And so the time had come. After months of buildup, recaps, player profiles, Seasonals, qualifier, group stages...it all amounted to this. It was the final day of the first Legends of Runeterra World Championship, and that meant it was time to crown a champion!
Our first top 8 match of the day pitted one of the tournament favorites from the Americas against the only SEA player to make it through to the single-elimination stage. Everyone was waiting to see which region would be able to claim the title, and Odyssey would need to start by taking down WhatAmI to keep SEA’s hopes alive.
Odyssey came out the gate swinging with Gangplank Bandle City, getting 4 units wide on hit for turn 3. Unfortunately, his Marai Warden didn’t share his enthusiasm for victory, and summoned a Wings And The Wave, giving him only 3 attackers. This was still enough to push WhatAmI down to 13 as he chose not to block with his Bandle City Mayor, but did sacrifice his Bandle Commando since it had already generated an Owlcat. WhatAmI played a second Mayor, followed by Lulu and a Loping Telescope. Odyssey played a Lecturing Yordle, but the large body wasn't enough to deter an attack, and WhatAmI happily sacrificed his Lulu so that his Serpent could kill Stone Stackers with the support. Warden and Owlcat traded, and Telescope snuck through a hit as Odyssey felt his Wings could get a more impactful block down the line.
On turn 5 Odyssey had the first action, but slamming down an unleveled Gangplank wasn’t appealing. So he tried to go wide again with Tenor of Terror. WhatAmI played a 2 mana Aloof Travelers thanks to his Mayors and discarded Gangplank. He lost one Mayor in the combat to follow, but still had enough mana for a 2nd Aloof, this time hitting a Double Up which the Aloof was kind enough to replace with a 2nd copy. They were two very impactful hits but after Odyssey hit the nexus with his Poison Dart, WhatAmI was down to just 7 nexus health. Odyssey had lost all of his board presence to get his opponent so low, and thanks to the Mayor’s cost reduction on high health units like the Aloof Travelers, WhatAmI had a very wide board, going wider still with Fleetfeather Tracker and Brightsteel Protector. Odyssey played Marai Warden but with 6 units on WhatAmI’s field and a Relentless Pursuit in hand, WhatAmI was able to push through for lethal on turn 6.
Game 2 started off just as aggressively as the first. An early Marai Warden and a few Inventive Chemists meant Odyssey would have little problem leveling his Gangplank in a timely fashion, but he didn’t have it in hand. WhatAmI on the other hand had found his Draven on turn 3 with the attack token, and already had Sion and Lost Souls available. Odyssey managed to push WhatAmI down to 13 on turn 4, but with 2 Get Exciteds and a Mystic Shot in hand he still seemed very safe from any large attacks. On turn 5 WhatAmI presented an open attack, using his 1 heath Draven and Revenant to push some damage and challenge Twisted Fate. Pokey Stick onto Draven meant Odyssey would stay at a healthy 17 and would be able to go wide around the Sion player's removal heavy hand. Mystic Shot killed Bass of Burden before the turn was over, and the players ended, going into the last turn before Sion came down.
Odyssey had Inventive Chemist, Dreg Dredgers, and Tenor of Terror staring down a Boom Baboon. The open attack could push WhatAmI down to 7, but Odyssey didn’t have any direct damage in hand to ensure he could make the final push. He did have Hidden Pathways, but he had struggled to bank spell mana and wouldn’t be able to develop Gangplank if he chose to draw. He chose the Gangplank route, prompting Rummage onto Lost Souls and Flame Chompers. WhatAmI weighed his options between development and removal with his 6 mana and ultimately decided to discard his Aloof Travelers to Poro Cannon and summon a Daring Poro. Full blocks paired with Get Excited and Mystic Shot on GP meant WhatAmI would only take 1 damage for the turn, falling down to 11.
