Sunday, March 8, 2015

So, Coast

Early in the split, I wrote a blog post talking about my faith in the Coast line-up. Cris looked like a fucking beast out there. Impaler was putting in good work. Mash and Sheep looked like they were going to grow out into a very strong bot lane. They were losing games, but they were mostly losing due to late-game shot-calling, not for lack of skill. I felt like they were going to become a solid middle-of-the-pack contender.

They did not. They did not do that thing. They did another thing entirely and it was much, much worse.

Coast is looking at auto-relegation right now. They need to win every match from now until the end of the split if they want to even be in contention. The best they can hope for is maybe-relegation. They are – without a doubt now – the worst team in the North American LCS.

So what happened? What changed?

Honestly, not much. And that’s a big part of the problem.

Cris and Impaler were carrying Coast in a huge way. While Mancloud was doing okay in the mid lane, and Mash and Sheep were developing in their roles, Cris and Impaler were propping the whole team up. And other teams got savvy to that and started to choke Cris out, camping his lane, holding him back and forcing him into a position where he would need to be carried by the rest of his team. The rest of his team simply wasn’t capable of filling in when Cris couldn’t hold them up.


I feel like maybe they need more time. Three of their five players are underdeveloped. And they didn’t have the time they needed to develop during their career in the LCS. Maybe another couple of splits in the Challenger Series are needed, maybe they should look at adjusting their roster in the near future. Either way, unless something spectacular happens in the next three weeks, they won’t be developing in the LCS.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Let’s take a minute to talk about KeithMcBrief


On the surface level, this guy looks like a fucking monster. 

Not like, his face. His face is fine.

As of this writing he’s 44/11/42 in the LCS (for an average KDA of 7.81!). With him wearing the marksman pants, Liquid is 5-1. That is a pretty spectacular debut, no doubt about it.

But I’m not entirely certain it’s Keith’s fault. No disrespect meant to Keith at all, the guy is clearly a phenomenal player, but I would be hard pressed to suggest he’s better than DoubleLift. He isn’t better than WildTurtle either. The guy is a very good rookie, but he is absolutely a newcomer to the stage and you can see it in his occasionally very sloppy play.

Xpecial is carrying Keith in a huge way, and I think Keith’s record right now is more a testament to Xpecial’s abilities as a support than it is to Keith’s abilities as a marksman.

And it comes down to team synergy in a big way, I think. Piglet is a world champion. The idea of a world champion taking orders from a lowly NA support must seem completely ludicrous to him. So he goes his own way, does his own thing, picks Urgot because the team composition isn’t to his liking. He has a well-deserved ego, being one of the top players in the goddamn world (at least, he was at one time; there’s an argument to be made that he’s dropped off significantly since his performance at Worlds).

Keith doesn’t have an ego. He’s a seventeen-year-old boy making ridiculous sums of money for playing a video game he likes. Of course he’s going to listen to Xpecial. Xpecial is a goddamn hero. Of course he’s going to play his hardest at every opportunity. One salty moment could very well land him back on the bench while a much better player – and admittedly worse teammate – takes his place.


The difference between Keith and Piglet is that Piglet has put in his time, has paid his dues, and expects a degree of respect that is greater than perhaps his team is willing to give him, while Keith is a young, inexperienced player who is eager to please and eager to play. The latter is going to be a whole lot easier to carry, because he will let his team carry him, and I think that for Liquid that was something they rather desperately needed. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Reason I Haven't Posted Daily Updates This Week (And Won't Be Next Week Either)

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I'm salty as fuck that my best picks keep failing me and I keep losing.
For real, Rekkles. Get your shit together, son.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sightstone Designs

I think there’s more Riot could be doing to diversify the vision game and give Supports more interesting build options. Being able to build multiple different kinds of Sightstones – all of which provide some unique stats and some benefit to warding – would open the bottom lane up to a greater number of strategic choices. Also interesting (though undoubtedly inefficient) would be the ability to purchase more than one kind of advanced sightstone to double-down on unique ward effects.

