Fantasy sports is undoubtedly an athletic pastime, drawing interest from all the fans that have ever wanted to manage a team but had neither the real skill nor capital to be in that position. Its introduction into the competitive League of Legends landscape was another step into legitimizing the ‘sport’ aspect of the game. Despite the generally positive feedback from Riot’s fan base, the fantasy leagues have some significant shortcomings; some of these including cross-league (NA/EU) inconsistencies and awkward pick priorities.
One factor that often goes unaddressed by gamers involved in LCS fantasy leagues is the scoring system as a whole. Whereas fantasy baseball, basketball, and other sports use categorical leagues for the majority, Riot has stayed with total points scoring as the only option. While this simplifies managing decision for fantasy players, it creates some strange incentives in a binary system of drafting.
In whole, fantasy LCS players should always pick the best player on the best team available, according to the impact of the role. Because of the team oriented nature of League of Legends, all teammates on powerhouse squads tend to score extremely highly, while even the most talented players on garbage teams will look like fantasy scrubs; there is no DeMarcus Cousins to pick up. As a result of this and the oversimplified scoring system, fantasy teams begin to look incredibly homogenized, trades become nearly pointless (since each player is only as good as the points they score), and the game becomes boring.
The Fix: 7-Cat
If the scoring format was changed to an 7 category league, fantasy LCS would be much more enticing for longtime sports fans, as well as just strategically inclined managers as a whole. In an 7-cat league, eight separate categories would be measured each week, whether head-to-head or rotisserie. Unlike the general points system of scoring, categorical fantasy leagues create many more decisions for managers since the value of a player is decided by how much they contribute to a strategy.
Consider a head-to-head LCS fantasy league – one person may try to win 4 categories every single week while totally sacrificing 3, taking a 4-3 advantage and winning the matchup against their opponent each week. Another may look to be extremely strong in 2 or 3, then hope for the best. Some managers may look to control only highly stable categories (like minion score, deaths per game), while others may gamble more. Unlike in the points system, difficult and dynamic strategic decisions can be made to improve one’s odds of winning.
The Proposed Fantasy Categories
Kills are similar to points in a sports game. They are the meat on the bones that every fan looks for – can’t have a fantasy league without them.
It’s totally possible to build a fantasy roster around minimizing deaths; strategic LCS teams tend to have far less deaths. In the current points system, managers should pick teams that win, but that do so in bloodthirsty fashion. In this 8-cat system, minimalists might start seeing rewards.
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The full team of supportive players might be your strategy to winning. Dominate this category every week by grabbing passive players in each lane who love to donate kills to the superstars; opt for Xmithie instead of Meteos here.
4. Gold Per Minute
Gold per minute is a solid performance indicator. This would be the team oriented stat that would reward managers for simply picking players on strong teams. It’s an all encompassing category that offers a counterbalance to the incredibly diverse nature of 8-cat leagues.
5. Creep Score Per Minute
Unlike the prior stat, all pros farm a ton of minions. But, some tend to spend entire games doing it. For once, greed is good. If players like Jensen, Rekkles, and Zven appeal to you, this category might be the one you build your roster around.
6. Damage Dealt to Champions
It’s everyone’s favorite post-game solo queue stat, so why not have it in fantasy LCS? Finally the 60,000 damage Ziggs is going to be rewarded for his continuous efforts to annoy the enemy. Unlike some of the other greedy categories, this one rewards constant team-fighting and poke.
7. Wards Dropped
Made specially for supports and undervalued junglers, this category may go overseen. More experienced fantasy LCS players would know which players really contribute to the vision game. Who you choose for support may finally start to matter!
Perhaps the categories can be tampered with. At any rate, the points system currently in place is one-dimensional and pretty brain-dead from a strategic point of view. Trades (should) never happen and some roles are totally unimportant. If Riot implements this 7-cat fantasy format, a lot of die hard managers will migrate from baseball and basketball into the eSports scene to realize this fantasy.