Potential visa change could make it harder for esports pros to become US residents - Dexerto

Potential visa change could make it harder for esports pros to become US residents

Published: 12/Aug/2019 20:44 Updated: 12/Aug/2019 21:06

by Bill Cooney


The United States Senate is currently considering a new bill that could potentially increase the waiting time for esports athletes to get a green card – to compete and live in the U.S. – by up to seven years.

According to esports immigration lawyer Genie Doi, esports players looking to work in the U.S. can apply for an EB-1A visa, or Extraordinary Ability Green Card, which gives permanent residency to foreign nationals who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in their field.

Doi explained on Twitter that the green card grants esports athletes the freedom to live in the United States long term, obtain in-state tuition at universities, or defer military service in their home country.

For example, South Korea, where a lot of Overwatch League pros hail from, requires mandatory military service for males before they turn 28.

What would the changes mean?

Currently, EB-1 green cards are take at least 18-24 months and up to 3+ years for residents of most countries except India and China, according to Doi. 

“The current system of employment-based immigration has an annual cap on the total number of green cards, as well as a 7% per country cap,” Doi explained. “In other words, India and China each get the same total number of immigrant visas every year as Korea or Germany.”

Robert Paul/Blizzard EntertainmentThe bill would mean a much longer wait for foreign esports athletes trying to compete in the U.S.

Essentially, the new act (S.386) would result in an immediate stoppage in employment based green cards for approximately seven years for all other countries that are not India and China, Doi said.

This means, esports pros from any other country besides India or China could wait up to seven years to have their green cards approved, which is almost a lifetime and a half in the world of esports.

The new bill could be very bad news for esports leagues based in North America, such as the Overwatch League, which has a high percentage of South Korean athletes.

“For many players, it is not worth upending your life in your home country to move to the United States without the potential benefits of permanent residency,” Doi explained. “In the LCS [League of Legends Championship Series], for example, a team must have at least three of five players on the starting roster be permanent residents of the United States or Canada.”

“Under the current system, a Korean player could join the LCS and potentially get a green card within a few years and open a roster space for an import,” she continued. “S.386 would essentially make it so that no foreign player could join the LCS and become a resident.”

Will the new bill become a law?

S.386 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 365-65, but Doi admits that it would take a “perfect storm” for the bill to make it through the Senate and become a law.

Still, the ease with which the act passed through the House has Doi and other immigration lawyers working in esports very worried “about the potentially devastating impact the bill would have on esports immigration.”

Riot GamesS.386 could be very bad news for LCS teams with Korean players as well.

Even though there’s a slim chance of the bill making it through, it would be a huge blow to North American esports in general, were it to pass. 

Unfortunately, the impact on the multi-million dollar esports industry in the United States probably wasn’t even considered by lawmakers who voted for the bill.

League of Legends

How League of Legends’ mid lane meta is changing in Season 11

Published: 22/Jan/2021 10:53

by Andrew Amos


League of Legends went through arguably its biggest pre-season in history in Season 11. The item rework drastically changed up exactly what players build. However, it hasn’t really changed what people are playing, especially in the pro scene.

League’s mid lane is the center of attention. A lot of the worlds’ best have mastered their craft there ⁠— Faker, Caps, xPeke, Rookie, Bjergsen and more.

However, it was set to be shaken up in League of Legends Season 11 with the item rework. With a number of core items getting changed, there was real potential for a shift in the champions we saw picked. Has that been the case? Let’s find out.

By the numbers: Syndra and Orianna still dominate

Using Worlds 2020 as a litmus test for the pro play meta, nothing much has really changed. Across all major regions, Orianna (72 out of 186 games globally) and Syndra (59) are still the top two mid laners, like they were at Worlds.

New releases like Yone (15) have provided some diversity, while Viktor (29) has made an emergence due to his late Season 10 changes. That being said, in solo queue, there’s been a few surprise entries.

