Thursday, 6 June 2013

Had to postpone LCS previews

I got asked to write something for Denial Esports ( former Doublebuff ), and seeing as LCS begins in a few days I might not be able to do any more. Might try to get a Cloud9 one done if I find the time this weekend.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

NA LCS Summer Split Preview - Team SoloMid

Side note - I won't be posting these daily anymore, I will try to release one every 2/3 days

Moving on to part 2 of this series of articles, I move on to the current North American LCS champions, TSM. With no changes to name, it's going to be same old TSM from the last split. Nevertheless, let's take a look at what will be the keys of success for them in the upcoming split.

TSM ended the Spring split with 1st place in the ladder, and after the play-offs. It may have been a little harder than expected, but TSM came out on top in the finals vs GGU ( Now Team Coast ). Their roster at the end of the season, and their current roster remains the same :

Dyrus - Top
TheOddone - Jungle
Reginald - Mid
WildTurtle - ADC
Xpecial - Support

Here's the part where I explain what has changed for TSM over the course of the break, but nothing really changed. Well, maybe something.

The only benefit I can think of that TSM gained from the break is Dyrus and Xpecial's experience in China for the All-Stars. North America put up a brave performance during the All-Star tournament, playing well in both games against China, defeating the favourited Europeans, and then being schooled by Korea. Dyrus did relatively well, one of the more consistent members of the NA All-Star team, not performing amazingly, but not doing badly either. It is however Xpecial I wish to focus this section on. Xpecial played phenomenally during the All-Star tournament, him and Doublelift where the shining hopes in a side plagued with inconsistency. One must only look at how NAs bot lane fared up against the others. It was a rare sight to see XpeciaLift get thoroughly beaten in lane. Hopefully Xpecial can take this experience, build on it, and consolidate his spot as the best support in North America, and one of the best in the world.

How each member contributes to TSMs success

Dyrus - The best thing about Dyrus is how consistent he is. He rarely goes on tilt and always plays to LCS champion standards, occasionally even better. This is why enemy bans are almost always focused on him, if Dyrus get's one of his comfortable picks ( Malphite, rumble, Shen, etc ) it is very unlikely he is going to lose to the opponent top laner, even if a lane swap is enforced. With bans and constant ganks headed his way, he draws pressure away from the rest of the team, whilst still generally winning/tying his lane and using his teamfight awareness to swing it in TSMs favour. For Dyrus to contribute to TSMs success he simply needs to continue doing what he is doing. I struggle to find an area in which Dyrus struggles in. He used to be very susceptible to early pressure and would often give up early deaths, however since then he has improved drastically in minimizing his losses while the enemy camp him and attempt to dive.

TheOddone -  Ahh what to say about my favourite jungler in all of League of Legends. Well, not anything new really. TheOddone initially struggled to adapt to the carry jungler, having to relinquish his beloved maokai. Since then however he has transitioned perfectly into the current state of the game, dominating on champions like Nasus and Jarvan IV. Not quite carrying but doing more than supporting. His Nasus and J4 games total 11 played, with 11 wins, not something to ignore. For Oddone to continue to be a key factor in TSMs success, he has to continue adapting to whatever the meta throws at the junglers. The jungle seems to be the role that changes the most, and as long as Oddone can keep ahead of the curve, he will continue to strive a sturdy member of TSM.

Reginald - As owner and captain of TSM, reginald has taken on a sort of Dark Knight role in TSM. I refer you to the quote " He is the hero TSM deserves right now, but not the one it needs " ( Swapped TSM for Gotham ). Regi does a fantastic job of playing very well, yet taking every piece of criticism TSM ever receives. he does have a habit of making 1 or 2 glaringly obvious mistakes during the big games, but aside from these mistakes ( that usually lead to nothing ) he wins his lane more often than not. On top of this, he is the main shotcaller for TSM, and is regarded by most of the North American LCS players as one of the best shot callers/Captains in the game. Reginald could work on trying to minimize the errors he makes, generally they consist of bad TF ults or whiffed skill shots, but by minimizing these tiny mistakes he may be able to finally win some fans so he can stop taking flak for very little reason. Aside from this, Reginald is a solid leader, and one that TSM is very lucky to have.

