Today, the plan was simple. I decided that while my colleagues sit in press conferences and write whatever articles best capture the moment, I would post up and watch the League of Legends Championship Series 2021 Championship Grand Finals between 100 Thieves and Team Liquid with the biggest streamer on Twitch — Ludwig Ahgren.
I made this decision while scrolling through Twitter on Aug. 27 when Riot Games dropped the news that some of the biggest entertainers in the world would co-stream the largest LCS event of the year. Now, this wasn’t the first time Riot had partnered with some of the internet’s best entertainers for LCS finals. I still have a vivid memory of dozing off in the middle of summer finals in 2018 and waking up to Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp bumping brains on the analyst desk with the likes of Joshua “Jatt” Leesman and Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman, all in a tank top.
Now, I don’t know Ludwig personally, so there was no real way I could know for sure how much he knows about League. But as someone who has spent plenty of time on his stream and played against his Fiddlesticks in front of more than 50,000 people, let’s just say I was ready to have a good time.
The content we deserve
Before getting too deep into this, it’s probably good to disclose that I’ve been no-lifing League since 2010 and haven’t finished a season higher than Plat 1. I’m a dirty Akali main who has sunk so many hours into being mediocre at this video game that if it wasn’t literally my job to watch and write about League, many people close to me would be seriously questioning my life choices. So, unlike some people in Ludwig’s chat, I didn’t come to flame the guy for not being an expert on the game.
If anything, as someone who has watched LCS content since it became a thing, I was pumped to hear someone spice things up in an interesting and funny way. Anyone who knows Ludwig knows that if you give this man a camera and a mic he can stream himself doing his taxes and make it look like Wrestlemania. And speaking of taxes, when I hopped into the stream, he was watching some chess and in the middle of explaining something about United States income tax law to his chat.
Yeah, I’m lost on that one too, but it gave me a pretty good taste of what I was about to get into. To be honest, I was curious about the full context, but before I could hunt down the full clip after seeing it live, the games were about to start and I didn’t want to miss anything.
The peoples’ LCS analyst
Before launching the broadcast, Ludwig reminded chat that friend of the stream, fellow content creator and self-proclaimed washed up 2200 elo League of Legends boomer Nathan “Stanz” Stanz was going to show up and lend some of his knowledge to the co-stream. But you know you’re getting the full “Ludwig x LCS” experience when his chat has to let him know he’s not using the special Riot-provided clean feed of the official broadcast.
The time between champion select kicking off in Game 1 and Stanz’ arrival was basically just Ludwig stalling for 15 minutes. It was total pandemonium and I loved every second of it. Notable moments included Ludwig getting called out on his analysis by QTCinderella and giving his interpretation of both teams’ player handles. Ludwig also got chat up to speed with a brief masterclass on the rules of League that was actually very well-put and easy to understand for the average viewer. In a scene full of armchair Twitter analysts and high-elo know-it-alls, trust me when I say it was refreshing to listen to someone talk about League in a down-to-earth manner. I mean, who’d want to gatekeep a videogame, right?
By the time Stanz arrived (with gifts, to boot!) 100 Thieves were getting ready to seal the deal on Game 1. Still, it didn’t take me long to realize how much I loved this duo. Stanz was an absolute saint, sharing his knowledge and answering whatever questions Ludwig may have had, especially when it came to certain champions and team comps. Since the series ultimately ended 3-0 and the rest of the games were relatively one-sided, they’d basically watch each game all the way through, riff off each other during the match and dive into chess, chat about random topics or pull up a video or two in between.
Obviously, Ludwig’s community encompasses a ton of different gaming communities, not just League of Legends, so it made sense that he’d mix it up in between. That way there was a little bit of something for everybody.
Both Ludwig and I learned a lot during these games. For example, Ludwig learned what sound Alistar makes and which objectives make for the best “deez nuts” joke setups, and I learned that Stanz’ favorite champion is Leona because he “loves strong women.” I can respect that because I’m a Leona fan, too, and I also think she’s quite strong. By the time the third game rolled around, it was pretty clear the series would end in 100 Thieves’ favor, so the conversation slowly shifted toward more pressing topics like LCS viewership numbers and Hasan’s latest tweets before the co-stream came to its full conclusion.
10/10, would bail on work again
Until today, I’d seen every single LCS final on the official broadcast, so I had a blast chilling with Ludwig and Stanz in chat while my colleagues picked up my slack. I wasn’t able to attend finals in New Jersey due to the live event’s cancellation in the interest of safety, and I can confidently say this was the most unique viewing experience I was going to get without being crammed into the Prudential Center with 19,000 strangers.
Funny enough, some of my favorite moments from the stream actually happened when Ludwig wasn’t on camera. Stanz explaining that 100 Thieves should lose because it’s not fair to be both the strongest and coolest LCS org and breaking down how 100T’s “big brawler” comp and Liquid’s “sneaky stinker” comp were supposed to play out were major highlights.
Still, while Ludwig may not be a subject matter expert and he may not have the cleanest Fiddlesticks (his Thresh is godlike, though!), he knows how to hold a crowd’s attention. As a pretty regular viewer of his content, I can say that Ludwig watchers that maybe aren’t the biggest League fans got the same chaotic content they know and love while LCS fans who stumbled into the stream were left wanting more.
With all of the noise on Reddit and social media about the “right way to play” League of Legends, especially in a region like North America, the community deserves more creators that are willing to share in the game they love while meeting them where they’re at. Maybe it’s a novel concept, but games are supposed to be fun, and anybody who wants to should be able to just kick back, take off the Reddit analyst cap and enjoy watching a match.
After the series wrapped and 100 Thieves rushed to lift their first LCS trophy, Ludwig aptly summarized his thoughts on the series.
“You know what the worst part about this is?” Ludwig said. “Nadeshot’s tweet is gonna happen but I’m gonna have to see his goddamn NFT profile picture.”
Welcome to the LCS, Ludwig. Your co-stream was a breath of fresh air and, hopefully, this isn’t the last time League fans see you making LCS content in an official capacity. And to my boss who won’t read this until he returns to work Monday morning: what are you going to do, fire me?