The 2021 League of Legends esports season was choc-full of excellent content pieces as a result of improved production worldwide, but which pieces of content stood out amongst the rest throughout the full season? Let’s take a look at the nominees for the best pieces of content from the 2021 LoL esports season.
Arcane has been all the rage since its release, and for good reason: Riot Games not only sidestepped the curse of movies and shows based on video games ultimately failing to succeed, but in doing so, have crafted a story intrinsically linked with League of Legends that can still stand all on its own.
Some of the strongest aspects of Arcane are not the fleshing out of the characters who are playable as League of Legends champions (though, that is good, too), but instead the introduction of characters endemic to the show like Silco and Vander.
Despite being based in fantasy, Arcane touches heavily on class warfare, the complex machinations of bureaucracy, and makes many nods to the greater world of Runeterra (that was Ryze who saved Jayce in the episode 2 flashback), which sets the show up for at least one followup season to its current story based primarily in Piltover while also leaving room for multiple stories from the world of Runeterra to be told.
Burn It All Down
Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship song has become an annual tradition, but recent installments have begun to fall into the same formulaic approach in a sonic and thematic context. Burn It All Down does little to deviate from this formula, but it does execute on the formula better than any Worlds song in the past five years.
It helps that Burn It All Down has arguably the best cinematic of any World Championship song with a plethora of esports references from previous seasons. The execution of the song is punctuated by its monstrous hook, sung by Lyndsey Gunnulfsen from PVRIS, who co-wrote the song with Riot Games.
LCK Summer Finals Title
Since the days of OGN, the quality of player-based cinematics in South Korean esports competitions have been second to none, but as the scene has continued to develop, the bar has only been raised by LCK production for season openers and has only been raised. However, the best content the LCK produced in the 2021 season was the video made for the finals of the 2021 LCK Summer Playoffs.
The members of DWG KIA and T1, the two teams competing in the finals, are shown in the video as the last standing challengers in the LCK interspersed with a series of CGI-based shots in a location resembling Stonehenge. The camera sweeps through multiple environments before focusing on the two finals teams, and a light parts the clouds in the sky to reveal the LCK trophy, which was eventually won by DWG KIA 3-1 on their way to their third consecutive domestic title.
Reckless With My Heart
Martin "Rekkles" Larsson's departure from Fnatic and subsequent joining of G2 Esports after the 2020 season rocked the foundation of the LEC scene, but the significance of the move didn’t stop the LEC broadcast talent from writing a song about it.
A trademark of LEC content over the past few seasons has been the musical stylings of members of the broadcast team, primarily Daniel Drakos and Andrew “Vedius” Day, and for Rekkles’ big move to G2 Esports, they were joined by Christy “Ender” Frierson on the drums for an emo-tinged, stadium rock anthem about the AD carry’s transfer.
The music-based sketches from the LEC team rarely disappoint, but Reckless With My Heart’s combination of original music, surprisingly accurate wardrobe choices for the style of the tune, and the comical nature of the lyrics, which focus primarily on the concept of Rekkles ‘betraying’ Fnatic fans, is in a league all on its own.
The Replay FIles
The LCS rebranded for the 2021 season, and along the new look, new avenues of content were explored. One of the finest new installments features caster Julian “Pastrytime” Carr looking back on iconic plays of LoL esports seasons’ past. The finer points of the plays are intercut with in-depth discussion between Pastrytime and 1-2 players who were part of the play.
Each episode is an excellent trip down memory lane, but the best installment might be the first episode, which highlights the epic level 1 2v2 by the bot lane of Misfits in the quarterfinals of Worlds 2017 against SK Telecom T1.
The commentary from Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, who was the support player who made the play, and former teammate Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, does an excellent job of contextualizing the success of Misfits’ bot lane’s decision making and provided a unique look back on the series with those involved.
More from the Inven Global Awards
Best top laner
Best mid laner
Best minor region player
Player of the year
Best coaching staff
Best play-by-play caster
Best color caster
Best story of the year
Biggest controversy of the year
Best in-game moment
Best content piece or series
Off-season winner (Dec. 22)
Awards announcement: Player categories (Dec. 29)
Awards announcement: Caster and community categories (Dec. 30)
Inven Global Awards panelists:
Nick Geracie /// @NickGeracie
Daniel "Quest" Kwon /// @LoLQuestKR
David "Viion" Jang /// @David_Viion
John "OddBall" Popko /// @OddballCreator
Kim "Haao" Byung-ho /// @Inven_Haao
Jang "Irro" Min-young
Carver Fisher /// @Carver_Fisher
Josh Tyler /// @joshtyler
Andre Gonzalez Rodriguez /// @Vulv_
Tom Matthiesen /// @TomMatthiesen
Adel Chouadria /// @AdelChouadria
Yohan Markov /// @Esports_Person
All images via: Riot Games