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Posts tagged “Baron

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Elementz out at Curse, Brunch U Retires

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While the NA playoff picture came into focus this weekend, the future of some key NA teams became clouded in uncertainty as Twitter lit up with rumors of an unnamed player retiring following the Spring split. Initial rumors circled around maligned Curse support Elementz, who has recently and publicly been clashing with his teammates – particularly All Star Jungler Saintvicious. A little background – following week 9 Elementz posted this vlog to his YouTube channel commenting about his doubt in Saint’s leadership abilities. Saint naturally retorted in the same venue, stating that Elementz does not take professional gaming as seriously as he ought to, and that his play was an exploitable weakness in Curse’s lineup that other teams had identified and began pressuring. The friction between Saint and Elementz is nothing new, and reaches back as far as season 2, as evidenced by this now-famous video in which Saint alleges that Elementz does not take his job seriously, and unsurprisingly Elementz does not appreciate Saint’s criticism. The trouble between Saint and Elementz was publicly dormant during the first half of the Spring split while Curse enjoyed huge winning streaks and a number 1 spot in the LCS standings. Unsurprisingly, once Curse began to struggle later in the season, dropping game after game in the last 3 weeks until they fell to 2nd place, old wounds were re-opened and the two clashed again.

It was revealed shortly after the NA LCS’ final Spring game that it was in fact not Elementz retiring, but CompLexity’s ADC Brunch U who was leaving. The rumors and speculation about Elementz was not too far off however as just minutes later it was announced via Twitter that Elementz would be stepping down to a bench position for the Spring playoffs and would depart the team and become a free agent once the playoffs concluded. Since, CompLexity has announced that former mid-lane Chuuper (replaced weeks ago by Pr0lly) would step in to fill for Brunch “temporarily”. It’s not clear at this time if CompLexity is planning to sign a new ADC or if they will continue with Chuuper if he excels in the position in the upcoming qualifier tournament. Curse has announced that they are bringing up Rhux from his position on the bench to fill Elementz’s spot. What potential impact could these changes have on the playoff and qualifier tournaments beginning this weekend? Let’s take a closer look at each new player.

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Chuuper Returns to CompLexity

Chuuper’s return to the team that benched him will see him in another carry role, but in bottom lane instead of mid. A look at his match history reflects a lot of practice in the ADC role and interestingly about half of his recent matches are as Ezreal – a champion that Brunch U did not play very much of in Season 3. It looks like Chuuper has had mixed success with Ezreal, sometimes carrying and sometimes losing with big crooked scores. Chuuper has also put in some work on more popular ADCs such as Vayne and Caitlyn, again with an assortment of results. Of course, performance in solo queue is not indicative of his potential performance at a professional level with his team, but it offers a glimpse into what Chuuper is doing to prepare for his new spot on CompLexity. Because coL has been careful to say that Chuuper’s tenure in the ADC role is temporary, I am lead to believe that he will either carry his team to victory in the qualifier tournament or find himself on the bench again following the tourney. As far as meshing with his team goes, the bottom lane synergy is less of a concern than it might otherwise be, Chuuper has the benefit of having played with the team for a significant amount of time. Look for Chuuper to go the extra mile to distinguish himself in this second chance at the first string team; there will surely be a lot of focus on his play in the coming weeks.

Rhux in at Support for Curse

rhuxRhux is something of a solo queue All Star, known for his success on the solo queue ladder in Season 2 where he hovered around the top 3 spots for almost the entire season. Likewise in Season 3, Rhux has been a mainstay at the top of the Challenger tier, but mostly as a Solo Top. Like Chuuper, a look at Rhux’s recent match history reveals mixed success practicing his new role in solo queue. Unlike Chuuper though, Rhux has been playing mostly champions that his predecessor is known for playing – more than half of his recent games coming as Sona with a few on Blitzcrank and Thresh. While this may mean that the overall strategy for Curse might not change, it will be an excellent litmus test for the validity of Saint’s Elementz criticisms. One of the big points made by Saint during his clash with Elementz was that opponents had recognized the Cop/Elementz team as weak in 2v2 lane scenarios. Early in the season Curse pulled frequent lane swaps to allow Cop to farm safely in a 2v1 lane, but once teams began forcing Curse to 2v2 during the lane phase, the Curse duo began to struggle. If Rhux and Cop have success in upcoming 2v2s it will appear to vindicate Saint and prove that it was the right move to bring Rhux in.

The Intangibles

The question remains: is the individual skill of Rhux the only factor which will decide his success on the team? Consider this: by many accounts, former GGU support – now with Vulcun – Bloodwater is one of the best Supports in North America, and yet when he left GGU and was replaced, GGU began to play much better, clicking together and winning games on a consistent basis. Bloodwater’s move to Vulcun also helped his new team, who began a run which carried them into the playoffs behind excellent shot calling and high level play from the new support. Rhux’s skill then, is only part of the consideration for the future success of his team. Luckily for Curse, Rhux and Saint get along very well, and in fact Rhux has been living in the Curse gaming house since the team moved in before this season’s LCS competition began. It is possible that Elementz’s departure will spell success for Curse simply by eliminating internal arguments and distractions. The relationships among the rest of the team appear to be holding strong – Cop remains passive and quiet, Saint remains close with Jacky and Rhux and Voyboy continues to be one of the nicest guys in eSports. The good news for eSports fans is that we won’t have to wait very long to see the conclusions to these storylines resolve – LCS action resumes in North America this Friday when top teams face off for bragging rights and to stave off a trip to the qualifier tournament which could see some LCS teams drop out of the Summer Split.

edit: Thanks to redditor /u/alexwilder for pointing out some factual inaccuracies about Bloodwater in this article.


NA Doesn’t Have Monopoly on Weird Picks: EG/GMB Week 8 (SPOILERS)

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(VODs: Full Game)

Snoopeh.

He’s one of EU’s top Junglers. He’s Scottish. His Blue Steel is the stuff of legends.