Turn 7. Sion hits the board. Odyssey didn’t have effective blockers or a strong hand, so he started off with Hidden Pathways, and ended up drawing Twisted Fate! The Gold Card stunned the Sion and Odyssey continued to go wide, setting up for a very impactful attack turn. Odyssey summoned Lecturing Yordle on the next turn, mirrored by a Twinbalde Revenant. An all-out attack meant he was threatening to push WhatAmI down to 6, but with Sion trading onto the Yordle, Sion Returned was poised to hit the board. WhatAmI used his last burn spell, Get Excited, to kill Twisted Fate and reduce the damage he was taking to 2. Odyssey returned the favor with Make It Rain, pinging the nexus and also killing the Twinblade Revenant on the block. A Daring Poro came down and died to a Poison Dart. Sion Returned attacked alone, and Odyssey went into the thinking tank to math out how to survive a 2nd Sion and chose to block. He fell to 9, and with Stone Stackers in hand could survive another Sion attack at 1 nexus health. He threw his 2nd Poison Dart at the nexus and ended the turn. His read was correct and there was a 2nd Sion, but a Mystic Shot top deck from WhatAmI meant that 1 nexus health would not be enough. He played Hidden Pathways and drew Lecturing Yordle, but stuck with his original line and summoned Stone Stackers. Sion overwhelmed the Stacker for 8 damage, and the Mystic Shot sent WhatAmI through to the Top 4.
Realkey vs Szychu
(Draven/Caitlyn / TF/Swain / BANNED:Plunder) vs (Draven/Ez/Cait / FTR / BANNED:Zoe/Heimerdinger)
With XxWhatAmI moving on to play Alanzq, the winner of this match would play the sole Asia representative in the tournament, Yamato, in the semi-finals.
Every game has a mechanic to master, and one of the most high-level plays you can make in Legends of Runeterra is passing. It’s not uncommon for high-level players to fall into a trap of passing too often, and it’s arguable that it’s a trap that Realkey fell for in this first game. On turn 4, with a Draven and Sump Dredger on board against Szychu’s open field and 7 mana, Realkey chose to pass away his attack token. It’s not uncommon for control players to hold a Catalyst of Aeons until after they’ve taken damage and perhaps Realkey didn’t want to give Szychu the option, but it’s hard to say for sure. It did mean that we had hit the midgame with no damage onto Szychu’s nexus, and the infinite value plan of Lost Souls was unlikely to be fruitful against Feel the Rush. On turn 5 Szychu offered up another pass, and Realkey used Rummage to discard Lost Souls and pass back. Szychu decided it was time to play a card, and summoned Trundle, immediately losing it to Sump Fumes and Ravenous Flock. This time Realkey took the attack, and Szychu played the Catalyst to heal back up to 6. Realkey summoned Revenant, and Szychu summoned a Kindly Tavernkeeper, going back to 19.
Turn 7 was an attack turn for Szychu, and having 8 mana thanks to Catalyst meant it was time to play his Ice Pillar, making the Revenant vulnerable. Realkey summoned Caitlyn. Tavernkeeper took a nosedive at the Revenant, trading. Realkey passed post-combat, and Szychu fired off his Ruination after calculating that 10 damage was too much to take on an open attack, and this was likely as good as it would get. Realkey followed up with Aloof Travelers, discarding Feel The Rush. With the only Ruination gone, Realkey felt safe to develop 3 health units before his attack, but lost his Draven and Sump Dredger to The Box. Aloof and a newly played Boom Baboon hit the nexus, but another Tavernkeeper kept Szychu at a nice 16 health. He summoned Tryndamere on the next turn, which was stopped in its tracks by Arachnoid Sentry. Realkey leveled the Trynd with Flock, killed the Tavernkeeper with Get Excited, and then set Trynd to 1 health with a 9 damage Tri-Beam. Kadregrin The Infernal made his Worlds debut, and Szychu was forced to Despair the Flame Chompers to survive the next turn. Realkey opened his attack turn with Aloof, replacing an Atrocity with Vengeance. Revenant hit the board and Szychu passed. Flock came down on Tryndamere, and Szychu surrendered.
FTR picked up its first loss of the tournament, and Realkey now had 2 chances to pick up a win with his currently 0-4 TF/Swain. No problem, right?
