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2016 League of Legends World Championship

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League of Legends World Championship
2016
2016 League of Legends World Championship logo.png
Tournament information
Location United States United States
Dates September 29–October 29
Administrator(s) Riot Games
Tournament
format(s)
16 team round-robin group stage
8 team single-elimination bracket
Venue(s) 4 (in 4 host cities)
Teams 16
Purse $ 5,070,000 USD[1]
Final positions
Champion South Korea SK Telecom T1 (3rd title)
Runner-up South Korea Samsung Galaxy
Tournament statistics
Matches played 75
MVP South Korea Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok (SK Telecom T1)
← 2015
2017 →

The 2016 League of Legends World Championship was the sixth world championship for League of Legends, a video game developed by Riot Games. It was held from September 29 – October 29, 2016, in cities across the United States. Sixteen teams qualified for the tournament based on their placement in regional circuits such as those in North America, Europe, South Korea, and China. The tournament's group stage was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, the quarterfinals at The Chicago Theater in Chicago, and the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The final was held in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000 fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Russian-German DJ Zedd made an exclusive song for the tournament titled "Ignite", the song became available for streaming viewing on the game's official YouTube channel.

SK Telecom T1 defended their title from the 2015 League of Legends World Championship by defeating runner-up Samsung Galaxy 3–2 in a best of five final series. With their win, SKT became the first three-time League of Legends world champion. SKT's Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok was named MVP of the tournament. The final prize pool reached $6.7 million, the largest single prize pool in League of Legends history. The final was followed by 43 million unique viewers, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14.7 million. Its success prompted the team in charge of the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics to look into including esports presentation technologies used by Riot Games if the bid is successful.

Background[edit]

After the 2015 League of Legends World Championship was held across Europe, the 2016 edition was held in North America.[2][3]

The original prize pool was $2.13 million contributed by Riot Games, with the final amount being calculated after fan contributions stopped on November 6.[4] Riot pledged to add 25% of all revenue generated from selling Championship wards and skins – customizations for the player controlled hero character – to the prize pool.[5] On October 28, the sale of these unique Championship skins had grown the prize pool to $5.07 million, making it the largest single prize pool in League of Legends history.[6][7] The final prize pool reached $6.7 million.[8] Riot announced that 40% of the prize pool will be awarded to the winning team and 15% to the runner up.[4] The winning team would also receive 25% of revenue from skins created to commemorate the championship victory.[5]

To encourage new viewers to watch, Riot Games set up a second stream specifically for new viewers, which would help explain basic game concepts that more experienced viewers on the regular stream would be familiar with.[9]

Riot Games collaborated with Zedd, an electronic dance music disc jockey to create "Ignite", a dance music anthem for the tournament. The video referenced multiple highlights from previous League of Legends world championships.[10] As of April 2017, it has over 26 million views on YouTube.[11]

Teams and qualifications[edit]

The playoff stage for the third place match of the 2016 Summer NA LCS playoffs between Immortals and Counter Logic Gaming.

Sixteen teams qualified for the tournament from regional events, which are typically divided into Spring and Summer seasons or "splits" where Championship Points used for worlds qualifications are earned based on placement.[12] The four premier regions of China, South Korea, Europe, and North America each had three qualification spots. The winner of the 2016 Summer Split would be the region's first seed, the team with the most combined Championship Points between the Spring and Summer Splits would be the second seed, and the winner of a regional qualification tournament between the next highest four teams in terms of Championship Points would be the third seed.[12]

The Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau region only had two spots: one for the winner of its Summer Split and the other for the winner of its regional qualification finals.[12]

The last two teams qualified from the International Wildcard Qualifiers held in São Paulo, Brazil.[12] Eight teams representing the champions of regional leagues from Brazil, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Japan, Northern and Southern Latin America, Oceania, Southeast Asia, and Australia were present. After a round robin, the top four teams were seeded so that the first place team from groups played the fourth highest placing team, and the second place team played the third, with the winners of each match moving on to worlds.[13]

