It’s Time for LCS Teams to Stop with the Same Old Excuses

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

It’s more of the same excuses from LCS teams after another Worlds failure.

Caster Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley laid most of these regional problems bare in a tweet last week, addressing not only the existing issues, but also why the orgs themselves can’t fix this problem on their own:

As much as players may whine to Riot to move the servers back to California so they can practice on low ping, it’s unlikely to happen. Riot originally moved the servers to Chicago because they wanted to stabilize the ping across North America and not greatly benefit one coast over the other.

Moving the servers back west may make the current LCS players’ ping better, but it will make the game far worse for east coast players (as someone who used to play on 80-90 ping, I can attest). This will, in turn, stunt the growth of possible professional players on that side of the country and turn off east cost players from playing ranked at all, thus shrinking the player pool further. In short, the change is unlikely to happen and, if it did, could ultimately hurt the talent development efforts in North America.

Riot is also taking an active approach to improve the solo queue environment, including rolling out new behavioral systems to make instances like AFKing and intentionally feeding punished more often. While this will definitely help, it doesn’t solve other behaviors high elo players complain about lowering the quality of solo queue, like one-tricks, “soft inters,” stream snipers, and generally toxic players.

As for infrastructure and coaching, yes teams should and will make further investments. We already saw this with 100 Thieves Next, but teams like Cloud9 and TSM also have deeper organizational ties to player development systems beyond just their Academy teams. Unfortunately, as the GM of Maryville University points out, the level of investment is ultimately stunted because teams are not investing in the right places.

Player salaries being sky-high isn’t the fault of the players, but rather of the organizations for handing out such massive contracts. Organizations should foucs on signing (relatively) cheap, young, or undervalued players, and investing those savings into their infrastructures like scouting and player development. Unfortunately, it seems teams feel the pressure to justify their investor’s backing by signing players and going into “win-now” mode.

The result is that, unlike in the three other major regions, we often see the same players shuffled back and forth between LCS rosters (and the Academy rosters) rather than teams cycling in unproven talent. It’s sacrificing players with a low floor but potentially higher ceiling and keeping players whose floor is higher but ceiling is much lower.

Teams are petrified of being stuck with the next Soligo, Eika, or Dhokla. Unfortunately, it seems their solution is to keep recycling in players like Fenix, Lourlo, Grig, and Altec in the LCS and Academy, which hinders our development as a region.