If someone told me ten years ago that people playing video games would generate a bigger audience than the NBA, NHL, and MLB, I would have laughed.
The Oceanic Pro League may have lost Rift Rivals, but as League of Legends fans, we all won.
Forgive me when I say that I wasn’t terribly hopeful for Oceania when news of an international tournament featuring our top teams against their Southeast Asian and Japanese teams reached my ears.
As much as I love the players and storylines that make up the OPL, I’m generally not in the mood to watch them get their asses kicked overseas.
I much prefer to live in ignorant bliss, where I can cleanly divide my attention between the high-level play of the LCK and the magnetic personalities of the OPL.
There’s another article somewhere in here about how our OPL representatives actually punched above their weight and found a clear direction to work towards in the wake of their tight match against the Garena Pro League, but I’ll leave those educated takes to people who know the game better than I do (and man, we have a lot of those guys. Riot made a great decision bringing out Coach Jish and some OPL players to cast and analyse the games).
For now, please put on your spectator glasses and try to see things as a diehard esports fan – which I’m sure you are.
The semifinals of Rift Rivals Pacific (that’s what I’m going to call it) featured a format that Riot Oceania dubbed ‘King of the Rift’.
It’s a cute name, but let’s call it what it really is – the all-kill format. Fans of StarCraft should immediately know what I mean, but if you haven’t brushed up on your ded gaemz, the all-kill format was the most popular format for team leagues in Brood War and StarCraft II.
The concept is simple: the first team to win four games wins the match. If you lose a game, you drop out of the match and are replaced with one of your teammates. When your last teammate falls, your team loses the match. An all-kill occurs when one player wipes out the entire team, and it’s considered to be a badge of honour among StarCraft players.
Now with all of that context out of the way, here are a few reasons why the all-kill format was an amazing choice for Rift Rivals, and why I’d like to see more of it in the future:
1. It makes the most sense for region-vs-region competitions.
No one cares if SKTelecom T1 knock out EDward Gaming. It’s expected – one team is the greatest of all time, and the other replaced Deft with a former Tier 4 mid laner who definitely has dirt on NoFe, because I can’t possibly comprehend how he has a spot on that roster.
What we do care about is if TSM is actually worse than the best three European teams, or if you actually have to go through eight Korean teams before you can find a single one that is capable of losing to ahq (I bet you do, by the way. bbq OLIVERS are the truth).
2. It creates regional unity, which I’m led to believe is a Good Thing.
When Sin Gaming knocked out Mineski and Ascension Gaming back-to-back, there wasn’t a single Juves hater in the room.
When GIGABYTE Marines got revenge for their fallen comrades, every Filipino and Thai esports fan probably started planning their next trip to a pho restaurant. Okay, maybe not that part.
3. The all-kill. Even better, the reverse all-kill.
It’s honestly one of the most hype things you can watch in an esports tournament. Thought SKT’s reverse sweep over KT Bullets back in the Paleozoic Era was hype? A reverse all-kill is basically the same thing, but with the addition of the victor being able to flex on his teammates as well as his opponents.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the beauty of the all-kill format. For homework, check out sKyHigh’s reverse all-kill over Hwaseung OZ (and their star player Jaedong) in the Shinhan Bank Winners League 08–09. If you aren’t a believer after watching that, it’s probably never going to happen.