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DIGAGAMI PRESENTS: SPRING 2019 LCS “BREAK THE META ” RECAP

First off, let me say that I’m not a super expert in League of Legends. But ever since my son @itzshogun introduced me to the LCS, I’ve been kind of hooked.

Saturday night I watched two super-powered Esports teams go head-to-head. TSM (Team Solo Mid) who has arguably the best League of Legends player ever, the monster Mid-Laner “Bjergsen” and Team Liquid with his main rival, and GOAT nominee, TL’s Bot Lane Behemoth “Double Lift.”

An amazing promo photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

aXiomatic (Team Liquid’s parent company) CEO and co-founders Bruce Stein, Peter Guber and their associates have managed to create a juggernaut Esports organization that is now backed by heavy-hitting investors like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Ted Leonsis, Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning) and more. It’s no wonder that Team Liquid had a fantastic season this year in LCS and had such a historic “reverse sweep” come from behind win after being down 0 – 2.  This was ironically only accomplished by one other team in the League’s history: TSM.

Allow me to preface this section of the article by saying that League of Legends has a love-hate relationship with many members of its community. For those who aren’t familiar, LOL is legendary for the extreme amount of toxic players in the lower Elos. It’s packed with trolls and inters (intentional feeders) who wreak havoc on any serious gamers and significantly reduce their chances to reach higher tiers. It’s so bad, in fact, that it is lovingly referred to as “Elo Hell.” You think I’m talking about the opponents you face, right?

Wrong! The most significant obstacle that must be overcome in low tier gameplay is none other than your own teammates! You may actually get more support from the opposing team. Trust me…I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

The LCS, however, is a glimpse into the promised land of non-toxic teammates who have true team synergy which is really what the game is all about. When you really work together and abstain from flaming people in chat (which btw isn’t allowed in LCS), it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish. And this year’s Spring LCS definitely proved that to us all. It was exciting and full of twists and surprises.

[divider]Opening Ceremonies[/divider]

Let’s talk presentation. The opening motion graphics and theme music gave you the feeling of the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. The announcers Dash (@riotdash), Hai (@hai), Crumbz (@phophetcrumbz), Markz (@theemarkz), Captain Flowers (@captainflowers), Rivington (@rivingtonthe3rd) and Olivee (@OvileeMay) did an excellent job providing commentary for the event.

Personally, the only thing that could have made it better would be a ticker or overlays that continually educated you about the game with trivia, terminology, and info on the champions that each team member was using. The events were sponsored by State Farm, Acer, Jersey Mike’s Subs, and Alienware.


[divider]Ridiculed at every turn…allow me to digress. [/divider]

Being an older gamer, I have seen the revolution and evolution of video games. As a Gen-Xer, Esports is like a dream come to reality. We were tormented and ridiculed mercilessly by many Boomers just for playing Games.

They constantly lectured us about how it would “Rot our brains” and, also how “Wasted our lives would be if we continued to indulge gameplay.”  All we wanted was an escape from the cookie-cutter existence that they were accustomed to in their daily lives.

Fast-forward twenty years and the thing that nightmares are made of for Boomers is born. What an incredible culture. If we had had a glimpse into the future and saw that there would be an actual living, breathing, E-Athlete who got paid to play as a career, wow, would life be different now!

[divider]Whew! Ok…FlashBack’s over…! [/divider]

Esports had a gigantic Saturday with both the Overwatch Championship and LCS occurring as well as the NBA 2K League with several games at night. It wasn’t a typical Saturday; I was loving it. But this weekend I experienced  LCS in a whole different way.

[divider] Let the Games Begin [/divider]

“Vlad racked up a small village of kills on TL that would have shamed the Belmonts and made Granddaddy Tepid proud.”

Azmatik

I was perplexed by the choices because I had personally never seen that team comp before. So I knew things would be interesting. Core lost the Kentch.

Match one started off at a very cautious pace. Bjergsen and Akaadian laid heavy-damage on to TL and provided a healthy distraction. Team Liquid seemed like they were so focused on Bjergsen’s overall impact with Zoe (understandably) that they paid little attention to Broken Blade who was csing (leveling up) and scaling like a mad man, even though he had been kept at bay by Impact for most of the early game.

It was soon evident that TSM had one goal in mind during the first few matches. That goal was to neutralize “Doublelift” and that they did very well. If CoreJJ had “Tahm Kench” during those first two matches, I think things would have gone a little differently. This kid is a master support role player and I’ve enjoyed watching him all season. It’s no surprise that he is the MVP for this season.

This strat proved to have deadly consequences late game as Vlad racked up a small village of kills on TL that would have shamed the Belmonts and made Granddaddy Tepid proud. Being relatively new to LOL, I was impressed. I didn’t know he was so OP (over-powered), or that he could be that tanky; let’s not talk about his life steal, it was ridiculous.

With no one to guard him, TSM took every chance to pound Doublelift into the ground. Like a whack-a-mole game. But this is Doublelift we’re talking about, right?

The series dropped 0-2 in favor of TSM, and it looked like the series was going to be a sweep. Even my hopes for a good showdown slowly evaporated as I watched Team Solo Mid live up to their reputation and dominate.

[divider]Round Three…The Recipe[/divider]

Then it happened! The moment I was waiting for: with the “Clutch Kench” pick CoreJJ would be able to protect his teammates. Xsmithie picked Skarner and Doublift chose a ranged attack.

They didn’t disappoint. This is the kind of team comp that both I and many others had been watching them play all season. Had TSM beaten this combination, hands down I would have to give all respect due.  League is about synergy, and when TL is synced up, it’s tough to overcome them. They protected DL like an offensive line in football. Needless to say, Doublelift’s night ended with him being named MVP. #teamwork

I have to say overall this year LCS gave me the feeling of the Cavs vs. Warriors NBA finals. TSM put on a fantastic show and came very close to dethroning the “Three-peat” from Liquid. They really gained my respect for their determination and, had they won, Broken Blade would have definitely been the MVP for them in my eyes. But a reverse sweep is a purely astonishing feat in any life.  

If had one complaint, it would be the insanely toxic and unruly WWE Royal Rumble-esque chat on the side of the match. Wtf? That’s all I can say about that.

[divider]And In Collusion…umm, I mean Conclusion[/divider]

To reiterate, the excitement was maintained continuously by the announcers and the crowd. There were times when it was hard to hear them cheer due to audio difficulty, but they were definitely in the building and passionately cheering every objective, solo kill, team fight, and outplay.

Another exciting thing for me was watching the viewer numbers climb. When I first logged on before match one, viewership was around 130,000, but it quickly and steadily kept rising. It reached around 600,000 at one point, which was amazing, and those were just the numbers from Twitch Tv alone! It was also broadcast on YouTube gaming and shared on other platforms by fans.

A huge Congrats to Team Liquid, aXiomatic, Riot Games and Tencent as a whole. Events like this are what will put Esports on the path to mainstream legitimacy around the globe. MSI is up next…LET’S GO!

AZMATIK
Azmatik is a DJ and OG Gamer with a long history of gaming under his belt. He’s seen some of the first video games hit the market; he has a vast amount of knowledge about the industry and a real soft spot for the gaming and E-Sport communities.

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