Riot Games is standing by the NA LCS Head Referee’s decision to award Echo Fox a victory in their match against Clutch Gaming on Sunday. The ruling is one of the most controversial in League of Legends history.
Echo Fox and Clutch Gaming’s match was cut short due to a game-breaking bug. The match was then ruled in favor of Echo Fox due to Clutch not possessing a “reasonable chance” to come back, according to the official League esports Twitter account. Riot officials were unable to use Chronobreak, a tool that allows them to rewind the game back to a specific point before a bug occurs, to fix the match.
This was the first instance of a team being awarded a victory in competitive League, and Riot’s decision caused plenty of backlash. Clutch officials were upset with the subjective nature of the ruling, since they had never been presented with a clear situation in which a team would be guaranteed a loss in the case of a game-breaking bug.
The Commissioner of the North American LCS, Chris “Riot Commish” Greeley, reaffirmed the Head Referee’s decision in an article on the game’s esports site last night.
Greeley says that on Sunday the Head Referee was forced to decide whether to remake the game or give one team the victory. He acknowledged that it’s impossible to set criteria to determine when a team would be guaranteed to lose every time. Due to biweekly patches that can shift the meta, as well as differences in each champion’s impact on the game, every game is different and cannot be placed under one set of objective guidelines to determine victory unless one team destroys the other’s Nexus.
“Ultimately, the awarded game victory rule vests discretion in the Head Referee monitoring the game and entrusts them to determine whether, in extreme situations, an awarded game victory or remake are the most appropriate outcomes,” Greeley wrote.
“After reviewing the current state of the game (including towers, objectives, gold differential and objective timers), the Head Referee determined that in the event that the game could not be recovered through Chronobreak, that the victory would be awarded to Echo Fox because it was sufficiently highly unlikely, in his opinion, that Clutch Gaming could avoid defeat in the game. That doesn’t mean it was impossible—there are always situations in League where a team that is down by a large margin mounts a comeback, but that in this situation, it was highly unlikely.”
He also referenced statistics from 131 games in multiple major regions, stating no team had lost when they had a lead as large as Echo Fox’s. At the time the bug occurred, Echo Fox was up over 10,000 gold, with a seven tower and four dragon lead.
“Obviously, none of these statistics are dispositive and comebacks can happen, but the point is that such comebacks are few and far between, and when weighing between two unpalatable options (complete remake and awarded game victory), the Head Referee was and remains reasonably certain that Echo Fox would have been able to close this game out had the crash not rendered the game unplayable,” Greeley wrote.
The bug that crashed the game was fixed with a micropatch earlier this week. Greeley also said Riot has reached out to the other teams in the league to ensure everyone is on the same page and agree with the implementation of the match-deciding rule in future cases.