We all remember the sporting miracles. David Ortiz’s hits to carry the Red Sox past the Yankees in 2004. The Miracle on Ice. These are the moments that define a generation of sports at the highest level, the plays that those watching will never forget and those born decades later will be shown. Esports has those plays, too; Coldzera’s jumping awp kills at the MLG Major or Smeb’s miraculous Gangplank steal of Baron to win a five-game epic against KT Rolster orCloud9’s comeback at home against Faze Clan to seal the Boston Major. These are the moments we remember.
Nobody remembers the moments that almost happened. Griffin almost completing the miracle run in their rookie split, before they fell one series short of a victory in the Grand Finals and one series short of Worlds. Avangar and Ence, making Major finals only to be absolutely obliterated by Astralis. Team Liquid coming in second in so many CSGO tournaments in 2018and 2019. Misfits going 2-3 against SKT at Worlds.
This weekend, Schalke’s miracle run came to a close in a 1-3 loss to the MAD Lions. The Lions simply were the superior team on the day, drafting powerful lineups that could pick off Schalke’s players over and over again. It left Schalke defeated, inches from a finish line that two months ago was miles away, inches from the most impressive miracle in the history of esports, a miracle they now wouldn’t complete.
For Schalke, it was a familiar closeness. The organization got fourth place in the Summer Split after the gauntlet in 2018 and 2019, meaning they were one series short for the last three years. For Odoamne, for Gilius, for these players who have been there before and who fought so hard to return only to fall short, getting so close only makes it hurt more.
In North America, Cloud9’s fall from grace after their incredible Spring Split was cemented with a 1-3 loss against TSM that found the organization missing Worlds for the first time in its history. Another miracle run, another moment so close to being the best season in the history of North America, a team that was far and away the best team for months, defeated. Another miracle season ended, leaving fans to ponder what could have been.
There’s a saying in esports, which the LCS has echoed for many years: Nobody remembers second. It’s those who win the titles who are remembered, not the people who they stepped over. Team Liquid won four titles in four splits, and many more people could tell you that fact than the ones who could tell you what teams they dominated en route. Success is what is remembered. Victory is what is remembered. For the teams who got close, but fell short, there is only the hope that next time, it’s them who will be remembered.
The seven combined teams from the LCS and LEC have officially claimed their Worlds spots. Rogue, Fnatic, G2, MAD Lions, TSM, Team Liquid and Fly Quest will be trying to win the first Worlds for the west since the first. These teams boast a mixture of rookies, like much of theMAD Lions roster, Team Liquid’s Tactical, etc., alongside experienced players like Doublelift, who will look to finally get out of Groups at the World Championship. The West is coming to play.
And yet, these teams and these players are not just playing for themselves; they will goto China and play for their regions. For their fans. And for every team they left behind. For Schalke. For Cloud9. To make their own miracles happen, and to make sure they’ll be remembered.