League of Legends

It’s the saddest year for Southeast Asian League of Legends since Season 1.

LeagueofLegends2 - It's the saddest year for Southeast Asian League of Legends since Season 1.
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(Obligatory wall of text ahead since I'll be talking about a bit of SEA's history in the League scene.)

It's been a little bittersweet for me watching Worlds this year as a Filipino/Southeast Asian fan, who has been somewhat semi-casually supporting SEA/PH teams since Season 1's Pacific Esports (Philippines) from the first World Championship Series.

I always just lurk around r/leagueoflegends and almost never post at all, but since there's almost no Southeast Asian representation on the Worlds stage this year, I felt like I should let the world on Reddit in on a glimpse of our humble region's past as a fan, and how it feels to be a SEA fan now during Season 10 Worlds. No one really remembers the bottom-barrel teams in tournaments, but having our region centered around being a wildcard since our existence makes for an interesting timeline.

As we've been around since the first season of League, getting our region handed to us first even before China and Korea, SEA has, needless to say, been through a lot since the start but we've always had somewhat of a sad storyline. I've personally been almost through it all as a SEA fan–

•With how the first World Championship crown for Garena Pro League regions was bestowed upon Taipei Assassins as the best GPL representative in Season 2, which our SEA teams got absolutely dominated by, and therefore separating a line between SEA and the LMS as regions because they're just that good compared to all of us then.

(In the first place, they were only pitted against us because Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and the whole of Southeast Asia all had the pleasure of our games being hosted by Garena through their League of Legends client in our respective countries, and not Riot themselves.)

•With how the Philippines somehow managed to get by the favorites in Singapore Sentinels (who were runners-up to ahq in the GPL) through a separate 2013 Worlds Regional Qualifier for SEA teams, despite sending Mineski (PH's second seed who consisted of mainly DOTA 1 players at the time), to represent a lone SEA region onto Season 3 Worlds because our first place PH seed had issues getting to the offline qualifier held in Vietnam. It was probably to the surprise of no one that they went 0-8 in their group.

•With how SEA teams were outclassed heavily in the last year for GPL with TW/HK/Macao teams in 2014, inevitably getting crushed by the likes of AHQ and TPA one last time, undoubtedly having them represent LMS/SEA as the undisputed best teams we have. Although to their credit, Vietnam's teams were a close second even then to the (3) Taiwanese teams present in the GPL. But we still sent two out of three LMS teams because they were just that stronger as shown in the regular split and the regional qualifiers.

•With how we got separated from the LMS in 2015 because the LMS deservedly was given their own separate region from us, sending the Bangkok Titans (Thailand) directly to Worlds 2015, who were actually one of the best teams SEA had at the time, to only get stomped on at Worlds as wildcards that never won any games in that tournament. Safe to say cementing SEA as the "losingest" region present at Worlds then yet again, since the other wildcard team in Brazil's Pain Gaming at least managed to get two significant wins for their region.

•With how in 2016, our best SEA wildcard team in Saigon Jokers (Vietnam) who have always established themselves as a powerhouse within SEA, lost every game they played in the International Wildcard Qualifier to make it to Worlds 2016, marking the first time since the first season that SEA had no presence whatsoever at Worlds. At least the LMS, alone, had been doing great then.

•With how there was a resurgence in 2017 within Vietnamese teams since 2017 GPL Spring, ultimately giving us the best SEA representation since our humble beginnings at both 2017 MSI and Worlds, putting SEA back on the map, and establishing us as the absolute best wildcard region of that year. So much so that we unthinkably had (2) teams (albeit all-Vietnamese) represent us as a region at Worlds. It was absolutely mind-blowing to me as a fan at the time. Even I, as a Filipino, was so happy for Vietnam's League scene and naturally for SEA LoL as a whole.

Vietnam had shown up so huge for the whole of Southeast Asia in 2017 that for the first time as a SEA fan, it felt like we were so close to the LMS and other major regions, who've we've only known up until then to be some untouchable gods we could never be above of.

•With how the next year in 2018, the VCS was established as a stand-alone region for Vietnam, and suddenly GPL was left without Taiwan and Vietnam. Leaving only Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and barely Indonesia within it. I was honestly happy for Vietnam that League had grown so strong within their own country, but unfortunately for what's left our scene, we were left without a competitive representative. SEA was reduced to being bottom-barrel play-in region yet again.

