I’m as guilty of overlooking the LoL Master Series (LMS) as anyone else, but after both Taiwanese teams at the World Championships secured top 8 finishes, there’s no more excuse for acting like they aren’t a relevant world power.
Taiwanese League of Legends gets much less attention and respect than it deserves. Both the Flash Wolves and AHQ e-Sports Club put in terrific performances, beating out teams like Invictus Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, and Cloud9. If not for an unlucky draw that pitted AHQ against SK Telecom T1 in the Quarterfinals, the LMS Champions definitely could have won their way into the Semifinals against some of the other teams.
There’s no question that the LMS has talent. Ziv, AN, Karsa, Maple, and NL all played exceptionally well. In fact, they played so well all year that LMS fans have been biting their nails over rumours that some may chase the money into other regions, especially the LPL.
There’s no question that the LMS has strong strategic team play. This is not a “chaos style” region. AHQ is a team built around synergy, based on Westdoor’s roaming out of the mid lane, Albis’s strong map play, and Ziv’s team fight utility and Teleport use. The Flash Wolves beat the KOO Tigers twice by making fewer mid/late-game mistakes and team fighting exceptionally well.
There’s no question that the LMS is globally competitive. Both LMS teams out-performed all three North American teams, the third seed from Europe, and the first and third seeds from China. They also took games off of Fnatic and the KOO Tigers. And considering that many commentators felt Hong Kong Esports was a better team than the Flash Wolves for most of the year, it’s arguable that the LMS didn’t even field its strongest options at Worlds.
Unfortunately for English-speaking LoL fans, there have been some barriers to entry for watching the LMS. Time zones can be an issue, though that hasn’t hurt viewership of the LCK or LPL too badly. More importantly, in 2015 there was no English-language broadcast of the league until Garena flew in Achilios and Tsepha to cover the playoffs and regionals. Hopefully that will change in 2016.
It’s time for the LMS to start building some momentum, not only with the level of play but with global recognition, respect, and viewership. It’s time we educate ourselves more about the teams, the players, and the storylines. (P.S. The Flash Wolves aren’t sponsored by yoe anymore!)
The LMS has clearly arrived. Some might say they’ve been here for a while.