The League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2017) just finished up its second match of the ongoing quarterfinals this week. Despite results that everyone believed were set in stone, the series actually came out closer than anyone could have expected.
In one corner was Misfits, a newly formed team that qualified from the European League Championship Series (EU LCS) this year without any prior major achievements and from a region that has dipped in terms of performance as far as the community is concerned.
In the other corner was SK Telecom T1, a team that has three world championships under its belt and is a favorite to defend its title for the third year in a row with some of the best players in the history of the game.
The South Korean powerhouse was always the clear victor before the start of the series. Misfits, though, refused to be overwhelmed by the roster that stood against it.
SK Telecom T1 opened up its account with the first game by annihilating Misfits. With 16 kills across against just one, the European roster never knew what hit its players. Then came the comeback. Misfits won the following two games in a row, remembering to return the favor in the second game.
With the series at 1-2 in favor of Misfits, it all came down to one more victory against the worried roster of the defending world champions. SK Telecom T1 was expected to come out fighting. It, though, took the careful approach and intended to drag the game as long as it could. Misfits capitalised on this and took command of the early game. It refused to let the South Koreans breath easy, matching their movements and catching them by surprise. Following a successful skirmish around the thirty-minute mark, it really looked like that Misfits was going to end the game right there. Unfortunately, it tried to rush the potential victory.
The moment that everyone is going to be talking about for a long while is where Misfits made the mistake of not waiting for its minions to arrive and instead dove right into the enemy tower to open up the base. It allowed SK Telecom T1 to counterattack and pick the European players off as they tried to retreat. SK Telecom T1 then rode the wave to close out the game minutes later.
Each team managed to secure two games in the series, leading up to sudden death. Misfits started off very well for its last chance at qualifying for the semifinals but SK Telecom T1 refused to budge. The final game, much like the ones before, saw the South Koreans simply wait it out for the Europeans to provide windows of opportunities.
SK Telecom T1 has now advanced into the semifinals of Worlds 2017. Misfits has been eliminated, but not before coming closer than anyone before to defeating a team in the annual championship event that has for long dominated League of Legends. No one expected anything major from Misfits, but the way it stood up to the defending champions makes it apparent that the players can hold their own against the very best on the international stage.
Royal Never Give Up is scheduled to go up against Fnatic tomorrow, with Team WE battling Cloud9 the day after. The semifinals are scheduled to commence from October 28.