Ah, its the New Year! Is there anything that defines this time of year better than the spirit of celebration, resolution, and hope for the future?
The answer is yes, there is something much better: the Annual ESEX Awards 2013. Until someone starts giving out an award for best awards article (which would go to this one right here), there is literally no other place on the Internet you should be, so sit down, strap in, and prepare to have all of your opinions either confirmed or instantly proven wrong by our team of “experts”.
This year the race for the coveted ESEX Roster Swap award was closer than ever. There were a ton of amazing benches – Curse nearly grabbed their first trophy with the beautiful benching of Poebelter and Aphromoo less than a week after announcing them as part of their lineup, but in the end the award could only go to the team often called the “Da Vinci of Benching” – Counter Logic Gaming, who has turned making random roster swaps and player benches into a crazy, beautiful art form.
Whether it was benching Hotshot in order to pick up a guy who had never played top lane before, benching Aphromoo in order to bring Chauster back to Support, waiting a few months, and then benching Chauster to bring back Aphromoo, or best of all spending the entire year making jungle swaps (bringing their support to Jungle, benching him, bringing back former mid laner Jiji as jungler, benching him, picking up an upcoming NA jungler, benching him after one tournament, then picking up a jungler from Europe who is very likely to get benched), Counter Logic Gaming had a different kind of bench for everyone to enjoy and so it is no surprise they walk away with six copies of the award this year.
Runner Up – Velocity eSports swaps team and brand for large bag of cash
This award was a hard one to give. Not because Vulcun didn’t throw – but because they threw so damn well we didn’t know which game to pick as throw of the year. They managed to throw at Baron, throw at inhibs, and just pull off beautiful throws in general – they even WON a game they were trying to throw which is some kinda meta crazy reverse throw that only Vulcun could pull off. In the end all that matters it that nobody did it better or more consistently than the boys at Vulcun, so hats off to them!
Runner Up – Whoever threw Alphabet Soup at the wall to come up with XD.GG
Every two weeks on Reddit someone announces to the world that they just reached the momentous heights of Gold IV and are now ready to drop out of high school and take on the LCS. It takes true heroes like Locodoco to show that with a little hard work, dedication, practice, fairly high level of skill, a strong team surrounding you, a large number of fans, good name recognition, eSports connections in both the NA and Korean scene, and years of competitive experience you can ….. still crash and burn completely in this cruel cruel world of professional gaming.
But we’re sure you will be fine with none of those things! Drop out!
Runner Up – The entire NiP roster holy crap that’s a soul crusher
We all saw this one coming! The super entertaining fan favorites that people have affectionately nicknamed “Bobbyhankhill and NydusHerMain” were an unstoppable fan interaction juggernaut this year. There probably isn’t a League of Legends fan alive who didn’t spend his or her days checking out their streams, watching their game highlights, or aww’ing over their League of Legends bromance. Yes, truly, when it comes to Black/Asian bot lane duos in North America for 2013, there really was no other choice but these two superstars.
Runner Up – N/A
This award is meant to get everyone hyped up about a League of Legends feature that will definitely be coming out in the upcoming year
2011 2012 2013 2014! Riot knows what the fans want in their competitive eSport, so they wasted no time in announcing that Replays – a hotly anticipated feature that has long been a staple of their competitors games and in other eSports in general – will be definitely ready for us to enjoy in the coming months. Hell, the only thing we might be looking forward to more from this coming year is catching Osama the London Olympics the long reign of Pope Benedict the World Cup!
Runner Up – Everything else DOTA already has!
Nobody handled marketing and sponsorship in a more tasteful, respectful way this year than Team SoloMid. With so many thousands of dedicated stream viewers it would be easy for a lesser team to get in a little over their heads and sign a ton of deals with a variety of sponsors, promote them blatantly and haphazardly, but TSM remained cool and collected throughout the year, bringing forth only well thought out and cohesive marketing tie-ins that put even more established brands like Evil Geniuses to shame.
Runner Up – Genja / “Crazy Boris’s Old Fashioned Eyebrow Wax”
I… I guess this is what we going with? Really? Reddit? There’s nobody else? All right. Well uh… I mean Reddit had a great year for sure. Very… well… you know… active? And only one or two or ten crazy pitchfork witch hunts this year. Reddit also handled those Battle of the Atlantic matches with just the right tone of lighthearted rivalry. By “lighthearted” we mean nobody died (that we know of). All in all r/leagueoflegends was definitely better than the LoL community forums so that’s something. Congratulations for sucking less than all other options!
Runner Up – Do you really think we would pick Reddit if there was a runner up
That’s right! You! Not in the general sense, but literally you – the person reading this sentence right now. We’ve noticed your amazing play and it’s a damn shame that you have been unfairly trapped by the very real existence of ELO Hell. Why do guys like WildTurtle get all the luck with actual good teammates while true LCS caliber players like you are stuck with this support who keeps stealing your CS! Unfortunately, our ESEX Awards alone won’t be enough to spread the word, so keep telling all your friends about “this game I just played where I was like 3-0 in lane and then my stupid jungler kept missing smite and my bot lane was feeding”. They love stories like that. Only by constantly making sure everyone knows how unfairly saddled you have been with the statistical oddity of the worst teammates in the world can Riot finally get around to fixing this problem and getting you on the LCS team of your choice. Good luck!
Runner Up – Nobody comes close! We definitely aren’t pandering!
Well, there’s no surprise here. No other team came close to matching Team Siren’s insane undefeated streak in 2013. Their blistering, unprecedented 22-day run included no tournament losses to any team in North America, Europe, or China. Even the team considered to be “the best in the world”, South Korea’s SK Telecom, was unable to defeat Team Siren even once in a professional match.
In addition, the team sent a truly inspiring message to all aspiring professional gamers that that no amount of gimmicks, marketing, or flash can outweigh a team’s hard work, determination, and skill. For us, Siren losing this award category was not an option.
ESEX Award acceptance speech from Yoonie:
“We’d like to thank League fans for supporting us! Some may have expected a male dominated gamer community like this one to quickly devolve into cheap jokes and misogyny, but the League community really rose above it all. Without all your support we would have never made it to almost-diamond!”
Runner Up – Riot’s PR Team, whose “backpedal” strategy worked flawlessly during its LCS Contract tournament