League of Legends Worlds 2023 concluded over the weekend, with Korea's T1 claiming a historic fourth title. But while the team might have lifted the trophy together, the only prize that one member really wanted is something they can't have.
One of League of Legends' longest-running traditions is the creation of a collection of cosmetics inspired by the winners of each year's world championships. Each player earns a cut of the revenue from their skin, and the only catch is that their cosmetic has to be for a character they played at least once during the tournament itself.
Enter Keria, T1's support player, whose only goal (beyond lifting the trophy, I assume) was to get a skin for his favorite character, Lux. Putting to one side the fact that Lux has some of the most plentiful skins in the entire game (the current count is 17), Keria seems to have been pretty single-minded about his choice, should he win the tournament.
The catch, of course, is that he didn't get a chance to play Lux a single time. A quirk of the way in which LoL's pick-and-ban drafting system works means that Lux was never a high-enough priority pick for the team. Keria's lane partner, Gumayusi, is quoted as having suggested that, had things worked out very slightly differently, they had a meta-relevant way to pull Lux into play, but high-level tournaments mean that you often don't get to play what you want.
Keria's disappointment was on display a few hours after his win. Unable to sleep, he jumped on stream, where esports journalist Ashley Kang translated his comments about his skin. Keria told viewers that "I only thought about making a Lux skin. I never thought about any other skin." In a meeting with Riot to discuss what each player wanted for their skin, he even says he "spent most of my time talking about Lux."
.@T1Keria: "Look, I only thought about making a Lux skin. I never thought about any other skin. So I went to the Riot meeting and spent most of my time talking about Lux."Keria: "I asked them to make it pretty, and they said they can make Bard pretty too. And I just frowned-_-" https://t.co/K95xqrSRc3November 19, 2023
Even more disappointing for Keria, what he wanted out of his dream Lux skin is a tough fit for other characters. Having spent his semi-final press appearances suggesting that a significant part of his inspiration to reach the final was an opportunity to meet K-Pop outfit NewJeans, Keria told his viewers that he asked Riot to make his cosmetic "pretty." That would be an easy enough task for Lux, a young woman who Riot has given multiple anime-girl makeovers in its time, but it's a much harder ask for Keria's other potential picks.
His most successful champions during the tournament were Tahm Kench, Bard, and Renata Glasc. Respectively, those champions are a frog, a mysterious celestial being, and a middle-aged drug lord in an imposing face mask. While a skin for any of those champions would still benefit from Riot's excellent art design, it does seem like it would be hard to make them look 'pretty', per se - and when Riot's skin designers implied they would try their best, Keria says he just frowned at them.
Keria's predicament has sparked some debate on the League of Legends subreddit, with some players suggesting that a world champion should be allowed to have whatever skin they want, and others arguing that the whole point of the Worlds skins are to capture the tone of the tournament and the actual achievements of the players. Despite that debate, however, it sounds as though Keria's stuck with Bard or Renata. And, as many fans have pointed out, there's nothing to stop him following in his teammate Faker's footsteps, and simply winning the tournament a second time to finally claim his prize.