Showing posts with label Jodi McClure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jodi McClure. Show all posts

Sunday, April 19, 2015

 TSM and Cloud 9 get Ready to Rumble in the NA LCS Spring Split Finals!




by Jodi McClure

Last year when Cloud 9 met TSM in the LCS Finals, Meteos and his highly-skilled band 3-0'd them. Granted, it was a Lustboyless TSM with Odd One and Xpecial still in the mix, and the meta was completely different, but credit where credit is due. Cloud 9 are not a push over team by any stroke of the imagination, and even though TSM have had a superlative split, there's zero guarantees they'll be holding that big check at the end. Both teams have performed amazingly well. Cloud 9 had a slower start then TSM but slammed home a stronger finish. Turtle has been all flashy kills while Sneaky is the focused, mechanical giant. TSM excels at rotations and taking down turrets while Cloud 9 likes their objectives. It's all too beautifully even. If I were to stick my neck out and pick a winner of this Best of Five series, I wouldn't name a team, I'd name a color. A color shared by both Cloud 9's shirts and TSM's long sleeve button-downs. It's Blue - the color of convenience, and whoever starts this series on the Blue side of the map will ultimately win the trophy. I'll be cheering for my long-time favs, TSM, but I suspect we're going to see the series go five games, and whoever wins will definitely deserve it! 





Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 NA LCS Spring Split Predictions



by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure and the LCS FanZone Staff 

If there's anything that can be taken away from EU's crazy start, it's that you can be certain of absolutely nothing when it comes to the NA LCS. Teams have a way of surprising even the most knowledgeable of fans, so take our staff predictions with a grain of salt and probably don't bet your kid's college funds on them. To further cover our asses, we have done this in a Top Three – Middle of the Pack – Bottom Three format.

*EACH CATEGORY IS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

TOP 3

Cloud 9  The Princes of the NA LCS have no real reason to -not- be listed first. They've had no roster swaps and looked stronger than ever in IEM. Meteos played great, and the rest of the team looked solid. The only potential weak link on the team is Hai, but with such a stable team around him he can take his time getting back to form. Expect at least a top 3 finish from these guys

Team Liquid  Falling under new management and getting new players in the big carry positions, including world champion Piglet, the team appears very strong despite the loss of Voyboy. Fenix is a bit of an unknown, but the rest of the team should be very solid. Quas and IWillDominate are two of the more underrated players at their positions in the LCS and this roster more than any other should be able to challenge Cloud 9 for the top spot. This may be the year that the "always 4th" curse is broken for this team.

Team SoloMid  Santorin and Turtle still don't look their best but unless the lesser teams up their game, TSM should stay nice on top of their throne. While not showing up super strong at IEM San Jose (dropping a series to a team that had never played in LCS), TSM still has a strong lineup and the experienced coaching it needs. If they can become more adaptable in-game, they can keep themselves afloat for another split at least.

MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Team Impulse  Known as LMQ last year, Impulse's roster does look strong with farming machine XiaoWeiXiao. They brought former SKT 1K top laner Impact over to replace the departed Ackerman and Apollo takes over for Vasilii in the bottom lane, which is likely the biggest concern for this new roster.

CLG   CLG has a really solid lineup and good coaching backup, but from what we saw at IEM Cologne, they didn’t look like the best team. Zion Spartan and Xmithie have both gone a while since being consistently standout players, but they both seem driven to get back on top. Doublelift and Aphromoo will need to be on point this split for CLG to have a shot at finishing in the top 4.

Winterfox  Altec has shown he is as good an ADC as there is in North America. Pobelter has been playing very well in solo queue and he is entering his prime right now. Helios's brother moved into the top lane, and it remains to be seen how he performs in competitive play. May possibly be the surprise team of the split.

Team Coast – Very nearly did not make the LCS but showed some resiliency in getting out of the expansion tournament.  Have not been able to play much together lately, expect Coast to struggle out of the gate this split and likely further into it.

BOTTOM THREE

Gravity  Curse Academy did well in the Challenger scene, and under the name Gravity, features several ex-LCS players. If they can keep improving, they can probably climb the ranks, but they also may well continue to be plagued by the same issues they have always been.

Team Dignitas  Very shaky performance at IEM Cologne that almost saw them fall in a massive upset to Aces High. At the same time, Shiphtur showed how good of a player he is as he just about single handedly carried Dignitas to victory in that series. With Crumbzz and KiWiKiD both underperforming at the end of the last split, the magic 8 ball would say "Outlook not bright." If they can pick it up, things will be different, but they left little evidence of that before the off-season began.
  
Team 8   Whilst Team 8 is a very fun team to watch, they remain the weakest team in the NA LCS at the time. Calitrolz might be a solid top laner, but every single team has a better player in every other respective role. If they want to have a chance of making worlds (or even the summer split) They will have to practice. A lot.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Expansion Tournament Sunday Preview: Fusion Continues to Successfully Hide from their Enemies.



by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure

The Expansion Tournament continues today with six fight-ready teams, but outside of some minor hype around tourney favorites, LolPro, today is really all about Team Fusion and its top laner, Korean stand-out and all around fun guy, Yoon "MakNooN" Ha-woon. MakNooN has won over American fans with his delightfully upbeat persona, and Fusion is a 'who's who' of LCS fan favs who have never reached their full potential. We love these guys. All of these guys! And it would be great to see them happy, but before I talk about the unusual particulars of their match, let's take a look at the rest of today's offerings.  