WildTurtle - Remember when Chaox left? and everyone thought the same thing ' Gah, there's no way WildTurtle will ever be nearly as good! Chaox was the best, and Regi is a tyrant! '. Hell, even I thought that, until he played his first week in the LCS that is. WT has been a breath of fresh air for TSM. Before his arrival they were stagnant, performing below average and sitting in 3rd/4th of the LCS standing, after him, TSM went 12/2. An outstanding record, which led them to the top of the LCS. the worry now however is that the initial shock factor of WT has worn off, people have figured out how he plays and how to counter his hyper aggressive style. I believe that TSM have too many threats to pin down WT. For every ban thrown at him, it opens up another champion for Dyrus, or Reginald, this is where TSM shine above other teams. It is simply impossible to ban out 2/3 players, whereas Chaox would not command any bans and simply be a member of the late game team fight, WT brings early game domination.

Xpecial - So I'll elaborate on my thoughts of Xpecial from earlier on in the article. it was made obvious at the All-Star event that Xpecial/Doublelift was probably the best bot lane partnership in America. I strongly believe that Xpecial/WildTurtle is the best bot lane partnership of an LCS team, and that they are only going to grow stronger. Xpecial is a veteran of the game, it is known that his game knowledge allows for him to play any role he wants with almost guaranteed success to a certain degree. If you really watch Xpecial alone when TSM play, it is rare you will see him make a mistake. It is the supports job to carry the AD Carry into the late game, and Xpecial does that to the highest standard.

So how will they do?

It is mine, any many others opinion that TSM will continue to dominate the North American LCS during the Summer split. The real question is whether or not TSM can challenge at an international level. If they continue to improve at the rate they are, the gap will close, there's no doubt about that. I do however feel that Regi needs to swallow his pride, and bring in an analyst for TSM. Dan Dinh is already transitioning into a sort of manager role, with Dan as manager and someone else on board to analyze opponents/Scrims, I think TSM will have a chance at competing with the best in the world.

Pros -

  • All members are consistent performers
  • reginald is an amazing leader/shotcaller
  • WildTurtle growing into a leading AD Carry

Cons -
  • Lack of coach/analyst
  • Difficulty performing internationally

Thanks for giving this a read, and remember...

"Baylife bro, dude baylife, bro, dude, bro, baylife" - Reginald

Wise words.


Monday, 3 June 2013

NA LCS Summer Split preview - Counter Logic Gaming

I thought I'd start off with the most changed team in the North American LCS. Quite the break that CLG have had, with retirements, benchings, old players returning and players switching roles. Let's take a look at how CLG may fare in the Summer split of the LCS.

At the end of the Spring LCS split, CLG were sat in 4th position, after defeating Azure Cats to retain their place in the LCS. their roster looked like this :

HotshotGG - Top
Chauster - Jungle
Link - Mid
Doublelift - ADC
Aphromoo - Support

And just a few short weeks later, one of the most influential characters in Esports has left his post as the starting top laner and captain of the oldest League of Legends organization, while others have joined, and some have changed places. The roster going into the Summer split looks like this :

Nientonsoh - Top
Bigfatlp - Jungle
Link - Mid
Doublelift - ADC
Chauster - Support

Only 2 positions in the CLG starting lineup have the same players, and even stranger, all 3 new members will be playing in a different position than they played last season. Arguably the 2 most consistent players, Doublelift and Link keep their spots, while HotshotGG and Aphromoo depart. On top of this, Chauster has relinquished his position as Jungler, and will return to the bottom lane to revive the former ChausterLift partnership. The final changes on the CLG roster are the controversial additions of Nientonsoh as the starting top lane, and the re-addition of Bigfatlp. So let's take a look at how these changes will affect CLG.

The departures of HotshotGG and Aphromoo

I think I speak for most Esports fans when i say that HotshotGG will be missed as a professional player. he is one of the pioneers of League of Legends as an Esport. As the founder and owner of CLG, he is stepping down to focus on the business side of things. Although he will be missed, one must believe that Hotshot knows what he is doing, and took a long time to deliberate his decision to step down.

