By Brett Guest, The Saint Reporter
Image Courtesy of League of Legends
The story of the 2016 League of Legends World Championships will be remembered for the close games, upsets, and lucky draws; but the story is not over. Saturday October 29, 2016 is the League of Legends World Championship Finals, and everyone is invited to the Wege Ballroom for a Riot Sponsored Viewing Party organized by the Aquinas College League of Saints.
League of Legends is currently the fastest growing eSport in the world, with established professional leagues around the world. Seven of these leagues are represented at the League of Legends World Championships every fall. Teams make it by winning their Leagues’ Summer Split (the second half of their season), accruing the most Championship Points over the entire season (points based on team’s final position in their League’s standings), or winning their regional gauntlet (tournament made up of the top four teams in the League not already attending Worlds). If a team succeeds in one of these ways, they make it to the World Championship Tournament.
The World Championship Tournament is split into two parts; the group stage and the knockout stage. The group stage breaks the entrants into four groups of equal size, each team playing each team in their group twice. The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout stage, which is made up of best-of-5 series. The finals is a best-of-7 series to determine the World Champion. The tournament is being held in North America, with the finals taking place at the Staples’ Center in Los Angeles, California.
Sixteen teams entered the tournament, eight were eliminated after the group stages, four more in the Quarterfinals, two more in the Semifinals, and now we stand with the two best teams in the world; SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy. Both teams hail from the same league, the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). Both teams exited their groups with 5 wins and 1 lose and defeated two opponents in the knockout stage to make it to the finals, but their road to the finals has not been the same.
SK Telecom T1 are the defending World Champions. Four players returned to seek the Summoner’s Cup. The organization itself won the World Championships back in 2013. Two current players and their head coach began their careers on that roster and are poised to become three-time world champions. SK Telecom was the first organization to win two World Championships, and this year they have the chance to become the first organization to win back-to-back World Championships. They qualified as the second seed from the LCK because of their accumulation of championship points.
This is the second World Championships that the Samsung organization has a chance to win. Samsung owned the team that won the World Championships in 2014, and a win this year will tie them with SK Telecom in number of World Championship wins. Unlike SK Telecom none of their World Champions stuck around after winning the Summoner’s Cup. The current Samsung Galaxy roster is made up of rookies and players who never quite fit in on top tier teams. Samsung Galaxy won their region’s gauntlet, becoming the third seed from the LCK.
Over the entire tournament Samsung Galaxy has only dropped one game, whereas SK Telecom has dropped four, but SK Telecom never went down easy. The Finals have shaped up to be a brutal battle between two Korean powerhouses. Tune in to see how it ends.