Starting out the day is Curse's Team LolPro vs Fission eSports. Lolpro is strong coming into this series, having destroyed all comers in the Black Monster Cup. Fission, on the other hand, can be inconsistent, one moment dismantling top teams like Coast, and the next losing to ladder unknowns. Lolpro 'should' make fast work of Azingy and his mates, but I wouldn't say Fission can't be dangerous. So long as Lolpro comes to play, a 2-0 here is probable.

The second offering of the day will be Enemy Esports vs Noble Truth. Another top contender, Enemy eSports finished second in the Black Monster Cup and have been looking very strong all season, fairly dominating ranked 5s with their 'The Cackson 5' moniker. Loaded with Challenger veterans, Enemy will undoubtedly have little trouble with relative newcomers, Noble Truth.

And finally, there is what would have been the dessert of this three course meal, but unfortunately, Team Confusion has already forfeited their match. The exact circumstances aren't really known yet, but MakNooN and Fusion have officially moved on to Round 2, and while this is good for Fusion, it is potentially disastrous for their next opponent. There are literally no VODS of Fusion playing as a team, and there's a ton of them out there for Enemy. Fusion has a strong support staff too, so there's no question they'll make use of this advantage, giving them a pretty glaring edge in next week's games. For fairness's sake, here's hoping that Enemy Esports can rise to the challenge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MonteCristo Criticism : Legitimate or Schadenfreude?


By Jodi 'PunkLit' McClure

The first time I saw MonteCristo, I was surprised by how fragile he appeared. He was tissue thin, like if someone sneezed on him, he would instantly crumble into a tiny pile of bone and ash. He knew League though, and he was beautiful, and those two things quickly off-set any preconceived notions I had about his size. From regular appearances on the LCS, I grew acquainted with his smoldering bedroom eyes, his perfectly chiseled features, and, more importantly...his notoriously imperious attitude. Being American (and a stalwart TSM fan,) I was quickly perturbed by his continuous bashing of NA and EU teams. Who cared about the Koreans and how much better they allegedly were than us? How dare he come into our house and run his fancy white-gloved finger across the dust. But, unfortunately, time and again, Worlds proved him right. And eventually I had to admit it was true. Somehow, we were lacking.

I don't recall at what point I stopped hating MonteCristo and starting hanging onto his words like he was Jesus, but it was probably somewhere around the start of Season Four. I found myself valuing his keen, experienced insight. He never failed in his predictions. Clearly, he was all-knowing. And even when he was delivering venomous swipes of his knife, he always remained so angelically calm and soft-spoken that the poison was practically negated. But he did like to swing that knife, frequently and sometimes cruelly, at every kid who played in the LCS. It's a habit that has caused him to have a fair share of haters, (with many a pro player among them).

So it was with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction that his many adversaries watched CLG go down to Curse in a fast 3-0 during Playoffs, and the german term, schadenfreude, applied. Lord, they were quick to swarm social media sites and jump on Monte's ass, thrusting fingers in his face, gleefully cackling, "You said everyone else was bad, and yet, your team has failed. Where are your Korean Gods now?"

For MonteCristo, whose skin is as thick as his ego, these words have little effect. He is a consummate professional, and is fully capable of taking what he dishes out. Having bullets fired at him comes with his job and like Superman, he stands there smirking while they bounce off his chest. But for his team, whose hopes and dreams rode on his wisdom and guidance, it's was hard not to feel the sting, and I don't doubt Doublelift wasn't the only person on the team who considered retirement in the uncomfortable days that followed. So, we can't help but ponder the possibility...did MonteCristo actually fail them? 

A coach must be equal parts teacher, mentor and drill instructor, trying to find a way to bring out the best performance in each and every one of his pupils, and I don't double Monte tried to be those things. According to him, he spends hours and hours each day watching films and working with his team over Skype. But I have a quote from him that's sat on the left sidebar of this site forever. "'Potential' is bullshit. Results are the only thing that matters."   

Monte focused his coaching on changing how the team communicated and having them understand strategy at a very high level. He felt he had a better grasp of what champions were coming up and what strats were being used. Big picture tactics, as he called it. But he probably sees a much different scene gazing out his big picture window in Korea than one might see from Manhattan Beach, and it's possible that by asking his team to look out his window, he took them too far from the reality of their own. 

  

Opinions on Reddit and Twitter seem to vary. There is the more base, raw emotion of 'He talked shit about other teams, he deserves it,' to the reasoned, 'He's not a bad coach but he needs to spend more time with his team,' to the extremely forgiving, 'He can only do so much. It's up to the players to perform.' But the truth probably lies somewhere between all these. Dexter admitted stress was an issue, and expressed nothing but relief when their playoff game was over. It's possible that by taking the team to Korea, Monte put his boys too far into the center of our cross hairs at a time when they needed less stress, not more.

