, it would be another meeting between Faker and former teammate. This time, the relationship is even deeper, with Faker having to go up against teammate from 2013, Impact, who's now on C9. Impact has had a reawakening as a player since joining C9, especially since the summer domestic playoffs kicked off. He is on a warpath to get back to the Summoner's Cup, solo killing his in-lane opponent nearly every single time in the past couple of weeks. A reunion between Faker and Impact simply wouldn't be a friendly meeting between former comrades: it'd be a showdown between, currently, two of the most dominant players on the planet.