A Taiwanese video gaming team defeated its South Korean rival 3-1 in the finals of an international online video game competition in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, bagging the top honor and US$1 million in prize money.
The Taipei Assassins (TPA) dueled against South Korea’s Azubu Frost in the Grand Final of the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship, forcing the South Korean team into an untenable position early in the third round before clinching the match in the fourth.
The seven-strong team were led by Chen Hui-chung (陳彙中), 22, who quit school to game professionally.
The other four of the five members the team fielded in the playoffs were Wang Jung-tsan (王榮燦), Chang Po-wei (張博為), Sung Kuan-po (宋寬柏) and Liu Wei-chien (劉偉健), who is from Hong Kong.
The two reserve players were Lin Ying-po (林穎波), the only female member of the team, and Chiu Po-chieh (邱柏傑). All the members are between 19 and 23 years old.
Despite general pessimism over TPA’s performance at the outset, the team’s successive defeats of South Korea’s third-seeded NaJin Sword, second-seed Moscow 5 of Russia and first-seed Azubu Frost, helped them clinch a decisive victory.
The Taipei team advanced into the Grand Final on Wednesday after defeating the Moscow 5, the Season 1 champions, in two straight games.
Saturday’s competition was watched live by nearly 20,000 people at the center, with a number of Taiwanese making the journey to Los Angeles to cheer on the team.
Interestingly, the cheering from the audience was almost all for the TPA, due to an incident on the part of Azubu Frost. Regulations prohibit players competing on stage from looking backward at a giant screen that shows an entire map without the fog-of-war settings. Azubu Frost broke that rule during a pause when a problem with the team’s microphone was being fixed.
The team was docked 20 percent (US$30,000) of their total prize money for the indiscretion, which Riot Games said would go toward the company’s charity program in South Korea.
The competition had 12 teams from around the world competing for total prize money of US$2 million.
The game, developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows, is based on the popular “Defense of the Ancients” map for Warcraft 3, a video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. League of Legends has more than 2.4 million registered users in Taiwan and more than 70 million users worldwide.
Commenting on the playoffs after the competition, Liu said he was happy the TPA team had been able to secure the championship against great odds.
Chen also expressed gratitude to the company Garena for providing training, as well as company sponsors, adding that it was because of their support that the TPA team had been able to get where they are today.