BIZ-FLA-ESPORTS-OS

The lights go down as play begins before a large crowd at the League of Legends World Championship at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 29, 2016. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The “League of Legends” season eight world championship finals were hosted in South Korea on Nov. 3, and China’s Invictus Gaming absolutely smashed Europe’s Fnatic.

This world championship was absolutely historic. It featured the fastest final of all time, the first time a Chinese team won the finals, the first time a North American team competed in the semi-finals and the first time in seven years that a western team competed in the finals.

In the fastest world final of all time, IG beat Fnatic in only 85:33 of actual gameplay time — the second fastest was SKT vs Royal Never Give Up in 89:26 back in 2013.

Outside of the historic game time, it was also the first time since the season one finals way back in 2011 that a western team has competed in the finals. In season one, Fnatic won the championship, so this was their second time competing in the finals. 

This year also marks the first time a Chinese team has won the world championship. In season two, a Taiwanese team won and since season three, only Korean teams have won the championship. A long-running reign is finally over and teams outside of Korea are finally starting to shine.

In the best-of-five game series, IG looked beautiful. Their macro play — the team’s overarching plays, such as transitions, map pressure, tower kills and objective pressure — was phenomenal and every decision was calculated and well-done. Fnatic had good micro play and good individual mechanics (barring some questionable top lane plays), but IG out-performed them in every way.

IG dominated Fnatic. Fnatic didn’t necessarily play horribly, but some questionable roams and team compositions led to their downfall. Picking an all attack damage team in game one really hindered them and they went down from there.

Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, the star player of IG, was the shining performer of this entire world championship. In every game, he was a blessing to watch. This isn’t to undermine Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo, IG’s attack damage carry and Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok, IG’s top laner. Those two put on a wonderful show, and JackeyLove’s Kai’Sa in game three was terrifying. 

IG’s other members, jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning and support Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi, set up so many plays to help the team. Baolan’s roaming on Alistar and overall game sense was destructive. Ning’s gangs on Gragas helped set up TheShy in game two to help him dominate and carry the game.

Fnatic’s top laner, Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, didn’t shine too well on Urgot in games one and two. During game three, Fnatic subbed him out for Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, long-time top laner for Fnatic, and his Urgot play was significantly less underwhelming. However, this wasn’t enough for them to stop IG.

Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Fnatic’s attack damage carry, tried his heart out to carry to no avail. In each game, he had the fewest deaths, but Fnatic could not capitalize on this.

Regardless of Fnatic’s performance, the world should be proud of them. They are the first western team to make it that far in the world championship and they truly tried their hardest. IG overall just played better.

This world championship was phenomenal and full of surprises. With how great North America’s Cloud 9 and Europe’s Fnatic played, next year’s world championship is sure to be just as exciting as this year’s. 

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