Showing posts with label league of legends.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label league of legends.. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NA Summer 2015 – Can TSM stay on top?

by Patrick Garren

The top of the North American competitive League of Legends' landscape has been dichotomous since Cloud9 arrived on the scene a few years back, trading blow for blow with their NA heavyweight counterpart, Team Solomid. TSM has gotten the better of the staggering former champion lately, with two straight NA LCS titles and some international exposure to show for their roster rotations and coaching changes. Up until a couple of weeks ago, Cloud9, unlike their rivals, had maintained a steady roster and with the  addition of Incarnation to their lineup, are now on the road to resurfacing as the primary powerhouse in North America. But can they overtake TSM?

TSM have not been shy about roster swaps. Ever since Reginald stepped back to coach and brought Bjergsen across the pond, they have had a revolving door of replacements at the support and jungle positions. Having finally settled on Korean import Lustboy at support, TSM continued to search for the band-aid that would stop the bleeding that TheOddOne’s retirement started. European jungler Amazing would see an NA LCS title with the team, but with poor international play and mounting criticism from the "always poised to strike" League of Legends community, Amazing decided returning to Europe and his family would bring more happiness to his life. This opened the door for Santorin. Coming from the floundering Team Coast, Santorin would see a quicker bit of success than the former TSM jungler, with a decisive win in the championship of the NA split. Ultimately, TSM’s Mid-Season Invitational proved extremely disappointing, and many fans were unable to decide whether to lay the blame on top laner Dyrus or on Santorin’s aversion to top lane ganks.

Which brings us to the Summer 2015 LCS split. Having made no roster changes, Reginald and coach Locodoco presumably have plans to counter the new and improved Cloud9 line-up, who increased their potential skill level in mid lane by several orders of magnitude with Incarnation’s arrival. While I personally agree with the lack of roster moves, it’s up to the management to continue to guide Santorin in the right direction as he grows and matures as a player. Decision making was not at its best in Tallahassee for Baylife, so some ideas definitely need to be thrown around, all the while fostering a synergistic team attitude, if they hope to continue to reign atop the North American LCS.

However, Cloud9 is not the only team in the North American scene that has bolstered their roster. Several other teams have their eyes on dethroning at least one of the usual finalists from North America. Since former mid-laner Link left with a massive bridge-fire, CLG has made huge moves to improve their shot at showing up in the post-season this summer. With the introduction of former Winterfox wunderkind Pobelter and Korean ringer Huhi, CLG hope that an SKT-like approach to the mid lane position will allow them to be more flexible in terms of their game-to-game strategies, although this will not be readily apparent until we see how CLG plays with both mid laners, and also gets into a relevant best-of series. On the less flashier side of things, Team Impulse has shown significant growth over the course of the past 4 months, led by solo queue superstar Rush, who as of this writing is tied with Faker for first place on the Korean ladder, and will bring the same 5 starters into the Summer split looking for a shot at going to Worlds.

One thing is for sure, though. If North America wants to become an international threat, the middling talent of its leagues needs to step up. Impulse, CLG, Gravity, and Team Liquid will need to continue their improvements shown week-to-week last split if they hope to challenge for the NA title, and Cloud9 and TSM need these teams to become better to put the onus on themselves to improve and compete on an international level. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The MSI 2015 Playoffs Preview

The Heat is On in Tallahassee! 

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos 

We’re about to head into the Semi Finals of the Mid-Season Invitational with SKT heavily tested twice, AHQ in convincing third place, Fnatic looking like a finals ready team and TSM heading home after a shockingly disappointing tournament. Who saw this coming?

Personal preference of team aside, this tournament has been everything the casual LoL scene viewer could have wanted. Top end competition, healthy regional rivalry, fast-paced unforgiving action. The unfortunate side effect of this is how quickly the inability to ramp up and get going can catch you out. Needless to say, the TSM we saw here was not the TSM that shocked everyone at the IEM World Championships. In comparison, this TSM looked lazy, unprepared and culture-shocked by the level of competition. Dyrus was left out to be slaughtered, Turtle never got to have any impact. Some say Santorin never even attended MSI. Seem familiar to some? This display from what was once known as the “Best Team in the West” was shockingly similar to the performances out of EU’s representative teams since the infamous group stage of Worlds 2014 where everything went wrong. Do fans have a cause for concern? Maybe, but it's too early to jump to conclusions as this one performance should not overshadow the team’s recent success or dare I say “golden age.” But generally it is fair to be heavily critical as LCS teams are all too familiar with a one-game format and should honestly be better prepared.

