It’s been a crazy week in all four major regions of competitive League, with weird drafts, 30-minute no-kill games, and the resurgences of some of the worst-performing teams in the West. Here’s a look back at the last week in LoL Esports.
Major region League is officially back. The LEC and LCS kicked off on June 17, and now all four of the world’s major regions are officially back to competitive play in the ramp-up to the 2022 World Championship.
And not only is competitive play back, but it’s being played on the shiny new durability update patch, which sees all champions receive buffs to their health and resistances in an effort to combat tank characters building attack damage and health items and one-shotting any squishy champion who dares to look at them funny. It’s already seen a shift in the competitive meta, for better or worse.
We’re only one week in, but already the standings in the LEC and LCS are looking a little… different. Namely, that Astralis and CLG are currently not the last place teams in their respective regions, something that hadn’t been the case for a good few years now. And sure, it’s only the first week of competitive play – but if you don’t have faith, then why are you here?
LCS – Are the CLG faithful finally being rewarded?
Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and… CLG? Hardly the combination of teams people expected to be leading the pack in the first week of the 2022 LCS Summer split. But miracles really do happen, and last week marked CLG’s first 3-0 start in the LCS since Summer 2017.
They’ve currently beaten three of the worst-performing teams in the LCS. Normally I’d make the argument that their strength of schedule is making them look better than they are – but that fails to account for the fact that CLG has quite literally been one of the worst teams in NA for the past few years.
I believe "If you don't have faith, why are you even here?" will be the most profound thing I will ever say in my life.
— HotshotGG (@CLG_HotshotGG) March 17, 2022
Sure, if they were a middle-of-the-pack team before and had suddenly gone 3-0, I’d be a lot more inclined to say fans should wait to celebrate until they’d gotten some wins against middle or top-tier opponents. But that’s not the case.
The team went 12-33 throughout 2021. They’ve gotten literally a quarter of their total wins from 2021 in a single week in 2022. Holding them to the high standard of ‘they need to beat Evil Geniuses to prove they’re improving’ is patently ridiculous. They’ve improved massively, and that deserves to be celebrated. And if they continue to only beat bottom-tier teams for the rest of the split? That’s still a whole lot better than only getting seven wins over the course of a year.
And maybe they won’t be winning the LCS or going to Worlds 2022. But they look better than they had in years, and I, for one, welcome a bit of a shakeup in the LCS standings.
LEC – Golf claps for Astralis
Let’s tear our eyes away from the on-fire garbage can that is the bottom of the LEC standings and talk about something a little more positive, like the fact that Astralis are finally showing the signs of life that we’ve long been waiting for. Team BDS and Misfits are easy low-hanging fruit for an opinion, but quite frankly, they look so depressing I’d almost prefer not to talk about them.
So, Astralis it is!
LCK Challengers prodigy Lee ‘Jeonghoon’ Jeonghoon is the breath of fresh air that this roster needed. Sorry, Hampus ‘Promisq’ Abrahamsson, but it appears that you were at least partially the problem (even if you are an actual MSI Champion).
Cultured Pyke enjoyers have found a new best friend in Jeonghoon, who could easily become one of the most exciting support players in Europe as long as the entire league doesn’t suddenly handshake on a Janna Lulu meta for the rest of Summer. The roster’s only real weak link at the moment appears to be Kiss ‘Vizicasci’ Támas, which is fine – with everyone predicting that tanks will be returning to the global meta, he’ll likely be given the fun job of standing directly in front of Kasper ‘Kobbe’ Kobberup and being a meat shield.
Also, shoutout to Oliver ‘Dajor’ Ryppa. He often flies under the radar, but he’s a good, consistent mid laner who has grown leaps and bounds since his competitive debut (which was only a year ago, by the way).
LCK – It’s 2015 again, but not in a good way
If you were unfortunate enough to have witnessed game one of the series between Fredit Brion and Damwon Kia on June 16, then you’d be well justified in thinking that competitive League of Legends was dead and the durability update had killed it.
It wasn’t a bad game, necessarily. But it was a game where first blood wasn’t drawn until 34:30. There were no fewer than five elemental drakes taken leading up to that point, but not a single one of those drakes had resulted in a kill for either team. FIVE. I am an unashamed fan of the old-school galaxy brain map rotations with no fighting LCK style, but this was ridiculous.
That first game was an example of just how bad the durability update could be for competitive League. An inability to commit to engages for fear of a lack of follow-up damage, in a game that ended less than five minutes after first blood was taken.
But that was the first of a two-game series, and the second game was a much more accurate display of what the durability update is actually going to be like. There will be growing pains with the increased health and resistances that are now the standard for every champion in the game. But we’ll also see actual team fights where the AD Carry isn’t one-shot by two autos and an ignite from the enemy support, and where tanks are actually tanks and not just a bruiser with a suit of armour on.
We’re just going to have to accept that, as teams work out the kinks of playing the durability patch on stage, we’re going to have some dull games. And of course, some of those dull games are going to come from the region known for being one of the most risk-averse and macro-intense in the world. It doesn’t mean the LCK is a dead region where every game will have a 30-minute first blood.
LPL – Pick a top laner, any top laner
As the absolute antithesis to the careful, methodical approach of the LCK, the LPL took one look at the durability update and asked itself, ‘What are the weirdest champions I can pick on this patch?’ And oh boy, has it delivered.
The LPL’s first week on patch 12.10 saw Sejuani, Anivia, and Nasus in the top lane. Yes, you read that right. When the durability patch was first announced, the general consensus was that the game would see a return to scaling picks – and there are few solo laners in the game who scale better than Anivia and Nasus.
But Anivia top lane? Really, LPL? Piloted by Kang ‘TheShy’ Seung-lok, the pick looked pretty dismal, going 0/3/3 into Li ‘Flandre’ Xuan-jun’s Vladimir. However, despite the abysmal scoreline, TheShy’s Anivia top did almost 40 percent of Weibo Gaming’s total damage, and would have been a killer win condition had it been allowed to scale past 29 minutes.
But unfortunately for Weibo, Edward Gaming made quick work of four dragons, a Rift Herald, and a Baron Nashor while TheShy and Tang ‘huanfeng’ Huan-feng sat in side lanes and farmed. It proves that, even in a meta that leans towards scaling, better execution on an off-meta comp can prevail – and it spells good things for pick diversity leading into Summer 2022.
And that’s a good thing – because as much as I love and respect the LCK, I would rather run a marathon and then drink a liter of water from my sweaty shoe than watch a 30-minute first blood again.