In that year, Thailand's Ascension was undoubtedly the best SEA team we had, but SEA fans were left to wake up to the reality that we were just not good enough internationally on our own yet. But even after play-ins, at least for me, I could still smile at incredible showings played by the VCS and LMS, who were doing so well without us.

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•With how in 2019, I honestly ended up not watching as much of the games for the new League of Legends SEA Tour (LST), and the view count in official streams for the games showed, at least for me, that other SEA fans are just not as passionate as they used to be. It was also around this time that the Mobile Legends revolution really kicked in within Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia and the Philippines. It was still fun to at least see Thailand being really competitive in our scene though, ultimately representing us in MSI and Worlds. They've put up a great fight and at least we had some small wins in as a region.

It also was still a delight to see the VCS become this new beast of a region that they're able to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the world as legit contenders. At the same time, I was personally shocked at how the LMS had such a big fall from grace. It was truly a time to be alive as somebody who's been there since GPL was a thing, but it was also just as melancholic to me as it felt like we were reduced to just mere thousands as fans at best, compared to what we were before collectively. Maybe it's because Vietnam had become what the LMS was to all of us all those years ago, with both being long separated from what's left of SEA. This, on top of the decline of our players as opposed to former years and some language barriers.

•And now, with 2020. It was announced the previous year that what's left of SEA would be combined with the LMS again like how it was with GPL back then except without Vietnam this time. Personally it was like getting announced that what's left of SEA would be overshadowed by the LMS again. It was still fine though, because maybe this way our teams would become better through consistently playing with Taiwanese teams who are just undeniably better than them.

Though it's the saddest year for the Southeast Asian League of Legends scene to date when there's no MSI to be had, on top of our Vietnamese brothers not having any representatives at Worlds with the way their situation panned out for them. The LMS may still be here for Worlds as the PCS, but the spirit of SEA really isn't.

PCS being the LMS and LST-SEA as it may, there's still a visible disconnection from SEA fans and the LMS. Hell, so much so that I don't even know which stream I should say "Good luck, Taiwan! Win it for all of us in SEA!" that genuine Taiwanese fans could read it. It's lonely. But I guess we were never really "like that" to begin with. Even with Vietnam at times over the years. EU looks so peaceful with how their region is doing compared to us and it's a little sad that we couldn't be as structured as them as a region. The line of what's considered to be "Southeast Asian League of Legends" is getting more blurry as the years go by.

It's fun to imagine if this happened to other regions. What if Denmark became their own stand-alone region in EU? Or maybe if Canada represented their own region in NA? Imagine what would happen then, now try adding a language barrier to that situation. It's really been sucky and empty for some of us in SEA right now, but only time will tell if things could change for us.

But even so, I'll still be here watching however which way we are represented so that Southeast Asian League of Legends would still be alive no matter what. I just posted this so the world could see a glimpse of our region's storyline over the years as a "region". This post was written with only a little bit of researching to jog my memory with what happened to SEA over the years, so please feel free to correct me or share some memorable moments I may have missed. But I still remember most of our history vividly. I'm just one guy in SEA, I couldn't possibly know everything that went down in all of our regional qualifiers that are casted in different languages at times. Though I really hope to be a part of more whatever it is we are in the future.

Shoutout to Vietnam, I really hope your region would be up there on the world stage next time. It goes without saying that the rest of SEA know you'll do great in the future.

Also shoutout to our PCS teams in PSG Talon and Machi Esports. We hope you win it for all of us in SEA, and thank you for making our teams stronger throughout the years! Fantastic first day for PSG demolishing LGD, by the way!

Lastly, shoutout to the next generation of players and fans in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (yes, even you despite losing your server), Singapore, and the Philippines. Let's all also do our best for our region. I hope we can all grow closer as a region. Mabuhay, you old magnificent bastards.

TL;DR: Vietnam isn't at Worlds, and only SoFM really is. The LMS overshadows what's left of SEA because they're that much better than our teams, but that's okay because they've been with us since the beginning as GPL (and now as PCS), and should PSG Talon or Machi win Worlds, technically SEA would be part of a two-time World Champion status but Vietnam won't be counted then haha.

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