Will EDG, the champion of S11, be the last LPL team to win the World Championship?

The Rising Star of LPL: 19-Year-Old Zeus, the Champion Top Laner

Zeus, this year’s champion top laner, FMVP, is pointing out the four strongest top laners in the LPL one by one. He is only 19 years old, and his professional career has just begun. Ironically, our best rookie this summer is also a top laner, Shanji, who is 23 years old.

Restriction on Gaming Time for Minors Impacting Youth Training

Many people haven’t noticed one thing: the time limit for underage gamers has affected all the clubs' youth training programs. What kind of results can you achieve by practicing only 2 hours a day?

Many people may think this is just a formality. There are plenty of ways for kids to play games, and if they don’t mention it, they can secretly play and practice without anyone’s supervision. Nowadays, which club dares to organize a group of underage players to train every day? It is worth noting that professional esports players start at a very young age. For example, JK reached the top of the national server at the age of 14, and even started livestreaming. At 16, he joined IG [Invictus Gaming]. Even though he couldn’t compete due to age restrictions, his training was not affected. At 17, he competed and won the championship. Will there be another JK in the future? They would report you in a minute.

The Rise of the Holy Spear Brother

The Value of SwordArt is Still Rising

How can these domestically produced top laners who crumble under pressure and get blown up compare to SwordArt?

When SwordArt explodes, he can cause chaos, and when he is sacrificed, he can come back strong.

He is the first and only Chinese champion in solo lanes in history.

Many people don’t accept it, but this is the semi-finals of S11. In the same high-pressure game, take a look at how SwordArt handles the pressure when the situation is not favorable.

This is a Gwen that is 0-2, not at all troublesome. He goes in and breaks up the opponent’s formation, allowing his teammates to comfortably deal damage, and in the end, they secure a small victory by trading two kills for three.

As for that Shockwave from 369, in a situation like this, he was probably afraid of getting dragged around in Mekio’s position.

The Decline of League of Legends

Very likely.

Many people laugh and say that this year’s WBG is like elderly kayaking, but in fact, the 2021 EDG is also similar.

In terms of age, Shengqiang 98, jiejie01, Daosheng 98, Daxian 00, Tianye 98, except for jiejie who is relatively young, the rest can be said to be nearing the end of their careers.

You say WBG is like elderly kayaking, but their average age is only one year older than the 2021 EDG. The 2022 EDG, with the original lineup, let DRX catch up from behind in the quarterfinals.

Age is always the second biggest problem for players (the first being contracts).

In order to protect minors, the country has implemented an anti-addiction system, which limits those under 18 to two hours of play per day. This is a good thing. We can’t select all underage players just because we want to achieve good performance in a game competition. In this regard, even if someone is naturally talented, they won’t be able to perform without investing time into the game. This is destined to make League of Legends unable to survive in China.

Why am I still following the competitions? Because there are players I care about. I hope they can have a perfect ending. I really hope that Tiger Ming can have a skin, but unfortunately, it’s unlikely.

The earliest group of League of Legends players in China started in 2012. You have to be at least 13 years old to play this game. So, this group of people is already 23/24 years old now. They have long passed their prime and can only look back at their youth through watching the competitions.

Another wave of players emerged around 2015. EDG’s victory at MSI definitely attracted a lot of people. These people are now around 21 years old.

What about after that? Nothing! In 2016, King of Glory became popular in China, and in 2017, there was PUBG. The online gaming market in China is too big, and League of Legends can no longer dominate the market. It was said that IG’s championship in 2018 gave LoL an extension, sparking the desire of the 2002/2003 group to compete professionally, but it didn’t actually increase the number of new players during this time frame.

The popular jungler this year is Xiaohao from AL team. He is actually from 2002, and he turned 21 years old this year. Next year, he will be 22. Hong Haoxuan debuted at the age of 18 as the starting jungler for RNG. At 21 years old, he already won the MSI championship. However, Xiaohao has never made it to the playoffs.

Therefore, League of Legends in China has become like Dota 2, a dying game. To be honest, Riot Games is also about to give up on this project. Their main focus now is on Valorant.

Globally, the best promotion for League of Legends is in Korea. The game is dying in North America and Europe. Why? Because Koreans only play League of Legends and nothing else. They excel at FPS games, MapleStory is not competitive, and FIFA is not a team game. Korean youngsters are still playing League of Legends. In comparison, we have too many choices.

