Beat PraY, Win Worlds: The Strange Spells of the World Championship

The 7th ‘League of Legends World Championship’ has begun. Worlds, the tournament held annually by Riot, has been around for a long time… and following it, many fun instances have been witnessed by fans from all over the world. From among the many instances, some have even theorized that there exist “curses” and “jinxes”.

We are currently awaiting the CN vs KR semifinals here at Worlds, and I’ve wondered: What kind of Jinxes are there? Here is a couple that I found, relating to the LCK teams.

■ If you want to win, prey on PraY

Currently playing for Longzhu Gaming, PraY is an ADC player that has been a part of the scene for a long time. Along with YellOwStaR, Dyrus, sOAZ, Clearlove7, and Sneaky, PraY is one of the 7 players that has attended the Championship the most. He is also famous for always reaching Worlds, despite switching teams a number of times. (Najin, ROX, and Longzhu)

There is also a fun little “theory” regarding PraY that has always held true thus far: the team to eliminate PraY at Worlds will win the tournament.

▲ PraY's results at Worlds and the winner of the tournaments.

It began in Season 2. After defeating PraY(Najin Sword) in the quarters, ‘TPA’ defeated ‘M5’ and ‘Azubu Frost’, winning the tournament as a whole. The very next year at Worlds, after felling Najin Sword, ‘SKT’ were crowned as the new champions.

Due to leaving Najin in 2014, PraY couldn’t attend the tournament that year. But in 2015, PraY joined ‘KOO Tigers’ to reach his very first Finals at Worlds. Having unfortunately lost to SKT 3-1 that year, PraY’s lamentation continued to 2016, where he lost to SKT in the semifinals. After taking ROX down that year, SKT defeated SSG in the Finals for their 3rd win.

Then came 2017. Having switched teams to Longzhu Gaming, PraY and his teammates displayed outstanding performance during the Summer and set another challenge at Worlds. Being the only team to not have dropped a single game during the Group Stages, many fans expected LZ to defeat SSG. But contrary to the expectations, LZ’s charge was halted by SSG with a score of 0-3, and so ended their Worlds journey.

From the total of 6 Worlds that were played in the past, 4 of them had a champion team that defeated PraY during their climb. Will SSG, the team that took down LZ, continue this trend and win Worlds this year?

■ Preventing them from coming is the only way to beat SKT at Worlds.

Similar in fashion to PraY, SKT also comes with a fun little fact: SKT always wins Worlds when they’re there.

SKT won their very first Worlds in Season 3, and have won in 2015 and 2016. In 2014, however, SKT was denied the chance to compete due to having been defeated in the regional qualifiers.

▲ Faker, eyeing his 4th Worlds trophy

In a way, SKT’s domination at Worlds coexists with the strange coincidence surrounding PraY. Every time SKT won, they had to best PraY to get there. 2014, the one year in which SKT was unable to compete at the tournament, was the exact same year that PraY couldn’t attend.

In 2017, PraY was eliminated from the tournament by SSG, but SKT has also made their way to the tournament. So which of the two strange spells will hold true?

■ The Ryze that cannot be stopped on the international stage

When you are trying to discuss particular win rates for certain champions in League of Legends, a champion with a win rate over 55% is considered OP. If a champion is over 60%, they usually get balanced the next patch. This applies very similarly to pro players. If you see a player with a 60~70% win rate on a certain champion in solo queue, that champion will most likely be the signature pick for the player. This will most likely lead to banning this certain champion in picks/bans.

The win rates fluctuate as metas change and patches are implemented. However, there is a champion that has always been consistently good on every international stage, and that is Faker’s Ryze.

Faker has played Ryze a total of 12 times atop the international stage and has won all of those games. Faker received a lot of attention during the 2015 World Championship, where he played Ryze twice in the regional qualifiers, once during quarters, once during the semis, and one last time during the Finals. Due to his impeccable performance on Ryze, the tournament winner’s skins for that year included Ryze.

The unbreakable Ryze streak continued to 2016. By playing Ryze, SKT won 3 times during the MSI qualifiers, once in the semifinals, and once in the finals. Being one of the most banned champions against Faker, Ryze was not banned in the finals’ 2nd game. This later inevitably gave SKT a win.

The legendary streak continues even to this year. Against Misfits in the quarterfinals, Faker picked Ryze when the score was 2:1 in Misfits favor. Faker hard carried that game. Ryze had a 30% win rate at Worlds before Faker started to play him. The win rate was so bad on Ryze that many people even considered it a trap pick. However, Faker truly showed how scary a flawless Ryze can be.

▲ I Want YOU! Faker Senpai.

In a meta so heavily focused on Ardent Censer and the bot lane, it is hard for mid to really output significant pressure. When Faker shows up on Ryze however, he turns the game in his favor. Facing off against SKT in the semifinals, RNG has to keep a constant eye out for the ‘get a free win’ card that is Faker’s Ryze.

■ Will the past of SKT vs RNG repeat itself?

The 1st match of the semifinals will be featuring SKT and RNG, and these two teams have been seeing each other for quite some time on the international stage.

When SKT claimed their very first title as the World Champions in season 3, they were up against none other than RNG(At the time, Royal Club). SKT had the edge in picks/bans, laning, execution, teamfighting, etc over ‘Royal Club’. Being a better team, SKT 3:0’ed Royal Club and opened the gateway for the Koreans to take over the scene.

▲ After 2013, no country other than Korea has held the Worlds trophy.

The next time the two teams met was at the MSI 2016 semifinals. RNG snatched a convincing game off SKT in MSI Shanghai. However, SKT came back strong. This set brought out Faker’s Ryze, which gave up no kills, towers, or objectives. Leading a perfect game, SKT eliminated RNG once again.

RNG’s nightmare didn’t stop there. RNG fought against SKT in the quarterfinals. Just like MSI, RNG claimed the first win against SKT, but SKT yet again triumphed with 3 straight wins. Eliminating RNG yet again, SKT has been stepping at the ankle of RNG at every important and decisive turn.

Although in the most recent MSI, LPL did defeat LCK, SKT has not yet faced against RNG this year. We have to just wait in anticipation of what the results of this year’s semifinals are going to be.

■ Will SSG establish yet another library here at Worlds?

If someone had to choose a team with the most unexpected results, Samsung Galaxy would be on the top of his or her list. Although Samsung gained a not so favorable review during the group stages in the span of a week, they beat Longzhu 3:0 and changed their image.

Samsung is living up to their reputation/past performances at last year’s Worlds. Just like in the quarterfinals last year when NA’s last hope (C9) was set against Samsung, Samsung has yet another intertwining fate with a region’s ‘last hope’. If SKT beats RNG, WE will be the last hope for China and will have to take on the hope-crushing Samsung.

▲ The SSG Dejavu of 2016-2017

In certain communities, the stadium in which home-crowds that have been "silenced" due to their regional teams' defeats is referred to as a "library". Can SSG establish another library here at Worlds, the same way they did back in Chicago last year? We'll have to wait and see during the weekend.

▲ "I'll say this once... quiet down in the library."

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