The Microcosm of League of Legends Solo Queue’s Worst
When you think of League of Legends and the media culture surrounding such a phenomena, you may think of a couple things, like Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok iconic “What was that!” moment.
Or maybe, Choi “Insec” In-seok’s most well known mechanical play of all time, named after the legend himself.
Certainly, all those are excellent contenders for videos that capture the essence of League of Legends. I have one of my own I’d like to share, however:
“Reality Denial”, also known affectionately as “Malphite Doesn’t Do Anything”, is a four minute clip of two “friends” under the online pseudonyms Walton Simons and sweatypenisjuice enjoying some quality time together on League of Legends’ ranked solo/duo queue (maybe dynamic queue).
For sanity’s sake, they will be referred to as Walton and SPJ, respectively.
Since then, the video has been taken down and re-uploaded all across YouTube, but the original post on Reddit is still there.
It doesn’t take much to appreciate the video itself, but understanding the game itself will aid in delving into the psyche of these players. It’s a team-based massive online battle arena (MOBA) where a team of five players, each with specific roles (top, jungle, mid, adc, support) work together fighting another team of five players in a map known as Summoner’s Rift. Their goal? Kill the enemy, get objectives, and eventually hit the opposing team’s Nexus.
It’s no mistake that team-based is bolded; the very essence of a game like this is quite team-based. As such, it can be posited that League of Legends’ toxic community can be somewhat attributed to the fact that this game allows for heavy deflection of blame.
While other games like CS:GO and Valorant have some teamwork involved, the fact that you can spectate other players and it often comes down to individual gun-skill makes it harder to deflect blame.
In a game like Valorant, a teammate could whiff a clutch shot and lose their team the round, with the worst being some monetary infractions for the subsequent rounds. In League of Legends, one misplay could lose a person their lane, the objective, or the game, and it could happen at anytime.
Like most MOBAs, teammates constantly work (or don’t work) together to secure objectives, initiate plays/skirmishes, set up priorities in lane and hold freezes, etc. This all sounds fine and dandy until you realize you’re playing with four other players without voice chat, who have their own priorities of their own, are often not on the same page, and are already pissed from earlier games. As such, a team can often fall apart with just toxic communication.
They say there are two battles in League of Legends Solo Queue; the actual gameplay of fighting, and then the psychological fight to not lose their cool with their teammates. Often, the latter battle is lost first, causing the former one to follow suite.
Here’s a secret: no one really likes playing games they suck at. What they can do, however, is blame the four other players on their team as to the reason they are losing. In fact, this type of behaviour well known in the community; it’s known as:
This is a phrase commonly said before the game is over by the losing team’s members, using the jungler as a scapegoat as for why they lost. Hence the name: a “jungle difference”. The jungler is especially prone to this criticism since they are the most proactive in every lane, working around Summoner’s Rift to get their team ahead (or not).
This extends far beyond just blaming others, however; the whole idea is for the blame to not be on the person. Some players would go as far as to make ad hominem attacks towards others upon criticism, or shoot off threats of intentionally losing the game when faced with remarks they didn’t like.
However, when a person goes too far off the deep end, they start denying reality itself, just like SPJ does in the appropriately titled Reality Denial.
The video starts off like any video should; with a top lane fight that results in Walton dying, but able to set SPJ up with a first blood kill. However, ignoring Walton’s cries to “not go through,” SPJ makes the first mistake by staying too long under the enemy tower, dying and giving the enemy another kill, making it overall a negative for their team. Walton, rightfully frustrated, asks him why he did that to which he receives the excellent set of responses.
SPJ: “You’re an idiot.”
Walton: “You died! Why did you do that?”
SPJ: “You’re an idiot.”
Walton: “What the f*ck do you mean ‘I’m an idiot?’ You just walked through and died!”
SPJ: “It really doesn’t matter.”
Spoiler Alert: It does matter.
For the rest of the game, with this experience cemented in both of their minds, it goes about as well as expected. SPJ dies about five more times before the video ends.
After another failed play in the top lane where SPJ gets hit by the enemy turret, also known as “taking aggro”:
Walton: “You f*cking walked up and took aggro.”
SPJ: “No, no, that’s not what f*cking happened you idiot.”
Walton: “Then why did you die?”
SPJ: “You’re a f*cking idiot.”
At this point Walton realizes he isn’t playing with any normal human; he’s playing with the superstar top-lane SPJ, so he stops going top. However, the hilarity doesn’t stop just because SPJ is all alone now.
SPJ: “This kid is cocky as f*ck he built Sheen.”
Walton: “I mean, so long as you don’t die.”
SPJ: “Doesn’t really matter, if I die, he doesn’t f*cking do anything…”
Walton: “He’s about to kill you, again.”
“He doesn’t do anything.”
The iconic phrase is born.
A couple seconds later and evidently, to the surprise of no one, SPJ dies again to the enemy, a champion known as Malphite.
Simply put, in SPJ’s eyes, Malphite just doesn’t do anything, so he can keep dying to the Malphite that supposedly isn’t doing anything. Truly, SPJ bends reality to his will.
Walton: “Is he going to kill you again?”
Walton: “You look pretty dead to me.”
SPJ: “You realize he doesn’t do anything, right?”
SPJ goes on to explain to his friend here that despite dying due to taking damage from Malphite, he actually didn’t take damage and didn’t die.
SPJ: “You’re so f*cking dumb and oblivious to everything just f*cking shut your mouth!”
Walton: “What did damage to you, Michael?”
SPJ: “You’re a f*cking idiot.”
Walton: “What did damage?”
SPJ: “You’re a f*cking idiot.”
Well, now we know SPJ’s real name is Michael, which somewhat suggests they know know each other in real life. How they remained friends is a mystery; but I’m willing to take a guess and say they aren’t now.
The video ends on a great encapsulation on the push and pull of the dialogue between them. As SPJ gives up yet another death to the enemy Malphite, Walton, trying to push SPJ’s buttons now, starts this beautiful exchange that could be written in Shakespearean prose.
Walton: “Oop. He killed you.”
SPJ: “Yeah he’s hacking like a motherf*cker too.”
Walton: “I thought he didn’t do anything.”
SPJ: “He doesn’t.”
Walton: “How’d he kill you?”
SPJ: “He didn’t.”
How did he die? He simply didn’t.
Perfectly encapsulated in this video is nearly every solo queue teammate every player has encountered before, or maybe someone every player has become before.
To close this video out, here are some minor statistics on SPJ’s diverse and well-spoken vocabulary:
“You’re an idiot”: 8 times.
“He doesn’t do anything”: 7 times.
“What’s your point?”: 4 times.
“This kid is cocky as f*ck he built Sheen.” : An iconic 1.
Talk-backs to his mother: 2 times.
Lessons learned: 0 times.
There has been enough coverage of League’s ranked solo queue issues, notwithstanding the numerous issues with the game itself, which most likely have only gone on to put more fuel towards the toxic fire. Here are a set of excellent videos describing the conditions of one of North America’s most toxic online communities.
- Jason “dunkey” Gastrow — I’m Done with League of Legends
- Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani’s — The Sad State of League Solo Q
- Drew “Midbeast” Timbs — THIS IS HOW YOU FIX LEAGUE SOLO Q
While these are excellent top-down views of the abysmal condition of Riot’s game-mode and community, there is nothing more iconic and raw than being down in the trenches to experience it. That’s what Reality Denial is all about; it’s the raw energy of being in the thick of North American solo queue.
There’s having a bad game, and then there’s being Gold I, hard-stuck, 300+ games, and on a tilt streak.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Malphite doesn’t do anything.