Giant Slayer


Player Spotlight: STAN

As we’ve transitioned from “Road to Worlds” to “Player Spotlight” I’ve taken you to Europe both times. While I’ll surely revisit there again, I wanted to take a quick trip back to America's shard with one of the most European American players we have: STAN. Back in the earlier days of grassroots Runeterra, one of the problems we casters had was identifying what country a player was from. Or in Stan's case, we got the whole continent wrong. When you make an account on America’s shard, one of the most common tags is #NA1. Stan's tag started with EU, so we made the natural conclusion that he played on the European shard. This combined with his Duels of Runeterra EU win and strong performance in the Project Conqueror’s Cup (a french tournament) made me all the more surprised when I found out he was actually Brazilian.

Ah, the 2nd paragraph of a Player Spotlight. This is where I usually expand on my starting cliffhanger and let you know exactly what was so special about this player that they got their own spotlight. Now, Stan was a bit of a sleeper agent in the AM vs EU argument of the early days. Many people assumed he was European and that we had no champion to contest Freshlobster and Agigas dominating both EU and AM tournaments. But that's more of a fun little subjective factoid than something worth dedicating an entire article to. No, what made Stan so special is that as we rounded out 2020, one common sentiment I heard spread among players, casters, and analysts is that if there was a 2020 Legends of Runeterra World Championship, Stan probably would have won it. Now, it’s a rather subjective claim and one that I’m sure someone is already turning to Twitter to contest. But whenever the question came up, Stan's name was the one I heard far more than anyone else's. “That’s rich,” you scoff at me, brushing Cheetos off of your shirt which I notice has your favorite player's face superimposed on it. “If that’s the case, why didn’t he win Worlds 2021? He didn’t even make it!” A fair question, though an unfair criticism. But since you’re so interested, let’s look at 2021 Stan.

One metric that stands out when judging CCG players is consistency. For 2021 Worlds purposes this was measured through Seasonal points, in which 1 point was awarded per game won during the 3 Shurima Seasonals. Stan clocked in at 65 points, which made him not only #1 on America’s shard as he was 7 points ahead of runner up and Hydra teammate 4LW, but it also put him at #1 worldwide. European leader Cosimo came in with 59 points as the 2nd highest point earner worldwide, and Stans 6 point gap represented the difference between 1st and 6th place on most countries' Seasonal point leaderboards. If we then go and check the Worlds Qualifiers bracket, we find that Stan fought his way through Jtamonda, Cephalopod, and Jacowaco before falling at the last moment to KevinLoR. Once in the lower bracket, he took another loss immediately, falling 1 match shy of playing MajiinBae for a Worlds spot. If I ever collect the dragonballs, my wish is that that match would have happened. And then of course we have the extensive list of grassroots accomplishments, most notably 2 Fight Night and OLS wins, Duels of Runeterra, and the Team Aretuza Summit.

So what makes Stan special, for those of you still confused, is that he is a player that is literally on top of the world in terms of consistency. He’s a safe bet in an environment full of variance. While he hasn’t been able to secure a Seasonal win or make it to Worlds yet, these are very much matters of “when” and not “if”. That's the thing about consistency in CCGs - you just keep running it back until the day that luck is on your side. And while they’re not the flashiest, the most impressive days are the ones you come out on top when luck isn’t on your side. And that’s something Stan has been able to do time and time again for over a year, as he enters the 2022 season as a clear favorite for whatever it has in store. 

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