As it became public that team owners playing in the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series proposed a plan to possibly abolish the LCS Import Rules, the group responded in several different ways and prompted a much more complex debate on the subject than before. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting reactions and how they progressed the debate on LCS imports and the production of North American talent.
Not many of the players were talking about the situation, but the ones who did it were domestic North American talent.
The most notable exchange was between Cloud9 help Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme and TSM owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh, who said the former was unaware of the situation.
It wasn’t just the existing stars of the league that spoke up, too. Rookie Immortals Top Laner Mo “Revenge” Kaddoura spared no expense in pointing out what he saw as hypocrisy by the owners of the LCS teams. Revenge went on to say that he would never have had a chance in the LCS to abolish the import clause.
And no, no org owner can convince me to my face that if the import rule was removed this last offseason I would have been given a chance in the LCS https://t.co/29fnS2s531
— Mo Kaddoura (@Revengeleague) February 19, 2021
Team Dignitas also deserves an honorable mention—not by words, but by deeds. As Dignitas assembled the only fully North American roster in the 2021 LCS, it was considered the bottom two teams with little to no ceiling. In the first half of the 2021 LCS
Spring Split, Dignitas has a 6-3 record, good enough for a second-place tie with TSM. DIG literally put his nose on a grindstone to cultivate his domestic talent. So far, so strong, man.
Domestic LCS players were not the only pros to join the discussion. Proven LCS imports have added some levity to the situation in the form of new memes, mainly in the form of a revival of the ‘McDonalds’ meme, which suggests that a professional player without opportunities will only have service positions as an alternative.
Team Liquid support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in proposed a show-match between five LCS imported talents and five LCS domestic talents called “Team Imports vs Team McDonalds” and even went so far as to ridicule teams using players from the existing top 4 teams in the LCS Spring Split standings.
We need to make a event game
Team Imports vs Team Mcdonalds
Ssumday Closer Perkz Zven Swordart
Fakegod Blaber Damonte Neo Vulcan
— Yongin Jo (@TLCoreJJ) February 20, 2021
In the Evil Geniuses match against Team Liquid, EG’s top laner, Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, initially battled Gnar against his former team, before the rest of his team’s advantage helped him get back in the game and back to a respectable score. After the win, Impact made fun of his own results, saying that he had ‘almost gone Mcdonald’ after starting the game 0/4/1.
Almost went mcdonald pic.twitter.com/L7JNuVJVpz
— Jeong Eon Young (@Impact) February 21, 2021
At first glance, tweets might be misinterpreted as disrespectful to domestic talent in their area, but few South Korean imports have championed North America more than CoreJJ and Effect. CoreJJ has consistently been a leader for his team and the country over the past few seasons, and Impact has spent more time in North America than in South Korea at this point in his career.
In addition to pro players playing in the LCS, casters at various levels of the North American scene have spoken about the possible elimination of the import rule. Riot Games Color Caster Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley said that 2021 was the greatest chance for new domestic talent to showcase potential due to the retirement of influential LCS veterans such as Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, and that the timing of the elimination of the rule could not be worse.
We have more young talent in LCS than in many years, and the Amateur scene was just reworked – it feels like teams are investing in young players & developing talent which to me is super exciting.
Feels like the exact wrong time to remove import restrictions. Let it grow!
— Isaac CB (@RiotAzael) February 19, 2021
In his response to the situation, Steve “Kangas” Kangas was a little more frank. The caster is a veteran of the LoL amateur scene and has made many contributions on the LCS & North American Academy League broadcasts over the past few seasons.
Kangas is a strong advocate of growth, advancement and recognition of the lower levels of the competitive League of Legends scene, not only in the casting community, but in all aspects. However, Kangas’ quote from Travis Gafford’s tweet about the answers he got when asking LCS franchises about the import law could have alienated Kangas and many other dedicated group professionals across the Atlantic Ocean.
Looks like I’m an LEC fan now https://t.co/QyNeYaGPIs
— Steve Kangas | BLM (@KangasCasts) February 19, 2021
Kangas’ tone implies a bit of hyperbole, but the sentiment is valid. Irrespective of the degree of change in competition if the LCS import rule were to be repealed, it is highly likely that its elimination would result in many familiar LCS fan favorites being out of work.
Will fans care about enhancing North America’s international success if it came at the detriment of the futures and dreams of their favorite players, or will they just continue to watch an area that can grow and maintain its own talent?
Perspectives outside of LCS
The bulk of the debate regarding the possible elimination of the LCS import rule has largely been within the LCS community itself, but other members of the League of Legends have shared their perspectives. Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles proposed the introduction of a globalized league format with the 20 best teams in the world, regardless of nationality or country, similar to the Overwatch League.
Everyone just talking about removing import rules from LCS, but that’s boring.
The galaxy brain move is to keep all region locking in place for regional leagues (LCS, LPL, LEC, LCK, etc.) and create a region-free, global super league with 20 teams.
I want to watch that.
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) February 18, 2021
T1 content creator Nick ‘LS’ De Cesare also claimed that he was not completely opposed to the abolition of the import regulation, but that if it did, it should be conditional on the fact that the Academy scene should be further sponsored in order to set up a proper future development in the form of a full import lock or something similar.
I think if we want to go w/ the route of having imports in NA, then if it ends up happening, make sure Academy has a 0 import rule and also make sure academy has proper setup and actually means something. #LCS
— LS (@LSXYZ9) February 20, 2021
It wouldn’t be a League of Legends group discussion without Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani taking his famous steps to record a video in his house. In his most recent video, Voyboy uses his expertise and personal insight to break down the possible implications of withdrawing the import rule from the LCS, as well as why the current state of the rule is troubling.
The Worrying State of the NA LCS Import Rule pic.twitter.com/VkNdDKTeZF
— Joedat (@Voyboy) February 20, 2021
Voyboy is a former professional player and, in addition to being a group leader as a streamer, has recently signed with LCS organization FlyQuest as an influencer.
What comes next
Despite multiple interactions between members of the League of Legends group at all levels during this week, the conversation about the LCS import rule is not going to die anytime soon. No official announcements or decisions have been made or taken by Riot Games or any other party affiliated with the LCS, and unless organizations competing in the league suddenly become exponentially more open about the issue, new knowledge is likely to be slow.
This story will continue to be updated with any new details on the LCS import law, as well as any changes to the group conversation that will provide more insight and nuance to the situation as it unfolds.
Source Inven Global