LCS Pros Reportedly Refuse to Scrim Academy Players Out of Fear
LCS fans go through a rollercoaster of emotions every single time Worlds comes around for League of Legends. We start off excited, hoping to see the “NA Dream” finally realized. Groups begin, and the NA teams lose one or two matches. Hope starts to dwindle from there. Before we know it, our teams are almost all 2-4, and never make it to the main stage. That’s more or less how it goes. So when we heard the LCS Pros refuse to scrim with the Academy players, out of fear that they’ll be replaced, a lot of things really started to come together.
Change is Required for Growth:
When was the last time an NA team even had a prayer of claiming Worlds? Can you even think of a year off the top of your head? Don’t let your fandom blind you, either. There’s some serious horror stories going around about LCS Pros who refuse to scrim with Academy players. Those academy players, no matter what you think of your LCS favorites, are likely hungrier and more skilled. Those are players that have to fight, scratch, and claw. Instead, the LCS holds those players down, out of fear of being replaced. That’s so disappointing.
Then you have the “Big Name” LCS players. These are the guys sitting on huge salaries, that are essentially paid to lose. In a way, I understand where the LCS guys are coming from. Think about it: You’re picking up six figures a year to lose. What happens when you play the Academy kids who are hungrier and have more skill? You’re going to be demoted to ‘creating content on Twitch’ faster than your squad went 0-3 in Groups.
Other regions grind and find new talent every year. Europe is big on fostering talent growth, instead of pushing the potential stars down. Why? Because those teams want to win! Scrimming against the Academy players will make both sides better, and that’s what the LCS needs. More than that, the LCS needs serious changes; huge, sweeping ones. According to The Esports Writer, the average salary is 400k for the LCS. 400,000 for a 1-5?
In what other sport would this even be remotely allowed? It feels more like the NA orgs are paying for LCS name-brand value, not actual talent. It doesn’t seem like the teams even care about winning if this is how they’re going to act.
Winds of Change
Now, it is important that not every LCS team is acting this way. Cloud 9’s Diamond spoke about it:
“Speaking from experience this excludes C9 academy. Our main roster scrimmed us more than any other team and we had a 4-5 days in a row of scrims vs our main team where we won only 1 game in split 1 but it leveled us up for our finals and ultimately greatly helped us win vs EGA.”
Cloud 9 is just built differently, we suppose. It’s time, past time that the LCS looks to the future, instead of clinging to the past. Sure, some of those players are good, but there are other people that could take their place. Players that are looking for more than financial security. Sure, those checks are great, but at the cost of making our whole region look like a clown show. We spend too much on outside talent and big names, instead of the amateur scene.
Look to 100 Thieves, they’re going to shake things up in the near future, we promise. With 100 Thieves Next, they are looking to the future of League of Legends, instead of clinging to the past with hopeful hands. There are literally millions of dollars going into players that probably don’t even deserve it. There are thousands of kids right now in High School/College that grind this game that we all love. But it’s so hard to find a future in League of Legends when the LCS’ top spots are held by guys who won’t even scrim with the academy players! Didn’t they ever hear “Iron sharpens iron”?
That’s not what we do in America, apparently. There’s still hope for the LCS scene, but it needs change. The orgs need to see that name-brand value only goes so far. Sure, it draws eyes to League Worlds. But people are going to watch it anyway! The League Worlds Finals is a huge event and always draws big numbers. Keep those LCS guys on if you want, but make them content creators or something, instead of letting spots on the roster go to waste!
Until the NA starts prioritizing skill over a player’s brand, we’re always going to be a last-place region. It doesn’t have to be that way, that’s the problem. The problem’s not a hard one to fix, at least, in theory. The LCS orgs need to take a chance on academy players and others who have proven skill, and just need a chance to shine. We’ve known for years that the NA is lagging behind the rest of the world.
How can this be fixed? What does NA need to do to leap ahead? We think it’s got to be fostering younger talent, and putting a halt to focusing on recruiting talent from other regions. We’ll never grow as a region that way. We want NA to succeed, but this isn’t the way, my friends.