Now for the bracket stage - I couldn't be more excited.

Fnatic vs SK Telecom was easily the best match in the whole of the tournament and, for some EU fans, the biggest sigh of relief and reassurance that the region, like Korea, has not declined and is still of a competitive level despite losing promising players. Fate, however, had a different plan for Fnatic and the gamebreaking wall bug that Reignover had the misfortune of finding literally ended up tipping the scales as Fnatic began to lose grip of their gold lead after that one event.

Nevertheless, maybe this was a good twist of fate for Fnatic as now they have another chance to prove themselves against the team they almost took down. This is a good chance for them to discover if they have what it takes to ride their momentum through a Best-of-Five series, to see if they can not only outplay SKT but out-draft and out-adapt them as well. Bang has more than proven himself to be a huge threat and Fnatic be wary of ADC-centric comps like the one SKT pulled yesterday. But similarly, SKT should be more wary of Reignover’s peaked performance and Steeelback’s worrying reliance on Sivir to perform. While SKT have the superstar mid laner Faker and one of the best top laners in the world in MaRin, Bang deserves a lot of credit for being a heavy driving force behind SKT’s success this tournament. Like it or not, this series may well be decided in the bottom lane. Fnatic need to ensure Steeelback doesn't get mauled if they want a chance in winning. If he doesn't get on Sivir, which he shouldn't if SKT are smart, they’ll need to think carefully about how they’ll keep him comfortable, farmed and relevant.

Now AHQ and EDG are two teams that look on top of their form, Koro1 and Clearlove putting on dominating performances in their victories while Deft and Meiko displayed great teamwork and reminded everyone why the former is still considered the best ADC in the world. Meanwhile, AHQ came in and honestly shocked everyone with how convincingly they swept aside both LCS sides. The Westdoor hype is still alive and kicking but it’s not just him making the plays this time around. The rest of his team look just as strong and the carry potential is spread between all of them. This will now be AHQ’s fifth meeting with EDG across two tournaments with Koro, Clearlove and Westdoor being the only remaining players from the showdown in Group A of Worlds 2014. With both teams looking better than ever, this will also prove to be an entertaining series, I fear it may be more one-sided than the Fnatic and SKT game as EDG look and feel superior to AHQ in every way, but I've learned never to completely doubt this team. Any team with a Unicorn as its logo has the potential to really catch you off guard.

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! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

EU LCS Playoffs Preview : Unicorns of Love vs SK Gaming

Photo courtesy of Riot eSports

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos 

Order vs Chaos is the name of the game as SK Gaming faces one of the three teams to deal them a blow during their otherwise perfect split.

Time and again, the Unicorns of Love have shown that their creativity and use of "the element of surprise" is not to be trifled with. Kikis’s Udyr pick against Gambit has done a good enough job at displaying this to full effect. For the mythical creatures of friendship, statistically Fnatic was the better draw of the two as UOL are the only team to 2-0 them. However to get to Fnatic, they would have had to go through H2k, the only team to 2-0 UOL. So when it evens out, drawing SK isn't too bad. Read More...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

EU LCS : The Backstage Experience

by Chase "RedShirtKing" Wassenar

For the average fan, attending the LCS is an incredible experience. You get to sit with a few thousand people, each of whom are just as passionate about the scene as you are, as you watch your favourite teams face off head-to-head in front of your very eyes. Much like more traditional sports, there's a certain sense of energy that comes from joining in chants, seeing the players' reactions in real time, and bonding with fellow fans over that crazy triple kill that you couldn't see coming and OH MY GOD HOW DID HE ESCAPE THAT GANK?!? Add in the more personal touches like the ability to high-five players after the game or get autographs from teams willing to stick around that have been lost from many live sporting events, and you have an experience that cannot be matched.

I love League of Legends, but this eSport is more than just a fandom for me. As a writer for Paravine with my own weekly podcast and the occasional talk show appearance on Into the Rift, the ability to attend the LCS is not just a chance to see my favourite teams try to prove their worth on the big stage, but is also my chance to get some serious work done. While the fans go crazy over their poro gear in the stands, I'm backstage in the press room live tweeting games, arranging interviews with team managers (after desperately trying to track down their information, of course), taking notes, prepping for the next piece of content, and making professional connections that will help in my future work within the scene. It can be hectic at times, especially when you're not used to the experience, but it is also easily some of the most fun I've ever had. Ever wonder what it's like to attend the EU LCS as a semi-professional journalist? Read on to find out.

