Zven warns LCS Academy failures mean this LoL generation will be ‘last wave of NA pros’

The future of the League of Legends North American pro league may be in jeopardy, with LCS veteran Zven admitting this generation will be the “last wave of NA pros we’re going to get” due to the failure of the NA’s tier-two (Academy) system.

In a candid interview with Travis Gafford, which was posted on YouTube on May 13, the former Cloud9 support pro player expressed his major concerns about the current state of the LCS. Amid his worries, he suggested the LCS and the organizations that make up the NA League competition hindered its on Academy, ruining the future.

Eom "UmTi" Seong-hyeon of Team Liquid Honda and APA hug each other in MSI 2024.
Are imports the new meta? Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

Gafford agreed, expressing his deep concern with the future of the LCS and the problems with the Academy system because it seems like “players are giving up.” This is a grave problem for NA because the academy system is the very foundation for the LCS. He even acknowledged that if the Academy system fails, it will “threaten the existence of the league long term.”

Fans of the LCS are jumping on the bandwagon to agree, with some claiming “the time to do something was years ago.” So, it’s more than just pros and professional League analysts who are concerned about the state of the Academy and the future of NA pros.

As it stands, many LCS teams have begun to focus on imports, especially from the LCK. These other League regions offer a more expansive rookie training that just isn’t seen in NA, which means these young stars and tier-one players perform at a higher level because they’re being nurtured to do so. This year alone, Team Liquid brought in UmTi, a jungler from the LCK, and Cloud9 brought in Korean top laner Thanatos. And this doesn’t even take into account the imports that joined and remained on LCS teams since last year.

Although they have few suggestions for how the LCS could improve its Academy systems, Zven and Gafford believe the Academy needs more tools and lifesaving support from the collective of LCS teams to succeed because where they could be nurturing talent and saving money, they’re importing what Samuelson harshly called “second pickings.”

While it may be a little savage, unless the eight LCS teams start valuing their Academy teams to nurture NA talent, Zven may be right in that this could be the last wave of NA talent we’ll see on the League stage. Riot does have a rule regarding the number of imports a team is allowed, so there’s still hope, but it’s slim. Either way, it would be nice to see more of a focus on fostering talent within the NA rather than this pro-import meta.

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