Recently, Australian League of Legends team Chiefs headed over to Istanbul to terrorise the Turkish tournament with gory ganks and flashy wombo combos, in the hopes of qualifying for the World Championships later this year. The Chiefs didn't quite make it — but they got the furthest we've ever been in an international competition, and that should be celebrated.
Riot has been taking steps globally to lift the game in quieter regions to the level of international competition. It sees itself performing a FIFA type role, giving everyone an avenue to eSports success. Local pro players get paid for every game, which is unlike anything Australia has had in eSports yet.
With a dominant second half of the season going nearly undefeated, the Chiefs were our best chance yet to knock 'em dead overseas. After attending the packed Australian finals at Luna Park in Sydney to watch them convincingly beat Legacy eSports, I was excited. I don't play League or even really care about it, but I know enough about the game now to understand the good plays, but I was getting excited about the prospect of the Chiefs doing well overseas. And they didn't disappoint.
Fast forward to Istanbul, and the Chiefs had an intense series against rival team Bangkok Titans. In the group stage, the Chiefs started out winning the first game, with something like 10 kills to 3 deaths, when technical difficulties caused the match to halt, forcing a later replay and making our local commentators show their skill in expertly waffling on while waiting for issues to be resolved.
If I had to restart a match I was already clearly winning, I'd be a bit mad. Luckily, the Chiefs won the replay. You can watch that below.
Alas, it wasn't to be. Not yet. After doing very well in the group, the Chiefs would encounter Bankkok Titans again in the final, and this time things went a little differently:
Well done to the Chiefs for getting us as far as we've ever been, and hopefully next time we'll get to the World Finals. The experience gained will be invaluable and will hopefully lift the local community as well. If you want to watch some more of what went down in Istanbul, you can check out the game vs Detonation FM and the game vs Dark Passage.
In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye on our next potential overseas win, as Team Immunity heads to the Americas Championship to compete in Heroes of the Storm. Wish them luck — their first opponent is Cloud9.