Hello everybody, by the time you’re reading this, Riot’s annual World Championship for League of Legends would have been over. Currently I am updating this post as the World Championships progresses through its stages. First, lets start off with a short introduction about this year’s World Championships.
The last two years, the World Championships have been held in Los Angeles. This year Riot has decided to hold the event throughout Asia. There will be a total of 16 different teams across the world who are eligible to qualify this year. The results of the qualification will be explained later on in this post.
The 16 teams will be split up in 4 groups through a group draw that was aired recently.There were three pools. The first pool were the first seeded teams from NA, EU, Korea, and China. The second pool contained the first seed of SEA(South East Asia), the second seeds of NA, SEA, EU, China, and Korea as well as the third seeds of Korea and China for a total of eight teams. The last pool would consist of the third seeds of EU and NA, as well as two wildcard spots. The teams in each group will play a double round-robin, which means they will play each team twice in a rotation. The first team that a team will play will also be their last. The top two teams will move onto the next round. Groups A and B would be played before Groups C and D from September 18th to the 21st, and will be held at the National Taiwan University Center in Taipei, Taiwan. Groups C and D would be played at the Singapore EXPO in Singapore from the 25th to the 28th of September.
The playoff round has changed from last year as well. All rounds will become a best of 5(BO5). The first seeded teams of each group would face the second seeded teams from another group. The quarterfinals will be played from the 3rd of October to the 6th of October and will be held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in Busan, South Korea. The four teams that win will move onto the Semifinals(the 11th and 12th of October), and will be held at the Olympics Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea. Finally the last two teams will meet at October 17th for the championship match, where it will be held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
The prize pool will still feature a 1 million dollar first place prize, with a total prize pool of 2,130,000 USD.
Europe(August 7th-August 17th): Three Teams
The format of the EU regionals changed little from last year. The top six teams in the regular EU LCS 2014 summer season would move onto the summer playoffs. The 3rd seed would play the 6th seed and the 4th would play the 5th while the 1st and 2nd seed would enjoy a first round bye. The winner of the 3rd/6th match would play the 2nd while the 4th/5th seeded team will play the 1st seeded team. The loser of both those match-ups will play each other to determine who will be 5th place and avoid relegations. Since the top 3 teams go to Worlds, there will also be a third place match to determine the last team who will go to worlds. The finals match will determine the seeding.
Going into this tournament, the seeding was as follows: 1st: Alliance, 2nd: Fnatic, 3rd: Supa Hot Crew, 4th: SK gaming, 5th: Millenium, and 6th: Team ROCCAT. The first two matches were actually played at Riot’s studio for the LCS, while the rest of the matches will be played at the annual Gamescom convention. The first match was Supa Hot Crew against Team ROCCAT, in a surprising upset, the 6th seeded ROCCAT managed to beat the 3rd seeded SHC and move on. The second match was between SK gaming and Millenium. SK gaming walked over Millenium 3-0 to move onto the next stage.
Now for the Gamescom matches which were held a week later. The first match was between the SHC and Millenium. The Supa Hot Crew easily beat Millenium 3-0, to become the 5th place team, knocking Millenium down to relegations while avoiding it themselves. Next were the semifinal matches. In a tough BO5 Fnatic managed to beat Team ROCCAT 3-2 to move onto the finals and become the first EU team to qualify for Worlds. Alliance beat SK gaming after a tough 3-1 series to qualify and face Fnatic in the finals. SK gaming and Team ROCCAT faced in the 3rd place to determine who will be the last one to go to worlds. SK gaming swept ROCCAT 3-0 and qualify. In the battle for the first seed, much was at stake. Ever since the beginning of the EU LCS, Fnatic have one every single split. Every single time they were the ones to knock out Froggen’s team. This time it would be different. Alliance would beat Fnatic 3-1 to finally knock out the “Champions of Europe” and qualify for the first seed.
