After cruising through the regular season with an 11-1 record, DePaul’s League of Legends esports team is the top seed for the upcoming BIG EAST playoffs, set for March 17.
DePaul plays Seton Hall at 12 p.m., with the winner meeting the winner of the other semifinal later in the day. The winner and runner-up will both earn berths to the League of Legends College Championship Play-in in April, with a chance to reach the League of Legends College Championship in early summer.
The Blue Demons opened the spring season with victories over Seton Hall, Marquette and Providence in January, before besting St. John’s in February and Villanova in March all by 2-0 scores. The lone setback came against Butler in late February, with each team claiming one victory each in the two-match contest.
DePaul finished second in the inaugural BIG EAST Esports Invitational last spring and is anxious to make up for that finals loss.
“Our goal is first,” says sophomore Brandon Son, the DePaul League of Legends team manager. “Despite our success in the regular season, we aren’t underestimating any team because we know anything can happen in the playoffs. We feel confident right now, but we know the other teams will be prepared and ready to play.
Competing for the Blue Demons are freshmen Kamil Gebis and Lee Te, and juniors Hank Ha, Sam Ishaq, Conor Miller and Nate Vicencio.
“Since the regular season ended, we've practiced more than we ever have and have also been working on team synergy. Our communication as a team was sound during the regular season, and we used each match as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and locate our strengths,” Son says.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game with five players per team. Matches are usually 30 to 45 minutes each, with one team needing to win two of three matches to claim victory.
Esports, or competitive video gaming, has exploded in the last five years, resulting in an industry that's heading towards the billion-dollar mark and sees an estimated 165 million people around the world watching at least once a month according to a Newzoo global Esports market report.
Around the country, more than 100 universities field varsity teams, with DePaul's Loop neighbor, Robert Morris University Illinois, fielding the first varsity program in the country in 2014.
For more information on esports at DePaul, email email@example.com or follow @DePaulEsports on Twitter.
2019 BIG EAST League of Legends Season
Awards & Honors
Week 1 MVP: Sam Ishaq
1. DePaul (11-1)
2. Villanova (8-4)
3. Butler (8-4)
4. Seton Hall (7-5)
5. St. John's (5-7)
6. Providence (2-10)
7. Marquette (1-11)
DePaul 2, Seton Hall 0
DePaul 2, Marquette 0
DePaul 2, Providence 0
DePaul 2, St. John’s 0
DePaul 1, Butler 1
DePaul 2, Villanova 0
12 p.m.: DePaul vs. Seton Hall / Butler vs. Villanova
Finals will follow 15 minutes after the conclusion of the second semifinal