The toughest week in League of Legends continued yesterday as relegation and promotion matches determined the pro gaming careers of another set of players.
Evil Geniuses entered the match heavily favored after closing out a 11-17 regular season with a 4-0 Super Week, a sign that the team, marred by multiple roster changes through the season, may finally be coming together.
But Coast was a bit of a wild card. The team had recruited two Korean players just two weeks before the promotion matches, hoping the mercenaries might carry them into the LCS. Yongwoo “Miracle” Yi and the ironically nicknamed Sangkyun “Ringer” Park replaced Keenan “Rhux” Santos and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, two players who had competed with the team through the entire Challenger series up until this point.
That didn’t sit well with a lot of players and fans. Gilmer and Santos had earned their shot at the LCS as members of the team through the season. The additions of Yi and Park were also unfair to LCS teams defending their spots—they were not allowed to make roster changes during that same period.
Evil Geniuses, apparently, took those concerns to heart.
I dedicate this victory to goldenglue and rhux.
— Mitch Voorspoels (@SkumbagKrepo) September 10, 2014
The two Korean mercenaries were just average in the series. Evil Geniuses mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park dominated his lane foe, Ringer, out playing him in every match. Coast even targeted three bans on Pobelter in the final game, but the mid laner was not phased. “I still had three of four champions I’m comfortable on,” he said after the match. Pobelter finished with a 16/6/19 KDA through three games, including an 8/3/3 line in the final match on Talon.
Coast’s strongest performers were support player Jamie “Sheep” Gallagher and Norwegian jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, who moved to America to play with the team at the start of the season.
Even Team Coast’s own players though the roster moves, presumably pushed by management, were ill-conceived. Gallagher has left the team in advance of the expansion tournament, where two more teams will enter the LCS as the league expands from eight to ten squads.
Think we mightve been able to put up a better fight with golden/rhux. I won’t be playing in the expansion tourney GG to EG @Pobelter is god.
— Sheep (@ImSheep_) September 11, 2014
Team Coast started the year as a stalwart in the LCS, but after getting relegated in the Spring split and now falling apart at their next chance at promotion, their future looks bleak.
For Evil Geniuses, the win was comfortable, but don’t let team captain and support Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels hear you call it “clean.” In his post-game interview, Voorspoels shrugged off that assertion. “We only had one week of practice because of visa issues, so it was sloppy,” he said. That was apparent in his own play, where his auto-attack toggle caused him to tag baron, leading to his own death.
“We got our jobs in LCS,” he continued. “We would have rather played playoffs than relegations, but we’re still happy.”
And that’s the taste of relegations and promotions: bittersweet. One team maintains their spot in the league after a season of disappointment, while another ends half a year of sacrifice and struggle with nothing to show for it. One team lives their dream and reaches the LCS, while another sees their livelihood and career potentially slip away.
It’s the brutal reality of pro gaming. When one team wins, another one loses.
Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube