With an international tournament in progress, I got to thinking about the Unofficial World Champion title. It had been a while since I looked into where it was, and this led me down a bit of a rabbit hole that I thought some others might find interesting.
For those of you not already aware, Unofficial World Champion is a fan-created title that dates all the way back to the Season 1 World Championships. Fnatic was the first team to hold it, by virtue of having won the inaugural World Championships. By the rules of this title, the next team to beat the unofficial world champions in a professional match takes the title for themselves; in the case of Fnatic after S1 worlds, this was CLG at IEM Season VI Cologne on Aug 19th, 2011, 60 days after Fnatic won S1 Worlds. CLG then lost it to Team WE 45 days later at IEM Season VI Guangzhou on Oct 3rd, 2011, and on it goes until we get to the present day. The official rules for tracking ownership of the title are as follows:
Tied matches do not result in a transfer of the belt.
If the champion team disbands then the belt is returned to its previous owner at the time of disbanding. However if the team's roster is sold to a new organization than the belt is carried over with them.
Prior to the 2014 Season, events had to be played at a tournament or league, either online or offline, and broadcast, in an official capacity, to count. Starting after the Season 3 World Championship, only premier events and their offline qualifiers are counted; this change in rule is due to the increase in overall stability of the scene.
So now that we're all on the same page, let's get to some fun UWC facts.
The title has changed hands 135 times since its inception. It has been held by teams from EU, NA, CN, KR, LMS, BR, TR, CIS, SEA, and OCE.
It is currently held by Invictus Gaming, who took it from Topsports Gaming in the 2019 LPL Spring Semifinals on Apr 14th, 2019, 28 days ago at the time of this post.
It has spent more time in CN than in any other region, and has been held by a CN team since May 13th, 2018 when RNG took it from Fnatic at last year's MSI. This is the longest consecutive stretch of time it has spent in a single region.
The record for longest single stretch as UWC belongs to G2 Esports, who held the title from Oct. 7th, 2016 after winning it from Albus nOx Luna at Worlds 2016 (the only game they won at that tournament), until losing it to Flash Wolves at IEM Season 11 World Championships on Feb 22nd, 2017, a total of 138 days. Only 3 other teams have held the title for more than 100 days in a single stretch: SKT T1 and Team WE have both held it for stretches of 112 days, and KaBuM! e-Sports held it for 111 days. On the other side of that coin, there are numerous instances of teams being the UWC for a period of 0 days, which they accomplished by winning the title and then losing it on the same day.
The record for most consecutive successful title defences is tied between Flash Wolves, who defended the title 14 times in the 77 day period between winning it on Feb 22nd, 2017 and losing it on May 10th, 2017 at MSI, and Team WE, who defended 14 times in the 112 day period from Dec 2, 2012 to Mar 24th, 2013. The only other teams to have successfully defended the title 10+ consecutive times are Taipei Assassins (11), RNG (11), and Kingzone DragonX (10).
Team WE has held the title 12 times, the most of any team. They first held the title for a 24-day period in Oct 2011, and last held it for a 21-day period in July 2017. IG is next with 9, followed by SKT with 8. Of western teams, CLG has the most with 4, followed by Fnatic with 3 and G2 with 2. TSM, C9, and Origen have each held it once.
The team holding the title has been present at every MSI since the tournament began in 2015, and at every World Championships except for 2018. During the 2018 World Championships, the title was held by CN's LGD Gaming, who did not qualify for the tournament. The only time that the title has both entered and left an international tournament with the same team was at the 2015 World Championships; LGD came in with the title, lost it to Origen on day 2 of the group stage, and then won it back from them on day 7. LGD failed to qualify for the knockout stage, so the title went home with them. I've only just realized while typing this that LGD is the exception in both of these cases. Huh.
I think that's all I've got for now. Hope you found this as interesting as I did.
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