After another disappointing year at Worlds 2020 for the LCS the same old excuses for NA’s underperformance need to stop.
“Invest in the amateur scene. Improve the solo queue environment. Work on infrastructure.” If these phrases sound familiar, they should, because they are the same tired explanations that LCS teams roll out after each year’s underwhelming Worlds performance. With all three LCS teams failing to make it out of the group stage of Worlds 2020 (and the top seed TSM going winless in their groups), we hear the same excuses all over again.
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But let’s be real. Based on the trend of the past few years, we will only see some very small, incremental moves by NA organizations towards change that will actually make the region competitive. Some teams will sign a few solo queue players to their Academy teams or bring up a few rookies to their starting rosters, pump some more money into lower-tier leagues, and call it a day.
The truth is that those moves, while certainly a step in the right direction, will serve only to placate fans and paper over the massive holes in the North American professional scene’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, we are already starting to hear some of the same old excuses about the bad solo queue environment, high ping, small player base limiting the talent pool, lack of proper investment into the amateur scene, and poor coaching/staffing choices.
To be sure, all of these excuses are valid reasons for why the region lags behind all the other major regions. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, these factors are (almost all) ultimately out of the control of the LCS players and organizations. Players can’t control how Riot balances the game, where they put the servers, the size of the player pool in their region, or their organization’s infrastructure.
And while, yes, orgs do have the resources to improve the infrastructure, it seems that they are either not willing to do so, or unable to do so because of reasons outside of their control. Among the biggest, is the influx of venture capital investors who are looking for a return on their money in a fairly volatile environment of esports.