Here's a complete list of every time a North American League of Legends team has made it to a major international final:
- IEM Season IX World Championship (2015, Katowice): Team SoloMid 3-0 Team WE
- IEM Season VI World Championship (2012, Hanover): Moscow Five 2-0 Team Dignitas
Sure, there have been some wins in smaller international events, but an IEM championship and an IEM runner-up is what the region has to show for it.
The closest a North American team has come to international glory at a Riot event was Team SoloMid finishing in third place at the Season 1 World Championship. That was before Chinese or Korean teams were competing at an international level. Since then, no North American team has made it past the quarterfinal round of either Worlds or MSI.
That part has already changed, as North American champions Counter Logic Gaming are already in the semifinal round, facing Taiwan's Flash Wolves Saturday. And CLG is likely favored to win the best-of-five series and mark a new milestone for North America: a finals appearance in a Riot-sanctioned international event. Granted, a finals appearance would also mean having to face a suddenly in-form SK Telecom T1, but you take what you can get.
CLG's not the only team looking to make a point: Flash Wolves beat SKT twice in the round robin stage, and the jungler/mid lane duo of Karsa and Maple has arguably looked like the best in the tournament. There are questions about AD Carry NL's ability to keep up with the rest of the team, but he's been helped by fantastic play from his support, SwordArt.
The best-of-five series will start at 1:30 AM ET Saturday morning (1:30 PM local time) and will be streamed live on Lolesports.com. Below, some statistical comparisons of the two starting lineups, from our friends at eSportsfanz.