As I was eating my breakfast (omelet with hot sauce, if you were wondering), I posed a question to social media: if Riot Games announced today they were creating a League of Legends Hall of Fame, who are the first five people you would induct? A thousand answers later, I’m here to give my own opinion on the matter. For this exercise, I will only induct retired players no longer in pro play.
If Riot Games announced today they were creating a League of Legends Hall of Fame, who are the first five people you would induct?
— The Esports Writer (@FionnOnFire) January 26, 2022
But just know, in this fictional Hall of Fame under my supervision, we are already building an entire wing for Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
Hong “MadLife” Min-gi
Before Faker, there was Madlife. South Korea has become one of the League of Legends ecosystem centers, and it is hard to imagine being where it is without Madlife. The anointed first-ever hook God, Madlife, made his career through pixel-perfect highlights and outrageous engagements. He made playing support look and actually feel cool, the mere hover of Blitzcrank sending the crowd into a frenzy.
In my Hall of Fame, Madlife is an easy first-ballot inductee.
Gao “WeiXiao” Xue-Cheng
In a similar vein to Madlife, it is impossible to have a Hall of Fame class without a Chinese player. Since Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao unretired late last year to return to pro play, the easy choice for my Chinese representative is another AD carry in WeiXiao. While maybe a name newer Western fans haven’t heard of, the former Team WE marksman is an icon in his home country.
Before China won their first world championship, one of the region’s golden achievements was when WeiXiao and WE won the IPL tournament in Las Vegas.
Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez
Europe was a bit trickier than China or Korea. I wrestled with xPeke and his eternal rival Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago. On the one hand, xPeke was the more accomplished player during their days as pros. But in terms of longevity and legacy, ocelote retiring from pro play to construct G2 Esports, which has become a Western dynasty in its own right, gives him significant points as well. In the end, I went with xPeke because he was part of the inaugural Fnatic squad who won the Season One League of Legends World Championship. It feels like it would be wrong not to represent the first-ever season winner in our Hall of Fame class.
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
This Hall of Fame will operate in North America because of capitalism. We can charge a pretty penny for an overpriced museum experience, so we need someone from the region. Though Doublelift has been public about his desire to return to pro play if the situation is right possibly, he’s currently retired, which means we can induct him in the meantime.
We will create a realistic, life-size wax figure of Doublelift that says “you are trash” if you come within a two-foot distance from him.
Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong
For the fifth and final spot, we could go several different ways. Choi “inSec” In-seok came to my mind first since his name is synonymous with the Lee Sin kick still used across the world in every pro region.
Yet, even with that impact, I have to go with Mata. A top-five player in history for my money, he won a world finals MVP as support in 2014. He led Samsung White, a team that to this day could still be considered the best team ever to lift the Summoner’s Cup. After leaving Samsung, he found success with China’s Royal Never Give Up, solidifying his legacy.
And for a special sixth inductee…
Rivington “RivingtonThe3rd” Bisland III
I want to shine some light on commentating in this fictional Hall of Fame. Though Rivington isn’t officially retired, he has taken a step back from League of Legends to focus more on commentating Riot’s first-person shooter VALORANT.
In the early days of League of Legends, it was challenging to think of the esports scene without thinking of Riv as one of its leading voices. He also commentated the Season One championship alongside David “Phreak” Turley in front of a smattering of fans in folding chairs, the beginning of a journey that would soon lead to fully-packed stadiums.