Realkey opened with enough bricks to build a retirement home for Swain. Szychu got off an early Catalyst to take the mana lead, and a TF Red Card/Flock sent it to an immediate grave. And that was about all Realkey’s hand could do, as he held 3 copies of Leviathan and 4 pieces of removal. His board of TF and Crusty Codger was Avalanched the same turn that Trundle died, and Realkey was back to passing. Even his Marai Warden didn’t want to help him play for the board and summoned a Shadow Fiend. The Warden was traded for an Avarosan Sentry, and Realkey was back to passing once again.
On his attack turn, Szychu played his Ice Pillar to free up some hand space, and Realkey stunned both the pillar and the casters on desk with an Arachnoid Sentry. The follow-up with Tryndamere posed a bit of a problem, and Realkey was forced to block and use Monster Harpoon to set up the now leveled Trynd for his Scorched Earth in hand. Turn 8 finally came and he was able to set up a Leviathan, but Szychu responded with Feel The Rush. His champions came out before Realkey would be able to establish the lock, and we were moving on to game 3.
With TF/Swain now 0-5, Realkey was going to need to dig deep to pull out just a single win with the deck to keep him in the tournament.
I want to jump into this game with you on turn 5. You didn’t miss anything important in those first few turns, but after an attack from Szychu’s Draven that left Realkey at 17, he summoned Swain. Normally on curve Swains are meat shields at best, but when Szychu responded with Aloof Travelers, Realkey knew he had managed to save his champion, and lost a TF to the discard instead. At 6 health, Swain would take at least 2 cards to remove barring a Thermo Beam as Tri-Beam surely wasn’t properly stacked to deal with the champion just yet. And so, Realkey commenced operation Find A Way For Swain To Strike The Nexus.
Kicking off the operation we had a Red Card from another TF, pushing damage onto Draven and Aloof. With 2 Flock in hand, he could push through those chumps with no problem. Szychu summoned Station Archivist, but Realkey had Culling Strike as well. The wrench in the works was the Get Excited the Archivist had found in their digging, and the Scorched Earth and Ravenous Flock that could be paired with it, both of which were at Szychu’s immediate disposal. The fact of the matter was that Realkey’s hand wasn’t going to just stop having 2 Flocks and a Culling Strike in it, so the plan was still on. He threw a Flock at Draven, and Szychu used his Get Excited. Realkey threw the other Flock at Aloof, shrugging off the Get Excited and leveling Swain up. Knowing his Swain was likely not long for this world, he conserved his Culling and full-sent his attackers, hoping to sneak in a little damage, which he did. But the fact of the matter remained that the mission was a total failure, and his hand of 2 Make It Rains, Culling Strike, and Zap Sprayfin with just a TF on board was not looking very strong into Szychu’s 7 card grip. Szychu played an Aloof and it looked like it might have some hope of fixing his hand, but any card that could do so would likely be expensive. And so it was, as a Swain was drawn and discarded. Culling Strike killed an Ezreal, but Ezreal’s Mystic Shot took out the TF along with it. Then when Szychu drew Lost Souls the next turn, there was no stopping the value train. Realkey continued to draw a string of low impact units and spells; Hired Gun, Death’s Hand, Death’s Hand again, Crusty Codger. All the while, Szychu still had Tri-Beam and Scorched Earth in case Realkey did find a threat, and Twinblade Revenant continued to hold down the board. A Leviathan was drawn and dealt with immediately, and when Szychu played a level 2 Ezreal, Realkey surrendered.
With an 0-6 record, TF/Swain was the worst-performing deck of the event and would not do enough to carry Realkey past the Top 8.
(Zoe/Nami / Lulu/Poppy / BANNED:Draven/Sion) vs (Draven/Caitlyn / Sivir Demacia / BANNED:Shellfolk Ezreal)
If a time traveler had come back from the future to me 2 weeks ago and told me that this was the semi-finals, I would have not had an ounce of surprise in my body. I probably would have never guessed their lineups correctly, but the players wouldn’t surprise me.
WhatAmI started off with Zoe/Nami, a deck that had failed its other 2 pilots in the Top 8 and left Cosimo and Aikado in the dust. After a turn 1 Thermo Beam onto his Zoe, WhatAmI was left with a Nami in hand and no other units, the opposite problem most of the others had. Against Draven/Cait the hard part is getting Nami and a unit on the field at the same time with enough mana to get value out of the dying Nami, and with 2 Gifts From Beyond in hand, it was going to be hard to pay 3 mana for a Sparklefly and 3 for a Nami, especially in a timely enough fashion to survive.
