The 2017 World Championship is at our doorstep. What better way is there to prepare ourselves for the World Championship than by revisiting some facts about the 2016 Championship?
◎ Lucky 7, TSM will claim the championship this year!
The team that has always made it to Worlds every season, TSM.
Since Dreamhack Summer 2011, TSM has been acknowledged as the best North American League of Legends team. Although TSM is recognized as the best team in NA, TSM has never been able to gain entry to the final stage for Worlds.
This is in stark contrast to EU teams like Fnatic, who won the Season 1 World Championship, and other EU teams who have consistently made it to the quarter/semi finals. Regardless of their past performances, TSM performs on par with some of the top teams in the world. Although there are some League of Legends fans speculating that TSM is going to be relegated early as they have been in previous years, TSM fans always have and always will support their team, and nobody knows for certain what the outcome might be for this year's championship.
Let's see if 7 is TSM's lucky number as they strive to claim the World Championship from the beginning of Season 1.
◎ "I got first blooded guys, don't worry!" - Ambition. Fastest 2016 first blood in Worlds.
In order to analyze which team is better, the most clear cut way is to look at the statistics of kill/assists/death scores. On top of all this, first blood is one of the most important aspects for both the game and the analysis itself.
In the last year's World Championships, getting first blood was considered 'early' at 3 minutes, normal at 5 minutes, and so on. The player who turned those stats on their head was Samsung Galaxy's Jungler, Ambition. He was recorded as the player who had the earliest death ever in the 2016 World Championship by face-checking the bush as Nidalee against H2K and dying in the first 49 seconds of the game.
Although Ambition has a history for being the quickest to die, he has performed incredibly well in MIG Blaze as a mid laner. He was so influential to the team that his teammates would gather up cs for him to quickly get his items and carry the game.
■ Semifinals Day 2 Game 2 match between SSG and H2K
When talking about speed in LoL, one notable example would be the EU team, H2K, which claimed one of the earliest first bloods in this summer split. They are also the team that brought about the earliest end to a game at the last World Championship. In the quarterfinals against ANX, H2K ended the match in 23 minutes and 38 seconds, breaking the record for the fastest game to end in the quarter/semi finals. I personally wanted to see H2K’s performance again, but unfortunately they were relegated by Fnatic in the qualifiers.
◎ Dying again and again and again. The secret to winning.
SKT T1 Faker is a pro player that is usually referred to as the prime example of what LoL players should aim for. He seems to exceed everyone's expectations every time he performs. Analysts, when commenting on other skilled players, will always say 'He is good, but can he beat Faker?'. In fact, during the 2013 World Championships, Dustin Beck, one of the co-owners of Riot Games, said about Faker "He has become the Michael Jordan of Esports."
Michael Jordan once said in an ad for Nike, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." and this saying can be applied to Faker's situation during the 2013 World Championships. Faker had the most deaths out of all the players who participated in the series. A player who was believed to be the 'God of League' had once fed more than anyone else. Through the repeated failure, Faker became one of the greatest players in League of Legends history.
From the death per average chart above, Faker has had the most deaths with a score of 51. Despite the fact that Faker has been criticized for his death score and his 'amateur' team at their first performance at Worlds, he has proven to be not only one of the best mid laners in the World but also part of one of the best teams in the World.
■ Quarterfinals Day 2 Game 4 match between RNG and SKT T1
As seen in the game above, Faker has shown that he is the backbone of SKT T1 and has won 3 consecutive World Championship titles. Given all of this, we can surely expect some great plays from Faker and his team in the upcoming World Championship.
◎ Will this year be the year for a Jungler and/or AD carry to get an MVP award?
The MVP title is given to players who have clearly demonstrated the ability to, for lack of a better word, 'carry' their team. Although the 2012 and 2013 World Championships did not award such titles, MVP titles were given to players at the first championship (2011) and from 2014 onwards. The 'meta' back in Season 1 was drastically different from the meta today. Top and mid roles were given MVP titles, such as with Fnatic's Shushei.
These days, we all know from our solo queue games that junglers are the most influential and MVP-worthy role. A jungler can single handedly win a lane and snowball a team to victory. Even so, an MVP title has not yet been given to a jungle for the League of Legends Championship. This may be because high level players/teams understand the gank timing and pathways for a jungler, so they have the game knowledge to play around it. The same applies to the role of ADC. An AD carry by definition is an attack damage role assigned to 'carry' the game for the team. We have seen outstanding performances from all ADC's, but no AD carry has been granted the MVP award.
Will things change in the upcoming championship? Is the 2017 World Championship the one where a jungler/AD carry will finally grab the MVP title?
◎ MF troll or hidden OP? Gorilla turns up with his trump card pick!
There is an uncanny amount of champions in League, 138 to be exact. And yet, champions who are viable for competitive play are only a sliver of the 138 available champions. In the total matches played in the 2016 World Championship (77 matches), 57 champions were picked out of 138* (3-4 less back then since some new champions were released). A player just hovering over champions like 'Yorick' or 'Teemo' gets the crowd hyped, proving that the amount of champions that pros considerable viable is incredibly miniscule.
Out of all the champions listed as 'unplayable' to the pro community, one is Miss Fortune, who was picked not as an AD carry but as a support by Gorilla. Miss Fortune was picked 4 times in the last championship. Thrice by Gorilla and once by Samsung. The revolutionary pick by Gorilla started a new meta in the following months in solo queue, which beheld a wave of Miss Fortune support picks and bans.
Master of unconventional picks, Gorilla also brought out Lux support. Gorilla played a considerable amount of Lux support in solo queue but has never been picked or banned against him in competitive play. We will just have to wait for the slight chance Gorilla might bring out his pocket pick, Lux, in this upcoming World Championship.
◎ MSI's top performing member, SKT T1 Wolf. Will he ever make it to the top 20 listed players in the world?
The veteran of SKT T1, Wolf has been a stable member of the team and has not yet once needed to be subbed out of a series unlike Faker, Huni, or Peanut. Although Wolf is respected and performs at incredible levels, he has not once been announced in the top 20 listed players in the world.
Wolf has shown some disappointment in not being considered one of the top players in the world, even though he is recognized by his fans as one. His performance in MSI showed his ability to not only engage in impossible situations and create an opening for his team but also his flexibility when it comes to peeling.
Wolf's performance in Rift rivals speak otherwise however. Wolf and the other members of SKT had not been keeping up to par with their previous performances and has seemingly lost their 'edge'. Losing 4 consecutive games in a row, which seemed impossible for SKT, showed the entire world that Gods can bleed.
From the rollercoaster of a performance that SKT T1 gave in the past year and this year's summer split, it may be difficult to predict what is to come, but I myself along with many fans cannot wait to see what SKT T1 might show us in this year's championship. Will Wolf finally show the world why he should be listed in the top 20 players in the world? Will SKT T1 prove to the world that they have not lost their edge and are still the world's number 1 team? Sitting at the edge of my seat, I anxiously await the picks and plays that SKT T1 and all the teams in the competition will show for us at this upcoming 2017 World Championship.