100 Thieves took a massive step closer to the region’s most prestigious League of Legends prize, and their second title, with a five-game win over Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket finals of the 2022 LCS Championship in front of a packed United Center in Chicago on Saturday. It was the eighth series out of eleven that went the distance in the North American playoffs.
The biggest story of the weekend had quickly become how reigning champions EG would fare without star AD carry Danny, who stepped away from Finals weekend in Chicago to focus on his mental health. Academy ADC Muhammed Hasan “Kaori” Şentürk was tapped to replace last year’s Rookie of the Year. The 21-year-old Turkish player was a standout in the Academy scene in 2022, and took advantage of a huge opportunity to prove himself on the biggest stage.
The narratives and expectations around this series, much like those surrounding the LCS Summer Playoffs as a whole, shifted wildly before and during the match between the league’s two previous champions. EG went from indomitable first seed to massive underdogs after an inconsistent playoffs and the news of the last-minute roster swap, back to champions-apparent during the series after flashes of their old form early on. 100T stumbled through the regular split before ascending to the god-like form that carried them to a championship last year, and rode that momentum through their playoff run, which included a reverse sweep of “superteam” Team Liquid.
And regardless of all of that, Cloud9’s resurgence overshadowed everything as they loomed at the end of the bracket, playing the best League of Legends in the region at the moment.
If the pressure of the circumstances wasn’t enough, EG’s game one draft put even more pressure on Kaori to perform, picking Lucian and Nami for the first time in all of 2022. However, Kaori and Vulcan did not disappoint. They broke through by taking advantage of a sloppy fight in the top lane by 100T, and top laner Impact’s Ornn and mid laner jojopyun’s Viktor played teamfights beautifully to support Kaori’s knife’s edge Lucian play. 100T’s composition with Azir and Senna had no chance of getting online in a show of front-to-back dominance for EG.