With millions of followers every weekend on Twitch.tv, the rise of E-sports is hard to ignore. The biggest E-sport, or Electronic Sport, in circulation is League of Legends, a game made by game company Riot Games. League of Legends, or LoL as the kids call it, falls into the MOBA genre, standing for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It pits five players, each controlling their own champion, in an arena battle as they seek to destroy their opponents’ “nexus,” located in their base. The simplicity of the game, combined with its high skill cap, brings millions of players to it. Those who play at the highest levels join teams and compete in professional matches. There are teams all over the world, including leagues in Europe, Korea, Taiwan and North America.
Sunday, April 17 marked the finals for the 2016 North American Spring Split for the League Championship Series, or LCS. Since its start in 2013, LoL Esports have held two splits every year. Winners of the each split win points that go towards a total that includes their regular season scores and final placement. The teams with the highest amount of points are admitted to the World Championships after their summer split.
Six teams out of the total of ten advance to the playoffs. This season, the regular-season favorites and new team in the North American LCS, Immortals, were projected to take the Spring Split playoffs. They took the record for most regular-season wins and highest regular-season win percentage after going 17-1. Hopes were also high for Team SoloMid, the winningest team in the LCS playoffs, as well as for Counter Logic Gaming, the only team to defeat Immortals and the winners of the last Summer Split.
Teams face off in a best-offive-games matchup, with the winners moving on and the losers competing for 3rd and 4th place. In the Quarterfinal round, Team SoloMid defeated Cloud9 while Team Liquid defeated NRG Esports. Liquid went on to play Counter Logic Gaming who sought to continue their late domination in the LCS, even after losing DoubleLift, their ADC, the player who does the most damage on the team. Stixxay, the replacement for DoubleLift, really stepped into his role for the team as they defeated Liquid to move on to the finals. Team SoloMid, after a 9-9 record in the regular season, came up against Immortals as the heavy underdog. However, as the past has shown, SoloMid came alive in the playoffs and defeated Immortals in a 3-0 routing, sending them to the finals. Immortals defeated Liquid to claim the third place finish in their first split.
For the finals, SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming matched up for the second year in a row. DoubleLift, now the ADC for SoloMid, faced off against his old team that he won the finals with the previous year. Counter Logic Gaming took game one in a neck-and-neck race to the nexus. SoloMid answered with a strong outing, crushing their opponent 16 kills to 6 and taking the enemy nexus in less than thirty minutes. In game three, SoloMid gained more kills than Counter Logic Gaming; however, the latter controlled objectives better and took the game. People looked to Counter Logic to take the finals, but SoloMid showed up big time, again outkilling their opponents by 10 and taking game 4 to tie the series 2-2, with a winner-take-all fifth game.
In the final game of the series, Counter Logic Gaming shot off to an early lead against their opponents, maintaining a large gold lead as well as out-killing their opponents. As the game went on, SoloMid brought the game back into their favor at the 42-minute mark, until the 45-minute mark when Stixxay scored a triple kill and Counter Logic’s jungler Xmithie took a double kill to ace SoloMid and give Counter Logic the win on the day and their second straight split victory.
Going into the next season, almost every team will either look to improve, keep up their success or reclaim their old glory. Check out the LCS if you haven’t.