One of the more unusual experiments in Australian esports is starting to take shape, with The Next Gamer selecting the ten finalists who will spend the next few weeks competing in gaming house for a League of Legends contract.
For the uninitiated, The Next Gamer is a locally produced reality show where a series of gamers will compete in various challenges, in-game and out, for a six month professional League of Legends contract. It's unusual for a number of reasons, partially because esports and reality TV shows often don't mix, but also because the winning player will then find themselves as a new puzzle piece in an established Australian team (LG Dire Wolves, in this case).
Earlier this week we broke the news that gamers would get the chance to compete for a contract with a top Australian League of Legends team, via a reality show broadcast on Twitch and YouTube. Today we can reveal that the winner of The Next Gamer will earn a contract with Dire Wolves, winners of the most recent split in the Oceanic Pro League.
The first few matches have been broadcast through Twitch and YouTube, and for the most part the competitors are still finding their feet. The final ten consists of nine guys and one female:
Beau ‘Beaunivia’ Casey-Lombardi
Fraser ‘FrÄ’ Donald
Matthew ‘Slammu’ McInerney
Jarod ‘Get Back71’ Tucker
Siobhan ‘Slae’ Franks
Alexander ‘Dian’ Civil
Eldin ‘Guts’ Skenderovic
Joel ‘JMR’ Reynolds
Eddie ‘Huey Dewey Louie’ Jiang
Liam ‘Bambi on Ice’ Jowitt
From a League perspective, the final 10 features two players for each position. That makes sense given that you need one of each for a League match, but it also means the show instantly has a series of direct rivalries (as those 10 players will be whittled down to 5 before the end).
The part that really intrigues me is what happens at the end of all this. League is a game that is so reliant on specialists, with players not switching lanes and roles as frequent as Dota or other high-level esports like CS:GO.
It'll be fun to see whether the dynamic of the show can equip players to hold their own in the Oceanic Pro League. An important detail we don't know yet, however, is precisely when the winner's contract starts and ends. The second round of playoffs for the OPL kicks off at 6:00PM AEST, starring Sin Gaming and Chiefs Esports. The winner of that will meet Legacy Esports the same time tomorrow, where the winner of that match will play LG Dire Wolves in the final on Tuesday.