The story of Tyler1
Over the last couple of years, famous League of Legends streamers and content creators alike have massively influenced the community through their playstyles, picks, and gameplay on the Rift.
We've seen the rise in prominence of many players such as Yassuo, Hi Im Gosu, or Annie Bot that initially became famous because of their unique picks and skill they've shown in the highest echelon of competitive play. Some players, however, gain notoriety because of their polarizing personality rather than their picks.
That's how the story of League Of Legends' most popular figure started. We are, of course, talking about Tyler1, the most-watched, and beloved content creator in the League Of Legends community today. In the following article, we will take a closer look at Tyler1's path from getting permabanned on League to becoming one of Riot Games' poster boys and the most influential players in the game's recent history.
Early Days, indefinite ban
How does one begin a story like Tyler1's? With his birth, of course, and that's where we'll kick things off. Tyler Steinkamp was born on March 7, 1995, in Missouri. While there is little to no information about his early life, it's well-known that Tyler was a passionate football player and obsessed with improving his physical appearance in the gym. There is a popular clip from 2013 in which Tyler1 talks about his football career and the role he plays in the team.
As far as League of Legends goes though, the first signs of fame came in 2014 when he attracted the attention of some fans as he peaked 13th on NA's competitive ladder. At the time, he was mostly playing ADC, preferably Draven, a pick that will become a signature champion of his in the years to come. That being said, his career didn't really take off until 2016, when he decided to withdraw from the Central Methodist University and fully focus on his League of Legends career as a content creator and high ELO player. Initially, Tyler1 became notorious for his extreme in-game toxicity, and inappropriate behavior towards other players on his team.
If you're a seasoned player, chances are you've heard the term "running it down mid". That term was invented and popularized by Tyler1 as he would often intentionally feed games so he'd lose faster when he got antagonized or annoyed by someone on his team. The most popular clip of him running it down came in 2016 when he decided to intentionally feed a high ELO game where he got into a verbal argument with two of his teammates.
Generally speaking, Tyler1 was very edgy when he first got onto the scene and his edginess and toxicity drew a lot of like-minded individuals to his League stream. His gameplay and playstyle were very aggressive, and they accurately reflected his real life attitude and personality into the game. That was further complemented with the fact that he primarily played Draven who is one of the most oppressive ADC's who loves to dominate his lane and outpressure the opponent. He's very similar to Tyler in terms of Draven being a pompous, braggadocios champion that loves attention and thrives off of it.
Tyler1's initial spike in popularity came from viral short clips in which he'd insult his teammates or intentionally lose games. He had a so-called "int list" at the time, which was a list of players that he would troll and intentionally lose games with if he played with them on the team. He had broad descriptions of those players he hated, the reasons why he hated them, and what he'll do if he encounters them in-game.
The first and the oldest clip on his YouTube channel is a video named "I AM REFORMED" in which he talks about improving his attitude and changing his behavior towards other players in-game.
In the video, he claims he will never flame, troll, or AFK a game of League of Legends again, a bold claim he failed to back up in the near future. The first major milestone in both his YouTube and Twitch career came soon after when he hit 20k concurrent viewers on Twitch in April 2016, which was a massive deal at the time. He seemingly blew up overnight, with the YouTube video of that game having almost 900k views at the time of writing. He was playing Draven and he completely dominated the game, having 19 kills by the end of it.
He received numerous donations over the course of that particular stream, with most of them either offending his physical appearance or condemning his in-game attitude and provoking him to flame his teammates. In the weeks that followed, Tyler1 gained notoriety despite his flawed attitude, reaching 1M+ views on several clips, the most popular ones being his McDonald's' food review, him playing URF for the first time, and him getting permanently banned on several accounts.
To put things into context, over the course of his League of Legends career, Tyler1 got permanently banned on more than 20 accounts for writing extremely offensive stuff to his teammates, most of the time encouraging them to commit suicide. He was the self-proclaimed most toxic player in North America, and he absolutely loved having that title.
Despite that behavior, in just the month of April 2016, his Twitch following grew from just a few thousand to almost 100k and he was one of the most successful streamers on the platform. Unfortunately for him and his career, there was an incident that would put his League of Legends rise on a pause. As we previously mentioned, Tyler1 is a Challenger player, meaning that he'll often face professional players and other streamers with big following.
