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All-Star

Meet The Fans: All-Star 2016 Barcelona

All-Star 2016 marks the event's much-anticipated return to Europe. Let’s meet the fans!

If the weather in Barcelona has a favourite team in this year’s All-Star event, it appears to be Team Fire 100%. December be damned, the sun is burning bright overhead, casting warm rays on fans milling around the grass outside the Palau Sant Jordi arena. Some people huddle in circles catching up with their friends while others test their skills in the various carnival games held in tents around the grassy plaza. We headed into the crowds to meet some of the Barcelona fans that would be soon be heading inside to cheer on their favourite League All-Stars.

Meet the Fans: Angel

Angel (“Akunin92”)

PLAYING WITH FIRE

When Angel (“Akunin92”), a native of Barcelona, heard All-Star was coming to his hometown, he was shocked. “I'm used to [League esports events] coming to Madrid or Tenerife… When I heard it was coming to Barcelona, I just put the money out immediately to buy the tickets.”
 
He’s been to the Palau Sant Jordi for concerts and sporting events – the Spanish rumba-rock group Estopa, Queen, even professional wrestling – and now he gets to see his favourite League players take the same stage. “I came for the funny game modes and the merch. I was going to look for some friends here and maybe speak a bit with the pros. And I want some big action!”

To make things even more exciting, two of his favourite pros – xPeke and Mithy – will be competing on Team Ice. “They're both Spanish and I like them a lot. Mithy is aggressive. I like most of his picks in LCS and xPeke because I've followed him since Season 2 and I knew that he was World Champion. I started supporting him on Fnatic and then he moved on to Origen so I followed him there.”

Despite the ice-blue Origen jersey he’s wearing and his longtime support for the Spanish pros on Team Ice, he’s cheering for the boys in red. “There are big Korean players and NA is always in the fight. It will be hard but I expect Team Fire to win this time.”

Meet the Fans: Maria

Maria (“Nullien”)

CRUNCH TIME

While most fans travelling to Barcelona for All-Star just threw some clothes in a suitcase, Maria (“Nullien”), a self-described “Shen one-trick-pony” hailing from Santiago de Compostela, had a harrowing amount of work to do to get ready. Just two weeks before the event she decided she wanted to cosplay as Bewitching Morgana.
 
“I decided to do this skin because when the Harrowing skins came out, I saw the Morgana one and I instantly fell in love with her,” Maria tells us. “It's a really pretty design with a lot of details and I like it so, so much. The next day I went to buy the fabrics and the next two weeks were madness. I had to go on a three-day work trip to Malaga during that time so I had to work pretty much all day, wake up early, go to bed late.”
 
Maria’s brother moved out of her family’s house so she happily took it over to use as a cosplay workshop. Every cosplay introduces new challenges and this one was no different. “It's the first time I've made wings so that was a first,” she says. “How to make the hat, the structure and things like painting the eye that's inside the plastic case. I had to learn how to make these puffy sleeves. I had to sew everything except for the corset, which I bought. So mostly the wings, I think I can do it better the next time, but I learned a lot from this one.”
 
So, Kayle cosplay incoming? “Maybe… or maybe not,” she says, laughing.
 
Being from Spain and knowing the passion of the local fans, Maria expects the event to deliver big thrills. “The Spanish crowd is awesome,” she says. “You're going to hear a lot of chanting, a lot of yelling, a lot of hype. Because the Spanish people are so passionate. For example, in June there was the Final Cup of the Spanish national division and there was a big stadium for the Spanish contenders and it was amazing. And this is much bigger so, if that was amazing, I can't even imagine what's going to happen here. And the Spanish casters are so good with hyping the crowd, I expect this year’s All-Star to be one of the best events ever!”
 
Meet the Fans: Juan

Juan (“madeinhell11”), wearing TSM shirt

TSM FAN CLUB

For Juan (“madeinhell11”) and his League teammates, All-Star 2016 might as well be The Bjergsen Show. “I watch all the NA LCS games,” says Juan. “Bjergsen, for me he's a god, he's amazing. If I meet him I want an autograph and I want him to teach me how to play Orianna… We're from Barcelona so it's a great opportunity to come here. We're all fans of Team SoloMid, they're our favourite team. Bjergsen's a legend!” Juan’s crew nods along in agreement.
 
