The Play of Champions: Toward a Theory of Skill in eSport

Lasse Juel Larsen*

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article advances a tentative theory of skill in relation to eSports. This conjectural theory of skill rests on hypothesizes informed by assumptions from watching 100+ hours of eSport events on Twitch, YouTube, and AfreecaTV and is supported by discussions, reflections and evaluations with eSport players. The case material of this article includes the games Clash Royale (CR), StarCraft 2 (SC2), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), and online battle arenas (mobas) such as League of Legends (LOL) and Defense of the Ancient 2 (DOTA2). This inferred theory of skill is conjoined and composed of seven strands, which provide a framework for explaining how to understand skill in eSport. These seven strands are presented under the headings: (1) knowledge about game objects, (2) insights into game systems, (3) understanding metagaming, (4), yomi: ‘reading’ the opponent, (5) ability to execute, (6) emotional discipline, and finally (7) team coherency (depending upon whether the skill is associated with a one-versus-one or team-versus-team game). In conclusion, the proposed theory of skill will expose its explanatory power and reach by providing an example of how it can both be implemented to create profiles of players’ skill, and how these profiles in turn can serve as guides to help players improve their skill levels in eSport.

TidsskriftSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Antal sider24
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 29. sep. 2020


  • Skill
  • Theory
  • Concept
  • Computer game
  • eSport
  • Clash royale
  • Counter-Strike
  • League of Legends
  • Defense of the Ancients 2
  • StarCraft 2
  • Ontology
  • Epistemology
  • Sociality

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