It's Not about the Style

You know that incredible crowd I was telling you about in the opening paragraph? When you're working in the press, you don't spend much time in the stands. Instead, as soon as you pick up that fancy press pass (which takes only slightly less interrogation than it takes the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to pick up their lanyards if they don't find your name on the press list right away), you're led backstage through a small dining area to the press room. With the exception of the big screen TV constantly playing the LCS in the background, there's essentially no difference between this room and the types of meeting rooms you'd expect at any place of business. At first, I missed the paper screens adorned with all your favourite champions that decorated the former Cologne location, but the new setup is undoubtedly more functional. The internet is speedy, the room is mostly soundproof once the doors are closed, and there's plenty of space for each writer to have their own personal table set-up. That may sound pretty dull for those of you who use the LCS as an escape from the tedium of ones daily work life, but the good news is that the stands are only a couple of minutes away if you need to feed off the crowd's energy to keep you going. That said, I doubt you'll have that issue because...

You're Constantly Working

This is probably a “no, duh” moment for a lot of you, but when you're going to an event like this as a journalist, you're not there to enjoy the games; you're there to get stuff done. Every minute you spend out there listening to the roar of the crowd is a minute you could be studying your notes to better understand why a team picked that particular composition or how that player has performed on this specific champion in their previous matches. If you're like me and only get to attend the LCS during breaks from University, you've got to find a way to cram in as many interviews as you can, which means even more preparation than normal. Don't forget that interviews don't just fall from the sky, so you'll have to spend a great deal of time on Skype trying to track down team managers, or roaming the hallways trying to physically grab somebody's attention. Oh, and you better be keeping a strong social media presence throughout the event, because if you don't, no one will notice when your content goes up. By the way, you're taking time to meet as many new people as possible so that you can take advantage of the networking opportunities in front of you, right? Because that's how you turn a freelance job into one that lets you do this for a living. It's a lot for one person to balance, so you're probably hoping that someone will be there to help you out, but...

No One is Going to Help You

When you email Riot for your press pass, the first thing they do is ask with which teams you'd like to interview so they can let the teams know you are coming. That's how it all works in theory. In practice, the LCS is a huge production that takes a ton of time, energy, focus, and stressful work from pretty much everyone involved in order to pull off. If you spend the day sitting in the press room waiting for Riot to bring in a player or team manager for you, you're going to have a bad time. It can be a tough lesson to learn if you find yourself shy or are the kind of person who is afraid of getting in the way, but an essential one if you want to succeed in this industry.  But assuming that you're a strong, independent journalist that doesn't need anyone else to help them do their job, you'll soon find that...

The Press Room is Filled with Awesome People

In another section that will likely come as no surprise, it turns out that watching League of Legends with a bunch of people who are passionate about the scene and happen to be incredibly educated about every aspect of the league is a lot of fun. There's always an interesting handful of people hanging out in the press room, ranging from veterans like Adel “HypeAlgerian” Chouadria from Azubu to individual team's PR departments hoping to grab good photos for their social media pages. It takes a lot of work and effort to make a living out of eSports, and the people who have made it are among the most knowledgeable and interesting personalities in the scene. Even better, they each offer something new to your understanding of the game, as it's easy to find someone whose strength in analysis is your weakness and vice versa. There's nothing quite like being able to improve at what you do while also having a great time. And the best part of it all is...

You Never Know Who Will Drop By

True story: after catching a glimpse of Pr0lly in the hallway, I chased him down to arrange an interview with KaSing. He was talking with someone I didn't immediately recognize who introduced himself only as Nick. After I grabbed the interview, I headed back to the press room, but to my surprise, Nick was following close behind. He ended up hanging out with us for about ten minutes or so talking about Magic: the Gathering, travelling with his wife, and the merits of the Karthus farming mini-game. Eventually, he was pulled out by a Rioter who said they needed him for something important. When he left, I asked who it was we'd been talking to, since everyone else seemed to be quite familiar with him.

It was Nick Allen.

I'd feel more embarrassed about that story if it wasn't so common for key figures in the industry to stop by and say hi during the few moments of downtime people had. I knew Devin “Piratechnics” Younge was going to say hi because we'd worked together on Into the Rift in the past, but we also were joined by Thomas “Flyy” Mihailov, ROCCAT's owner during the team's must-win match against Giants Gaming. Couple that with the constant stream of players, coaches, analysts, managers, and casters that roam up and down the halls throughout the day, and it eventually starts to feel quite normal. Speaking of the players...

