H2k-Gaming statement on relegation in the LCS: 'Riot has viable alternatives'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of H2k-Gaming

H2k-Gaming's leadership has waded into the ongoing debate over relegation in the League of Legends Championship Series with an unsigned statement that harshly criticizes Riot Games and its current two-tier league system. The post, published Wednesday, suggests an alternative league format that preserves the importance of Challenger Series and the "path to pro" for casual LoL players.

In the letter, H2K argue that relegation creates an untenable situation for teams, who struggle to justify further investment, maintain sponsorships and keep up player morale. The statement claims that the threat of relegation "limits EU LCS teams’ access to capital, significantly reduces the value of the teams, and makes their sale very difficult."

H2K points to FC Schalke 04, claiming that when the team was relegated to the EU Challenger Series at the end of the summer season, the German football association that backed the team at the beginning of the split lost a sizable investment. Schalke's misfortune "has sent shockwaves through other Soccer teams, VC's and high net worth individuals," the letter says.

"The teams should not be subject to the risk of having their substantial investments become worthless, and make meaningless the huge personal efforts of the team owners," the team writes. "Unlike the [English] Premier League, relegated teams in the League of Legends do not receive compensation payments from RIOT nor do they receive revenue sharing from RIOT as occurs with FIFA for a Division 2 soccer team."

The letter warns that the threat of relegation is very real for even top teams in the league, who could easily end up in Challenger if they have a single bad season. That amplifies the risk of common and inevitable issues like player injuries, illnesses or internal disputes.

"The risk of poor performance (leading to potential Relegation) is magnified because the starting five consists of only five players so the unavailability of any one is generally devastating," H2K writes, adding that "teams cannot afford to maintain quality substitutes for each position."

The debate over the financial viability of LCS membership burst into the open in August, when Team SoloMid owner Andy "Reginald" Dinh and Riot co-founder Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill got into a public dispute about the revenue options Riot makes available to teams. More recently, Slingshot Esports published a draft of a letter to Riot that was allegedly endorsed by 18 of the 20 teams in the LCS, which demanded a moratorium on relegation in 2017 and an agreement that each LCS team receive a minimum of $700,000 in compensation from Riot.

Many fans and other community members have since come forward in support of relegation, arguing that it pressures teams to keep up their performance and ensures that matches between lower-ranked teams remain competitive throughout the season. Riot has also argued that relegation — and its flip-side, promotion — ensure that new teams and players have a shot at earning a spot in their region's premier league.

H2K attempts counter these points in their letter, suggesting that Riot expand the number of teams in each LCS region to 16 over the next two years by incrementally adding the teams that finish at the top of Challenger each season. "Expanding the leagues to 16 teams (perhaps four divisions) will create more competition and present a broader range of opportunities for the players," they write.

They recommend that Challenger be maintained as a "community based" league, where younger players can develop the skills necessary for the LCS and be drafted by the premier league teams. Further, they suggest Riot implement "meaningful" minimum salary caps that force teams to hire talented players and train them properly to justify their investment, rather than coasting along at the bottom of the league.

Ultimately, the team dismiss concerns that removing relegation would make the LCS less competitive, claiming that "the competitiveness of the EU LCS (and NA) teams will be assured by their natural desire to be successful."

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Febiven: 'I don't think having Koreans over the best European players is that much of a upgrade'

by 19h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Flickr

While H2k-Gaming's bottom lane has quickly found its footing in the 2017 EU LCS Spring split, mid laner Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten has been on other teams, like Fnatic's 2016 roster, which didn't get the same synergy from their import players.

When ex-teammate Martin "Rekkles" Larsson mentioned Febiven's positive attitude in a recent interview with theScore esports, we reached out to the mid laner for his own views on mindsets and team dynamics.

Read on for Febiven's opinion on integrating import players, how he feels about the potential of all-European rosters, and what he would tell every solo queue player.

With your time on Fnatic and now H2K, it feels like you’re uniquely positioned to talk about this: in your opinion what are the major factors that determine if Korean players will fit into a European squad? Obviously on Fnatic it didn’t seem to work out too well, but H2K’s bottom lane has done very well this season. What’s the difference between those two situations in your view?

I think it all comes down to how well the players mash together and what kind of mindset the players have towards the game and life in general. Everyone is different and has different mindsets towards the game or attitude towards improving and usually people stick to their comfort zone and don’t like changing that much which happened in FNC to all the players. But right now our bot lane has a really nice attitude towards everything and don't show bad emotions at all which is great for the atmosphere and they are always positive and looking to better the team.

Do you feel there’s any merit to the idea discussed recently in EU that European teams should just build all-European rosters and foster EU talent?

I feel like in Europe there are many good players and they can make a ‘’super team’’ together and I don't think having Koreans over the best European players is that much of a upgrade simply because having five Europeans works better than with two Koreans if they lack the language or they have complaints about stuff.

Rekkles had some kind words for you in a recent interview. Did you make a conscious attempt to be an inspiring part of Fnatic or did that just happen?

I think it is just the person who I am. I am basically smiling naturally most of the time and being happy and trying to cheer up the mood and trying to see things positively.

Was there a specific moment when you decided that you wanted to focus more on improving your competitive mindset, and how did you decide what to do?

I always thought just playing the game is the way to go but I realized that how you think about the game and how you act as a teammate and how you work towards becoming better is the way to go, obviously with spamming the game. So after the bad season with FNC last split, I decided that a change was needed in the way I think about life in general and tried to understand myself better so I could be a better person for the next upcoming years that I am a pro, and I feel like it was a good change.

