About Summoning Insight
Guests from League of Legends esports join the podcast every week to give fans the latest insight on games, narratives, and news from around the world.
The 2023 League of Legends World Championship has ended with T1 and Faker's fourth title by beating a lifeless Weibo Gaming. Considering that Zeus, Keria, and Gumayusi are now free agents, what is the legacy of this iteration of T1's roster from their past two years of play together? Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians suddenly exited the LCS, leaving the league with 8 teams for next season. Thorin and Monte discuss the ramifications on the LoL and broader esports ecosystem as a result of these moves, as well as the unfortunate plight of the players promised spots on these rosters. The free agency window officially opened on November 20th, which means it's time to rampantly speculate about the future of the LCK and LPL considering the huge number of elite players not yet contracted for the 2024 season.
The show begins with reactions to the semi-final matches and an in-depth breakdown of the high-level series played between T1 and JDG, ending the latter team's attempt at completing the first Golden Road in League of Legends history. Thorin and Monte preview the finals and discuss how Weibo might hope to defeat the T1 juggernaut in a meta the Korean team has defined, but the opportunity appears slim. They chat about the variety of roster moves rumored for LCS and LEC teams, including G2's former members regrouping under Heretics' banner.
This week, we break down all four of the quarter-final match-ups at the LoL World Championship and debate T1's chances at ending JDG's bid to complete their journey on the Golden Road. BLG should easily beat Weibo en-route to a berth in the finals, but if the series is close does this spell doom for an exciting end to the tournament? The question of the Dade Award looms as Tarzen turns in an unforgiveable performance, and Monte and Thorin contemplate if there should be a winner this year. With another GenG performance at the international level, the guys discuss if this is the end of the Chovy/Peanut partnership that yielded three domestic titles but collapsed at two Worlds and an MSI.
Worlds playoffs have arrived with the quarterfinal match-ups starting this week and you've got Monte and Thorin to preview each of the four match-ups. Fans have worked themselves into a tizzy about the performance of G2 and NRG, so it's time to bust some myths concocted on social media and address logical fallacies about these two teams' tournament runs. G2 released their entire year of scrim results, but it this a good look for the org?
We've got a few bangers to start off the second stage of the Swiss at the World Championship, particularly KT vs LNG and T1 vs BLG. JDG's performance has been marvelous, but has LNG shown the glimmers of how to beat them in their three recent, close series? Team Liquid's uniquely tragic performance underscores a disappointing Worlds run for Western teams, but thanks to the Swiss format we might still see one of Fnatic, Cloud9, or NRG qualify for the bracket stage. G2 has proven their mettle and deserves a quarterfinal match, with only the minor hurdle of NRG remaining. Would it be Summoning Insight without a little complaining about formats? No, it would not.
The new format for Worlds Play-Ins has already delivered a much more exciting and robust competition in the early stages of League of Legends' marquee event, but Monte and Thorin still dread the upcoming Swiss format due to poor seeding and unavoidably wacky results. Our hosts discuss each of the match-ups from the first round of Swiss, and what fans can reasonably expect from the performance of each of the 16 teams.
This year's MEGA PREVIEW episode of Summoning Insight has landed! Guests galore join the show to talk about all major regions and many of the minor ones, making sure you'll be informed heading into the 2023 World Championship in League of Legends. Our featured guests are: Max "Atlus" Anderson (LCK caster), Alex "Nymaera" Hapgood (LPL analyst and LJL expert), Tom "Carix" Newing (VCS caster), Lucas "Maestro" Pierre (Furia head coach), Thomas "Thinkcard" Slotkin (NRG head coach, and Dylan Falco (G2 head coach).
The LEC season is finally over after a slow, extended grind through the season finals and, surprise, G2 lifts the European trophy once again. Monte and Thorin discuss their expected victory as well as Fnatic's surprising resurgence with Wunder coming in as a last-minute substitute. The LEC appears to be raising the minimum age of players to 18, but why? Does this mean that they have secured new betting or alcohol sponsors? After many promises from Riot about using Dash for content and VALORANT hosting, it appears to have all been lies now that we can reflect on the amount of work he received over the course of 2023. Is this an ill omen for Riot casters in NA?
Evil Geniuses' embattled CEO Nicole Lapointe Jameson steps down from her position after months of controversy surrounding her handling of Danny's mental health crisis and numerous articles revealing her incompetence in a leadership position. Monte and Thorin discuss the amusing email sent to all EG staff members at her departure, including an outrageous line that she is the "Warren Buffett of esports." LEC finalizes the teams that will be sent to the World Championship with BDS tagging along to face Golden Guardians in the Worlds Qualifying Series. Is there hope for Europe and was their promise shown in the LEC Season Finals so far?
Famous streamer Ibai might be paying 3 million Euros for player salaries and other costs to prop up KOI, whose ownership is struggling to make payments to staff and Riot for their franchise slot. Gabby Durden announces that she will not participate in the LCS next year, to a mixed reaction from fans who enjoyed her interviews and hosting but criticized her casting. The LCS leadership engaged in a bizarre interview with Travis Gafford in which they revealed they reveal their ridiculous goal is to draw more non-domestic viewership like the LCK, with Monte and Thorin here to reveal the difficult reality that impedes their vision. They discuss the LCK playoffs/regionals, the latest on the LEC Season Finals, and more.
