INTRO: Time and again we hear teams talking about their “scrim” experiences with one another. Whether it’s how dominant one team always is, or how one team just doesn’t take scrims seriously. Maybe one player is a scrim star, while the other plays like it’s solo q. However one thing I’ve come to notice is that the players themselves never seem to have anything positive to say about scrimming situations. Granted this may seem slightly out of context but the prime example I want to use is from Hai’s post game interview after beating TL in the semifinals. In case you don’t remember, that series went to 5 games. At the start of game 5, C9 ended up catching TL in their blue side jungle, and thanks to incredible patience on the part of Meteos, came away with 4 kills and inevitably the series. When Hai was asked to comment on the level 1 fight that snowballed the game, his response left a bad taste in my mouth. “Usually in a scrim if a game starts like that, it’s an automatic remake. Because a team shouldn’t usually lose after getting a start like that.” I was a die hard Hai advocate. From the days of Quantic Gaming, before Nein and Turtle were ever famous. But I have to admit that I have a hard time finding respect for this sort of mentality towards our growing competitive community.
My problem: What kind of practice ethic/winning mentality are we instilling on these teams? And furthermore, how are the new/upcoming teams supposed to learn how to adapt/play from behind if in fact 75% of the scrims they get to play against better teams are not even taken remotely seriously? What quality of experience do we get as viewers knowing that teams are not practiced at playing from behind, and therefore causing long slow paced games or very one sided snowballesque games. Not only that, but what kind of image does that paint for people who play solo q? “Well guys we gave up 2 kills level 1, games over now gg. Might as well rage or afk until it’s over because even the pros say we can’t win now.” Now this is 100% opinion, but I cannot even fathom that SKT T1, GE, OMG, EDG, teams of their stature, use their scrim time so.. casually.. How can we expect to see a solid roster of 10 teams per circuit if the top 3 teams of each only respect and take each other seriously, while overlooking or bypassing the rest? How can we expect teams like Coast or Fusion to ever have a chance of being relevant when they don’t get to practice against the likes of TSM or CLG in a team environment. Or on the seldom chances they do, said scrims are not often taken seriously at all. At this rate the only real pool of competition each year is during world wide events, when the top teams of each region get to strut their stuff and not have to worry about “handing out valuable information to lesser competition” and because of this I predict very poor spring/summer splits from every region through 2016. We will continue to see one or two completely dominant teams, maybe a Cinderella challenger team or 2, and then 6+ teams in each region that just don’t compare to the rest of the league. Teams that don’t have the means to practicing in LEGIT Bo5 circumstances, or learning how to adapt to botched level 1 plays.
Cultivating the future of professional e-sports: It’s easy to just make the assumption that because of how fast the industry is growing, it will continue to grow. But let’s take a look at the bigger picture here. In 2 years (four splits) from now, the TSM and Fnatic organizations are still the most dominant in each of their respected regions. Winning each split, recruiting top talent, total domination of the other teams in each region. What kind of entertainment is that? How is it going to be fun watching one team run away with the competition year after year, while the other teams fall by the wayside? That sounds more stale than Funnel cake on the last day of the fair. Imagine this: The Kansas City Chiefs are the most dominant football organization ever. They’ve won the super bowl 30/35 years. And finished 2nd the other 5 years. They only practice and share films with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. They are by far the wealthiest most advanced team in the NFL. How boring and POINTLESS the NFL would be. At that point it would be non existent. In order to keep professional e-sports a reality, a means of income/purpose for those in it, something needs to change in the mentality of how teams are coached, how they practice, and how they approach the up and coming talent walking onto the scene.