Blog Post
GameGeex - The cost of defeat in the League of Legends championship series The summer promotion has gone and the LCS had to say goodbye to two top-tier esports teams. Now what's next for them?

The League of Legend's summer promotionals have come and gone and the North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) has two new teams to add to the line-up: Complexity Gaming and LMQ.

Unfortunately, with two teams coming in to take two of the eight elusive team slots implies that two teams must give up theirs. The LCS had to say goodbye to the youthful and aggressive Team Coast, who held a spot in the top 8 for the past two seasons, as well as Team XDG, who was originally regarded as one of the top NA teams prior to season 4.

While it's sad to bid these teams adeiu, it's even worse to think that the players on these teams must now leave behind the lives they have had to edure for the past two years. Countless hours of practice and the demands to change your mechanics to the changing pace of the meta are all gone in an instant. While the notion that some of these top-tier players will eventually be picked up by one of the current top 8 teams is not out of the question, Riot Games still has the rights to only eight teams in each region, all with only five available player slots (not including bench). The space is just not there and the expectation is just not realistic.

Unfortunately, eSports has not reached such an audience where one can just easily fill the demands of another team elsewhere like in, for example, basketball, where NA pro players can easily leave the NBA and join a team in another country's league. On top of that, the demands of an eSport match just do not have the same physical expectation meaning your starting line-up is pretty much the face of your entire team since you're not going to be swapping out Kobe Bryant for anyone else when he needs rest. This inevitably means that once you're at the top, losing is not an option. At all.

Fortunately for those who are in the LCS, pro players are contracted so that they may put in extra effort to play the game and improve their competitive gameplay rather than worrying about where to get the money for rent, food, and other necessities. Most other games do not have this luxury in that losing is a train wreck waiting to happen since the tournament prize pool is going to be paying for your needs. That's just how it has always been for most of eSports since the dawn of its relative existance. Now since these players actually treat it like a job and get paid a standard salary for it, is it right for Riot to offer the contract in the first place knowing that it could be taken away? While being a pro player is very cool, your skills in League of Legends aren't really going to translate into Call of Duty, and worst case scenario, isn't really going to offer much to a real estate firm either (yes, extreme example).

I feel eSports was fine when it was with known teams competing for prize pool, since the best tend to stay where they're at, inevitably making a career out of it anyways. But once you put a salary into the mix, you make it so that the game really does become a job. While I definitely don't mind it at all, I'm just thinking about the player's futures where some of them are 17 to 18 and only focusing on the game. This also inspires other younger people to practice more of the game as well in hopes of making their future job part of the LCS. Perhaps I'm not thinking every point through, but hey, who am I to judge? Riot has done a good job so far, I suppose.

As for XDG and Coast, while they do have the chance to return next year during the next promotional tournament, it's a long way from now. It's also not guarunteed that they will even win and make it back into LCS and it doesn't pay like it used to, making keeping up with practice and other real life things much more difficult. Still, I wish them the best of luck and hopefully, they can return to the LCS in some shape or form.

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