A new era of NCAA competition began last weekend for Augusta University as the Jaguars opened Peach Belt play in the College League of Legends series, an eSports competition that represents the evolving nature of collegiate sports.
“It’s exciting to see the team play their first competitive match together,” said Zack Wright, competitive sports coordinator for Jaguar Campus Recreation. “To see these players, who didn’t know much about one another a couple weeks, come together as a team in such a short time is awesome.”
The Peach Belt Conference is the first NCAA conference to compete as part of the College League of Legends season.
Here’s the basics: There are five people on the team. Those five people, called Summoners, work together to fill five roles, or positions, on the map, including Top lane, Jungle, Mid lane, Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support. Each person creates his or her Summoner name to use in battle. Each summoner chooses a champion, for instance Morgana or Tristana, though there are over 100 of these champions a summoner can choose to represent them in battle. These champions have a variety of different skills they can use to take out enemy champions and their Nexus, or base of operation. The ADC and Support players fill the bottom lane section of the map, called Summoner’s Rift. The winner of the match is the team who wins the best of three games by destroying their opponent’s Nexus.
The team’s first match was Friday, Feb. 2, when the Jags faced Francis Marion. The team, led by Aaron “filiméala” Chestnut brought home victory in Game 1 behind the strong play of Diem-Anh “Relocated” Vo’s play in mid lane as the champion, Morgana, and Caleb “calebthakilla” Rush’s ADC champion, Tristiana, in bot lane. Combined, they racked up 14 of the team’s 21 kills.
“We played really strong in the mid and bot lanes to get good lane pressure and vision in their jungle,” Chestnut said. “The vision allowed us to coordinate our attacks when their ADC and mid champs were playing too aggressively.”
While the Jaguars dominated FMU in Game 1, Game 2 was much closer. FMU banned Tristana and Morgana in Game 2 taking them out of the game and forcing Vo and Rush to choose new champions to play. Vo chose Lux, Rush picked up Kog’Maw. Together, they combined for 17 kills leading the Jags into the FMU base and taking out the Nexus to bring home 2-0 victory for Augusta University.
On Saturday, Columbus State University came calling and handed the team from AU its first defeat. The first game was a grueling fight that lasted more than 45 minutes. In Game 2, Tae Min “Pompeii” Lee made his debut as the team’s ADC choosing to play as the champion, Varus, and doing his best to carry the team to a win with several kills. But in the end, it wasn’t enough, with the Cougars taking the win two games to none. While the team lost, Chestnut says it was a learning experience for the rookie squad.
“We know the mistakes we made on all fronts,” he said. “We’re going to take this week to regroup, go over the replays from both matches and target the areas we gave up the game to the other team. We’ll be back stronger and ready for Georgia College Friday night.”