EDward Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, and IMay qualified from the League of Legends Pro League in China. G2 Esports, H2K-Gaming, and Splyce qualified after the 2016 Summer European League of Legends Championship Series. Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Cloud9 qualified after the 2016 Summer North American League of Legends Championship Series. ROX Tigers, SK Telecom T1, and Samsung Galaxy qualified from the League of Legends Champions Korea event. Flash Wolves and Ahq e-Sports Club qualified from the League of Legends Master Series for the Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau region. INTZ eSports from Brazil and Albus NoX Luna from Russia qualified via international wildcard qualifications.[14]

The group stage draw was held on September 10, 2016. Each group would have one team from pool 1, which comprised the number one seeds from South Korea, China, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, and North America; one team from pool 3, which comprised the two international wild cards and the number three seeds from Europe and North America; and two teams from pool 2, which comprised all the other teams.[15]

Rosters[edit]

Team Region Players[16][17]
Name Role
Russia Albus NoX Luna Commonwealth of
Independent States (LCL)
International Wildcard spot (IWCQ)

Russia Dmitri "Smurf" Ivanov
Ukraine Aleksander "PvPStejos" Glazkov
Ukraine Mykhailo "Kira" Harmash
Ukraine Vladislav "aMiracle" Scherbyna
Russia Kirill "Likkrit" Malofeyev

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

Taiwan ahq e-Sports Club Taiwan, Hong Kong & Macau

(LMS)

Taiwan Chen "Ziv" Yi (陳奕)
Taiwan Xue "Mountain" Zhao-Hong (薛兆鴻)
Taiwan Liu "Westdoor" Shu-Wei (劉書瑋)
Singapore Wong Xing "Chawy" Lei (王心磊)
Taiwan Chou "AN" Chun-An (周俊諳)
Taiwan Kang "Albis" Chia-Wei (康家維)

Top
Jungle
Mid
Mid (substitute)
ADC
Support

United States Cloud9 North America (NA LCS)

South Korea Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong (정언영)
United States William "Meteos" Hartman
Denmark Nikolaj "Jensen" Jensen
United States Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi
Canada Andy "Smoothie" Ta

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

United States Counter Logic Gaming North America (NA LCS)

United States Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya
Philippines Jake "Xmithie" Puchero
South Korea Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun (최재현)
United States Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes
United States Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

China EDward Gaming China (LPL)

China Tong "Koro1" Yang (童扬)
China Ming "Clearlove" Kai (明凯)
South Korea Heo "Pawn" Won-seok (허원석)
South Korea Lee "Scout" Ye-chan (이예찬)
South Korea Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu (김혁규)
China Tian "Meiko" Ye (田野)

Top
Jungle
Mid
Mid (substitute)
ADC
Support

Taiwan Flash Wolves Taiwan, Hong Kong & Macau

(LMS)

Taiwan Yu "MMD" Li-Hung (游立宏)
Taiwan Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan (洪浩軒)
Taiwan Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang (黃熠棠)
Taiwan Hsiung "NL" Wen-An (熊汶銨)
Taiwan Hu "SwordArT" Shuo-Chieh (胡碩傑)

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

Spain G2 Esports Europe (EU LCS)

South Korea Ki "Expect" Dae-han (기대한)
South Korea Kim "Trick" Gang-yun (김강윤)
Croatia Luka "PerkZ" Perković
Denmark Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen
Spain Alfonso Aguirre "mithy" Rodríguez

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

United Kingdom H2K-Gaming Europe (EU LCS)

Romania Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu
Poland Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski
South Korea Yoo "Ryu" Sang-wook (유상욱)
Greece Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou
Poland Oskar "Vander" Bogdan

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

China I May China (LPL)

Hong Kong Shek "AmazingJ" Wai Ho (石偉豪)
Hong Kong Fan Jun "Avoidless" Wei (范俊偉)
South Korea Kang "Athena" Ha-woon (강하운)
South Korea Kang "Baeme" Yang-hyun (강양현)
China Xie "Jinjiao" Jin-Shan (谢金山)
South Korea Yun "Road" Han-gil (윤한길)

Top
Jungle
Mid
Mid (substitute)
ADC
Support

Brazil INTZ e-Sports Brazil (CBLoL)
International Wildcard spot (IWCQ)

Brazil Felipe "Yang" Zhao
Brazil Gabriel "Revolta" Henud
Brazil Gabriel "tockers" Claumann
Brazil Micael "micaO" Rodrigues
Brazil Luan "Jockster" Cardoso

