Samsung Galaxy ushered in a new era in competitive League of Legends early Saturday morning when it swept SK Telecom T1 in spectacular fashion during the 2017 League of Legends World Championship finals in Beijing.
For the past four years, there has been one name that stood out above all other names when it comes to competitive League of Legends: SK Telecom T1. During the years that name has become synonymous with victory, and with good reason. Until today, SKT had won every World Championship it's participated in.
In the minds of many, SKT wasn't just the best team in the world, it was the best team that ever would be.
Yet Samsung Galaxy made defeating these supposed gods look simple. Not only did Samsung beat SKT, it did so in the most dramatic fashion possible with a full sweep of the three-time champions. Not since SKT defeated Star Horn Royal Club back in 2013 has there been a completely one-sided World finals, and even that performance wasn't as convincing as this one.
It was clear who the better team on the Rift was, and for once in their careers it wasn't SKT.
SKT still fielded the best player in the match, though. If anything, this series was just another example of just how vital Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is to SKT, as the team lived and died by his performance. It was his Ryze that started to turn the series back around for SKT after a completely one-sided Game 1. And if the reigning world champions had managed to mount a comeback, there's no question that it would have been on the back of Faker's broad shoulders.
It's only fitting, then, that the series ended with a pick onto Faker, one that was initiated by none other than Samsung AD carry Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk, who flashed forward to catch Faker with his Chains of Corruption -- a fitting revenge considering it was Faker that buried Ruler and Samsung Galaxy after Ruler made an equally aggressive flash play at the end of Worlds 2016.
But while there's no doubt that Faker remains the best player in the world, he was not the best player on the day.
That accolade belonged entirely to Ruler, the man who was previously best known for singlehandedly throwing Game 5 of Worlds 2016 and will now be best known for taking down the Unkillable Demon King himself. Even if Ruler hadn't ended the series all on his own, he would still have come out as a strong MVP contender, as his play over the course of the series was simply immaculate. His Xayah in both of the first two games was incredible to behold, as he seamlessly Featherstormed over every attempt on his life and made his enemies pay for their attempts to harm his person with their lives.
Samsung's victory was a direct result of Ruler's outstanding play. In Game 1, it was his laning prowess that allowed Samsung to take the first turret early in the game and starve SKT out of the game completely. Game 2 was no less impressive, as it was Ruler's Featherstorm layered on top of Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong's Cataclysm that turned the game around in Samsung's favor.
It is his Game 3 accomplishment that will go down in history, however. Samsung was pushed to the brink of defeat by SKT, but Ruler managed to find the vital pick onto Faker that ended the game, and the series, in favor of Samsung.