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League of Legends
League of Legends
World

2016 In Esports: League Of Legends

We all start to feel a little nostalgic as the year comes to a close, and let’s face it 2016 hasn’t been the greatest for the planet. But for esports fans it’s been perhaps the best yet with the industry growing exponentially, more fans, teams and matches than ever before and certainly a moment or five of exceptional competition. As perhaps the biggest esport in the industry League Of Legends and its numerous regional leagues and the world championship undoubtedly led to many an incredible play. Join us as we celebrate a year of LoL esports.

An Ashe arrow to save the game

There are some moments that happen during esports competitions that can be equal parts funny and impressive, and this is one such situation. And with the World Championship Semifinals the place it happened, what a stage for such a moment. For a bit of context, ROX Tigers is trailing in the series against SK Telekom by only a single game and has built up a sizeable lead of 8k gold in the second game. A teamfight begins in the middle of the map that, though not decisive, ultimately goes to ROX and they begin to push into the base, beginning to take inhibs. As they push, Pray spots SKT’s Duke teleporting into the base to help with its defence. Pray send’s Ashe’s ultimate - her huge, map-wide arrow with a massive stun time over distance - careening towards Duke’s position. Just as the TP is about to activate, Duke is struck and left stunned, preventing him from recalling a little while longer and weakening the defence just long enough for ROX to claim the game as theirs.

Albus NoX Luna

For a small period during the year we all suffered from a fever, one caused by Russian team Albus NoX Luna. The wildcard side had found its way into the quarterfinals of Worlds, the first wildcard to ever achieve it. It wasn’t the smoothest of battles for the team, but ANX built up quite a fanbase courtesy of its its erratic play style, its nature as an underdog from the CIS region and the humble interviews with the likes of Likkrit. Of course ANX found itself promptly booted from the tournament quite handily, and all that hype dissipated almost as soon as it began, but it was still a significant moment in League Of Legends esports this year.

Double Clutch Save

Another moment here that will force a smile from any League fan, but one that resulted in an incredible final few minutes of the Summer Split game between G2 Esports and Vitality. It had already been a pretty intense match of back and forth with no clear victory, but on two occasions it had seemed like Vitality was done for. The first began as G2 looked ready to finish off the match, two of its players using global teleports to get them inside the base to bring the assault up to three. As they bring down the Nexus towers, a teamfight ensures with G2 mostly focusing the tower. They didn’t focus quite enough, however, leaving just a slither of health before all three are brought down with the Nexus still standing. About three or four minutes left, with Vitality’s Nexus slightly recovered, G2 begins its siege once more. As a teamfight begins, Trick looks to sneak in and only focus down the tower. Vitality spot this, back down and take on tanky Trick who is then accompanied one by one by the rest of the team. Impossibly, somehow Vitality manages to keep the Nexus alive once more, evening wiping out the whole of G2 in that one fight and - at 48 minutes in - it was a decisive enough Ace that meant Vitality could push on and claim victory for itself.

LeBlanc Quadra

Unless it’s done to us, it’s always fun to see insane burst just obliterate a team. One of the best examples of this simple pleasure come from LeBlanc (of course) as played by Splyce’s Sencux during the EU LCS Spring Split. Giants are trying to siege the Splyce base and with no significant lead for either side and a number of towers still to take on it’s a risk. All the same the Giants manage to pick off two of Splyce’s members, crawling inside the base before beginning to back off. Sencux isn’t about to let this go unpunished, however, and after racing from the base explodes into the pack of four Giants, instantly taking out the three weakened players before finishing off Xpepii with his remaining burst abilities. It’s not especially important in the grand scheme of the games, but it’s certainly a spectacle to witness.

H2K’s dominant close to a match

H2K Gaming were the team Europeans were shouting for at Worlds this year. It’s usually the case as most of the WCS is populated with Chinese and Korean teams, but here was H2K Gaming once again staking a claim for a potential European win. This particular moment comes from the group stage in a game against INTZ, a great example of the sort of team that H2K Gaming could be. The match itself was a stomping by H2K, but when an ambush by INTZ caught a large portion of H2K off guard it could have been enough to turn the game around. Instead H2K react immediately, pushing back, taking out two members of INTZ before the remainder of H2K is now in the top lane. H2K left the disadvantageous situation without a single player lost, suddenly giving them the opportunity to push on for victory alongside super minions.