Perhaps the most dubious accolade a League of Legends player can receive, the “Dade Award” is an honor given to the most underwhelming player at the League World Championship, relative to their pre-tournament expectations.
For a player to win the Dade Award, they must have incredible expectations on their shoulders coming into Worlds, only to completely flop and underperform at the tournament. Their team must also be placed into an “easy” group but ultimately fail or struggle to make it into the quarterfinals.
The award was formed around these criteria in 2013 after Samsung Ozone mid laner Dade, a Korean mid laner who had won the Spring Split’s MVP award that year, fell short at Worlds and failed to bring his team past the group stage, despite being favorites to go deep at the tournament. The Dade Award was originally conceived by League personalities Duncan “Thorin” Shields and Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles on their podcast Summoning Insight in 2013.
The Dade Award is bestowed upon a player who is “one of the best players in the world … and his team, on paper, should have been a semifinalist, maybe even had a chance to win the tournament, and they didn’t even get out of groups, and he absolutely shit the bed, and he completely fell apart in every possible context,” according to Thorin.
List of Dade Award winners
- 2013 – SSO Dade
- 2014 – EDG NaMei
- 2015 – LGD GodV
- 2016 – EDG Clearlove
- 2021 – FPX Doinb
In 2017, Summoning Insight stopped giving out the Dade Award officially. The League community still pays tribute to the award unofficially, though. Usually, a consensus is formed on the League of Legends subreddit and throughout the League player base on social media. Despite the award being semi-shelved by its original creators, it still garners attention.
Unofficial Dade Award winners
- 2017 – LZ Khan/TSM Bjergsen
- 2018 – Gen.G Ruler
- 2019 – DWG Nuguri*
The Dade Award came under fire in 2019 after the community bestowed it upon DAMWON Gaming’s Nuguri. That season, Nuguri was only a rookie and expectations for him at the tournament were relatively tempered. Although he did underperform at Worlds 2019, he didn’t massively underreach his expectations. This disparity resulted in calls around the scene to get rid of the award in its entirety.
MonteCristo clarified in 2019 that the Dade Award doesn’t need to be given out every year, and in 2020, it was temporarily retired. Some League fans wanted to give the award to Top Esports’ Knight in 2020, but there wasn’t enough of a case to hand out the “biggest underachiever” award to someone who played slightly-below expectations. The 2020 season was the only one in which the award wasn’t given out in any official or unofficial capacity.
In 2021, MonteCristo and Thorin revived the Dade Award, giving it to FunPlus Phoenix mid laner Doinb after he was hyped up as one of the best mid laners in the world prior to the 2021 tournament but failed to carry his team out of a relatively favorable Group A.