As Tyler continued to promote disruptive in-game behavior and toxicity, an increasing number of pro-players and influential players alike started complaining about Riot Games' lack of action and how they need to ban Tyler1 from the game completely before his trolling gets completely out of control. The pressure professional players put on Riot lead to history being made on April 30th, 2016, when a Riot Games employee Riot Socrates published a statement in which he says that Tyler's behavior is unacceptable and has no place in the League of Legends community, condemning his previous actions.
In the statement, Riot Socrates shows empathy to all the people that Tyler1 trolled and harassed by that point, saying: "We want you to know when the rare player comes along who's a genuine jerk, we've still got your back." Last but not least, the most important segment of the whole statement is the part in which Socrates discloses that from that point onwards, Tyler1 is indefinitely banned from playing League of Legends and that he will be immediately banned on any one of his accounts if he's seen streaming League on any public platform.
That type of punishment is extremely severe and was only seen a couple of times in the game's entire history, meaning that Riot took the Tyler1 case seriously. The clip of Tyler reacting to being banned on stream has almost 2.5 million views on YouTube and has been one of the biggest stepping stones in his career.
Streaming variety and moving away from League
While Tyler1's ban from League seemed grim at first, the period following his ban will prove to be the defining time in his streaming career. At that point, he needed to maintain a high-profile while not being able to stream his favorite game that netted him a big following in the first place, which was a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless, Tyler managed to attract tens of thousands of viewers to his so-called "variety streams" in which he'd stream various singeplayer games as well as multiplayer games he hasn't played in the past such as Overwatch and PUBG.
He also did many IRL (in-real-life) streams which revolved around him doing random things such as cooking, trying different types of food, learning how to backflip, and so on. In this phase of his career, he was often co-streaming with another streamer named Greekgodx, and their mutual chemistry between them resulted in some of the most beloved streaming moments in the platform's history.
He managed to keep the most of his League audience as well as attract other fans that didn't know him before he streamed variety, meaning that his audience was larger than ever. That being said, he did occasionally stream League with a delay, knowing that he'd get banned as soon as Riot realizes that it's his account.
Around that time (late 2016), he stumbled upon Phreak in bot lane in a solo queue game who was one of the key figures in getting Tyler indefinitely banned on League. Phreak was very vocal about Tyler's negative influence on the community and he publicly denounced his behavior on stream. They played against each other, Tyler picked Draven with determination to beat Riot's lead employee that got him banned in order to prove a firm point. In the end, he absolutely smashed Phreak in lane, resulting in one of the most viral League of Legends clips of all time.
For about a year, Tyler's streams revolved around streaming various games and his audience was as big as ever until a controversy regarding Riot Sanjuro's comments changed his streaming career for good. In October 2017, Riot Games' employee named Sanjuro made extremely offensive comments in a Discord server towards Tyler1 who at the time completely disassociated himself from Riot. Sanjuro called him a "homunculus", adding that "he'll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids."
That action was immediately addressed by Riot as they fired the mentioned Rioter only a few days later. At that time, it felt as if Riot owed Tyler something, it felt as if they owed him a second chance. Later that year, Tyler announced that he got an e-mail from Riot Games, saying that they'll lift the indefinite ban if the account he plays on refrains from insulting other people and intentionally losing games. That will prove to be another big moment in Tyler's career in the near future. In January 2018, Tyler1 was officially unbanned from League of Legends and was free to stream his favorite video game once again.
His first stream completely blew up, getting over 380k concurrent viewers on Twitch, which was a record for an individual streamer at the time. He tried his hardest to make the broadcast feel special and unique, even going as far as to dress up as Draven to show his passion for the game. That stream marked the return of one of League's most polarizing figures, and the community was delighted about the fact that Tyler is back. He still kept some of his edginess and controversial behavior, but he made a genuine effort to improve his attitude which resulted in admiration from the community.
At the time, everyone loved Tyler and his audience was bigger than ever, with Tyler even organizing a semi-pro tournament with many high-profile players competing in it, named TCS. The tournament broke records in viewership for amateur tournaments, even surpassing some of Riot's professional tournaments in terms of concurrent viewers. In the following months, Tyler became the game's biggest figure and the largest League of Legends streamer on Twitch.
