After G2 Esports, Europe’s best and final hope falls to Bilibili Gaming, every single European League of Legends representative has failed to make it into the next stage. The last time Europe has failed to do so was Worlds 2014. Meanwhile, the North American League of Legends community successfully managed to send their 1st seed – NRG – into quarters. We must now ask ourselves how this LEC blunder affects the overall image of the region and the future of LoL esports as a whole.
The LEC Blunders at the Swiss Stage!
Worlds 2023 was supposed to be the stage where the West could showcase that the gap between the Western League of Legends scene and Asian teams wasn’t as big as it was. G2 Esports was the frontrunner for one of the best Worlds 2023 teams who had the best chances of lifting the trophy. Their new jungler – Yike – and the addition of Hans Sama gave the team such a menacing aura that even Eastern fans thought they were a massive threat. Unfortunately, LEC blunders when they need them the most.
Even teams like Fnatic and Team BDS were looking threatening with their unique playstyles. Team Liquid even almost beat T1 on the very first day of the 2023 World Championships. Unfortunately, the Western representatives fell one by one. The sad thing was that Western teams were eliminating Western teams at the lower-standing brackets. When the Western teams managed to get to the qualification matches, the Eastern teams would gatekeep them from making it into the top 8.
North America’s first seed, NRG, managed to defeat G2 in a clean 2-0 victory. This was considered a huge upset, especially with how those 2 games went against the top LEC representative. With that loss, North America rejoiced as they slipped through the Swiss Stage while LEC mourned the fact that both Fnatic and G2 Esports had to play against the LPL’s number 4 and 2 seeds in the elimination match. To no one’s surprise, the two teams fell short despite a valiant effort to push the series to its limits.
MAD Lions fell short in every way and Team BDS fell hard after showing such a unique and incredible playstyle during the Play-In stage. Fnatic didn’t feel like a team and their decisions felt forced and uncoordinated despite the players performing well individually. G2 Esports had amazing performances individually but the mistakes that each team member made cost them so much during the middle stages of each match. Each of these team’s weaknesses contributes to the overall LEC blunder at Worlds.
Does This Mean NA > EU?
NA and EU have never gotten along and the fact that North America managed to secure a spot in the Top 8 by beating G2 Esports in the Qualifier Match just gave them the morale boost that they need to slam “NA > EU” memes on the internet. For the longest time, NA has been on the other side of the memes since they usually miss the Quarterfinals by not being able to make it out of the Group Stage. This time, NA didn’t miss the chance to take revenge on the European community.
Having one representative more than your rival region definitely makes it seem like you’re the better region. This achievement does reinforce that argument but the true reason why “NA > EU” in this tournament specifically is because NRG managed to beat G2 Esports for the slot in the Quarterfinals. If NRG had beaten any other team, the point could still be arguably void but this single event pushes the narrative to a whole new level.
Did the Worlds 2023 Format Ruin Europe’s Chances?
You could argue all you want that the new Worlds format screwed Europe’s chances of making top 8 but the fact still remains that G2 Esports could have qualified IF ONLY they beat NA. After losing to NRG for a guaranteed spot in the Quarterfinals, European fans can’t blame anyone except their representatives for being completely outclassed by 3 of the 4 major regions. No matter what the format is, if you lose to NA for a chance to make Top 8, you don’t deserve to complain. You can’t attribute this LEC blunder to the format.
The concept of having a “Group of Life” and “Group of Death” has always existed in League of Legends esports. This time, every European team didn’t have a single scenario where the format forced them to beat the best opponents in the tournament. In fact, KT Rolster had to run through an absolutely monstrous marathon to qualify for the Quarterfinals by facing off against LPL and LCK teams until the very end. Europe faced off against multiple NA teams and lost a lot of them during the swiss stage.
The Eastern League of Legends Community is Insurmountable
Dplus Kia is the only team to lose to a Western team this Worlds 2023. The rest of the teams managed to hold their position against the Westerners, dropping some games in their series but ultimately coming out the winner. However, it’s not right to say that the gap between the West and East has become impossible to climb. After all, the final day of the Swiss Stage proved that the LEC is capable of pulling out strategies that the Eastern teams can’t deal with. Although, it needs a lot of practice to execute correctly.
The Eastern Era of Dominance isn’t ready to die down yet. The Eastern League of Legends scene is slowly improving and the consistency of their growth has always given them the advantage in international tournaments. Meanwhile, the growth of the West fluctuates since they always try new strategies to overcome their Asian counterparts. All they have to do is find the right formula and playstyle to prove they can come back to the international stage as a massive threat to the tournament.