EU LCS saw two of its best players depart for North America last year, when Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez departed G2 Esports to link up with Team SoloMid.
NA LCS certainly seems to be the more attractive option for players, especially since Riot opted to franchise the league at the start of the year. According to reports, average wages climbed by over 200%, rising from an average of $150,000 to over $325,000. In comparison, ESPN reported last year that EU LCs players earn $81,000 on average each year.
However, money isn’t everything, argues Team Vitality coach YamatoCannon.
Speaking to InvenGlobal, the former League of Legends player claimed that EU LCS beats NA LCS for team culture and meta.
“I think EU’s meta and culture is better than the NA,”
“I personally think NA has a fun atmosphere in solo queue, but I believe that it is wrong to have too much fun in solo queues. It’s just the wrong approach.”
YamatoCannon also feels that players in the North American league also tend to spend too much of their time focusing on building their own brand and not enough time training.
“A lot of players tend to stream in their free time and I do understand because it can bring you money. Yes, this can be the focus for others, but in Europe, players stream less compared to NA,”
“For some it is an obligation to stream, but mostly players try to practice more.”
“It comes down to the culture, structure and the player base. I think EU LCS is slowly improving in that matter.”
Can EU LCS continue to improve?
Seeing players like Zven depart for other shores was hardly encouraging for those in Europe.
The lure of increased riches will undoubtedly continue to lure EU LCS’s best players away from the league. Aside from NA LCS, Korea’s LCK also offers a more attractive option. China, a region that YamatoCannon expects to dominate competitive League following Royal Never Give Up’s victory at MSI 2018, will also be an attractive option in future years.
However, while these loses seem inevitable, the Team Vitality coach only predicts good things for the future of EU LCS.
Despite losing its stars, the overall quality of the league has improved. YamatoCannon points to the competitiveness between teams in the Spring Split as a good example of this. Unicorns of Love finished bottom of the standings with a 6-12 record. However, recording just two more victories would have potentially put them in the playoffs.
“You know, some good players are starting to leave EU. Without being said, I wasn’t actually worried at all about the players leaving,”
“With the franchise concept coming into the picture, all those organizations might come in. It will lead to investments and I think everyone will start building the infrastructure,”
“Maybe someday we can even catch up with Korea and China.”
That is a bold prediction, but with quality improving across the board, there is no reason why Europe can’t match other regions.
The First step? franchising, which is set to happen ahead of the 2019 season.
Current organisations will be offered a spot in the new EU LCS for $10 million, while new organisations will have to pay $13 million. With such a high buy-in price, this will weed out those that aren’t committed to seeing the league grow, which can only be a good thing for EU LCS.