TSM’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has never been a character to pull his punches, going hard on those that oppose him both in game and away from the LCS stage. The veteran AD Carry calls it as he sees it, particularly when it comes to calling out ‘trash’ – one skim through the chronicle that is Austin “Link” Shin’s ‘Donezo Manifesto’ will tell you that much. Doublelift’s at it again, blaming the trash teams in the NA LCS for the sudden decline in viewership.
“No one wants to watch Apex play Envy for 0 dollars again.”
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
Riot’s shift to a best-of-3 format has certainly left many fans scratching their heads, ‘how the hell am I supposed to watch all these games?’ is a question being voiced all over League of Legends’ social channels, and to be fair it’s an understandable predicament.
As an established personality, playing for North America’s best team, it might seem arrogant for Doublelift to simply pin the blame on the teams he enjoys stomping on a regular basis… but he’s right, surely. The LCS will always attract a substantial cohort of enthusiasts, but even your most passionate face-painted fan will struggle to sit through roughly three hours of gameplay between bottom tier teams.
Doublelift isn’t even being disrespectful in his statement, a Phoenix1 vs Echo Fox best-of-3 just isn’t as fun or entertaining to watch as a clash between two top teams. The sheer quantity of casual viewers are now left with a situation where they will only really tune in if it’s some iteration of Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Cloud9, or Immortals – they’re the games with the most exciting gameplay, personalities, narratives… and the battlefield on which memes are born.
Of course, not every game can be a top-tier clash in the current LCS setup, but throughout previous splits watching a single 30 minute match between low tier teams offered a refreshing piece of light entertainment – maybe a clown fiesta if you were lucky. Committing two hours of a Friday or a Saturday to watch Echo Fox throw by not rotating just doesn’t feel like a good investment of time.
So are international tournaments the answer, as Doublelift vaguely suggests?
International League of Legends tournaments are always incredibly hyped – there’s little more exciting than seeing how NA compares to other regions like EU, Korea, and China – but it’s a spectacle that comes around maybe three time a year at IEM, MSI, and at Worlds… but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so exciting. Now there’s some catch-22 bullshit.
LCS is more consistent and better for the pros but international tournaments naturally attract more viewers. Riot’s current system provides a stable opportunity for mid-tier, low-tier and well, ‘trash-tier’ teams who wouldn’t play many games at all in a multiple international tournament system. Yet arguably, the current league system hurts the best teams of each region, for whom it would be more exciting to see them play each other more often in high stakes tournaments.
Currently, the Mid-Season Invitational is amazing – MSI 2016 was probably the most exhilarating tournament League of Legends tournament fans have witnessed in years. The Intel Extreme Masters, for its shit-show of production issues and scheduling problems, at least gives fans a chance to see international games. Riot’s own World Championships, although consistently stomped by the Koreans, still presents an exciting for LCS to showcase their skills on an international stage. #WestIsBest
Doublelift remembers the glory days from before the LCS, so it’s understandable that he might push for a shift to a four major format – but whilst it would be more exciting to watch, it would result in a bunch of teams likely disappearing overnight.