Originally when writing this post it was intended to be about Ninja's in Pyjamas (who were formerly under the name of Copenhagen Wolves) and their shocking roster change two weeks into the summer split of this years European LCS. Time has passed, and from this bold move on NiP's part, other teams have taken note and switched the game up, even for those important members that, at least for me as a viewer, didn't think needed to be subbed or dropped entirely.
As this split of LCS is drawing to an end, I didn't really come to the conclusion until fairly recently how much of a screw-up that this leg of the game has been. Seriously, what the fuck has happened?
Let's start off with where it all began - with my favourite boys, NiP.
SK Gaming were the ones who egged me on to support Copenhagen Wolves, back in the Season 3 spring split of the European LCS. This was at the time the Wolves had kicked into gear they're losing streak, which culminated in a 0-9 loss before they fixed their shit up and started whipping booty.
In the match against SK, as they dishearteningly got up from their chairs and shook hands with their opposing team, mid-laner Carlos Rodriguez, aka ocelote, pounded his fist into the air, body slammed his team mates, and looked like if he had a mirror he would of kissed himself. Now, that's fine - being proud of a win is nothing to be ashamed of. But it's when you talk so much out of your arse and congratulate yourself like it is a one man show, that got me pissed. I'm not one to easily take a disliking to someone, but ocelote was on a whole different egotistical planet. Be aware, at the end of the spring EU LCS, my opinion changed (I found his loss surprisingly saddening, he looked honestly happy for the other team; holding back his tears for his defeat) but this was a long time before him and I got to that moment.
Thanks to the introduction of mid-laner Bjergsen, shit started going down with the crew. While they ended up going having to fight it out in the qualifiers in the end, after gaining a 5th place spot on the standings, Wolves had really progressed from the days when they were on a constant losing streak to winning the majority of the matches played.
Everything was going well - they'd qualified into the next split of the LCS and their playing seemed on top form. Then the news hit. Copenhagen Wolves were no more. Now, under a new sponsor, they were Ninja's in Pyjamas. Before the reveal of their new team name, I remember telling my other half that I honestly didn't mind the company switch just as long as they don't have a silly name like Samurai in Jeans. Pretty much got my worst nightmare on that front.
As I dealt with the change of name, I realised it wasn't so bad - I still had my guys as a tough unit, everyone was still there, it was cool. Then the summer split started and it wasn't going so well. Not as bad as the beginning of the year, as they were winning games, just not as great as the end of the spring split. In saying that, though, most of the teams who were top dogs in the spring split weren't doing so great, it wasn't just NiP that were steering towards the bottom of the leader board standings.
Still having just recovered from the sponsor switch, out of nowhere, on a normal boring day making my way to work and looking at shit on my phone, I discovered something that no one saw coming. NeeGodBro and TheTess had been subbed, and due to the benching of the two players, Svenskeren decided to step down as the teams jungler. Three of the original team were out, with only Bjergsen and Deficio left standing. Was this another Dragonborns situation? I didn't know what to think. I'd never had that feeling with any sport, technological or otherwise. It came out of nowhere, with not even an inkling of a warning.
So, while NiP were (and still are) going from strength to strength, a lot of the teams from the Spring Split, as mentioned above, were starting to wain. So what's the best thing to do in a situation like that? Change a team member or two! Why the fuck not? Because, you know, it must solely be the players fault, nothing to do with the management or the sponsors. Nope, nothing like that at all.
No one seems to be fucking around anymore. League of Legends is a gigantically played, worldwide game, with a lot of money invested in its young players. It is a money driven professional sport, and in order for these teams to be better, their sponsors seem to be chopping out whoever the fuck isn't playing as well to benefit them (and earn them more P in the process) so they'll be even closer to scoring a position in the World's, without trying to get the root cause of why the playing style of said member/s isn't working as well.
The problem with replacing players fairly frequently is that fact it is an online sport. These guys have massive, devoted fan followings, and if you start fucking with the line up, you fuck with the viewers and supporters, too. They want to see their favourite team and their favourite jungler, top-laner, mid-laner, ad-carry or support, doing their best, and when you take that away from the fans, things start getting heated. People stop watching. Views go down. It's only a matter of time.
While I believed that all teams should have the best roster possible in order to compete with the likes of the Korean LoL teams, the likability and personality of the players we have grown with and have followed for however long is important. Agreed it shouldn't be that way, but unfortunately it is. The constant changes of rosters are going to alienate the fan bases for all teams, particularly from this season. NiP have changed their roster twice, Fnatic dropped nRated, Snoopeh (my love) stepped down from his jungler role for Evil Geniuses for an indefinite period as a sub, and, as I type this, it has just been announced that Gambit have a new full-time support. It's not just the European side of the border, either. Shit is hitting the fan for North American's who seem to be going through similar changes.
What the fuck has this game succumbed to?
Something I propose, and have seen knocking about on the Internet, are different rules about roster switch-ups. It needs to happen. The amount of changes in this season of the European LCS alone isn't fair, especially for the teams that have kept the same members. Noted that on both sides, for the new team members and for the old ones, it is tricky. You have these guys who have never been in a professional League of Legends team before, diving straight in with the big boys, and having to find their own feet from playing Solo Queue to being watched by thousands upon thousands of people in a very tense situation. But then you have the players who have been knocking about for a while, in other teams. They know how the game works, but then they're fucked over when a team changes one, two, three players, and it is a constant switch every other week.
Hopefully this has been a learning curve for everyone involved in this split of the EU LCS. The more you fuck with everyone, the less people are going to be supporting the game and these teams.
Shit needs to change and it needs to change now.