For the first “League of Legends” tournament this year, UTD’s “League of Legends” A and B teams advanced to quarterfinals in the Wichita Esports Convention during the first weekend of February but ultimately lost to semi-professional teams.
WEC features a range of different competitions and bills itself as a “Midwest pipeline for collegiate and amateur video game players.” The team’s primary focus was the “League of Legends” tournament with a $20,000 prize, head coach Greg Adler said. The tournament hosted both semi-professional teams such as BloodyGamers and Polar Ace as well as collegiate teams.
During the tournament, 14 teams were divided into two groups, with one group containing four teams and the other containing three teams. The “League of Legends” A team competed with Polar Ace and Missouri Valley College in Group A and the B team competed with BloodyGaming and Keepers of the Rift in Group B.
After the A team lost a close match against Polar Ace, the team redeemed itself in a sweeping victory against Missouri Valley College in a 25-minute match with a score of 30-4. The match included highlights with freshman ADC Ryan Joslin “THE Jons” as Kai’Sa and junior support Chris Yang “YHW” as Braum. The victory landed them in the quarterfinals in a match against Azio, a North American amateur semi-professional team, but the A team ultimately lost.
The “League of Legends” B team lost in a 40-minute match to BloodyGaming, a North American amateur semi-professional team who went on to win the entire tournament. During the quarterfinals, the B team competed against Super Nova, a North American amateur team, but ultimately lost.
Joslin said he didn’t anticipate not making it past the quarter-stage but listed communication, game mechanics and teamwork as some of the weaknesses they identified from playing in the tournament.
“It was a little surprising,” Joslin said. “I think we were pretty confident going into it, but the level of competition was pretty intense. We just learned a lot about our style, and it revealed a lot of our weaknesses as a team, more so than other scrimmages or other things we do in-house, just because it is so competitive.”
In January 2019, ESPN released the first collegiate “League of Legends” Week 1 rankings for college esports teams across North America. Collaborating with “Riot Games”, the maker of “League of Legends,” ESPN will release bi-weekly rankings of collegiate “League of Legends.” Out of the 25 schools listed, UTD was ranked eight.
In addition to practicing for upcoming tournaments, the two UTD teams hope to encourage all student gamers to connect.
“Obviously we focus on the competitive side of esports, but we want to connect all the gamers on campus,” Eric Aaberg, assistant coach, said.
Adler said the tournament was a fun time and it highlighted their advantages as well as disadvantages. As the students prepare for the next tournament, practicing is going to be the central focus, Joslin said.
Additional reporting by Anjali Sundaram