Flash Wolves Enter MSI With The Unofficial World Championship Belt On The Line

The Unofficial World Championship Belt: League of Legends’ entirely metaphorical, yet long-standing historical title. Outside of the eSports world, a number of traditional fighting sports title their World Champions by succession; beating the previous holder of the title crowning the victor as the new World Champion. Over the course of six competitive seasons and almost 100 competitive matches, Flash Wolves are the current holders of the figurative championship belt.

There are a number of generally agreeable rules that have lead to the belts journey into the hands of the LMS champions: disbanded teams have resulted in the belt passing to its previous owner and since 2014, premier events and their qualifiers have been counted, a change in the rules due to the overall increase in stability of the eSports scene.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

The concept of the unofficial World Championship belt was conceived with the first world champion, Fnatic. Since that fabled European victory back in 2011, the belt has travelled all over the world… paying little attention to actual team strength when crowning the new reigning world champs.

Typically, once a team takes the belt home from an international event, it will almost-inevitably bounce around inside the regular split games until its next chance to escape… even the innocuous NA LCS squad Team 8 held the belt for a while.

Having shifted to the Korean region with SK Telecom T1’s victory over Counter Logic Gaming at the Mid-Season Invitational, the belt changed hands frequently during the summer split of the LCK. The ROX Tigers donned the belt heading into Group A of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, having dominated the later stages of Korea’s prime time competition.

Group A was entirely unpredictable – wildcard entree Albus NoX Luna defied every analytical prediction to emerge as the group’s second seed. At the end of week 1, Counter Logic Gaming defeated the ROX Tigers to claim the belt as their own, before ANX later upset the American outfit and stole it for the CIS region. In their last game of the competition and with their fate already sealed, G2 eSports stole a game away from Albus Nox, passing the belt along to G2 without an opportunity for it to be taken away from them.

Unbeaten domestically for over a year, G2 eSports held the belt until the final of the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, where Taiwanese champions Flash Wolves claimed their first piece of silverware for 2017. As a dominant force in the LMS, Flash Wolves were not troubled by the prospect of losing the precious metaphorical title and head into the Mid-Season Invitational with the figurative belt tied around their waists.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

With the Taiwanese squad expected to stick around for the duration of the tournament in Brazil, the belt will have a number of chances to change hands once more.

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