The eSport Report: 2014 Seasons Kick Off for League of Legends, Starcraft II

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Competitive gaming and eSports blew up in 2013, with more people watching others play video games on Twitch TV and through in-game clients than ever before. The 2014 seasons are starting to kick off across multiple titles, most prominently League of Legends and Starcraft II.

We’ve got the early 411 on the next LCS and WCS seasons inside this week’s The eSport Report.

LCS 2014 Season Begins

Since the conclusion of the much hyped Battle of the Atlantic, League of Legends fans have been watching and waiting for the start of the 2014 action. After a short break, they have something to cheer for once more. The NA and EU regions of the League of Legends Championship Series kicked off their Spring Splits, which are 11-week round robin matches between each region’s top eight teams. Thus far, the hype has been phenomenal, with premier matchups gaining as many as 250,000 viewers on Twitch TV’s English channel alone. Perhaps most exciting has been the performances of each region’s top teams: EU’s Fnatic, a top four finisher at last year’s worlds is still undefeated, and NA powerhouse Cloud 9 is 3-1. Both teams top their tables for now, but we will have to see what transpires as the Spring Split continues. Results as of Sunday, Jan 19th are as follows:

NA, week 1

C9

1

0

 TSM

EG

0

1

 XDG

Crs

1

0

 C

XDG

0

1

 C9

TSM

1

0

 EG

CLG

1

0

 d

Crs

1

0

 XDG

C9

1

0

 CLG

d

0

1

 TSM

EG

1

0

 CLG

C

0

1

 d

CLG

1

0

 Crs

d

1

0

 C9

C

1

0

 EG

TSM

1

0

 Crs

XDG

0

1

 C

Europe, week 1

Fnatic

1

0

 Gambit

CW

1

0

 A

SHC XD

0

1

 ROCCAT

A

0

1

 Fnatic

Gambit

1

0

 CW

SK

0

1

 M

SHC XD

1

0

 A

Fnatic

1

0

 SK

M

0

1

 Gambit

CW

0

1

 SK

ROCCAT

1

0

 M

SK

1

0

 SHC XD

M

0

1

 Fnatic

ROCCAT

0

1

 CW

Gambit

1

0

 SHC XD

A

0

1

 ROCCAT

We’ve included videos of two of the best featured matchups below.

Cloud 9 vs. TSM

Fnatic vs. Alliance

Lemondogs out, SHC Takes the 8th Spot in LCS EU

Two weeks ago, it was announced that EU team LemonDogs had failed to complete sufficient paperwork to compete in the LCS, and was rendered ineligible by Riot. The issue went far deeper than it first appeared. According to ongamers.com, LemonDogs had been in talks for weeks with Ninjas In Pyjamas to sell its current spot. Riot, however, announced a rule change affecting the deal just prior to the start of the season. This barred teams from ‘bartering LCS spots’, citing a concern that wealthier teams could buy their way into the league. LemonDogs, expecting the deal to go through and halfway disbanded, failed to sufficiently complete their paperwork in time and were disqualified. This triggered a 3-way competition to take the final spot, between runners-up Meet Your Makers, Supa Hot Crew XD and yes, Ninjas in Pyjamas. When NiP failed to field a full roster by game time (due to similar problems as LemonDogs) it became a head-to-head between the other two. Meet Your Makers in the end was defeated by SHC, who took the final slot in the LCS this year.

WCS 2014 Begins, Brings Welcome Format Changes

Last year saw the largest organized attempt to create a truly global competition for Starcraft 2. Game developer Blizzard announced the World Championship Series, a series of events meant to mirror the popularity and competition of the League LCS, and showcase worldwide SC2 talent.

During the course of the compressed year, however, some problems presented themselves. Fans bemoaned the overload of matches between the higher (Premier) and lower (Challenger) leagues, the complicated promotion system, and the lack of a regional lock. This last complaint became an issue when many Korean pros began travelling to the NA and EU regions to have a better shot at competing, a move many saw as ‘poaching’ those regions’ spots. This year, Blizzard answered most if not all of these concerns with a revised format for the WCS. The full text can be found here: http://wcs.battle.net/sc2/en/about, but the highlights include a more linear promotion system, and a partial region lock to encourage local competition. The first qualifiers for this years Series have already begun, and the brackets for both the Premier and Challenger leagues will be set by the end of January.

 

Devin Younge

About Devin Younge

Devin Younge is a pop culture geek and eSports Journalist. When he isn't playing, watching or writing about competitive games, you'll usually find him plotting anarchy over bourbon with Hunter S. Thompson's ghost. Follow him on Twitter @PiraTechnics.