Is Tyler1 Reformed? 'League of Legends' Streamer Persists With Controversial Behavior

Tyler Steinkamp, known online as Tyler1, ranks among the most controversial League of Legends streamers. Gaining notoriety in March 2016 after a YouTube video mocking his toxic behavior went viral, the streamer quickly gained an impressive fan base of more than two million Twitch followers. Viewers enjoyed watching him trash talk other streaming personalities, troll in his games and intentionally feed in others. In April 2016, Riot Games decided this behavior shouldn't be encouraged, banning any League of Legends account he had and calling him a "genuine jerk."

League has been a huge part of Steinkamp's life, with the streamer claiming he plays "upwards of 15 hours a day" in an October ESPN article. Even during the ban, Steinkamp would play League off-stream just to feed his addiction. In the same ESPN article, Steinkamp admits he was unsure what to do with himself after the ban. "OK, what do I do now? Because I just stopped streaming," Steinkamp said.

tyler 1 reddit twitch stream youtube
Tyler1 at the NA LCS Finals in Oakland Riot Games

The Saga of Tyler1

For the next two years, Steinkamp would stream himself playing other games, cooking or dressing up as Bob Ross and painting. His fan base grew, as did support for the concept of him being "reformed" and no longer intentionally trying to ruin the games he played create a movement online. This was a new Tyler1; one that didn't type in-game or swear at teammates. People would bring signs to League of Legends esports events with "Free Tyler1" written on them (LCS security started confiscating them at one point) and the words evolved into a meme online. Steinkamp had created his own LoL tournament called the Tyler1 Championship Series that peaked at more than 200,000 viewers. Riot Games just couldn't ignore Tyler1's fans anymore.

"There are certain streamers who make a brand/image out of being toxic and it's all just edgy teenager stuff."

In January 2018, Riot unbanned Tyler1 from League of Legends. Steinkamp showed an email he received on stream, which outlined the stipulations around his ban removal. "I will have to submit all accounts that I've played on the last month," Steinkamp said. "If my accounts come up clean I will be free to play League publicly." Riot Games opened its studio to Steinkamp, inviting him to the NA LCS Finals in Oakland and giving him some on-air stage time. It appeared Riot wasn't just rescinding the ban, they were inviting him back with open arms.

Steinkamp is a very good League of Legends player, consistently getting accounts at the highest Challenger rank. With a smaller pool of players in the top .01 percent, you're bound to run into the same players over and over. When Steinkamp's main champion Draven (or his alternates Quinn or Vayne) gets picked, he's been known to play unorthodox champions like Master Yi or intentionally feed the enemy team kills. Watching his streams, he has a tendency to insult or harass teammates with little regard for the tens of thousands of fans watching him. While in a game with professional player for Team Liquid Jake "Xmithie" Puchero, Steinkamp went on an in-game tantrum, writing "you suck … and are ugly as f**k."

The League of Legends Terms of Service specifically states that "harassing, stalking or threatening other players while using the Riot Services," will potentially result in the loss of one's account.

Over the past two months, Steinkamp and League streamer Yassuo wagered $10,000 to see who could get an account to the highest rank. Steinkamp lost and was supposed to stream himself playing Pummel Party with Yassuo and two other League streamers, Voyboy and Trick2G. The three waited 30 minutes for Steinkamp to finish a game of League, only to see him queue up for another. When Yassuo confronted Steinkamp about what had happened, the pair exploded.

"You are being disrespectful to other people's time, not only to (us) but also to your viewers who had been waiting," Yassuo said. "Guess what? I don't care" Steinkamp rebutted before ending this call. "I have this thing where when people tell me what to do, I absolutely f**king hate it," Steinkamp said on his own stream afterwards.

Tyler1 and the Challenger Scene

Omar (who asked to have his real name withheld for privacy concerns) goes by Masterfiend and is a Challenger Jungle main in League of Legends. "I've been playing League since Season 1 (2010) and the game has just been something that I do because I'm good at it," Omar told Newsweek.

Over the past year, Omar has encountered Steinkamp both out of and in-game, and those interactions haven't always been pleasant. "He got upset that he kept getting me on his team because I wasn't performing and trash-talked me relentlessly on stream," Omar remembers. He also claimed that Tyler1 "fanboys blew up my socials, and my twitch chat was filled with racist/hate comments." At TwitchCon 2018, Omar claims Steinkamp called him a "degenerate" and said that he needed to "behave" at a meet and greet.

Steinkamp has spoken about Masterfiend on stream multiple times, calling him "ugly as shit" and "acne faced." In another clip, Steinkamp says "we are working on this troll."

league reddit mods wont reply to me and i'm getting messages like this. lovely day it's been. Dunno what to do anymore pic.twitter.com/fci4azcAVV

— Omar (@Masterfiends) April 7, 2019

On Saturday, Omar posted "The Tyler Issue" on the League of Legends subreddit. Omar raised concerns about Steinkamp's "reformed" legitimacy, posting multiple screenshots of the streamer having poor kill records on off-meta champions that can be seen like he is intentionally feeding. He also believes that he received a 14-day ban after being in a game with Steinkamp's alt account "T1 OK GOOD YES." (In a statement to Newsweek, Riot Games said it does "not comment on the standing of individual player accounts.)

When asked why he shared the reddit post, Omar said "there was clearly something protecting his account from being banned because he's done the worst out of anyone." Tyler1's fans don't necessarily feel the same as Omar, flooding his reddit inbox with comments claiming that he wrote the post to get views or for internet clout.

I got the t1 treatment last month https://t.co/OeQ6gymTcW. Moe telling it how it is

— RIP Warwick s11 (@parnellyx) April 1, 2019

"People who are toxic online aren't cool," Omar said. "There are certain streamers who make a brand/image out of being toxic and it's all just edgy teenager stuff."

Other high ELO players have similar feelings about Tyler1. Bryce Parnell, who goes by parnelly, is a Master-tier Warwick one-trick (meaning he only plays one champion) who says he played with Steinkamp "a few dozen times." Parnell claims that "over the last few months [Steinkamp] has gotten seemingly egotistical and more toxic." In a clip from February, Steinkamp watches a replay of the match they both shared together, insulting Parnell's performance and saying "I'm taking harassment to a whole new level, he deserves every bit of harassment he gets." Parnell claims that after this clip he received "hundreds of hate comments" and "death threats" from Tyler1's fan base.

Parnell believes Steinkamp should not be permanently banned again, but merely receive a two week ban for his behavior. "It's not just about wanting equal punishment, but potentially encouraging him to chill out and be less toxic," Parnell said.

Both Parnell and Omar were huge fans of Tyler1 at the start of his streaming journey, but believe he's gone unchecked for too long. Pulling in 20,000 to 50,000 viewers, he has an impressionable audience that follows his every word. Games of League of Legends need 10 players who are willing to play and can be ruined by one person with a bad attitude. It's unclear if Riot Games will ban his account again or if that will even stop Tyler1.

When asked for comment on Steinkamp's accounts and recent behavior, Riot Games commented with that they do "not comment on the standing of individual player accounts."

Newsweek has reached out to Steinkamp and will update this story with any response.