It’s no secret that the LCS hasn’t been all too competitive as of late, especially when you look up and down the entire league. At the top portion, where teams like Cloud9, Team SoloMid, and Team Liquid consistently duke it out split after split, there’s definitely a certain essence of competition at hand, but when you start to look up and down the league and analyze the standings more closely, it’s clear as day that the LCS doesn’t provide much depth.

With the league being so frontloaded throughout the past two years, the 2020 season needs to add some sort of intrigue to the landscape of North American League of Legends. While the LCS definitely has its moments of greatness between its greatest competitors, the scene as a whole definitely needs to start showing signs of depth and excitement beyond its usual suspects throughout its entirety next year. 

Sure, it’s fun to watch those top tier teams swing at each other and provide some really classic matches, but those types of games only occur every so often. When you’re not watching the titans of the league go back and forth, there’s a good chance that you’re watching two mid to low-tier teams engage in either a full-blown stomp or a game that’s close for all the wrong reasons. And when a strong portion of the broadcast each weekend is dedicated to matchups between teams that aren’t drawing eyes, there’s eventually going to be a disconnect between the league that’s supplying a product, and the fans who aren’t watching. 

Still, let’s not forget that League’s viewership is on an incline as of late, so it’s important to note that while there’s definitely teams in the LCS who are struggling, fans are tuning in regardless. However, the fans aren’t going to make or break the league in its third season of franchising. The real problem in this lack of depth comes from the fact that if organizations aren’t seeing results from their teams, they might just start bowing out of the LCS altogether. If 2018 was the season of franchising’s origins, and 2019 was the season of its development, then 2020 is going to be the year in which the league has to prove that it was all worth it all along. 

2018 NA LCS Summer Split Semifinals Day 1
Image via Riot Games

 

Going into 2020, the huge focus for the league on a more broader scale should be developing a landscape where every team has a shot at competing, and every fan can believe that their team has a chance at winning a title. Last Summer, only three teams took a game off of the eventual champs. That needs to change if the environment of the LCS is going to evolve. This clear discrepancy between the teams at the top and those trying to grow is holding the LCS back from becoming a place where every team can flourish – which really isn’t too much to ask.

For leagues that have an exorbitant amount of teams – like many traditional sports leagues – it’s understandable as to why there would be some teams at the top and others at the bottom. When there’s 30+ teams in a league, you can’t expect all of them to be competing at once. However, when you take a league that’s as finite as the LCS, there’s no reason why a 10 team league like itself should see a majority of its participants struggle to compete for a championship.

Next year will be a turning point for the league. With two new franchises entering the fold – both of whom have a history of performing in professional League – there’s no excuse anymore. The North American scene, as a whole, needs to challenge itself from top to bottom – not “top to top”.

Someone needs to challenge the conglomerate of teams at the very top of North American League. It’s time to stop pretending that Team Liquid is some sort of unbeatable goliath. It’s time for the region to stop depending on Cloud9 alone at international events. It’s time for the league to get some new faces involved in the discussion for “best team in the league”. And most importantly, if the LCS wants to seriously evolve as a league, it’s time for a team not named TSM, TL, CLG, or C9 to finally win  a championship.

 

Photo Credit: League of Legends, Riot Games, Lolesports