Interviews Matter Above Everything Else

If you're more a features writer like me, there's a temptation to spend your time just trying to network and plan out your article for the upcoming week with whatever extra pieces of info you manage to grab from the other journalists and your hopefully fine tuned listening skills. That's what I did the first time I was in Cologne, and while I enjoyed myself, I left feeling like I had failed to get the most out of my time there. It's so much easier to arrange interviews in person than it is to grab players over Twitter or Skype, and those conversations can often be the most enlightening. And once you actually sit down and talk to those players, you realize...

The Players are Just Like You

Much like a little kid can't imagine their parents as anything other than “mom” or “dad”, it's hard to imagine your favourite celebrities as being regular people. That's why Imgur is filled with gifs of people like Anne Hathaway or Jennifer Lawrence being regular human beings; it blows our collective consciousness to see public figures we look up to or admire acting so normal. When I told my Twitter followers I was heading to Berlin and would ask any questions they wanted passed on, the most popular question by far was “What is (insert player name here) like in real life?”, and in the vast majority of cases, the answer is that they're pretty much like everyone else their age, except much, much better at League of Legends.

Once I understood this, I started noticing a lot of little moments that had gone over my head before. There was a great moment right before the Elements vs. Gambit game during which Woolite and Jankos ran into the press box like two 5-year-olds on Christmas morning and pleaded with Flyy to let them watch the game before the shuttle took them home. I decided to leave the press room to sit with the team and see if I could learn anything from watching players break down a live game. I quickly realized, however, that they, like the Gambit fans that took over the crowd, were more interested in cheering big plays and making Reddit-style jokes when someone made a misplay. It was easy to see not only how much these guys cared about keeping their playoff hopes alive (a task about which they felt quite confident at the time), but also how much they still loved the game itself.

Ultimately, my greatest takeaway from my time in Berlin are the stories I gained while I was there. There were a lot of silly moments, like when I took a bunch of ridiculous pictures with Piratechnics while he told me about Berlin's sneaky good Japanese restaurant scene, or when the entire press room banded together to laugh at my microphone, which was so big it looked like a webcam from first glance. Other times, the room got deathly quiet as team managers and staff watched nervously as their teams battled for playoff seeding or just to keep their season alive. It is an incredible experience to watch a coach or analyst break down every mistake their team is making, wincing at every missed CS as if that creep will be the difference in the game. If their team won, the room would erupt with cheers and hugs and promises of players for interviews. If they lost, however, there would be mostly silence as the team staff packed up their gear and quietly made their way back to make sure their players took the loss in stride.

My favourite story, however, came as I left the Berlin studio after the second day of games. On the way out, HypeAlgerian and I ran into Leviathan and the rest of Gambit getting ready to head home. Cabochard asked me what had happened with the stream, which had sadly struggled from technical difficulties preventing their convincing win over Elements from being streamed live. I told them that Riv had come on stream and told everyone they would rebroadcast the game later. The entire Gambit team looked at each other for a split second, smiled, and said, “LATA!!!” in their best Trick2G voice. I couldn't help but burst out into laughter with them as they climbed back into the car, giving their best blue card salute as they drove off into the distance.

As soon as their van pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that my adventure was over just as quickly as it had began. I had watched ten games of my favourite teams battling head-to-head on one of the largest stages in eSports, but the crowd was long gone. The energy they brought with them had disappeared into the night, replaced instead by the sound of a light breeze and the moonlight lighting our way towards the train station. I was no longer in the eSports bubble that had provided so much entertainment during my time there, but the friends I had made and the memories we created have stuck with me ever since.

Monday, February 2, 2015

OGN Recap Week 4

by Pieter "antdriote" Cnudde

Another week of OGN (or LCK, as Riot wants us to say) has passed. Short version: Wisdom smites IM to victory against Jin Air. Jin Air finds their strength again and walks all over SKT. GE Tigers continues to dominate and Samsung remains winless. Najin decides to put in Ohq first again and Duke carries Najin with a double MVP performance. If that doesn't sound exciting, I don’t know what does. My name is antdrioite and I’ll go over the highs and lows of this weeks' OGN champions.
The inconsistency of the Jin Air Greenwings keeps saddening me. They started the week against IM, who were considered the weaker opponent, but lost in a very close 2-1 series. The whole series seemed to revolve about which team picked Xerath. Korea is in a huge Xerath hype bubble at the moment. Teams will first pick or blind pick Xerath almost every time because they fear that late game poke and one-shot ability. Even less skilled Xerath players will lock him in to deny him from the enemy team. This keeps confusing me and many other analysts since counter-picking can be very effective against it. True his late game is dangerous, but you can still punish the pick hard.

