The question “who’s the best?” drives some of the most passionate discussions in all forms of competition. It’s a reflection of the competitive society, where it’s almost addictive — and definitely personal — to go to bat for who one might thinks is the at the top of a given field.
It’s a debate about credit and credibility, determining who should be lauded more than anyone else. That desire for people to be credited, though, drives the passion in another topic: Who’s underrated?
Who doesn’t get enough credit? Who is overlooked? Who deserves to be mentioned among the best, even if it’s clear they’re not No. 1? It’s another contentious conversation, regardless of topic. It gets a bit more complicated in games like League of Legends, a complex game with so much action going on that it’s easy to miss — or misjudge — individual performances.
Slingshot polled 12 North American League Championship Series players about who they thought was underrated — outside of their own team. Their answers reveal another constant trope in competition: When someone is mentioned as underrated so much that it might not be the case anymore. Counter Logic Gaming’s Jake “Xmithie” Puchero was the most common answer, and the attitudes of the players made it feel that Xmithie has successfully transitioned from underrated to properly rated.
Take a look at the full list of responses:
Austin “Gate” Yu, Phoenix1: “I would say Apollo. He used to be my former teammate, but yeah I think all the time he spent in Korea practicing has paid off. His work ethic is good. I think he’s just overall a better player than most people think he is, and I’m sure he’ll surprise a lot of people too.”
Diego “Quas” Ruiz, NRG: “I would say Xpecial could be underrated. He had a pretty good performance already, but he’s done a pretty good job. He departed from Team liquid, then he got back onto a Challenger team and climbed back to LCS. And I think he’s really hungry for it. He can regain a lot of motivation to play, and I think people should keep an eye out on him for having high performances and a good impact on his team.”
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, Immortals: “I think for this split, LOD’s been looking really strong on EnVyUs. I didn’t expect him to play super well because he never really had a super great showing, but I think he’s playing exceptionally well as an AD Carry player for EnVyUs.”
Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, Team Liquid: “I would say Xmithie, but he’s not really underrated anymore based on how he’s played in the past at MSI. So I would say, I would probably say the C9 supports are underrated. Everyone thinks they’re just the wash of the team and they’re just there. ‘They’re both like mediocre NA supports that are just sharing time because C9 had no other options.’ But they’re both actually really fucking good.”
Alex “Xpecial” Chu, Apex: “I think Procxin. As a jungler, he was doing really well on TiP, but his team wasn’t doing too well. It’s hard for a jungler to excel in that situation. Toward the end of the split last split, he was doing fairly well, and on NV he’s doing really well as well. Especially on a team with Ninja and Seraph, it’s hard to shine.”
Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, EnVyUs: “Ohq came into it super overhyped. People might have been let down from his first games, but I think Ohq is really good.”
Alan “Kiwikid” Nguyen, NRG: “Aphromoo. Just kidding. I guess I count Xmithie. I think he’s really good. He’s fucking good.”
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, Counter Logic Gaming: “I think Hard from Echo Fox is underrated. I actually think he’s a really good player. He’s not really the shining light of Echo Fox. It’s more Froggen and Keith. But I think Hard is really underrated.”
Apollo “Apollo” Price, Apex: “The only one who pops into my head is Lourlo. I think he’s a little underrated right now. I think last split he wasn’t that good, but he’s gotten a lot better.”
Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin, Immortals: “Xmithie. He deserves more attention.”
Kim “FeniX” Jae-hun, Team Liquid: “Probably Svenskeren. I think that people underestimate him. He’s a really good player.”
Anthony “Hard” Barkhovtsev, Echo Fox: “Well Xmithie has to be the most underrated player in the whole LCS.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.