With the North American and European LCS’ coming to a close, I would like to asses this season’s drastic skill improvement from the last. You may ask, “But this is Billiam’s Fun Fridays!? Where’s the fun in assessing stuff?”. Well, the fun is in the fact that we non-Koreans are getting closer to Koreans and it is every NA or EU fan’s dream to beat the Koreans.
The North American Middle
A bell curve is the only way to describe this season. Cloud 9 very obviously outclasses the continent, while, on the other end, Velocity is overwhelmed. And when we look at the rest of the NA teams, there is no longer the distinguished Top 4 from last season. Every team in the middle is in a fight for playoff spots. The fact that every team has to grind tooth and nail to stay alive is going to give NA a chance at Worlds. Only fear can bring these teams to the level they aspire to be, as last season was, overall, a flop in skill for teams, due to the standings being fairly predictable from the beginning of the split. Now that I’ve finished digressing, this season has been successful in not only creating a world-class team but has also developed an environment of excitement and anxiety for teams . In this environment, teams are on their toes and predicting most games are like throwing dice in the air, all of which are perfect conditions for NA’s competitive growth.
A Chaotic Europe
Every game matters, but in the EU LCS every game carries more weight. A team you saw competing for first in Week 2 now resides in last, and the 7th place team is only three immediate wins away from first. Streaming has gone down, and everyone has their eyes set on playoffs. Not one team isn’t growing week by week. Every week’s successful team is the one who learned the most from the previous week, a direct reflection of a team’s work ethic; each game’s entertainment scales up as the weeks pass by. If Europe is going to win Worlds, this season was the perfect preparation for it. Europe has become just as much of definer of the meta as Korea, and all signs point to world-class teams emerging from here.
A Competitive Future
The LCS Summer Splits did not only bring to surface fierce competition among the teams, it has brought the chance of teams to actually compete internationally, and thus fulfilling most of our dreams of dethroning the Koreans. LCS teams need to understand that this is what must happen every season if they want to be treated as world-class teams. While, personally, I am very excited to see what the LCS regions can do, I’m very apprehensive on how these changes will impact next season. Will they do well and get cocky? Perhaps they do bad and become complacent? Hopefully neither, but as fans, we have no control over the results and therefore should just stick to rooting on for our favorite teams as if they were a hometown Texas football team.