At the end of the day, at least for now, we can only speculate. MonteCristo once said, "There's nothing that effects me in eSports more than whether CLG wins or loses," but the repercussions from this - their most devastating loss - still remain to be seen.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Visa Issues Screw Gambit For Wembley



by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure

Due to visa issues, four core members of Gambit will be unable to attend this weekend's EU LCS in Great Britain. Three to six weeks are required for Russian citizens to acquire that visa, and players cannot be abroad during that time, as they have to leave their passports in a consulate.

Gambit learned about the London trip on May 22nd, and could not even apply for an emergency visa without missing two weeks in Cologne. The team stated in a Gambit press release that they are the innocent victims of "organizer's careless actions." Had they been notified in a timely manner, they could have acquired the visas during the off-season without any obstacles.

Riot declined the team's request to reschedule their games and Gambit is reasonably upset about the situation, as it puts them at a great disadvantage. Organizers did try to remedy the problem, but it was too late to find a solution, so now, Gambit can only express condolences to their disappointed fans. 

Their make-shift line-up for the Wembley event will be:

Top - Cabochard 
Jungle - Loulex 
Mid - NiQ
ADC - Fury III
Support - Hiiva 


The temporary members have been added to Riot's Fantasy LCS Website with estimated points.   



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Link at All-Stars : The Unseen Threat


By Jeremy Heimann and Jodi McClure

Counter Logic Gaming's Link has a lot in common with a Teemo mushroom. Quiet and very low-key compared to his larger-than-life teammates, the young mid-laner can sometimes be invisible to LCS fans, but ignoring him on the playing field is deadly. He'll explode on you if you're not paying attention, and even though he's small in stature, this mechanically-sound eighteen-year-old can pack a lot of punch. Similar to Hai, (the recovering Cloud 9 player he'll be replacing at All-Stars,) Link has a large champion pool to draw on and heavily favors current meta bullies like Lulu and LeBlanc. And like Hai, he's familiar with a team that likes rotations. Plus, like Hai, Link excels at late-game shot calling. In fact, he's practically the ideal made-to-order player for those mid-less white-hoodie-wearing gangstas.

For both parties, the temporary trade appears to be an excellent deal. Cloud 9 gets a competent replacement and CLG gets an interesting look inside the enemy camp. Besides gaining experience on the international stage, the understated Link will have a chance to infiltrate Cloud 9's mind and maybe steal a glimpse at the sacred pages of LemonNation's notebook (and copy them with a pen camera, if he's got any James Bond in him at all.)

Call it a sweet but smart move by CLG, who won't be getting much practice in anyways with Doubleleft away at All-Stars. No downside, huge upside, and great exposure for the unusually wraith-like Link, who's only been growing in confidence since earning a spot on CLG's starting line-up. He'll go to All-Stars. He'll blend in. And he'll do for Cloud 9 what he does best - silently playing the ghost in the machine while his cyborg mind absorbs everything. And then he'll bring it all back to his team. C'est la vie, C9!

Monday, May 5, 2014

LCS Central's Question of the Day!

We asked:

Which team do you think will benefit most from their off-season changes?
And here's what you had to say - 


‏@meltotheany said: I hope #Dignitas because I'm a fangirl and #CLG because they will be so scary if Seraph is 100% confirmed as their starting top!

@LoLDecayd said: Seraph hype train incoming. But I think Dignitas/Curse benefited the most.

@Gentleman_Joey said: Love Dig's moves. Zions an amazing top laner and they got arguably the 2nd best mid in NA last split. Dig looks good.

‏@Reckcer  said: Fixing the weak solo laners on Dig will definitely be the most beneficial thing to happen for a team.

‏@JessuehCosplay said: Have to go with TSM again, Amazing will most likely get coaching by TOO to adjust to NA, also new support wind. looking strong!

‏@packieeeeee said: If Seraph stays on CLG then CLG it is. But since that isn't 100% sure yet I'll go for Curse!

‏@COGAvenger said: I'd have to say TSM, TheOddOne coaching and some new players put them in a great position - just what they need to break the slump!

‏@DSherony said: I really could talk about this for hours. C9 probably benefits most from all the off-season changes everyone else has something new.

‏@AndrewGridah said: Removing legacy members like OddOne and Xpecial might just put TSM in the position to take 1st place finally in this upcoming split.

‏@n_Fatic said: I'd say @TeamCurseGaming, imo, got the best support in NA/EU on their team. If IWDominate steps it up next split then who knows!

‏@kate_diegan said: I don't know about changes but I think EG will make it big next split. i think they need the whole team under 1 roof to make magic happen.

‏@JoeyDevaux said: Honestly, I think it's Curse. If Xpecial shows up to play then I think he'll dimensionalize the line up.

‏@AmunyLoL said: Dignitas. They now own very strong laners, and I can't wait to see how Crumbz will be able to apply pressure more freely.

‏@cbgaara said: Definitely clg. Having a consistent high level top laner will help them out greatly

‏@Konman81 said: CLG, a high mechanical top laner is almost the missing piece for them.

‏@Fenixsniper said: CLG! From #3 to #2 or 1 ez

‏@salicylism said: Probably DIG. Very good additions to their roster.

‏@rHougs said: Dig and C9, digs new solo owners are massive and C9 not making any changes is pretty smart

‏@irvomusyoka said: Dignitas!! They now have a very strong midlaner and their toplane can carry hard at times! As well as the legendary kiwipie bot!

