Observing No Borders – A look at different regional styles so that you can see the playstyles/champions you want to learn
Sun 10th May 2020 - 10:00am
So many of us watch pro play in the major regions to get better by observing and absorbing the best play in the world. But why do we watch these leagues (LPL [China], LEC [Europe], LCK [Korea], and LCS [North America]) in particular? Well, of course, we only watch what we can, real-life gets in the way but, thanks to the fact that the regional diversity in terms of playstyles, there may be a specific league that may be better for you to mimic. Therefore, in this piece, I will break down the 4 biggest major regions and their tendencies so you can identify what region will be best to watch and why.
The Risk Averse LCK (Korea)
For years Korea dominated the international League of Legends scene with a style that those who love the chaos hate with a passion. However, for those of you who appreciate clean-cut games, the clinical execution of a strategy in an execution that your opponent cannot counter shown by top LCK teams may be for you. These teams do not fight for no reason. No, they fight over major objectives with a clear goal in mind. This has resulted in mistakes from players being heavily punished which in turn makes the players who can generate a lead without risking a comeback, such as Teddy, prevail. This playstyle is undoubtedly slow, hence why we see casters such as LS become such an advocate of the correct build for each game (insert Morello versus Liandry meme of your choice here) but at the highest level, this can be beautiful to watch. For those of you all about a clean macro game, I would recommend watching the LCK.
The Combative LPL (China)
Now we go from the region that doesn’t like fighting to the region that is seemingly addicted to it. Teams from the region that has won the last two World Championships will fight over anything and everything. If it's contestable, then 99% of the LPL is going to try it. From a cannon minion to a Kindred mark, the aggression is there. This comes from the region’s players' belief in their ability to outplay, and this has led teams like IG to become top tier internationally. However, this playstyle is extremely risky, because if your gold lead is not big enough to win a fight without setup it will backfire. This makes LPL games extremely chaotic and so you are more likely to see a clown fiesta in this region. So, if you are a player who loves to get in the thick of it, get your blade bloody, and revel in the fires of chaos, I would recommend watching some LPL.
The Aram Kingdom of LCS (North America)
North America is the region with the highest number of imports, yet North America seems to fight like no other region. The LCS seems to revolve around two big aspects; teamfighting in a lane (most frequently mid lane) and split pushing solo laners. This is evident in the types of champions we see top the charts of NA mid frequently, as Orianna and Syndra (who are definitively team fighters thanks to their kits) populate the top of the mid pick list almost every split. As for the second aspect, this seems to be the product of the types of players that NA rosters select/import. Players like; Huni, Ssumday, Licorice, Broken Blade, and V1per are all known for their play on split pushing bruisers such as Riven and Aatrox. These two aspects together make games very mid-game focused and often heavily focused on one defining moment (most prevalent recent moment for me was the CLG Pobelter 1v3 vs Team Liquid on Syndra). Therefore, if you see yourself as a mid-game specialist or just live for seeing the hype moments, the LCS may be an ideal home for your viewing time.
The Mega Mobile LEC (Europe)
Ah, Europe, the bridesmaid region of the last two seasons (0-3 grand final meme of your choice here) has evolved almost like a teenager hitting his twenties. Europe used to be filled with teams known for singular play styles (Moscow5’s reputation for being in your face early game was well earned as was CLG EU’s reputation for being unbeatable in the late game) and players known for their dominance on one champion (CLG EU’s Wickd was known for his Irelia). However, EU has transcended this and over recent seasons has become known for contesting fights with numbers. Now I’m not saying that EU teams fight as much as China or are as objective-centric as Korea, but somehow teams like Fnatic and G2 have managed to find a niche in between, as these European teams will very rarely let you get something for free (the number of times G2 will force you to trade an Inhib for a Nashor despite being in a deficit themselves). So, if you see yourself as more of a gritty brawler with a hidden agenda, I would recommend watching LEC as somehow the region showcases the oxymoron of brutal intelligence.
Professional League of Legends is a thrill to watch. There is a reason it’s the most-watched esport worldwide, but like many things in-game we can make the most of our time out of it regarding lol. We can do this by watching with a goal in mind, whether it be to learn a new style, refine a current style, or even just to watch games with the maximum entertainment factor. So, I hope this piece reveals to you which major region can help you the most in your lol related adventures. With that, I leave you with the thoughts of GL, HF, and GG.