These are obviously a first-draft (and as with anything related to an electronic game, I would wait until playtests were done before deciding anything was over- or under-powered), but I wanted to try and showcase the sorts of design space open in the League of Legends vision control scheme, and the many different directions this important item could go in the future. If there's one thing I would love to see more of, it's diversification in Support builds, and I feel like this would be a solid next step in that direction (while also providing a bit more focused itemization for the sightstone-inclined junglers of the world, may the gods bless every single one of them).

Edit: I am aware that many/all of these seem over-powered. I'm okay with that, because I don't design for Riot and I wasn't trying to suggest that these specific items should make it into the game. I was only trying to show how much design space is left in warding (and specifically in the vein of the Sightstone items). I'm sorry if I've battered your game-balance sensibilities, but game balance wasn't really the point.

Emerald Sightstone



Recipe: Sightstone + Null-Magic Mantle + 300 gold (1600 gold)

Stats: +150 health, +25 Magic Resist

Passive: Unique: Ward Refresh - Holds 4 charges and refills upon visiting the shop. Unique: I See Everything – You may have up to 5 Stealth Wards and 2 Vision Wards on the map at one time.

Active: Unique: Ghost Ward – Consumes a charge to place a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area for 3 minutes.

Silver Sightstone








Recipe: Sightstone + Faerie Charm + Faerie Charm + 440 gold (1600 gold)

Stats: +150 health, +50% mana regeneration

Passive: Unique: Ward Regeneration – Holds 4 charges. Gains one charge every 120 seconds and refills upon visiting the shop.

Active: Unique: Ghost Ward - Consumes a charge to place a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area for 3 minutes. You may only have 3 Stealth Wards on the map at one time.

Onyx Sightstone







Recipe: Sightstone + Amplifying Tome + 365 gold (1600 gold)

Stats: +150 health, +20 ability power

Passive: Unique: Ward Refresh – Holds 4 charges and refills upon visiting the shop.
Unique: Hidden Vision - Your Vision Wards are invisible.

Active: Unique: Ghost Ward - Consumes a charge to place a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area for 3 minutes. You may only have 3 Stealth Wards on the map at one time.

Golden Sightstone







Recipe: Sightstone + Cloth Armor + 500 gold (1600 gold)

Stats: + 150 health, +15 armor

Passive: Unique: Ward Refresh – Holds 4 charges and refills upon visiting the shop. Unique: Empowered Wards – Your Stealth Wards have an additional hit point. Your Vision Wards have an additional 2 hit points.

Active: Unique: Ghost Ward – Consumes a charge to place a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area for 3 minutes. You may only have 3 Stealth Wards on the map at one time.

Amethyst Sightstone







Recipe: Sightstone + Rejuvenation Bead + Rejuvenation Bead + 440 gold (1600 gold)

Stats: +150 health, +100% health rejuvenation over 5 seconds.

Passive: Unique: Ward Refresh – Holds 4 charges and refills upon visiting the shop. Unique: Ward Rejuvenation – Your Stealth Wards last indefinitely until destroyed. Your wards regain 1 hit point every 10 seconds.

Active: Unique: Ghost Ward - Consumes a charge to place a Stealth Ward that reveals the surrounding area indefinitely. You may only have 3 Stealth Wards on the map at one time.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fantasy LCS | EU Week 4 | Day 1

Giants vs. Gambit was great for my second team this week. I’m running P1noy in my AD slot because I got frozen out of the ADC pool, and he put on a good show for me. Otherwise, the game wasn’t really important, as both of these teams are flailing around like wacky inflatable arm-flailing tube men. I didn’t see the game, and I feel like I didn’t miss anything important.

I did get to watch H2K vs. Elements and that was a very strange experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m growing accustomed to the fact that Rekkles is not the hero we thought he would be. He’s a passable (and passive) ADC, but he isn’t changing how games do most of the time. Towards the end of the game he’ll put up a few kills and his points are usually in the decent-to-good range, but the flow of the game is generally determined by how the jungle and mid lanes are holding up. But this game really showcased how hard Rekkles was carried by Yellowstar. When his support started failing, he started idling and then the whole team fell apart under H2K’s direct early aggression. A really sad game for Elements, an incredibly sad game for Rekkles, and a great start for kaSing. I’ll be keeping an eye on H2K in the coming weeks.

