League of Legends

C9 owner criticizes LCS format after NA's embarrassing LoL Worlds finish

by Scott Robertson

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After all three North American teams were eliminated in the group stages of the League of Legends World Championships, Cloud9 owner Jack Etienne, among other notable personalities, expressed their desire for drastic improvements to the North American amateur scene, and the Academy system.

With Team Liquid’s elimination at the hands of Invictus Gaming in the final match of the group stages, North America’s time at Worlds 2019 ended in disappointment, with all three teams failing to make it out of groups.

Shortly after the dust settled, and after the quarterfinals were drawn, Cloud 9 Jack Etienne owner took to Twitter to address the lacking North American amateur system, claiming it is “not built well to give proper experience to developing players.”

Etienne also cites the LCS’ best-of-one format as a reason young players lack development abilities, as the low number of games in an LCS season makes teams more wary of playing rookies. 

For context, NA LCS teams play 18 games in a split, while Korean LCK teams play 18 best-of-three’s in a split. Former LoL caster Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles echoes this sentiment, calling the best-of-one “so stupid it is mind-blowing.”

Now the LEC shares the same format as the NA LCS, but their teams at Worlds went a perfect 3/3 on advancing to playoffs. Etienne alleges in a reply that the production of “much higher talent” in EU is due to a more varied and deeper amateur system, a larger player base, and improved solo queue.

The European scene does have a much more robust semi-pro and amateur scene. 

The EU Masters tournaments features the best teams from various regional European leagues, such as the UK Championships, the Spanish SuperLiga, the Nordic Championships, the French LFL, and more.

Isaac ‘Azael’ Cummings Bentley got the conversation going on Twitter when he said that the LCS amateur scene needed a drastic improvement in order to increase the amount of NA talent and prepare the best teams for events like Worlds.

Various coaches, pro players, managers, and analysts replied with affirmation, relaying that the LCS Academy and Scouting Grounds aren’t providing the talent the LCS needs, and that the LCS’ format isn’t able to maximize that talent’s potential.

What all these conversations indicate is that there is no straight answer to the questions posed by NA’s lackluster performance at Worlds. 

As the LCS moves into its third season with the franchise model, improving the quality of talent coming into the league is paramount to its success.