Post-Franchise LCS Flips The Competitive Script
This past weekend 100 Thieves and Echo Fox enjoyed a bye week while superteam Team Liquid triumphed over perennial title favorite Cloud9, and LCS newcomer and Houston Rockets affiliate Clutch Gaming showed TSM the exit door the playoffs prior to the Finals for the first time in league history.
Only three teams have ever won an NA LCS title– TSM, CLG, and Cloud9– and all three have been in the league since its inaugural season in 2013. As the LCS heads to Miami in two weeks’ time for the Spring Split finals, we are guaranteed to have a fourth team join their ranks as CLG did not qualify for playoffs and TSM and Cloud9 were both knocked out in the first round.
When Riot announced that they were creating permanent partnerships in the LCS, part of the criteria they were looking for partners that could build organizations that could compete with the best of the teams already in the league. Some like Clutch stressed their focus on analytics (inspired no doubt by the Rockets’ Dary Morey, regarded by many as the dean of traditional sports analytics) while others like 100 Thieves highlighted their camaraderie and expertise in building an extraordinarily cohesive roster.
Many questions were asked about how long it would take non-endemic teams to make a competitive splash in the LCS, and we now have our answer. Clutch Gaming (Houston Rockets) and 100 Thieves (Dan Gilbert/Cleveland Cavaliers) in particular as league newcomers have already surpassed expectations by decisively bouncing NA LCS powerhouse TSM out of playoffs and finishing the regular season #1, respectively, both during their very first split in the league.
If there was previously any doubt about whether the new ownership groups could hang with the old guard on the competitive side there remains none any longer– it’s a whole new ballgame for professional League of Legends in North America, both on and off the rift.
Sexism in esports: Part Two
Rachel Feinberg & Breanne Harrison-Pollock•@rachellipstick
Just like other industries, esports struggles with issues of diversity, prejudice, and inclusion. However, unlike many long standing ecosystems, esports is still young and malleable. Esports can and should be a multicultural playground for people of all backgrounds to interact and thrive.
How do we create this future? Here are our suggestions:
- As Drake would rap, know yourself. Seek to understand your own perspective. What biases inform your opinions? What experiences and entitlements make your current perspective what it is? What circumstances allowed you to begin gaming? What steered you in the direction of a certain mode of gaming or a certain game? Whether we like it or not, all of these factors are very real and very current.
- Seek to understand the perspectives of others. Speak less, and listen more – to everyone. Ask opinions online and IRL, and follow a more diverse esports crowd on Twitter, Twitch, and Youtube. Does every streamer you watch look the same? Maybe it’s time to venture outside of your comfort zone.
- Support equality in actionable ways: support individuals, teams, and organizations that promote inclusion of all. In turn, do not support those that promote isms (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.). Rather than buying a game promoting violence against a marginalized group that actually struggles for equality IRL, support games and studios that push the limits of modern gaming graphics, narratives, and strategies. In essence, support those that support others.