BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 18: Worlds Group Stage at Verti Music Hall (Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games)
North American League of Legend’s teams once again is headed home after another poor showing at World’s. Clutch Gaming, Cloud 9 and Team Liquid all failed to get out of the group stage, rekindling the conversation about just how good (or bad) is NA? Norris and Joe took to their keyboards to collectively mourn NA’s early exits and talk next steps for the region.
Best of Three Format/Shorter Season
Norris: I have no idea personally why this isn’t already a thing. In every other esport there’s more than one game to decide a match. I get it a League match can often run north of 40 mins. So to offset this make the season shorter. This not only gives teams more time to scrim, it also gives more players experience with series play. Also, get rid of split championships. Make ONE champion per year.
Joe: I’ve seen regions experiment with running the best of two or best of three match-ups throughout the season. It’s terrible to watch. I’m all for shortening the season a good bit, but keep your best of one style.
More International Play
Norris: I personally think this is obvious. Listen, LCS players get a grand total of what, three times a year to play opponents abroad? One of which is a bogus tournament no one cares about (Rift Rivals). Why is there no Rift Rivals equivalent for LPL or LCK and LCS. I don’t care if we get stomped in the beginning. We can’t keep coming up against theses teams and shrinking in the face of our Korean and Chinese counterparts. If there’s a shorter season you could run the following. A season-opening or preseason invitational, Mid-Season Invitational, Two Rift Rivals and Worlds. Five chances to go against international opponents.
Joe: I struggle with this one. I think the LCS region needs to get more international experience, but I don’t know if things like Rift Rivals will get it done. Rift Rivals is already a giant blow-off event every year. Riot needs to really put something on the line at Rift Rivals if they want players to take it seriously and have it mean something. Winners of Rift Rivals get to send an extra team to Worlds, that sort of thing.
Support The Locals/Homegrown Talent
Norris: While this might be too big for Riot to take one by themselves they need to do more to expand the talent pool of the NA region. I think all teams should be required to have at least two homegrown players on the roster at all times. From my understanding, there are only residency requirement rules in the LCS and NOT any homegrown talent rules. This is a start, they don’t need to be guaranteed a start, but they MUST be at least practicing/scrimming with the starting side. Also, the ping argument isn’t that valid anymore. There are enough big cities with fast enough internet to get sub-60 ping. Here in the office, on Wi-Fi, we consistently get 12-20 ping. More than enough for good games of League.
Joe: Yes, yes, a million times yes. North America is behind the curve in treating esports like a serious profession. While we’re getting there now, we’re definitely still lagging behind other regions. Players shouldn’t be being scouted in late high school, they should be scouted as potential esports athletes in elementary and middle school. By the time a korean player arrives on the professional scene, they’ve been training and practicing for almost a decade in some cases. North America is going to have to get to that level of seriousness before we truly start competing.
Stop Being The Retirement League
Norris: Or at least stop being the “Meh, I can just go to LCS” region. TSM’s Broken Blade set the 2019 Spring Split ablaze coming from TURKEY! Come on, man. Now, I’m not trying to down Broken Blade, but there’s no way that kids goes to LPL, LEC or LCK and has that kind of impact. I mean how many former world champions are in NA that came from LCK? Its frustrating. The gulf in class becomes painfully obvious. Its the same issue that Major League Soccer has. Players are able to come to America and dominate the league because proper infrastructure hasn’t been set up here. Absurd in both soccer and esports that the richest nation in the world can’t get this together.
Joe: I think this one is more of a symptom than it is a cause. The lower level of competition makes it a viable option for players who have lost a step in other regions. The only way to shake this stigma is to land some quality talent IN THEIR PRIME from other regions. And that’s going to take cash, lots of it. When we are sitting here with our jaws on the floor because Cloud9 lured Rookie away from Invictus, then we’ve officially broken out of that mold.
Checkpoint Daily is Monday through Friday, starting at 5:00 p.m. ET, at Twitch.tv/CheckpointXP. Be sure to follow, turn on those notifications, and subscribe!