Esports dominates in both Valorant and League of Legends

Both of Saint Louis U. High’s Esports teams, Valorant and League of Legends, won first place in the Missouri Scholastic Esports Federation’s (MOSEF) state championship this past weekend, showing a budding and competitive esports scene around the halls of SLUH.

Before the finals, the League of Legends team had an incredible year, not losing a single game during the regular season, state qualifiers, and the state tournament.

“We were undefeated and didn’t run into any issues,” said senior Ethan Pini. “We did scrim a team where they beat us three times, but we just took a step back and then watched our games over and were able to grow because of it.”

This year's team excelled in League of Legends for several reasons. First, they had great coordination compared to others. While other teams struggled to not get angry at each other when a player blundered in the game, the SLUH’s roster enthusiastically backed up each player, even when they made a mistake.

“We had much better communication from what I could tell,” commented senior Ben Siddens. “I saw a lot of people getting frustrated, they would lose a fight and would yell at each other. But that never happened for us.”

Another way that the team excelled so much is through their drafting phase, one of the most important parts of League of Legends. League of Legends has over 163 unique champions you can play and each champion has specific moves, abilities, and strengths that make them who they are. Because there are so many different champions, a large part of who wins the game is based on which champion they choose. The draft phase is a time where each team alternates picking one champion and then banning a champion so neither team can play it.  

“I think our drafts were really good. We all had really solid champions, Cam (Cornett) has a super solid High School pool and Ben plays literally every champion so it was difficult for other teams to target ban our players,” explained coach Jimmy Hoffman. 

SLUH was also able to succeed through the draft phase because they banned some of the other team's best champions. 

Finally, although each individual player had their own strengths when in the game, Siddens was instrumental in bringing home first in state. Siddens was considered the best player in the entire MOSEF region in his specific role going into the playoffs and helped to lead his team to a flawless victory. 

League of Legends has specific positions that each team member plays in: Toplaners, Midlaners, Botlaners, Supports, and Jungles. Jungle, the role Siddens plays, acts as the point guard of the team. In each game they played, Siddens greatly outmatched the ability not just of the other team's Jungle, but the entire team as well. 

“It was just a dream having Ben, he was so vocal in the game, especially in the mid and late game,” explained Hoffman. “Ben is always trying to find angles for us to make plays and he's constantly talking the entire game with very clear communications.”

But League of Legends was not the only game that saw SLUH taking home first in the state at MOSEF’s state tournament. SLUH Valorant did not drop a single match during the entire state tournament and worked hard to bring home the trophy for SLUH. 

The Valorant team used good communication to win so many games. Just like in League of Legends, there was a lot of infighting between different teams while SLUH was able to keep calm during their matches. 

“It's really easy for one person to be doing their own thing and like, kind of not really be coordinated in Valorant,” explained senior Alec Arnold. “But I feel like we had really good communication, and we were more coordinated than the other teams with the abilities of our characters.”

Sophomore Toby Godat also did exceptionally well, being at the top of the leaderboard in all but one of his matches. Godat is in charge of playing characters that are frontline in fights and because of that, is very talented at the different mechanics of Valorant. 

“Yeah, Toby played really well, I think he was the best player in the lobby almost every game. He also does a great job of communicating with his team,” said Arnold.

Overall, the two state wins show a budding new community and sport at SLUH. Esports allows a group of people to excel at a pastime they enjoy while building a greater sense of brotherhood and community. The future looks bright for the program, and as gaming in general only gets larger each year, you can expect SLUH esports to grow just as fast. 

“It breeds a great community, everyone is having so much fun and it's a great place for people who maybe aren't into traditional sports but still want to have that kind of team bonding and experience,” explained Hoffman.  “It's great because every time I go there everyone's having so much fun, I would love to see that continue in the coming years.”

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