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Welcome to The Bag.

Every week, I will graciously answer your questions about everything in the esports and gaming world. From the highbrow to the gutter, I will make sure to give you my honest, unfiltered opinion sponsored by absolutely nobody (yet).

Without further ado, let’s dive into the bag and see what we can pull out.

What happened with LS??????? — xOping

I have gotten many questions about Nick “LS” De Cesare, so I decided to throw up a quick mini mailbag to answer a few questions about the whole situation.

As most of you reading know by this point, Cloud9 League of Legends head coach LS was announced to be released from the team minutes before their Saturday regular season matchup with Counter Logic Gaming.

Since then, there has been rampant discussion on what happened to LS and why he was removed from the head coaching role. While I’ve talked to several sources on both sides of the issue on why he was released, I don’t feel confident at this point reporting on the matter. I can say that it’s not as simple as a single incident or thing that made everything unravel and that I would expect more to come out as the week progresses.

As always, once I feel comfortable reporting on the entire story following talks with more people in and around the situation, I will do my best to tell the whole story from multiple angles.

Is LCS worth watching now without ls? — Anonymous

Of course. I think this season of LCS has far more storylines than usual. Team Liquid could have the best team we’ve ever seen in the region, and there are surprises like FlyQuest atop the table that could become more critical stories if they prove they’re no fluke.

But I’m not going to lie. LS leaving does hurt LCS a lot. I literally wrote an entire feature (which got a lot of views) on how he’s a godsend for the league. Love him, hate him, it doesn’t matter. People were tuning in and engaging on social media about him, wanting to see if the next trick up his sleeve would work out or if he’d be left looking like a fool.

Something like FlyQuest, while nice, is something we see every year in esports. There are always underdog teams that surprise and succeed at different degrees. We see superteams like Team Liquid who stampede through a region before heading off to an international tournament.

LS, like his drafts, was something different in a sea of the same. After a decade of League of Legends esports, finding something new isn’t easy. So when we get this confident coach with his unorthodox thinking and way of playing the game, the fans latch onto it.

The people who welcomed it wanted a revolution of a game they feel has stagnated. For the detractors, every C9 match was a chance to see if he would turn into a snake oil salesperson and fall apart at the seams. Whatever the outcome, win or lose, the story was only going to get bigger and bigger as the regular season turned to the playoffs and possible testing of this newfound philosophy against better international opponents.

In the end, neither side got what they wanted. LS was gone before we could even scratch the surface of how deep this rabbit hole could go. He finished with a 3-1 record before he could even square off with rivals like TSM or TL for the first time. It feels like we had something fun ripped from us as viewers before we could even see the conclusion.

Even the people who wanted LS to fail didn’t want him to exit like this. They wanted to see him fall on his sword and show his way of playing the game was wrong. In what could have been one of the more exciting stories ever in League of Legends esports ended before it got started.

C9 will still be a team to watch in the LCS and might very well win a championship in 2022, but there will also be a ‘what-if?’ attached to this story.

What if LS met T1 or another high-level Asian team at an international tournament?

What if it all fell apart mid-season after a few weeks of teams getting used to C9’s style?

What if it all worked out, and they did make it to the world championship, home crowds in New York City flocking to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden like it’s a congregation?

We’ll never know, and that’s the worst ending of all.

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