League of Upsets and the power in throwing yourself to the wolves

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The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) had 2 huge upset victories in the quarterfinals of the Spring Playoffs. In the first match, Seed #6 Good Game University (GGU) beat Seed #3 Team Dignitas. Then, in the second match, Seed #5 Vulcun beat Seed #4 Counter Logic Gaming (CLG). Both matches went to 3 games and every team put on a strong showing that could have had any of them easily step up to take the victory. CLG and Dignitas have both been around for years now and are huge organizations, along with being big crowd favorites and having legions of fans. In the GGU vs Dignitas game, Dignitas was favored by 85% of the community to win, and in the CLG vs Vulcun game, CLG was favored by 70% of the community.

In the beginning of the season, there was a very clear divide in the top 4 teams and the bottom 4 teams. The top 4 were long term veterans of the pro scene with huge followings while the bottom 4 were lesser known and much newer to the scene. All 8 teams were incredibly skilled because they had to earn their place there above other teams, but the divide was still evident as the top 4 would completely steamroll the bottom 4 in matches. However, there was a paradigm shift that snuck up on us about halfway through the season. Vulcun and GGU had better records for the second half of the season than CLG and Dignitas did. It was easily overlooked due to the high number of losses Vulcun and GGU accrued during the first half of the season, which caused much of the community to not take notice, as apparent in the huge number of votes in favor of CLG and Dignitas for their playoff games.

I’m reminded of when I was growing up and first entering the online multiplayer scene for games. I started playing Counter Strike and my brother told me that I should play with the best players I could. Even though they would stomp me (and they did over and over and over) I would get much better, much faster than if I was playing with new players. Going against competition high above your level forces you to either improve to their level or just always fail. It takes a ton of perseverance, and it’s not for everyone as it can suck getting your ass handed to you repeatedly ad nauseum, but we’ve seen that you will certainly improve if you take the time to learn from the beatings. Throwing myself to the wolves like that made me a much better player, and even though it took a very long time for it to happen, I did start to perform well in my Counter Strike games. That’s what we witnessed with Vulcun and GGU.

Both of these teams were thrown to the wolves – the teams that were the best in North America and had tons of experience under their belts. These veterans teams were used to the pressure of high level competition and their team synergy had been in the workings for much longer. As a result, the newer teams struggled for a long time and it showed, but they were forced to improve. Their struggle come to fruition at just the right moment, with Vulcun and GGU securing themselves in the LCS, and moving on to the higher brackets of the spring playoffs, while knocking out two big crowd favorites, CLG and Dignitas, who now must fight newcomer teams to get their spots in the LCS back.

For more on the standings and schedule of upcoming matches, check out the LCS official page at: http://na.lolesports.com/

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Kyle McArthur
Kyle McArthur 17 posts

Freelance Writer. Game Designer. Poet. Life-long gamer. Jedi enthusiast. DM extraordinaire. Shrimp lover. <a href="http://rolltonotdie.com/">http://rolltonotdie.com</a>