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LoL: There won't be an esports Grand Slam in 2021, but what exactly is it?

LoL: There won't be an esports Grand Slam in 2021, but what exactly is it?

The Grand Slam is something that no pro League of Legends team has achieved in a few years. Now, thanks to the way the LPL playoffs are going, it looks like we'll have to wait until next year for another shot. But what exactly is the Grand Slam?

LoL: There won't be an esports Grand Slam in 2021, but what exactly is it?

The goal of any professional League of Legends team is to win everything it enters, from its regional league to the major international tournaments. 

Ultimately, they'd love to complete the Grand Slam, assuring total dominance over all. However, for that to happen they'd need to win the following:

  • Spring Split
  • Mid-Season Invitational
  • Summer Split
  • Worlds

There was also Rift Rivals, but that's not considered among the top events and therefore not part of the Grand Slam. All-Star, by nature a fun event and not necessarily team-based, is also discounted. 

However, while some great sides have come close, to date no team has won the Grand Slam.

Grand Slam: History

The 2015 SKT roster is remembered as one of the strongest. Image: Riot Games. - League of Legends
The 2015 SKT roster is remembered as one of the strongest. Image: Riot Games.

What teams have come close to achieving the Grand Slam? There are four in total, all missing out in a single event.

The first proper example of a team challenging for the Grand Slam is the great SK Telecom T1 roster of 2015. The Koreans won the LCK Spring Split, then made a run all the way to the final of MSI, where they lost to EDG 3-2.

They bounced back from that heartbreaking loss to win the LCK Summer Split, and then absolutely dominated Worlds 2015. The legendary side dropped only one game in the entire tournament for a 15-1 record.

SKT then came close the following season, winning Spring, MSI and Worlds. However, the Slam was off the cards by then, having only managed third place in the LCK Summer Playoffs. 

It would be a barren year in 2017, before another team rose to challenge for the Slam in 2018. China's Royal Never Give Up swept all before them across the LPL Spring and Summer Splits, and they also took MSI too. However, they ended their season with a whimper at Worlds 2018, going out in the quarter-finals to EU champions G2 Esports. 

It would be the LEC champs who would make the next run at the Grand Slam in 2019. G2 Esports were in the midst of a purple patch, dominating the LEC Spring and Summer Splits, and taking the MSI crown.

However, they also fell at the final hurdle of the season - building upon their semifinal run at Worlds the previous year, they failed to show up for the final in Paris, in their home region, going down 3-0 to the fantastic FunPlus Phoenix in the grand final. 

2019 LoL Worlds Finals recap — FunPlus Phoenix fly above G2 Esports, win World Championship

FunPlus Phoenix and G2 Esports, the two top teams of the 2019 summer split and of the tournament, faced off for a chance at lifting the World Championship trophy. It was a one-sided affair: FunPlus Phoenix rose victorious 3-0 and lifted the Summoners’ Cup for 2019.

RNG returned to the top for MSI 2021. Via Riot Games. - League of Legends
RNG returned to the top for MSI 2021. Via Riot Games.

2020 was a barren year for Slam attempts, and now, it looks like 2021 will be the same. The forerunner for a shot at the ultimate title was China's Royal Never Give Up again, but after their loss to LNG Esports in the LPL playoffs, they've fallen short.

And so, the counter is reset, and we wait for the 2022 season to see if any team will emerge dominant. Can T1 return to glory after many years away? Can Europe finally overcome the world's best? Time will tell. 

LoL: Oner and Teddy lead T1 and Faker closer to Worlds

The three-time world champions beat Liiv SANDBOX 3-0 to advance to the LCK semifinals, where they'll face Gen.G.

Eduardo DIAZ
Eduardo Díaz

One shot, one moment, one barrel is all you need.

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