League of Legends team competes in Scion Legends Series
Video games are often thought of as entertainment and fun, but this thought process has changed drastically in recent years.
Even just 10 years ago, if someone were to consider competitive video gaming a sport, many would think that person should see a doctor.
Nowadays, this is actually a hot discussion topic. And when the League of Legends 2014 World Championship pulls a unique viewer count of 27 million people, the esports discussion gets a lot more interesting.
However, only the best of the best play this game professionally. At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, somewhere between a professional player and a casual player are collegiate players.
Since fall 2014, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette League of Legends club has had a competitive League of Legends team that has played in collegiate leagues, local and statewide tournaments and now a statewide league in the Lake Charles Scion Esports Legends Series, or Scion Legends series for short.
The Scion Legends series is set up similarly to the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) which is the professional league in North America and Europe.
“We set up for up to twelve teams to play a group stage and an elimination stage, for the top three teams to meet up at the Thanksgiving Open.” Clayton Doucet, a caster for the Scion Legends Series, said.
The Louisiana-Lafayette League of Legends team is currently 2-1 in the Scion Legends Series and hopes to be one of those top three teams to compete at Scion’s Thanksgiving Open that is tentatively scheduled for the last weekend in November.
“I completely expect to be top three.” Brayson ‘Triisen’ Clark, the support player for UL Lafayette’s League of Legends team said. “I think looking at our competition, there’s two other teams that we feel that we’re are capable of competing with, and the rest we should be able to beat.”
With managers, coaches and an active roster where each player plays a specific position and role, the League of Legends team is ran much like a traditional sports team.
Preparation for the weekly games also resembles an athletic team’s preparation for an upcoming sporting event. Much like a football or soccer team, the League of Legends team prepares each week for their next opponent.
“Typically there is at least two (practices) a week and each practice session would be three to four hours, getting in at least two to three games.” Alex ‘Tasty Treats’ Melancon, the club president and team manager said. “In between games we do analysis sessions where we are able to talk about what went well and what went wrong in each game”
While the Louisiana-Lafayette League of Legends team is currently competing for the Scion Legends Series championship, they are also treating this league as preparation for the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC).
The NACC is the Collegiate league ran by Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends. This year, NACC will hold qualifiers to find the top 32 teams in North America.
These 32 teams will compete for a chance to win up to $150,000 in scholarships split amongst the five players.
While the Louisiana-Lafayette team changes its roster from time to time, Melancon hopes to have a set roster by the time the NACC qualifiers come around.
“With the roster changes that have been happening over the past few weeks, it’s been hard to actually find a strong foundation, which this team can get into a groove where they have an actual roster set in place so they can perform where they need to perform at,” Melancon said.
“Once we get on the track and have our set roster, we have the players that we want and we can get practices in periodically then we will be able to grow even further.
Melancon is looking for the set of five players. Having a set roster will help the team with consistency, but Melancon is not in a rush to find the set roster.
“The roster is subject to change at any point in time,” Melancon said. “And that should happen with any collegiate team because players come and go. I’ve always told my players that studies are number one so if they ever have to drop out because of that, I understand.
“What needs to happen is eventually I would like to get a group of core players that can play for an entire year. Right now, I have three or four players that I could see doing that,” he continued.
With the team currently competing in the Scion Legends Series and preparing for the NACC qualifiers in January, the League of Legends team and an athletic sports team begin to have many similar qualities.
The debate as to whether or not games like League of Legends should be considered a sport will continue, but for Melancon and the Louisiana-Lafayette League of Legends team, they will continue to treat themselves as such.