And it was in this critical time that SKT’s Faker, emerged as the game’s greatest player. (Casting) And, just like any other sport markets its best players and teams, so did Riot Games. From studio features to interviews, Riot took full advantage of SKT’s popularity and marketability. And for good reason. As a new fan entering the scene it’s easy to attach yourself to the best teams, the teams that consistently make playoffs, that are consistently contenders at Worlds. In a environment as fickle as esports, where organizations can come and go at a whim, brand loyalty is hard to come by unless you’re a team that can consistently stay atop the standings. (Casting) Plus, esports has had a relatively short history compared to traditional sports. Teams that have defined these games are still around — so it’s easy to become attached to those accomplishments. It’s easy to cling to those unforgettable moments. Games that feature SKT are still one of the most watched games in League of Legends esports and when Faker himself first streamed on Twitch it broke records.
Much like ‘The Tiger Effect’ in golf, where TV ratings shoot up when Tiger plays in a tournament and commentating prioritizes Wood’s placing and scores, the same effect occured with SKT and Faker. Streams, games, plays, features, interviews, really anything that featured SKT or Faker instantly went viral and the broadcasters consistently focused in on SKT and Faker in their commentaries. “I mean there’s people all the way up to the ceiling and then we have Faker doing his anime villain stare. “I thought he was going to smile at some point but no, no, no.” And this effect continued into the 2017 World Championships. Even with Samsung firmly in control of the series, the casters continued to focus on the team that had won so many world championships before. “SKT do not lose World Championships. They have some ungodly record that ends in zero losses when they’re at elimination games at Worlds and you might see it here today.” Outside of MOBAs, in the past decade one other title has stood out Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. (Casting) And one CS:GO team dominated among them all Fnatic. olofmesiter and Krimz solidified what is now a legendary lineup in 2014. In 2015 the team won a Major championship at ESL One Katowice, their first in what would become back-to-back Major victories. And in the Summer of 2015 Fnatic would take home five of a possible ten premier tournament titles. And Fnatic’s domination came at a key time for the CS scene.
ESL One Cologne broke records in the competitive CS:GO scene with over 11 thousand people attending the event each day. But it also broke 1 million concurrent viewers for the first time in CS:GO history. CS:GO has since exploded from a relatively small scene to one of the biggest games in the world. And Fnatic’s back-to-back Major victories, were a big part of that boom. Though all these dynasties have ended, their contribution to League of Legends esports, to Dota, to CS:GO cannot be understated. “There is no greater achievement in League of Legends than beating SKT in a world final.” Esports as a whole has benefited from their marketability, their consistency and their resilience. But it wasn’t just those three titles. esports as we know it wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Bonjwas of the StarCraft era, the OpTic and FaZe gaming teams of Halo and Call of Duty days. Or the NiP’s and SK Gamings of CS:GO Though parity in esports might be the ultimate goal, for now, we should welcome each dynasty with open arms because its those teams, the stars players they produce, the play’s they’ve made, the memories they’ve created, and the kids they’ve inspired that made and will continue to make esports great. (Casting)