Each week dozens of people make their way through blistering heat or biting cold to the EU LCS studio in Berlin to watch Europe’s best League of Legends players fight to become the best in the region. Some people attend once or twice, or even a few times throughout the course of a split. But there are a select few who go above and beyond, who hold a burning passion for the show and who those in the studio have come to know just as well as the players or casters on the show. We wanted to take a moment to highlight four of those groups of fans.
The Love Hurts Crew
You may not have heard of them, but you almost certainly have heard them. Anytime the Unicorns of Love play on the EU LCS stage the audience comes alive in a storm of pink energy, chanting out “U-ni-corns!” at every opportunity. With the distinction of being not only one of the most passionate groups of fans, but also being the only official League of Legends esports fanclub to be recognized by a government, the Love Hurts Crew live and breath the Unicorns of Love.
It all started when Bianca “LHC Raka” Piper decided to cosplay as a member of the Unicorns of Love at one of the regular weekly shows and gained attention from other UoL fans in attendance, including Lisa “TFP Karou” Heinrich. The two instantly bonded over their love for the team, and together with Bianca’s boyfriend Felix “LHC Wolfi” Wolf they met up each week to cheer on the Unicorns. Over time more and more UoL fans joined in, to the point where there were so many that a WhatsApp group was created to keep track of who was attending what game. This was the earliest incarnation of the Love Hurts Crew, and since then the fan club has grown to over 40 members from six different countries.
But why the Unicorns of Love in particular? Felix credits his affinity for the team to their chaotic playstyle, while Bianca admires that the team seemingly holds true the ideal of five friends playing the game together, rather than a large organization that splits its attention between multiple games. “It’s easy to scream their name”, says Max “The Unicorns Guy”, who, as the voice behind the booming chats that ring out through the studio and on the stream, is perhaps the most well known member of the club.
Though it’s clear the Love Hurts Crew are primarily concerned with the Unicorns of Love, they are often spotted at the studio on days that they aren’t playing as well. When asked what the EU LCS means to them Lisa replied without missing a beat, “It’s family. It’s such a huge part of my life. When I tell people I go to watch people play video games every weekend, they don’t understand. So I invite them to come with me, and if they don’t like it they never have to hear about it again. But every single one of them loves it and wants to come back again.”
The Unicorns of Love may have the biggest fanclub at the EU LCS, but they can’t compete with Roccat when it comes to having the most dedicated fan. If you have ever attended a show on a day when Roccat is playing you have surely seen Lukas, decked out in team-branded gear from head to toe, he is affectionately known in the studio as “Roccat Guy”.
Each week Lukas travels from his home in Hamburg - almost 300km away - to Berlin to watch his favourite team compete. Though it might seem like a long journey to make, it’s worth every second to him. His love for the team started as far back as 2010 when he began to use the Roccat brand peripherals, which he originally chose because the company originates in his hometown. Once Roccat entered the EU LCS in 2014 he found it an easy choice to decide on who to cheer for. Since then, the eighteen year old has attended as many of their matches as he can, and even has a special connection to the organization: in 2016 he was invited to visit the team and spend some time with the players.
Lukas wanted to take the opportunity to thank team Roccat for bringing him seven splits of joy, and hopes to one day realize his dream of watching them compete in a split finals and move to the World Championships.
Sophie and Alexandra
They may not cheer for any one team in particular, but Alexandra Loock and Sophie Davidek are undoubtedly two of the most dedicated fans of the EU LCS. In fact, the best friends from Berlin hold the distinction of having attended the most shows out of anybody, only missing a handful since their first time in Spring 2016. But they didn’t plan on becoming such dedicated fans, it was the atmosphere of the show that kept them coming back. “It’s a nice thing to get emotional about.” says Alex, “If you play a game and get frustrated it affects you a lot, but here you can let everything out and get emotional where you want. It’s also cool to meet people, especially friends and the professionals.”
For Sophie and Alex the LCS isn’t just entertaining, it’s a learning opportunity. “I learn quite a lot from watching the players and casters, especially because of the statistics,” says Sophie, “I really love the stats in the casting - you know more about why teams win or lose. You can try to use that knowledge in your own games.” But when stats don’t quite cover it, Sophie has another solution, “I just ask myself what would sOAZ do in this situation!”
Not only avid fans of the show but of the game itself, Sophie and Alex play together whenever work and other responsibilities allow them to. Alex in particular makes sure to use the knowledge she’s gained from the show in her games, often telling her teammates “You can’t be baited! You have to remember that your enemies are as bad as you! They aren’t LCS level!”
Rounding out our list is somebody who is perhaps better recognized on the various social media platforms he inhabits rather than at the live shows. Oskar “Yamazuya” Gruner is well known for his witty puns and deep industry insight, becoming one of the first and longest lasting faces of the EU LCS.
Having first started watching the LCS at the very beginning, back in 2013, Oskar has followed the show through all of its incarnations. As a native Berliner himself, Oskar began to regularly attend when the studios moved from Cologne to Berlin and quickly began to make friends with the pro players, casters, and other fans watching live. Though he doesn’t watch the show for any one team or player in particular, Oskar admits “I try to just be supportive of specific individuals - whether they be players like Jankos, Odoamne, or sOAZ - people I’ve grown to know and like as a person, or personality, or for their playstyle”.
Though he is most well known for being a prominent voice across social media, Oskar never planned for it to happen. “I didn’t plan on any of it, it all just sort of fell into place,” he says, “I just really enjoyed sharing my thoughts, feelings, emotions about the games that were going on, and they resonated with people.” Things culminated when his tweets began to be featured on broadcast, something that he credits to his clever wordplay.
When asked what it was about the EU LCS that kept him so engaged, Oskar took a minute to think. “I think it’s that there’s all these players coming together from all over Europe, with all these wealth and language and culture gaps, and it brings the fans together. It’s great, because it’s a melting pot, and the EU LCS embodies that.”