Before League of Legends became the most popular game in the world, before the game changed esports and before it changed people’s minds what it was meant to be a free-to-play game, it was just a cool game with loads of potential. Many people have created careers from all different aspects related to the game. Many people have come and gone through the spotlight, and many we have forgotten.
Here’s a look at six people that you might not know about — or have forgotten — who had impact outside of the game, and were once in the spotlight:
Before Reddit became the go-to place to discuss anything online, everyone that was playing League went to the General Discussion forums on League of Legend’s official site, by far the most popular forum for the game for the first couple seasons. Much like r/leagueoflegends, everything from champion balance to League jokes were posted. Possibly the best part of Riot’s forums was the fact that Rioters would constantly post. There would be pages and pages where game designers would talk to the community directly, and it was awesome. You have to remember, this was back in 2009-2011, when the idea of developers directly talking to community members was pretty revolutionary.
One of, if not the most famous Rioter at the time who participated in these discussions was none other than the lead game designer himself: Ryan “Morello” Scott. Everyone listened when Morello talked, and he always had amazing insight into his design decisions. The forums were sprinkled with topics directly calling out Morello, trying to get a response.
While Morello might be known for things such as nerfing Irelia over and over to the point of spawning a meme out of it, or introducing the infamous pre-Season 3 Black Cleaver, Morello should be remembered as one of minds who made League so great. The early days of the game were critical in its growth, and Morello should be praised.
I don’t think many people forgot about Morello, but he doesn’t show up any Riot made videos anymore and isn’t called out on the forums like he use to be. He still works for Riot as,according to his twitter “Lead Designer for a Riot Games R&D project.” For years, Riot has hinted at creating another game, and Morello could just be the guy leading the team in that new project.
Once League’s popularity started to become apparent, many people tried to get into the streaming business. Most of the early successful streamers were pro players such as Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie or William “Scarra” Li, who were currently playing the game. One of the early steamers that gained immense popularity, and at one time as the most viewed League of Legends streamer was James “PhantomL0rd“ Varga. PhantomL0rd was one of the first “ex-pro players” that made a career of streaming.
PhantomL0rd’s pro career was somewhat short lived, most notably was when he was on Team 8. At the time he was highly skilled at the game, and after he began streaming, explained that while he thought about returning to the competitive scene at the time (2011), he was happy streaming. PhantomL0rd’s stream was one of the most successful of all time in League, gaining over 100,000 viewers sometimes on a daily basis.
PhantomL0rd’s claim to fame was multifaceted. He was a successful mid laner on the solo queue ladder early on and became famous for his “Zombie Karthus” build. The Zombie Karthus build was taking the summoner spells Revive and Teleport, basically suiciding into a team fight and then abusing the Revive/Teleport synergy, instantly returning to the fight. Revive has since been removed from the game, but it was a decently effective strategy at the time. Besides his gameplay, PhantomL0rd was extremely entertaining on stream, cracking jokes, having high energy, even coaching players and streaming it live.
Where is he now? PhantomL0rd still has an extremely successful stream, but he stepped away from League of Legends and now streams other games, mostly CS:GO.
While League was in its infancy, there was not as many youtubers that covered the game. Nowadays, League is everywhere on Youtube, but one early Youtuber that stuck out was Colby CheeZe. I remember the first time I ever watched a “professional” match was when Colby CheeZe was commentating. There was no such thing as a Riot Games’ Twitch channel or r/LoLeventVoDs where you can go and find pretty much any professional game. Back in 2010-2011, Colby CheeZe was the guy that recorded the early tournament matches of CLG and TSM playing in regional qualifiers for tournaments like WCG. He was friends with Marcus “Dyrus” Hill before Dyrus’ TSM days, and they would co-commentate early professional matches. Colby CheeZe was one of the very first to have professional games available to people to see.