Perhaps it was PR0LLY’s unconventional Annie and Ziggs picks, or maybe it was the A-Z Jungle series Snoopeh ran on his stream which gave him the inspiration for his Week 8 pick against Gambit Gaming. Initially, nobody was surprised when EG grabbed Malphite, Malzahar and Akali since Wickd plays a great Akali, Malz is a solid mid at the moment and might be interesting on Froggen and Malphite is more than competent in the jungle as an initiator.  A last second roster swap however, gave EG the following lineup:

Top: Wickd (Malphite)

Mid: Akali (Froggen)

ADC: Varus (yellowpete)

Support: Lulu (Krepo)

Jungle: Malzahar (Snoopeh)

Late in the Spring season, EG – who has been struggling by their standards, (4th place) – made several moves in this week 8 matchup, beginning in champion select, to shake things up and try to catch their Russian opponents off-guard. Unfortunately for the innovative Brits, the former Moscow 5 was still playing at the top of their game in week 8. 

First Blood came out against Froggen behind a gank from Diamondprox on Nasus, giving Gambit an early lead that they would never really lose. Smart counter-warding from Gambit limited Snoopeh’s ganking potential, while lane-swaps allowed Alex Ich to free farm against Wickd, who simply did not have the damage to kill Kha’Zix.

In perhaps EG’s best played fight in the game, Snoopeh managed his first gank on Darien’s Shen. If you came here looking for evidence of the power that an AP jungle Malzahar can bring to the game, this gank is a good example. It is, however, the great timing and turret-aggro control that allows Snoopeh and Froggen to drop Darien more than the individual power of Malz. This gank, along with a second gank top allowed EG to hang around in this game until they attempted a 4-man push down mid. While the positioning from EG may not have been ideal, the play of Alex Ich was the deciding factor in Gambit sweeping this team fight. From the time EG got eviscerated in mid lane, Gambit never let up and rolled on to yet another victory, leaving them just one game out of first place, and EG in 4th with the surging Coppenhagen Wolves within striking distance just behind in 5th. Fortunately for EG, The Wolves have no games this week, which means EG controls their 4th place destiny. Of course with a gigantic week 10 looming, anything can still happen.

Seemingly undeterred by his team’s struggles against GMB, Snoopeh has continued playing Malzahar in the jungle on his stream. Can we expect Snoopeh to pull out another unique pick in week 9? Who will be the next team to dare to try something new and interesting? As the season closes and teams look for any advantage they can find, you can expect to see some wild picks and crazy strategies in the next 2 weeks of competition.

Edit: Thanks to reader and twitter follower @jasonalanmclain for pointing out an editing error. Snoopeh is great – but only plays Jungle, not mid as well. Sorry for forgetting you, Froggen!


Anatomy of a Nightmare: A Closer Look at Week 8’s TSM vs Curse (SPOILERS)

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VODs: Recap / Full Game

While the bottom 4 teams in the LCS traded blows this weekend to stave off relegation, the top spot of the LCS was also in contention with #1 Curse facing rival TSM. Curse – who had not until this point dropped a game to Solo Mid in the LCS – went into the match with their confidence high. Prior to the match Twitter was sparking with discussion about the NA All-Star vote where TSM and Curse top lane and jungles are still trying to prove they deserve their fans’ votes. When Dyrus went head to head with Voyboy it appeared the All-Star vote might be the story of the game. The focus of the game was not ultimately top players testing their skill however, the game quickly spiraled into a study on missplays, questionable calls and champion matchups.

The first in-game mistake for Curse came early in the cast when NyJacky walked face-first into a fully loaded TSM flying in formation. Yet crushing Jacky for first blood at 40 seconds was not the first blow TSM dealt to Curse; that move came in champion select. Like some of the other highlight matches of the weekend, TSM and Curse’s picks were the subject of debate and ended up impacting the game in meaningful ways.

TSM’s lineup came straight out of their Season 2 power days, with a host of global (and semi-global) abilities coming out from Shen, Draven, Karthus and Nocturne. The advantage of controlling the game from a distance was firmly in the hands of Solo Mid, while Curse ran out a team comp which raises some questions. With Cop on Kog’Maw, Curse had hopes that their star ADC would win the late game with Kog’s superior endgame power. Of course – as with all lategame comps – it’s essential to protect the hypercarry and Curse’s lineup simply fell short. While Saintvicious’ Udyr, Voyboy’s Renekton, Elementz’ Sona and NyJacky’s Ryze all have hard CC, missplays and bad descisions created an environment where Cop could not exercise the full extent of Kog’Maw’s power.

The problem protecting Cop began with Saint’s first gank; with only the short stun from Udyr’s Bear Stance, Saint was unable to disable WildTurtle for long enough for Cop to put in the work he needed for a doublekill. After making it safely to the turret, WildTurtle and Xspecial (on Thresh) turned on all 3 attacking members of Curse and took a fight 3-0. This critical missplay by Curse empowered WildTurtle to further leverage the early-game power advantage that Draven has over Kog’Maw, resulting in a very early tower-dive kill on Cop, all without the help of a jungler.

Saint’s next gank wasn’t as painful as the first, as he and Voyboy almost managed to take down Dyrus until a quick reaction from TheOddOne stopped the ambush cold, resulting in no kills for either team.  On his third attempt, Saint finally found blood for Curse, taking down Reginald without giving up a kill to a counter-ganking OddOne. After a free dragon for TSM and tower dive on Jacky, the game began to look out of hand for Curse.

Nowhere in the midgame can you see the power advantage that TSM had over Curse better than in a team fight over Curse’s bottom exterior tower. After an R from Elementz which wiffed on all but WildTurtle, Curse put enough pressure – bringing Jacky from mid to join Saintvicious, Cop and Elementz – to wipe TSM up, but only manged to trade 2-for-1 ending in a top-plays worthy escape over a wall by Dyrus. A fight that Curse committed a lot of time and abilities to simply did not net enough gold for Curse to make it worthwhile, and TSM continud their dominance from that point.

Trying to play catch-up, Curse continued to make critical errors, getting caught out several times, including on a particularly eyebrow raising play in which Saintvicious followed 4 members of TSM into a bad fight which almost got much worse for Curse until Saint was forced to flee. After taking Baron there was nothing Curse could do to prevent the inevitable as TSM marched down each lane, dropping towers and inhibitors until they eventually felled the enemy Nexus.