‏@RderVayne said: i think Dignitas have strong players now if they can handle their shot calling then they will be strong next split.

‏@nuggetsauce said: After watching CLG's new top laner, they got a lot stronger.

‏@thebadw0lf_ said: Dignitas!

Looks like Dignitas picked up a lot of new fans and support this week. What do you think, #LCS Friends? :) 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Moms' Support Carries Wolves


Copenhagen Wolves' Top Laner, Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool admits he was depressed after his team failed to avoid relegation. In fact, he felt physically ill. Needing a little old-fashioned comfort, Joey reached out to his mother and invited her to join him in Cologne.

"She just gave me a hug and a kiss and made me some good dutch food," Joey told interviewers after surviving the summer promotions. His glossy eyes spoke the rest of his sentence. Her presence had lifted his spirits, and that extra boost of confidence was just what the Copenhagen Wolves needed. After a hard fought victory against Denial eSports, YoungBuck and his teammate Amazing embraced their families, doing what every great team should do - thanking their supports. The touching picture quickly went viral among the LCS watching fans on twitter, because we all know...the feels! <3    

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cloud 9 Reigns over the NA LCS


Celebrating their win beneath a shower of glittering confetti, Cloud 9 looked happy. Not ecstatic. Not Overjoyed. Just...happy. Because long before the third game of their NA Championship series vs TSM ended, they knew they had it in the bag. The raucous jubilation that usually comes with a hard fought victory will have to wait for the teams in relegation. Having eyed the throne all season with an assortment of swords and poisons in their bags, Cloud 9 quietly disposed of all fake kings and seized the NA Kingdom, undaunted by the chants of the masses - and now, all TSM fans can do is bow to them and recognize their serfdom.

Grats Cloud 9...and hail to the kings, baby!


-----

Wild Turtle enjoys a beverage backstage before their match vs Cloud 9.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fnatic: Taking the Erratic Road to Victory



EU Spring Split Champions, Fnatic, could be the poster boys for those cheesy inspiration photos you find hanging in cubicle-laden offices, with words like 'Dedication,' 'Determination,' and 'Perseverance' peppered beneath their faces. During Season Four, the teen idol team was like a runaway mine cart, careening wildly along a track that ran from soaring peaks to hellish pits in the span of just two months. But they had seen the sunrise from the top of the mountain, and they knew it was where they belonged.

Fighting their despair, the diligent young men of Fnatic dug deep into their souls - refusing to buckle under pressure or fight and blame each other. They attacked and climbed the sheer cliff ahead of them first with their fingertips, then with their hands, then with their iron fists, taking back what they knew was theirs. And when the dust cleared, it was almost inappropriate that they regained their crown with a surrender - because as this split of the EU Spring series showed, surrender was the one thing Fnatic refused to do.   

Congratulations Fnatic! You earned your win in every sense of the word. 

EU LCS FINALS PREDICTION


EU LCS Finals Prediction by Jeremy “Ne0 Jets” Heimann

Fnatic (17-11) vs SK Gaming (18-10) 
                                                                 Season series won 3-1 by SK Gaming

     Fnatic is LCS Royalty. Winners of both the Spring and Summer Playoffs in 2013 and close runners-up at IEM Katowice 2014, Fnatic started the split going 7-0 and looked like the team to beat. Then they lost eight in a row and their place among the top contenders was in serious jeopardy. The team was able to recover and finished strong with a  record of 10-3 coming down the stretch. The team is very experienced in the playoffs save for Rekkles, the boy wonder.
     Rekkles, at the age of 16, was a huge part of Fnatic defeating CLG EU and winning Winter Dreamhack 2012. Rekkles is fearless out on the rift  - making plays that are usually setup by his support Yellowstar. The bottom lane combo has been deadly this season. Former ADC Yellowstar knows the ins and outs of the role and has great  synergy with Rekkles. Mid lane doesn't require much introduction. It is Fnatic's own Xpeke, famous for his back door Kassadin play. He doesn't run teleport mid much anymore, but teams still strive or fail based on how the center of  the map is going. Xpeke led the whole of EU LCS in kills this split with 125 total kills. Patch 4.5 hasn’t been so kind to Xpeke having his most played champion Gragas nerfed hard. Champions I see him aiming to get in champ select are Leblanc, Nidalee and Orianna.
     Top lane Soaz has one of the deeper champion pools and he isn't afraid of anyone. He does his job time and again. His top lane Lulu came up huge in the semifinals and he isn't scared to play anything top. He also likes playing Trundle against tanky tops so whatever Freddy122 comes up with he will have an answer for. In the jungle is Cyanide. He has a lot of games on Elise this season. He also plays Lee Sin and Vi. I don’t expect any target bans thrown his way. He has been a very solid jungler for some time, but he needs to be a play maker more.

