No North American teams were left by the end of the World Championship group stages, leaving the LCK, LEC, and LPL to duke it out in the upcoming Knockout Stage.
No LCS teams making it to that stage of Worlds hasn’t happened since Worlds 2015, and League of Legends fans are still wondering if there’s a reason NA had such a weak performance this year. Overwatch League analyst and former LCK broadcaster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles was one of those viewers, and he took to Twitter to discuss how the LCS could improve for next year.
MonteCristos his seven-tweet thread by stating that the North American teams should have a best-of-three format, as well as four broadcasted tournament days during their Spring and Summer Splits. He stated that this would give teams “valuable stage experience.”
“This also allows teams to take more risks on giving rookies time to develop on stage,” he noted.
In League of Legends, teams are only allowed to have two “imported” players, meaning all other players must be from the organization’s home region. To be considered a “native” of that region, a player must have played or lived in that region for at least two years.
But MonteCristo feels this needs to be changed in North America. Right now, players from OCE, Brazil, and Latin America count as imported players when they join an LCS team, but the analyst feels this decreases the available pool of players a roster can take on.
A CBLOL commentator noted that this change would be “terrible for these regions,” since Brazil doesn’t have a lot of talent to begin with.
“If a NA team wants to hire the best talents from the region, they will easily get it,” he added.
MonteCristo responded that he was simply suggesting ways to make the LCS better, not really offering solutions for other regions.
“All LCS owners need to adopt a no bullshit policy with players and hire tough coaches. Ignore a player’s brand and bench them if they lean on their fame to remain a starter in spite of bad play or a terrible attitude,” MonteCristo said for his third point.
This strategy could be seen at play throughout Clutch Gaming‘s LCS run this year. The team started off with a very lax coach and lighthearted scrimming schedule, and the results were being a mid to low-tier team. But when the team hired a new coaching staff who created a stricter practice schedule, the team immediately improved beyond what most thought was possible.
Still, some League of Legends fans wondered if other LCS teams would really bother hiring tougher coaches and benching popular players when “the region is hostage to streamer culture and household names.” They noted that many of the teams can “make millions” off of their players without even having to do put in effort or win anything.
MonteCristo had some more to say about imported players in North America. He noted that LCS teams needed to “scout better.” The analyst explained that many organizations “froth at the mouth” over former stars who are simply “looking for a retirement check” instead of scouting out fresh and new talent.
MonteCristo then noted that the LoL season needs to be shortened so “teams have more time to boot camp together.” This would allow all the good teams throughout the world to scrim with each other. This would lead to “less difference” between all the regions in terms of playing style, and eventually, skill.
Throughout the Spring and Summer Splits, North Americam teams had been critisized by some for their slower playstyle, while other regions prefer to play more aggressively. This became even more apparent during Rift Rivals, when Europe showed itself to be much stronger as a region, with the exception of top NA squad Team Liquid.
MonteCristo’s last point was to “increase the amount of meaningful international competition.” He added “duh” after this point. Going along with some of his previous points, this would allow North American teams to practice more often against other regions in a competitive setting.
A lack of more consistent international competition is a frequent criticism of pro League of Legends, even going beyond debates around how any particular region might be able to improve.
While most of these suggestions would very clearly improve North America’s performance, MonteCristo’s list was still met with criticism on Reddit.
“NA had the most time to scrim since LCS ended earlier than every other region, and EU also has bo1’s and holds the second best record,” noted one Reddit user, pointing out that North America could improve with these changes, but it might still not be enough to win big tournaments.
Ultimately, many League of Legends fans felt that North America’s real issue is that the talent pool just isn’t as strong as in other regions. This is because League of Legends – and esports – just aren’t as broadly popular or as accepted in America as they are in some other countries. Some players even said there’s “no reason” to get better in NA because “academy teams are cluttered by washed up veterans.” Many players feel they’ll never go pro anyway, so they don’t bother to get better.