Every team needs a leader. In regular sports, the team has a coach to guide them off of the field, but on the field the captain is in charge.
The captain figure is respected and the team members follow their lead without question.
Esports is no different, but rather than a captain this role is known as the shot caller.
Who is or should be the shot caller on a team? Usually the player with the most experience, but most experts believe that the shot caller should be either the support or the top laner. League of Legends is a complex game. There are many factors that a team must keep in mind at all times. It is not only about the Meta, but also about their positions on the map, the vision and the priority that they give to objects. From both extremes of the rift, these players have a wider view of the match.
Successful support players are very aware of the map. They set the vision and assist the team. It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact the support has on the macro.
Top laners tend to have less pressure on their lanes. The game in the top usually goes at a slower pace that allows players more time to make decisions.
Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho of LCK side kt Rolster is a clear example of shot successful shot calling in the top lane.
From his position, Smeb has been able to lead his team to the top three in the most competitive LoL league in the world.
This team, created to bring down SK Telecom T1, finally achieved its goal in the 2018 Spring Split.
Known as the “telecom war”, matches between kt Rolster and SK Telecom T1 are always highly anticipated by the fans.
Before the spring, SKT dominated the tie, but that streak was finally broken last month, as kt Rolster claimed a 2-1 win in the LCK.
The reason? kt Rolster is succeeding where SKT T1 is failing miserably.
The fall of SKT T1 in LCK 2018
SKT has won three World Championships, two Mid-Season Invitational and many domestic titles.
They have Faker, widely regarded as the best player in the world, among their ranks. Yet, they cannot seem to find a way to get back into the top three.
Rift Rivals 2017 was the beginning of the end for SKT. They couldn’t bring the victories to their region and after that, the team kept losing, leading many to doubt whether they would make it to the play-offs.
Some blame the players, others blame the coaching staff. The reality is far more basic — SKT T1 doesn’t have a shot caller.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is considered to be the best player in the world, but he’s an individual player. He hardly loses his lane and makes few mistakes. In a team fight, Faker knows his place.
However, his reserved nature doesn’t make him a leader. Interviews and videos posted by the organisation show a shy and quiet star. He rarely interacts with his teammates and is a man of few words.
Even though he is tactically gifted, Faker can’t lead SKT T1.
Bang and Wolf
These two were once considered to be the best bot duo in the world. Nowadays they struggle in the easiest of matches.
Bae “Bang” Jun-sik is out of shape and he recognises that. Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan is in good condition, but has to split his time on stage with the rookie Lee “Effort” Sang-ho.
This constantly rotation of players has been affecting SKT T1 for some time now. A lack of consistently doesn’t allow the players to truly develop a synergy. Yet, the organisation has continued to repeat this mistake for some time.
Top lane is a problem that SKT can’t figure out.
In 2017, fans blamed the unpredictable Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon for the team’s losing streak. Now they blame the once reliable Park “Untara” Ui-jin.
He started the 2018 Spring Split as the top laner but he couldn’t handle it. Instead, the coaching staff decided to turn to Park “Thal” Kwon-hyuk, a player out of the EU LCS.
This constant rotation of top laners and supports doesn’t allow a shot caller to emerge.
Until they figure out a permanent roster, this issue will keep affecting what was once the best team in the world.
Some are already picturing the team fighting against relegation. If they can find a consistent pace again, only time and a good shot caller will tell.