You may not know of University of Toronto Mississauga’s League of Legends (LoL) team and players, but that might change in the near future.
UTM is one of 24 Canadian schools out the 374 that partake in the North American collegiate tour known as College League of Legends (CLOL) run by the game’s developer Riot Games. LoL is a five versus five Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game that has grown and expanded into a worldwide competitive scene.
Despite not being as big as some of the other programs, UTM esports head Kristian Mendoza notes that they can still keep pace with them.
“We’ve almost beaten teams that have a complete esports infrastructure, universities like Harrisburg (Pennsylvania),” said Mendoza to the Toronto Observer. “Last year we went 3-2 against them and got an invite to an invitational down in the States. We were only one of two Canadian teams that were invited to such a tournament.”
This aforementioned series was a big step forward for the program.
The 3-2 loss to Harrisburg University occurred in the quarterfinal of the East Conference playoffs. The Storm went on to finish second in their conference and placed top four in the College Championship, nearly taking down such a strong opponent will provide confidence to the UTM program heading into the upcoming season.
Mendoza says their goal moving forward is still the same, regardless of their performance in the previous school year.
“I think that our goal is always to win CLOL,” said Mendoza. “I think for our players, a lot of them have been competing since their first year (of university), so I know a lot of them started out in the B Team and are now working their way up to the main roster.
“They have big aspirations to make something out of themselves and make their name known within the collegiate ecosystem. They really want people to know and recognize their names and to have their own legacy when they graduate.”
One of these such players is Ibrahim “Arcadian Proxy” Arif, who will look to turn heads on the main roster this season.
This lofty goal demands high expectations and responsibilities of the players.
“Our staff really focuses on overall synergy and we have expectations of our players to be keeping up with the meta,” said Mendoza. “If they can’t play certain picks, it’s their responsibility to learn how to, and to coordinate with their teammates.
“Whether it’s duoing and learning new champions or trying to adapt to meta changes, it is really an expectation that they take their roles as esports athletes seriously.”