Professional League of Legends is still a reasonably young entity, but it’s been around long enough that a line of players have come through the game who have served as role models, reference points and sources of inspiration for the current batch of pros.
As the League of Legends Championship, now in its fourth year, continues through the summer split, Slingshot asked 14 North American LCS pros who they thought was a player from the older generation who inspired them at some point during their careers. Their answers are below:
Diego “Quas” Ruiz, NRG: It wouldn’t be one person, it would just be the overall competitiveness of the top laners right now that inspired me to go back at it. I was considered one of the best at my time, and so I want to go back and be considered one of the best right now.
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran: When I was playing League like Season 1, Season 2, I generally just watched Hotshot’s stream just because he would always get mad. I guess it was kind of funny to just watch him rage.
Alex, “Xpecial” Chu, Apex: I think Hai. When he pretty much brought C9 from relegations team to world contender, I think that was pretty admirable. I didn’t think it was possible to have such a big transformation from one player, but he showed me the light, and it’s something I want to be able to bring to my team. He’s able to bring his team from eighth place to third place. So I definitely respect Hai a lot for his ability to do that.
Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, Team Envy: I used to watch Aphromoo a lot. I think he’s really good and high up in terms of aspirations.
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, Counter Logic Gaming: Definitely Doublelift. He was kind of like a mentor for me as well since I was on the B team. It was kind of cool because I always looked up to him and he was kind of a mentor for me as well. Now he’s like my competition as well, so that’s cool.
Apollo “Apollo” Price, Apex: I actually tend to, when I was first getting in the pro scene, I definitely looked a lot at Deft. He was the Korean AD Carry for Samsung and now is on EDG. He was the best one I tried to emulate a lot. I still look at his game. I still try to learn from him, but I’m at the point where I can’t really copy somebody. You have to understand the game and do it yourself.
Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin, Immortals: Diamondprox. He was the creator of the meta. I would just watch his games and copy what he did. He was the best. I would watch his jungle paths, what does he do, and I copy his item build, I’d copy everything from him. It was really great to play against him in Europe.
Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun, Team Liquid: Maknoon. The way he played was really good so I would watch him.
Anthony “Hard” Barkhovtsev, Echo Fox: I think one player I used to watch the most would be Kakao when played on IG and i think Najin. I wouldn’t say I picked up anything from him, I just liked the way he played the most.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Immortals: I’ve had two moments in my career where I’ve played against them and thought, “Wow, this guy is so good at the game.” Once was during Season 1 when I played against BigFatJiJi (bigfatlp). I think he was like the god of League of Legends. This was before I was ever a pro. I was just a solo queue player. So it made me realize I’m not as good at this game as I thought I was. The second point was when I played against Faker in solo queue in Season 3 when they were over for worlds. Actually, all of SKT and just how good they were. So much to learn from just this one game.
Jovani “fabbbyyy” Guillen, Team Liquid: It was early Season 2 Doublelift. He was like the be all AD Carry. He was the best at the time, so I always looked up to him and wanted to play like him.
Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, NRG: There’s a bunch of people. One recently would be on Huma, werlyb. I really liked playing with werlyb, and he’s one of the people who have helped me be more aggressive. It became easier for me to be really aggressive because of him. I was really passive when I left TSM, so having to help e improved me a lot.
Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha, Counter Logic Gaming: I’d say it was Flame, in Season 2 or 3. I remember seeing Flame just dismantle his opponent, which was amazing to see at that time. I wanted to do that and that’s why I loved top lane, since at the time, it was much more isolated at the time. He seemed like the best top laner in the world at the time.
Rami “Inori” Charagh, Phoenix1: I never really looked at NA players to model my gameplay after. I looked to Korea, mainly Chaser. I thought he was really aggressive, same style as me. Like hey, what is he doing what am I doing to play like him. I even met him in Korean solo queue and told him how big of a fan I was of him.
Cover photo courtesy or Riot Games.