‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
I’ve been thinking recently about a Reflections podcast that Thorin did with PPD. One of the things I recalled from the episode was PPD’s usage of the term “Polarizing player” instead of the word “star player”. At the time, I didn’t think much of the semantics of the term and assumed it was being used interchangeably with the term ‘star player’.
Now that over an year has passed and I’ve studied more team games like CS:GO, Dota2, and Overwatch, I’ve come to understand that whether intentionally or not, the usage of the word “Polarizing player” has a subtle distinction from star player.
Both terms assume that a player is of star quality, one of the best in the fields. What is subtly different about them is that the polarizing player is the person who ends up defining the team’s strengths and is the player that the entire team plays around.
I’ve found this term especially helpful when thinking about all-star teams that have been assembled across different games. In Overwatch, the New York Excelsior had an all-star team with a bunch of players that were all star level players. But among them, the player that defined the entire playstyle of the team was Jjonak.
In CS:GO, FaZe is the superstar lineup with four star talents in Olofmeister, GuardiaN, NiKo, and Rain. Among the four of them, the polarizing player, the one that they play around the most is NiKo. In Dota2, PSG.LGD is stacked to the gills with talent as they have three superstar players in Ame, Maybe, and Fy. Among the three of them though, the two polarizing players have to be Ame and Fy.
Overall, I think it’s a useful term to consider using as there are teams with multiple star players, but only one or two of them are ever the polarizing player.