Team Dark has one of the most sordid histories in competitive League of Legends. The team was plagued by scandal and poor performance, but they're also the source of one of the funniest, saddest games in League of Legends history.
It also happens to be the shortest competitive League of Legends game ever played, which is why we're particularly interested in their story.
Team Dark was founded by a group of mostly nobodies to compete in the PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013-2014 qualifiers. However, this group of nobodies featured one player of note: Jeong "Apdo" Sang-gil. Apdo was considered one of the greatest League of Legends players of all time. He was a god, conquering solo queue in Korea and China like it was nothing, playing four positions the whole time.
The problem was that Apdo was also an infamous Elo booster, and Riot didn't take kindly to his ignoring their virtual laws. Riot would ban Apdo whenever they got enough evidence piled up that he was Elo boosting, but he would reemerge, with a fresh account and boosting some other player's account all over again. The money was decent, but there was no glory in it. Apdo's name was being put next to Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's when people were talking about the best player at the time, but Apdo had never played in an official tournament. People knew he had what it took to be the best, but there was no proof.
So Apdo gathered up some other solo queue heroes and banded them together as Team Dark. Led by a misfit hero from solo queue, Team Dark would give fans a shot to see Apdo finally square off against Faker, who had just come off his rookie-season World Championship win.
Then, the day before the offline qualifiers, Riot Korea banned Apdo from participating in any official tournament, and banned his main account for 1,000 years. Allegedly, this had to do with a girl who hired Apdo for Elo boosting developing feelings for him, and when he rebuffed her advances, she turned him in for his Elo boosting exploits.
Team Dark soldiered on with out Apdo, making it through the qualifiers and into Champions, but their hearts weren't in it. They were brought together by the charismatic solo-queue rebel, and without their literally fearless leader, they fell apart. They went down to NaJin White Shield first, then, in their match against Samsung Ozone, the team collapsed.
The first game of the series was quick. Team Dark's pick-ban was unorthodox, but not a complete joke. But Samsung Ozone was one of the best teams in the world, and they brought down their full force onto Team Dark. Twenty minutes later, Team Dark was down a game, and left with just one option: go full meme.
Team Dark's bans in Game 2 spelled out "let's go gank" in Korean if you looked at the first hangul characters, and the players picked all junglers, allegedly to honor the legacy of then-recently retired Korean jungler Lee "CloudTemplar" Hyun-woo. It was a meme comp through and through, and Team Dark leaned into it, loading up in bushes near Samsung's base in the first minute of the game and attempting to fight at every opportunity.
Team Dark's comp was designed to rarely step into lane, which let Samsung draft a team equally as goofy — all AD carries and bruisers, designed to push lanes, shred towers and end the game as quickly as possible. Samsung pushed up mid, and found themselves in Team Dark's base. Team Dark responded by warding their entire base and running away in one of the last displays of unlimited wards in competitive play. Samsung took out their Nexus in just over eight minutes.
Three days later, KeSPA, Riot and OGN disqualified Team Dark from the tournament for intentionally throwing matches and not taking games seriously. As far as anyone knows, all but one never played professional LoL ever again. Kim "Savila" Ji-hwan went on to play one season with Rebels Anarchy but left long before that team became the Afreeca Freecs.
Team Dark probably had it coming, when you think about it. The highest level of League of Legends competition in what's now considered the best region in the world isn't really the place to be running memorial meme comps if you care a lot about your continued place in the game. But Team Dark didn't care. They had lost Apdo, who returned to solo queue under various different account names but never came back to pro LoL.
Team Dark's history was short and hilarious, but the story that led to the funniest, shortest game of pro LoL is one of unrequited love, a charming outlaw, a heartfelt memorial and the righteous fury of a game developer scorned.
Don't get on Riot's bad side kids, when they hit back, they hit hard.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. He watches these games so you don't have to. You can follow him on Twitter.