League of Legends is celebrating 10th birthday in just a few days and there are plenty of top 10 lists that can go with it. For starters, here are top 10 iconic moments across esports and patches.
Riot Games certainly had ups and downs over League's 10 years of existence and this list will include both. It does not serve as a "top 10 best moments" writeup but rather a walk down the memory lane to juggle everyone's nostalgia for the things that happened over the game's past decade.
Since these lists will lead up to a celebration, let's make sure we wrap up on a positive note and start with the memories not everyone will remember in a good light.
Patch 4.5 Feral Flare
League of Legends' Season 4 will probably be remembered for many great things and fans that don't like the current state of the game usually lament the good things they had back then. This goes doubly so for the auto-attacking jungler enthusiasts, such as Master Yi, Shyvana and Udyr mains. It was in this season, at patch 4.5 that Feral Flare was introduced.
The item's power scaled indefinitely based on jungle camp kills, making champions already capable of carrying matches into unstoppable machines of destruction. It was certainly strong enough to make it one of the iconic messes Riot Games made in League but also to propel a certain G into LoL stardom.
Patch 4.20 Warwick
Considering that Riot Games managed to exceed the ridiculousness of Feral Flare with this patch, it is safe to say it was aptly named and Riot's balancing team was high on something other than love for League. Warwick used to be powerful during Feral Flare's prime but he turned into an absolute monstrosity during the days of the Mary Jane patch as he gained access to Skirmisher's Sabre.
It allowed him to Smite a single champion, use his ulti and delete said champion in a matter of seconds. Quicksilver Sash didn't help because the damage was still too high for the squishies to survive.
Patch 5.12 Ezreal
By Season 5, Riot already started a trend of ridiculously powerful items in off-season days. Such was the case with the Runeglaive enchantment for Smite, which gave Ezreal superpowers. It was basically the same as Skirmisher's Sabre Warwick, except Ezreal's cooldown on erasing an enemy champion was much lower. Bjergsen tried this obscenity out and you can see the results on the video below.
Patch 5.16 Mordekaiser
It was indeed a dark time for League as Riot barely managed to get rid of overpowered items when they introduced an overpowered rework. Mordekaiser will definitely go down in history as the champion the balancing team had the most trouble with, in part due to bugs but also due to their numerous oversights.
One such oversight was the scaling on his Mace of Spades, following the Juggernaut Rework during patch 5.16. Just like the previous two cases, Morde could instantly pop an enemy on a fairly short cooldown but he also gained massive shields while doing so. He really was League's numero uno and a good way to transition from infamous to truly iconic moments.
inSec at All-Star Event, Shanghai 2013
If there is ever a time to pull a flashy move, it's during All-Star Events. KT Rolster's inSec grabbed the opportunity with both hands and forever changed how the world saw mechanically gifted Lee Sin players.
The move involved hitting Lee's Q and while in flight towards the target, dropping a ward behind the target's back in order to kick it into Lee's team. A flash may or may not be used in the process to spice things up but the move that started it all didn't have flash involved. After inSec kicked YellowPete into his team, the world remained dazed for a few moments as no one could quite comprehend the awesome move that every Lee Sin aspirant would adopt after that. For that reason, it is no wonder at all that the manoeuvre remained forever known as the inSec Kick.
It is not entirely known when it was the first time that MadLife graced us with his incredible predictions but his game feel and mechanics made sure that an iconic move bore his name for years to come.
Essentially, the term MadLife hook is used when a player predicts a dash, flash or any other mobility modifier that would quickly transport an enemy from one point to another, resulting in a hook that prevents a grand escape. It all looks better in practice so here is a compilation of MadLife doing the thing he became renowned for. The video opens with one such hook.
XPeke backdoor at IEM Katowice 2013
Younger League of Legends players may find themselves puzzled when they backdoor an enemy Nexus and someone starts yelling "XPEKE" in chat. There is, however, a good reason excited players are yelling xPeke's name in such situations as he is one of the few players that have a move named after them.
During IEM Katowice 2013, SK Gaming ruined Fnatic's base but the counterattack brought SK's base down to ruins, with both Nexus towers gone. SK managed to wipe almost the entire Fnatic squad in the process and since this was late game, the death timers were too long for the black and orange team to defend their base remnants. Enter xPeke, who teleported out of the jungle right in front of SK's Nexus and proceeded to dismantle it while dodging enemy fire.
The ending was so dramatic that it left SK Gaming in disbelief, even pushing some of them into tears. Fast forward, something slightly similar would occur but more on that later.
Faker vs Ryu, HOT6iX finals, 2013
The incredible outplay that happened against KT's Ryu has never been repeated and some can't comprehend the three-time world champion's moves six years later. The Score eSports eventually broke the encounter down so even an untrained eye could potentially understand what the veterans could not without going step by step, analysing for hours on end, even though the skirmish lasted only a few seconds.
World Championship 2018 semifinals
This is the second most recent event from the list. Following Season 1 World Championship, European and North American teams would not see another final until Season 8. This happened due to the first World Championship barely having any presence from Asian teams but Korea and China immediately popped up as strong regions during Season 2, the first one they participated in with full presence.
However, it was Taiwan who took the glory back in 2012, as Taipei Assassins took the crown. From that moment on, Korean teams would win World Championship five times in a row, establishing the absolute dominance in League of Legends esports. However, 2018 was not a good year for Korean teams and quarter-finals would be as far as they went.
Only KT Rolster and Afreeca Freecs made it out of the groups as Gen G. dropped out with just one victory under their belt. As the quarterfinals unfolded, Gen G.'s failure was revealed to be only the beginning of the bad tidings for Koreans during the tournament as Cloud 9 knocked out Afreeca Freecs with 3-0. This was the first time in history of League of Legends that a North American team knocked out a Korean one with a clean sweep.
KT Rolster proved to be better prepared for the knockout stage but they were taken out by Invictus Gaming, 3-2, marking the first-ever semifinals without a Korean team. Invictus later went on to win the whole thing, ending the five years of Korean dominance on world stage.
Match of the Century - LEC, 15 March 2019
The most recent event on the list. Fnatic and G2 Esports undoubtedly have the best rivalry Europe has ever experienced in League of Legends. The teams stand head and shoulders above the competition and when they clash, volcanoes erupt. The match between the two giants that would happen on 15 March 2019 was being hyped for weeks leading up to it. The event was dubbed "Game of the Century" or "Match of the Century" by Riot Games and the fans alike, even before it happened. It certainly lived up to the expectations.
Fnatic started the match mercilessly, wrecking G2 all over the map, building up an incredible lead by 20 minutes. This is the moment where any lesser team would roll over and die but G2 caught back up, shifted the odds in their favour and led to several epic skirmishes as the match ended 30 minutes later with a base race while casters and fans screamed their lungs out in sheer disbelief of what they were witnessing. Without too many spoilers, we encourage you to watch the highlights that still send shivers down the spines of League veterans, six months and two epic best of fives later.
Interestingly enough, G2 Esports are a team founded and owned by Carlos Rodriguez "Ocelote" Santiago, the tragic SK Gaming mid-laner from the xPeke backdoor moment. Ocelote's teams, Fnatic and backdoors simply provide some of the best matches League has ever witnessed.