“There is so little chance of a steal,” the announcer said amidst a series of breathless exclamations. A moment later, me and the 11,000 other people in Madison Square Garden were all losing our shit.
The Saturday games for third place in the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) were definitely the most thrilling ones of the weekend (except for maybe the EU LCS finals matches, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). The fourth game was particularly tense, with Team Impact (TiP) and Team Liquid trading kills back and forth over the course of several nail-bitingly close fights. The balance of the match kept ebbing and flowing, Team Liquid seeming to take the lead at one moment, before TiP pulled ahead again a minute or less later.
TiP seemed like it was going to seal the deal around the 33 minute mark, when they took out Team Liquid’s Nautilus player. Nautilus — a big beefy dude who vaguely resembles a Big Daddy from BioShock — was the beefiest character on their team, so Team Liquid had little to not chance of surviving a team fighting without him being there to soak up damage and divert the enemy team’s attention.
Since Team Liquid was down a tank, TiP decided to go for Baron — a large and hard-to-kill NPC monster that normally takes a whole team to kill. Against all odds, Team Liquid’s Orianna player decided to still attempt to steal the kill from them, even though she didn’t have any teammates around to support her contesting TiP.
Watch what happened next in the clip below. Orianna is the player at the top right of the screen, TiP are all the people attacking the big worm monster (baron) below:
The floating metal ball thing is a unique part of Orianna’s kit; she throws it out and uses her abilities to make it do different sorts of (mostly deadly) things. In this specific instance, she cast her ability “Command: Shockwave,” which, per the name, makes the ball send out a shockwave of damage and pulls enemies caught within its range back towards the ball.
What makes this particularly impressive is that Command: Shockwave only triggers after a short delay. That means that Team Liquid’s Fenix had to time it at exactly the right moment to deal that last bit of damage to get credit for the kill.
Once Baron was dead, Team Liquid received a huge performance boost that made pushing through TiP’s last lines of defences easy work. The game, which seemed to be treading on a knife edge for the first 34 minutes or so, was all but over.
….and who said eSports players didn’t have proper ball-handling skills just like their analogue sports counterparts?