The uLoL Campus Series, the successor to the North American Collegiate Championship, hosted the first UCS Championship three years ago today. University of British Columbia defeated Robert Morris University 3-1 to become the 2016 UCS Champion.
UBC came into the match as the defending collegiate LoL champion, looking every bit the part after a sweep of Georgia Tech in the semifinals. However, RMU had a history for developing LCS caliber talent , and looked just as dominant after a semifinal sweep of University of Maryland.
Still, experience was on the side of UBC. The defending champions, headed by Mid Laner Boyuan "bobqin" Qin, had already tasted victory the year previous in the NACC. UBC looked set for a staunch defense of its title after the game 1 draft, which had bobqin equipped with his signature LeBlanc. However, the series started off the rails with a 43 minute slugfest, and when teh dust settled, the scaling composition of RMU prevailed.
UBC changed its tune for game 2, opting for a more utility focused draft with Lissandra for bobqin, as well as Sivir and Elise. The game ended just shy of 34 minutes, but that was not telling of the dominance UBC had exhibited to equalize the series. Not only did UBC not give up a single tower, but both bobqin and Jungler Jason "ProofOfPayment" Dong stayed deathless throughout the game.
The rest of the series was all UBC, as bobqin got not one chance but two to redeem himself on Leblanc. The Canadian Mid Laner followed an 8/0/6 game 3 with a 5/0/1 game 4, completely annihilating RMU and leading UBC to its second collegiate League of Legends Championship. UBC's players won $180,000 in scholarships for the team's achievement.
In an interview with Yahoo Esports, bobqin told Travis Gafford about his plans to pursue a professional career:
"I'm taking a break after this to try and go into the Challenger scene. LCS seems possible. I've tried out for several teams; I can't really say who they are, but I think I'll have a good shot in the Challenger scene.
Bobqin spent time in the challenger scene on Cloud9 Challenger, Team Liquid Academy, and eUnited before getting the biggest chance of his career at the genesis of the NA Academy League. bobqin was signed as the Mid Laner for Golden Guardians Academy. GGSA struggled in the inaugural season of the NA Academy League, finishing 10th in spring and 9th in summer.
However, bobqin was given the opportunity to start for the main Golden Guardians roster in the final week of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split. Mid Laner Son "Mickey" Young-min would not start in week 9, as it was revealed later that he had left the team before season's end and returned to South Korea, giving bobqin a shot at his LCS debut. While Golden Guardians' last place standing meant the game itself had little stakes, bobqin told Akshon Esports how eagerly he had anticipated this:
"Leading up to this weekend, I had trouble sleeping every night because I was too excited. I wasn’t nervous at all for my first LCS game."
As the collegiate League of Legends scene continues to grow, expect to see more and more players making the transition from college to Academy to LCS as the North American League of Legends esports scene establishes its pipeline for optimal player development.