REDemption: LPL Wins Rift Rivals 2017 Asian Region

After four days of intense competition, the Chinese League of Legends division, LPL, triumphed in the Rift Rivals 2017 Asian region tournament against the LCK (Korea) and the LMS (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao).

The first day of competition saw China with 2 wins and 2 losses (1 win and 1 loss to both LMS and LCK). Teams Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and OMG each won games, while OMG also lost a game along with EDward Gaming (EDG). The fourth LPL team, WE, did not play until day two. The second day seemed to spell certain doom for the LPL, as they went 0-4. RNG lost to KT Rolster (LCK), EDG lost to J Team (LMS), WE lost to Flash Wolves (LMS) and WE lost SKT (LCK). Luckily, the teams seemed to learn from their mistakes and rallied on day 3 to win against the LMS for their place in the finals against LCK with three wins and two losses. The final game was close, with coaches choosing to put forward Flash Wolves on the LMS side and WE on the LPL side. While analysts thought RNG would have been a better choice, WE showed everybody why they’re ranked the best team in China.

On today, the fifth and final day of Rift Rivals 2017 Asian region, analysts and fans were certain the LPL would lose to the LCK, and it seemed the best they could hope for would be to not lose 0-3. Korea has dominated the League of Legends scene, bringing home the last four World Championship titles. In 2016 they placed three teams in the top four, and in 2015 they placed two teams in the top four. In 2013 and 2014 they faced Chinese teams in the World Championship finals, and since then the LPL has been on a decline. They did not place in the top four in neither 2015 nor 2016. Today, though, they showed that they’re still a competitive region, and should not be easily dismissed.

The first match of the day went to the LPL when EDG won against Samsung Galaxy. Game two also went to the LPL, with WE triumphing over powerhouse juggernaut SKT, who holds three World Championship titles under their belt. Game three went to the LCK’s KT Rolster over WE. Game four was RNG against MVP, and in this game the favored team was RNG, who had shown a stronger performance over the course of the tournament than MVP. Ultimately, they won the game with 13 kills and 10 towers to MVP’s 14 kills and 3 towers.

Importantly, Rift Rivals runs a different format from the World Championship, and is much more casual. For the Asian region, instead of playing best of five, teams only played one game against each other. There was also no real title to win—it was just a friendly regional tournament, the first of its kind for League of Legends. This, however, didn’t stop the emotional outpouring that happened when LPL won—even the Chinese casters were in tears. When your coaches have doubt and your fans have doubt, but you come out on top, then one can say this was truly a story of redemption.

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