League of Legends esports is a place where the best players in the world compete against each other to prove which region is the best. However, unlike many other esports today, League of Legends’ competitive scene is dominated by a specific group of players who have consistently has done so for the past years. As Eastern LoL Dominance continues to be the trend of the competitive scene, how do other regions like the LEC and LCS hope to even compete against their Asian rivals?
The History of Eastern LoL Dominance
Ever since Taiwan the Season 2 League of Legends World Championship, no other western team has ever won the tournament again. The two powerhouse Asian regions, China and Korea, have had a chokehold over the international scene. In fact, the only time that a Western Team has won an international tournament with representatives from both regions present is the Mid-Season Invitationals 2019 where G2 Esports beat SKT T1 in the semifinals to secure the trophy.
A lot of people don’t consider the Season 1 World Championship, where Fnatic won, a real Worlds Tournament since the big regions weren’t part of the tournament yet. Despite that, it’s undeniable that Europe has one World Championship under its belt. Starting from 2018, we thought that maybe the west may be approaching the same level as the East but recent times has proven that eastern LoL dominance is still prevalent in the competitive scene that we know today.
Asian Dominance in 2021
Eastern LoL dominance is still a big issue for the west even in 2021. The west was so close to approaching the level of the eastern teams since the Fall of the Korean Dynasty in 2018. Full European teams have reached back-to-back World Finals but the Chinese representatives swatted both Fnatic and G2 Esports in the cleanest 3-0 sweeps in history. In 2020, G2 Esports managed to reach the Quarterfinals but was ultimately defeated by Korea’s Damwon Gaming to place the trophy back to Korea.
The 2021 Season has been really tough for all of the western teams. Europe has finally seen the fall of their two most successful organizations in Fnatic and G2 Esports when MAD Lions won in Spring. Meanwhile, the LCS has been doing nothing but making bad management decisions and feeding the fans social media drama instead. North America hasn’t been one of the biggest Worlds Contenders but this year, they just look like they don’t even deserve their major region status.
The Asian Rivalry: LPL vs LCK
The only real competitors in International Tournaments are China and Korea. The LCK has finally gained traction once more by rebuilding its rosters and creating teams that have a real chance of competing against the Chinese powerhouses. The LPL has only become even stronger this season with so many teams looking like they can topple down the number 1 seeds from any western region in a best-of-5. They are looking like the favorites to take home the trophy once again.
In MSI 2021, the LCK and LPL faced off in a heated final with RNG ultimately picking up the win in a slightly close Finals against Damwon Kia, winning the series 3-2. While both RNG and Damwon Kia have shown pretty questionable games this season, other teams in the region are looking like they’re ready for Worlds. Both teams will be sending 4 participants to the League of Legends World Finals which adds to the problems that the west is already experiencing against these regions.
It is expected that these two regions are most likely going to be in the finals and if they’re not going to face each other, they’ll have two representatives from their region clashing for an ensured trophy. The LPL are the clear favorites to win Worlds with their teams looking so dominant despite having so many issues regarding unstable roster lineups. The LCK has gone into an experimental phase where Damwon Kia is trying out new things so that they can work on their weaknesses.
The LCK holds the trophy but looking at the 3 only legitimate teams in the region right now that look like they can contest the championship, it’s possible that the LCK will whiff again. This doesn’t mean that they fell hard like they did in 2018 and 2019 but it hints at the possibility that Eastern LoL Dominance will be monopolized by the LCK. In any case, the LPL is a hotpot of different Asian players and nationalities so the idea of Asian Dominance is still present.
How Can Western Teams Fix The Situation?
Other than the obvious removal of the Import Rule, the only way that Western Teams can really start competing as the Asian Teams is for the organizations to be stricter with their training regimen. The lax nature of both the LCS and LEC might affect the performance of their players. The West is simply too far behind in terms of their Eastern counterparts. Even Grabbz confessed in his interview with Ashley Kang that LEC and LCS don’t have the slightest chance to get the upset over these regions.
Of course, we can’t expect Western Teams to treat their players the same way that Eastern Organizations do because of cultural differences. There are probably a number of other ways to improve the competitiveness of the region so that all the teams can benefit by getting more practice against high-level opponents. One thing that we hope would happen is that the LCS stop buying ridiculously expensive players only for them to play disappointingly in actual games.
Is the LPL the best region in the world?
The LPL is definitely the most competitive region in the world right now with at least 6 teams on the same level as the top seeds of all the other regions. Edward Gaming is looking extremely dominant in Summer 2021 so it’s scary to think that this region has 4 seeds coming into the World Championships.
Can Western Teams Win The LoL World Championships?
As of 2021, the western teams don’t look like they have even the slightest chance to pull off a win against the Asian teams. LEC is probably really close to the LCK but the LPL is on a whole different level. The Eastern LoL Dominance continues to be a real thing today.