2014 International Wildcard Tournament Recap

Last month, Legacy eSports headed to Gamescom to compete in Riot’s International Wildcard Tournament. After months of intensive scrimming, reviewing of replays, sessions with sports psychologists, and a timely scission from Avant Garde, Legacy joined the select group of Australian teams that can boast of having participated in an international competition.

Day 1

Legacy were to play the first two matches of Day 1 back-to-back. They quickly found their feet and exacted strong victories against Turkish stalwarts Dark Passage and Russian Force.

In their later match against Dark Passage, however, the Australians faltered and were quickly punished for their mistakes. Legacy finished Day 1 with another dominant win against Russian Force, leaving them tied with Dark Passage at the top of the standings at a 3-1 record — earning them a place in the Finals on Day Two.

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The Final

The Final was a “Wildcard” in every sense of the word. Legacy and Dark Passage had each taken a game off the other in the Round Robin, which was the first time the two teams had ever played. Unfortunately, Dark Passage were simply too genteel for Legacy. They found all the right weaknesses to exploit and took the series with a somewhat disheartening 3-0 win.

Quikshot made a very poignant observation in summarizing Legacy’s loss against Dark Passage during the Round Robin, to the effect that:

Legacy’s mechanical play was generally on par with, if not superior to, Dark Passage; their decision-making and rotations, however, were questionable.

There is no simple explanation for this phenomenon, but it has long been a penchant of Australian LoL teams at international competitions to exhibit tremendous mechanical skill and knowledge of their champions, but let themselves down with dubious macro decision-making.

There is obviously no shortage of talent in the region, what’s lacking is the organization and discipline that defines professional eSports in North America, Europe, and South-East Asia.

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Despite Australian eSports fans making a number of vulgar jokes at Legacy’s expense after their performance against DP, the simple fact is that they exceeded all expectations to win the Oceania Winter Regional, let alone win any matches at the Wildcard Tournament.

The most important matter for consideration when reflecting upon Legacy’s performance is not whether Immunity or any other Oceanic team could have done better.

The crucial point is that yet another Australian-based LoL eSports team has had the experience of preparing for an international League of Legends event and competing on-stage. Legacy worked hard before the International Wildcard Tournament, and will most assuredly bring what they have learned back to domestic competition.

Moving Forward

For a region where competitive League of Legends is still in its infancy, it is beneficial for as many players and teams as possible to do as Legacy have done.

Obviously results are still important, but the sustainability of LoL eSports in Oceania will be reliant upon the continued popularity of the game and healthy competition at home. The participation of “new” teams in international tournaments can only have a positive effect on both of these things.

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Another matter for deliberation is Dark Passage’s geographical advantage. Although the wildcard tournament is structured around teams from regions with less populous servers (Russia, Turkey and Oceania in the case of IWC Gamescom), Dark Passage has the distinct advantage of being able to play scrims and solo queue on the EU West servers without debilitating latency.

The benefit of this exposure to top-level European play was clearly evident in the polished manner in which they defeated Legacy in the final at IWC Gamescom.

You can catch all VoDs of Legacy’s matches at the International Wildcard Tournament on the LoL eSports YouTube channel:

On Solace has also put together a fantastic montage of Legacy’s plays from Day 1 that is also worth checking out:

In other news, Immunity’s League of Legends team has also undergone a rebranding after excising themselves from Immunity to form a new organization. The aptly named Exodus Gaming features the same line-up as the former Immunity squad and is the only team besides Legacy to have already qualified for the Oceanic Regional Final.

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PineappleSmoothie is a law student with a love for sport - eSports included. He has played League of Legends since season two and is Platinum in OCE solo queue. He currently covers the rapidly growing Oceania scene for Cloth5.

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