League of Legends is also a game destined for decline.

The heroes introduced by Riot have increasingly outrageous mechanics. If the values ​​are too low, they become worthless; if the values ​​are too high, they become overpowering. Bugs are not the problem here, the problem lies in the fixed playstyle. Every year, the World Championship and MSI always prioritize the meta over individual skills, which is quite unhealthy.

In my opinion, the charm of team esports lies in the variability of strategies. If the game is limited to a few ban picks every season, it proves that there are significant balance issues. In 2017, there were still surprises like the Hook hard counter to the Relic Shield system. In 2019, there were bot lane mage carries and flex picks, but since then, the meta has become more and more fixed. Last year, it was all about melee brawler top laners, and this year, it’s two mages trading blows in the mid lane. When two strong teams clash, they have to secure neutral resources when the time comes. It’s getting a little aesthetically fatiguing.

Watching the games in 2021, the excitement comes from the more diverse top lane strategies and the fun gameplay. Dragons can be left alone, but team fights must be fought. Even if you get the Elder Dragon, it doesn’t guarantee victory. Even in matches between top teams, this holds true. But as the games progress, even Cloud Soul has a 100% win rate. Playing longer matches also means it’s more likely to reach the late game, and if you have only one lane of high ground turrets left, it’s basically impossible to win against a full late-game composition.

As the games progress, League of Legends has become a game similar to StarCraft, where you have to do certain actions at specific times. If you can’t execute properly, you lose. From a strategic standpoint, it’s not particularly outstanding, and it’s not even as exciting as Pokémon battles. The game designers have fixed the gameplay, which raises the game’s floor, but also locks the ceiling.

In my opinion, why did they have to weaken the Gem Saber top/jungle combination back then? Why did they completely nerf the Ardent Censer bottom lane? Why did they collectively nerf shields once, and why add base resistances? Why does the top lane champion Kalista have to be nerfed when she dominates? Who says supports can’t take Smite and invade the enemy jungle? I think it’s fine to have an ADC and support with Smite, and brawlers in both mid and top lanes. Why should we restrict ADCs to the bottom lane? The game becomes interesting with more variability in strategies.

LCK’s Lost Generation: LPL Talent Drain and LCK’s Weakness.

I previously wrote an answer to the question of why LPL could win three championships while LCK struggled in those years.

What I wrote was, “Because LCK was completely drained of talent by LPL during those two years.”

The weakest year for LCK was 2018, the year when LCK hit rock bottom and was defeated. It was a period of transition for LCK, with the 95 generation directly transitioning to the 2000s, and the missing generation of 97~98 in between. SKT and Samsung were going through a period of rebuilding, while DWG and GRF had just emerged from the minor leagues.

The two most promising mid-laners at the time in LCK were surprisingly BDD from 1999 and Ucal from 2001. These two players later proved repeatedly in their professional careers that they were nothing more than second-rate players.

Where did this missing generation of players in LCK go?

Doinb, born in late 1996, was poached by LPL at the age of 18.

Rookie, born in 1997, was poached by LPL at the age of 18.

Scout, born in 1998, was poached by LPL at the age of 18.

When Doinb was 17, he already had five accounts in the Korean server at the Challenger rank. Rookie became an OGN champion right after debuting, and Scout ranked first in the Korean server in Season 5. When they were poached, they had already shown strong talent and quickly grew into key players for their teams.

Meanwhile, LCK was left with players like BDD and Ucal, experiencing a two-year gap, and then GRF and DWG emerged as fresh blood.

DWG’s championship was the first step in the revival of LCK, and then LPL used its financial power to poach Nuguri and Viper.

Poaching Nuguri weakened DWG, while poaching Viper strengthened EDG. And then LPL won the S11 championship, with EDG achieving a three-peat.

But at that time, T1 was already making a comeback.

T1 started rebuilding in 2018 and gradually drew cards until 2022, taking four years to draw Zeus, Oner, Gumayusi, and Keira. They are all born in 2002.

In 2022, they were defeated by DRX.