     SK Gaming wasn't expected to finish at the top of the spring season. Many predicted them to be near the bottom of the league. They were also pushed to their limits during regulations by Supa Hot Crew. N-rated has been on fire lately in the support role - setting up most of what SK does in lane and in team fights. SK is team-oriented, living or dying with what the team does as a whole and not individually. A weakness I could see is in mid lane, Jesiz. Twelve of his eighteen wins are on three champs: Ziggs, Nidalee and Orianna. He has tried to learn new champs such as LeBlanc, but has had mixed results when he is forced off his comfort picks. A strategy could be to ban those three champs and force him onto something he isn't comfortable with.
     Freddy122 has been a beast with the tanky top meta. He has an impressive five out of five wins on Trundle. Svenskeren has impressive win rates with Eve, Pantheon and Elise. With the recent Pantheon nerfs, I don’t see him looking that way. Eve and Elise will be high priority. I don’t think he would care which one he got as long as it was one of the two. Candypanda’s Vayne gets banned out a lot, but he has nearly identical win rates on Lucian and Jinx. He laughs at the Vayne bans because it does not hurt him or his team at all.


Prediction: Fnatic wins a close series 3-2. Experience in the playoffs will tilt the series.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NA LCS Playoff Predictions


NA LCS Playoff Predictions by antdrioite.

I’ll try and explain why I believe each team will win. Note that I add percentages to some matches. I believe those have more chance for an upset.

1.  Quarterfinals

CLG – Coast H2H (4-0) Expectations (2-0)

Even when CLG didn’t have Dexter on the team they had no problems with Team Coast. CLG has shown they can adapt quickly to new patches and clearly have a better mid/late game than Coast. If ZionSpartan or Shiphtur don’t get too big in the early game, CLG will just walk over them with good rotations and objective control. Dexter just has to control the pace of the game, and lane swapping can lessen the impact Zion has early in the game. Link can definitely handle himself against Shiphtur and the rush hour botlane has not shown fear of to many other botlanes. If both teams get evenly strong team comps then CLG should have no problems closing out the series in two quick games.

Dignitas – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 60-40%

Curse has been in a weak spot the last couple of weeks and will need to prove themselves during the playoffs. A win against CLG (who were obviously not taking the game seriously and had problems with the Shen bug) doesn’t convince me that Curse is back. Even though Curse has a lead in the head to head, Dig won the last game and has shown much improvement since Scarra stepped down as mid and became the full-time coach of Dignitas. Both teams have some unorthodox picks and might surprise each other with that, but Dig has shown that they can adapt quickly. Curse could definitely take a game off Dignitas with some strong picks or early snowballing but Dig shouldn't be surprised twice and I give them a good chance of winning the series 2-1 or even 2-0. Curse can’t be underestimated and will definitely show a good match, I give them a 40% chance of actually making an upset and winning the series but I do not expect them to actually win it.

2.  Semifinals

TSM – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (1-2) 35-65%

Fans will hate me for this but I just think TSM is a bit weaker these days. They also admitted to having problems adjusting to new patches. With patch 4.5 being such a big one, CLG will have a clear advantage in that point. TSM got a few blows during Super Week, losing to last place XDG and getting (sorry for my words) crushed by C9. CLG had a much better game against C9 and were on a mission the last day of Super Week. CLG has admitted that TSM is a strong (maybe even stronger) opponent, and much will be decided in the pick and ban phase. TSM can choose which side they start on, so they have a small edge in that if they want to counterpick mid twice or just have the strong first pick jungle/adc. TSM wins most of their games by having strong lanes and forcing team fights in the mid game so they can take an objective after they win that fight.
     Dexter is a bit stronger in the jungle than OddOne. If CLG can have even lane match-ups, they should have the edge transitioning into the mid/late game. They have stronger rotations and are clearly better in lane swapping. If Bjergsen and Dyrus don’t get too big, Dexter should be able to control the pace of the game until his team's rotations help them close out the game. Much will be decided in the botlane since both botlanes have shown they can carry the game. Wildturtle’s Twitch can’t be underestimated and neither supports should be given Thresh for free. Dyrus might not be the shining star of TSM, but he's been their rock for a long time and will have to be at his best if TSM wants a chance to win this series. I believe CLG can win this series 2-1, but TSM will not just roll over and die. I do fear their slow adjustments to new patches and worse objective control/jungle early will cost them. Whatever the outcome may be, this should be one hell of a series to watch for all the fans.

Cloud 9 – Dignitas H2H (3-1) Expectations (2-0)

Cloud 9 has been on fire. They evened their win streak record and after being in TSM’s shadow for most of the split, they want to show they are still the number one team in NA. Dignitas beat them once in the start of the split but these aren’t the same teams anymore. C9’s rotations are almost perfect and even if the lanes falter, Meteos can step up and solo the game.  
     Dignitas will not surprise Cloud 9 with special picks. All lanes are solid and if one gets behind, the rest will step up to carry the game. Dignitas fans might hope on a miracle but a focused C9 is almost unbeatable. Dropping only seven games in two splits and ending number one in both those splits tells enough, in my opinion. The team also has the biggest KDA and much better synergy than the new Dignitas with Goldenglue. This will probably be the most one-sided series of the playoffs and is mostly just preparation for C9 to win the playoffs. Dignitas should just try and show they can perform and take lessons for the third place match against TSM.

3.  5th and 3rd place match.