Alan demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the matchup. Thermo the Zoe on 1. Sparklefly hit the board? Sump Fumes it. Another one? Pull it to the side with my Flame Chompers while killing it with a Get Excited and dealing 7 nexus damage with my other units. On that turn in particular WhatAmI finally found a window to develop Nami, but didn’t feel comfortable tapping out to summon his final Sparklefly into Alan’s 3 open mana. He waited until the next turn to play Crescendum, knowing he needed a big lifesteal swing to stabilize. Sparkle hit the board with 7 mana left for WhatAmI, and Tri-Beam set its sights on Nami. WhatAmI fired off a series of spells, but when he cast a Sump Fumes instead of a Pale Cascade it left the Sparklefly at 7 health; just enough for Get Excited and Ravenous Flock to kill it before it could hit the nexus. With no unit lasting longer than a single turn, WhatAmI was unable to stop any of the damage Alan put through, and after he ran out of Sparkleflies, he conceded.
Game 1 may not have been the shortest game of the event but it was close. WhatAmI shook it off and prepared for game 2, where he would be running back Zoe/Nami into Sivir Demacia. As a popular matchup from the Worlds Qualifiers, it was one that traditionally was favored for the Sivir player.
Zoe managed to connect with the nexus on turn 1 this game but fell immediately after to a Fleetfeather Tracker. WhatAmI grabbed a Moonsilver with the Starchart, but Alan was putting on some pressure with a Treasure Seeker, Vekauran Vagabond, and Sivir. WhatAmI had Nami and some elusives, but was uncharacteristically light in the spell department, having only Moonsilver, Hush, and Spell Thief. With Alan not having played a spell yet, he was forced to Hush the spellshield off Sivir just to free up his spell mana for Nami to bank. He got the Sparklefly and Nami dynamic duo onto the board and used Line’em Up // Knock’em Down to kill a Fleetfeather. With WhatAmI tapped out and Alan used Concerted Strike to kill the Sparklefly, locking WhatAmI at 10 nexus health. He drew Sharpsight for turn, and after some debate, cast it on his Vagabond, sending two 5 attack units at the nexus to force a block out of Nami. Spell Thief onto the Sharpsight allowed her to block Sivir, and another Sparklefly was summoned. Alan cast Golden Aegis, meaning WhatAmI would either have to sacrifice his Nami or his Fly. He chose to lose Nami, casting Moonsilver to leave behind a 3/3 Fly that held some hope of coming back into it. Fleet Admiral Shelly joined the fray, but WhatAmI was still very light on cards and the pair attacked for 6, putting Alan at 13. On Alan’s turn 8 attack token, the Warlords Palace completed its countdown. Alan held the Relic of Power, playing out his Waking Sands and Brightsteel Protectors first to see what he could get out of WhatAmI. After a string of Pale Cascades, he summoned a Burblefish, and Alan finally used his Relic to predict and draw. He was offered Sivir, Single Combat, and Shaped Stone. He chose Single, then played a 2nd Protector.
With the blocks lined up, Alan was able to use his Single Combat to dodge the Sparklefly lifesteal, and become our first finalist with an exact lethal!
Szychu vs やまと (Yamato)
(Draven/Ez/Cait / Zoe/Heimerdinger / BANNED:Feel The Rush) vs (Plunder / Darkness / BANNED:Draven/Sion)
With Alanzq moving on to the Finals, it was time to figure out who his opponent would be! The sole representative from the Asia shard now had the chance to stop an all Poland Finals, and the possibility of a Darkness versus Heimerdinger game had the community riled up.
