Individual MatchUp Streams Appreciated by Hardcore Fans

Aug 17, 2016

Recently both the NA LCS and the EU LCS have experimented with hosting pro players on a secondary stream to give analysis on specific lanes during anticipated matchups. This has resulted in the mechanical tips you would expect, but these streams have also been an excellent resource for insight on LCS-level strategic play.

This isn’t the first time pro gamers have been asked to provide a constant stream of honest analysis in place of a color commentator/play by play duo. The annual HomeStory Cup in Germany immediately comes to mind. This StarCraft 2 tournament hosts about two dozen pro players directly in the home of the tournament organizer, and a random assortment of players cast their peer’s tournament games for the viewers watching online.

There is a constant balance maintained in esports broadcasting between catering to new, less-experienced players as well as the hardcore audience who make up the vocal majority on message boards and communities. Casters tend to aim directly in the middle in an attempt to satisfy both crowds, but by doing so both crowds are left wanting a little more.

I don’t have a solution to this problem. It has existed to a lesser extent in pro sports for a long time and it will continue to exist as esports, where the gap between a casual fan and a hardcore fan is considerably bigger, forever.

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Us League of Legends fans are actually very spoiled when it comes to our broadcasters. Riot has shown tremendous ability at hiring the right people who know how to best make a game entertaining. Just this past year the NA LCS added names such as Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley and Julian “Pastrytime” Carr, both of which have demonstrated instant chemistry with the existing crew.

Naturally it is much harder to cater to the hardcore fan who is more skilled than 95% of the game’s fan base. Riot already finds themselves fishing for a social nerd who loves their game AND is very good at talking on camera, when you add another rule that states they must be in the top 5% of total players; we’re talking about a very small pond here.

These matchup streams are refreshing for the skilled minority of players who sometimes find themselves rolling their eyes in response to a caster who spits out a full sentence worth of $3 buzzwords without making any real sense, or liberal use of the “hype voice” over an unimportant in-game moment.

Hearing directly from pro players who aren’t afraid to accurately critique their peers has been extremely insightful. Even aspiring pro players have the potential to learn something about map movements and macro play – a key element of pro play mostly non-existent from solo ranked play – directly from stars of the LCS.

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Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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