LoL Esports is making the first step to the Franchise era and with that it started the second EUXODUS in the offseason. So there was this question lying around "Why does Europe always export so many players?".
The only other Region that is famously known for exporting their players is obviously Korea itself, however, none of the other western regions are actually considered when it comes to importing slots. In this article, I'll only look at players, teams, and structure as a whole and not consider the financial aspect involved in the Import process as we all know by now, how much the financial structure in Europe can differentiate to North America.
It all began in the Summer split of 2013 when Team Curse (Now Team Liquid) imported Gambit Gaming star support, Edward. Despite the import not working out for Team Curse, Edward was not able to adapt properly to the new environment nor solve the team's issues at the time, it was the first test drive to a now common practice.
People didn't have the proper structure back in 2013 to make the transition process for someone moving from a country to another somehow healthy. Despite the initial jet lag, the cultural differences or just the climate itself affects a person and with it their performance.
It needs time for a person to properly adapt to a new environment and that combined with the stressful LCS training and game schedule. It is definitely far from easy for anyone involved.
As teams learned more how to apply for visas, how to build better environments for their athletes and the first bigger investors made into the scene in 2015 we've seen the first big wave of European and Korean players being imported.
Europe always seemed ahead of the meta over their North American fellas it all started in the season 1 World Championship with their duo bot lane meta. Usually, ad carries were put in the mid lane in order to be able to farm up, well European teams started experimenting on how to punish the duo bruiser bot lanes, well their answer was simpler than many thought let’s put the ad carry on the bot lane with a champion that assists him with scaling. And the lane setups we know today was born and this new meta didn‘t make until the World Championship to North America. With that Europe became famous for being ahead of the meta due to its competitiveness.
One of the reasons why TSM‘s first gaming house was in New York was that they were able to scrim in Europe with an acceptable ping. However, even with TSM dominating North America the two teams that made an impact on the international scene came again from Europe. With CLG.EU placing second in one of the first editions of the Korean tournament and Moscow 5, that took the scene by storm with their reckless and aggressive style. Europe might have the better competitors but North America has always been better in streaming, marketing, and all that stuff, but the teams that were stronger overall came from Europe in the end. This was set to follow for the coming years and even if there is more money involved in North America, the European teams were able to get better results internationally. With a few exceptions in the past two years with CLG in the MSI in 2016 or this years Rift Rival.
This all comes from the base of EU talent. Even if there is a huge difference between SoloQ play and the weekly LCS stage it is still the foundation of every player's skills. Since the beginnings of the competitive scene, people argue where to find the better solo practice. So far the best environment was found in Korea and the second best in Europe. Over the years many pros valued the competitiveness of Korean and European players who take the SoloQ seriously and with that to the next level. One of the problems most regions face is the lack of quality SoloQ, often it is due to people not taken it as seriously, a lot of one trick ponies (people who only play one champion) and it is less about simulating a competitive environment due to the lack of a bigger player base at the highest level of competition.
Not only North America struggles with it, but also basically every wildcard region too. That‘s why Korea and Europe are constantly able to find new SoloQ talent. There is always up and coming talent that will not play to get elo once they are at the high elo range (usually master tier 300lp +) and will start to work on their play and champion pools. Most of the times they start dropping elo just to get better and climb again. So there are always some new faces trying to prove themselves. Also, those SoloQ talents have a place to grow. The so-called national leagues.
National Leagues have proven themselves as a solid way for this talent to grow and develop themselves. Every small region at least has some sort of ESL run online tournament in Europe, even if it is only the monthly Go4LoL Europe Edition. Due to most players getting to know each other in SoloQ and looking for a way to break into the LCS so they start at the national leagues. For example, the German ESL Meisterschaft and the Spanish league „Liga de Video Juegos“ (LVP) became a hub for talent scouting and development, even wildcard regions became a huge hub for new talent to shine.
Just look at Team RB‘s lineups core was build with MagiFelix and Sedrion. Two German players that not only dominated the German scene and were promising talents for a while, but they also took it as a chance to develop their skills and be able to break into the higher level of competition. Another example would be in 2016 Xerxe and caps that are now both playing in the EU LCS. Since they were too young to play at the LCS they went to play in the Turkish League the TCL and not only carried Dark Passage to a title but also would have carried them to the world championship if they were eligible to play at that year's wildcard tournament.
So as we focus on the big picture Europe and Korea not only have the two biggest players bases but also the bigger talent pool to chose from. According to an op.gg statistics from 2016there are more than the double registered players than their peers in North America. Even Brazil and Turkey have more players than North America. With that in mind and combined with all the possibilities to hone your skills in the European scene, it is just natural that they will be imported to North America. Let‘s be honest they are good choices due to the ability to speak English and providing a much wider variety of talented players compared to North America nowadays.
We haven‘t even started talking about Danes and EU mid laner's, but I guess I will have to explore this idea another time as it is a topic of its own. And let's be honest here next year will be interesting for North America to step up their talent development and be less reliable on Korean and European imports. We‘ve seen great players rise from the bottom of North America’s roots like Hauntzer or Bifrost. But with the constant development of a draft system, scouting grounds and the constant development on University Leagues around the world it will be interesting to see how strong North America’s talent can grow now.
Photo Credit : lolesports Flickr
Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.
About the Author:
Hello guys, Alexandre Weber also known under the ID: DrPuppet. I'm a Brazilian professional Coach and content creator since 2015, mostly focused on League of Legends. I worked with many teams throughout the years in major and minor regions, but my most known work was with Kaos Latin Gamers from Chile in 2015, where we played the International Wildcard Finals against Pain Gaming. Since then I have been studying Cinema in Hamburg and creating content on youtube and twitch, besides writing for respected sites in Esports. You can find me on the social networks under @drpuppetlp and on Twitch under DrPuppet.
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