When most people think of autumn, they look forward to colder weather and pumpkin-flavored everything. But to players of the game League of Legends, like the League of Legends club at Shepherd University, autumn means the League of Legends World Championship.
League of Legends is a Massive Online Battle Arena game or MOBA. Players play as one of 116 champions and fight in five-on-five teams. The goal of the game is to advance down three lanes destroying turrets that defend the lanes. After the turrets are destroyed, players fight into the opponents’ base and destroy their central building called the nexus.
The tournament began in September with teams from North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Turkey battling for the right to compete at the world championship in Seoul, South Korea. First they had to make it through the group stage. This is where teams fight for placement in four groups. The top two members of each group move on to the semi and quarter finals.
Three teams from North America made their way to the world championship. The top team is Team SoloMid or TSM. Alongside them is their main rival in the North American League Championship Series: Cloud 9. Both teams played well during the summer and the spring, bringing what they learned to the World Championship.
The last North American team is a Chinese transplant called LMQ. Until this year, they have been playing in the Chinese league but moved to North America.
While North America possesses a very strong standing in the World Championship, the teams that everyone suspects to take the championship are from Korea. Mainly Samsung White and Samsung Blue. These teams have taken the no. 1 spot in their groups and played against TSM and Cloud 9 in the quarter finals.
All matches have been live streamed using the website Twitch.tv, but all the matches are played early in the morning here in the United States so usually they are watched on YouTube. Here at Shepherd, members of the League of Legends Club gathered in the club president’s room to watch the match.
While many of the club members are fans of the North American teams, the world championship is the biggest event to fans of League of Legends. 40,000 people attended the event in the 2002 Korean Soccer championship stadium in Seoul, South Korea. Millions more tuned in to watch the match live streamed over the internet.
The final match between Samsung White of Korea and Star Horn Royal Club of China was played on Oct. 19. It was a best of five match, the winner taking home the championship cup and $1 million. The teams went back and forth with each taking two games. All the stops had been pulled out, and in the final game both teams took their best champions onto the field.
Samsung White has a reputation for beating their opponents very quickly, usually under 30 minutes. The final game was no exception.
Samsung came out strong, quickly racking up kills. Around the 15 minute mark, Star Horn tried to make a comeback but Samsung held strong. They came back even faster and crushed Star Horn, killing every member of the team.
Without anyone to defend their base, Samsung stormed in destroying Star Horn’s Nexus, winning the final game in under 23 minutes.
It was the ending that many fans predicted. Samsung White only lost two games, one to North America’s TSM, in the entire championship. Last year, Samsung White made it to the semi-finals under the name MVP Ozone. It was Star Horn Royal Club’s second appearance at the World championship and second, second place in the championship.
It was a long road that, for professional gamers, started as soon as last year’s world championship finished. For the fans, autumn brought the world championship, and players look forward to next year to return to the rift and see who will take the next world championship.