Coast – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 50-50%

Both teams are at the bottom of the table and have problems being consistent. Coast has shown some improvement in the last few weeks and I always have the feeling they can win the game they are playing. Like Scarra said, up until they lose the game, they're winning. Shiphtur and Zion are incredible sololaners and show time and again that they can take control of a game. But winning is a team effort and league is a five man game, so the rest of Coast will need to step up to help get themselves out of relegations.
     Curse shows some life now and then but they lack consistency and a solid plan when going into pick and ban phase. If Coast can pick up LeBlanc or Nidalee for Shiphtur, then Curse will have a lot of problems dealing with both him and the always strong Zionspartan in the top lane. I feel those two might be just enough for Coast and they can avoid relegations if the rest of the team just doesn’t fall behind in this match. Curse has the advantage in the head to head standings and might take that to the playoffs but will not have it easy. I believe both teams are evenly matched but Coast will take the series on the backs of Shiphtur and mostly Zionspartan.

Dignitas – TSM H2H (0-4) Expectations (0-2) 30-70%

TSM will be hungry for the victory after their most likely close loss to CLG and will not give Dignitas an easy time. The head to head record shows that TSM have had no problems with Dignitas this split and I think that will continue into the playoffs. Bjergsen will have little issues with Goldenglue and the superior laning should give TSM the match quite convincingly. Dignitas should definitely show some strength after their games against C9, but I believe TSM will win this match without many issues.

4.  The Finals

Cloud 9 – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (3-1) 60-40%

Cloud 9 proved to be the superior team in their last two meetings with CLG and, with near flawless rotations, they deserve the number one seed they earned this split. But they showed some weakness in their last game against Coast, and CLG will exploit any weakness that they can find. The pick and ban phase of every game will be very important for the outcome of the match. Both Cloud 9 and CLG have great rotations and the small skirmishes around objectives like dragon will probably decide the outcome of every game.
Dexter and Meteos will watch each other, and the team that wins the jungle battle will most likely come out victorious. If their latest match in Super Week was a taste, then this will definitely be the best series of the weekend. I expect both teams to show everything they have, but C9 will have a clear edge because they are the older and a more consistent team. Dexter has made big impacts for CLG and they will keep growing, but C9 has proven and should prove that they are still the number one team in NA.

5.  Persons to watch

Zionspartan is the strongest player from Coast and is also their voice. If the team gets into late game, he will be the man that gives the commands and will lead Coast to victory. Not just through skill but through leadership. If he has a good game and the team doesn’t fall behind, anything can happen for Coast.

Bjergsen is maybe new to the shot caller role but he'll need to be at the top of his game if TSM wants to end in the top three and maybe even win the playoffs. TSM is solid and will fight for every game, and Bjergsen will definitely not be easy on his opponents. Watch out for TSM when they get to the midgame with a good teamfighting comp or with Bjergsen on LeBlanc in a strong pickcomp. Even his Syndra should spread fear to his opponents and not to be underestimated. TSM won’t win or break with Bjergsen but he will have a big part in their victory.

Meteos and Dexter: Both junglers help their team immensely during the early game and their control around dragons and buffs will determine the success of their matches. Both junglers should be feared, but note that without their team they can be punished for aggressive behavior. Meteos might opt more to farm and Dexter to roam but if they get a small lead, they will be aggressive and dominating throughout every game.


These are my predictions for the NA LCS playoffs. Whatever you might believe or agree too, just support your team and enjoy the matches. They should be amazing!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An Interview with Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere



Foreword by Jodi McClure

Belgium-born Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere is a paradox in a world of contradictions. Neither overtly sexy nor overtly a nerd, the LCS's alluring hostess still manages to be both of those things with the effortless ease of person who has been born into their position. She is EU LCS royalty, the queen of the court. But she is also the lone female in a heavily male dominated world - a world that probably would have been just as fine had the microphone been thrust into the hands of some busty airhead in hot pants and six-inch spiked heels. 

Surviving and thriving in that potentially hostile environment is a testament to Eefje's intelligence and resourcefulness. This is no airhead they've stuck on the stage. This is a platinum level player with a Masters degree in both History and Journalism, and she knows the game inside and out. Her smile is warm and welcoming, her voice confident and demure, but with a single flash of her dangerous eyes, she can put a barrier around herself, warning any fool who dares to cross it. Delicate in appearance but tough as nails, the stage is her hood and she's got street smarts.  

At once both dignified and playfully coy, reticent and outgoing, she is a living Schrodinger's Cat, managing to exist in two different states while tying them both together, and the fact that she is revered by both male and female fans alike speaks volumes to her success. Standing on a pedestal in the middle of an infamously toxic crowd, nary a condescending word is hurled in her direction. She is loved and cherished across the board, and we are honored to have her as our first LCS Central interview.  

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Interview with Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere

by Andy L. Bloodvayne

First off, I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview. Everyone at LCS Central is a big fan of yours. So the spring split of the EU LCS is closing out. How do you see your progression as a host since its start?

- I definitely feel like I have grown a lot since the start of Season 3 - so last year. As time went on I've moved a way a little from the pure 'Hosting' role and been able to do things like anchor the Analysis desk at the Battle of the Atlantic - I'm very happy that I am able to grow in that role.

Do you feel your understanding of the game and its dynamics has deepened since becoming host and therefore become a more integral part of the show?

