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League of Legends Quarterfinals on the Horizon

I have never played League of Legends. (I dabbled once in Dota 2 and I was way over my head.)  But, nonetheless, I was asked to watch some matches of the 2014 World Championship and write about it.

For those, like me, who are new to LoL and how the competition is arranged, let me say that the first four days were pure madness. It’s hard from the perspective of one who has never played to keep up. It doesn’t help, for those in the Western Hemisphere, that the games are aired in South Korea, which is 12 hours ahead of us for the most part.

I absolutely will not attempt to describe the game here. That’s what Google is for. If you’re reading this and don’t know, well, you must be curious enough to watch or play for yourself anyhow.

Understanding the Standings

Here’s the breakdown: 16 teams in all, from around the globe, entered the Championships. If you watched the World Cup at all earlier this year, it’s pretty much exactly like that. They come from seven different regions, which are specific even if they are apparently random. They are, in no specific order:

  • Brazil
  • North America
  • Korea
  • China
  • Europe
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey

Brazil and Turkey are already knocked out of the quarterfinals, which had a lot to do with only having one team in their region each. Nice try to Brazil’s KaBuM e-Sports and Turkey’s Dark Passage. Taiwan, who also had their own region for some inexplicable reason, had two teams and one is already knocked out of the running, the Taipei Assassins. (And they had the coolest team name!) I don’t want to be mean, so let’s just say these teams didn’t fare very well. Knowing that they aren’t in the running will make this easier.

OK! The Championship started out with four groups (A, B, C, D). Each group has four teams. These four teams compete amongst themselves for a spot in the Quarterfinals. Groups A and B faced off against each other and C and D did the same. No teams from the separate divisions played each other. Sorry, that’s just how it is. (Dark Passage and Taipei Assassins were in A-B and KaBuM was in C-D. This could either mean the teams in A-B had an unfair advantage, or more likely, it’s because the two Samsung teams dominated everyone.)

The teams who will advance to the Quarterfinals include:

Samsung Blue 300px-Samsung_Whitelogo_square 300px-TSM_Logo 300px-Cloud9logo_square
Samsung Blue (Korea) Samsung White (Korea) Team SoloMid (North America) Cloud9 (North America)
SH Royal Club EDG 300px-Najin_white_shield_new OMG2
Star Horn Royal Club Edward Gaming (China) NaJin White Shield (Korea) >OMG (China)

The Fate of the West Lies With North America

I’ll spare you the “last time America and Canada got together, etc. etc” joke, but seriously, North America is outnumbered one to four by the East. Europe has been completely left behind, and only

The three European teams that missed out on the Quarterfinals are:

300px-Alliancelogo_square 300px-SK_Gaminglogo_square 300px-Fnaticlogo_square
Alliance SK Gaming Fnatic

To advance, teams must rank second in their group and all three European teams placed third in their groups. Tough break.

So now North America is to face off with Korea’s top two teams, Samsung Blue and White. (Yes, THAT Samsung.) The Samsung teams, formerly known as MVP Blue and MVP Ozone, destroyed nearly every opponent they’ve faced so far. They have one loss collectively (Blue) and are from the country that made competitive gaming what it is today, so it should be interesting to see.

Samsung White is to play Team SoloMid and Samsung Blue faces off with Cloud9, who may, conceivably, but-I-don’t-really-know-because-I’m-a-n00b, have chance at beating the Korean giants.

An "Balls" Le
An “Balls” Le

Cloud9 has apparently earned the unofficial title of being North America’s best team, which isn’t too impressive given that there’s only one other team. This supposedly has to do with their seamless team-oriented strategy. Their top laner, who is also one of the best in North America (and I don’t just mean in the Championship), goes by the player name, “Balls,” which one cannot overlook when the crowd begins to chant: Balls! Balls! Balls! Balls! If that doesn’t strike fear into your opponent, I don’t know what will.

Asian Free for All

As for the other four teams playing, read the title of this subsection once more, yeah, exactly, that’s what it’s going to be. Three out of four of the teams are Chinese, which is awesome for them. The Chinese are guaranteed a spot in the Semifinals, and they may even get two teams in, but NaJin White Shield (Korea) is the favorite in their match, so it’ll be tough. The Star Horn Royal Club matchup with Edward Gaming looks a lot like the Samsung Blue – Cloud9 matchup with Star Horn being Samsung. In fact, Star Horn may be one of the only teams competitive enough to face Samsung Blue or White. (Sure, I’m going off of the current win-loss records, but they really seem to be accurate thus far. So what?)

Honorable Mentions

It would be rude to leave out these teams that barely missed a shot at the Quarterfinals and they are LMQ (China) and Ahq e-Sports Club (Taiwan). They played valiantly.