With an intimidating 15:2 overall record, Samsung Galaxy White last week won the Season 4 World Championship in truly dominating fashion. Highlighting the gap between themselves the other top teams in attendance, the Korean powerhouse seared the tournament into the minds of spectators as one of the most impressive displays of power in the game’s history. Where does that performance stack up against the the best of all-time, though?
In this series we’ll run down the 15 most dominant tournament runs in competitive League of Legends history. The ranking of the runs is after weighing up a number of facors: sheer dominance in terms of record, the level of the opponents faced and the significance of winning that tournament.
Part 1: 15-8
Part 2: 7-1
15. TSM at IPL Face Off: San Francisco in 2012
Tournament: IPL ProLeague Face Off: San Francisco
Record: 8:1 (9:1 with winner’s bracket advantage) (88.89%)
Team: Team SoloMid (TSM)
August’s IPL Face Off tournament found TSM in their most dominant form, having won four North American LAN tournaments and only being forced into a second place finish at the previous one by the invading Azubu Blaze, champions of OGN. This was the TSM who made 2012 theirs in the North American circuit, showing they had no true equals.
At this tournament, they would only give up a single game, in the opening series against Hai and LemonNation’s oRb. Beyond that, they would sweept Singapore Sentinels, LegioN with WildTurtle standing in and Curse. The latter, taking place in the final, was over a Curse team who had been able to take down World Elite en route. At past North American LANs, teams had been able to get close to TSM, taking games or even the occasional series, but they were unstoppable.
14. MiG Blaze at OGN Spring 2012
Tournament: OGN Champions Spring
Record: 10:1 (90.91%)
Team: MiG Blaze
Blaze’s run to the inaugural OGN Champions title was far from expected within the Korean community. Their sister team, MiG Frost, were thought to be the best team in Korea, having won the OGN Invitational. When Frost was able to escape close series with the other top teams in the country (NaJin e-mFire and Xenics Storm), the final should have been the establishment of the Frost dynasty. Instead, the “B team” of Reapered and company well and truly spoiled the party, displaying clean sweep of the final and taking the trophy.
Defeating xPeke’s fnatic in the group stage, the Saintvicious-era CLG in the quarter-final and OP in the semi-final, Blaze proved to be Korea’s true top team, at that time.
13. Gambit at IEM VIII Cologne
Tournament: IEM VIII Cologne
Record: 6:0 (100.00%)
Team: Gambit Gaming
Gambit Gaming had just reunited with Edward after their shaky top eight finish at the Season 3 World Championship. Questions still abounded over how the classic line-up would play, with Edward having been gone in North America for an LCS split. On the other side of the bracket, Fnatic were coming off a top four finish at Worlds and had just upgraded at the AD Carry position, bringing young Rekkles back into their team. Expectations were high that Fnatic would win the event and once more establish their dominance over the European region. Instead, Gambit reminded the world why this line-up had won so many trophies back in Season 2.
Gambit showed off the flair which had made their five man unit such a fan favourite, running over Cloud9 in the semi-final and Fnatic in the final. Edward landed his multiple opponent Annie stuns, Alex Ich was dominating on assassins, Diamondprox went crazy on Nocturne and Genja was suddenly playing aggressive on Lucian. It didn’t spark a new era of Gambit domination, but it did stand out as a few days when the old band was back together and not to be denied the title.
12. Fnatic at IEM VI New York
Tournament: IEM VI New York
Record: 7:0 (100.00%)
Fnatic’s unbeaten run at IEM New York was far from the anticipated result entering the event. The European team, winners of the S1 Championship, had been placed in a group that was a murderer’s row of the best North American teams. CLG had won two LAN events in August, albeit with substitutes; Dignitas had taken IPL3 a week or so prior; TSM had finished top four at their last four offline events. Fnatic swept the group. In the playoffs, they did likewise to the European opposition they faced, from the French Sypher, in the semi-final, to the Wickd and Snoopeh era SK Gaming, in the final.
11. CJ Entus Blaze at the IEM VII World Championship
Tournament: IEM VII World Championship
Record: 9:2 (81.82%)
Team:CJ Entus Blaze
Blaze had been shocked in the final of IEM VII Katowice, losing in the final to a Gambit Gaming they had defeated in the group stage, but who had risen up to defeat Blaze’s sister team, Frost, and then 2:0 the Koreans in the final. In Hannover, the Flame era Blaze truly arrived. The following month they would begin their famous 13 game winning streak in OGN, but here they would lose only two games on their way to the IEM World Championship trophy.
Losing against to Gambit, in the group stage, Blaze progressed with a 4:1 record. In the playoffs they defeated former Top laner Reapered’s SKT, who had won IEM VII Cologne, without a loss and then won a Bo5 over sister team Frost, something they had been unable to do on two occasions in the previous season of OGN.
10. Cloud9 at LCS Summer 2013
Tournament: NA LCS Summer Split
Record: 30:3 (90.91%)
The debut LCS split for Cloud9 saw them break out with impeccable form, losing only three games over the entire 28 game split. With a winning record over every all but one team?in the league, and a losing record to none, they entered the playoffs as heavy favourites and promptly swept them without a single loss. Their greater than 90% win-rate and title in their rookie season signalled to the world that a new era of North American team had arrived.
This campaign may not have had the cache of featuring Koreans or top teams from other regions, but the sheer level of dominance and excellence marked the achievement as something special.
9. KTB at the IEM VIII World Championship
Tournament: IEM VIII World Championship
Record: 7:0 (100.00%)
Team: KT Rolster Bullets
This tournament is perhaps unduly dismissed as one at which a number of the big names were underwhelming. Gambit and Fnatic were not in dominant form within Europe and teams like TPA, iG and WE all brought famous names, but their rosters were either slumping or no longer at the level associated with those organisation’s former glories. Nevertheless, inSec and company not only won the tournament, they swept it without a loss.
An exciting series against Gambit in the semi-final aside, KTB went largely untouched, displaying a dominance that caused Western fans to worry how wide the gap might be between the top Koreans and the West, as KTB were struggling in OGN Masters at the time.
8. Azubu Blaze at the MLG Summer Arena 2012
Tournament: MLG Summer Arena
Record: 10:1 (90.91%)
Team: Azubu Blaze
Two and a half months after their surprising OGN Spring title run, Azubu Blaze headed to North America to compete in the MLG Summer Arena. The format saw a group stage of four teams and each would play a Bo5 series against the other three. After the group had been finished, Blaze had won all three series and gone 8:1 in games, their lone loss coming to Saintvicious’ Curse. Against TSM, who had won the previous four NA tournaments, they had gone a flawless 3:0. With TSM and Blaze finishing top two in the group, they would play in the final, where Blaze again dominated TSM, going 2:0.
Going 7:1 against two of North America’s best teams, including the team dominating the region, was a true omen for the direction top level League competition was headed in. This would also mark the final tournament Blaze would win with Reapered in their company.
Tomorrow’s part two will run down the top seven most dominant runs in competitive League of Legends history.
Photo credit: ESL, MLG, OGN