The other player who has decided to leave CLG is Aphromoo. Towards the end of the Spring season, Aphromoo seemed to be finally getting into the groove of support after a shaky start of season. It has come to light that Aphromoo was offered the chance to play in the top lane, and despite spending weeks practising the role, he decided his heart wasn't in it. As a final kindness he was offered a spot as support, which he also declined. It would've been interesting to see how far he could've developed as a support player, as he was definitely improving as the weeks went on.

In my opinion, I believe CLG have lost 2 fairly average players, but 2 amazing personalities. Neither Hotshot not Aphromoo were the best at their roles in the region, not to say there were the worst mind you. The switch of Chauster to support more than justifies the departure of Aphromoo in my eyes. Whilst we will still have to wait and see how Nientonsoh can fare in the top lane after replacing Hotshot.

Arrival of Bigfatlp and Nientonsoh

The king is back! Well, the king of cats anyway. Yes that's right, Bigfatlp is back as a starter on CLG after spending most of the season attempting ( unsuccessfully ) to guide his own amateur team into the LCS. Azure Cats, with jiji at the reins were halted at the final corner by none other than CLG themselves. Despite being a predominantly mid lane player, jiji will now be the starting Jungler. Many players and personalities have gone on record to say that Jiji will do just fine in the jungle, as his game knowledge and skill will allow for him to quickly adapt, I'm not too sure, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

I was a part of oRbit Gaming since they picked up their 2nd roster ( the one with Nien ). So I will always remember him as the farm king. He was a great AD carry, with great mechanics and he would almost certainly out cs his lane opponent every game. For me, seeing Nien in the midlane was surprising enough, seeing him playing top still leaves me asking why. After thinking about it I've come to the conclusion that Nien is an extremely good player, with immense game knowledge and sound mechanics. So although I'd rather see him in the AD carry role, I have no doubts that if given time, he will become a great top laner.

The survivors.

Doublelift, Link and Chauster all retained their starter status on CLG, not all of them kept the same role though...

Chauster has moved back into his natural support role after an unsuccessful stint in the jungle. I think most people will agree that this is a good move for CLG. Chauster didn't exactly set the LCS alight with his jungle play, and fans of the team will rejoice when the ChausterLift duo picks up where they left off.

As for Doublelift and Link, there's nothing much to say. Together they were by far the outstanding members of CLG during the Spring split, and hopefully they will keep up their good form as they are vital to the success of CLG. Ever since Link has joined CLG, they seem to have been moving slowly away from their standard ' protect Doublelift ' strategy, and with the addition or Nientonsoh in the top lane, it looks like CLG could end up having 3 threats, instead of a few months ago, where they would only ever have 1.

How will they do?

Obviously, when a team goes through a roster change this drastic, it's going to be extremely difficult to gauge how they are going to perform. The only information I have to go on at this point are a few scrims CLG streamed vs velocity, and while CLG won the majority of them, it wasn't as easy as they probably hoped.

For now, I have 2 theories on how the Summer split is going to go for CLG.

1. The roster will work and mesh. CLGs bot lane will be untested, bar maybe to that of Xpecial/Wildturtle, Link will continue to grow in the mid lane, Nientonsoh will become the 3rd threat for CLG and bigfatlp will figure out the jungle. If all that happens, CLG will be contenders for the LCS crown and a good performance at worlds.

2. The new roster doesn't work, at all. CLG will still have an immensely strong bot lane, I do not doubt the ChausterLift. Link plays as he does now, pretty good, but not the best in the LCS, Nientonsoh doesn't adapt well to the top lane and bigfatlp fails in the jungle

As we saw last season, CLGs bot lane cannot carry the team alone. For them to succeed, they need Link and Nientonsoh to become threats to alleviate the pressure on Doublelift to carry the game. I believe it's possible that CLG have a winning team, but it relies on a lot of factors.

Thanks for reading =) -> @Howspiffing