The world’s two greatest League of Legends teams do battle tonight in a million-dollar best-of-five match for the League of Legends World Championship title. While Azubu Frost was a heavy favorite coming into the tournament and is still the favorite tonight, Taipei Assassins have shown a knack for beating the odds, taking out Korea’s fearsom NaJin Sword before beating the other tournament favorite, the renowned Moscow 5.
Tonight’s final streams live on Twitch, with the broadcast starting at 1:30 UK / 8:30 Eastern.
While Azubu Frost were always one of the teams expected to make it to the final, their tournament performance has been tarnished since getting caught cheating in their match against Team SoloMid. Riot fined them $30,000 for the infraction, but allowed them to continue in the tournament. Riot admitted during yesterday’s press day that they never intended to become “league commissioners” for League of Legends, but that’s exactly what the role they’ve had to start playing over the course of this tournament. It definitely seems like Azubu Frost’s punishment was mitigated by Riot’s own awareness that it was their flawed stage layout that caused the incident (and several others throughout last weekend).
Riot have ostensibly fixed last weekend’s problems as a part of changing venues and rebuilding their stage, as well as fixing the connectivity problems that crashed the quarterfinals last Saturday. Riot’s eSports chief Dustin Beck explained that their developers worked on creating a “tournament in a box” setup that would allow play to continue even if the venue itself lost its connection to the internet. It’s not quite LAN play, Riot were at pains to explain, but it sounds like it enables the tournament server to be hosted on-site. If that fails, Beck promised, they have double and triple redundancies in place. With the USC internet connection, and a microwave connection to a Riot data center, the Finals should be safe from everything shy of a nuclear attack.
Safer, at any rate, than Azubu Frost is from Taipei Assassins. The Assassins have been the surprise of the tournament to date, sneaking up on a series of unsuspecting opponents and then beating them to death with superb champion selection and game-planning. In their victories, they have lived up to their name, customizing a plan to counter their opponents’ preferred style and forcing them to play the game on Assassins’ terms. It should make for a fascinating game series against Azubu Frost, for those who can stay awake for it.