In possibly the worst played game by Curse all season, we finally see the formerly invincible looking #1 NA team looking a little mortal. The huge victory for TSM would not stop Curse completely in their tracks though, as after a short break and some refocusing, Curse came back to defeat Vulcun in the day’s final match.

What can we learn about Curse following the grizzly defeat handed to them by TSM? Saintvicious must play well for Curse to win. With a more supportive midlaner like NyJacky, and a conservative-farm-first ADC in Cop, the pressure on Saint and Voyboy to succeed in the early game is paramount. In perhaps the first game all season where Saint could not deliver on early aggression, Curse folded like a cheap suit. Every member of Curse generally works together like a well oiled machine which works right up until a key component malfucntions.

How did this game affect your All-Star vote? Does Saint get extra credit for being so important to his team? Or does OddOne’s victory over Curse give him a boost? Does Dyrus’ success against Voyboy keep him firmly in first, or can Voyboy still close the gap and represent the NA in the upcoming All-Star game? Tell us in the comments or tweet to us @ill_monstro_g and check back for more LCS coverage as the Spring season comes up on its epic conclusion.


Rumble in the Jungle: Custom Game-Type for Fans of Team Fights

Looking for a new game-type to shake up your gaming-groups “too many for 5’s” list of options? Start a custom game on Summoner’s Rift – Draft Mode and follow these simple rules for a team fighting contest that is fast, brutal and fun!

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Please note: we at allMIA did not invent this game-type, however: we have spent considerable time mocking up a simple “at-a-glance” rules image for you to use to teach your friends the game. If you like the content, share it and check back soon as we’ll be sharing other fun game-types developed by the community for you to try with your own group! Have your own fun game-types that you’d like to share with the world? Tweet your ideas to us @ill_monstro_g, or leave a comment here and we may feature your game in a future article!


“Howling Abyss” New Matchmade ARAM Mode on PBE

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ARAM fans! Riot has heard your cries. Ever since the debut of The Proving Grounds, players have had the ability to play fan-created “all random all mid” rules on a dedicated one lane map in custom games. Since ARAMs have been limited to custom games, the chief problems with ARAM have been players dodging when they don’t get a champion they’d like to play (defeating the purpose of ARAM) and the skill gap which can plague a mode where anyone can play with anyone else. In one fell swoop, Riot seeks to snuff out these problems by introducing a matchmade ARAM queue on a whole new map: The Howling Abyss.

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If you have a PBE account you can go give the new map a spin. It is unclear at this moment when the map will hit live servers, and if it will support blind and draft pick (ABAM/ADAM) modes when it does. Excited for a new ARAM map? Tell us in the comments or by tweeting to us @ill_monstro_g and if there is enough interest we will sponsor an ARAM tournament with RP prizes to celebrate the release of Howling Abyss!
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#sorryliam Twitter Contest WINNERS! (+Best of the Rest!)

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Salutations, Summoners!

Our #sorryliam Twitter contest has come to a close, and resident Englishman – our very own Liam – has selected 3 winners each to receive 1380RP for their great submissions! I’m happy to report that the contest was a rousing success! Not only did we see a ton of excellent submissions, but we’ve gotten a bunch of great feedback from the community. Because of the success of this contest, we will be running more contests for RP soon so bookmark allMIA, follow me on Twitter (@ill_monstro_g) and check back frequently so that you can enter and win our next RP Giveaway!

On to the winners, of whom Liam says the following:

“You never have to say sorry because you’re bad at the game. We’re all bad at one time or another! What you have to say sorry for is being DUMB. These guys really need to apologise.”

winnersOur 3 winners will be contacted via Twitter Direct Message with their 1380RP codes. So if you’ve won – check your Twitter messages!

Best of the Rest

Even though we had only three prizes to award, we have to recognize the other top tweets that tickled our funny bones. Thanks to all who participated, and enjoy the submissions! See one you think should have won? Want to tell us how dumb we are for not picking your favorite? Tell us in the comments! And we’re sorry, so so sorry.

liam

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3 Must-See Matches: Week 5 NA LCS

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Curse vs CLG – 3/15 7pm PST

Previous Games: 

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Split in their season series at 1 game apiece, #2 Ranked Curse and #4 Ranked Counter Logic Gaming are both playing for more than just respect and bragging rights this week. Curse, who began the season 8-0, coasting in first place has fallen behind 10-2 Team Dignitas. This week, Curse has matches against 3 of the top 4 NA LCS teams and must find success if they want to climb back into 1st place. Meanwhile CLG holds on to their 4th place spot with MRN on their heels meaning CLG needs every win they can get to remain in the top half of the standings.

These two rivals met in week 1 in a game where Curse looked very comfortable and confident. Showing off the aggressive playstyle that got them ousted from the CLG roster, Voyboy and Saintvicious lead Curse to a decisive victory over their former teammates. CLG owner and top laner HotshotGG never seemed to settle in, missing a key Baron steal and getting caught out of position by a diving Voyboy several times.

The second time CRS and CLG met this season was a completely different story as Curse seemed to have abandoned the quick aggressive strategy that brought them success in week 1 in favor of a slower split-push based strategy lead by a solo-queue inspired AP Tryndamere build employed by Voyboy. CLG – responsible for popularizing the split push strat in the NA scene – responded very well, isolating Voyboy and keeping his pushes from splitting their attention.

Who will break the tie and claim bragging rights over their rivals? Both teams have previously fallen to mistakes and miss-plays like HotshotGG getting caught out of position in game 1, or NyJacky putting Kayle’s invulnerability on Voyboy’s Endless Raging Tryndamere. Whoever can clean up their game and make no mistakes should walk away with a win this week.

Prediction: Curse over CLG in a close match.

Head 2 Head Highlight: Mid Lane

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Last time they matched up, Link outfarmed NyJacky – who seemed uncomfortable and slow to react on Kayle – by 30cs at points. Curse will need NyJacky to be playing at his best if they hope to break the 1-1 series tie in their favor.

