The Tyler1 Story: League’s Greatest Reformation

Before Tyler1 became a member of the prestigious T1 Esports organization and one of the most beloved icons in League of Legends, he was known by both a majority of the Twitch community and famous League of Legends personalities as one of the worst players to ever touch the game. This man showcased the biggest transformation that a toxic player can achieve if he puts his mind to it. In this Tyler1 story, we’ll be talking about how League’s most notorious streamer became Riot Games‘ pride and joy.

Tyler1 screaming into the screen
The Most Toxic Player in NA

Before Tyler1

Before Tyler Stienkamp became the man we know him to be today, he was a Computer Science major at the Central Methodist University where he was a part of the school’s football team. This part of his life perfectly describes what he has become today – a video game-loving jock. At the middle of his studies in the University, Tyler suddenly dropped out of school to pursue a career in streaming games online in League of Legends.

Even before he started streaming, Tyler was already a well-established player who was among the top players in higher elos. He was a Draven one-trick who would play the champion in every lane he could and was among the very few players at the time to successfully execute the champion well. Tyler became famous for his antics on screen but to become a famous streamer, you had to push for more to gain more viewers.

Draven and Tyler1

Draven, the Glorious Executioner, is a chad showman who feeds on the adoration of his fans. He thinks highly of himself and tries to execute Noxian prisoners in the most entertaining way possible. This self-centered Noxian was so self-obsessed that many people disliked him but the image he had created was something that a lot of people wanted to see more. In short, Draven was the Tyler1 of Runeterra…. or is Tyler the Draven of Earth?

Gladiator Draven spinning his axes that are on fire
Uncanny similarities

Whether Tyler puts on an act similar to Draven or if it just happened that both he and the champion he played had similar personalities, the fact remains that Draven will forever be identified with Tyler1 and vice versa. Tyler also knows this and has made several cosplays featuring his signature champion. It might be inevitable that Riot Games will release a Tyler1 Draven skin in the future if the chance becomes available for them to do it.

The Toxic Startup Streamer

If you were an original viewer of Tyler’s streams, you knew what kind of content you were getting into. When it comes to toxicity, Tyler1 was the very definition of what that word meant in the gaming community. He was a League of Legends streamer who would feature his gameplay primary when he’s on Draven, but when he didn’t get his champion every one on his team would suffer the consequences of not giving him what he wants.

Tyler1 was known to intentionally feed kills to the enemy team by running straight into the tower. He would also flame his team whenever some of them would underperform. Tyler’s temper was his most charming factor where he would literally destroy your earphones (and your eardrums) by screaming into the microphone to try and get his point across. The worst part about that is people found it funny and amusing so his channel grew bigger and bigger.

The Story of Tyler1

Riot Games didn’t have a strong system against cheaters and toxic players back then but they managed to punish Tyler1 in a way. Tyler would frequently get banned or suspended but since Tyler’s content was mainly on the entertainment factor he gave while being toxic, the bans wouldn’t faze him so he’d simply create a new account to climb the ladder again. He did so every time Riot Games banned his accounts and it didn’t bother him one bit. He stayed true to his identity even if his account was different each time.

Tyler had reached such a prominent status that personalities from the esports community began mentioning his name. The King of Trashtalk, Doublelift also commented on Tyler’s negative behavior towards the game and that alone was a statement to behold back in the day. His biggest critic was Riot’s Phreak who became his archnemesis by releasing statements on why players like Tyler1 shouldn’t be praised or glorified.

Riot Games Had Enough

Now that Tyler had become one of League of Legends most influential figures, Riot Games had no choice but to take action against him unless they wanted the players to know that players like him can get away with toxic behavior. For the first time ever in League of Legends history, Riot Games’ implemented an ID Ban. This ban was unique since it didn’t only ban an account you owned, it banned you – as the person – from the game.

How did it work, you ask? Whenever Tyler1 would stream a game, his account would instantly get banned. Sure, Tyler could still play the game while he wasn’t streaming but that doesn’t earn him money at all. No matter how many accounts he created, Riot Games would snipe him off Twitch so that he could never share his gameplay live on the game ever again. At this point, he knew that there was no way Tyler could make money off League of Legends again.

Riot Phreak on his take on Tyler1
The Rival to the Toxic Player

From April 2016 to January 2018, Riot Games made it its mission to prevent Tyler from streaming League again. Unfortunately, Tyler1 managed to sneak in 1 or 2 games of League during his streams but would be banned immediately after. During this period, he would desperately cling to streaming by trying out new games or showcasing variety streams such as cooking shows or discussions about random stuff or news.

The #FreeTyler1 Movement

When Tyler was permanently banned from League of Legends, it instigated a movement where his fans would ask for Riot Games to free him from his ban. During live esports events, people on the stage would lift up sign cards that had the #FreeTyler1 hashtag written to show their support for their favorite streamer. There were even petitions only which supported the movement stating Riot Games should unban him from League of Legends.

