The year of 2017 could very well just end in true LPL fashion for the Chinese region. Tons of roster changes could happen, teams could stagnate and LPL might just deliver another poor performance at Worlds. But that’s just one possibility. Depending on what the teams do during the off-season, the region can improve greatly. There’s several things that need to change for that to happen though.
First of all, LPL teams need to show more faith towards younger native talent. They need to pick up young players and help them develop. Ever since Season 5 and the Korean Exodus, Chinese teams resort too quickly towards Korean imports. It seems that some Korean players will be leaving their teams. With Deft and PawN leaving EDG as well as rumors of Mata and Looper leaving RNG, we could very well see the 2017 season of the LPL revert back to having more Chinese players.
Second, rosters need to be more stable in China. While it’s true that there’s enough games for teams to experiment with substitutes and having substitutes is a good thing, experimenting too much can hurt a team by not letting the starters play as much as they should. One reason why LGD Gaming was a mess this year is because they would often swap out members in weird ways out of panic. The Chinese organizations need to show more faith in their starting rosters and give them enough play time.
Finally and above all other things, Chinese teams must take their practice and their preparation more seriously. Too many times we have seen a Chinese team that gets hyped up because they do well in China but when they face international competition, they either prepare too poorly and get beaten handily, or they just don’t take their practice leading up to the match seriously and it ends up hurting them a lot.
Edward Gaming is a prime example of this. They have failed to deliver at Worlds three times in a row now, and two of them were because they didn’t take things as seriously as they could and did not prepare properly for their opponents on multiple occasions. Who knows how many failed Worlds performances it would take for them to realize this and change. But when it comes to preparation and taking scrims seriously, lots of LPL teams are guilty of it.
The Chinese region as a whole needs to evolve and develop in order to get stronger and have a chance of taking down their Korean rivals. Will they succeed next year? It’s too early to tell. But if teams like IMay continue to show up, teams that work hard and put in a lot of effort, then maybe the LPL can be much better next year. For the sake of better competition, whether it’s an LPL fan or not, everyone should be hoping for it to happen.