3rd SK gaming
Southeast Asia(August 19th-24th): Two Teams
The format of the SEA qualifications are similar to that of Korea. There are three seasons of GPL, GPL Winter, Spring, and Summer. Placing well in each of those seasons will yield you a certain amount of circuit points. Placing high in more recent tournaments such as GPL Summer will give you higher amount of circuit points than older seasons such as GPL Winter. The team that places first place in GPL Summer will automatically qualify for the Season 4 World Championships while the four remaining teams that have the highest amount of circuit points will be put into the Garena Regional Finals. The 4th and 3rd seeds of that tournament will play each other, the winner of that playing the 2nd place, and finally the winner of that will play the 1st seeded team to determine who will be the second team to qualify.
Before the matches, Taipei Assassins, who had won all three of the seasons automatically qualified since they were the winner of GPL Summer. The first match was between the 4th seeded Saigon Fantastic Five and the 3rd seeded Saigon Jokers. SF5 would manage to take the series 3-1 and face off against the Taipei Snipers. After a tight series, SF5 beat the Taipei Snipers 3-2. The final matchup would feature the first seeded AHQ against the underdog SF5. AHQ squashed SF5 dreams of running the entire gauntlet, beating them 3-0 to become the second team to qualify for Worlds.
1st: Taipei Assassins
2nd: AHQ e-Sports Club
North America(August 23rd-September 1st): Three Teams
For information about how the teams qualified for the summer playoffs, check the first paragraph under Europe. Like Europe, the quarterfinals would be played in Riot’s LCS studio in Los Angeles, while the rest would be played in a venue at PAX Prime 2014.
The seeding for the tournament was as follows: 1st seed: Cloud 9, 2nd seed: LMQ, 3rd seed: TSM, 4th seed: Curse Gaming, 5th seed: Counter Logic Gaming, and 6th seed: Team Dignitas. The first match was between the 3rd seeded Team Solo Mid and the 6th seed Team Dignitas. Dignitas’s Zionspartan pulled off an amazing backdoor with a fed Nasus to take game 1. In game 2, the match was close as well. The teams fought back and forth. Finally TSM’s WildTurtle tried to backdoor Dignitas’s exposed nexus with a full build Lucian. He got the nexus down to less than a quarter health before falling. Other members of TSM also tried to backdoor and finish it off but were unsuccessful. In the end TSM’s Amazing sneaked into the Dig base and managed to take the nexus. TSM would win the next 2 games and move onto face LMQ.
The next quarterfinals matchup was against 4th seeded Curse and 5th seeded CLG. CLG had skipped the final week of the summer season to move to Korea and practice because their top laner Seraph needed to renew his visa and could not return in time. There were tons of talk about how CLG would do as rumors had it that they practiced against a lot of top Korean teams. In a shocking anticlimax, Curse gaming won the series 3-0, stunning CLG and knocking them out of Worlds qualification contention.
The next few matches will be played in PAX Prime 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The first matchup was the 5th matchup between Dignitas and CLG. After winning the first game and gaining a sizable lead in game 2, CLG looked to wipe away their disaster against Curse. But with a few clutch plays from Dignitas and bad teamfights from CLG, Dignitas managed to take games 2 and 3 even though they were behind. In the 4th game, the demoralized CLG were beaten by Dignitas, being knocked down to relegations. The next match was betwen TSM and LMQ. It was a back and forth series, but in TSM managed to take both games 4 and 5 to win 3-2 and qualify for worlds. C9 beat Curse 3-0 to qualify and set up a rematch against TSM in the finals.
Coming into the 3rd place match, LMQ’s Vasilli declared that if they did not qualify for worlds, then they would be forced to disband the team and return to China. Being down 2-0, it seemed that LMQ were still coming off the hard loss they had against TSM. But in a surprising turnaround, they won the next 3 games to beat Curse 3-2 and become the last team to qualify for Worlds. The final match would be between TSM and C9. C9 beat TSM in the finals of the Spring Split and the Summer split of 2013 and were currently undefeated in the playoffs since they joined the LCS. This series was much closer. Once again, TSM won the 4th and 5th game to finally beat C9 and secure 1st seed.