 

MRN vs CLG3/16 7pm PST

Previous Game:

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The last time these two met, the result was one of the best games of the season; the game took 3 separate contests over Baron to decide. While MRN held a significant gold lead later on in the game, CLG made good plays to remain in the match until the final team fight near Baron proved to be too much for HotshotGG’s team. Last time, CLG banned out Tristana as an answer to the recent success found by MRN ADC Heartbeat – but Heartbeat just picked Kog’Maw and carried anyway. With Heartbeat showing flexibility and MRN top lane MegaZero at the top of his game, can CLG adapt and find another way to shut MRN down? If not we may go into week 6 with a new 4th place team.

Prediction: CLG over MRN in a drawn out split push contest.

Head 2 Head Highlight: Top Lane

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With their last match being so drawn out, the split-push style of CLG might be where this game is decided. Can MegaZero beat Hotshot at his own game? If he does, MRN might pull out another win over CLG.

Any Game Dignitas Plays (3/15 6pm: vs coL – 3/16 5pm: vs GGU3/17 2pm: vs Vulcan – all times PST.)

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Dig is a first place 10-2 in the NA LCS, and this week they face off against 3 of the “bottom 4” NA teams – none of whom they have lost to on the LCS stage. For Dig, this is an opportunity to put greater distance between them and 2nd place team, Curse (who have 3 tough matches this week). Until Dig is knocked off the first place throne, every match they play is must-see-TV, especially this week where any of their 3 games could be the week’s upset special. Worth noting: the only “bottom 4” team they aren’t facing? The best looking of the bunch – 5th place MRN.

Player 2 Watch: Iamaqtpie

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Team Dignitas’ ADC Iamaqtpie is giving de-facto “#1 ADC” CLG Doublelift a run for his money recently with incredibly consistent and explosive play. If  QT can keep up his dominance against his opponents this week, chances are Dignitas will still be #1 when we preview week 6.

Wrap-Up

Any match you’re looking to see that we didn’t cover? Leave us a message in the comments and check back tomorrow for our week 5 EU LCS “3 Must See Matches” preview. Need to know how to watch the games? Check out our article on watching professional League of Legends. Plus, later today check back for the results of the #sorryliam Twitter contest where 3 lucky winners will take hope 1380RP each!


IEM Hanover Grand Final 2: Frost vs Blaze For the Title (SPOILERS)

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GAME 3 (VOD: IEM Hanover Grand Final Frost/Blaze Game 3)

Game 3 of the IEM Hanover Grand Final between CJ Entus teams Blaze and Frost was the rubber game of a 1-1 tie for the two Korean sides whose play in the first two games was ferocious. At first it seemed as though these teams were backing off of their early aggressive play-style until Frost revealed the first trick up their sleeve. MadLife – still on his Lulu – buys an early red potion and sits in the forward bush in top lane with Woong’s Ezreal and Shy’s Singed. Flame, playing the Elise that Shy played so well in game 1 wanders into lane when the trap is sprung for First Blood. Not one to let a gank go unanswered, Helios – on Vi – hooks around the bottom side of middle lane and with one well placed Vault Breaker brings the kill score even onto RapidSTAR’s Lux. Almost simultaneously though, MadLife, Woong and CloudTemplar – on Volibear – secure a second kill on Elise again bringing Frost ahead on kills. With the First Blood gold, Frost looks very good early up 500 gold on their sister-team. Given the previous two games ending predictably after fast starts by each team, game 3 looks grim for Blaze already at just 4 minutes in-game-time. Frost’s advantage increases when MadLife and Woong, pushing bottom tower, stay a little too long. Blaze manages to catch MadLife and bring themselves just a bit back into the game until in turn Helios stays just a bit too long, leading to a highlight reel worthy play in which Frost lands not one but two flips on Cpt Jack’s Tristana giving Frost yet another kill. Frost, having timed the play very well gets to take the game’s first Dragon without a contest from Blaze.

After a rough early game for Blaze, they begin playing very cautiously and puts the focus on farming minions, a strategy which will pay dividends in the late game, especially with a Tristana who is so strong in the late period of the game. Blaze’s first big play to help climb back into the game comes with the second Dragon spawn. Frost manages to take down dragon but gives up 3 kills to Blaze, who close the gold gap a little. After the clash at the objective, Blaze continues to push lanes and carefully farm. It still appears that Frost has an enormous advantage as they manage to pick off two members of Blaze, increasing their gold lead to 3000. There is no further aggression from Blaze until Frost reaches out to flip Ambition’s Kha’Zix. At first it appears that Frost will take yet another kill off of Blaze, until Ambition quickly crushes Ezreal and leaps over the jungle wall to safety, leaving Lustboy’s Sona to Crescendo Frost, giving a double kill to Cpt Jack. It’s at this point in the game that it’s clear that Blaze’s wait and CS strategy has paid off, as Ambition has an 80 cs lead over his lane opponent, RapidSTAR. Additionally, Cpt Jack is – at this point – 20cs over opponent Woong. The disparity in gold for the key damage dealers in this matchup gives Blaze the advantage they need to run Frost over. The farm disparity is so great that the once 3000 gold advantage for Frost has completely melted away, giving Blaze a nearly 1000 gold advantage which helps lead to another team fight in which Blaze cleans up Frost 2-0.

Now with a huge gold lead, Ambition begins absolutely controlling the game by himself, soloing dragon. Blaze follows up on Ambition’s success by contesting and taking Baron. Frost is wise enough to back off of the Baron fight while they have the chance, taking no deaths but giving up a turret and red buff to Ambition. With these few plays, Blaze’s gold lead suddenly swells up to over 8000. By slowing the game down, farming and picking their fights Blaze has written the book on how to play from behind. Frost, now desperate to claw their way back into a game they once controlled begins to press Blaze’s inhibitor turret in middle lane,  but over-commits and ends up losing a team fight they had no real chance of winning  2-4. Blaze proceeds to press their advantage, taking the match’s second Baron and an inhibitor. The final nail in Frost’s coffin comes when Frost double-flips Ambition which only pushes Kha’Zix past Frost’s front line where he easily picks up a triple kill and ends the game, demonstrating that Blaze’s gold advantage is just too much.