Szychu opened with Draven/Ezreal/Caitlyn, and Yamato with Darkness. An early Twisted Catalyzer failed to strike thanks to Sump Fumes, and a Prank failed to find the Tri-Beam in Szychu’s hand and instead took some attack away from an Arachnoid Sentry and revealed Lost Souls. While turns 2 and 3 were a bit of a wash for Yamato, his turn 4 Veigar stuck uncontested. The only piece of removal in Szychu’s hand was a Tri-Beam at 2 damage, so he went wide with a 2nd House Spider and shipped the attack. Yamato burst pass on turn 5 with Hidden Pathways, and Szychu continued to go wide with Draven. Things were looking disastrous for Szychu’s aggressive plan as Yamato was holding his single copy of Withering Wail in hand, which would kill 3 of the Spiders. Yamato even cast Vile Feast on Draven, setting up a chump blocker for the House Spider and putting Draven into range to die to the Wail and Pokey Stick. Szychu used an Axe on Draven to summon Twinblade Revenant, forcing the 4 damage Darkness out of Yamato. With the Darkness and Wail being used, he didn’t have mana for the Stick, and Draven connected to the nexus, putting Yamato at 16. Thermo Beam finished off Veigar, but Yamato had another one waiting in hand along with 2 copies of Rekindler. He elected to take the next turn augmenting his Darkness, playing a Stilted Robemaker and Darkbulb Acolyte, using the now 2 mana Darkness to kill Caitlyn. Szychu played Revenant again.
For turn 8 Szychu slammed an old classic, Captain Farron. For a control deck, Darkness was pretty light on kill spells and healing, but a top-decked Stress Defense meant Farron was going to be demoted to Private. A Twisted Catalyzer hit the board and bounced off the 1/6 Farron, buffing Darkness to 2 mana and 5 damage. Yamato played a 2nd Veigar and used the Darkness to kill Farron, but died to a Tri-Beam himself. Or so Szychu would think when he lined up a 5 damage Tri-Beam onto a Grand Overseer Veigar, but another Stress Defense off the top let Veigar survive at 1. With no Flock to finish the job, Veigar lived into the next turn to generate another Darkness and tick its damage up to 6. He used it to kill Midenstokke Henchman. Szychu discarded one of Yamato’s Rekindlers with Aloof Travelers and finished off Veigar with Ravenous Flock. Yamato played the 2nd Veigar and sent the Darkness at Aloof. Szychu played and attacked with Ezreal, sending the Mystic Shot at Veigar.
Despite drawing Ixtali Sentinel off of Aloof and a second copy for his turn, Yamato still used his Darkness’ to control the board. He killed Ezreal, then lost Veigar to Tri-Beam. He summoned is Ixtali, killing the Tri-Beam summoned Legion Veteran and dealing 7 to the nexus. He attacked with all his units, putting Szychu at 6. With another Sentinel in hand, all he had to do was wait for Szychu to play a unit and his Darkness would have a target to be copied onto the nexus for lethal.
With the Darkness versus Heimer dream match off the table, Szychu elected to stay on his Draven/Ez/Cait against Plunder.
House Spider blocked Marai Warden and Island Navigator from getting Yamato his plunder proc on turn 3, so he used Warning Shot and summoned a Black Market Merchant to nab Scorched Earth. Turn 4 he got the proc with Parlay onto the Spiderling and sat 2 units wider than Szychu.
Szychu’s hand was of an awkward sort and he was trying to puzzle out the best way to stop the plunder proc on the next turn and start to gain control of the board. Captain Farron was sacrificed to Poro Cannon, and a single Poro was summoned to strike the nexus. Yamato opened his turn with Gangplank. Szychu went back into the tank, deciding to stun the pirate with his Sentry. Yamato liked the way the trades lined up and attacked with everything, resulting in a totally clear board (save for a Keg) after Szychu finished off GP with Thermo Beam.
Szychu set up a board with Sump Dredger and Revenant, but Yamato nabbed an Aloof Traveler and used it to discard Szychu’s Tri-Beam Improbulator. With his large removal spell gone, he tried to challenge a Dreadway with Revenant, losing it to Monster Harpoon. He cast Get Excited on the ship and replayed his Revenant. Szychu was able to remove the Dreadway and stun the Sejuani that came on Yamato’s next attack turn, but the fact of the matter was that without Tri-Beam reclaiming the board became an impossible task. Scorched Earth was able to save Sejuani from a Revenant attack, and even Szychu’s desperation play of using Get Excited on Gangplank in hopes of drawing Scorched Earth or Flock to kill it was shut out by Yamato healing it back to full with Sejuani’s Fury of the North before the turn ended. With both Sejuani and GP on the field and the Kegs stacking ever higher, Yamato had no problem pushing through Szychu’s defense and advancing to the finals where he would get his rematch against the only player to defeat him in the tournament thus far, Alanzq.
