banner by Patrick "Zombienot" Young
Millions upon millions of online viewers, 40,000 people in attendance, six weeks of pure League of Legends action, all centered around this — two teams vying for the one and only Summoner’s Cup.
The Sangam Stadium in Seoul, Korea became the battleground for the most watched event in eSports to date. Reddit’s General Manager, Erik Martin, likened interest spikes from this year’s Worlds to the Super Bowl, Oscars or even national elections. Riot has once again pushed the boundaries of the eSports spectacle, and the result was nothing short of phenomenal.
After Imagine Dragons electrified the audience with a performance of the theme song they made for this year’s Worlds, ‘Warriors’, it was time for Samsung Galaxy White and Star Horn Royal Club to settle the score and prove which of them is the best team in the world.
Contrary to our usual flow, let’s forgo the lengthy introduction and enjoy the ride that was the 2014 World Championship finals match game by game. If you missed how we called this match, you can read our prediction article to know the angles and points to watch out for between these two juggernauts. Bear with the amount of videos in this piece, because there were simply too many explosive moments in each game.
If there’s one word to describe the first game between White and Royal Club, it would be ‘fast’. White played at such blazing speeds that Royal could barely react. It didn’t even seem like Royal could make one move of their own volition.
As soon as recalls were spotted, Choi “DanDy” In-kyu and Cho “Mata” Sehyeong wasted no time and blanketed Royal’s jungle areas with wards. What followed was a series of dives that took the legs right from under Royal.
As predicted, Royal Club’s solo lanes could not handle the pressure, as Jiang “Cola” Nan and Lei “Corn” Wen opted for a double teleport strategy on Ryze and Orianna to support their bot lane instead. Recognizing that Royal was giving up lanes they already thought they’d lose, Samsung White turned the pressure on, with Heo “PawN” Wonseok once again raining down precision Shock Blasts on Jayce.
With both of Royal’s solo lanes down, and DanDy controlling the jungle, Royal had no answer save a single kill onto Mata. White crushed down the enemy nexus at just over 24 minutes, scoring 16 kills and razing 10 turrets, and amassing a near 20k gold lead.
Royal Club managed to obtain a seemingly favorable scenario at the start of the game. With Cola on Dr. Mundo, a champion he’s been successful on, and Corn taking Jayce away from PawN, Royal looked to go toe-to-toe with White’s early game pressure.
Royal’s star player Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao being on a mid game spike AD carry like Corki was just icing on the cake as he got to lane against Gu “imp” Seung-bin and bully him out early.
Alas, what looked to be an even early game quickly dissolved into chaos. After a bloody 5 for 4 exchange in favor of Samsung White, DanDy made plays all over the map on his dreaded Rengar. In his hands, the Pridestalker was a whirling ball of doom set against Royal’s chances of winning, as DanDy turned around ganks, stole dragon and snowballed his team out of control.
Just when it seemed that Royal Club made it to the finals twice, only to be swept on both occasions, the Chinese squad dug deep and pulled out a stunner. Even with so many comfort picks on White’s side with Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok’s famed Singed, Fizz for PawN and even Twitch and Thresh, Royal looked in dire straits from the start, especially with imp picking up some early kills.
However, the beauty of Cola’s Maokai pick, combined with a surprise Rammus from Choi “inSec” In-seok and Uzi back on Tristana created a team fighting machine that could tank up assassination attempts and draw out fights, which allowed Uzi to clean up from behind (or up close after jumping in as it were).
Couple that with Corn’s absolutely impressive Ryze play constantly outsmarting PawN’s ultimates and Royal proved that the god-kings of League of Legends could bleed and then some. Though it was a hard-fought win at near 40 minutes, Royal brought the series back 2-1.
White’s perfect finals finish was destroyed. They could no longer aim to repeat SK Telecom T1’s feat from last year. Whether it was that fact or another, White recomposed themselves and came out stronger than ever.
Despite inSec securing the Pantheon he used to win Royal Club their 5th game against OMG, DanDy was once again on Rengar. While inSec managed to secure early advantages for Royal including a first blood, as soon as DanDy was level 6, he displayed his trademark predictive mastery, and was always there to thwart inSec’s Grand Skyfall ganks.
After a devastating ace and a dragon pick up by White, it felt very much like game 1 as Royal Club’s base was summarily dissected. With that, we crowned a new world champion as Samsung Galaxy White take the Summoner’s Cup for Korea once more.
For any team, it would have been a grueling climb to the top of the mountain that is the League of Legends professional scene. To face down the best in the world in epic clashes would be a worthy test. Unless you were talking about Samsung White, that is.
Not only did they solidify their place at the top of the mountain, they did it in style. It’s as if they didn’t climb it at all, but simply fell on top to blanket the peak in their team color. This team was nigh untouchable. If last year’s world champions were a dominating force, Samsung White smashed through previous records on a whim.
While the official MVP of this World Championship is officially Mata for his unrivaled vision control and absolute clutch saves in seemingly any scenario, it could easily have gone to DanDy whose gank and counter gank pressure, coupled with his penchant for stealing objectives, led to lightning-quick early games and easy snowballs for White.
As big as the 2014 League of Legends World Championship was, you can bet next year’s event will be even bigger. Congratulations to Samsung White for winning it all, and thank you for sticking with this humble Worlds coverage for as long as you did.
While there won’t be any major tournaments or events for a month or so, we’ll be coming back with news from the pre-season, including gameplay changes, roster swaps, and more. See you soon, summoners!