Tyler became a martyr in the League of Legends community for all the players that have been banned before. It doesn’t make sense that someone who intentionally behaved in a toxic manner in from of tens of thousands of viewers. Although, Riot Games saw how much the community saw Tyler as someone they looked up to so they devised a plan that would provide a huge impact in the League of Legends community.

The Great Reformation

On January 4, 2018, Riot Games lifted the ban on Tyler1 after he claimed that he underwent intensive rehab to fix his toxic behavior on stream. During his first stream after a while, Tyler broke the record of having the highest amount of viewers in a single stream with over 386,000 viewers. This became one of the most momentous events in League of Legends history as one of the most hated people in the game finally achieved his grand return.

Tyler1 cosplaying as Draven after being unbanned from LoL
The Grand Return of League’s Most Controversial!

Tyler being reformed wasn’t just something he claimed to get Riot Games’ favor, though. Players tried to test Tyler’s patience by banning Draven on his streams or intentionally anger him but he kept his cool. The man would no longer go on aggressive sprees to display his dissatisfaction but would instead use the opportunity given to him by accepting losses with grace. Many people was disappointed with this change but even more people started respecting Tyler and gained more viewers because of this.

Tyler still retained his image of being the overly masculine dude that screamed into the microphone. However, he only did this in the camera and not on the game’s chat system. It also wasn’t as severe or personal as it used to be and he would only get angry in acceptable cases that even normal people would get angry at. Overall, viewers and esports personalities started accepting this revamped version of the popular streamer in 2016.

Tyler1 Championship Series

Tyler’s welcome back to League of Legends was so huge that Riot Games even allowed him to sponsor his own tournament where he, himself, would cast the games. It was met with a lot of support that popular streamers such as Imaqtipie, Scarra, Voyboy, Nightblu3, and Shiphtur even joined in on the fun to compete against other top players from all around North America. This would mark a major change in the streaming community.

Tyler1 casting the Tyler1 Championship Series
His very own tournament series

The LCS Showmatch

Riot Games showed how much they valued Tyler1 as the reformed player that he was by inviting Tyler1 to compete against his streaming rival Imaqtpie. Tyler’s team consisted of LCS players such as Solo, Contractz, and Matt. But the biggest surprise in this tournament was that Tyler’s biggest critic, Phreak, was a part of his team. If that wasn’t surprising enough, Phreak played support for Tyler and the two played in the bottom lane against Imaqtpie and Shiphtur but would end up losing the series.

Before the tournament, Phreak shared some words where he stated that he now respects the person that Tyler has become. The two of them, interviewed by Ovilee, exchanged some kind words to each other to encourage the lesson behind the growth of Tyler1 as a person. Tyler lost all of his esports critics but he never fully managed to get rid of all the haters he had for the person he was before he had been reformed.

Tyler1 Today

Nowadays, you can find Tyler streaming League of Legends on Twitch. While he isn’t the Draven one-trick that he used to be since the dreadful marksman update in Season 8, he still provides quality streams while screaming in your ears. He’s made a transition to the Jungle role where he managed to reach Challenger rank 5 by spamming the role. In the 2019 All-star even, he even managed to meet with Faker to play various games in the arcade.

T1 Faker hugging Tyler1 in front of the camera
New Life, New Friendships, New Opportunities

On October 20, 2020, Tyler1 officially joined with T1 (formerly known as SKT T1) where he will forever know as T1 T1. Tyler meeting up and getting various gifts from T1 (formerly SKT), was perhaps a foreshadowing of this very moment. He even joked about him taking over Joe Marsh’s role as T1’s CEO and demoting him to the janitor of the organization. The man has grown into something that his previous self wouldn’t have been able to achieve.

The Lesson Behind Tyler1’s Reformation

Most companies wouldn’t have given Tyler1 a chance to come back in the League and stayed adamant about their decision. Riot Games, on the other hand, found this opportunity to share a valuable lesson to League of Legends players out there about how toxicity can only have so much in reward. Tyler1 has now become Riot Games’ symbol of reformation and rehabilitation for League of Legends around the world.

Riot Games as a company has prioritized fun and fair gameplay in its values. Like a true father, they didn’t give up on Tyler1 when he was nothing but a rebellious teen that tried to encourage other players to follow in his steps. This proves that Riot Games vision looks beyond the present and sees the potential in its players. This is how Riot Games turned its biggest problem child into one of their greatest success as a company.

Why is Tyler1 toxic?

Tyler1 was regarded to be a toxic player because he used to intentionally run into the enemy turrets to offer himself as a kill or trash talk his teammates during games when things didn’t go his way. He provided a negative gameplay experience to players in his team.

Why did Riot Games unban Tyler1?

Riot Games unbanned Tyler1 because he had proved that he was able to contribute to the League of Legends community in a non-toxic manner and he had been reformed.

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