Juan’s TSM shirt may be outnumbered by Fnatic and Origen jerseys in the mostly Spanish crowd outside the Palau Sant Jordi, but he’s not worried about being in the minority. Nobody gives him a hard time for cheering for an NA team over a local EU squad. “I have friends from all around the world because I play with them online,” he says, “so it's not a big deal.”
 
So what’s he looking forward to most about this year’s All-Star event?
 
“I've waited five months to come here and we're so excited,” he says, grinning. “It's not Worlds, but it's more funny and the best players are here. We've been waiting a long time for pro players to come to Barcelona. It's a good sensation.”
 
Meet the Fans: Sergi

Sergi (“Magikarp Fan”)

DINO MIGHT

The summoner name that Sergi (“Magikarp Fan”) selected gives away his Fnatic allegiance, but he’s no casual fan of FAN. He’s also got a Fnatic jersey personally autographed by his all-time favourite player YellOwStaR. “Fantic has been my favourite team since season 3 with the backdoor of xPeke,” says Sergi. “I really love YellOwStaR. It's sad that he has stopped playing League but it's ok. And sadly we're not going to see him at All-Star. He had the most votes on the website but couldn't make it in the end.”
 
Following in the footsteps of his favourite player, Sergi is a longtime support main, climbing to Plat III last season maining Janna and Thresh. He also plays Nautilus on occasion, which is why he decided to pick up a collectible statue of the Titan of the Depths. It was either that or a poster. He had a hard time deciding. “The posters are pretty cool,” he says.
 
He’s been playing League since season 2 around the time of Wukong’s debut. When asked about his goals for the season of ranked that’s just begun, he says, “I would like to stay in Platinum. It's gonna be hard I think. I haven't played my placements but I hope it's going to be ok staying in Platinum. I just don't want to get demoted to Gold. Just have fun with the game and play with friends.
 
“I’m still adapting to the plants and the new Katarina. But it's ok, I can understand these. I actually think it was harder to stop the old Katarina than the newer one. Now we can actually what she's doing rather than just spamming all the keys.”
 
Based on his answers, Sergi seems to have an optimistic outlook on just about everything, including the updated roster of his beloved Fnatic. His verdict on their chances in the upcoming LCS season? “It's a tough question,” he says, “because I’ve always loved Fnatic but I loved the season 5 team so much, I really liked Huni, Yellowstar, Rekkles, all those guys. But now there are so many new players. Fnatic can go on to win some games, it's going to be ok.”
 
Meet the Fans: Florencia

Florencia (“Riksia”)

CHEF'S SPECIAL

Florencia (“Riksia”) hails from Santiago, Chile, but she’d just finished an internship in France when she heard that All-Star 2016 was coming to Europe. Even though she didn’t have a travel buddy, nothing was going to keep her away.

“I was like, ok I'm done with my internship and I still have two months to go,” she says. “I heard about All-Star Barcelona and was like, I'm going there! There's no way I'm going back to my country without being there. I'm part of a little esports company back in Latin America South, but it's nothing compared to this. This is just another level. It's just amazing. Even though I know no one here, we have this little nerd connection that gets us all together right here in Barcelona, to watch these amazing guys play at a level we're not even near.”

When you hear the word ‘internship’ you might think of a beige office and spreadsheets, but Florencia interned in the kitchen of a French restaurant working as a cook. When the recent food skins came out, she had to represent. “I got the Barbecue Leona one and I wanted Butcher Olaf but I still haven't gotten it yet,” she says. “I play the game just for fun so I'm an all-rounder. I prefer mid but it always happens that support is the last pick so I play support a lot.”
 
She’ll be cheering for Bjergsen (“He’s my idol!”) at this year’s All-Star event. The Danish sensation has been her favourite player going all the way back to his early days on Copenhagen Wolves. Regardless of whether Bjergsen’s Team Fire prevails, she expects to have lots of fun. “Even though All-Star has adrenaline because it's a competition, it's all about mixing everyone in their regions with other players just for fun to have a good time, to get us the fans to have an amazing time.”
 
We hope all of the fans we met at All-Star Barcelona (and even the ones we didn’t) have an amazing time!