For us summoners who are trying to learn important lessons from the pro scene, we’ve learned two important things from Blaze’s play in this game:

1) A great way to counter a “flip” team composition like the Singed/Volibear comp Frost was running is to play a champion with great escapes and high burst damage like Kha’Zix. Ambition consistently positioned himself in front of his team, making him the only viable target for CloudTemplar and Shy to engage on. Once he was flipped, Ambition made short work of the carries he was being tossed into and jumped away before he could be killed himself. Ambition’s play of Kha’Zix not only shows why the void-bug is such a popular choice in pro-play right now, but also easily makes him the game’s MVP.

2) When playing from behind, as Blaze was early on in game 3, it’s imperative to stay calm, disengage and try to farm as much as possible. Once Frost was ahead, Helios showed none of the massive aggression which was so key to Blaze’s game 2 victory, instead Blaze forced nothing, farmed up and became so strong that by time team fights began mid-game, Frost had no chance to defeat them.

With the victory, Blaze sets up a 2-1 match point in this best-of-5 IEM Grand Final.

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GAME 4 (VOD: IEM Hanover Grand Final Frost/Blaze Game 4)

The fourth game of this best-0f-five is an elimination game for Frost who must win in order to force a game 5. The dire nature of their situation does not seem lost on Frost who begins the match by setting up a 3-man ambush in tribush on bottom lane. At first they back off of a potential fight at Blaze’s Elder Lizard camp, but then put a gank on Lustboy’s Sona in lane where Shy – on Singed – grabs First Blood. Frost appears ready to come out very aggressively, wanting to put this game away quickly as they did game 1. Blaze, realizing how aggressive Frost is playing and remembering their success in slowing down and controlling game 3 begins to play very defensively, focusing on farming and positioning. The first action we see after First Blood is when Flame takes top tower with very patient poking. Frost, wanting to speed the game back up with their aggressive strategy sends CloudTemplar to bottom lane to mirror some of the aggressive Vi play we saw from Helios earlier in the series. With a well executed, patient lane gank on Lustboy Frost picks up a 2-0 edge on kills. Almost simultaneously on top lane, Flame tries to chase and kill Shy who proves why rule number 1 is “don’t chase singed” as he escapes unharmed and nearly kills his lane opponent in the process.

Despite the 2-0 lead on kills, Blaze is farming better than Frost at 10:30 in-game-time with Flame up 25cs on Shy and Ambition up 15cs on RapidSTAR. Blaze’s patient, focused farming which was the key to their victory in game 3 and 1-0 turret advantage is once again paying off as they maintain a 1000 gold lead. Blaze – continuing with their patient strategy – drops a pink ward on Dragon and takes it uncontested, further increasing their gold lead to 2000. Frost – again needing to pull themselves back into contention from behind – starts playing even more aggressively with Shy teleporting to bottom lane for a gank, but a well timed Crescendo from Lustboy assures that Frost’s plans are foiled and Blaze can continue to farm safely with top lane now 30cs in favor of Blaze, mid and bot lane 10cs in favor of Blaze a piece. Frost, seeming frustrated by the cautious play of their sister-team responds to the failed gank on bottom lane by trapping Flame between RapidSTAR and CloudTemplar for the only the game’s third kill. It appears as though all of the roaming and waiting Frost is doing to set up these ganks is costing them in farm as despite the kill score being 3-0 Blaze is now up 2.5k gold.

A key play in this game 4 comes when Frost attempts to set up a fourth kill on Cpt Jack and Lustboy. Notice how Woong misses out on cs while he and MadLife wait for an opportune moment. Cpt Jack – who appears oblivious – is calmly farming, increasing his already large gold lead until the trap is sprung. A miss-play by Woong allows Cpt Jack to set up outside of the range of Bullet Time, where he can start pounding on Miss Fortune. Woong has to cancel his ult early and begin the retreat with low HP. With good communication, Blaze is able to bring Ambition – on Zed – down to bottom lane to pick up a double kill right on top of Frost’s bottom lane turret resulting in even more gold for Blaze and – crucially – even more missed farm for Woong. Frost is able to respond by catching Cpt Jack near red-side’s tri-bush and successfully chasing down Lustboy. Despite the retaliation from Frost, the double kill, extra farm, and a good response from Helios taking middle tower while Frost busily scrambles for kills, gives Blaze a now a 3000+ gold advantage over their sister team.

Frost – who was unable to play from behind previously in this series – suddenly jumps back into the game when the next contest for Dragon begins. Superior positioning leads RapidSTAR to pick up a triple kill with a fourth kill coming on Flame from Shy, giving Frost a 4-0 team fight victory and helping them close the gold gap down to under 1000 after grabbing the Dragon objective. Frost’s aggression does not end there as RapidSTAR leaps onto Ambition in middle lane while at the same time Shy and Cloud Templar pressure Flame on top lane. Blaze takes this opportunity to once again show off patience and superior positioning as Flame uses Repel effectively to shred Cloud Templar with his tower, turning the gank around into a 1-1 trade while in middle lane another tower dive goes wrong for Frost as Lustboy, Helios and Cpt Jack collapse on Ambition and CloudTemplar for a double kill and another turret. With the great response from Blaze, the gold lead once again opens up to 2.5k in favor of Blaze.

While Frost has – until now – been able to stay in the game, the balance of power tilts completely in Blaze’s favor when Frost – again trying to force a team fight with an ambush from the brush – doesn’t quite catch Blaze who successfully disengages, turning the team fight around the top corner of blue side’s bottom jungle. Lustboy – who to this point appears to be the game’s MVP – drops a perfectly placed Crescendo which leads to another 3-0 trade for Blaze, now up over 4000 gold on Frost. Unfortunately for Frost it’s late enough in the game that Blaze is also able to increase their gold lead to 5.5k by picking up Baron Nashor on the lopsided team fight.

The final team fight and win for Blaze comes when Frost tries to force another a fight they can’t win on Flame in middle lane. Flame outplays his sister team with a great Cocoon and Repel, melting RapidSTAR down, allowing Blaze to overwhelm Frost in their own base and to take the nexus for the game and series win, making CJ Entus Blaze IEM Hanover 2013 Grand Final champions with a series score 3-1.