- Absolutely - although I still need to learn a lot more. The LCS environment is so great to learn about the game. First off you work in a team of casters that do nothing but talk about the game most of the time, and with analyst's like Quickshot, Deficio and Jatt who I very much look up to. Besides that, talking to pros during LCS and watching all the game most certainly improves the game knowledge. That and playing, of course!

How far in advance do you start prepping for each LCS week?

- When LCS is on Thursday and Friday we prep Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then of course additional script read-throughs and rehearsals the day of the show itself. Monday we set out the storylines for that week and start fleshing out the script, to finalize it on Wednesday. The other time is spent looking back at VODs of games both to look at teams playstyles and to review our own performance, watch games from other Leagues like OGN or NA LCS, play ourselves and other forms of preparation.

What's been your favorite part about your job? Any fond memories come to mind?

- The coolest part for me is getting to live these grand moments together with the fans who also live and love League of Legends. It always touches me when someone comes up to thank us for what we are doing because they enjoy the shows - when we should also be thanking them :)

What's your opinion on the several YouTube videos that have gone somewhat viral in the league community (Fnatic Cyanide checks out Sjokz, sjokzwhipsherhairbackandforth.com, Peke flirts with Sjokz, etc.)? Do you see them as harmless fun or is there a small part of you that finds them irritating?

- I think that most of it is harmless fun and we often sit around and laugh at the videos people make of us as well. It's part of being in the public eye that people make these things and if its funny, why not! I have a good sense of humor but there are limits of course. If I was dating everyone I am rumored to be dating I would have a very busy life! ;)

Do you have any long term goals in the e-sports industry? Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

- That is something I actually think about a lot myself - where is this leading, where am I going, the good old questions of life. But I recently realized that I wanna be where I am right now and grow as much as possible in this role. I adore League of Legends and I love this job and everything that comes with it, and I want to make the best of it for the longest time possible. And after? The sky is the limit!

Getting back to the LCS, NA seems to lack a host, opting for “analyst desk” interviews. Do you think it would benefit for them to find their own Sjokz figure or do you think that each region provides a unique flavor in its formats?

- We actually don't have a host per se on stage anymore as we did last year either. Both NA and EU LCS now have two people conducting interviews or analysis, a very similar setup. I feel like this is the best way as well. I certainly feel like people sometimes say 'NA needs a Sjokz' and just mean 'NA needs a girl!' and that is not the right approach!

How involved do you get in player drama? Since Riot's videos makes player's (and teams) personal dramas part of the show, do you keep up on what's going on in the team's lives?

- I don't feel like we ever delve deep into 'drama' that players themselves don't want to portray. The things we talk about are relevant to the storylines of the #LCS or have been brought up by the pros themselves on social media. Backstage or after shows I of course pick things up here and there, but that is not for publication! :)

To wrap things up, what are your predictions for the EU play-offs? Is there a team that stands out to you that will win and represent Europe in this year's All-Stars?

- It's going to be so incredibly close, especially on the new patch! I feel like Gambit is a team that can do very well pulling out new strats and they thrive in these tournament environments. Fnatic and Alliance have also shown that if they're on point, they are razor sharp. And then what about the first seed SK-Gaming? What can CW and Roccat show after a week of intense training? I can't predict anything, and isn't that the best thing? :)


Monday, April 14, 2014

LCS eSports Question of the Day:


Question of the Day:


How long do you think the LCS can conceivably last on its present map?
Here were some of your responses:


‏@TheRealTZT wrote: Until the internet dies and explodes #LCS


‏@AverageGuyNA wrote: I give it 3 more years, just like anything, everything has to end.


‏@nuggetsauce wrote: I think they're already expanding the map with NACS. They need to open up LCS size though, and perhaps double the number of games.


@Joe_Sorci wrote: I think for LoL to be relevant in the future They need to make the bad champs good You see the same champs every game #GetsOld


‏@SFFpunk wrote: StarCraft is still relevant today and it went competitive long ago. I think LOL is more popular, so I don't see it going away soon. I can see Riot making minor tweaks to Rift, but sports don't change fields, and I view LoL as more sport than game.


‏@CheetahBotVeLoL wrote: Considering competitive Tetris is still around...League will be alive & an e-sport for quite a long time if Rito plays this right.


‏@Matheson_Allen wrote: 2 more seasons


‏@Prof_Random wrote: Depends on how many champions are going to have getaways that let them go through terrain. Thresh is broken for that in a way


@CoC_Pepitas wrote: Truthfully it's hard to say. Starcraft had a 10 year cycle and was never this ingrained in the culture. I'm saying 5+.


‏@Zeke640 wrote: No other pro sport changes it's field, I don't see why LCS needs to. New champs, players, and strategies are what keep it alive.


‏@RobMeyer7 wrote: Seems the history of MOBAs + LoL presents different maps as diversions or alternates to the *main* 5v5 map. Obviously MOBAs =/= RTSs when it comes to map rotations. Has any MOBA ever switched its main focus map? So I guess my answer is: how long the present map lasts is equal to how long the LCS will last & since that itself is a non-answer to your original question, I say LCS will last another 5 years, all on its current map. :)


@SabrewoIf wrote: A S-Rift Upgrade will come at the right time and bring a whole new feel to the game, thats why SR hasnt gotten any skins recently

Sunday, April 6, 2014

NA LCS Sun, April 6th - Super Week

Today's Matches: 

1. Team Dignitas vs Counter Logic Gaming
2. Evil Geniuses vs Curse
3. XDG vs Team SoloMid
4. Cloud9 vs Team Coast
5. XDG vs Evil Geniuses

One last chance at redemption for all....

