Let's get diabolical.
On Friday, Feb. 17, Cloud9’s outspoken AD carry-turned-support Zven refused to shake hands with Team Liquid’s rookie marksman Yeon after a regular season game. It was a cold response to Yeon’s in-game trash talk, where he supposedly said that Liquid’s Academy team was better than C9.
When Zven approached Yeon, he glared right into his face and said “go back to Academy.” Even though it was a fleeting moment, the burning heat from his words sparked a fire within the North American League of Legends community.
Some people believed that Zven’s hubris and actions weren’t necessary, while others pumped their fists and chanted for more. The community was rumbling, and the veteran support eventually had to send out a public apology to Yeon on his social media. Regardless of whether you think the moment was warranted or not, one thing is for certain: it made for some incredible entertainment.
In fact, the LCS should be craving more trash talk, more face-to-face confrontations, and more rivalries built out of true disdain for one another. That flame is exactly what this league needs to elevate and become must-watch League.
When the LCS announced that it would be moving broadcast days to Thursday and Friday nights, the general reception was relatively bad around the League esports scene. Many people were up in arms and already claiming the death of the league before it had even begun. But after four weeks, the LCS is now in full swing and even has some well-known NA doubters saying that this is “the best year that the LCS has had so far.”
The competition is fiercer than ever before, with multiple contenders jockeying for position in the top half of the standings. Riot Games built a beautiful stage for the players at its studio in Los Angeles, and supporters are getting a ton of new content with their favorite players, from Spica’s hilarious cake-making class to post-game chill sessions with Fudge. The only thing missing from this equation is a little bit of spice.
Over the years, there’s always been some trash talk sprinkled into some content or interviews during broadcasts. But when fans watched Zven puff out his chest as he stared daggers at Yeon, it was a new level that had rarely been seen before in NA League.
The trash talk wasn’t even that wild either, but that three-second interaction fueled a whole new feud that now has everyone eagerly awaiting Liquid and C9’s next match. A fresh storyline has suddenly been born out of thin air, and it was created organically through these two players. Meanwhile, Zven and Yeon now have more motivation to become stronger before their second meeting on Friday, March 10, and fans are just as excited to tune in.
Everyone loves when players show their passion for the game, and that should always include a little disdain for one another. It’s something that should be embraced more and not looked at as a taboo subject where players must act professionally 100 percent of the time. Of course, they should try to be civil, but at the end of the day, these players are human, and if they feel like talking trash, then they shouldn’t be punished for it.
Take a look at the forever fireworks that come with one of the most exciting leagues in LoL esports, the CBLOL. Many of these Brazilian stars don’t hesitate to voice their feelings, whether it’s through yelling trash talk mid-game, writing “bot gap” on their bicep, or writing up a whole quote on a T-shirt underneath their jersey.
Those moments aren’t scripted and they aren’t encouraged by Riot or the program’s producers. It’s simply part of the culture that this region has built over the years, and it’s one of the reasons why people love watching the league in the first place.
Rivalries and trash talk drive interest, raise excitement levels, and create genuine moments and explosive interactions that rile up the fans and motivate the players to become even better than their rivals. There aren’t any villains or heroes on Summoner’s Rift, just players who want to absolutely body their opponents in front of thousands of people.
And if they feel the need to yell, stare, or puff out their chest, then that all comes with the territory too.