FINAL THOUGHTS

With CJ Entus Blaze and Frost destroying the European competition in this IEM tournament, the story for the Season 3 World Championship becomes clearer. Can the North American and European teams find a way to stop the seemingly invincible stable of top Korean mega-teams? With top EU team Gambit Gaming losing in spectacular fashion to Frost in the semi-final while dominating the EU LCS it makes an e-sports fan wonder: how can a team like Coppenhagen Wolves or the under-performing former CLG.EU squad (who was shredded in the group stage at IEM Hanover) hope to compete on the international stage when the top team in the EU LCS gets pounded by a top Korean team who doesn’t even go on to win the Grand Final? How bad would it be if a team like Dragonborns (5th place in LCS) squared off against CJ Entus Blaze?  For the answer, turn your eyes to Week 5 of the LCS where 5th place NA team Marn looks to climb into the top 4 and perhaps prove that “underdog” teams have a legitimate chance on the big stage. Check back this week for more coverage on professional League of Legends play when allMIA previews specific matches to watch in Week 5 of the League Championship Series!


IEM Grand Final Wrap: Blaze and Frost Represent CJ Entus for Title PART I (SPOILERS)

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After Frost avenged their Katowice Grand Final loss to Gambit Gaming in the IEM Hanover semifinal round and former Azubu “B-Team” Blaze tore up Anexis, these CJ Entus teammates face off against one another in the IEM Hanover Best-of-5 Grand Final. Which team will emerge from IEM Hanover as champions? Read ahead, but beware of spoilers!

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GAME 1 (VOD: IEM Grand Final Frost/Blaze Game 1)

Game 1 kicked off with former Azubu “A-Team” Frost showing why they were considered superior to their teammates Blaze as an early First Blood turns quickly into a 4-0 kill advantage for Frost. Before long, Frost holds a 1000 gold advantage for ADC Woong – on Ezreal – alone. By 7:30 in-game-time, Frost holds a total gold advantage of over 3000. The early advantage created by the tight play of Frost is not let up as an excellent play by MadLife – on Thresh – leads to another kill, bringing the total to 5-0 and the game’s first Dragon. From here, the game slows down a little as Blaze scrambles to protect what they have left. The next team fight results in 2 kills for Blaze… but 4 for Frost. As Shy – on Elise – chases Flame – on Nidalee – down to the Blaze interior turret on top lane, MadLife swings around from the top jungle creating a very loose fight full of chasing and late ignites. The tough fight for Blaze leads Frost to pick up yet another Dragon, further increasing their lead which by 15:30 in-game-time is over 7000 gold. Shy, who absolutely dominated Gambit in the Semifinal forcing Gambit to ban Singed in the last two games, was able to pick Elise (who was banned in all 3 contests with Gambit). With very accurate skillshots on Elise’s Cocoon and timely uses of Repel, Shy controlled game 1 very effectively, pushing top lane and drawing a ton of attention from Blaze. From this point in the game Frost continues to roll over Blaze, catching them out of position and forcing them into terrible situations, but it’s not until a very early uncontested 20-minute Baron Nashor that Frost puts the final nail in Blaze’s coffin who nearly immediately surrender after a completely dominant performance by Frost.

blazeGAME 2 (VOD: IEM Grand Final Frost/Blaze Game 2)

Blaze, now on blue side for game 2 starts by curiously not banning the Elise which so plagued them in game 1. After seeing Shy dominate the previous series and starting the Grand Final so effectively, it comes as a major surprise that Blaze chooses to skip on the Elise ban. Blaze does, however, pick two of Frost’s favorites in Singed and Lulu, leaving Frost to pick up Elise – but not for Shy. Instead, with Thresh banned and Lulu picked by Blaze, Frost elects to send the Elise pick to support player MadLife, while Shy picks Rumble for top lane. Like the final  game of the semifinal, CloudTemplar ends up playing Skarner as a response to the Xin Zhao ban. These interesting picks and bans would end up having a major impact on the outcome of game 2, and eventually the entire series.

The game begins on a fairly typically with none of the crazy invades and tower-diving plays we’ve seen so frequently at Hanover this year. The only noteworthy development in the first 5 minutes is a lane swap where ADC and Supports for both teams face off in top lane with top laners in a 1v1 situation on bottom lane. The bottom lane 1v1 ends up being the stage for First Blood just around the 5 minute mark. A timely Vault Breaker and Flip from Helios and Blaze on Shy is quickly followed up by another kill from Blaze, putting the former “B-Team” up 2 kills to 1 early. The aggression on bottom lane doesn’t end there, when just moments later, Helios returns for a second gank on Shy who is more ready this time. Turning on Blaze, Shy secures the first kill of the game for Frost but eventually goes down to Helios’ Assault/Battery leaving the score 3-1 in favor of Blaze.

The story of game 2 ends up being the very effective play of Helios on Vi, who secures a third consecutive successful gank on bottom lane, killing Skarner after being pulled onto Frost’s tower. This play, more than any other might just prove that while Skarner is viable, Vi continues to be picked over him for the jungle role because her kit – while somewhat similar – simply packs more “punch”.

At 12 minutes in-game-time, Frost makes a move to close the kill gap, but remains several thousand gold behind. It’s at this point, as Blaze responds with a kill bottom and a tower dive and a second kill in mid lane that the game begins to look very grim for Frost.

Two consecutive fights over the Dragon objective help bring Frost back even with Blaze in kills, but after the second fight Blaze still maintains a nearly 5000 gold advantage, which proves simply too much for Frost who lets Blaze take Baron around 25 minutes nearly completely uncontested. It’s not until the second Baron of the game in which Frost pushes back, seemingly coming out ahead, when Flame crushes the Nexus turrets by himself with a full complement of super minions to end the game, evening the series up at 1-1. At the end of this game, I’m forced to wonder about the champion select choices of giving Elise to MadLife and not Shy who played the Spider Queen so effectively in game 1. Shy’s Rumble was simply not on par with the dominance he showed in game 1 as he was continually ganked and abused by Blaze jungler Helios.

SERIES TIED 1-1

After a spectacular performance by both teams in games 1 and 2, the series stands tied at 1 a piece. How did the series wrap up? You can check out the VODs here, or wait for part II of our full IEM Grand Final analysis tomorrow morning.


