Since my involvement in the E-sports scene in Australia, I have played for the top League of Legends team (now known as Team Immunity) for two years. At the beginning of this year I took a step back from a player role and now am the manager, coach, and team analyst for Team Exile5 Eclipse.

During my experiences I noticed many trends between the top teams and conversely between the teams that crash and burn. Here they are.

Traits of the top teams:

1. At least one hyper-carry style player. Either through mechanics, decision making, or both, every team needs a player who consistently does well.

The term hyper-carry should not be confused with a player who plays to a high level. High level players can carry once they are fed, but hyper-carries, will influence a game in such a way that they can carry a game even when playing from behind. When you try to think of someone who can do this, who comes to mind? Perhaps Doublelift?

2. Objective-orientated play. This is where a lot of teams fall down. Since the most common form of practise is solo queue, objectives are often underrated. Weak teams only play well in the laning phase. A lead during laning phase is good but quite irrelevant without direction into the mid-game.

Top teams maintain impeccable ward coverage to protect objectives. The first dragon/tower is theirs. They’re patient and timely in pushing their advantages.

3. Synergy between the players. Synergy is perhaps the most ambiguous term that is most commonly used to describe team play. Players from top level teams seem to be on the exact same wavelength. Skills, movement, and decisions happen with fluidity.

How many times have you heard a caster say “must have been a lack of communication” when two players overlap stuns or engage at different times? A majority of the time it is down to synergy. During split second plays there is no time to communicate with your team and you have to rely on past experience to identify when your team mate is going to engage or if they are going to lead with their stun. Synergy is a skill unique to every team you play on and is only obtained through practise with your members.

Traits of failed teams:

1. Low-to-average solo queue rating. No matter what argument you put forth, you cannot deny the average individual solo queue rating of top teams. They’re all within the top 1%. I have seen a lot of teams form of gold and plat players who believe team work will prevail above all else but that is like believing that a Ferrari can be made out of wood. It is in your best interest to become the best player you can be individually before seeking a competitive team. Summoner School helps you achieve this.

2. They do not regularly practise together. Any professional sports team has a practice schedule and places importance on team practice. Even in the little leagues of soccer, cricket, or basketball, there was a dedicated day and time for team practice. If you couldn’t make it, you let your coach know and gave a reason. A lot of failing teams do not have the discipline to turn up to team prac regularly. They often will not give a reason which snowballs on other team members (“if he didn’t show up, why should I?”)

3. Expecting too much too soon. If you form a team of diamond players from scratch and throw yourself up against a team that has been together for a year or more, how do you think you’ll fair? You might win the laning phase, but you can never undervalue the experience of a well-established team. It should take at least six months of consistent 3-4 days a week of prac before you even expect to challenge first place. A lot of teams never get to this stage and disband after losing.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.Thomas Edison

This concept is explored in depth in one of my previous articles.

With the release of the OCE servers and the Oceanic Season 3 Championship, I have seen a handful of promising teams form as well as a number of highly talented individuals revealed by the ranking system. The Australian E-sports scene has geared up to allow for a thriving industry to unfold. If you are serious about making a career in professional gaming in the future, I implore you to have patience and not to give up easily. It is a hard road and nothing will happen quickly. Persistence is key. If you work hard enough, the outcome will be very rewarding.

Good luck,
Daniel “Kingpin” King