This is a sensitive topic, so please keep in mind, the point of it is to generate healthy discussion.
With the start of the 2016 season the North American LCS scene became practically as saturated with foreign talent as it possibly can be. Every team has the two foreign roster slots filled, with the exception of CLG and TSM. The former has only one, Huhi, while the latter team has three non-NA players with Bjergsen being a NA resident. This is a trend we start to see in Europe aswell – more and more teams are picking up Korean talent – Fnatic, H2K, G2 and the now Challenger team SK Gaming.
The only way EU and NA teams can be internationally relevant in the future is through the development of the native scene, since 60% of your professional players have to be from your own region. If these players can’t pull their weight internationally, unless you get an incredibly talented foreign player (something like top 5 in the position) the team will not be able to compete with the very best, and even then it’s questionable.
Developing the overall quality of the solo queue environment, which acts as the basis of the quality of the scene is incredibly hard. The trickle-down effect, the always repeated “talent breeds talent” phrase seems the key. Money alone doesn’t solve the problem (although more funding in the challenger and amateur scene wouldn’t hurt), as money is not the primary motivator in most competitive games – Korean soloqueue is notoriously cutthroat, even though the amateur scene is underfunded compared to the North American counterparts.
The major difference seems to be the mentality the players in the highest tiers. Since everyone is trying their hardest in most of the games, your solo queue rating can and will get you scouted to a team, if you are good enough. As mentioned in an interview/podcast with Clement Chu, the ELO rating of Korean pros usually describes their skill level adequately enough to show players on the rise, or even players slumping.
It’s unrealistic to think you can just suddenly change the mentality of individual solo queue players. You can however adjust the mindset of the contracted pro and semi-pro players. A mandated, goal oriented practice approach could start a slow cascade of transformation.
Some teams are already doing this, but one or two teams won’t change the environment alone, it requires the entire professional league to be in on the story. Even then it’s only a little more than 50-80 players from 200 challengers. But it’s a start.