The first game went complete snowball starting with Chei randomly getting caught in the river while warding and it escalated out of control from there. Constant invades and Lil4c building a botrk on Gnar to split push against Mundo totally shut down Jin Air. Wisdom and Tusin constantly roamed together and acquired kill after kill. The Xerath pick helped a lot; poking down Jin Air and controlling the objectives without any problems. IM won the first game in one of the biggest stomps of this split. Jin Air’s lack of vision really punished them hard, showing again why keeping your vision up every game is very important in high level play.

Game 2 went way better for Jin Air. They kept their vision up and realized that if Tusin was gone, he was somewhere ganking with Wisdom. GBM showed once again why his Xerath should be feared and is worth picking up early in the draft to secure it. Slight mistakes in their midgame cost them two kills and a baron but they were still able to close out the game without too many problems. This is a reoccurring trend from Jin Air, getting great control in vision early but lacking a bit of smart shot-calling or the right wards. Then they slip up and give their opponents a chance for the comeback.
The last game was a thriller where Wisdom made a great baron steal that kept IM in the game, eventually leading to their 2-1 victory. IM picked away Xerath from GBM, but he showed a strong response with Ahri this time. Both teams traded objectives primarily losing some kills to a gank here and there, but some big dragon teamfights really got Jin Air rolling. Everything seemed to go Jin Air’s way until that one baron steal. IM was able to take two inhibitors and eventually close out the game against a 5 dragon-buffed Jin Air. The great late game of Lulu and Xerath broke Jin Air; Lil4c tried on Gnar but was just not as effective as a Wildgrowth Corki who flies into your team and wreaks havoc.

Friday was the least interesting day of the week. Two quick 2-0 stomps made it a rather short day for Monte and Doa, but it was good to see consistency from the two top teams in the league. Samsung still wasn't able to pull out a victory against CJ who styled on them pretty easily with the “Cocodin.” They tried late game in Game 1 with Cassiopeia, Mundo and Ezreal, but CJ never gave them a chance. Cocodin got rolling and CJ grew a huge gold lead by destroying tower after tower and ended the game very cleanly.

They went back to an early game strat in Game 2 which suited them better. Cuvee on Irelia was able to get some kills and be a threat but, in the end, nobody could stop Coco. Space pulled out Kalista again but was once again a null factor in the game; it was the Cocodin who carried CJ to their first Kalista win. It seems Space might want to watch NA LCS to learn a thing or two. CJ looked on top of their game again while Samsung hung behind with a poor draft phase and poor strategic play.

GE Tigers showed off against KT Rolster with their tank’maw comp. Smeb on Lulu and Pray on Kog’Maw gave all the fans a great show, proving that you don’t need to be afraid of Gnarvan with a Lulu behind your back. Pray got MVP in Game 1 and then let Kuro have his moment in the spotlight during Game 2. A great Icebourn Ezreal performance kept KT at bay and gave GE another 2-0 victory, securing their first spot in OGN.
Saturday was the day Jin Air wanted to bounce back from their defeat earlier in the week while IM had a chance to keep Najin at the bottom of the table. Once again SKT refused to put in Faker during their first game, meaning Jin Air banned away everything from Marin and picked up their signature Morgana for Trace. Jin Air learned from their mistakes against IM and had much better vision control in this game, giving them a few early kills and a dragon advantage. Marin played really well on Renekton but the strength of Jin Air’s comp and Pilot’s play gave IM the baron and win after a teamfight win at dragon.

Faker got his chance in Game 2 but SKT decided to first pick Xerath away from GBM. He responded with Ahri as usual. Another failed draft for SKT because of the Xerath hype. Chaser had great early pressure with Jarvan, resulting in kills and dragons. Jin Air was never pressured by the Xerath and steamrolled over SKT with Corki. Bengi had no impact in this game and really has to step up his game if he wants to keep competing with junglers like Chaser or Lee.

