League of Legends is a multiplayer online game developed by Riot Games in 2009 which has since dominated the online gaming platform domestically and internationally. The game was known for having the largest online player base, reporting in 2014 for having approximately 67 million monthly players.
Since then, that number has only risen, reported by UnrankedSmurfs to have approximately 80 million monthly players in 2018 alone. This game not only provides an interactive platform for players to face against each other on a variety of maps but has become a pivotal face of E-Sports.
The competitive scene for e-sports has existed almost as long as the game itself, gaining traction in the last 5 seasons due to an increased interest in the gaming scene. One of the prominent aspects of this gaming scene, in particular, is the bias against Korean teams.
Korea has been the dominant region competitively for the last 5 world championships with there only being a total of 7 thus far. Fans, players, casters and spectators alike had built an expectation due to this: Korea could never be defeated.
Even one of the largest upsets in League of Legends history was the defeat of the 3-time world champion team, SKTelecom, was to another opposing Korean team, Gen G. formally known as Samsung Galaxy.
It seemed perilous to bet on any team that wasn't Korean. They were viewed as the top tier teams, consistently dominating internationally and having no problem in showing their abilities. Players almost seemed discouraged to believe that they could challenge the Koreans giants- until now.
The group stage of 2018's League of Legends World championship comes to a wrap soon and we have one thing ensured: Gen G. will not be advancing to the next stage. Even more upsetting is as of October 20, Korean would no longer be in Worlds as a contender for World Champions.
It was shocking! The previous world champions underperformed, getting back-to-back defeats in groups stage and leaving with a record of 1-5. The remaining 2 Korean teams get knocked out during quarterfinals leaving a lot of question. Many casters were baffled by this turnout and fans began to question the potential of who can of who could be world champion this year.
With their defeat brought many to consider this being the first year without Korean champions. Teams had been eager to predict it for this worlds and fans hyped up the prospect in forums and posts all over social media.
Riot games themselves had even hinted at the potential of a strong contender for worlds with one of the players from RoyalsNeverGiveup being seen at the end of the worlds music video, RISE. RNG would never get to live up to the hype as they were also knocked out of quarterfinals.
Western fans felt hope as the veteran North American team, Cloud9, and EU giants, Fnatic and G2 Sports, move onto semifinals. The biggest reason for their success, beyond impressive plays, was their relentless attitude and willingness to adapt after each game.
These teams came into worlds high hopes and determination to prove their worth internationally. This was their chance to be more than domestic winners in their respective regions and to prove Western teams could be better than anyone had expected
This year, everything is different. Stakes are even higher for each team to show they have what it takes to champions and we have no clue how this could end up. We have the opportunity to witness the rise of a new dominant region in League of Legends e-sports. How isn't that amazing?