CAN YOU HANDLE THE DRAMA??

Thursday, April 3, 2014

EU LCS W11D3 Thur, April 3 - Super Week

Today's Matches: 

1. Millenium vs SK Gaming
2. Copenhagen Wolves vs Supa Hot Crew
3. Alliance vs Gambit Gaming
4. Fnatic vs Roccat
5. Alliance vs Copenhagen Wolves

Poor CandyPanda... :( 


LCS Central's Joshua Kon gives us his predictions for the EU LCS's Final day: 

1. SK Gaming to clinch the #1 seed when they beat Millennium in the first game.

2. A Tie Breaker match for the #2 Seed between Roccat and Fnatic

3. #4 Seed to be secured by Alliance after defeating Gambit

4. A Copenhagen Wolves 2-0 day

5. Gambit to be the #5 Seed

6. A Gambit vs Alliance series in the first round of next week's playoffs!

What are YOUR predictions, esports fans? 

Krepo gives us a Peek at his Life


If you haven't seen it, definitely check out (adorable) Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels' latest blog post, My Life Before eSports. It's a very well-written insightful look into the pitfalls of his privileged upbringing and his growth as a person from spoiled, obnoxious kid to the sweet League of Legends Pro we know today. It was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. 




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

EU LCS W11D1 Tue, April 1 : It's Super Week

Today's Matches : 

1. Fnatic vs Alliance
2. ROCCAT vs Supa Hot Crew
3. SK Gaming vs Fnatic
4. Millenium vs Supa Hot Crew
5. Copenhagen Doges vs Gambit Gaming

How funny are the Wolves, by the way? I love those guys! :P 
(From the Wolves FB Page) CowTard agrees with the name change:  "I think it's a good idea since a doge would definitely beat a wolf in a 1v1 in real life, any day."

LCS Central Team Rankings Week 11



LCS Team Rankings : Week 11 : by Joshua Kon 

1. Cloud 9 - Last week, C9 went 2-0 in the NA LCS, destroying Curse and Dignitas. They have the toughest Superweek in NA facing both CLG and TSM, the powers of NA LCS.

2. Team Solo Mid - Despite a loss to CLG this weekend, TSM still looks strong and ready as ever to take the #1 seed and push to represent NA in the All Stars event!

3. Alliance - The hottest team in EU is finally living up to their potential. After a terrible start Alliance now finds themselves on top of a very tight race for the #1 seed in EU LCS.

4. Fnatic - Still hot from their 2nd place finish at IEM, Fnatic also finds themselves tied for first in Europe after a nightmare middle part of the split.

5. Counter Logic Gaming - Looking for another five game winning streak, CLG is coming off hot wins against XDG and TSM. Since Dexter has been in the roster, CLG has only three losses, two to TSM and one to C9. They look to beat C9 this week and maybe steal the #2 seed.

6. SK Gaming - They held First Place for a little while but now they have a chance to take their new roster and end a Split with the #1 seed in EU.

7. Gambit Gaming - Edward made some flashy plays on Thresh last week but Gambit needs to be careful this week as they face one of the toughest schedules in EU. If they don't win against CW on Tuesday they might find themselves fighting in Relegation much like NIP earlier this year.

8. Roccat - They are the roller coaster team in EU. Along with Gambit I personally feel Roccat has a much higher ceiling than what they have shown. They too need to be careful not to have a bad Superweek and find themselves on the outside looking in.

9. Copenhagen Wolves - The Wolves had  a strong Week 10 and may be a spoiler to some teams ahead of them. They have the potential to knock off anyone and they'll have to do some of that if they don't want SHC taking over their 6th seed.

10. Super Hot Crew - This is the bracket busting team in the EU LCS. Skill wise, I feel they are a bottom 2 team but they have very good chemistry and have proven with their strategies they can beat anyone fast. Look for the CW vs SHC match on Thursday to decide if they make the playoffs or if they are busted!

11. Dignitas - The Scarra era is over but a win against EG gave Dig fans hope. I personally was impressed with Goldenglue's performance on Lux after giving up first blood!

12. Curse Gaming - Playing the two top teams in NA really pushed Curse down but being up on TSM early shows the potential these guys have. A few misplays and some dodge spear practice and who knows what this Curse team could of done vs TSM.

13. Millenium - At the bottom of the EU LCS, Millenium maybe enjoying their final week in Cologne but their new Jungler looked strong and confident in his ability to be a shotcaller in the future.

14. Coast - If there would ever be a possible free agent/trade system in the LCS then two at the top of everyone's list would be ZionSpartan and Shiptur. These two could really be the missing pieces of Curse and Dignitas but can't succeed on Coast because of the weak cast around them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

NA LCS W10D2 Sun, March 30th

Today's Matches: 

1. Counter Logic Gaming vs XDG
2. Curse vs Team SoloMid
3. Cloud 9 HyperX vs Team Dignitas
4. Evil Geniuses vs Team Coast


C9 have tied TSM for first place. Can they steal it away?