It’s the first live League of Legends tournament we’ve had in a while, and with a huge prize pool to boot.
Among the highlights of ESGS 2023 was the Empyrean Cup, the biggest League of Legends tournament in the Philippines. It’s been a while since League has had a significant presence in the country and the announcement of the tourney definitely drew some attention. Is Riot Games Philippines finally making a move when the League scene has all but faded away?
It certainly looks that way at first glance with the Empyrean Cup’s PHP 1,000,000 prize pool. That’s a staggering amount of money to put down on what many see as a dying scene but it’s also a good motivator to get players excited and to give League another shot.
The Empyrean Cup Champions
The Empyrean Cup wasn’t just a single big event, it had two online open qualifiers leading up to ESGS 2023. These qualifiers were up and running shortly after the tournament’s September 1 announcement and were quickly filled to max capacity. In total, there were 256 registered teams in the open qualifiers (128 teams for each) which shows that League may not be so dead in the Philippines after all.
From 258 teams, only eight emerged to play live in the playoffs at the World Trade Center. And of these eight, it would be Guardian’s Hive who would be victorious. They swept underdogs WE DOMINATE BOTSIDE in a clean 2-0 and took home the 500,000 Php grand prize. Guardians Hive looked absolutely unstoppable as they finished their entire tournament run without even dropping a single game.
Signs of Life for the Scene
There was definitely something in the air in ESGS as the crowd watched the Empyrean Cup unfold. If the number of teams in the qualifiers wasn’t enough, then the number of people coming over to watch some local pros play League should convince you that there’s still a pulse left in the Philippine scene.
Granted, it was all open seating so any curious convention goer could take a gander at what’s happening. But people still came by to watch — to cheer, gasp, and applaud for every gank, outplay, and victory that played on the big stage. The community never left. It’s still there, waiting for a chance to shine once again.
Kimi Salazar, Riot Games Philippines League of Legends Brand Manager, stated that the Empyrean Cup was only the beginning. She mentioned that the Philippines was an important market for the Asia and Pacific Region and that they have more in store for the future. If that’s the case, then we wish them the best of luck.
Hopefully, they’ll be able to elevate the Philippine League scene back to its former glory.
Banner image by Ramon Domingo.