(Image Credit: Chris Yunker)
For months, a number of University LoL teams have been competing for a spot in the 2018 College Championship. With eight teams making their way to the top, the tournament is ready to begin.
For those of you wondering, the format is as simple as can be: a single elimination quarterfinal between all of the teams, with a Bo3 format, followed by an identical semifinal/final in a Bo5 format.
The college level of play has made a name for itself as a high-action viewing experience with an enormous amount of optimistic playmaking and uncalculated risk taking that leads to a constant flurry of kills and objective taking.
Some pessimists see this fact as a reason to stay away from tuning into the college coverage, but the brighter of us recognize the great value in watching collegiate play. For the entire year, the professionals provide us with slow, methodical play that has been fine tuned to a science. The college teams, with their less perfected meta, provide a way to shake things up in between the LCS splits and take a break from all the play that's beyond the grasp of a solo queue warrior. It also represents future prospects for competitive League of Legends.
If that isn't enough of a reason to watch, I don't know what is.
Who to look out for
Let's go over the three teams a newcomer should make sure to watch out for this year.
#1) Maryville University
The defending champs that call themselves Maryville are the supposed SKT of the NA College scene. They've managed not only a previous championship the year before, but won the North Conference finals against the favored Columbia.
Seeded at #1, their rank exemplifies the vigor and confidence Maryville will have going into this tournament, and it will be a joy to watch it translate onto the rift. Though, they won't be without heavy competition.
#2) Columbia College
With their expansion in 2015, Columbia's eSports program become one of the best in the country, and is responsible for growing the team that you'll see as one of the favorites to win the championship this year.
As mentioned before, Columbia was defeated by Maryville in the conference finals recently, so expect a passionate match should they find themselves going head to head in the tournament.
#3) University of California
If you were excited to see 100Thieves steal the NA LCS season title as underdogs, you'll be crossing your fingers for California this year.
The university, which was the first D1 university to open up an eSports program, hasn't been in the championship since 2014 and are often pointed to as one of the weakest sides in the tournament.
Despite this, their roster, as described by RIOTTIZA, is "packed with talent" and they have the chops to cause a rowdy upset if not given enough attention.
Aside from that, all you need to know is the tournament runs from June 7th to 10th and will be streamed on Riot's very own twitch channel, so be sure to tune in and check out the chaos.