The International Wild Card(August 13th-August 14th, August 29th): Two Teams
The International Wild Card featured two parts. The first part would happen alongside Gamescom 2014 and the EU regionals. It would feature three teams qualifying from Turkey, Oceania, and the CIS(Commonwealth of Independent States). The three teams would play in a double robin, Best of one. The top two teams would play each other in a best of 5 to see who gets to go to worlds. The team from Turkey was Dark Passage, the team from the CIS was Russian Force, and the team from Oceania was Legacy eSports. Both Legacy eSports and Dark Passage went 3-1 and made it past the groups, while Russian Force went 0-4. In the best of 5 series, Dark Passage ran threw Legacy eSports 3-0 to secure their spot into the World Championships.
The second part would happen alongside PAX Prime 2014 and the NA regionals. The format would be one best of five featuring Brazil’s KaBuM! e-Sports and Latin America’s PEX. KaBuM 3-0’ed PEX to secure their spot into the World Championships.
Korea(August 27th-August 30th):Three Teams
The format for qualifications were almost the same as GPL’s. However, the amount of circuit points each season gave remained the same throughout all three. If you failed to make it to an OGN semifinal, you were automatically put into a lower league called NLB. Placing high in the NLB league will also give you circuit points, but not even placing first place will give you more points than placing 4th in OGN. Samsung Blue automatically qualified as the first seed with 675 points. SK Telecom and Samsung White were tied for second place with 525 points and would play a tiebreaker. The KT Arrows were 4th with 440 points, Najin White Shield had 375 points, and the KT Bullets were last with 200 points.
Before the actual regionals took place, a tiebreaker between SKT Telecom and Samsung White was played. Samsung White dismantled the S3 World Champions 3-0 and qualified for worlds as the second seed. The next match featured Najin White Shield and the KT Bullets. White Shield won 3-0 to face the most recent OGN champions the KT Arrows. Surprisingly Najin beat the champions 3-0 to advance to the last round, where they faced SK Telecom. SK Telecom managed to take a game off of them with Impact’s Rumble play, but in the end they too were defeated 3-1 by White Shield. This would be Najin’s third consecutive trip to Worlds as well as Watch’s third trip. SK Telecom continued the curse where the World Champions would not qualify for the next Worlds.
1st: Samsung Blue
2nd Samsung White
3rd: Najin White Shield
China(September 6th-September 7th): Three Teams
The format for the LPL scene is a complicated one. The first stage would require a Champions vs. Champions match. The 1st place team of Spring would face the 1st team of Summer to determine the #1 seed going to Worlds. However, EDG won both seasons and they automatically qualified for Worlds. The second stage would feature four teams: Loser of the Champions vs. Champions match(if there was one), 2nd place of LPL Spring Playoffs, 2nd place of LPL Summer Playoffs, and the 3rd place of LPL Summer. If the Champions vs Champions match did not happen, then the 4th place of the LPL Summer Playoffs would be the last team to be in the Chinese Regionals. The standings were as follows. The LPL Spring runner-up was Invictus Gaming(iG). The Summer runner-up was OMG, the third place was Star Horn Royal Club, and the fourth place team was LGD Gaming.
The Champions vs. Champions match was skipped since both champions were EDG. The format of the regionals was a double elimination bracket in which each series was a Best of 3. The first match was between OMG and iG, which OMG won 2-0. SH Royal won against LGD 2-0 to face off against OMG. The final match of the first day was between LGD and iG. LGD won 2-1 to keep their hopes of going to worlds alive. The following day we continued with SH Royal and OMG in the upper bracket. SH Royal had previously lost to OMG in the Summer Playoffs. This time they won against OMG 2-0 to qualify for Worlds and have a match against EDG to decide who will be the first seed. The next match was between OMG and LGD. OMG won in three games to become the last team to qualify for Worlds. EDG beat SH Royal 2-1 to secure their first seed into the tournament.
1st: Edward Gaming(EDG)
2nd: Star Horn Royal Club(SHRC)
Now that we have talked about the 16 teams that will be competing in the World Championships, we can talk about the actual tournament. Before the tournament, Riot announced a music video titled “Warriors”. It was later revealed that Imagine Dragons wrote the song, and will be performing at the World Finals. Riot also released a three part documentary that told us the story from the first world championships all the way to the fourth worlds being held this year. It included interviews and stories of some of the players that would be attending this year’s event. Before the start of every week, Riot would host a “Worlds Preview Show” in which a cast or professional players as well as casters would join and discuss the match-ups that would be playing that week.
