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Opinion

Imports or natural grown talent?

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

There has been some debate as to whether or not it is better in League of Legends to go for imports or try to raise regional talent to be competitive against Korea. I don’t follow enough League to give a definitive answer, so this is just from what I’ve seen and how I think about other team games I watch (Dota 2/CS:GO).

In a world without mitigating circumstances, I think it’s possible for regions like EU and China to get lineups that are skilled enough as individuals and as a team to play against the Koreans. China has never lacked for skill; it was the rest of the teamplay that seemed to be lacking. EU is in a similar situation. But in reality, EU has mitigating circumstances that won’t let it compete, specifically the lack of support from Riot Games to make it financially competitive with other major regions — meaning they always have to do more with less. Sometimes you get a strange player like FORG1VEN who is willing to sacrifice a bigger salary for a potential chance to be on a better team, but most players aren’t like that (nor do I think they should be).

As for NA, the reason I don’t think they can do it is because I’ve never seen an NA mid be competitive on a world class level that wasn’t an import. Well I guess there was Hai, but he was world class as a shot-caller rather than as a mid player.

As for which is better, then: using imports or raising up regional talent? I don’t think either is clearly better than the other. Both have shown valid results across the history of all games. I think it entirely depends on the personal circumstances of the team, who they can get, and what they need with their pre-existing roster.

In which case, the real question isn’t whether or not to import, but if teams actually have good managers and scouts who can identify talent that is both good overall and good for their team.

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