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

South Korea ROX Tigers South Korea (LCK)

South Korea Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho (송경호)
South Korea Han "Peanut" Wang-ho (한왕호)
South Korea Lee "Kuro" Seo-haeng (이서행)
South Korea Kim "Pray" Jong-in (김종인)
South Korea Kang "Gorilla" Beom-hyeon (강범현)

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

China Royal Never Give Up China (LPL)

South Korea Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok (장형석)
China Liu "Mlxg" Shi-Yu (刘世宇)
China Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao (李元浩)
China Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao (简自豪)
South Korea Cho "Mata" Se-hyoung (조세형)

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

South Korea Samsung Galaxy South Korea (LCK)

South Korea Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin (이성진)
South Korea Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong (강찬용)
South Korea Lee "Crown" Min-ho (이민호)
South Korea Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk (박재혁)
South Korea Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in (조용인)
South Korea Kwon "Wraith" Ji-min (권지민)

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support
Support (substitute)

South Korea SK Telecom T1 South Korea (LCK)

South Korea Lee "Duke" Ho-seong (이호성)
South Korea Kang "Blank" Sun-gu (강선구)
South Korea Bae "Bengi" Seong-woong (배성웅)
South Korea Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok (이상혁)
South Korea Bae "Bang" Jun-sik (배준식)
South Korea Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan (이재완)

Top
Jungle
Jungle (substitute)
Mid
ADC
Support

Denmark Splyce Europe (EU LCS)

Denmark Martin "Wunder" Hansen
Denmark Jonas "Trashy" Andersen
Denmark Chres "Sencux" Laursen
Denmark Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup
Slovenia Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

United States Team SoloMid North America (NA LCS)

United States Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell
Denmark Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen
Denmark Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg
United States Yilliang "Doublelift" Peng
Canada Vincent "Biofrost" Wang

Top
Jungle
Mid
ADC
Support

*Tong "Koro1" Yang replaced Chen "Mouse" Yu-Hao after the latter retired from the tournament due to a private issue.[18]

Venues[edit]

Four venues in four cities were selected for the tournament.[19]

San Francisco, California Chicago, Illinois New York City, New York Los Angeles, California
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Chicago Theatre Madison Square Garden Staples Center
Sep 29 – Oct 9 Oct 13 – Oct 16 Oct 21 – Oct 22 Oct 29
Capacity: 7,000 Capacity: 3,800 Capacity: 18,200 Capacity: 18,188
Grahamauditorium.jpg Chicago Theatre blend.jpg Madison Square Garden, February 2013.jpg Staples Center 2012.jpg

Group stage[edit]

The group stage was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.[5] The group stage was played in a best of one double round-robin format, where each team played every other team in their group twice, with the top two teams from each of the four groups advancing to the knockout stage.[5][15]

Tiebreaking matches were played in groups A and C.[20][21][22]

Group A[edit]

The Cinderella story of the tournament was the run of Albus NoX Luna, the CIS champions who became the first wildcard team to make it to the quarterfinals in the history of the League of Legends World Championship.[22] European first seed G2 Esports underperformed in this group, while ROX Tigers, the first seed from Korea, won the group as expected, but had to do so by defeating Albus NoX Luna in a tiebreaker game.[22]

# Team 1 2 3 4 W L ±
1 South Korea ROX Tigers ~ 1–1 1–1 2–0 5 2 3
2 Russia Albus NoX Luna 1–1 ~ 2–0 1–1 4 3 1
3 United States Counter Logic Gaming 1–1 0–2 ~ 2–0 3 3 0
4 Spain G2 Esports 0–2 1–1 0–2 ~ 1 5 −4

Group B[edit]

Group B's deciding matches all occurred on the last day, when all teams except for the Korean first seed SK Telecom T1 had 2–3 records.[23] In the end, it was Cloud9, the sole North American team to move on,[24] that moved on after exploiting the inconsistent play of the Chinese and Taiwanese teams.[23] I May was also hurt when one of its players was suspended for one match on the last day and fined $2000 for abusive behavior in online games.[25] During Cloud 9's match against Flash Wolves, Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi killed 690 minions, which set a new record for this statistic at worlds.[8]

