There won't be any major League of Legends action at PAX Australia this year, since Riot and the community is a little focused on the group stages of the world championships. But when those wrap up at the end of the month, LoL's collective attention will refocus to Melbourne's Margaret Court Arena for the International Wild Card All-Stars tournament.
For the uninitiated, it's a tournament featuring players from all over the world, drafted into region-specific teams by fans through polls. Australia's team got announced today and, as it turns out, League of Legends in this country is just like cricket.
It's a remark on the selection process. Our national team — which is actually Oceania's team, although Australia dominates the region by some considerable distance and South East Asia have a team of their own — is heavily dominated by Sydneysiders, with NSW taking up 4 of the 6 slots on the roster.
It's not just the level of representation, but the spots played as well, with the NSW players filling up the Top Lane, Mid Lane, AD Carry and one of the support roles. With the Australian team's jungler being filled by a Victorian, that means the majority of screen time featuring the national LoL squad will be entirely focused on players from the East Coast.
If you think back to the last few decades of Australian cricket, it's pretty similar. The captaincy for Australia's Test and one day squads has largely been held by someone from the Blues. Outside of Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Allan Border, and (unfortunately) Shane Watson have all lead their country in the Test arena.
Ponting's era of captaincy in ODI's has been longer than Clarke and Steve Waugh combined, although the national team at that time has also been stacked with a high degree of New South Welshman (the Waugh brothers, McGrath, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin as a reserve keeper until he took over from Adam Gilchrist, Clarke, Watson, MacGill for a short period and Brett Lee coming to mind).
The selection wasn't a great surprise though, with 4 of the 6 players from Chiefs (the reigning OCE champions) and Legacy (the reigning runners-up) being selected. Derek 'Raydere' Trang has represented Australia in just about every international wild card tournament that we've sent a team over for, so he was an automatic pick. Even Riot predicted Trang had a 55% chance of getting picked amongst all other players in his position.
But even if you go down the list of the likely 3rd and 4th picks for each of the positions, the ratio of NSW to Everyone Else is pretty high. That's the phase Australian eSports is in for the moment: it's all the east coast, and in League of Legends, it's Sydney all the way. (You'd hope the team puts their front foot forward in a more convincing manner than Sir Watson above, though.)