Finding the right username with the last name “Smith” has been an ongoing struggle for most of my life. Good thing I’m not a professional player. For professional players, however, a strong IGN is a major factor in their struggle to build powerful brand within the esports industry. For some, a good name compliments a likable personality, while others are forced to work in spite of their forgettable ID’s.
Slingshot gave me the OK to rank every IGN in the League Championship Series (both Europe and North America). Get ready for the salt. We ranked all of the starters plus a few notable subs, based on the rosters revealed on lolesports. (This list was compiled prior to the recent Origen roster changes. Sorry, xPeke)
I’ll be judging each name by the following criteria:
Sound: A name should look and sound natural to spectators. A smooth sounding name gives the player a cool persona, while a name that’s fun to say can keep fans talking.
Spelling: Professional players have to throw in letters and numbers to stand out. Unique spelling, however, can provide a breath of fresh air.
Branding: If a name is recognizable, there must be a reason. A good name is key, while a bad one can handicap the player’s growth.
Without further ado, here’s the list. Do you agree? Feel free to discuss and flame below.
Your Younger Cousin’s ID tier
Nothing says “I’m a gamer” like an awkward blend of numbers, “Z”s and “X”s. Our bottom-tier names include any that look forced or unnatural. For team apparel salesmen, these names are the stuff of nightmares — although they might give a bump to custom-name jerseys. Although professionalism isn’t a key factor in strong gamer tags, it’s tough to build a brand on any of the following.
The modern English alphabet has been evolving for centuries. That said, replacing the letter “o” with a zero is a disgrace that will likely take millennia to correct. It’s not cute or special. He can’t hide behind his Korean background, as his former ID “Climax” was miles ahead of this abomination.
If you can Google this guy without your phone rerouting you to the goddam definition of exile, consider yourself lucky. According to esportspedia, his was known as Wasabi in Challenger solo queue. Repeat after me, high elo players: Stop replacing strong IDs with nonsense.
NOTICE: This is not a transportation service in Indiana, Pa.
Supporting your country is great (assuming that’s what GRE stands for), but there are other ways to rep that don’t compromise sanity. Someone get this man a flag or a bandana. The “1” in the center is also a big middle finger that compromises a cool-sounding name.
Let’s just snipe millions of Smiths who struggle enough coming up with a solid ID. The “J” doesn’t sound bad, but reading it is tilt-inducing.
According to leaguepedia, the intended pronunciation was “Diamond-Pro-X.” I need a bath.
A mid-laner for a top European team shouldn’t sound like and edgy teenager that mains Reaper.
This one is tough to rank. It almost has good flow and sounds smooth. Almost.
It’s a bold move sharing your likeness with a Rick Ross song and a handful of clothing startups.
Calling yourself garbage is just asking for it.
Had a tough time with this, and almost put him a lot higher. But I have to be consistent, so burn in hell, extraneous “X”s.
Carried Since Birth tier
Nothing is wrong with players being proud of their actual names. But they just don’t translate into interesting IGNs. Jensen is the best of this bunch, as Adrian, Cris and Matt are just regular — which matches their relaxed personalities.
I’d probably be out on the street if I forced in a Rocky reference…
Matlife sounds like an overzealous Korean fan, so I see the need for change. Still, Matt “Matt” brings on a new set of obstacles for writers.
Jensen isn’t a bad name, but he loses points for dropping “Incarnation” (though it did wipe the horrid Incarnati0n spelling from memory).
“Hi I’m…” tier
Mash, Hard, Moon, BIG and Gate are difficult to place. Their names sound crisp and concise, but their stock is hurt by an absence of significance behind these names. These are simple names that lack sticking power.
Mash is messy-sounding. Still a notable improvement over “DontMashMe.”
His former names Baby and Babyeater made me wince. BIG is fine. Carry on.
LCS Is Everywhere tier
This tier is dominated by X’s, V’s and K’s that actually belong and enhance the accompanying names. Although they sound exotic in the English language, none is pleasant or memorable enough to compete with the better tiers. Jankos is the standout, but the first blood king will have to work on his self-branding if he wants to make a jump in the rankings.
Oh boy, an “X” that belongs.
Did I mention I love “X”s?
Not to be confused with Kobe.
Sounds like a Viking war hero, not a Polish kid that plays video games.
“영어로 어떻게 말해요” tier
How do you say that in English? The rise of Korean imports brought in a growing collection of one-word gamertags. The market for Korean players with vague nouns or verbs for names is oversaturated, and it’s doubtful much will change in years to come. These names are mostly satisfactory, but few have the punch associated with to top names in the game.