# Team 1 2 3 4 W L ±
1 South Korea SK Telecom T1 ~ 2–0 2–0 1–1 5 1 4
2 United States Cloud9 0–2 ~ 2–0 1–1 3 3 0
3 China I May 0–2 0–2 ~ 2–0 2 4 −2
4 Taiwan Flash Wolves 1–1 1–1 0–2 ~ 2 4 −2

Group C[edit]

Group C was the only group without a Korean team seeded first. Its two qualifiers were both considered championship favorites, since H2K-Gaming was a strong European team and EDward Gaming was a strong Chinese team.[26] Despite a 1–2 showing in the first week, H2K managed to make the quarterfinals at the top of its group by winning four straight matches, including a tiebreaker against EDward Gaming,[22] to become the only European team to move on.[26][27]

# Team 1 2 3 4 W L ±
1 United Kingdom H2K-Gaming ~ 1–1 1–1 2–0 5 2 3
2 China EDward Gaming 1–1 ~ 2–0 1–1 4 3 1
3 Taiwan ahq e-Sports Club 1–1 0–2 ~ 2–0 3 3 0
4 Brazil INTZ e-Sports 0–2 1–1 0–2 ~ 1 5 −4

Group D[edit]

Group D was considered to be the group of death because it had three top Korean, Chinese, and North American teams, and a strong European team.[28] Samsung Galaxy, would convincingly win the group with help from the strong play of Kang "Ambition" Chang-yong.[28] Royal Never Give Up defeated the North American champions TSM to even their records at 3–3 and win the head-to-head tiebreaker to move on to the quarterfinals.[29]

# Team 1 2 3 4 W L ±
1 South Korea Samsung Galaxy ~ 2–0 1–1 2–0 5 1 4
2 China Royal Never Give Up 0–2 ~ 2–0 1–1 3 3 0
3 United States Team Solo Mid 1–1 0–2 ~ 2–0 3 3 0
4 Denmark Splyce 0–2 1–1 0–2 ~ 1 5 −4

Knockout stage[edit]

Quarterfinals and semi-finals[edit]

The quarterfinals were held at the Chicago Theatre, starting on October 13.[27] Teams were seeded against each other based on their performance in the group stage, and played a best-of-five, single-elimination bracket.[5]

All three of the Korean teams, SK Telecom T1, ROX Tigers, and Samsung Galaxy, advanced to the quarterfinals from the group stage. Two Chinese teams, EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, advanced by finishing second in their groups. Cloud9 and H2k-Gaming were respectively the only North American and European teams to advance out of groups. The last team to make it to the quarterfinals was Albus NoX Luna, a Russian wildcard team that finished second in its group.[27]

Three teams from the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) circuit and one from the European League of Legends Championship Series (EULCS) made it to the semi-finals.[30] H2K-Gaming ended the wildcard run of Albus NoX by sweeping them 3–0 in the quarterfinals.[31] Meanwhile, the three Korean teams ended the runs of EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, the last two Chinese teams, and the run of Cloud 9, the last North American team.[24]

The semi-finals were held at Madison Square Garden in New York over two days.[32] SK Telecom T1 won a five-game series against the ROX Tigers, who had won the 2015 Summer League of Legends Championship Korea season and were favorites to win this event.[30] Many commentators called this matchup the true World Finals.[30] In the other semi-finals, Samsung Galaxy swept H2k-Gaming, the last European team in the tournament, 3–0 to advance to the finals.[30][32]

Finals[edit]

The Staples Center as used for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship finals.

The final lasted six hours and was played in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000 fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.[33] A projection of the minimap which showed each team's map control was shown on the floor of the arena between the two teams.[34] Most of the players for Samsung Galaxy (SSG) had never played in the finals before, while most members of SK Telecom (SKT) were returning members of the 2015 championship team.[35] It was the first finals series in a League of Legends world championship to go the full five games.[35]

The first match of the best of five series lasted 40 minutes and was won by SK Telecom,[35] who were able to attack Samsung Galaxy's undefended base after winning a big "all-in" battle between the two teams.[36] The second match was also won by SKT, who were able to continuously build up an insurmountable advantage after winning a battle in the mid-game,[36] ending the game after 31 minutes.[37]

