The climb has begun for us, the average players. As placements are played, players rage and tilt, and posts are made about how the unfair system placed you lower than you deserve, we remember an exciting fact. All of these things can only mean one thing — another season of League of Legends is here. For fans of foreign leagues, it has already come, but for domestic fans who aren’t staying up through the night, the excitement begins this weekend. After a season full of shocking headlines, many of us wait to see how all the new faces in new places will fare.
This offseason was full of attention-grabbing headlines. “Doublelift returns to Team Liquid,” “Zven and Mithy set to join TSM,” and “Jankos to join G2” were all titles that made us drop our jaws and log in to Reddit to express our joy (or sad disbelief, whichever the case may be). We saw countless other significant names getting new homes — Aphromoo, Sencux, MikeYeung, PowerofEvil, Profit, Huni, and more. The franchising move in North America permanently changed the landscape of the league, putting beloved organizations like Immortals and Dignitas out for good, while welcoming a cast of teams owned by NBA franchises. Salaries jumped, imports arrived, some imports left. With all of the new dramatic storylines of players facing former teammates, teams wildly changing skill levels, and brand-new rivalries formed (or brought from the NBA), this season is sure to astound all of us, right? It’s going to be amazing, because no one knows quite what to expect, right?
Well, not exactly. North America stands a good chance to still be won by TSM. If not, there’s still a great chance that it could be Cloud9 or CLG. Team Liquid has a likely chance, but even that’s not very new — we can all remember when they were a playoff team. If I told you the Europe will be won by G2, Misfits, or Fnatic, would it boggle your mind? Probably not. These teams have all been good pretty much since they existed (although Misfits is fairly new to the scene). Players will talk trash, there will be a few upsets for sure (especially with best-of-ones returning), the perennially great teams will rise to the top. They’ll qualify for Worlds, North America will look great with all its imports, Europe will make it a little further anyway, and at the end two Korean teams will fight for the title. With all the hullabaloo about changes, it’s still not enough to make anyone, qualified or otherwise, buck these predictions with hot takes. And why would they? This has been the overarching storyline for about five years now.
Would anyone be surprised to see these guys in a third straight final?
If you’re a results-oriented person, League of Legends is not that exciting. Looking at the Leaguepedia page for each split’s and season’s results would indicate that no one should watch, because roughly the same thing will happen. But here’s the good news: LCS fans aren’t really results-oriented people. They may flame their team in megathreads after they drop out of Worlds too early, but they don’t stop supporting them. And every year, we cheer on our favorites as they try to take down the giants, no matter how futile it could be. I’m a Cloud9 fan, so one of my most memorable seasons was 2015. Looking at merely the results, 2015 ended with TSM, C9, and CLG qualifying for worlds, which is no new story. But you already know why it was amazing — the return of an unretired Hai who pulls the team out of the depths of relegation into the gauntlet, where they reverse-sweep two teams before deciding they could win one in four games to qualify. It wasn’t about how it ended. It was about how we got there. I don’t even think Riot could write a script that good.
So as we preview the season, there’s no hot takes. If you might have hoped to see a bold prediction, it’s not gonna happen. There’s no hype videos here. If I’m wrong, and the entire LCS flips on its head, I’ll be ecstatic. If ROCCAT becomes more than a super-dope Reddit account, the shock might kill me. I’d love it. But I’ll love it even if that doesn’t happen. We always do. One could say that all this offseason really gave us was some juicy storylines. But those storylines are enough for us to have a blast. So yes, it is just another average season of League of Legends. And that’s awesome.
EU LCS begins today and NA LCS begins tomorrow, both here.
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