Cal League of Legends takes 1st conference loss against Arizona State

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Whether you play video games or not, you probably know what a “1v1” is: Two players going head to head in a fight, possibly with arbitrarily determined rules, probably to see who’s better. Well, do you know what it means to “run it down mid?” How do you feel when you’re “tilted”? What’s “inting”?

Esports comes with a vocabulary all its own. You don’t have to travel far to hear these linguistic innovations; speaking with almost any member of Cal’s Division I League of Legends team yields a conversation with plenty of slang. Whether good or bad, the players have a myriad of creative ways to express their thoughts.

Cal League of Legends suffered its first loss in week four of the 2020 College League of Legends West Conference, 0-2 in a best-of-three series against Arizona State. The Bears’ overall record now sits at 3-1.

With two weeks left in the regular season, Cal must win both its remaining matches in order to advance to the conference playoffs, as only teams with a record of 5-1 or better will advance to the second stage of the College League of Legends tournament. Cal is slated to face Oregon State in its upcoming game Saturday.

The tournament is played in a Swiss-style bracket, meaning that teams only play other teams with a similar record.

“Traditionally, like if you go 3-1, week five should be an easy team. (OSU’s) rank isn’t very high,” said marksman Martin “PricelessWombat” Xia. “As long as we don’t int or go huge tilt, we should easily win. The only teams we are kind of afraid of are the top three, which is ASU, UBC and UCI.”

“Inting” is short for “intentionally feeding,” or when a League of Legends player purposely starts trying to lose by giving the enemy team free resources. Over time, the term has lost its severity. It’s perfectly acceptable to type “Sorry, I’m inting” after making a mistake or to jokingly accuse friends of inting after they do something wrong.

Despite the loss against ASU, the team is optimistic about the remainder of the season. Multiple players commented on the team’s positive dynamic.

“I think a lot of our players are really wholesome, so it keeps the team environment pretty light even when we lose,” said Lawrence “eXyu” Xu, the team’s jungler. “Instead of getting frustrated and giving up and complaining, we actually try to take a step back and look at what we did wrong and how we can learn from it. So it’ll give us a higher ceiling for play, which is good.”

Outside of the official College League of Legends circuit, Cal has its eyes on an additional prize. The team will fly down to Southern California to play in a tournament at DreamHack Anaheim, a popular esports convention, competing against three other qualifying West Conference schools for a prize pool of $5,000.

Cal will have a live audience as the team plays against UC Riverside in the first semifinals match Friday at 9:30 a.m. The Bears have already faced the Highlanders once in 2020, beating them 2-1 in week three of the College League of Legends regular season.

“I’m really excited to play on stage. I think it’s always fun to just see the people you’re competing against and be able to compete in front of people,” said Xu. “Hopefully we put up a good fight, represent UC Berkeley well and make everyone proud.”

Julia Shen covers esports. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @yinglol.