What a way to end the first day of the 2016 World Championship.
The North American fan favorites TSM took on Chinese powerhouse Royal Never Give Up in a match that both sides will be expecting a result from. It had been been a long night already, with 30 minutes of analysis between games and some intermittent pausing. But we were still excited to see these two giants take the stage.
Then, like Europe’s hope of a good tournament, it was suddenly gone. The excitement was forcefully sucked from the moment by the emergence of another Aurelion Sol bug, forcing a remake.
This isn’t the first time TSM have been involved in the situation. They were also recipients of a remake against CLG just a month ago due to a bug with the same champion. This isn’t the fault of TSM, obviously. But it is Riot Games' fault. It’s difficult to react when these kind of problems occur, but out of all the major game developers in esports, it seems to happen to Riot more than anyone else.
The most important issue with the remake is of course the pick and ban phase. RNG secured Lee Sin in the first draft, which then went over to TSM in the remake. TSM had taken Cassiopeia, which was then replaced with an Orianna when the champion was picked by RNG the second time around. The North American team took the innate advantage, essentially producing a fourth ban on a champion that the Chinese team had no doubt practiced with. But both teams lost out from having their pick and ban strategy revealed.
RNG were still able to come out on top even after being forced into a remake. The ramifications of this bug, however, extend beyond just one game. Aurelion Sol is now banned for at least two days of play, which is likely to have an impact on various teams in attendance that put hours of work into creating compositions that suit it, and the time spent learning the base mechanics of the champion itself.
CLG head coach Tony “Zikz” Gray is leading the charge of outraged players and coaches. It’s no secret that his mid laner Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun often picks Aurelion Sol, an option that is no longer available. His team faces off against Albus Nox tomorrow and ROX Tigers the day after, two games that could be vitally important to the final standings of the group. Undoubtedly, CLG won’t be the only team affected by the champion being disabled, and unfortunately all they can do about it is write off the hours spent practicing that specific team comp or champion and work up new ideas.
This is the World Championship: $2 million is on the line for teams, and it's the pinnacle of competition in League of Legends. This is what the players work day after day for, and it’s being tainted by some faulty coding. This kind of thing simply doesn’t happen in most other major tournaments. CS:GO matches at a major don’t suffer from bugged weapons, forcing remakes and disabled rifles. Dota 2, a very similar game to League of Legends, doesn’t suffer from this issue at almost every major tournament.
So what's wrong with League?
According to Zikz’s Twitter, he’s been sent information by fans recreating the bug. So how on earth was this not something picked up before the champion made it onto the world stage?
Now, Riot have no choice but to disable the champion for the rest of the tournament. Leaving it open on certain days and closed on others would be the exact opposite of the "competitive integrity" that the company says it values most. This champion should not be seeing competitive play until these game-changing problems are addressed. And it should be vigorously tested to ensure the same problem doesn’t rear it’s head again.
A mark has already been left on the 2016 World Championships, but it doesn’t have to overshadow the entire tournament. Any team who doesn’t have Aurelion Sol in their arsenal now have a slight edge, but the players and teams in San Francisco have more than enough about them to counteract the problem.