World Championship Finals
Yamato (Japan) vs Alanzq (Poland)
(Plunder / Darkness / BANNED:Draven/Sion) vs (Sivir Demacia / Draven Caitlyn / BANNED:Shellfolk Ezreal)
The Finals was going to be a rematch from Group C with both players running back the same bans, meaning we would again not get to see the Shellfolk deck which had been banned in 5 of Alan’s 6 matches this weekend. The last time these 2 players faced off, Yamato picked up a game 1 win with Darkness against Draven Caitlyn in the longest single game of the entire event but ended up losing 2 games on his Plunder. Now the third game did go into overtime, so the pace at which the players played may have affected the outcome, so the speed of play was sure to be on Yamato’s mind to avoid that again. Are you ready? It’s time to crown a champion!
Game 1 Alan decided to queue up Sivir, and Yamato continued with his Darkness opener. The game really kicked off on turn 4 when Alan played a Sivir and Yamato played Stilted Robemaker with Darkness in hand. Both players traded away some units and the board sat at a 3/2 Robemaker for Yamato against Sivir. He started turn 5 by popping her spell shield with Vile Feast, and Alan played Vekauran Bruiser. Conchologist found a Sapling Toss, a secret surprise that was sure to come in handy later.
Yamato pranked Golden Aegis up to 6 mana, then aimed Darkness at Akshan, successfully killing it. Alan responded with Waking Sands. Yamato generated another Darkness with Darkbulb Acolyte and prepared to line up blockers. Everything but his Acolyte was lost, and Alan leveled Sivir. Darkness killed the Bruiser, leaving Alan to cast Lucky Find onto Sivir, granting her tough. Alan then played Aksan, prompting the Sapling Toss going into Yamato’s attack turn. He played Hidden Pathways to see if anything could change his mind about attacking Akshan, and a Rekindler and Ixtali Sentinel were not what he was looking for. Alan used The Absolver to protect Akshan, and The Absolver’s Return to get it back to 2 health. With Warlord’s Palace down to countdown 2, Conchologist came in clutch with a Black Spear to finish off Akshan. Alan thought long and hard about Concerted Strike but decided it needed to be saved for a champion and let Akshan fall.
That champion came immediately as Yamato drew Senna. Alan attacked with Sivir, clearing the Conchologist. Yamato summoned Senna, and Alan responded with his 6 mana Golden Aegis. This completed the Palace countdown which he used to predict and draw Preservarium, casting it after pushing 6 more damage into the nexus. It drew him a Single Combat which he used to kill Senna. Yamato popped the barrier first, putting Sivir down to 1 health.
On Yamato's turn, he attacked with his 5 attack Darkbulb Acolyte, and Alan passed. Yamato passed back, and we were back to Alan's attack token. He summoned Fleetfeather and Vagabond before Darkness was used onto the Fleetfeather, and the protective Sharpsight was countered by Pokey Stick. Alan summoned Brightsteel Protector to give Sivir and by proxy his entire board barrier for a safe attack, but Rekindler summoned Senna and Darkness was used to take away all the barriers. Alan killed Senna with Concerted Strike, but another Rekindler replaced her immediately. Darkness killed Brightsteel Protector, who took Darkbulb Acolyte down with it thanks to Single Combat. With Alan down to just 1 card in hand, Yamato decided he was done passing and attacked with Senna and his 2 Rekindler. Sivir traded onto one and he played the new one, but lost it to Darkness and Senna’s Dawning Shadow, prompting a surrender.
With Yamato demonstrating that his Darkness could beat any deck in Alan’s lineup, he was back at the point he had struggled within the group stage; picking up a win with Plunder.