After losing the first two games, Samsung Galaxy won a long third game against SK Telecom.[33] SKT dominated the early stages of the game and built up a lead in both kills and gold.[37] The turning point in this game was a fight over Baron, an important in-game objective, where Samsung Galaxy was able to kill half of SK Telecom's team and destroy two of their turrets afterwards.[37] After winning a similar engagement over Baron later in the game, Samsung Galaxy was then able to quickly destroy five of SKT's defensive towers and win the game.[36] This third game was the second-longest in competitive League of Legends history,[36] at 71 minutes and 20 seconds.[37]

Samsung Galaxy then won the fourth game, also after winning a key fight over Baron.[35] Despite losing two inhibitor buildings in their base, SKT was able to stall SSG with defensive play until the 42-minute mark, after which SSG took three Dragons – another in game objective – uncontested and gained buffs that allowed them to win the game.[37] In the final game, SK Telecom played a more cautious gameplay style, which was effective against Samsung Galaxy's riskier play.[37] SKT was able to grab two Baron kills and two Elder Dragon kills en route to winning the final game.[33]

SK Telecom's team shared a $2 million prize purse between its members.[33] The championship victory was SKT's third in four years, and a successful defense of their 2015 title.[33] SKT also became the first team to win three world championships.[30] ESPN's Timothy Lee called the finals "an instant classic".[37] SKT's Lee Sang-hyeok, who uses the handle "Faker", was named as the tournament MVP.[33] It was Faker's first Worlds MVP.[35] Faker's performance on the map's middle lane broke the previous 208 kills record at Worlds by the third map of the finals, and he ended up with 217 kills.[35]

Bracket[edit]

Competition table[38]
 
Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
 
          
 
October 14 – Chicago Theatre
 
 
South Korea SK Telecom T1 3
 
October 21 – Madison Square Garden
 
China Royal Never Give Up 1
 
South Korea SK Telecom T1 3
 
October 15 – Chicago Theatre
 
South Korea ROX Tigers 2
 
South Korea ROX Tigers 3
 
October 29 – Staples Center
 
China EDward Gaming 1
 
South Korea SK Telecom T1 3
 
October 16 – Chicago Theatre
 
South Korea Samsung Galaxy 2
 
United Kingdom H2K-Gaming 3
 
October 22 – Madison Square Garden
 
Russia Albus NoX Luna 0
 
United Kingdom H2K-Gaming 0
 
October 13 – Chicago Theatre
 
South Korea Samsung Galaxy 3
 
South Korea Samsung Galaxy 3
 
 
United States Cloud9 0
 

Final standings[edit]

Final standings, 2016[20][38][39]
Places Team Prize (USD)
1st South Korea SK Telecom T1 $2,680,000
2nd South Korea Samsung Galaxy $1,005,000
3rd–4th South Korea ROX Tigers $502,500
United Kingdom H2K-Gaming $502,500
5–8th United States Cloud9 $268,000
China EDward Gaming $268,000
China Royal Never Give Up $268,000
Russia Albus NoX Luna $268,000
9–11th United States Counter Logic Gaming $150,750
Taiwan ahq e-Sports Club $150,750
United States Team SoloMid $150,750
12–13th China I May $150,750
Taiwan Flash Wolves $83,750
14–16th Brazil INTZ e-Sports $83,750
Spain G2 Esports $83,750
Denmark Splyce $83,750

Legacy[edit]

Viewership numbers were higher than those for the 2015 League of Legends World Championship. 43 million unique viewers saw the finals and peak concurrent viewership for the finals was 14.7 million; 370 million hours of esports were streamed over the course of the entire world championship.[8] The final prize pool, which included fan contributions via purchase of in-game items, was worth $6.7 million.[8] The total cumulative daily unique impressions (the amount of unique viewers that tuned in every day via online and television channels) reached 396 million.[40]

LA 2024, which is overseeing the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, was inspired by the success of this edition of the League of Legends World Championship to plan and include esports in the Olympic Games if they win the bid.[41][42] Casey Wasserman, the chairman of LA 2024, suggested using technology used in certain segments of the League of Legends World Championship such as augmented reality and virtual reality to make the Olympic more accessible to a younger demographic.[41]

References[edit]

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