In fact, this DRX team originally couldn’t have been successful—Kingen and Zeka were poached to LPL when they were very young. But LCK’s capital couldn’t wait for them to grow, so they were sent back to LCK. Coupled with the pandemic version, they achieved the miracle of DRX.

After winning the championship, this DRX team disbanded in less than a month, due to financial reasons.

JDG attempted to target T1 with money, but this T1 had already been meshing for two years. JDG couldn’t beat them last year and can’t beat them this year. In terms of age, the youngest player in JDG, Missing, was born in 2001, while the youngest player in T1, Zeus, was born in 2004.

Now it’s our turn to experience a gap in talent. The good young players in LCK won’t easily come to LPL like they did in 2015, and even if they do, they will be driven away by LPL’s capital.

So, the pressure for the next generation in LPL falls on players like Bin, On, and Zika, who were born in 2003. We’ve reached the point where we can’t rely on Korean “daddies” anymore. Only when they stand up can they compete with LCK—we can’t always rely on money to poach talent from LCK.

Of course, on an emotional level, I hope EDG is the last LPL team to win the World Championship.

When I saw the comments on Scout’s Weibo account after the completion of the quarterfinals in S11, I suddenly felt that it was good that LPL lost.

When they win with the help of Korean players, they adamantly refuse to acknowledge the contribution of Koreans and instead claim all the credit for themselves.

But when they lose, they start viciously insulting the Koreans and claim they are loyal patriots.

So, it’s only right that this region doesn’t have the championship. It’s karma for LPL.

Failed but not unexpected.

Cool, just be cool!

Originally, it was just a grass-root team, and they were all unscrupulous people. It’s already quite impressive that they could achieve this much.

LCK dominance questioned in Worlds championships.

This year, T1 is strong, not LCK. T1 wasn’t even strong at the beginning, they only realized their potential after facing Gen.G in the playoffs. The current Worlds patch is just the same strategy they have been using since the Spring Split, which was also exposed during MSI.

I can only say that the five players of T1 and their coaching staff have a higher level of skill, tactics, and game understanding compared to other opponents at Worlds. But if you insist on saying that LPL is weak, then I have to ask, what about DK, Gen.G, and KT, who did they defeat?

The same thing happened with DWG and EDG during their championship years. It’s just a fuss. When DWG won Worlds, the entire community, especially LPL fans, seemed to forget about the dominancy of the entire LCK region in MSC and other LCK teams in Worlds. In the S11 semifinals, when LCK teams outnumbered EDG 3 to 1, suddenly LPL became weak, but the result was EDG beating LCK in the semis. T1, who was also in the semis, couldn’t even defeat EDG, so why do you proudly mention that T1 had a 1-1 record against EDG in the group stage? What about your favorite DAMWON and Gen.G? They are nothing compared to RNG.

You say that LPL teams rely solely on their coaching staff, and I agree, they do rely on them. You say that T1 became strong after realizing their potential at this Worlds, and I agree as well. I don’t know if everyone else is too weak or if T1 has gotten too strong, but it gives me the feeling of watching Season 5. But when you say that LCK dominates LPL, I can only say that you’re mistaken. Let’s not even talk about what the other three LCK teams did, even T1 fans themselves are starting to build a wall of separation.

And as for thinking that LPL has failed because they haven’t won the championship for two years, I can only say that you’re thinking too nostalgically. I have been watching since S3, and in the past, people would talk about how OMG shut out Najin White Shield for years. Now, they don’t even matter by the end of the year. It just goes to show that LPL has the strength to compete for the championship, which is why you think this way. If we were continually dominated and suppressed as we were before, then we would only be discussing the various versions of RNG and WE swapping places or OMG eliminating Royal Club at Worlds.

I just feel that the audience of League of Legends nowadays is like a bunch of amnesiacs, not only forgetful but also very vocal. If they win one day, they make a fuss, and if they lose the next day, they make another fuss. Only Faker stands tall regardless of the tides. If you can’t defeat Faker, what’s the point of being upset? If, by any chance, LCK doesn’t have a prodigious team like Gen.G next year and Faker gets knocked out by DAMWON at home, resulting in another four teams like CJB coming out, then the World Championship will be yours again, won’t it?

