The Season 9 League of Legends World Championship has absolutely lived up to the hype. A previous post of mine talked about how this is set to be the most exciting tournament in league of legends history. This tournament has absolutely delivered with record breaking viewership. Not only has the tournament been popular, but it has been the tournament with the best quality games we have ever seen. This tournament has been my favorite due to two things: Team competitiveness, and the meta that the games are played on.
The writing of this blog is happening the week before the finals. The tournament isn’t even over but I am just too excited not to share why it’s been so good.
When I say “Team competitiveness”, I’m talking about how many teams have good chances to win the whole thing. Previously, tournaments were pretty much won by a Korean team with either a second Korean team or a Chinese team taking second place. Last year’s world’s broke that trend with a European (Fnatic) team taking second to a Chinese team(Invictus Gaming). Coming into this tournament, people were wondering if last year was a fluke, or if regions other than Korea can actually win. With another European team (G2) playing against another Chinese team (FunPlux Pheonix) in this year’s finals, it was definitely not a fluke.
Nothing bothers me more than when a team wins not because they played really well, but because the other team performed way under expectations. Korea lost it’s top spot, not because Korea has become a weak region, but because other regions are finally stepping up. The semi finals had the #1 seed EU team, the #1 seed KR team, the #1 seed CN team, and last years winner, which is the #2 seed CN team this year. Analysts hailed it as the most competitive semi finals in LoL history.
The team to break the mold the most is the EU team G2. G2 came into this tournament as the favored team by a lot of analysts. They’re even favored to win the finals. If they do win, G2 will be the first team in history to complete a “Grand Slam”; winning the European spring split, summer split, the Mid Season Invitational, and then the World Championship. They’re the strongest team EU has ever produced and lead the revolution that put western teams and players on the map.
Not only are there more teams than ever with realistic chances to win the whole thing, there are more champions being used than ever before. Last year during the main stage up to the semis, there were 123 unique champions played or banned. This year, that number is 150. For those that may not know, a “meta” is defined the set of the most popular strategies and champions.
The meta constantly changes as Riot releases new patches to the game every 2 weeks. There is no “perfect meta” but Riot’s job is to constantly pursue that perfection. They’ve had a history of creating pretty divisive metas especially during the World Championship. The meta for this year’s tournament is the most diverse it’s ever been.
A tournament where anyone can beat anyone in the play offs utilizing a wide breadth of strategies is one that can satisfy any fan of competitive League of Legends. The more tournament’s like this League of Legends has, the bigger it will grow. One step closer to esports overtaking traditional sports.