Maybe he misclicked the shift key.
Middle Of The Pack tier
Gamsu, Hauntzer, Stixxay and Steelback all have unique names. They work for each individual player, so there’s no need for a pissing contest. Too bad this list is just that, and these four names lack an extra bit of zing.
“You don’t even know my real name” tier
Call it a case of a stolen identity; this tier is unique in that its residents use regular names that aren’t their own. This works to varying success but yields cult-like devotion in some cases.
im big fan
Short But Sweet tier
Whether three letters or 1-2 syllables, these names are some of the sharpest in the competitive League of Legends. KFO and GBM lend themselves to loud chants, while Zig and Perkz really pop.
Please be right Kobe.
A strong acronym for an entertaining name (Ganked by Mom).
Zig really zings.
Best Korea tier
The Korean names that work are often characteristics of the player. Ninja plays to his name as a midlaner who excels on mobile mages and assassins. Impact helped SK Telecom T1 win its first title by constantly bullying his top lane opponents. Everyone “Moves,” but not all Korean players truly have an “Impact.”
His stumbles with Incredible Miracle could have slaughtered his stock if “Gameover” stuck. His success with Western teams washed away that label and left us with a strong Korean name that suits his conquering style as a jungler.
Who is he? A simple name that’s fun to say.
Perfectly captures his play style: run in first and think later.
The Staples tier
A collection of top players with recognizable names.
Piglet and PoohManDu’s “Hundred Acre Woods” bot lane was legendary. Although Piglet is without his sidekick, the name maintains its iconic status.
The man, the meme, the legend. The kid took his name and owned it.
When asked why he chose his name, Froggen said: “Because I typed “F-r-o-g-g-e-n” in the name thingy. I have no idea why I did that.” If that’s the true origin, then luck was far kinder to his brand than his teammates have been.
Doublelift’s name is as unique as it is meaningful. The story behind his name dates back to his younger years. He struggled to learn the famous card trick where magician lifts two top cards to manipulate the deck. Just like Doublelift battled his way to the top of North America, he eventually learned the card trick that shares his namesake.
“That’s fun to say!” tier
Having a name that’s fun to say means a lot to fans (or maybe just me). Read these names out loud and try to disagree.
Don’t sleep on the former Renegades support. He’ll need to earn the merit associated with other top players, but he’s off to a good start with standout ID.
The Unicorns once led the league in fun picks and European IDs. Now they’re a shell of their former selves, but at least the casters have fun during their games.
14. Bunny FuFuu
These names combine a smooth, flowing sound and strong personal branding.
Freeze’s cold demeanor is fitting of such a name. Renegades’ announcement video also proved how damn cool his name can be when properly supported.
Bjergsen has the strongest brand of anyone in esports. His 681,000 Twitter follower countdwarves international soccer players. His brand is more powerful than some rival teams.
Like a cool gust of wind, the name Meteos has a great flow to it. It makes sense that his name will forever be intertwined with that of Cloud9.
The Kings of the Rift
The best of the best. These names are the best sounding, most recognizable IGN in the LCS.
An outlier from a lower tier, Steve transcends the name’s simplistic concept; A common forename that can be heard in chants all across Europe. Was it ROCCAT’s PR or just beautiful irony? Regardless of the origin, the name Steve has magical effects on a crowd.
Zven sounds like stone-cold killer that the overwhelms the once-revered protagonist. The name suits a marksman that will do what it takes to win, even if he’s forced to assume to role of the villain on a rival team.
Febiven’s name is multi-faceted. His nickname, “Febi” is an innocent pet-name for his close acquaintances. For his enemies, however, Febiven’s wrath is a menacing prospect. Makes sense for the guy that solo killed Faker three times.
Balls doesn’t give a…nevermind. Innuendos aside, his mysterious persona only adds to the myth of Balls.
Quas rejoined the LCS and reclaimed his rightful place near the top of this list. Quas has all the characteristics of the great names: it’s concise, sharp, fun to say and suits the player well.
Huni’s character wouldn’t be complete without the famous “Hu-ni” chant. It works for all the reason that Quas works, but goes a tad further with its grasp on League fans.
Even his teacher calls him Darshan? Darshan’s mother clinched this title 21 years ago by giving her son a such a unique name. Previously, real-life names received flack for a lack of creativity. The name Darshan transcends such conventions due to the brilliance that was right in front of him for years. Darshan said he gave up Zionspartan because it didn’t really resonate with him. It was clearly the right call.
All photos courtesy of Riot Games.