Besides skill at their chosen role, what is the most important thing you look for in a teammate? Is there a point where that thing becomes more important than skill?

I think the most important thing that I value from my teammates is a positive attitude towards improving and towards everything in general. I believe that if you always look to solve things or always try to look for ways that you can get better, it will make you the player you want to be, and everyone wants to be the best but not many people know how to become the best. I just love seeing progress because it means that you’re growing (in a good way)

If you could tell one thing to every EU solo queue player, what would that be?

Never give up.

Is there a champion you wish you could play right now, but doesn’t fit the current meta?

Riven.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

Match highlights: H2k-Gaming vs. Fnatic

theScore esports Staff

NicoThePico parts ways with Fnatic

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Fnatic /theScore esports

Fnatic head coach Nicholas "NicoThePico" Korsgård has left the team, the organization announced Monday. Team manager Finlay “Quaye” Stewart will step in as the team's interim coach until a replacement is found, while Michael “Garki” Bolze will take over as manager.

NicoThePico was previously Origen's head coach before being replaced by Alvar “Araneae” Martín in July. He himself replaced Luis “Deilor” Sevilla as Fnatic's head coach in August.

"After joining Fnatic at the end of Summer Split 2016, I got the chance to build a new roster together with the FNC management for the upcoming season. We started off looking good and had apparent synergy and meshed well together, both in and out of game. As time went on we started facing challenges on the inside. As a result, problems occurred that I could not foresee beforehand and fix in due time," NicoThePico said in a statement.

"As I have been unable to provide the needed remedy, I feel that someone else with an outside perspective on the team and its issues, in both draft and gameplay, might be a better solution than what I was able to provide. I’ve decided to step down as Head Coach of FNC effective immediately."

Fnatic are currently in third place of Group A of the 2017 EU LCS spring split with a 4-6 record. They face Giants Gaming on Mar. 25.

"I am of the belief that we have a truly talented group of players capable of far more than where we currently sit in the standings. I will do my best to give the players a better structure and the resources needed to succeed," Quaye said in a statement. "Together with remote coaches, analysts and our players, we will make sure to give ourselves the best chance at playoffs and making it to Hamburg. The situation is far from ideal but we strongly believe that we are moving in the right direction.

"I'd like to thank Nico for all his hard work and wish him the best of luck in the future."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Infographic: What if NA LCS and EU LCS were still best-of-one?

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Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports

While Riot Games abandoned the best-of-one format for the NA LCS and EU LCS back in 2015, theScore esports wanted to see how the current standings would stack up if the leagues still used the format.

Though Team SoloMid are currently leading the NA LCS with a 12-2 match record, counting only the first game of each match, TSM would actually be tied for third place with Echo Fox, Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals, each with 7-7 records. Interestingly, even with best-of-one, Cloud9 would have the same 11-3 record.

In Europe, across both Group A and Group B, league standings would actually remain largely the same counting either first game record or match record. The primary difference would be G2 and Misfits being tied for first in Group A with 7-2 records. G2 are undefeated in the official standings with a 9-0 match record.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Best Skin Concepts: Lee Sin, the Blind Monk

by 15h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of no crowns for kings / Tumblr

Skins of the Week is a weekly series that highlights the best skins and skin concepts for a heroes, champions and characters across a variety of games.

This week, we're focusing on League of Legends' greatest martial artist, Lee Sin, the Blind Monk. With a new skin set to debut soon, we're taking a look at the best skins and concepts for LoL's ubiquitous jungler.

God Fist Lee Sin

Lee Sin's moniker is "The Blind Monk," so it seems a bit silly to create a skin that is defined by Lee Sin being able to see normally. That said, for every Lee Sin player who has ever gotten tired of the constant jokes about being blind, God Fist Lee Skin is the skin for you.

Beyond the inclusion of sight, God Fist Lee Sin has a great silhouette, which seems more than slightly similar to Marvel's Iron Fist. Personally, I can't wait until Riot releases Super Ultimate God Level Tier Lee Sin, which will likely feature gigantic hair for no real reason.

Red Demon Lee Sin

by mist XG

Taking Lee Sin in a completely new direction, this 'Red Demon Lee Sin' by mist XG turns the peaceful, meditative monk into a fighter bent on destruction. The greaves and gauntlets are the highlights of this concept, showcasing just how deadly Lee Sin can be. Twisted and dangerous, Red Demon Lee Sin is a solid concept for a darker, evil version of the well-loved champion.

Traditional Lee Sin

by no crowns for kings

Outside of his default appearance, Lee Sin's skins gradually move further and further away from his moniker. But no so with this skin, which is inspired by traditional clothes worn by Chinese monks.

While the beads are a nice touch, it's the sashes that flow outward from his back that are the highlight of this concept. They could provide some great animations were this concept to become reality. This twist on Lee Sin's title is colorful, exciting, and makes me wish it was available for use.

Dragon Priest Lee Sin

by Beastysakura

Dragon Priest Lee Sin is certainly more beastly than what one would expect the monk to be. Much like Red Demon Lee Sin, this concept features greaves to emphasize his deadlier aspects, though the primary draw this time are the monstrous face and hands. While Lee Sin is normally fierce yet retains an air of peace, this Dragon Priest variant is more animalistic, more tortured, yet undoubtedly just as cool to imagine as his other skins.

Galactic Pilgrim Lee Sin

by narm

Lee Sin in space is just a great image in and of itself, but this skin concept takes the idea and runs with it to a strange yet awesome conclusion. Galactic Pilgrim Lee Sin has a lot going on for him, with the color scheme and shock gauntlets being at the forefront, but it remains recognizably Lee Sin as its core.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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