DePaul defeats St. John’s 2-0 at the Big East “League of Legends” Conference, heads to College Championship


(Andrew Hattersley | The DePaulia)

FILE-An esports player’s screen during a “League of Legends” match.

Amid waves of minions and powerful monsters, two teams of five collided on the battlefield with one goal: victory. The teams, their abilities honed after countless hours of practice, battled it out for glory. 

Their objective: the opponent’s shining Nexus on the other side of the battlefield, guarded by everything from turrets to members of the rival team. Destroying the Nexus meant victory and the title of champions, but required careful strategizing and teamwork to pull off. 

All the while, commentators gave a play-by-play and analysis of the battle as spectators watched in real time. 

Equal parts fantasy battle and sports match, this was the final round of the Big East “League of Legends” Conference.

After defeating St. John’s on April 10, DePaul’s “League of Legends” team has been crowned the Big East Conference champions and will be heading to the College “League of Legends” Championship. 

The team, which consisted of team captain Joel “Reaper” Alvarez, Ryan “rzayers” Ayers, Kamil “Kamcha” Gebis, Tyler “kingamazin” Kujawa and Angel “Zerch” Vargas, defeated St. John’s 2-0. 

Sixty-one students from nine different schools competed for the title of Big East Conference champions. Teams from Butler, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova participated in the conference, which started in January.

This victory closed out a spring conference filled with highs for DePaul, which has been on a six-week winning streak prior to the final round, defeating Villanova, Connecticut, Butler, Providence and St. John’s in the regular season before moving onto the playoffs.

Following the regular season, the top four seeded schools competed in the semifinals. First seed DePaul triumphed 2-0 against fourth seed Marquette on March 27, securing their spot in the finals against St. John’s.

“[DePaul] played really well,” shoutcaster and esports specialist Jake “supermancasting” Morey said. “What was curious to me about their evolution through this spring was that I look back to previous seasons of the Big East Conference: They’ve always been a top four team and they’ll make playoffs, but this is the first time they’ve made it all the way.” 

Morey commented on half of DePaul’s regular season and both playoff matches. “St. John’s has always been the de facto No. 1 team in this conference, so it was quite a journey to see DePaul make quite a run and end up stealing away this first seed.”

While the final round of the Big East 2021 “League of Legends” Conference was a best-of-three games match, DePaul only needed two games to secure their spot as the Big East Champions against second seed St. John’s. 

DePaul played aggressively in the first round, with players like Kujawa and Gebis picking up kills throughout the match against the players of St. John’s. While St. John’s put up a fight in the first game, DePaul ultimately took game one after a final teamfight that ended with a double kill for Vargas.

Game two was much closer, with St. John’s able to turn the tide in their favor after an intense fight with DePaul 30 minutes into the game. It looked as if St. John’s could possibly have a comeback after leveling the playing field, but DePaul bounced back after a few minutes, seizing victory from St. John’s.

Morey and fellow shoutcaster Stanley “GreyHart” Barker featured Kujawa in an interview after the final game. His overall performance in the conference was consistently high, ending the playoffs with the highest kill/death/assist ratio (KDA) and the most kills, according to the 2021 Big East Conference Battlefy page. Barker and Morey named him the best player of the season due to his performance.

Though the Big East championship is over, it is not the end of the season for DePaul’s “League” team just yet.

As the champions of this tournament, DePaul will be heading to the College “League of Legends” tournament in May, where they will face off against 31 other schools for the title of 2021 College Champions.

Courtney James, the director of Student Involvement and the supervisor of student organizations such as the esports teams and community, is excited to see DePaul at the tournament in May.

“This ‘League’ championship has been a goal for this team for a long time,” James said. DePaul’s “League” team has participated in the Big East competitions since 2018, but this is the first time they have won the Big East spring championship. “I’m excited they captured the Big East championship this year and even more excited that they’re going to have this opportunity to compete against other schools nationwide. We have a really quality program and a quality team so the fact that this group gets to compete is really exciting for us.”