Taiwan(September 18th-September 21st): Groups A and B
We start off going to Taiwan where Groups A and B would be played. Before the event, it was announced that SK’s Svenskeren would be banned for 3 games due to racial remarks during solo q. The matches would rotate between Groups A and B.
The first match we had EDG vs. Samsung White. There was a lot of excitement in this match, as we saw the best Chinese team against one of Korea’s top teams. Samsung White managed to win but it was a close match as White’s hyper-aggression would extend the length of the game. The next match was between TSM and SK gaming in Group B. It seemed that Sven’s suspension hurt SK gaming, as they would lose against TSM. SK would go on losing their next two games as well.
Standings After the First Rotation
Group A Group B
1. Samsung White 3-0 1. SHRC 3-0
2. EDG 2-1 2. TSM 2-1
3. AHQ 1-2 3. TPA 1-2
4. DP 0-3 4. SK 0-3
The next rotation saw a few surprises. After TSM suffered a big loss in their first match-up against SHRC, they managed to beat the Chinese team in the second meeting with the help from WildTurtle’s Tristana. The home team AHQ upset EDG to force a potential tie breaker. AHQ’s GreenTea managed to get a couple of key hooks on EDG’s Namei to comeback after a sizable deficit and win the game. EDG would not be able to win against SSW and since both AHQ and EDG were 3-3, they would play a tiebreaker. TSM was looking for a tiebreaker of their own against SHRC. If they could beat SK gaming and win the tiebreaker, then they would be able to avoid Samsung White in the quarterfinals. However SK gaming would play spoiler by beating TSM and a tightly contested game, knocking TSM down to 4-2 and removing any chances of a tiebreaker. EDG would win the tiebreaker against AHQ, securing their spot into the quarterfinals as the #2 from Group A.
Group A Group B
1. Samsung White 6-0 1. SHRC 5-1
2. EDG 3-3 2. TSM 4-2
3. AHQ 3-3 3. SK 2-4
4. DP 0-6 4. TPA 1-5
Singapore(September 25th-September 28th): Groups C and D
Next up we head to Singapore to finish off the Group Stages. The groups that were played in Group C and Group D. These groups would prove to be more exciting than the matches in Taiwan.
NA’s LMQ started off blazing with a 2-0 run on day 1, beating OMG and Fnatic. NA’s Cloud 9 would win against EU’s Alliance as well. On Day 2, a shocker emerged: Fnatic would manage to beat the heavily favored Korean Team Samsung Blue. However, they would end up losing to China’s OMG. However the Korean team in group D Najin White Shield would stay strong, going 3-0 to end the first rotation.
Standings after First Rotation
Group C Group D
1. Samsung Blue 2-1 1. Najin White Shield 3-0
1. LMQ 2-1 2. Cloud 9 2-1
3. Fnatic 1-2 3. Alliance 1-2
3. OMG 1-2 4. Kabum! 0-3
The next rotation would see even more surprises. We started off with a 70 minute bloodbath between Fnatic and OMG. After minutes of back and forth between the two teams, both having lost most of their towers, Fnatic would desperately try a backdoor attempt when Fnatic’s sOAZ teleported to try and take the nexus. Rekkles’s inability to stop most of the OMG members from recalling may have proven critical as Fnatic was one hit away from winning the game. A couple minutes later OMG would win a crucial teamfight to close out the game. A reddit thread was later posted after the match, questioning that OMG’s Loveling should not have received the Homeguard status when he was damaged by Rekkles. Further review showed that it was not a bug and no remake would be issued. After starting 0-2 in the group stages, OMG would win their next 3 out of 4 games to clinch their playoff spot. Fnatic’s close loss to OMG would mean that they would need another win against Samsung Blue to force a tiebreaker with OMG, which they would could not pull through. On the contrary, LMQ started off 2-0 but would lose their next 4 games to fail their qualifications to the playoffs.
