Professional LoL teams from Western competitions like the LCS and the LEC have long held a tradition of travelling to Korea ahead of international events.
The Korean-based LCK competition and the country’s solo queue were once considered the best training ground for title-hopefuls. Now it seems that trend is finally at an end, with NA’s top two teams announcing different training plans this time around.
C9 head coach Bok ‘Reapered’ Han-gyu was the first to reveal the change of plans, suggesting long flight times to Korea before travelling to Europe was one of the main reasons NA teams would forego the bootcamp tradition.
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“I think it’s true that all western teams are bootcamping in EU since Worlds is in EU,” he said. “We don’t want to take two, potentially three, long flights in a row by going to Korea before Europe.”
As well as the fact that it makes sense to practice on the same continent as the tournament, Reapered said he believes the separation from Korean servers ahead of Worlds will also see more region-specific metas emerge.
“It's going to be a really exciting Worlds for every League of Legends fan, because this is the first time the western teams are not going to Korea to bootcamp,” said C9’s head coach.
“We're not showing the meta to our opponents outside of practice and scrims just before the tournament, but teams will probably not show their best picks. It's going to be really interesting to watch, and it's going to be fun.”
The fact two of North America’s best international hopes are practicing alongside European powerhouses like G2 Esports and Fnatic is another positive for western fans.
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Last year saw the most NA and EU organisations in the Worlds top-four for the first time since Season 1. Eastern regions like Korea and China did not compete at the 2011 event.
Western LoL is currently experiencing a renaissance, after the top-four finishes for three teams and an all-western grand final at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational earlier this year, so it’s no surprise scrim plans are slowly making the move to the European mainland.