20 October 2014 - 23:32
Potential One-Team System for Korea
Multiple insiders of the Professional League of Legends scene have said that OnGameNet, the host of South Korea’s “The Champions”, is implementing a one team per organization for The Champions, this change could bring many changes both good...
Multiple insiders of the Professional League of Legends scene have said that OnGameNet, the host of South Korea’s “The Champions”, is implementing a one team per organization for The Champions, this change could bring many changes both good and bad. More the sake of this article let us assume that the system swap to a one-team per organization system will happen. Many people know that in South Korea, the professional League of Legends scene is built around each organization owning 2 different teams, these teams often acting as practice partners with each other. This system can’t be criticized as it has produced the best teams in the world for the past 2 years, the Samsung Teams in 2014, and SKT T1 K in 2013. These teams dominated the Korean scene and the international scene during their respective seasons, and much of it, especially for the Samsung Teams, can be attributed to the 2-team system. Having 2 different teams practice with each other helped the teams improve their play, without revealing strategies to other teams outside of the organization. This allowed teams to improve more than their competition, as they could keep the best strategies to themselves and their sister team, and not share them with other rival teams. Another benefit to the gameplay with the 2 team system was it allowed for players within the organization to theory craft, and learn new techniques in their specific role. The 2 team system allowed for sponsors to enter the scene with more confidence with their investment, this brought in big name sponsors into the scene of Korea (partially due to the previous popularity of StarCraft in the Nation). More exposure out of one sponsorship, by having that one sponsorship cover 2 teams, has helped the scene, by allowing more players to be professional players, and creating more teams for Korean fans to cheer for. Now, with Organizations possibly being limited to only 1 team in South Korea, this creates very large changes, some for better and some for worse. One of the easiest problems that can arise from this is players being cut from their teams and being out of the job. With multiple organizations having to cut 5 players all of the sudden many of these players will not be able to find a new team or organization , this lowers the amount of teams for fans to cheer for during the season, and some fans who see their favorite player lose his team might stop watching. Also sponsors may be less likely to invest money into an organization if that money only covers one team opposed to two as it does now. The Korean scene is very reliant off of sponsors because teams aren’t actually guaranteed much money just for playing in The Champions or in NLB, and the amount of money the teams earn is based around their placements in these tournaments, this system is different than the LCS of North America and Europe where there is a guaranteed salary to the participating teams making sponsors, while still important, not quite as important as in Korea. The final thing that could arise from this can be seen as both good and bad. Because teams within organizations would often act as scrim partners, not having a sister team to practice with could make it more likely for a team’s strategies to become leaked, or revealed to their competition. This could make the scene even stronger as teams may have to create potentially more dominating strategies and ideas, and the best strategies would be shared quickly bringing up the overall margin of play, so this could actually close the gap between the best teams, Samsung Blue/White now, and the rest. On the other hand there are benefits of this coming to an end. I said before that organizations only having a single team would make players lose their jobs, but you can look at that completely differently. This could give the opportunity for other organizations to rise and become major players in the scene, or allow for completely new organizations to be formed. In a different fashion to a previous paragraph, sponsors could actually be more likely to invest in teams in a one team system. New teams would be made and these teams would be needing sponsors more than other current teams, this could give a chance for Major Korean (or non-Korean) corporations to jump into the eSports world, and support the up and comers. The final benefit this system could bring is eliminating the possibility of match rigging. Many people say this doesn’t happen in the current system, but there is always the possibility and suspicion, for example many people suspected foul play during The Champions Spring 2014 season. Group A included SKT T1 S, and SKT T1 K, both teams for the SK Telecom Organization. To set the scenario up, SKT T1 K was 2-0ed by the KT Rolster Arrows, and SKT T1 S, returned and swept KTA later in the group stage. SKT T1 S simply had to win a single game against the heavy underdog Prime Optimus, but they lost both games in the 2 game set, this set up a tie breaker between SKT T1 K, and SKT T1 S, where SKT K took down S to move on to the Bracket Stage. This group stage sparked match throwing controversy on the side of SKT T1 S, thinking they lost on purpose to give the than reigning World Champions, SKT T1 K, a chance to advance. No punishments were made but many people debated foul play back when this had happened. Limiting each organization to one team would lower the possibility of match fixing. Regardless if this change even goes into effect or not, it has the potential to change the South Korean League of Legends scene, only time will tell the true outcome of this possible system swap.