Alliance would strike back against Cloud 9, taking their second meeting to increase the chance of a tiebreaker to determine who would get out of the groups. After beating Kabum, Najin White Shield would suffer their first loss of the tournament at the hands of Alliance. The match was shocking, White Shield never got a single kill, tower, baron, or dragon the entire game. Alliance seemed to have punched their ticket to the playoffs, the worst scenario would be a tiebreaker with Cloud 9, but more surprises would follow. After losing to Cloud 9, the wildcard team Kabum would actually beat Alliance. Fans everywhere displayed their shock and sometimes even disappointment towards Alliance for possibly saying goodbye to their playoff berth. The fate of Alliance would all depend on the last match between Cloud 9 and Najin White Shield. Cloud 9 would win to crush Alliance’s chances for a knockout round berth and force a tiebreaker with White Shield to determine the 1st seed in the group. Despite Cloud 9’s smart play when behind, White Shield would win and make it through as the first seed.
Group C Group D
1. Samsung Blue 5-1 1. Najin White Shield 4-2
2. OMG 3-3 2. Cloud 9 4-2
3. Fnatic 2-4 3. Alliance 3-3
3. LMQ 2-4 4. Kabum 1-5
Busan, South Korea(October 3rd-6th): The Quarterfinals
The quarterfinal matches would be held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in South Korea. The picture above shows the bracket.
The first quarterfinal match was between SSW and TSM. Everyone expected that TSM would be stomped by the strongest looking Korean teams in the tournament so far. In the first and second game, SSW stomped the first two games in under 30 minutes. It looked like everyone’s predictions would be true until TSM won in game 3 in under 30 minutes as well. Many people thought that it was because of SSW’s bad habit of underestimating their opponents whenever they were ahead in a series. SSW’s Pawn made a questionable move in which they picked Kassadin without knowing what the enemy midlaner would pick. Kassadin has a chance becoming very strong in the late game but he can get shut down quite easily in the early game. It looked like the tides would turn in TSM’s favor until SSW won the 4th and final game as convincingly as they did in the first and second games.
The second quarterfinal match was between SSW’s sister team Samsung Blue and the other North American team Cloud 9. Many people expected a 3-1 in favor of Samsung Blue due to how impressive Cloud 9 was in the group stages. Surprisingly Cloud 9 would actually take the first game off of the Koreans. Samsung Blue would strike back and take the next two games to put them one game away from a meeting with their sister team SSW. In the fourth game, Samsung Blue would take the lead like the last two games. However Cloud 9 would play well when they were behind and after picking of two Samsung Blue members, they would make a try and end the game. They managed to take the inhibitor and even the two nexus towers before they were aced with the nexus less than half health. Samsung Blue would go on to win the game and the series. At the end of the game Samsung Blue’s Spirit could be found clutching his heart with his hand.
The third quarterfinal match was between Star Horn Royal Club and Edward Gaming. Many people said that this would go to 5 games due to how shaky EDG were looking in the group stages and how strong Royal were in the groups. Pros and analysts thought that EDG would be able to pull through and improve their play before quarterfinals. Royal would take the first two games with relative ease to take a 2-0 lead. Edward Gaming would stomp game 3 to keep their tournament alive. EDG would pick Lucian for Namei again in the 4th game, where they would win as well. It looked like the inSec curse would appear again. The inSec curse was created because inSec was a player played in a series where his team would be up 2-0 and end up losing 3-2. This famously happened during the OGN Summer finals 2013 versus SKT as well as the LPL Summer Playoffs 2014 against OMG. After game 4, Royal’s Uzi stayed in his seat even after the rest of his team left. He would later say that he was just thinking about the game by himself and how he could have done better. In the crucial fifth game, Lucian was banned to keep it away from Namei. The game was close, while Uzi was slowly becoming a monster on Tristana with a few early kills. EDG’s Koro1 would facecheck as Rumble, leading to a Royal baron. Royal was able to increase the gold lead and eventually win the game and break the “inSec curse”.