MYM vs Fnatic went a lot how I thought it would, except for the points scored. I expected Fnatic to be wading in their opponents’ blood, but instead they seemed to prefer a slow and steady deconstruction. Febiven put up some okay points, but Huni was absolutely the star of the show, managing to get two kills on the receiving end of a four-man turret dive and riding that advantage straight to the nexus.

UoL managed to either reassert their skill in the EY scene or prove that Roccat still ain’t shit. I’m not sure which it was. I felt this one could go either way, and the way it went has made it pretty clear that Roccat still has a long road ahead of them before they fix the holes in their game. I’m running Power of Evil on my second team, which did me very well, but Hylissang on my first team and he was kind of meh this time around.

SK vs Copenhagen Wolves seemed like a forgone conclusion going into it. Then SK picked a bit of a strange team comp, and the Wolves started off pretty strong. Then they got a kill on Forg1ven. Then they lost really, really badly, much as I was expecting them to at the beginning of the day.

Tomorrow: H2K vs. Roccat suddenly got a whole lot more interesting. SK is going to stomp the Giants into the ground. Gambit and Elements should (hopefully) be a very one-sided match for Elements, but now I guess it’s anyone’s game. Fnatic are going to make the Wolves their bitch. And UoL is going to spank MYM all over everywhere. I’m not really seeing a lot of tough matches here, but they should be good for points anyway.


The Rest of the Week: The most interesting matches this week are going to be CLG vs. TSM and Gravity vs. Liquid. CLG vs. TSM is all about the grudge match, but I’m pretty sure TSM has this one in the bag. Liquid has a lot to prove after the last couple of weeks and Gravity is a pretty mediocre team. I’m hoping to see Liquid pull it out. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Starting a Second Team

I decided at the end of Week Three that I wanted to take some of my newfound knowledge of the EU scene and try drafting again. I put together a new league (Junkyard Jetpack), and put a notice up on /r/fantasylcs on reddit that I was looking for new players. I didn’t record the draft (I was on my crap laptop, not the heftier machine I use for gaming), but I did end up with a significantly better team this time around.

I was last-pick in a six-man draft, and the first four picks were three ADCs and Froggen. For my first two picks, I decided to look at utility rather than straight-up power, and picked Yellowstar and Svenskeren. I likely should have picked Reignover instead of Sven, but I was a little rushed. For my second set of picks, I was going to swipe Vardags and Fredy122, but Vardags was snatched up by the player before me and my AD picks really dried up after that. Instead, I got Fredy122 and PowerOfEvil. My ADC slot suffered a lot for those picks, and I was forced into P1noy and Piglet. I consider neither of them particularly strong picks, and Piglet having been actively bad in his first two weeks with Liquid. So I’m unimpressed with my AD picks, my mid is pretty middle-of-the-road, and my utility picks are really strong – basically the opposite of my first team.


The quality of drafters was much stronger in the six-man, though, with no one going for fan picks over quality picks. That made the draft a lot more challenging. The fact that I was sitting in last pick was also a difficulty-raising factor, since I couldn’t prioritize ADCs early without losing out on strong utility picks. Overall I think my team looks pretty solid this week, but I have some serious doubts about its longer-term potential. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A List of Players Who Have Given Single-Digit Weeks:


Nisbeth
Meet Your Makers
x2
Crumbzz
Team Dignitas
x2
YoungBuck
Copenhagen Wolves

Piglet
Team Liquid

Quas
Team Liquid

Adryh
Giants Gaming

Fr3derick
Giants Gaming

Rydle
Giants Gaming
x2
KiwiKid
Team Dignitas

IWDominate
Team Liquid

Xpecial
Team Liquid

Werlyb           
Giants Gaming

Voidle
H2K Gaming

Sheep
Team Coast

Impaler
Team Coast

Cris
Team Coast


* listed by which week they achieved single-digit points, and then by the number of points achieved