North American LCS pros have a natural inclination to follow foreign League of Legends regions. When following a league of an esport, it’s natural to develop a fondness for certain players. This is no different for professionals as well, who usually watch the players they feel they can learn the most from. With the ever evolving nature of the meta of League of Legends, learning and adaptation is a valuable quality.
Slingshot asked 13 North American LCS professionals who they like to watch most when studying VODs. Their answers are below:
Andy “Smoothie” Ta, Cloud9: If I were to choose one, I’d choose Wolf (Lee Jae-wan) or Mata (Cho Se-hyeong). One of those two because they’re in the top teams of the LCK, and the LCK is always the best.
Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, Echo Fox: I wouldn’t say I have a particular player but obviously I watch SK Telecom T1’s games because they’re the best team, right?…I try to catch both SKT’s and KT’s VODs the most, and then the rest of the VODs I’ll kind of watch when I watch all the other VODs.
Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, Counter Logic Gaming: For me in particular, I don’t, I guess I take a lot from Bang (Bae Jun-sik), and I try to watch every SKT and KT game because they both have the best players in the world, and I always try to learn stuff from them. But mainly the player I always take stuff from is Bang.
Lee “Flame” Ho-jong, Immortals: Teams that have strong top laners and teams that are top lane centric. For example, SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, and the Afreeca Freecs games are really fun. The other games are fun too.
Austin “Gate” Yu, Echo Fox: I like Mithy (Alfonso Aguirre Rodríguez) from G2. I think I learn a lot (from) how he plays. I like his Tahm Kench play too. I personally like playing that champion a lot, and I don’t know any other Tahm Kench players that are at that level, so he’s one to go to. In LCK I like to watch KT Rolster, SK Telecom T1. I think most people would say that too because their team play is the cleanest out of all the teams.
Derek “Zig” Shao, Phoenix1: Mostly Smeb (Song Kyung-ho) and Huni (Heo Seung-hoon). I think they are the best two for top laners right now to kind of model yourself after if you’re trying to be a competitive player, like best in the world type thing. Just because they’re on really good teams as well. I think their play styles are really good they can play from a lot of different positions in the game, with resources, without resources, good matchups, bad matchups, and their play style is definitely good to model after.
Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia, Cloud9: There’s Score (Go Dong-bin), who I think is the face of KT Rolster and is probably the best jungler in the world right now. I actually think Blank (Kang Sun-gu) is really good right now. I like to watch his pathing and VODs of him a lot.
Alex “Xpecial” Chu, Team Dignitas: I think Wolf and Mata are players that everyone looks up to. They’re very very good, and I look at them for different reasons. Mata is definitely more of an aggressive playmaker, but Wolf is in the back, always a team player, and there’s things you can learn from the both of them. Their play styles are very contrasting, which is interesting because they’re in the top two teams and the top two supports, you could say, in the region. And there’s also Max (Jeong Jong-bin), who plays very weird picks and does well on them, but that’s not something I am imitating, but something I do look at and think “Hey, maybe that could be good.”
Nam “LirA” Tae-yu, Team EnVy Us: Like I did in Korea, I pay close attention to Score, and I still talk with him often. I think our team should follow the macro play of KT Rolster, so I watch KT VODs at least twice.
Galen “Moon” Holgate, FlyQuest: For Korea I like to watch Score and Haru (Kang Min-seung). I think Haru is the most creative jungler in the world for sure. I think he gets first blood every game and he does so many creative things. Score is just an overall solid jungler. For China, I like to watch Sofm (Lê Quang Duy). He’s really interesting. For junglers I talk to, I talk to ROX’s jungle sub, his name is MightyBear (Kim Min-su). He was on Vitality before; he’s on ROX now. I talk to some other amateur LCK junglers and Spirit (Lee Da-yoon).
Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham, Echo Fox: think Trick (Kim Gang-yun) is really good. Jankos’ (Marcin Jankowski) early pathing is really good as well. So you can take some stuff. I know everyone says that I’m the first blood king and shit, and probably kinda ironic that I’m watching Jankos too, but, he has some strong early pathing, and he generally plays really well so I watch those two guys. And then in Korea I actually think Peanut (Han Wang-ho) is in a slump right now, so I prefer watching mostly just Score when I’m paying attention to just jungle.
But usually when I’m watching Korean games I’m paying more attention to what they’re doing as a team and what they play the game because it’s really methodical and they play more to their champions and how their comp is supposed to play out, play the map correctly as opposed to our region. We just fight sometimes regardless of competition.
Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, Cloud9: I probably looked at Bang the most. SKT has looked like the strongest team. They had a really close game against KT, and I think it’s coming up again. We’ll get some matches in there, it’ll be interesting to watch, two best teams going at it.
Kim “Reignover” Eui-jin, Team Liquid: Score for sure. Right now it’s important to create a platform where things can happen, and Score does a very good job at that. He knows when he needs to sacrifice himself for the team and when he doesn’t need to do so. He’s also very good at putting down vision, his communication is good, and he makes very little mistakes. He also is the best jungler in the world, but he always respects the enemy jungler without putting too much risk on the line.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot