K/DA are the new queens of K-pop. The group dropped “POP/STARS,” its debut single, on Saturday in Incheon, Korea, in front of a live audience of 50,000 with millions more watching online. Its music video has racked up more than 14 million views in the past two days and has garnered fans even outside the K-pop scene.
Don’t let singing, dancing and augmented-reality League of Legends champions distract you, though — more than one star was born at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Final.
Fans and analysts alike anticipated an intense, back-and-forth, five-game series between Invictus Gaming (IG) and Fnatic (FNC), two teams that appeared to be more equal in skill than any previous finals matchup.
In the end, however, it wasn’t even close.
Invictus Gaming blew out Fnatic 3-0 in a 90-minute series (the shortest in finals history), becoming the first Chinese team to lift the Summoner’s Cup and leaving no doubt that IG is the best team in the world.
Only winning, winning now
Each match was clearly dominated by IG, as the team easily transformed early advantages into game-winning leads. Its rare missteps, including a Baron stolen by FNC jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen without Smite, were never enough to allow FNC back into the game.
A standout performance from jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning won him the title of Finals MVP. His ganks grabbed the early kills that allowed IG to run away early in the series, effectively enabling his mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin and top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok to take over in games 1 and 2, respectively.
Seventeen-year-old Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo, who only became old enough to play in the Chinese professional league this year, made his first World Championship performance a hard one to top. He ended game 3 with a score of 13/0 on Kai’sa, picking up kills left and right with the help of Ning and his laning partner, Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi.
Under the spotlights in Incheon, IG proved that it wasn’t just good enough to struggle to the top; it was better, rising with unprecedented ease. The victory marks a deeply important moment for fans of Chinese League of Legends.
As a region that has suffered huge international disappointment over the years, to win it all is to be redeemed. The image of IG mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin overcome with emotion beside the tournament trophy moved viewers all over the world.
While golden confetti rained on the Chinese team, the K/DA lyrics that were blasted on the same stage merely a few hours earlier echoed back.
“They could try but we’re gonna wear the crown / Wish you luck but you’re not bringing us down.”