Colby CheeZe went on to make League videos, but never went mega successful as the likes of other League Youtubers and eventually took a break about a year ago to focus on computer programming. You can still check out his channel where he teaches programming, and you can still find the old Dyrus commentary, which is hilariously bad, as well as the gameplay. How the times have changed! You can find his channel here.
During the days when The Journal of Justice existed and when the term “Summoner” actually made sense, Riot created a video series, viewable in the client and on Youtube, called Summoner Showcase. The video series was made to showcase the League of Legends community, such as videos, art, music, cosplay, and everything in between.
Originally the Summoner Showcase was titled Summoner Spotlight, which didn’t have any video to it. Summoner Spotlight #9 was when it was renamed to Summoner Showcase, and on #19 Summoner Showcase became a video series introducing the world to the very enthusiastic Nika “Nikasaur” Harper. Nikasaur along with David “Phreak” Turley became the two most identifiable Rioters, and were made celebrities throughout the League community. It was amazing to see the evolution of the community through the years, spanning 113 episodes.
Eventually Nikasaur would step down from Riot to pursue a career in creative writing, but for anyone who played during the time Summoner Showcase was around, it would be impossible to forget Nikasaur. Nikasaur’s enthusiasm for the community creations really made the videos, and All Chat or Summoner Showcase: Revival will never replace the hole Nikasaur left in all of our hearts when she left the League of Legends world.
Not to be confused with the European LCS team, Cody “Elementz” Sigfusson was a previous pro player. Elementz was originally a high elo player back in the early days of beta and Season 1 before joining Counter Logic Gaming as support, which launched his professional career. Elementz had some small contributions to the metagame, such as making Fiddlesticks support a popular pick, but his contribution outside of the game is noteworthy and what he is better known for (if you don’t count his fight with Saintvicious).
Elementz became famous in the community when he started to make a tier list of champions. During Season 1, tier lists were actually a well discussed topic, and was helpful for new players coming into a pretty new type of game. Elementz’s tier list became the most popular on the GD boards, and eventually other tier lists became obsolete. While his tier lists were somewhat controversial, they were insights into how the top players viewed the game at the time. All the high elo players were playing with each other, and when Elementz would explain why certain champions were being picked, it was extremely useful.
Eventually, Elementz created his own website for tier lists, explanations, and patch rundowns called Reign of Gaming. Eventually Reign of Gaming evolved into much more than just tier lists, and had forums, articles, etc., which made the site quite popular. Elementz was picked up by CLG then eventually Team Curse (now Team Liquid) and highly contributed to the creation of the website LoLPro.com, a site that has champion guides written exclusively by pro players.
In 2013, Elementz retired from competitive play, coached Team Coast, and then formed Area of Effect eSports. Elementz has recently been back to Reign of Gaming, relaunching the site. He streams from time to time, and you can check out his Twitter account.
In the primitive days of League, the concept of jungling was not easy for new players. The jungle monsters in Season 1 were tough to kill and did a good amount of damage. Because of that, runes and masteries were important, and newer players didn’t jungle until usually way after they hit Level 30.
One of the first famous junglers came was a Youtuber named Stonewall008. In Stonewall’s videos, he would show different rune and mastery setups are well as different jungle paths each champion could take. It doesn’t sound too important nowadays, but it was back then. Because he was able to show the most optimal route a jungler can use, players learned how to jungle from his videos. His claim to fame was when he showcased Rammus jungle, which resulted in Rammus becoming one of the best junglers in the early metagame. Players have debated if Stonewall was the one who actually discovered Rammus jungle, but nevertheless, his video on Rammus popularized the idea.
Stonewall eventually contributed to Reign of Gaming, where he would create in-depth analyses of all champions in the game and their ability to jungle. He popularized the trichotomy of control, gank, and farm junglers and was extremely insightful with his jungle statistics.
While he might not be a household name within the League community as he was during Seasons 1 and 2, Stonewall’s Youtube channel is still alive and kicking.