The last series of the week was all about the toplane. Duke was able to solokill Lil4c multiple times in both games, showing Gnar should probably be banned away from him. Ohq also proved that he deserves more playtime in the booth with a great Tristana performance in Game 1. Putting in Ohq/Cain and Faker in Game 1 of every series should be an obvious choice for both Najin and SKT, which isn't the case so far. Najin displayed great form in this series and I hope we can see more of that in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading if you have questions or comments leave them below or on twitter.

 by Pieter "antdriote" Cnudde 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

The first week of Korea’s professional circuit has completed and we can finally get back into professional LoL. Of course, one week isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but I think there are some good thoughts to take away from what we've seen so far. Keep in mind these are all just off of one series for most teams. This means what we've seen and what we get later on in the season might not match up. It’s also the first time a lot of these teams are working together since the merger and cutting out sister teams. There’s most likely a lot of work that still needs done.


Korea has always been known for being the dominant region overall, but they usually aren’t known for being the innovative ones or bringing out new metas. That’s usually reserved for EU or sometimes NA and then Korean players pick up and master it. We saw this with Ziggs, Maokai, and top lane Mundo for example. However this time, with the early start by Korea, they got the chance to be the pioneers. Gnar was almost always first pick or banned on red side. 

You could even bring up the ESL tourneys and say that EU and NA had a chance to bring it out and couldn't. We saw Gnar being played by Balls, widely regarded as one of the best top laners in NA, and he was mediocre on it to say the least. Meanwhile, the Gnar that was seen during Week 1 ranged from pretty solid overall to extraordinary and was an example of why Gnar is so powerful. Granted his 33% win rate wasn't anything spectacular, but even the losses had some good plays involved. 

The one win with Gnar in Smeb’s Game 2 from the GE vs IM series was absolutely spectacular. Not only was he able to win his lane pretty convincingly, but his late game team fighting and overall control of Gnar’s rage meter was impeccable. He was able to teleport at perfect times and control teams with his ults whenever needed. It’s safe to say that IM won’t be playing Gnar any time soon, and eventually he’s going to be permabanned as other pros learn to play him.

On a bit of a side note, it’s interesting to see that Korean players are more open than ever to trying new and innovative things. Wraith picked up not only a Lulu support, when she’s usually a flex mid or top pick, but a Syndra support as well. To be perfectly honest, the Syndra support - while not an optimal position for Syndra - didn't work out all too poorly for Samsung. The peel she had and ability to lower a tank that dove on the carry was pretty effective.


One of the biggest things I saw was how teams were able to just shut Faker down. Barring his Game 3 vs. Najin, Faker didn't really accomplish much when he played. SKT won their series vs. Najin, but Faker went 1-1 overall. Also in the game he won, he had an early gank from Wolf (who ended up taking the MVP away from Faker who had a pentakill). He needed help getting ahead to become the monster he was always known to be. His Xerath was just not impactful and they even put him in a lane that was destined to lose, as well as giving him a champ that isn't really his playstyle. Easyhoon is outshining Faker on almost all aspects outside of assassin play, which is still only on the outskirts of coming into the meta.

Speaking of Wolf, he’s really shown to be one of the star players with Easyhoon on SKT. His roaming on Janna was top notch and he made his presence known all around the map in both controlling his champion and controlling vision. He almost single-handedly gave Faker his snowball in Game 3 vs IM. Also his Janna became ban worthy after that series which says a lot when you’d rather ban out a support than either mid laner SKT has.

Both Bengi and MaRin looked pretty good in the pre-season, but once they got into the regular season they had a noticeable drop in performance. Bengi just seemed to not know where to be exactly and MaRin lost a few lanes and didn't position his Rumble ults as well as he could have. Combine that with no response to the camping of Faker that CJ Entus pulled off in their second game against SKT and you’ll find a struggling SKT that seemed to pick up where they left off at the end of last season.


When I saw that OGN would be broadcast for free on Riot’s stream, I was feeling both excited and worried. I was happy that finally the best region in League was going to be as well covered and open to the public as it always should have been, but I had reservations to how Riot would go about it. MonteCristo and DOA are known for their strikingly different style of casting. DOA cracks jokes about the game and talks about his support *insert carry champ* and Monte is very upfront and brutally honest in his analysis of teams play as well as Riot’s decisions in where they move the game.

My biggest fear was that they would try and tone down Monte and DOA in order to fall in line with what the NA and EU LCS casts were like. The recent news of them replacing the LPLEN stream didn't really inspire a lot of hope either. To my delight though, the OGN steam was left untouched. The only difference is where you go to watch the stream. 

