There are a lot of questions about why LMQ Tianci iBuyPower, a Chinese pro League of Legends team, would move to the US and try to work its way up the ranks of the amateur scene and into the pros. But there’s no longer any question as to whether the team can succeed in the US, as it today turned in a 3-1 win over Team 8 at the North American Challenger League (NACL) season 2 grand finals, heading home with its first major American tournament win and $8,000 in prize money.
Of course, LMQ still has a long way to go; its victory at the NACL Grand Finals has not won it promotion into America’s top tier of play, the LCS. Whether or not LMQ can make it that far will be decided in another tournament, during which LMQ will need to beat at least one of the teams that finish at the bottom of the LCS ladder this spring.
But the team looks like it has a good chance to do that. It has already secured a first-round bye in that tournament by way of its dominant performance in the NA Challenger Series, which means that it will be one of four teams competing for three spots in the LCS—the team has got to like those odds. And its NACL victory today was just the cap on a dominant season in which LMQ went 18-4, giving it by far the best record in the 10-team league.
LMQ will certainly fancy its chances against Cloud 9 Tempest, the other amateur team to have earned a bye, and it will likely be the favorite against the struggling LCS teams XDG and Evil Geniuses, both of which appear likely candidates for relegation in the current standings.
For today, though, one hopes the team will take a moment to step away from its training to enjoy the fresh California air and celebrate its victory. LOMO.