It’s already been a fascinating year for the EU LCS, we’ve seen Fnatic reclaim their throne from G2, NA lose the regional war at Rift Rivals and a massive wave of talented rookies who have taken the league by storm.
The exciting season is ramping up as the Playoffs begin this week before the biggest tournament of the year, the League of Legends World Championships. Then with Long-Term Partnerships (LTPs) coming into play next year, this could very well be the final time we watch some of these teams compete.
As usual with any esport league, the LCS is undergoing a lot of change. We caught up with shoutcaster Trevor ‘Quickshot’ Henry to reflect on a crazy year and ponder what we still have to look forward to.
We caught up with Quickshot to reflect on the EU LCS season so far and ponder the future
Teams have settled now but with the crazy meta shifts removing ADCs from most games, this Summer has been a bumpy ride for everyone involved. Even Quickshot himself says has never seen anything like it in his storied career: ‘I’ve been playing LoL since 2010 and at no point have you been able to play as many champions as you could this Summer.
‘For professional teams whose jobs, playoffs stakes and tournament earnings are on the line, it was very stressful. We saw some teams really struggle with the adaptation, we saw some of our star players fail to adapt and that made things really juicy and entertaining which is partially why our viewership has been so strong.’
Quickshot also believes that changing to Best of Ones, a polarising decision at the time, has greatly helped viewing figures: ‘From a casting standpoint, changing to a Bo1 format is one of the best things that’s ever happened. It’s really entertaining and high stakes, every single game legitimately matters. Bo1 gives you a really neat, condensed story in an hour.’
‘I’ve never been one to buy into the competitive aspect that Bo3s are better, the top teams always win no matter what. If you look at your top six teams in Spring and Summer in 2018 it looks eerily similar to our Bo3 and Bo2 era – good teams win more.’
Trevor believes reverting back to Best of Ones was one of the best changes the LCS has made
While LCS teams have been adapting to changes on Summoner’s Rift, the EU LCS broadcast team themselves have been evolving. While on a tour of the LCS studios in Berlin, we were shown all the new facilities which has helped the on-air talent put on excellent shows on a weekly basis.
‘It’s really exciting, I think one of the things a lot of fans don’t realise and don’t know is that the EU LCS is, officially speaking, a couple of years younger than the NA LCS. The reason for that is we had a lot of reliance on NA, we used many members of their production team and for a time we even had our show produced from the LA studio.’ Trevor explained.
‘We’ve expanded, we’ve developed, we’ve added new shoutcasters, we’ve added a new production team. So when you learn this familiarity as teams and staff grow together, you’re able to do more. We’ve added more content than we’ve ever had before, we have: pre-show, post-show, podcasts etc. We’ve developed a sense of humour and tone that we’ve never had before, there are segments on our Ready Check that would have been unheard of two years before, things like my crazy Quick Stats segments.
Now with own production team, the EU LCS can experiment with fun segments like Quick Stats
‘It’s really exciting as an office, as a broadcast team, as a region that we’ve been trusted to flex our creative muscles and I’m so happy that the fans have resonated with it because they’ve given us the support and the viewership to do more of it which in turn unlocks more resources.’
Many may not know but Quickshot was recently promoted by Riot to the On-Air Talent Manager for the EU LCS, meaning he has been directly looking after all of the broadcast talent we see week in week out.
Within his new role, one of the first things Quickshot put in place was the addition of rotating guests: ‘It has been exciting, it has been a challenge but it’s also been my brainchild. I wanted to find new and upcoming talent, trying out different personalities.
‘The style that Foxdrop brings to our show is different to the style that say Amazing brought to our show in Spring. The different flavours do bring some complexities but the benefits far outweigh the challenges because it is refreshing and entertaining. We need to cater not only to the hardcore LoL competitive fans but also the guys who are watching an entertainment product. That’s where the rotating guests really help, it helps flex that breadth of appeal to everybody watching our show.’
Quickshot is now EU LCS’s On-Air Talent Manager and brought in rotating guests like Foxdrop
Bringing in YouTubers like Foxdrop to attract more casual LoL players is a smart move. Previously the EU LCS was done for it’s deep, analytical look into the game, slightly forcing the show into a corner.
Appealing to larger audiences will be crucial for the future of the EU LCS, especially with the monumental shake-up that Long-Term Partnerships will bring next year. As Riot partner with the 10 teams they accept into the league next year, they will want to create a sustainable ecosystem for everyone involved.
Quickshot added that LTPs will also bring a unique challenge for the broadcast team: ‘Teams have almost been a third-party vendor of Riot Games, they work in their bubble and we work in ours but there hasn’t really been a strong desire to integrate one another plans together and it’s just a huge undertaking to do that. But now with LTP, we should and we must. It’s going to be very exciting.
With Long-Term partnerships, the EU LCS broadcast will be able to help grow teams’ narratives
‘I’m really happy about the longer-term stories. We have players signing multi-year deals now for the first time in the history of League of Legends and EU LCS, and knowing that we can invest time, resources and commitment to developing a superstar that you can bank on being around for a long time, we’ve never had that before.
‘The EU LCS maybe is the only league along with LCK where you have new teams that come into the new Split and takeover. There’s very few leagues around the world where these amateur squads come in and upset the apple cart. Now, I will be sad to lose that narrative but I will not be sad to integrate and add the new player story lines from the regional leagues and champions of EU Masters. What players and teams get plucked from an EU Masters championship, placed into an LCS ecosystem and how do they thrive?