A new League of Legends World Champion seized their crown today in Seoul, Korea.
Samsung Galaxy White completed their championship run by beating Chinese challenger Star Horn Royal Club 3-1 in front of a crowd of nearly 50,000 people at Sangam Stadium. The Koeran team took home $1 million for the title, as well as the coveted Summoner’s Cup.
The result was perhaps expected—the Korean team were heavy favorites entering the final. But the spectacle was bigger than anything ever seen in esports.
A quick glance at viewership numbers on streaming platforms around the globe shows fans agreed. In China, over 2 million concurrent viewers watched the event on Chinese streaming platform Douyu. The Western audience topped 1 million concurrent viewers, with nearly 800,000 of them on Twitch.
It’s just too bad Samsung Galaxy White was so good they didn’t give fans a better series.
The Korean team obliterated Royal Club in the first two games, scoring early leads and closing the matches out in fast fashion. Entering game three it seemed like an inevitable sweep—last season, Royal Club fell in the finals in three straight games, the wheels falling completely off after two losses. But this year’s version of Star Horn Royal Club proved more resilient.
Choi “inSec” In-Seok pulled out a pocket Rammus pick in the third game and managed to take the first game off a Korean team in the World finals in two years with it. Royal Club at least drew blood.
But in game four, despite securing first blood, Royal Club’s wheels did fall off. Choi “DanDy” In-kyu put together a 5/0/13 KDA line on Rengar, showing why he’s considered the best jungler in the world.
While DanDy showed off his transcendent play, it was support player Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong who took MVP honors. His vision control was the backbone behind Samsung Galaxy White—and DanDy’s—success, and his clutch playmaking ability. It was a deserved reward, and a deserved title.
The championship has analysts and fans alike calling DanDy and Mata the best players at their positions in the history of League of Legends.
Royal Club reached the final for the second straight year, though they only returned a single member, Jian “Uzi” Zihao. Last year SK Telecom T1 swept the Chinese team out of the final. This time they acquitted themselves a little better. But it’s hard to expect much more from the team. Their opponents each year were simply legendary teams.
Samsung Galaxy White featured the best jungler and best support players on the planet. Their top laner, Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok, posted the best KDA in the tournament, emerging as a superstar in his own right by showcasing a wide range of top lane champions. Mid laner Heo “PawN” Won-seok decimated the supposed current best mid laner, Bae “Dade” Eo-jin, in the semifinal, leading to Bae handing his treasured jacket to Heo, a passing of the torch. That’s ignoring marksman Gu “Imp” Seung-bin, who posted two pentakills during Worlds.
The Korean team is the best on the planet, and they showed they are another tier above even their local brethren at Worlds. Samsung Galaxy White went 15-2 through the tournament, only dropping games to Team SoloMid and Star Horn Royal Club. They beat sister team Samsung Galaxy Blue for the first time ever in the semifinals, dethroning the squad that has lorded over the Korean seen for much of the year in a one-sided series. It was a run even more dominant than SK Telecom T1’s world championship in 2013.
Samsung Galaxy White gave some insight into the minds of a champion after the match. “We don’t think we’re the best team in the world,” one said after the match, standing next to the Summoner’s Cup. “We’ll go practice the new patch tomorrow.”
That’s the esports life. This year’s Riot World Championships, the culmination of a 2014 year filled with amazing League of Legends action, is already in the past.