East vs. West: European and Korean Titans Clash in IEM Hanover Semifinal (SPOILERS)

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Picks, bans, early aggression and lane swaps were all central to the outcome of the hotly anticipated IEM re-match between BenQ Gambit (undefeated in IEM) and CJ Entus Frost, who were taken down by Gambit the last time these two teams faced off in the IEM Katowice Grand Final. This best-of-3 received extra international attention as a top European team competing at the peak of the EU LCS was facing off against a top Korean team. Would Gambit remain unbeaten in IEM competition, or would CJ Entus Frost prove once and for all that the Koreans were the teams to beat in the LoL pro scene? Read on, but beware of spoilers…

GAME 1 (VOD: IEM Semifinal GG/CJF Game 1)

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A lot of interesting choices started off the best-of-3 semifinal between Russian team BenQ Gambit and rival South Korean team CJ Entus Frost. GG support player EDWARD, known for his Thresh play saw no ban from Frost. The Korean team seemed more concerned with the top lane play of Darien as bans against Renekton and Shen both came out from Frost. Likewise, GG misses an important ban, giving CJF top laner Shy his preferred champion: Singed. Predictably, Shy stepped up in game 1 to show the world exactly why Singed is getting a nerf. GG ADC Genja elected to go with a Miss Fortune pick, which would prove to be popular in the semifinal in general, taking ghost instead of flash perhaps for the synergy with MF’s movement speed passive. Additionally we’d see MadLife’s Lulu throughout the series, and both Xin Zhao and Kha’Zix represented throughout the series by both teams.

First blood came out for Gambit on a spectacular play on top lane which turned very bad for the Russians due to a quick response by CJF jungler CloudTemplar. Diamondprox – on Volibear – swings up to top lane to assist Darien – on Jax – whose health has dropped fairly low after some early trades with Shy’s Singed. A great flip from Volibear paired with a good Jax Counterstrike lead to first blood, but not before the ever popular Xin Zhao shows up to crash the party. CloudTemplar cleans up the low health Volibear and chases Jax through the brush, burning Jax’s flash but then responding with a flash of his own followed up with an Audacious Charge and the final hit on Three Talon Strike to turn the GG first blood into a double kill for Frost, plus a refreshed double buff on Xin Zhao and buff denial for the Russian side. From there, CloudTemplar wasn’t done; picking up Boots of Mobility, Xin Zhao was flying around the map ganking every lane and playing hyper aggressively. The tenacious play of CloudTemplar helped lead to a 7:25 objective as CJF pushes and takes mid tower, increasing the gold lead to upwards of 1,500 for Frost.

The first attempt for Gambit to get back in Game 1 was an early dragon that they ended up trading for top lane’s tower. The global gold from Dragon might have helped, if not for the continued aggressive play of Frost, who proceed to rotate down the map, nearly taking the interior turret in mid lane, before rotating further down to take the first bottom lane turret, making it 0-3 on turrets at just under 11 minutes, advantage: Frost. From here, the laning phase has collapsed, leading an underpowered Gambit into a dangerous team fighting mid-game. A lot of the problems which plagued Gambit in the laning phase become very apparent by the first mid-game team fight. First, EDWARD spent much of the laning phase roaming, trying to pick up kills which left Genja’s Miss Fortune alone to farm. In fact, this becomes such a major problem for GG that RapidStar – on Gragas – outfarmed Genja by over 20-30 CS at some points, and certainly outfarmed Alex Ich – on Kha’Zix – who, unlike Gragas had to compete in a 2v1 lane. The gold advantage for Frost became too much as eventually the persistent pushing of Shy forces Gambit to over-commit 3 champions to stop Singed on top lane, allowing CJF to finish taking the interior mid turret and to cycle down and take another turret on bottom lane. In the end, the item advantage Frost held was far too much for Gambit to overcome, leading them to drop their first ever IEM game to Frost.

GAME 2 (IEM Semifinal GG/CJF Game 2)

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With their backs against the wall, Gambit had to pull out a win in game 2 to remain in the series. Gambit, who curiously missed the ban on Singed in game 1 apparently learned their lesson, banning him out for game 2; the first of a series of good choices by Gambit who played with poise and confidence in the second clash. Like the first game, game 2 was full of hyper aggressive plays which began very early. A late invade by Gambit leads to a stolen blue buff and a series of very important advantages for Gambit which help them snowball the second contest. First, Frost tries to respond to the stolen buff by heading over to Gambit’s Elder Lizard camp, but a quick response by GG sets up first blood for EDWARD and no buff for Frost. In addition, all of the attention paid to these early invades by Shy’s Jax gives Darien’s Darius a huge advantage in lane. By the time Jax arrives in lane, Darius is already more than 10cs up with a 3-to-1 level advantage. The lane swaps from game 1 persist, but even more strangely in game 2. By 4 minutes in game time, it becomes apparent that top laners Shy and Darien would be facing off in bottom lane, mid laners Alex Ich and RapidSTAR would fight it out in top lane, and the bottom lane duos of Genja/EDWARD and Woong/MadLife would compete over creeps in mid lane. Initially, this presents a major problem for Gambit, whose Kha’Zix has limited access to blue buff on red side while all the way on top lane.

Game 2 was about even trades early on, as Shy, trying to tower dive Darien gets taken down, leading to a dragon-for-tower trade, resulting in GG coming out with a slight gold advantage. So even were these early trades that by around 14 minutes in-game-time the game is deadlocked on kills at 4-to-4. It took a huge play by Gambit to force the game in their direction. A successful Hook/Box combo from EDWARD leads to a massive team fight that starts off looking great for Gambit until Frost responds leading to an intense chase through the jungle. RapidSTAR in pursuit of Darien barely misses a few barrels due to great jukes and a timely flash from Darien. Gambit comes out one kill ahead as Darien’s long chase results in an execute on Frost’s bottom lane inhibitor turret – not a kill for Frost. That one fight cost Frost much more than it looked at first, as GG was able to extend their gold lead by taking dragon, now up over the Koreans by 3000 gold.

The gold advantage for GG shows itself in the next contest for Dragon in which at points it seems like Frost has superior positioning, but thanks to a tight formation from GG, effective zoning from Genja with Bullet Time and a straight up better complement of items, Gambit takes the team fight 2-for-0 plus the game’s second Dragon. From here, the game settles down a bit until the next major team fight in which Gambit decimates Frost, takes down Baron Nashor and rolls on to a win which was predictable since First Blood. With a final kill score of 20-to-7, Gambit takes game 2 with ferocity.

