This upcoming World Championship is the eleventh iteration of the event, which means we are already in the eleventh year of League of Legends esports. Throughout these years, memes, terminology, and references have come and gone. For the sake of both the newer fans and older, returning fans, I decided to compile a list with brief explanations of the terms and phrases you are likely to encounter while watching Worlds.
Cover image via Riot Games.
The Dade Award is presented to a player surrounded by the most hype and expectations compared to any other player that year, only to fail spectacularly.
Our Worlds Terminology Guide has to begin with the most infamous phrase to veterans of the scene. Officially presented by MonteCristo and Thorin on their talk show “Summoning Insight,” the award spawned from the lackluster performance of Samsung Ozone’s mid laner, Dade, at the 2013 World Championships. Despite coming into the tournament with expectations and hype comparable to those surrounding Faker, Dade’s performance was all but close to Faker, leading to Samsung not making it out of groups. Since then, other recipients have been players like Clearlove and GodV. So when analysts or players reference someone in a conversation for this award, know that it is not a very good thing.
NA Week 2
Yeah, NA international performance KEKW. But it wasn’t always like that. At the 2015 World Championships, fans weren’t expecting NA teams to fail and flounder completely. After all, just the previous year, both TSM and Cloud9 made it out of the groups. So, at the very least, NA fans expected one team to make it to the knockout stage. This expectation seemed likely after Week 1 of the group stage since CLG was 2-1 and Cloud9 was 3-0. But then, tragedy struck. Somehow, North American teams lost every game in Week 2, earning a match record of 0-10, resulting in 0 NA teams making the knockout stage. Since then, NA has had a horrible history in Week 2 in the group stage of the World Championships, an abysmal 29.3% win rate, leading to the phrase “NA Week 2 (insert emote)” used whenever possible.
Airport Speedrun is one of the newer phrases for meming the performance of North America at the World Championships. This phrase was inspired by TSM’s 0-6 record at the 2020 World Championships. Despite earning the first seed from North America and theoretically having the easiest group between the North American representatives, TSM managed to go winless in their group. Straight losses were technically the quickest exit possible from the world championship, excluding losing in play-ins like the MAD Lions. To TSM’s misfortune, this led to the coining of the phrase “airport speedrun,” presenting TSM’s failure at Worlds as an achievement for getting back to the airport to go home as soon as possible. Look on the bright side TSM fans, your team
The Monologue Curse is also one of the more recently coined phrases in our Worlds Terminology Guide. It has its origins in the 2020 World Championships, specifically, the quarterfinals match between Fnatic and TOP Esports. Despite being heavily considered the heavy underdogs in this matchup, Fnatic managed to win the first two games of the series, setting themselves up for a clean 3-0 sweep. Then, before the third game, Sjokz gave a rousing and inspiring monologue looking back on Fnatic and their roster. It seemed almost too perfect, and it was. After this monologue, TOP Esports reverse-swept Fnatic, so people blamed the monologue for Fnatic’s loss. While we should not blame the monologue or the speaker for losses, it won’t hurt to ready your heart for tragedy if a monologue starts for your favorite player or team.
In the current format, the World Championships has four groups, A-D, for its group stage. So what is Group E? There are two versions. The first version includes both teams that were so close to making worlds but faltered at the last step and teams that feel like they belong at worlds due to their history and legacy. Members of this fabled group in recent years have included organizations, such as T1 and TSM. The second version of Group E consists of the worst teams in the world fighting to be at the top of the bottom. While the members of this group have varied frequently from year to year, one frequent mainstay of this group in recent times has been poor CLG. So when people use the phrase Group E, read a bit more carefully to understand which version they are referencing.