After nearly eight months of international competition between the world's best League of Legends teams in North America, Europe, and Asia and an emotional rollercoaster for some, it all comes down to this. Korea's Azubu Frost and Taiwan's Taipei Assassins are to battle it out today for $1,000,000 at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.
Each team has had its own rough road to the finals. For Azubu Frost, much of it has come from the controversial moments in the quarter finals, rather than the matches themselves. After quick wins over Invictus Gaming, CLG Prime and SK Gaming in the group stage, Azubu Frost found themselves with America's best, Team SoloMid. SoloMid had been preparing for Azubu Frost ever since it was dismantled by Azubu Blaze at MLG's League of Legends Arena. That wasn't much concern for Frost, who quickly swept SoloMid in two straight matches.
Shortly after, evidence arose of multiple teams cheating by looking at the mini-map during the Internet outages, most notably from Azubu Frost Team Captain Jang "Woong" Gun-woong. An investigation by Riot led to a $30,000 fine imposed on Azubu Frost, but no overturning of the match itself. Azubu Frost then went on to knock out CLG EU a second straight time, advancing to the finals.
“We've played with TPA before many times, with each team having about equal information on each other. Because of this I think it'll be a very interesting game”, Azubu Frost AP Jung "RapidStar" Min-sung told GameSpot. “This is the world championships we've been preparing for. Now that we're here, we want to make sure we win it all.”
On the flip side, not many people expected the Taipei Assassins to be just one win away from claiming a million dollars. Not only that, but they are one win away from the first ever major eSports title for the nation of Taiwan across any competitive game. After getting a seeded-bye into the first round of the bracket, TPA managed two dominant performances when they were seen as the underdog in each. First came the destruction of the second Korean team NaJin Sword, a powerful squad who couldn't find a way in against TPA. No one was prepared for what would come in the semifinals though, against the other tournament favorite, Moscow 5. After a first game loss and being one map away from elimination, TPA turned the heat up on the back of top lane Wang "Stanley" June Tsan, who's Nidalee performance got them back in the game, and two dominating wins to clinch a finals shot.
"It was interesting to face M5.BenQ, since they are a strong team," Stanley said. "I have not played Nidalee in a while because she was never compatible with our strategies, so it was great picking her up again in this tournament. I know I'll have to continue this in the finals to maintain advantage and be stable throughout the matches."
1 Match. 1 Million dollars. Who will walk away the champion going into Riot's highly anticipated Season 3? Watch it all LIVE here on GameSpot starting at 5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST, and get up to speed with our coverage hub, which includes player interviews.