The fourth and final quarterfinal match was between OMG and Najin White Shield. Prior to the match, OMG substituted dada7 with Cloud in their support position. It was rumored that Cloud was replaced because of his behavior in solo que and the only reason dada7 stayed for so long on the team even though he performed poorly was because he had a wealthy father. Both OMG and Najin White Shield looked shaky in the group stages. Regardless, most people went with the Korean team Najin White Shield. This would prove to be very different towards the actual outcome of the match. OMG would actually go on to win the series 3-0. Cloud performed much better than dada7, taking Janna away from NJWS’s Gorilla.
Seoul, South Korea(October 11th-October 12th): The Semifinals
The semifinals were held at the Olympics Gymnastics Arena in Seoul. The four teams that have made it to the semifinals are Samsung Blue and White, and OMG/Royal Club. Samsung White would face Samsung Blue in the upper bracket while the two Chinese teams would face each other in the lower bracket.
The first match was between the two Korean Samsung teams. The two teams met in the semifinals in OGN Spring 2014 as well as the summer season. In both cases Samsung White was the favored team and Blue managed to pull of an upset and win the series 3-1. In this series, Samsung White was also favored over their sister team. However this would not be the case as Samsung Blue would be swept by Samsung White 3-0. White’s Dandy had been saving his jungle Rengar until the semifinals. He would play Rengar the first two games before it was first picked away by Spirit in the third game.
The second match was between the two Chinese teams: Star Horn Royal Club and OMG. Analysts would give SHRC the edge in this series only because of their performance in the two previous rounds. The series was very back and forth, with no team seeming to gain the lead momentum wise. OMG would take the first game while Royal would respond by taking game 2. In game 3, OMG had accrued a sizable lead. A teamfight gone wrong at Royal’s bottom inhibitor would actually turn the game around. Royal would manage to win with a 7000 gold deficit. It didn’t seem like OMG’s morale was broken as they would quickly take the fourth game to force a deciding game 5. Royal would win, and Uzi would become first League of Legends player to make to the World finals back to back.
Seoul, South Korea(October 19th): The Finals
The final match would be held in the Seoul World Cup Stadium. China’s Star Horn Royal Club would face Korea’s Samsung White to decide who will become the Season 4 World Champion. Riot would start off with an opening ceremony including Imagine Dragons singing “Warriors”. Fnatic’s xPeke, TPA’s Toys, and SKT’s Faker were all brought out on the stage next to the Summoner’s Cup as they were the previous season’s champions who played in the Middle Lane. The two teams were introduced and the finals began.
The first two games seemed normal to SSW. With their Rengar brought out, they would end up taking both games with ease in under 30 minutes. Imp’s Twitch was also an important pick, setting picks with his invisibility. Pawn’s Jayce was terrifying in game 1, with clutch Acceleration Gate/Shock Blast combos from long range to pick off the low health Royal members. Royal would end up picking Jayce in Game 2 to try and stop Pawn. Game 2 would end with Royal resistance at the beginning of the game, but like a flip of a switch SSW turned it on during the midgame and snowballed to another sub 30 minute win. Game 3 would start off with a surprise as inSec would lock in Rammus for the jungle. Rammus would prove key as it managed to stop the immobile Twitch from doing anything useful in most teamfights. SSW tried to snowball midgame with Pawn’s Fizz but it was not as enough as Uzi would get a triple kill. Uzi’s Tristana late game power would eventually take down game 3 and eliminate any chance for a 3-0 in the finals like last year. In the last game, SSW would once again get the Rengar and even get the Kassadin to counter the Tristana late game. A one-sided teamfight from SSW near dragon at 15 minutes would end up snowballing the game for White and they would take Game 4 and win the World Championships in 23 minutes.
Imagine Dragons would once again return to the stage and perform a mini-concert for 16 minutes. They performed some of their most known signs such as “Radioactive” and “Demons”. Samsung White all gather near the Summoners Cup and lift it up, they have won 1 million dollars and are your Season 4 World Champions!
Finally let us take a look back at the completed bracket and the cash earnings for every team.
Photograph and Images credited to: