With Scouting Ground’s third year coming to a close, let’s take a look back at the event as well as the upcoming talent in the League of Legends competitive scene. Previous years of Scouting Grounds bred players such as Deftly, OmarGod, Wiggily, and Blaberfish, who all played in both academies and the main stage of NA LCS. Given that C9’s recent success was attained through a roster with strong substitute players, it has become apparent that other teams in North America want to adopt something similar. TSM is even holding their own in-house scouting grounds event.
In traditional sports, substitute players who sit on the bench are often put in to give the starting players a break. In other words, they are simply players who can not compete with the starters. However, C9 have shown that they could take inexperienced domestic players and fortify them into something much greater. Because of this, players are then swapped for unique playstyle differences rather than skill.
Looking at the players for this year’s event left most hopeful despite the limited practice time players had with one another. Teams were drafted in accordance with the worth that coaches and analysts saw in players through the time they spent scrimming as well as their individual performances in solo q.
As the event kicked off, teams fought tooth and nail in a more controlled environment to put their skills on display. Fortunately, a win did not necessarily equate to a better look at an individual player. Instead, teams were looking for how players reacted to a multitude of scenarios and if they could outclass their individual opponent. PastryTime mentioned that as long as you can prove that you have mastered the core basics of League of Legends, then teams are willing to work with you in regards to macro and understanding the game on a deeper level. Metaphor, jungler for team Ocean, stood out for the entirety of the event as a strong jungler given that his team went 0-6 only winning their 3rd place matches.
There were a few other players worth noting for their standout performances throughout the event. These players go as follows:
- Elder Drake Trophy (MVP): FakeGod
- Cloud Drake Trophy: Strompest
- Ocean Drake Trophy: Fragas
- Infernal Drake Trophy: MistyStumpey
- Mountain Drake Trophy: Tactical
The event ended with a bang as Team Mountain faced Team Infernal. Momentum shifted constantly as teams jockeyed for dominance and led to some highlight moments such as Soligo showing off his happy feet by dodging abilities and buying time for his team to turn the tide in a fight.
One of the highlights of the event was MistyStumpey vs. FakeGod, a matchup of who could carry harder as both top laners performed above expectation. In the end, team Mountain took the victory and overwhelmed Stumpey’s split pushing Jayce in the final game.
North America is not the only region developing young talent. LCK rookie team, Griffin, made a run this past year that was nothing short of poetic. For perspective, they were one series from winning the summer split and auto-qualifying for worlds. Meanwhile, EU LCS is introducing franchising next split and will open the door to plenty of young talent. The European team, Misfits, was a team that made it through relegations and headed straight to 2017 Worlds quarterfinals in the same year. Not only this but they pushed the reigning champions, SKT, to their limits in an intense 5-game series. The future is indeed hopeful for upcoming generations of League of Legends players around the world.
If you missed out on the action, here’s the full playlist of all the games played during the entirety of Scouting Grounds.