China tops South Korea in epic League of Legends showdown at the Asian Games 2018
Uzi took down Faker to move one step closer to a perfect year before the LoL World Championship
It was a showdown of epic proportions.
It pitted the two best countries in esports., between this year’s MVP and the greatest of all time. And it took place on a stage where esports had never been before.
China’s Uzi versus South Korea’s Faker was the highlight, but there was national pride at stake at the final of the League of Legends tournament at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Esports is just a demonstration sport at this year’s games, but millions tuned in to watch the epic battle.
And after three hours, China defeated South Korea 3-1, capping off an incredible year for Uzi.
Let’s tally it up. Uzi led his professional team RNG to glory in the Mid-Season Invitational. He led the Chinese league LPL to victory in Rift Rivals. And yesterday he closed the deal by leading his national team to victory.
South Korea came second in each of those events. Faker, long dubbed the greatest of all time in LoL, took another L (sorry, I couldn’t resist). But the 22-year-old is still way ahead of Uzi in the history books, leading Uzi in the world championships count by 3-0.
China’s netizens lost it after they won the gold medal. Actually, no: They lost it long before the tournament even started.
While state-run CCTV owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the Asian Games, it didn’t allocate any airtime for esports events in Jakarta, forcing millions of fans to watch unlicensed streams on Twitch.
But after the win, CCTV (along with other state media) were quick to extend their congratulations. Uzi was even singled out for his exceptional performance.
It's also worth noting that CCTV did a mini-documentary about the esports national team just weeks ahead of the Asian Games.
In the program, Uzi confessed that he was chased out of an internet cafe and beaten by his parents, over their suspicion that he was addicted to the internet when he first started gaming.
But now he Uzi deserves recognition with yesterday’s landmark win. The 21-year-old pulled an unbelievable 12-0-2 in the kill-death-assist column in Game 3. It’s like Kevin Durant’s epic 43-point Game 3 in this year’s NBA Finals when he drained a three in the face of LeBron James (who, in my mind, is the Faker of this situation).
Although Faker fell short in the finals, he got massive love from Chinese fans. On China’s Twitter -- Weibo -- last night’s top trending topic was “feels sorry for Faker”. Overall, four out of the top ten topics were LoL-related.
We’re already halfway through the esports competition at the Asian Games, with the Arena of Valor, Clash Royale and LoL competitions all done and dusted. China took the first esports gold at Arena of Valor on Sunday and grabbed silver in Clash Royale. In the coming days, there will be tournaments for StarCraft, Hearthstone and PES 2018.
There won’t be any Chinese players in those tournaments, but this could be the first step in China embracing esports in the future. After all, the next Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, where organizers say esports will be included as an official event.
And as for a sign of China’s growing love of esports… check out the team’s biggest fan.