League community starts to question the value of imports after MSI

Do imports keep teams from winning international League of Legends events?

League of Legends's Icon Michael Hassall · 20 May 2019


Photo via Riot Games

MSI is barely in the books, and already League of Legends fans are asking the important questions. Such as, “why do we even importing players when the top teams from the top regions don’t bother and win tournaments?”

In a now-removed post on the r/leagueoflegends subreddit, user u/Horodrim pointed out that there are zero imports in the top LEC teams. While it’s a similar story in the LCK, the top three teams in the LCS have six EU imports, and in the LPL, the number is the same but with Korean players.

But with both those regions narrowly falling short of an MSI title, the community is split between two narratives. Either imports are holding teams back because of the often cited problems of “communication problems,” “cultural differences,” and other non-issues that every successful team manages to overcome. Or imports are the 100% answer to all the problems. In fact, remove the residency rule!

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You see the NA server is just too weak and needs imports to compete. Too small, too separate from the other regions, it’s practically the smallest region. Underdogs btw. And so relying on imports isn’t a bad thing, It’s a good thing!

However, both these arguments miss the thing that’s right under their noses. G2 Esports won MSI with no imports, all EU players. Team Liquid came second with one EU player and two Korean imports. Invictus Gaming and SK Telecom T1 had eight Korean players between them and no EU players.

The answer is simple. Teams have been importing from the wrong region the entire time. At this point it’s kind of insulting to be calling Rasmus "Caps" Winther “Baby Faker.” Perhaps Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok should be known as “Grandpa Caps,” especially now Caps is the new Unkillable Demon King of League.

Everyone remembers how towards the end the OGN era of the Korean league, China stole away some of the best players on the KR server. Now the LCS is in the midst of their own mass “talent acquisition.” Keep an eye on teams like 100 Thieves, TSM, and Team Liquid next LCS split, as their EUphoric aspirations for world titles land them solid runner’s up spots at every major tournament.


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