Anivia is listed as the number one mid laner on OP.GG with a near 55% win rate thanks to the new Liandry’s. Pantheon mid is also up, so is LeBlanc and Lucian. All of these could be a sign of what’s to come in pro play. It might just take some time.

Perkz on the ‘new meta’: “It hasn’t changed that much since Worlds”

Despite a day-one loss, Perkz has high hopes for Cloud9 in 2021.
Riot Games
Perkz’s Yone turned heads for the wrong reasons in LCS Lock-In, but it’s a pick we can expect to see more of.

Luka ‘Perkz’ Perkovic is known for his interesting mid lane picks. After all, the G2 jokester has come over to North America to send a message, and he is still one of the best. However, what he’s playing isn’t too different from what he was back in the old days.

He’s pulled out the Zoe to great success, while the top three mids at Worlds ⁠— Orianna, Syndra, and Galio ⁠— remain the three strongest now.

“I think it hasn’t changed that much since Worlds. I still think that Mages are pretty good and carry junglers are pretty good. The bot lane is still playing tank supports. Maybe Bruisers got a bit stronger because of the Goredrinker-Sterak’s combo, but other than that…everything else is similar to Worlds,” he told Dexerto.

The only change really is Yone. Yasuo’s brother wasn’t eligible for play at the World Championship, and he could be the wildcard for the meta in Season 11.

“I will still keep Yone. I’ll just pick it in a better situation, or have better bans for it afterwards. I’m playing some pretty exciting champions in mid lane right now ⁠— maybe that’s not the meta, maybe I’m just trolling a bit. Maybe I’ll change to Syndra / Orianna when Spring starts.”

Ablazeolive on returning picks: “They fit best in a competitive environment”

Ablazeolive playing for Golden Guardians Academy in LCS 2020
Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games
Ablazeolive might be new to the LCS mid lane, but the picks he’s playing aren’t.

Golden Guardians’ new mid laner Nicholas ‘Ablazeolive’ Abbott falls in the same boat as Perkz. The rookie mid believes the comfort picks of old ⁠— those Syndras and Oriannas ⁠— have a place in the pro meta because of their versatility.

“I think those champs are the best because they’re the most versatile and they fit best in a competitive environment. They’re not necessary comfort or people are used to playing them. Most of the newer players can play pretty much everything, and even if they’re not very good at it, they’re still trying to practice it. That’s just what’s the best,” he told Dexerto.

“You can attribute that to comfort, but when it’s such a collective ⁠— everyone in the world has the same understanding of what is strong ⁠— those are what the agreed upon best champions are on.”

The new items aren’t going to change who is good immediately. However, there could be changes in the situational matchups, or even just who is the very best.

The minutiae of exactly which champions are best in certain situations is going to be argued, but is Syndra good? Yes, she’s always going to be good. When she’s the best that’s not clear, but you always know what you’re getting.”

Damonte: “There needs to be more time to have the meta evolve.”

Damonte playing for Clutch Gaming in LCS 2019
Riot Games
Damonte believes with a bit more time, the mid lane meta could get spicy.

100 Thieves’ Tanner ‘Damonte’ Damonte is a little bit more high on the new items though. While we’ve seen some innovation like the “MoonStaff” combo, there’s still a lot of things that are yet to be tested.

“In terms of the new items, there’s a lot of stuff that is untested right now. Definitely in some ways players are just playing comfort. The meta definitely needs to evolve a bit more before we see all of the new items, but I’ve seen a decent amount of players playing with the new items,” he said to Dexerto.

“When people are picking Zoe, a lot of people are opting into Horizon Focus which wasn’t an item before. Other than that, the items aren’t too much different. There needs to be more time to have the meta evolve.”

There is one item he has his eyes on though, and it’s Night Harvester. The AP assassin Mythic could be a good pickup, and you might just see it a bit more in the LCS if Damonte has his way.

“I’ve been messing around with a bunch of Night Harvester stuff because I think the item is pretty sick. It doesn’t give you mana, and that’s the biggest issue, but we will see what we come up with.”