On Wednesday night, the pro League of Legends team Renegades won a victory against Team Coast, securing themselves a spot in the next League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). Making it into the big leagues is normally routine news, but RNG’s win was special. It was the first time a woman made it into the LCS.
Maria “Remilia” Creveling has long been known as one of the few visible women playing League of Legends in Challenger, the highest possible rank one can achieve in the fiercely competitive game’s online multiplayer, and the one from which professional League players are plucked. She’s best known for her formidable skill as a support player, a specific position in League that starts out in bottom lane and works with another teammate to help them secure enemy kills and level up as fast as possible so they’re powerful enough to (ideally) dominate in late-game team fights.
In the deciding game, Remilia played with Thresh, a creepy-looking wraith monster who’s notoriously difficult to play with, and even harder to play with well. If someone is good enough to truly master Thresh, though, she or he can be a devastating asset.
How good was Remilia’s Thresh? Well, to give you an idea, there’s a famous Korean League of Legends player who goes by the handle “Madlife.” Fans like to refer to him as “the god of Thresh” because of his undisputed mastery of the difficult champ. After the game last night, League fans and onlookers on Reddit started referring to Remilia as “Madwife,” AKA “the Thresh god.” Or goddess, I suppose.
What’s curious about Remilia’s achievement is that, following her impressive showing this week, she said that she’s probably going to step down from her position on Renegades before they start playing in the League of Legends Championship Series. In a statement posted on the Renegades subreddit yesterday, Remilia said that her only goal was to help carry a team to the LCS—not actually participate in it. She wanted to do this in part to prove that a woman could make it this far in League’s pro scene (emphasis added):
in the end though the competition doesn’t mean much to me. i don’t care to be the best in the world. i love playing with a team and accomplishing stuff and being recognized for it. when i set out initially, i wanted to be the first girl in LCS. that was what motivated me. that dream i had i accomplished and yet it is being challenged in such a heartless way. i really honestly truly hate so many people. if you want my honesty, everyone that tries to take away from what i accomplished, well i will always spite them. i’m always extremely salty when dealing with fans on mediums like twitter and reddit, i met some really cool fans in person at the studio for sure.
i just want it to be known that i accomplished my goal for real, and i accomplished it for me, my teammates, and girls in esports. that’s it. no one else. don’t fucking put me on some lgbt agenda or some bullshit and bring that up. that’s not me, i don’t believe in that. i don’t want messages acknowledging that part of my life, sorry.
She added in the comments below her post that she will “weigh playing in the LCS along with my other options but some things are just looking so much better.”
Remilia’s many fans, meanwhile, are practically begging her to keep on fighting in the LCS come next Spring.
Why quit when she’s so far ahead? Many League observers have been speculating that it has something to do with the amount of harassment Remilia has received throughout her career at the top of the League of Legends ladder. People on Reddit and Twitter have gone to extraordinary lengths to try and reveal numerous aspects of her personal life that she, like anybody in her position, would prefer to keep private.
That fact that she’s one of the, if not the most successful and visible woman in an almost entirely male-dominated space doesn’t help either. League of Legends, like many large and highly competitive video game communities, can often be seen as an all-boys club. Even when woman are actually recognized as Challenger and pro-level players, they’re still consigned to positions on a team that are seen as the “girl’s role”—namely, support.
Remilia has had it so bad in the past harassment-wise that she’s changed her gaming handle and deleted all of her social media accounts. She’d actually requested that Riot not focus any cameras on her during the deciding game this week when it was being live-streamed—though she later noted on Reddit that she “felt really comfortable on stage,” so she ended up staying on-camera to celebrate with the rest of her team post-game. The Twitch chat during the match was still very ugly at times despite her not being featured. Commenters were regularly chiming in to call her “it” and any number of sexist epithets.
When she said “i really honestly truly hate so many people,” and “don’t fucking put me on some lgbt agenda or some bullshit and bring that up,” then, many people took that to refer to the bilious harassment she receives, much of which focuses on her sexuality and gender. It’s tempting to then leap to the conclusion that she’s decided to step down from the LCS position she just earned because she doesn’t want to face even more harassment. But it’s difficult and probably not very fair to read too much into an emotionally charged series of statements she made shortly after playing the game of her life. Numerous attempts to reach Remilia for comment on this story were unsuccessful.
Regardless of what Remilia chooses to do next, she’s already accomplished something historic for herself, her teammates, and “girls in esports.” So for that all I can say is: GG, Creveling. GGWP.