Come the Worlds season, it’s easy to sack the LCS. After all, North America has never really won a Worlds to prove that it is the best region in the world. All other major regions, including the now defunct LMS, have a Summoner’s Cup. And that won’t change in 2020 after all three teams are eliminated from the NA League of Legends before the knockout round, but for some reason the reviews have gone up a level this year. Reading the comments on Reddit and social media, Worlds looked like a game from Among Us where the NA teams were impostors, sabotaging the quality of play of the teams from Europe, Korea and China that really deserved to be. the. the truth. After what looks like years of collective failure at international events, criticism is easy and sometimes well justified. Throughout the year, experts and fans have complained about almost everything from the region’s talent pool to the solo queue environment and even the production quality of the COVID broadcast to distance. There is some truth to a lot of these reviews and it’s more evident than ever before, LCS teams are just not as good as those in other regions. But it also belies the progress the region has made and hides what makes LCS so valuable. The Pandemic Effect Photo via Riot Games The first thing to remember about Worlds 2020 is that this year is unlike any other in the history of the World. professional sport. This is no apologies to anyone, and the 2020 titles don’t come with asterisks. But it’s unfair to label this as another year in a sad NA-sucking history at Worlds. Cloud9 and T1 dominated in the spring, but failed to improve on their respective national championships and ultimately missed the Worlds altogether. The EU Mad Lions made it to the tournament, but they arrived in Shanghai a shell of themselves, undermined by hostile meta-changes and an inability to keep up with the draft. The teams that continued to advance were, for most, established EU teams like G2 and Fnatic, which made little change from last year, and Chinese teams like JDG and TES who have spent years developing unique styles of play and were already on the verge of dominating. The remaining Korean team, Damwon, have a top-three trio who could each be considered the best in the world and have played together for some time. the main roster movements before and even during the season in order to prepare for the Worlds. These teams knew heading into 2020 that they weren’t quite up to the task, tried to fix the problem and couldn’t get their new teams up and running. Not in terms of being able to win Worlds – there is still an undeniable lack of talent. But they could have found better ways to play together as a team which would have left a much better impression on the region regardless of the outcome. Demonstrative Success Photo via Riot Games Speaking of the results, the combined record for the group’s 6-12 LCS teams. the stage was mainly driven by the colossal 0-6 sequence of TSM. But other than that, NA actually had a really good tournament. Liquid had the best performance, going 3-3 and beating all the teams in their group. This included wins over G2, a pre-tournament favorite, and Suning, an LPL team who are still alive in the semifinals. Of course, they lost to Machi, ruining their chance for a tie-break to break out of the group stage, but we’re well past the point where we think the Pacific and Vietnam teams can’t play with them. big. There’s no shame in losing to a Machi squad playing a totally broken champion at Ornn. Spring Split finalist FlyQuest also had a good run, beating Unicorns of Love twice and taking a surprise victory over Top Esports, another team is expected ADC WildTurtle, who took a few games at one point this year, was killed early in a coordinated invasion, then crushed their lane opponent, JackeyLove, a world champion and who has Completely transformed TES ‘fortunes after joining earlier in the year, but there’s TSM and that winless record. Frankly, we don’t know what NA fans want from black and white boys. They played in a group with Clid, Selfmade and Peanut as opposing junglers. In high level games where the lanes are even, the results are usually based on the jungle difference, as that position has the most agency on the map. TSM’s Spica has had moments, but he’s still a rookie facing arguably three of the top five junglers in the world. It just wasn’t a fair fight and he acquitted himself well! He’s had a few good games on the likes of Nidalee and Lilia, aggressive in-your-face type junglers. In one of TSM’s best games, it ran into the invasion of the enemy Support Pantheon and was forced out of its camps. It’s just unlucky. In another, General G.’s ruler pressed Ezreal’s secret “take control of the game” button. Some players have this option, it just didn’t exist for TSM. AdvancePhoto via Riot Games an NA squad is part of the groups. This year, one talented EU team in Mad Lions failed to even make it out of the Play-Ins, while another, Rogue, couldn’t get over his upper lane issues and won. only one match in the main event. It has become more difficult to progress at the Worlds, that may be a good thing, but it also makes it very difficult for the NA teams. A lot of the reviews are true: the player pool is small and the ping is bad. But we’ve also seen some really talented teams across the region get some legitimate shots and capitalize on, like Liquid at MSI 2019 or Cloud9 at Worlds the year before. Despite all the successes of European powers like G2 and Fnatic over the years, NA is still only one title less than the EU as a whole, in a single-elimination format where only eight teams will qualify. NA team does not reach this stage. In most of those years, NA will have shots at MSI, where the seeding is drastically different. It’s such a shame that we never got to see a dominant team from Cloud9 compete in this event, and we will never even see that same team again, but say the whole region is a trash because the teams from China are better and that G2 has been playing together for years. is absurd. The North American League is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are real issues with the level of play, and we’ve identified some major issues with each of the three Worlds 2020 entrants at different times this year, but they’re also a lot of fun to watch. And for those who live in the area, the LCS is our league. The myth that only one good region is worth watching has long been killed. League fans can – and should – take advantage of NA for what it is, not a mistaken idea of what it should be. And this year, once again, they have proven their membership in the Worlds. They didn’t fake it – they were real wins that they put on the NA board. We wanted more FlyQuest, Liquid, and TSM this year. It was disappointing to see them lose. But none of them are disappointing, be sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.