LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — League of Legends’ 2017 All-Star event debuted its new format Thursday through Sunday, and The Daily Walkthrough spoke with North American and European players to get their perspective on the changes.
Cloud9’s Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi didn’t mind the updates, which included the introduction of eight regional teams and two players being sent from each region for the 1v1 tournament as opposed to everyone.
“It’s not bad. It kind of fits to what the vision is, you know, just a fun tournament,” Sneaky told TheDW. “There’s not really any reward for winning or anything. You don’t have to try hard. I guess it’s weird only playing one game against everyone, but that’s fine. The only thing I’m disappointed about is the 1v1 tournament only being two from each team, rather than the whole entirety of the players.”
G2 Esports’ Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski also said it’s “not bad,” but described All-Star as being “serious.”
“The format change is not bad since it’s a more serious event. Riot made the changes so we have more serious events,” he said. “It’s a positive experience … I’m sure people learned a lot, and I’m sure getting experience and having fun as a player and doing something between seasons is important. I had so much fun.”
Regardless of whether the All-Star event is fun or serious, both Sneaky and Jankos didn’t think it was a time sink for them to attend.
Sneaky said “if I wasn’t here, I’d be streaming at home. It’s not like I’d be losing this time for practice. This is still the off-season. We’ll be practicing soon, but not just yet. The only time it would be more out of the way is if it wasn’t in L.A. I think it’s generally OK depending on the person. It’s not a waste of time to be here. It’s publicity, you get to show off some cool stuff.”
It’s worth it to Jankos, but he said that may not be the case for all players. “It’s time well spent. Right now I would be doing nothing at home. Being here helps me to grow as a player, to talk to you guys, to do interviews, to show my faith that I still exist,” he said. “At the same time, there are players who are way more famous and make a lot of money streaming, so for some players maybe it’s not worth it because you don’t actually win anything. It’s more of a fun event even though it’s serious. Maybe for them it’s not worth it. I know Doublelift, for example, said it’s pointless.”
The All-Star event followed the end of the NA LCS’s free agency period. With the inclusion of franchising and new teams like 100 Thieves, Golden Guardians and Clutch Gaming, the preseason trading period “was interesting.”
“It was interesting, for sure. The biggest part was the fact that there was four new teams and they had to pickup new rosters,” Sneaky said. “Even some of the other teams like Echo Fox are all five new players, which is really weird.
“There’s so much going on, but I think it was to be expected. Team Liquid had been falling off … They dropped pretty hard, it makes sense to drop the whole roster,” Sneaky continued. “Same thing for TSM [Team SoloMid]. They’d had the same roster for two years in a row and it didn’t work out. They won NA, but their ultimate goal is to get farther in Worlds and they didn’t accomplish that. There was a weird meta with Twitter specifically in the free agency, I guess Reddit too. Every single free agent’s post on Twitter was super high on Reddit and I was like, ‘OK, I guess?’ It was really awkward.”
Jankos described the preseason as “crazy.”
“You talk to teams and see what you can do, see what is best. You kind of ask yourself, ‘Do you go for the money or do you go for the biggest chances of winning?’ The money is usually the biggest factor,” Jankos told TheDW. “Even if you win first place, the prize pool in League of Legends is so small that most of the teams offer you way, way more in salary. Winning is still important, but I believe that in the future after [my] G2 Esports career I will change my priorities, but I will see about that.”
FC Schalke 04, Fnatic and Misfits are three teams Jankos can’t wait to play. “What I want to see is the new Schalke 04 lineup. I think it has a lot of potential, but it could be wasted. The coach is good so I think he can make the lineup work. Fnatic is insane. No matter what happens there, they’re insane … Misfits will still be a strong team. I can’t wait.”
When asked about G2 Esports, Jankos laughed and said, “G2 is going to be the shit, Hell ya.”
As for which teams made the NA LCS cut and which ones didn’t, Sneaky said “It’s a bit performance based. If they were bottom of the barrel LCS and they were doing bad with their roster and paying way too high, then yes, they’re not going to be given a spot for sure.”
Immortals being dropped from the NA LCS was the most puzzling decision to Sneaky. “The only one that was surprising to me was Immortals,” he said. “What would have happened if Immortals got out of [Worlds] groups like they were expected to, and then they [Riot] announced Immortals aren’t in LCS next year? That would have happened at the same time as them leaving groups and that would have been like, ‘Uh, hello?’ What if they got to the semis, what if they won Worlds? What happens then? Would they [Riot] have gone back on their decision?”
Coming from Europe, Jankos explained that while franchising “helped NA a lot,” he didn’t think the same format would work for the EU LCS.
“Franchising helped NA a lot since we have a lot of really famous brands coming in. I’m not sure if this will work for EU. In Europe, I’d see more international competition, a Polish team versus a German team. I think that hypes up Europe a lot more,” Jankos said. “Something similar in League of Legends could work, but maybe not instantly because some countries wouldn’t have good enough players. I’m not sure how it would work in international competitions. Who would we send to compete in NA?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think franchising is a wrong move, I just think maybe something else would work for Europe,” he stressed. “But at the same time, teams like Barcelona and Madrid coming into League would be huge for us. It would be exciting. I’m actually very curious what teams would come in.”
But if there’s one thing Jankos hoped for, it’s the potential impact franchising could have on salaries. It “will be interesting, I can’t say too much. Probably, we’ll have to wait at least another year. The salary difference between Europe and NA is about three, four times. It makes me excited, you know?”