The All Star Event is the final major League of Legends tournament of the year, in which the world’s favourite players will battle it out over four days. Unlike other tournaments, it is not for world champion status or huge cash rewards: it is for regional pride and glory.
Fans have voted for their favourite players from the top eight regions of the world -Europe, Turkey, North America, Brazil, China, Korea, South-East Asia and Taiwan- to represent them in five-person teams. Typically many of these players play against each other on opposing teams, as in club football or rugby, but here they are brought together to claim global supremacy. Imagine the England football team being chosen by a public vote, instead of Gareth Southgate.
For European fans, that means players from the European League Championship Series are coming from three teams to work together. Players all use pseudonyms rather than real names, and so Paul ‘sOAZ’ Boyer, Marcin ‘Jankos’ Jankowski, Tristan ‘PowerOfEvil’ Schrage, Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson, and Lee ‘IgNar’ Dong-geun will represent Europe.
The tournament will begin with a round-robin group stage. Split into two groups of four, each team will play each other once, with the top two performing teams from each group moving on to the semi-finals.
The semi finals will be a best-of-three series, with the winners moving on to a best-of-five final to be crowned the All-Stars 2017 champion.
There is also a smaller one-on-one tournament taking place for individual players. Typically, League of Legends has teams of five, but 1v1 tournaments put players against each other in a test of their own skill and knowledge. Two players from each region are competing in this tournament (with Europe represented by Tristan ‘PowerOfEvil’ Schrage and Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson), and the first person to be defeated in each game is knocked out through the first elimination stages.
Most people are expecting the Korea to come out on top with good reason. At the League of Legends World Championships, Korean teams dominated the rest of the world, resulting in an all-Korean final, and this All-Stars 2017 is made up of players from reigning world champions Samsung Galaxy and last year’s world champions SK Telecom T1.
01 Jan 2018,12:00pm
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But the format of unfamiliar players from different teams working together means it could be anybody’s tournament. Brazil, while typically underdogs, excel in absurd situations, so are likely to come out with at least one win in the group stages due to the unorthodox nature of the teams.
Europe, meanwhile, have a relatively safe group. While they’re up against Korea in their first game of the group stages, their other opponents Turkey and Taiwan, aren’t expected to perform as well. Coming first would be the European dream, but with Korea in the group second is perhaps a more realistic target. Needless to say, the match between Europe and Korea will almost certainly be one of the more fascinating tussles.
If Europe do get through, there’s a chance they’ll be able to play against North America. Between those two regions lies the greatest rivalry - ever since League of Legends has had professional play, Europe and North America have been butting heads, and in a tournament for glory, that’s only going to be more intense.
The Chinese team are likely to be coming along with flair, and you can never tell what the Brazilian team will be cooking up: there’s no 4-4-2 ‘safe’ strategy in League of Legends, and this is the perfect tournament for teams to do something truly wild.
In the one-on-one tournament, many people will be looking to Korean superstar Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok as the favourite. His biggest competition is Jian ‘Uzi’ Zi-Hao from China. The two are in separate groups, meaning that the only way they can face off would be if they both go all the way, making for an explosive finale.
You can watch the event on the official site, lolesports.com, or on YouTube or streaming platform Twitch.