According to Monte, both he and DOA are still contracted to OGN and are not considered Riot employees. This gives them a bit more freedom in their ability to cast within their own style. Overall, I’m very happy to see that nothing noticeable is different on the Korean scene coverage.


Being a CJ fan, I remember seeing that they played SKT and thinking of how they’d most likely get rocked by Faker and Bang/Wolf. I was wonderfully surprised to see that all the players on CJ stepped up to the plate and really improved their play from the preseason. While overall the games themselves weren't exactly high quality in terms of strategy, CJ still looked much better than before.

SKT was making poor and cocky calls all throughout the series and CJ not only called them on it but came up with some great plays of their own. CoCo really shined this series and Shy also proved to be a very powerful and annoying Mundo. Even Ambition seemed to be getting more comfortable in his new jungle role. 

One of the biggest and most surprising things for me though was watching Space. Space has always been known as the player that held CJ Frost back, that MadLife was stuck in “Space Prison.” This series, however, Space made plays. His Corki was just the right amount of ballsy in order to get in and get out without dying. To be honest, it seemed more like MadLife was holding Space back in the series as he was missing some pretty easy skillshots. His vision control was very aggressive though and he was able to get a few nice flash Flays in the second game on Thresh.

One thing I think CJ needs to work on is their pick/ban phase. They didn't ban Gnar in either game, and while MaRin didn't perform spectacularly in Game 1, the composition almost certainly should have left CJ reeling. Let’s look at the P/B phase for Game 1:
While I admire the Janna ban from CJ they left Gnar open first pick, which was immediately locked in by SKT. The Jarvan and Corki pickups were nice though. Now at this point, it should be noted that Easyhoon is playing mid and not Faker. 

Easyhoon is known as a much more passive player and prefers mages rather than assassins. This becomes important when Xerath gets locked in. Xerath is all about poke, and CJ countered with Mundo and Braum, two beefy guys that can stop the poke. Once those were baited out, SKT locked in Lee Sin and Sivir for the massive engage from Annie, Gnar and Sivir which has almost no way of being stopped. CoCo locked in Jayce as a final pick, which didn't really put a lot of pressure on to Easyhoon in lane like you can with a blind pick Xerath.

Honestly, CJ got played hardcore in picks and bans. They left Gnar open and then fell for the thought of it being a poke comp with Xerath rather than taking a deeper look at the Annie and Gnar picks. Yes, SKT is very mid-centric, but they have other good players as well.

It was through some good objective control and some sloppy play by SKT that CJ could pull out the win in the first game. Shy got too tanky to deal with and literally could fight three people at once while his team mopped up the rest.


Overall, Week 1 of OGN brought a lot of interesting stories in ways I didn't expect. I knew that Gnar would be an insta pick/ban in every almost every game. I had also figured, as we got closer to the actual broadcast, that Riot was not going to do much to mess with Monte and DOA.

Seeing CJ wake up and SKT and Faker struggle was a bit of a surprise though. All of the unorthodox picks were really fresh from Korea as well. It’s shaping up to be an exciting split for OGN/LCK. Lots of new teams and strategies, old players, new players, and now a way to see it all for free!

by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Runic Tournament: Summer Open


July 4th Weekend!

The Runic Summer Open is open to teams of all skill levels. There will be a maximum of 16 teams participating in this tournament. The tournament will have 5 best-of-two qualification rounds played across Friday and Saturday. At the conclusion of qualification round 5, the top 8 teams will advance to the quarter finals. The quarter and semi-finals will be best-of-three starting on Saturday night. Finals will be played in a best-of-five format on Sunday night.

Prizing will be the standard Riot prizing.

• 1st place team will be awarded 3200 RP and Triumphant Ryze
• 2nd place team will be awarded 2400 RP
• 3rd place team will be awarded 1600 RP
• 4th place team will be awarded 800 RP

Starts July 4 at 3pm eastern (8pm GMT)

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Runic Tournaments

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LCS Fans - Get pumped up for Braum, the Heart of the Freljord!

