Jan 10 2017 - 4:17 pm

MonteCristo and DoA will no longer cast the LCK

The most recognized casting duo in League of Legends will still remain on the airwaves, however.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

One of the most influential casting duos in recent esports history is leaving behind the role that helped catapult them to fame.

Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles and Erik "DoA" Lonnquist will not cover the 2017 season of League Champions Korea, the league which the two helped popularize due to their unique blend of analysis and humor.

Their vacancy in the league will now be filled by Chris "Papasmithy" Smith, Seth "Achillios" King, and a still-unnamed third commentator.

The writing has been on the wall for some time, however. The duo recently covered competitive Overwatch at the 2016 World Championship hosted by Blizzard, as well as the South Korean Apex league which is broadcasted on domestic TV-station OGN (OnGame Net).

Though widely respected in the League community, the duo was never shy to air their grievances with the game's developer Riot Games. Last year, MonteCristo, DoA, and Papasmithy released a joint statement criticizing Riot for offering freelance commentators a rate far below the industry standard, and as such declined to attend the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational in Shanghai, China in May.

MonteCristo clashed with Riot again after the developer forced him to sell his stake in his team, Renegades. The developer alleged that MonteCristo had an agreement to return part of the organization to his former co-owner, Chris Badawi, who'd been banned from owning the team earlier in the year. Riot also alleged that the Renegades had "endangered" player welfare and had a hidden business relationship with Challenger side Team Dragon Knights.

MonteCristo denied all the charges and backed up his denials with a long YouTube video and volumes of documentary evidence. As his split from Riot became deeper, he became an advocate against developer overreach, eventually helping to push Riot's hand in adopting more progressive policies towards revenue sharing and other issues.

At this point, it was pretty clear that the relationship between MonteCristo and Riot was mostly irreparable. Neither he nor his longtime casting partner DoA worked the League of Legends World Championships. While Riot's game remains the most popular esport in the world and likely won't take much of a hit from losing a caster, no matter how popular, Overwatch's esports scene is far more nebulous. The addition of MonteCristo and DoA to the casting talent pool for Blizzard's wildly popular game could be a huge boon as its esports scene begins to grow and mature.

Jan 17 2017 - 10:33 pm

These are the first four teams confirmed for the IEM World Championship

Eight teams will be competing at one of the largest international League of Legends events.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

Half of the teams slated to compete at one of League of Legend's largest international events in 2017 have been announced.

The IEM World Championship will once conclude at IEM Katowice in Poland in March after roughly four months worth of competiton across three international events. Eight teams in total will be attending the event. Earlier today ESL revealed the first half that are slated to compete at the event.

The first four teams that will attend are Europe's H2K and Unicorns of Love, North Americans Cloud9 and lastly the Eastern European M19 squad, which was formerly known as Albus NoX Luna.

A majority of teams attending the event have been invited based off of their performance in the 2016 League World Championship. Additionally the victors at IEM's events in Oakland and Gyeonggi, which were won by Unicorns of Love and Samsung Galaxy respectively.

Reigning world champions SKT T1 and Chinese supersquad EDward Gaming have also secured invites to the event after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2016 World Championship, but have not confirmed their participation yet.

Eight teams will be competing at the event in total, though the final contestants are yet to be decided. None of the competitors representing the East Asian League Master Series were able to advance from the group stage. They also failed to qualify through IEM Oakland or Gyeonggi.

The IEM World Championship will take place from Feb. 22 to 26.

Jan 17 2017 - 8:11 pm

The spring NA LCS finals are coming to Vancouver

NA’s biggest League of Legends event is returning to Canada.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

For the second season in a row, the North American League Championship Series will reach its conclusion in Canada.

Following the explosive confrontation between TSM and Cloud9 in the 2016 Summer Split finals in Toronto, the 2017 Spring Split finals will take place in the 20,000 seat Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver from April 22-23.

Riot has not announced when tickets for the event will go on sale, so Canadian fans and those looking to attend should keep their eyes peeled. 15,000 fans attended the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split finals last year, completely filling the Air Canada Centre, which should indicate just how high demand for tickets is.

This marks the NA LCS' second-ever final abroad, as seven of the league's eight finals haven taken place in locations around the U.S. Compare that to the EU LCS, which has been spoiled in terms of its show being taken on the road, as the tournament has visited a multitude of countries since its inception—including Poland, the Netherlands, England, and France.

The NA LCS 2017 Spring Split is set to start on Jan. 20.