The All-Star Event emphasized the regional tournament this year as dream teams from the top eight regions duked it out for glory. There were some major upsets, highlighted by Korea failing to even make it to the grand final. And while the GPL couldn't send their A team, they certainly didn't just send a B team to replace them. No, they sent the SEA team, who knocked off the hometown favorite NA LCS All-Stars to secure an unlikely trip to the Semifinals.
But the two teams who seemed most prepared for the event were definitely the LPL All-Stars and the LMS All-Stars. It was a clash of preparation against relaxation. The LPL team practiced leading up to the event whereas the LMS team focused on having fun to alleviate the pressure they placed on themselves.
That strategy seemed to be unstoppable as the LMS jumped out to a convincing Game 1 victory. Jungler Karsa had an essentially perfect game on Jarvan and helped snowball the LMS dream team right through the LPL defenses. It seemed they would continue their roll, and the world might suddenly be aware of up and coming mid laner Fofo.
Uzi and the LPL dream team, though, had other ideas. After the stunning defeat, they rallied for three straight victories. Game 2 was standard fair, even if the LPL team seemed slow in closing. That, ultimately, may have been foreshadow for Game 3, which is a game that will now live on in infamy.
The 80 minute affair saw a whole lot of nothing happen -- it was false start after false start when it came to team fights. It was like an infinitely recurring sequence at a four-way stop where nobody knows whose turn it is to go. They would smack each other and nobody would die. We even saw Karsa's Lee Sin build a Zhonya's -- don't try this at home!
Game 4 started out like it would be a routine victory. It seemed as if the LMS had no fighting spirit left after the nature of Game 3, but they persevered. From the depths of who knows where they managed to summon strength to mount a stand against the LPL onslaught. Pick after pick let them trickle back into the game, which forced another stalemate between the two regions until the LMS finally pushed ahead. A quadra kill from retiring ADC and LMS star Bebe sealed the deal and forced one final Silver Scrapes.
Uzi would not be denied this time. In locking in Ezreal -- one of the strongest champions in the pre-season meta -- he played flawlessly to guarantee he would not be sent home in defeat again. In addition, Mlxg -- known for inconsistency -- showed up in a big way this game to help his fellow RNG teammate. The LMS dream team secured an early advantage and managed to maintain it for the bulk of the game.
That snowballed after they managed to break the game open with a Baron buff -- after that, it was just a matter of playing safely to secure the game. They’d learn their lesson from the Game 4 debacle. Or so we thought.
Thanks to another Baron steal from Karsa (someone report him to the authorities!), the LMS clawed back into the game and forced one more stalemate. Just as you thought one team was going to win, the other struck back. One counterpunch after another turned the game into the game into a wild holiday-season ride. Finally, though, the proverbial camel's back was broke thanks to the LPL securing an Elder Dragon. One final fight that started with Uzi getting caught turned out to be a trap, and the LPL won.
And thus the LPL ended the year in a series that seemed to have a will of its own -- one that didn’t want the year to end at all. This was Uzi’s first championship as a part of a team, and perhaps this may serve to signal as the end of his shortcomings.
Because it was a rather short event, though, it is the 1v1 championship belt that Uzi may end up remembering more. People have long believed he is the best mechanical player in the world, and the 1v1 tournament championships only contribute to that belief. While Bjergsen demonstrated an ability to generate big CS leads, he fell in a tight 3 game set. Uzi's understanding of trade patterns may be unparalleled in the world.
And thus another year of competitive League of Legends has come and gone. 2017 was one of my favorite years for League esports, and this event was an exciting conclusion to all that I love about the game. Here are my three favorite moments from the year:
1. Misfits Gaming taking SK telecom T1 to five games in the Worlds Quarterfinals.
2. Spending time among the thunderous Brazilian crowd in Rio de Janeiro as SKT prevailed over G2 Esports.
3. *Personal bias alert* Watching FlyQuest take on Cloud9 for the first time in the NA LCS Spring Split.
What were your favorite moments from All-Stars and from 2017 in general? Let me know in the comments below! And thank you for helping us build League of Legends esports into something special. We'll see you next year!