Again, we’re gonna jump in around turn 4. Yamato was aggressively trying to amass as many plunder procs as possible but his hand wasn’t cooperating in a smooth way. He played a Yordle Grifter and used the Warning Shot to advance his champions to 3/5 and nab a Tri-Beam. Alan summoned Aloof, discarding 1 of Yamato’s 2 Dreadways. On the next turn, he followed up with Twinblade Revenant, making Yamato hesitant about playing the Gangplank he had just drawn. He burst pass with a Warning Shot, and both players passed back to end the turn. Sejuani was played onto Revenant but was immediately killed by Thermo Beam, leaving the Grifter to clean it up. Alan discarded Lost Souls again with Sump Dredger. Yamato summoned Gangplank. Alan tapped out to summon his Revenant, and the Keg was sacrificed to a Fortune Croaker. Aloof killed the Croaker, Revenant killed itself on GP, and Yamato leveled up his pirate with Warning Shot. Even if GP died, he would still get the open attack which cleared out the Aloof and damaged the Sump Dredger. Sump Fumes took down GP, and Yamato summoned Dreadway. Alan again summoned Revenant by discarding Lost Souls to Poro Cannon.
Caitlyn hit the board. Gangplank followed suit. Twinblade Revenant challenged Gangplank, Sump Dredger the Keg, and Caitlyn went for the nexus. Yamato rolled the dice with Make It Rain, missing the Revenant. Alan cast Piltover Peacemaker before it turned back into Caitlyn, hitting the GP and killing it with the Revenant. With Alan down to 4 mana, Yamato summoned Monkey Idol. Alan played a Poro and lost it to Parlay, falling to 7 nexus health. He played another Poro and Boom Baboon. Things were looking really good for Yamato as we went into what would possibly be the last attack turn of the World Championship.
Yamato drew a Monster Harpoon, and attached to it was a Flashbomb from the Piltover Peacemaker, tagging the Dreadway and turning on the Scorched Earth in Alan's hand! With this shocking new development, Yamato used his nabbed Tri-Beam on the Baboon, yielding Kelp Maidens. Scorched Earth killed Dreadway and Arachnoid Sentry stunned the Powder Monkey, which Yamato killed with Fortune Croaker. He drew Black Market Merchant and a Flashbomb, tagging his Grifter. Alan summoned Draven. Yamato summoned the Sump Dredger he stole, trading his Monster Harpoon for a Warning Shot. Yamato full-sent his attack and an axe was used on Draven to summon Flame Chompers to block. Alan fell to 4, lost every unit but Draven, and Yamato maintained his Grifter and Croaker. Next turn, Monkey Idol killed itself for the last Powder Monkey, and Station Archivist found a Flock to kill the Grifter. He then Rummaged, trading in Lost Souls for Get Excited and another Archivist. Alan neglected to attack after summoning Revenant, not wanting Yamato to develop a Crackshot Corsair or the like. He was down to 3 health after the Monkey died, and Yamato (unbeknownst to Alan) had a Warning Shot in hand. He drew a Crackshot Corsair to join his Three Sisters and passed. Alan summoned Archivist, picking Flock over Tri-Beam and Rummage. Flock killed the last unit for Yamato, who continued to pass. With plenty of removal in his hand, Alan enacted the first of his 2 punch combo, knocking Yamato down to 7 in one swing. Yamato passed again.
Yamato drew for his final turn - Zap Sprayfin. He would need to try and overwhelm Alan’s resources and mana to push through the last 3 damage, and this turn would surely decide the game. He started off with Jagged Butcher. Alan played Boom Baboon. Yamato summoned his Corsair, which Alan Tri-Beamed. 6 mana for Alan, 11 for Yamato. He summoned Zap, pulling Make It Rain. Alan stunned the Zap with Arachnoid Sentry, killing it with Flock. Yamato attacked with his Butcher, trading into Draven. With a hand of Make It Rain, Three Sisters, and Warning Shot, there were no tricks left in Yamato’s bag. He didn’t top deck another potential damage, and we were going to game 3.
Mirroring the group stage, game 3 would be Plunder vs Sivir Demacia. They had about 7 more minutes on the clock than they did in the group stage, so they could take their time on a few of the more important plays.
