North American League teams have a problem. It’s not Europe—NA’s clearly the better region of the two. It’s not South Korea—they’re so far ahead, we can’t even see their dust, much less choke on it. The issue that NA teams have is with China. Namely, NA can’t buy a win against the LPL.
It happened at Worlds, where NA favorites TSM failed to get out of the group stage, in large part due to the LPL’s Team WE taking first place in their group. Team WE then shut down Cloud9 in the quarterfinals to end NA’s hopes of Worlds glory.
The latest ignominy was NA’s loss to the LPL at the League of Legends All-Star Event. And this latest one may have hurt the most.
The good old choke job
NA had no excuse for losing this match. North America picked a team of five that could credibly be considered the five best players in the region. Across the Pacific, China voted in fan-favorite ADC Jian “UZI” Zi-hao ahead of more deserving marksmen. That also eliminated UZI’s teammate Li “xiaohu” Yuan-hao, by far the best mid laner in the region. NA brought better talent on paper to this tournament.
For 20 minutes, it worked. NA stormed out to a lead behind top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell’s poke Gnar. Each time the LPL tried to engage, NA seemed to have an answer. Even when the Chinese team won a crucial fight around the Baron pit, they left Hauntzer and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi alive to turn the fight.
But the victory was not to be. Despite Hauntzer and Sneaky’s heroics, NA couldn’t close the deal. Instead of playing patiently around objectives, they played right into the LPL side’s hands by looking to fight. Eventually, the damage from Miss Fortune and Kassadin grew to be too much to deal with.
It’s no small wonder that Miss Fortune is totally broken right now. The new runes have made her a monster in lane. And in fights, all she has to do is press R to win.
On the side of defeat, NA fans will have to hope their team gets out of the group stage if they want revenge against the LPL. That isn’t too much to ask for, is it?