Esports: First League of Legends final to see a European team beat an American team
By Gong Zhe
When we talk about esports, it's almost impossible to ignore China and S. Korea. The two countries won so many game titles, including League of Legends (LOL), one of the world's most-watched games.
But on Sunday, LOL fans witnessed the first international final fought between teams from North America and Europe.
G2 Esports, an EU team famous for trash talks, defeated the three-time world champion SK Telecom T1 (SKT) and marched to the final; While Team Liquid (TL), the North American club entering the eliminations for the first time, brought down China's Invictus Gaming (IG) – last year's world champion – to aim at the crown.
The two semi-finals both came as a big surprise to the audience.
IG has performed almost perfectly in the group stage, winning nine out of the ten matches losing only against SKT. But Liquid exploited IG's weakness in the heroes-picking process to secure the win before the matches even began.
G2 dragged SKT to the tiebreaker, in which they chose an unusual set of hero characters to play. G2 player Martin "Wunder" Hansen, who usually plays tank heroes, turned the supportive hero Pyke to a melee killer. The team's leader, Luka "PerkZ" Perković, rediscovered his mage soul to use the hero Syndra at the archer position. This strange composition of heroes successfully confused SKT and destroyed the Korean team's playstyle.
The two teams met at the grand final of the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) to determine who is the best in the world.
The outcome of the final is not as significant as the two teams themselves. G2 swiped Liquid 3:0 in less than 140 minutes, creating a solid proof that the EU region is larger than the NA region in the LOL world.
This year's MSI signifies the rise of the Western world in LOL. The two teams put an end to the long-time reign of the Korean and Chinese forces. This could also mean the game will enter a new era of east-west balance, bringing more uncertainty in the near future.
The MSI marks halfway of the 2019 LOL esports events. In June, 13 regions around the world will start the summer season and eventually determine who is the all-around world champion in the S-series.
Will the West take over to dominate the world? Or can the East complete its revenge? The summer season of the Chinese region, the LOL Pro League (LPL), will start on June 1.