Sunday’s been and gone, and we say goodbye to another season of the League of Legends World Championships. Samsung White came to a heroic victory finishing with a 13-1 win/loss ratio throughout this entire season. In what was a display of pure Korean dominance, the Samsung boys took the series 3-1 in a very convincing fashion. Though this wasn’t a surprise for most of us, with the community vote being 62.07% in favour of SSW before the games kicked off, a lot of people were expecting a 3-0 whitewash. But that isn’t to detract from the brilliant display we saw; in the end the team who have showed immeasurable strength this year proved their worth on the night, and took the crown.
On paper it’s easy to see why SSW were so favoured going into this matchup. Their ADC imp is the first and only player to get more than one Pentakill in a single Championship series. That paired with the fact that Dandy in the Jungle is probably the best in his role right now, along with Mata in Support being awarded the MVP award this year means the team composition is strong from the get-go. On the other hand, SHR aren’t a walk in the park team, with players like Uzi, who is widely regarded as the best ADC (at least before this series) in the world there’s going to a lot of tough competition. SSW also had momentum on their side, dropping only one map in both the quarter and semi finals, whereas SHR 3-2’d both of theirs. The challenge was on, for Star Horn Royal Club.
There’s a lot to cover for these games, especially as things got real heavy, real fast. First Blood in the first game of the series came only 1:20 on the clock for SSW. Four minutes later and SSW’s PawN and Dandy Tower dive the Mid Lane and get a quick kill on corn, with PawN barely escaping with his life. A few short minutes after that and Dandy is at it again, diving onto Cola with Looper under the Tower at Top Lane. Corn teleports his Orianna to try and help in the conflict but it really is too little too late only resulting in another kill for SSW. The snowball that we’ve seen SSW focus on throughout the Championship starts to grow as we see them take a Dragon completely uncontested at the 10:00, followed shortly after by an amazing Shock Blast shot from SSW’s PawN on his Jayce, confirming a kill. If there was any doubt about PawN going into his lane phase against Uzi, this was where those fears were quelled. Another uncontested Dragon later and the rest of the game is set. SSW keep growing and in true Samsung White fashion, don’t make any mistakes, then go in for the kill. 1-0 SSW.
Game two is where SHR really started to give people hope that they could beat SSW, even if they didn’t manage to pull through with the win. First Blood went to our Chinese team in a very sloppy, back and forth engagement resulting in a 5-4 in favour of SSW. SHR started to get the idea that they need to deny an early Gold advantage for SSW in order to keep themselves into the late game, they follow through with this by taking the first Dragon, but that is when the tide started to turn in favour of SSW once more. Dandy manages to save an engagement in Top Lane, and by the end of this game would have nearly a 100% kill participation record. SHR started to show weakness by having a few mis-plays that not only cost them lives, but the advantage they’d earned so far. As DoubleLift said, “It’s like watching Power Rangers versus a hot dog.” This game goes to SSW.
Although SHR lost the last bout, they had shown improvement and had started to begin working on the tiny cracks visible in SSW’s armor. One of the biggest moment of this match was that SSW were not aggressive in the first five minutes at all, and SHR used this to their advantage. They knew that all they had to do was bring this to the late game and that’s exactly what they did. A gank on SHR’s corn in the Mid Lane leaves the Bottom Lane open meaning that SHR bring the Tower basically down to no health, a nice surprise for our Chinese underdogs. Shortly before the ten minute mark, a failed gank on SSW’s behalf turns into a failed counter-gank on SHR’s, but with the benefit of a Dragon in favour of Star Horn. As SSW aren’t as ahead as they would like to be they start to make mistakes, with Mata nearly walking into an ambush and Looper walking into a silly death simply due to lack of warding. Once SHR had pushed all the way to the Inhibitor Towers, they fall back to take a Baron. There’s a small engagement at the Top Lane, which ultimately results in SHR just diving into the Nexus after some successful kills and ending the game. We all thought the comeback was real.
But game four was to bring us crashing back down to Earth, even if you’re a diehard SSW fan you can’t deny that at the very least bringing this series to game five would’ve been a perfect way to the Championship. But this was not to be. As much as SHR had shown growth and development through the past three games, SSW adapted a lot quicker and begun their final walk to victory. First Blood again when to SHR picking up two kills in quick succession, but this is where we really see SSW’s ability to play a variety of styles, and not just hyper aggressive in the first five minutes. Dandy is showing his true skill by saving a gank in the Bottom Lane and turning it on SHR, thanks to SSW’s map awareness and vision control there’s a lot this Jungler can do. Off the back of this SSW manage to take a slightly contested Dragon. Another counter gank in the Middle Lane. This may sound like a list at this point, and it slightly is: How to Win at Jungle – The Dandy Guide. Not much else can be said with someone who does, this game, get a 100% kill participation record. They barrel up the Mid Lane and end the whole of the Championship in a massive explosion, exactly the way they played.
It was a commanding victory for SSW, and I’d highly recommend checking out the closing ceremony on YouTube as seeing eSports in Seoul’s World Cup stadium is something none of us could’ve imagined even ten years ago. We saw a lot of upsets this season, and a lot of crushed dreams, and a lot of clutched victories. But what we saw at the end was the right victor being crowned Champions, their record displays that, their gameplay displays that.