The League of Legends Worlds has recently come to a close, capping off another exciting season of professional play. Since the finals have finished, the winds of change have been sending waves throughout the entire League of Legends community. Some players seem excited for what’s to come, while others are vowing to turn their back on the game. One player even seems certain that he will take down any challenger that steps in the way, because some League of Legends fans made his little sister cry, but he will have to learn how to install it first. While this is all in jest, League of Legends fans have had a lot to talk about in the past month.
Now seems the perfect time to take a look back on the 2017 League of Legends season, and look forward to changes sure to be made in the 2018 season. In this article, I’ll discuss how Worlds went down, the preseason changes, and how both of these things are likely to change the competitive scene.
Results of the League of Legends Worlds 2017
This year’s League of Legends World Championships became one for the record book when the event ended with Samsung Galaxy taking down SK Telecom T1 in a rematch from last year’s World Championships. The finals were closely and intensely fought, adding another chapter to one of League of Legend’s premier rivalries. When Samsung Galaxy took a two-game lead early on, a caster remarked that SK Telecom T1 had them exactly where they wanted them. Another game later, this caster was proven incorrect. The match moved to game 3, and the tension continued to build. SK Telecom T1 made an unforeseen roster change, which seemed to be working into the mid-game. Unfortunately, this only got them so far. Despite taking the early lead, a mistake by SK player Blank was taken advantage of, and Samsung Galaxy managed to secure a baron and move the game to overtime. With the match impossibly close, a well-performed flash took SKT’s star Faker off guard, securing the win for Samsung Galaxy. To top it off, the Samsung Galaxy roster was unchanged from last year’s loss, which must have been a great moment of redemption for the players involved.
What the League of Legends Worlds 2017 Results Mean for the 2018 Season
The first thing we can learn from the 2017 League of Legends World Championships is that teams located outside of Asia have some catching up to do, especially North American teams. Walking into the event with middling stats, they walked out largely the same. 2017 is another year that Asian teams, two teams we have seen at this stage often, dominated the finals. Not only should Western teams be hunkering down in the offseason, but any teams who aren’t Samsung Galaxy should be looking to bolster their roster right now. I don’t expect Samsung Galaxy to rest on their laurels, but I expect any team looking to take the crown from them should be practicing twice as much right now.
The second thing that became clear is that SK Telecom T1 isn’t as good as they used to be. While they’re clearly still one of the best teams out there, they have been on the decline this season. Roster changes and some amount of complacency have clearly crept in. This is sure to be a huge hit to team morale, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them move down the ladder in the future. This information shouldn’t be taken as gospel, though. SK Telecom T1 at their worst are likely still going to make Worlds again next year, and the first pains of loss that they’ve had in years may light a fire under them. Roster changes should be expected, though it’s interesting that Faker was the Achilles heel in their final game. Will he stay as a star member of the team? Will he be suspended for a season, or even replaced? Will he decline even further?
These are all questions we’re asking heading into the 2018 season.
Tristana was the most picked champion at Worlds 2017, with about 69 players under her belt. Unfortunately, representation did not lead to a higher win percentage. Ultimately, Malzahar players had a win percentage of 81.8%, followed closely by Kalista—who was the most banned champion—at 80%. This will make the meta interesting going into 2018, though perhaps not as much as other factors I’ll discuss shortly. These numbers imply that Kalista is at least slightly oppressive, which may require some patching. Tristana and Malzahar seem fine, and we may begin to see Malzahar, or a counter to him, more during pro level play. If you are a next-level esports better, you should be watching this meta evolve now. Having a strong grasp of the meta going into the next season will put you far above the competition.
How Will the Preseason Changes Affect Pro-Level Play?
While Worlds is going to shake up the meta heading into 2017, it won’t shake it up nearly as much as the recent patch released by Riot Games will. Changing the entire rune system, players will now have many more options for playstyle. Expecting the public to love this change, Riot Games was taken aback by the outcry. One website ran an article titled “Get Ready to Relearn League of Legends” to announce the changes. The article went on to further lambast the changes by creating a list of important changes, which included one item: the controversial Runes Reforged system.
Riot seems to be looking to fix its onboarding process, making it easier for people’s little sisters to play, but it’s come at the expense of many enfranchised players. It would be silly to assume that the game is dying, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the entirety of the pro scene to be shaken up.
Players will come, players will leave, and new strategies will be invented.
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