And speaking of Faker, he hasn’t just played in Worlds, EDG played against him in the first edition of MSI, IG even gave him a legendary showdown in a 3-1 BO5 during the first Asian Games. Faker indeed has great game understanding, but he can’t 1v5. Chinese viewers always like to say that FPX’s Doinb isn’t that great, but if you were to swap SKT’s Teddy and IG, who played as an AD carry with particles in S9, then the final would have been a civil war.

Just take a break and go to sleep. It’s not embarrassing to be beaten by Faker. Even Faker himself said that there’s no strongest region, only the strongest teams. Of course, if you want to say that T1 defeated everyone and won the championship, then the strongest team would be the Gen.G that T1 treated like AI-controlled bots during the Regional Finals. That would truly make it the strongest region.

Possibly the Last Worlds Champion.

I agree with everyone’s thoughts, and I also agree that this might be the last World Championship title.

If the LPL wins the championship this year, there might still be a chance in the future.

However, unfortunately, this year the title goes to the “Great Demon King.”

Therefore, the popularity of the LPL domestically may not be enough to attract significant investments in team composition and young talent development.

The Impending Decline of the LCK

Don’t worry too much.

In terms of mid laners, Faker (27 years old) - Bdd (24 years old) - Showmaker (23 years old) - Chovy (22 years old) - Zeka (21 years old) - Carzzy (20 years old) form a perfect descending order by age, and they are all the aces of their respective teams.

On the LPL side, Nuguri (26 years old) - Scout (25 years old) - Xiaohu (25 years old) - Knight (25 years old) - Zoom (23 years old) - Lwx (20 years old).

It can be seen that there is a generation gap among mid laners in the LPL. In another two years, Xiaohu will be 25 years old and Lwx will be 22 years old. The older players in front will retire, while the new generation in the LCK continues to emerge. This will put LPL at a disadvantage.

But LCK’s strong teams won’t be left with extra mid laners. The ones not needed will definitely find jobs in the LPL, just like how Scout went to EDG back then. Fisher also went from T1 to EDG.

We don’t need to mention the bot lane. The gifts almost played themselves away. The 17-year-old Piyenzhi won both the spring and summer championships as soon as he debuted.

As for top laners, it’s actually fine. LCK’s Kiin, Doran, Kingen, Rascal, Nuguri, and Khan are all mediocre. The new generation, Zeus, is really strong. Once Faker retires, he will be LCK’s new face, the helmsman of T1. But that’s okay too. No matter what, his influence on the game can never surpass Faker’s. And when the tank top meta arrives, even if he has the ability, he won’t be able to execute it. Everyone will be equal.

The LPL jungle is not weak. SanShao is washed up, Peanut only knows how to play for T1, and Icu only knows how to farm in the jungle. As for Doinb… Once Faker retires, Doinb can definitely lead T1 to the minor leagues.

For top-tier players, LPL can buy them, especially since LCK is now mostly on short-term contracts. After each season, it’s like a supermarket opening, and once new capital enters the scene, like JDG and Hanwha, it’s easy to build a galactic fleet.

Most importantly, LCK doesn’t have the next Faker.

LCK almost got swept by the top four from LPL this year, if not for the 27-year-old Faker. But how many more years can Faker’s old body protect LCK?

Once Faker retires, it will be the end of LCK.

The Difficulty of Finding a Genius Young Player

LPL will only get worse and worse. Zeus won the championship at the age of 19 and has been playing in LCK for three years. In China, you can only legally play games at the age of 18.

Newcomers are required to play in LDL for a year if they have never played in a top league before they can play in the league. According to national regulations, you can only play in the league at the age of 18, so you have to play in LDL at the age of 18 and can only enter the league at the age of 19.

During your time in LDL, you have to resist the temptation of fake matches and pray that no one on the team plays fake matches. If you achieve good results in LDL, you will be called up to LPL. By then, the youngest you can be is 19. However, there is only a small chance of entering the main team in LPL (as there are many star players in the main team). You need to be incredibly lucky and happen to join a strong team with a player in the corresponding position having problems. Otherwise, you have to go to a lower-tier team and play for at least a year until you turn 20, and only then do you have a chance to enter the main team.

If you are fortunate enough to enter the main team, you will have to deal with an ineffective coaching staff, star teammates who are more focused on other matters than winning championships, and various interpersonal struggles and pressures from the management. In such a situation, how difficult is it to produce a genius young player?