Yamato started the game with Crackshot Corsair, sending it in against Fleetfeather Tracker. He followed this up with a turn 2 Warning Shot into Jagged Butcher, and Alan had no answer. An open attack set Yamato to 3/5 on his champions with a Sejuani already in hand, something that would be very difficult for a Demacia deck to deal with if it got online. Vekauran Vagabond hit the board, and so did Monkey Idol. Alan used Merciless Hunter on the Idol, trying to prevent any more monkey business. Yamato hit 4/5 with his Make It Rain, enabling Monster Harpoon onto the Vagabond, challenging his Idol. Alan responded with Single Combat, trying to lock Yamato at 4/5.
Alan had the card advantage, but Yamato had the champions and a way to get Warning Shot to complete the level-ups.
On September 16th, 2021, the Legends of Runeterra World Championship top 16 kicked off. On September 16th, 2020, Patch 1.10 was released. In that balance patch, Yordle Grifter was nerfed to tie his creation of Warning Shot into his allegiance ability. Here, in the final game of the World Championship 1 year later, Yamato paid the price.
Vekauran Bruiser came down to dissuade the Grifter from attacking. Yamato drew Sejuani for turn. The Bruiser attacked and Yamato blocked with his Grifter, softening it up for Sejuani. A full health Bruiser was played and Lucky Find was used on it to grant it an additional 2 health. Yamato summoned Gangplank, then opened with Sejuani on his next turn. With a hand of nothing but pump spells, Alan used 2 copies of Sharpsight and a Riposte to kill the Sejuani that challenged his Bruiser. With the Lucky Find he granted it challenger, then used the Relic of Power to predict and draw Sivir. Then he drew Akshan for turn, joining his hand of 2 Absolvers. Alan summoned Akshan, activating his Absolvers. Yamato played Zap Sprayfin, searching for his only copy of Three Sisters. Bruiser challenged Gangplank and the other 2 units went for the nexus, prompting Yamato to use Three Sisters to grab Fury Of The North to protect his GP and kill the Bruiser with challenger. Absolver and its Return pumped the Bruiser into kill range and the Lucky Finds granted challenger to Akshan and +1/+1 to his Bruiser, making it a 6/8. Alan drew a third Bruiser. Yamato played Sejuani, grabbing Akshan. He pulled it with Sej and sent Zap at the nexus, finally leveling his champions and knocking Alan down to 8. He played his Sivir and Bruiser, and Yamato sent his Harpoon at the Bruiser. Alan elected not to save it, and we entered top deck mode. Zap and a leveled-up Sejuani for Yamato. Jagged Butcher in hand. Vekauran Bruiser and leveled Sivir for Alan. Absolver in hand. Yamato summoned Butcher.
At the start of Alan's turn the Warlord's Hoard counted down to completion. He used Fount of Power to draw 2 and reduce his cards by one for the turn. His hand now consisted of Fleetfeather Tracker, Brightsteel Protector, Sharpsight, and Absolver.
Yamato drew a Warning Shot.
Alan summoned his Tracker and Protector, giving barrier to Sivir and by extension, everything. Tracker pulled Zap, and Alanzq presented lethal. Yamato fired off Warning Shot, and lined up blocks onto Sivir and Brightsteel Protector. Alan used Absolver and its Return to pump Sivir up enough to kill Jagged Butcher, dealing 1 damage to Yamato to put him to 11 health. Yamato drew Croaker for turn, pinging his Zap and drawing Parlay. Alan passed, having drawn Shaped Stone. Yamato sent in his attackers; Zap on the left, Sejuani in the middle, and Croaker on the right. Alan played Sharpsight on Sivir and Shaped Stone on Bruiser, and lined up his blockers. Sivir onto Zap, Bruiser (8/9) onto Sejuani, and Brightsteel onto Croaker. With just a Parlay in hand and no board to speak of against Alan's mighty force, Yamato played it out to the very end. He used Parlay to pop Sivir’s spell shield and give himself a Monster Harpoon out, but instead, he was reminded of how this whole mess started, as he fell to 0 while staring at his last card in hand; Yordle. Grifter.
And thus dear reader, our first World Championship has come to an end with Team Liquid’s Alanzq taking home the trophy for Poland!