LCK playoffs have become surprisingly exciting with the resurgence of T1, and now it feels like anyone's bracket between T1, Gen.G, and KT. Can any of the Korean teams counter JDG's style at Worlds? Monte and Thorin discuss the reasons that JDG has yet to drop a single bo5 this year and theorize how the pre-tournament favorites might be toppled. The LCS playoffs have exposed numerous flaws in North America's play, leading our hosts to ask when we last saw a playoffs this bad considering the number of throws and blown leads. EG's rapid exit in spite of their regular season ranking exposed them as fraudulent, but it's not clear that Cloud9 or Golden Guardians will fare much better on the international stage.
A healthy roasting of Summoning Insight's nemeses kicks off this week's episode, with more hilarious social media hijinks from Evil Geniuses' staff drawing continued attention on Danny's disappearance. LPL crowned JDG as back-to-back champions in 2023 and the rest of the Chinese Worlds contenders have been decided, so Monte and Thorin break down the teams who will compete in Korea in October. TSM has allegedly played their last game in LCS and somehow Summoning Insight managed to outlast the once-popular American team. Surely, NRG can't pull off a third upset in a row to lock in a place in the LCS finals, right?
With the end of the LEC's Summer Split and the upcoming Season Finals, Thorin and Monte dive into whether this year's new format has been a success and the changes that need to be made before 2024. The LCK off-season looks insane this year, with players such as Kiin, Canyon, Showmaker, Chovy, and many more stars with their contracts expiring. What super team rosters will be possible to assemble next year in Korea. The LPL playoffs have reached the finals and JDG looks like a lock to win, but the races in LCS and LCK are not so sure and merit in-depth discussion. Faker is back and T1 already looks better, but formidable opponents stand in his way, including a revitalized HLE with their new jungler Grizzly.
LPL playoffs have reached the double-elimination stage and fans are being treated to some of the best League of Legends in the world. JDG looks to defend their title and seem like the heavy favorites, but can LNG, BLG, or TOP put up a fight and steal the crown? In spite of better-than-expected play from Excel, G2 still should comfortably win the LEC with some adjustments to their strategy, which Monte breaks down. KT vanquishes GenG to claim the number one position in the LCK rankings as they look to continue their massive win streak straight into the playoffs in two weeks' time. Rumors persist that Riot is discussing a possible merger of LCS and CBLOL alongside a move outside of Los Angeles, and the guys insist in would be in the best interest of the competitive scene to proceed.
What does it mean for Faker's legacy after seeing T1 play without him? Is the collapse of his team indicative of the essential strength of his leadership in game or a lack of motivation from his teammates given the circumstances. Substitute players abound with Bible, Spirax, and APA coming in for Dplus KIA, FlyQuest, and Team Liquid, and Monte and Thorin are here to discuss the impacts of these roster moves. The guys also chat about the upcoming LEC group stage and a random Apex Legends' caster's hot take on the value of casting.
T1 announced that Faker will sit out for at least two weeks with an arm injury, but how much will that affect his team's performance before LCK playoffs? The LPL displays a dazzling level of mechanical talent, which Riot has slowly optimized the game toward with new champions and patches, leading the right into China's wheelhouse as they look poised to dominate a weak field at Worlds. LCS viewership was lower than Brazil's CBLOL in the Spring Split and the gulf appears to be widening for Summer, leaving North America in a perilous position moving forward. Vitality's Summer draws to a close in a somehow even more disappointing fashion than the other splits this year, with Monte and Thorin giving a eulogy to the superteam.
Rumors swirl that all major regions, LCS, LCK, and LPL, will be changing their formats next year to accommodate an additional international event, which sounds like a return to the League of Legends circuit from ten years ago. Fnatic's additions of Trymbi and Noah seem to have helped with the longstanding synergy issues between Humanoid and Razork, but will this new bot lane allow them to take the LEC title? JDG is a juggernaut and should be the favorites to win Worlds in almost any scenario, especially as they tore through the TOP Esports last week. Thorin and Monte discuss what makes them so strong and if any teams from the LCK can currently compete with the LPL's best.
All the major regions in League of Legends are up and running, so it's time to check in on the general level of play at the start of summer with LPL as the clear leader. Teams in LCS and LEC look poor at the moment and the LCS' viewership is hitting an all-time low, so it may be a rough Worlds for the West in 2023. Monte and Thorin chat about the upcoming telecom war in LCK and why fans should have hope that KT can finally beat T1, as well as the possibility of an upset by Dplus over GenG. They also discuss which teams might be currently overperforming, such as Team Liquid, Heretics, and Evil Geniuses, and why they expect those teams to fall back to Earth.
Harris Peskin, attorney at ESG Law, comes on the show to finalize the discussion of the LCS player walk-out and debate whether the players themselves have taken too much money to make the league sustainable. They also discuss the possibility of unionization and salary caps for the professional players, which may be the only path forward to responsibly continue the LCS. The teams appear to have received the worst pain from the bursting of the esports bubble, so what will they need to do to survive?