As another exciting season of League of Legends finally came to a close, the event that players, fans, and spectators look forward to every year was also approaching: World Championship Finals. The top teams from regions around the world would once again fight for a chance to hoist up the Summoner’s Cup in a display of ultimate victory. This year, the final battle for the Cup was a showdown between European team Fnatic (FNC) and Chinese team Invictus Gaming (IG).
For five seasons straight, Korean teams SK Telecom T1 and Samsung White have dominated the international competitive scene, taking the Cup Worlds after Worlds. However, on November 3rd, 2018, a new victor of the League of Legends Championship Series was crowned: Invictus Gaming! For the first time in League of Legend’s history, a Chinese team won the Summoner’s Cup, nonetheless with a clean sweep 3-0 against worldwide fan-favorite team FNC. While IG isn’t new to the competitive League scene, they were inarguably the underdogs amongst their competitors, many of whom were considered giants in the LCS. In their seven years as a team, IG either had not made it to Worlds or failed entirely to make it past the first round. This year, however, they were able to turn it around, paving their way straight to the Summoner’s Cup, a legendary victory indeed for the Chinese league.
Here at UC Irvine, The Association of Gamers (TAG) hosted a Worlds Viewing Party for fans to come together to witness live which team would emerge victorious. The event began around midnight Friday and was expected to last until the early morning the next day. Even in the late hours in the midst of the closing midterm season, TAG was intent on making it happen, and fans showed their dedication by attending regardless of the potential allnighter.
Legendary pro player Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and famous League Challenger-tier YouTuber Matthew “Pants are Dragon” Nguyen made an unexpected appearance at the Viewing Party during the opening ceremony, stunning fans and the board alike. They were kind enough to take the time to talk to fans with plenty of pictures to go around. As the games began, they took a seat among the crowd and watched along the whole night through.
The LCS opening ceremony was unanimously a highlight of the night with its hype lineup. POP/STARS by K/DA, a song crafted around Riot Games’ new K-pop inspired skin set, captured the hearts of many fans. The song featured an animated music video, with the K-pop style shining through its presentation. Beyond that, Riot stunned spectators further by extending the scenes from the music video to the live stage, animating the champions to perform along their singers, (G)I-DLE, Madison Beer, and Jaira Burns.
The next song to follow was a special one. Every year, Riot commissions a song specially made for Worlds from professional music artists; groups featured at past ceremonies include Imagine Dragons and Zedd. During the opening ceremony, a montage was shown of past World Championship Finals leading up to the present, a fitting transition in introduction to this years designated World’s song: Rise, featuring beloved artists The Glitch Mob, Mako, The Word Alive, and Bobby of iKON. The new hit has made trending charts all over the globe, and the live reception did not disappoint.
While watching the games unfold, viewers were encouraged to follow along with Taunt, an app that allows spectators to play a competitive game of predictions during LCS matches. Taunt worked in real-time during the match, keeping its players on the edge of their seat as they competed with each other for who could call the match the best. Will Rookie get first blood on Caps? Where will Ning gank next? Viewers anxiously waited for their predictions to come to life, and cheers erupted as plays were called. The use of Taunt as an additional layer of viewer engagement brought more excitement to the Viewing Party by giving them a platform to test their ability to call the match. Furthermore, those with the highest points at the end even won prizes!
TAG held raffles and distributed free merch all throughout the night. From freebies at the entrance, to brand new HyperX peripherals, limited edition Pulsefire Twisted Fate skins, a big poro plush, and vinyl figurines, the prizes were all valuable and the possibility of winning one was exciting. Even though they gave away a lot at this event, TAG will surely have have much more in store for future events as well. Consider coming to upcoming TAG events to snatch some prizes for yourself while supporting the gaming community here at UC Irvine!
Article by Gianeen Almaria
Editing by Nathan Dhami
Photography by Alice Lee