We need to talk about how we talk about mechanics in League

What is mechanics? The term has been so widely and loosely used in both competitive commentaries and in casual play. But what is it about.

Image via ESL/ESEA

What is mechanics? I’ve seen videos, threads, and multiple discussion on the matter. I’ve had arguments on what mechanics is as a concept in league.

In my reading of the term, it’s an encompassing concept that goes beyond how people think about it. The previous debates were about how it was different from APM. I think we need to talk about it in terms of trad. sports. Mechanics is everything you have in you to play the game(a good rig, and the like are not included.) So it’s between you and the game. That’s the scope of mechanics. In traditional sports like let’s say basketball, it’s all from the strategies you have to how you can be a monster on the court and do all sorts of plays. Neither alone wins games. Sometimes you need the Michael Jordans of the world to carry. Sometimes good team work just wins. Both are still under mechanics. The former is something I would refer to as mechanical skill. APM, positioning, csing, laning, trading, would be under this. Applied Game knowledge/or game sense since it sound cool would be rotations, game plans, knowing the win conditions of your compositions, playing as a team, synergy, keeping your moral up, is under this topic. Game sense is knowing what to do at different points in the game, not just individually but as a team. 

One of the tried and tested way to improve mechanical skill is through solo queue. Grinding, getting better, putting yourself in that “I gotta carry” mindset is what people usually try to define was ways to improve your mechanics. And historically, it is right. Most of the pro players we have now in league grinded to challenger or master then was discovered through their insane mechanical skill. They bested other players in one aspect or another to gain the right of being called a pro. But mechanically gifted players doesn’t necessarily mean they win more when they are on stage. This is where mechanics alone can’t win fights. Teams that play with more conviction, game knowledge, and just better decision making wins more games. Hence why team try to find the balance. 

In the lives of pro players, all are still required to play solo queue apart from their scheduled scrims. This is to make sure they don’t fall off in terms of skill because League is a competitive sport and there are literally thousands dying to get their shot. But they are also encouraged to go to spend time as a team, go to strategy meetings with the analysts and coaches to improve game knowledge. 

In a nutshell, mechanical skill is having the tools to push yourself to victory. Game knowledge and game sense, are a team-based effort in figuring out what the best way to get there is through all the obstacles in the way. These both are still mechanics. Mechanical skill is something we attribute to the likes of C9 Rush, Uzi, Faker, Doublelift, and the other superstar players. But game knowledge or game sense is something we attribute to players like Hai, Lemonation, Aphromoo, Yellowstar, and the other backbones of winning teams. 

So far that debate I had didn’t go anywhere but I may have more luck here. To help further the discussion in this context, what is more important to focus on improving when you’re playing as a 5-man squad in league. mechanical skill or game sense. 


Let me know what you think of the term mechanics and how I tried to dissect it into two major concepts.