Braum is 'The Interceptor,' putting himself between his teammates and danger and taking the blows for them. He has an interesting skill set with some slow and stun capabilities, but his biggest advantage seems to be his shield. This sounds like the kind of champion who will produce #BIGPLAYS with clutch saves and he should be a lot of fun to watch. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


LCS Central Rankings : Playoffs : by Joshua Kon

1. Cloud 9 - Their undefeated Super Week ended with an intense backdoor of Coast's base by Meteos. Wins against top 2 NA Teams gives them #1 seed.
2. SK Gaming - Having the best EU Super Week, SK Gaming takes the #1 seed in Europe and looks to surprise a region.
3. Fnatic - They have found their stride once again and now are the #2 seed in EU. Favorites for the playoffs? I'd say so, as Fnatic has not lost a series in the EU LCS playoffs yet.

4. Team SoloMid - Fans for this team are now worried with their less than stellar adjustment to the 4.4 patch. With only two weeks to adjust to 4.5, can Team SoloMid change their losing ways?

5. Alliance - Having a chance to be #1 in Europe led to them going 2-2 and taking the #3 seed. A match-up with Fnatic in the semis is in their future.

6. Roccat - Going 2-2 in Super Week is not what Roccat wanted but they looked impressive in some of the games. They'll have the opportunity to stun the pro scene again against Gambit next week!

7. Counter Logic Gaming - Two bad loses against Curse and C9 puts them lower on the list than they should be. Though their dominating performance against Dig reminds us all just how good this roster can be!

8. Gambit Gaming - 14-14 is unimpressive for this organization. Maybe they tried different builds and champions but they are not looking great and could lose their opening series vs Roccat.

9. Copenhagen Wolves - They won and lost to some of the top teams in Europe this past week. I don't see an upset for these guys but they're miles ahead of any team in NA that's not Top 3.

10. Dignitas - Beating Curse and having some EG help has kept them at the #4 seed. They should have a great series vs Curse but I would not be surprised if they are in 6th place after the playoffs.

11. Curse Gaming - A huge win vs CLG lead to dud loses to Dig and EG. Curse should be a Top 4 team, but their team comps have been subpar.

12. Coast - This team has the potential to upset anyone at anytime! Zion and Shiphtur may actually be the best solo laners together on any team, but the weight of Nintendudex really holds them down!

Joshua's Predictions for playoffs:

EU - 1. Fnatic 2. SK gaming 3. Alliance 4. Gambit 5. Roccat 6. Wolves
NA - 1. CLG 2. C9 3. TSM 4. Curse 5. Coast 6. Dignitas

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LCS eSports Question of the Day

What do you think could be done to get more girls/women into LoL? Here were some of your responses:

‏‏@TiaraKind wrote: More word of mouth and support from current lady players? Band together, vixens!

@ThatGuyBranch wrote: Fix the community. Have a good example of a professional team for it and not be like the Sirens.

@AnnPragg wrote: Make it not a competitive video game.

@eSportsLawyer wrote: Boys play to win, girls play to have fun. More fun game modes (#URF4eva). Better focus on player experience, and maybe mentor mode.

@Donaldson_Andy wrote: Hmm, I think it just comes down to general taste tbh :O I dont think its about gender much :/ if you like LoL as a game....

@strawbrarie wrote: More yordles

@mentazero wrote: Less sexism in the community could help

@CoC_Pepitas wrote: I think the LCS and eSports is the key. While playerbase is 5% female, LCS viewerbase is 33%. Noticeable difference.

@SushiDucky wrote: Better funding and scouting into female oriented brands/Diamond(chall) Players/Diamond(Challenger) teams.

@SabrewoIf wrote: I think more girls just need to want it. I don't think there's anything stopping them, they just need to push for it

@Prof_Random wrote: Lots of girls/women already play, you can blame Teemo for that. But I'm guessing you're question is leaning more on the esports side.

@elisanuckle wrote: Would love to see some pro League female players. Or just more in esports in general.

@AbePringle wrote: Dudes playing could stop being douchebags elitist wanna be thugs.

Got an opinion? Send your answer to @punklit and we'll add it to the forum. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Name your State Team!

Okay LCS fans....If every major city had a pro team the way, say, the NFL does, what would your state/city's team name be? Tweet your answers to @punklit or leave a comment below, and I'll share the best ones here with you next week! (Be sure to mention both city and team!) 

*You non-yanks can fill in your own country/state/city/province/prefecture...

As for us here in Bull City, the choice is obvious. We're The Durham Allistars!

Friday, January 31, 2014

EU Spring Split W3D2 Fri, January 31

Today's Matches: 

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

Can Gambit stop the unstoppable? 

Nervous..or Confident?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

NA Spring Split W2D1 Sat, January 25

Today's Matches 

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