Syracuse League of Legends team finds identity through tribulation

first_img Published on May 11, 2020 at 6:05 pm [email protected] The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.It was snowing hard on the morning of Feb. 8, and that meant internet problems for Syracuse’s League of Legends team. Forced to forfeit the opening game of its match against Boston College, the team was down 1-0 in a best-of-three series and in danger of falling short for a second-straight week. Chemistry and resilience saved them. The players strung together two victories to win the series — it was that weekend when they found an identity, team event director Ryan Luo said.“Beyond just competing, we shared a love for the game itself,” Luo said. “It was an important part of our success this first year.”One of 90 North American teams in the College League of Legends tournament, SU battled for six consecutive Saturdays this spring but fell short of the five-win threshold needed to secure a playoff spot, finishing 4-2. Before this year, the club was independent from the university and played in the North America Cyber Gaming league, open to both high schoolers and college students, said team captain Alvin Chow.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter hearing Syracuse’s esports club was looking to construct a League of Legends team, Chow and four teammates from the NACG team tried out together last fall and became building blocks for SU’s starting team.“We went to try out as a team, because of our ranks and years of chemistry,” Chow said. “We easily beat every other team.”Pre-match preparationAs the season progressed, Syracuse practiced more frequently, going from a few practices per month to four times per week and, in the process, developed better timing and chemistry.Part of the weekly preparation was the ongoing discussion of choosing characters, coach Adam Gordon said. SU players weighed which characters’ strengths were most valuable and which weaknesses they were willing to accept. They reviewed which characters worked best in past games, but they also spent an equal amount of time looking at opponents’ past character selections — both successful and unsuccessful ones.Syracuse used that research to develop a weekly plan for the “ban-pick” phase, where each team selects five characters to use and five that no one can use. Gordon and the team managers also spent time examining professional leagues in North America, Europe, China and Korea to learn about navigating any potential updates in the game.ShortcomingsA 2-0 loss against Penn State on Feb. 22 eliminated SU from playoff contention. Syracuse struggled to find a response to the combination of characters that Penn State selected during the “ban-pick” phase, and there was a clear skill gap, Chow said. The loss highlighted the team’s lack of experience and coordination. Leading up to the match, SU dwelled on NACG losses against Penn State from the previous two years, which created a psychological obstacle the team couldn’t overcome, Chow said. Most of all, this year’s loss pointed out holes in the team and gameplan, Luo said.“They definitely came in more prepared than we did,” Luo said. “While our players played well individually, we were definitely not at the same level Penn State was at playing together.”The second loss, 2-0 against Waterloo, taught the inexperienced unit the importance of a strong start, Gordon said. SU turned to conservative picks, thinking they would settle in for the first match and then make up ground late in the game. Waterloo did the opposite, and its boldness and coordination created a deficit that Syracuse couldn’t overcome.Building for next yearDuring the offseason, which started at the beginning of March and goes until October, players find it important to practice finger speed, game strategies, and skills, Chow said.Coaches and players have to work on expanding the team’s personal champion character pool by learning more about their existing champions and familiarizing themselves with new ones, he said. They will study professionals during the offseason and also improve their vision scores — which indicate how significant a player’s performance was — and their “ban-pick” plans.Developing chemistry and trust will be key for next season, Luo said, especially when the game is out of the coaching staff’s hands and research and planning become irrelevant. That’s when perseverance, engraved in this team’s new identity, will dictate its comeback story, Luo said.“A true master is an eternal student,” said Jiashu Yue, a starting support player. “Although we made great progress this season, there (are) still a lot of things that need to be done.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave your comment