Tyler1 as League's biggest content creator
The period after Tyler1's unban up until today is filled with many memorable moments, such as him getting Challenger on roles he hasn't previously touched, or him making TCS in both 2018 and 2019, awarding dedicated players with over $100.000 total.
That being said, there is one moment that specifically stands out in this period. I am, of course, talking about the summer split LCS final in September 2019, in which Tyler1 played on Riot's stage alongside ex-pro players and other big League streamers alike. The game was watched live by millions at home and thousands in person, with the VOD of the game having almost 7 million views at the time of writing. The detail that perhaps stood out the most is that Tyler laned with Phreak, his former nemesis and current Riot employee, which made the game even more iconic than it already was.
It was the first time that Riot officially affiliated themselves with Tyler1, and the community was stoked to see Tyler on the big stage for the first time. It was one of the biggest moments in League of Legends history, as riot partnered up with the biggest content creator their game has to offer, despite his controversial past. Overall, it's an amazing redemption story of a random kid from Missouri that overcame his toxicity issues to become Riot's ambassador and one of the most beloved figures in the community of the world's biggest multiplayer game.
Personality and friendships
One of the first things that come to mind when discussing Tyler1 is his eccentric personality, and his tendency to act aggressively and rash on stream. There are numerous viral clips and compilations of him doing anything from ripping his shirt off his chest to randomly screaming and making weird noises while falling of his chair. He is often unnecessarily loud and emphatic which ensures entertainment for the viewers in the modern cloud of Twitch streaming.
Another trademark detail of Tyler1's personality is his height which he's often teased about by his streamer colleagues and fans. Tyler is 5 ft. 6 (168cm) which is roughly 10 cm fewer than the height of an average man. That being said, while Tyler does occasionally rage when asked about his height on stream, he has made numerous jokes regarding that topic, often saying that he is 6 ft. 5 (195 cm) instead of 5 ft. 6.
In terms of personal relationships, he is in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend Macaiyla since 2017, who often makes guest appearances on his streams and is a streamer herself. Initially, Tyler1 refused to show her on stream, but after some time, she became a household name and is now loved by all of his viewers and fans.
Like we previously mentioned, GreekGodX is one of Tyler's best friends, but when it comes to the League scene, he is most often seen playing and talking to Yassuo, Trick2g, Imaqtpie, and I Will Dominate. At the All-Stars tournament in 2017 he was also taking pictures and talking to Faker, who is considered to be the best League of Legends player of all time. That is considered to be another historic moment for the game, as it merged the League's best player and the most famous content creator at the time.
Statistics and achievements
When it comes to Tyler's biggest achievements in terms of rank, he peaked rank 5 in NA's challenger ladder in late 2018. His most played champions were Draven (978 games, 59% winrate) and Quinn (312 games, 54%winrate), which were two of the most oppressive and overpowered ADC's at the time.
Nevertheless, reaching the top 5 players on any server is no small feat, and Tyler1 was heavily praised on Reddit upon reaching this rank. Generally speaking, ADC's rarely get the top rankings in servers, as those places are usually reserved for midlaners and junglers. In January 2020, Tyler decided to start a journey to Challenger playing exclusively jungle, in order to prove that jungling is easy and that anyone can master the role.
Roughly 4 months later, he reached Challenger on his account BUZZLIGHTYEAR99, playing primarily Olaf, Ivern, Karthus, and Jarvan IV. Some other notable achievements include being voted as the runner-up for the 2018 e-sports awards, only trailing behind Fortnite's superstar Ninja. Statistics-wise, he's League of Legends'most popular Twitch streamer, with an average concurrent viewership of 25.000 since his return to playing League full-time.
He has over 3.4 million Twitch followers and over 10 thousand active subscribers, which makes him the most followed and one of the most subscribed LoL Twitch channels. His YouTube channel is very popular as well, amassing over 2.3 million subscribers, making him the second-biggest LoL YouTube channel behind Nightblue3.
One of Tyler1's biggest achievements is creating TCS that we previously mentioned, with him adding that it's fascinating that the tournament that initially started off as a meme is giving a platform for young players to show off their skills at the highest level, and earn some money in the process. Tyler took the tournament so seriously that he created special meme-commercials that would run between games and entertain viewers.