INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 03: Supporters watch the Finals match of 2018 The League of Legends World Championship at Incheon Munhak Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

As the LCS gears up for the 2021 season, teams are already making starting lineup announcements. One such team is Golden Guardians. They revealed that two of their new starters were coming from the college esports gauntlet. Aiden “Niles” Tidewell and Ethan “Ic0nic” Wilkinson, both coming from Maryville University, are now starters for the team. The move was praised by pundits as a step forward for the relationship between college and pro esports.

Sign Of The Times?

As with many industries esports is looking to cut costs and make do with decreased revenue across the board. Many teams are no exception to the rule. And while some are doubling down on their franchise players, Golden Guardians dropped their entire starting lineup from last year. In response, the team signed LCS neophytes Leandro “Newbie” Marcos and Nicolas Ablazeolive” Abbott. They also brought in veteran Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes from Counter Logic Gaming to command their bot lane. But it’s the addition of the two Maryville players that’s garnered the most attention. By having Top Laner and Jungler with that much experience together the two could hit the ground running next season.

Niles is a 2019 CLOL champion continuing the legacy of a Maryville LoL Program that’s won two of the last three College Championships. But over the last year, the two have created a partnership that’s won numerous tournaments. And while the loss of two of their big-time players will slow down Maryville a bit, their replacements will be more than capable.

Here’s our conversation with the newly minted pros from back in September when Maryville dominated the HUE Invitational.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images