Fourteen teams qualified for the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships, only one team will make it out as the Season 3 World Champions. Let us start off with a recap leading to the finals.
We start off with Group A containing the teams SK Telecom(Korea), OMG(China), Gaming Gear EU(Wildcard), Team Solo Mid(NA), and the Lemondogs(EU). Remember that each team played another team twice, so the best record a team could have gotten was 8-0. In the end, it was SK Telocom and OMG butting heads with one another, each finishing 7-1. Lemondogs finished third(3-5), Team Solo Mid finished fourth(2-6), and Gaming Gear EU finished last(1-7).
In Group B, the five teams were Europe’s Fnatic and Gambit Gaming, Korea’s Samsung Galaxy Ozone, NA’s Vulcan, and SEA’s Mineski. After a surprising loss to Vulcun in Day 1, Fnatic cleaned house, going on a 7 game win streak defeating both Gambit and the favorites: Ozone. In the end, a tiebreaker game had to played between Gambit and Ozone, leading to a Gambit win. Finishing first and second was Fnatic(7-1) and Gambit(5-3). Ozone finished third(5-3), Vulcun finished fourth(3-5), and Mineski finished last(0-8).
The quarterfinals featured the four bye teams (NA’s Cloud 9, Korea’s Najin Black Sword, Taiwan’s Gamania Bears, and China’s Royal Club. A drawing on stage revealed that Cloud 9 would face Fnatic, Gamania Bears would face SK Telecom, Royal Club would face OMG, and Najin Black Sword would face Gambit Gaming. The first two matches featured Cloud 9/Fnatic and Gambit/Black Sword. The Cloud 9 game would reveal to the public the “NA/EU rivalry” that was created after the NA all stars beat the EU all stars in Shanghai. Fnatic beat Cloud 9 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. The second game featured the first game where the whole world will see the new Najin Black Sword lineup. After a close fought BO3, Najin would advance, beating Gambit 2-1.
The next day would finish off the quarterfinal matches. First up, Korean powerhouse SK Telecom would face the Gamania Bears. SK Telecom made it look easy and 2-0’ed the Bears to qualify for the semifinals. The second match featured two Chinese teams in a Chinese Regional Finals rematch. After two close games, Royal Club managed to beat OMG.
The semifinals were held in the Galen Center, where the previous finals were held. The first semifinal match featured two Korean teams: Najin Sword and SK Telecom. It was a back and forth series, with Najin taking the first and third, and SK Telecom taking the second and fourth. The fifth game was all SK Telecom, and they advanced to the finals. The second game featured Fnatic and Royal Club. Royal Club took an early 2-0 lead, but Fnatic turned the third game around to force a fourth game. After a crazy fourth game, Royal managed to close it out and go to the Staples Center.
On October 4th, millions of viewers worldwide tuned in to their streams to watch the finals in the Staples Center. After an epic opening, the matches began. Despite two good semifinals matchups, the finals looked like a complete mismatch. SK Telecom took the first game, and after a strong Royal showing in game 2, took it as well. In the third game, SK Telecom dominated to win 3-0 and become the Season 3 World Champions. The awards ceremony was a bit rushed, but it was still a good finish to a fantastic tournament.
In an interview with Travis Gifford, SK Telecom mid player “Faker” says that even after the huge victory, they will have to buckle up and practice for the WCG Korean Qualifier. When asked what he will do with the money, Faker replied that ‘he was planning on buying 10,000 chickens, but most likely he’ll buy 100 because 10,000 may be too much’.
All in all, the Season 3 World Championships took the previous Worlds and doubled in size. After the finals, many news channels began talking about the US recognizing pro players as professional athletes and giving then visas. Despite an “ok” finals, this was one of the best tournaments since IPL5. The analyst was great, as well as other pro player appearances. I hope they decrease the time in between matches as it kind of calms everyone down. I can’t wait for the Season 4 Championships and hopefully it can be hosted somewhere else.
Leaguepedia S3WC page: http://lol.gamepedia.com/Season_3_World_Championship
SKT postvictory pictures taken from: http://na.lolesports.com/articles/congratulations-s3-world-champions