Worlds 2016 Breakdown: The Most Dramatic Moments
Those moments that just make you stand up and cheer
The League of Legends World Championships ended last October 30, marking the conclusion of an epic sixth season for the popular e-sport. The Championship itself was a wild ride—after all, no sports journey is complete without great triumphs and great failures. Some moments had us jumping in our seats, reminding us why we love watching competitive gaming in the first place. Just in case you weren’t there when this year’s stories were being made, here are the most dramatic moments from the League of Legends tournament or Worlds 2016.
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Albus NoX Luna Electrifies The Group Stages
No one expected much from the virtually-unknown Russian team. Albus NoX Luna was formed only this year, qualifying for Worlds by the skin of their teeth through a wildcard slot. It turns out “wildcard” is exactly the right word to describe the team as they started to demolish enemies left and right in their group. As if this wasn’t enough of a bright-eyed underdog story to get the crowd on their side, support player Kirill "Likkrit" Malofeev roused up the crowd’s feels as he delivered this rousing speech about true competitive spirit in one upbeat post-match interview.
The Tigers and SKT Meet For An Ultimate Rematch
The Tigers and SKT have a long history as rival teams. The Tigers (first the GE Tigers, then the KOO tigers and now the ROX Tigers) have always been second-best, their rise to the top of the Korean ladder blocked by the best team in the world, SK Telecom T1—most memorably, during their 3-1 loss to SKT in last year’s Worlds. This looked to be the year of the Tiger however, as they dropped their sponsor and re-named their team for themselves—ROX meaning as “solid as a rock,” to signify their friendship and unity as a team. For the first time in their three-year career, the Tigers won the Korea title and defeated another old-time rival KT Rolster in the process.
Their meeting in this year’s World Championships was thus fated…if a match early. Instead of at the finals, the two teams fought against each other in the semifinals in one of the most intense matches in the history of League of Legends. The Tigers fought their hearts out, taking SKT to a fifth game in a best-of-five. Best top-laner in the world Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho and new young team member (and crowd favorite) Han "Peanut" Wang-ho had the crowd’s hearts, who cheered for the underdogs and at one point even chanted Peanut’s name. In the end, however, SKT triumphed…but not after the ROX Tigers proved to the world that the gap between them was closing.
Samsung Galaxy Makes Everyone Stand Up
So we’ve established that SKT is a force to be reckoned with if not the best LoL team. Their star player, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, is regarded as the best LoL player in the world by far, earning him nicknames such as “Unkillable Demon King” and even “God.” After they eliminated the ROX Tigers in the semifinals, everyone was convinced that the finals were a done deal no matter who met them on the other side of the bracket.
It turns out the the other finalist, Samsung Galaxy, had a lot more to offer than what people expected. On the third game, the analysts were already calling it: an SKT sweep. But then, at 30 minutes in, with SKT leading by 7 kills and 10,000 gold (very very roughly the equivalent of a 20 point lead in basketball), Samsung Galaxy caught SKT out of position in the baron pit, and within a matter of minutes they took three kills for nothing and reduced the gold gap by 5,000. Whether it was at the Staples Center in LA or at any of the viewing parties in SM malls here in the Philippines, or even at home, this was the moment when everyone stood up and cheered for Samsung. They had a chance!
They would go on to tie the series 2-2 and bring SKT to their knees in a fifth match, something that no other team had ever done before to SKT in a World Championship Finals. SKT was eventually named the League of Legends champion, but though it was a crushing defeat for Samsung Galaxy, everyone will remember that electrifying moment when they fought back against the unbeatable.