GAME 3 (VOD: IEM Semifinal GG/CJF Game 3)

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Game 3 was decided in champion select – a sentiment we here at allMIA generally try to avoid, but look at the lineups: Gambit picks late game hyper carry Kog’Maw in response to Woong picking up Genja’s MF. The Frost picks of Kha’Zix and MF come seemingly in response to Gambit first picking Xin Zhao – a decision that Gambit made undoubtedly before considering they would end up running Kog’Maw.  Because of these picks, Gambit ends up playing “protect the Kog’Maw” with a team who is simply unsuited to protect the ADC. With patchy CC here and there, Gambit’s team composition leaves them with no reliable way to peel for Kog’Maw, which – in the end – costs them the game and the series.

First blood comes out in flashy style, as EDWARD jumps in on a low-HP Lulu at the top lane tower at just level 1. Just like the previous two games, both teams trade kills fairly quickly in the early game, resulting in 3 total kills by 3 minutes in-game-time. The game heats up after Frost takes the game’s first Dragon nearly uncontested, resulting in a 1-for-1 trade that ends up favoring Frost who get the extra global gold from Dragon. Until the first Dragon, Gambit’s curious champion select choices haven’t been a problem. The first time it becomes apparent that “protect-the-Kog’Maw” will not succeed for Gambit is this teleport play in which Genja gets caught and killed. This would happen to Genja too many times in this contest, leading him to a 2/4 score by 21:00 in-game-time.

The advantage Frost builds early shows itself in the first major team fight of game 3. The play starts with Kog’Maw caught by himself again, this time by the Skarner played by Frost jungler CloudTemplar. In his first game of the series away from his preferred Xin Zhao, Templar shows off why Skarner is still a viable choice out of the jungle; dragging Kog’Maw to his death. Templar starts a fight which would continue up river and end on Gambit’s mid lane turret with kills on Diamondprox and EDWARD for a 3-0 “trade”.  From this point, the game has swung so firmly in Frost’s direction, that Gambit cannot mount any kind of a comeback. By 25 minutes, Frost is over Gambit by 10,000 gold. With Shy and RapidSTAR continuing their dominant play, both summoners begin the game’s last team fight with 7/1 scores.

WRAP UP

With the small advantages Frost was able to build – starting with smart picks and bans in champion select – Gambit was simply unable to overcome the might of one of Korea’s top teams. Frost, who avenges their IEM Katowice loss to Gambit moves on to the IEM Hanover Grand Final to face CJ Entus teammates Team Blaze, leaving the e-sports community with several questions: how will Gambit respond to the tough loss next week in LCS competition? Does this mean that Korea does truly have the best League of Legends teams in the world? Was Azubu wrong to lose Blaze and Frost? These two teams simply dominated at Hanover to the point where the only challenge they end up facing is one  another.


This Week in E-Sports: IPL Cancelled, IEM Rolling, LCS Bye (SPOILERS)

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With many pro teams at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament this week, there is no LCS action scheduled for the weekend of March 7th – March 11th, 2013. With IPL6 cancelled, it’s time to focus on looking ahead to next week’s LCS matchups and to take a look at what’s happening in Germany for the IEM World Championships. Beware readers who missed IEM action this week and still want to see the games they’ve missed, spoilers lay ahead. New summoners who want to learn how to see the action unfold, take a look at our guide to League of Legends pro-streams.

IEM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2013

BenQ sponsored Gambit (formerly Moscow Five) has emerged from the group stage with an undefeated 5-0 record against group A opponents. Gambit’s success in IEM is unsurprising considering their history in the tournament and strong showing at the Season 2 World Championship. Gambit’s streak includes a win over LCS rival Fnatic who did not qualify for the IEM playoffs which kick off tomorrow and wrap up Saturday. Gambit and Fnatic have been duking it out in the standings, with Gambit leading the European LCS division at 9-2 and Fnatic right on their heels at 8-3. Two of Fnatic’s LCS losses, however, come from none other than Gambit Gaming. These two teams are developing quite a rivalry as Fnatic fails to qualify for the IEM playoffs and now has to turn their attention for their next big test, a rematch against the former Moscow Five in LCS competition on March 23rd.

In group B EUW LCS favorites Evil Geniuses (formerly clg.EU) and SK gaming, have each come out with lackluster performances which has kept both teams out of the playoffs. Meanwhile Korean powerhouse teams CJ Entus Frost (4-1)  and SK Telecom T1 (4-1) – who will each make IEM playoff appearances – are vindicating commentators who contend that Korean teams are the best in the world by leading the pack ahead of other international contenders; including 3rd place group B team Anexis eSports (3-2): a European team whose victory over SK helped lead to their surprisingly strong group stage showing. Looking at the brackets, it’s possible we will see Gambit and a top Korean team in the final for a showdown to help fuel the “east vs. west” debate which has been so prominent in the e-sports scene. In fact, if Frost – recently acquired from Azubu by CJ Entus – beats French team Millenium in the first round, we’ll see Gambit square off with a big Korean team as soon as the semi-finals.

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Bracket courtesy of IEM, click the image to visit the official site for more info.

WEEK 5 LCS MATCHUPS 

Week 5 promises to be an opportunity for some major shake-ups in the North American LCS standings. While division leaders Dignitas (10-2, 1st place) and Curse (9-2, 2nd place) do not play one another next week, both teams have an interesting slate of week 5 matches which could help define the second half of the season.

Dig Rolls On

After a rocky 0-2 start with losses to Team Solo Mid and Curse, Dig went on a 10 game tear – the longest LCS winning streak to date. Next week, Dig matches up against 3 of the “bottom 4” NA teams; none of which have managed to knock off Dignitas yet in LCS contention. CompLexity (1-8), Good Game University (2-10) and Vulcan (4-9) all have a shot at proving they can hang with the top 4 by taking down number 1, but while riding their seemingly unstoppable winning streak, Dig is poised to come out of week 5 an impressive 13-2 record. Keep an eye on the March 17th matchup against Vulcan, who have proven they can take down top 4 teams after a win against perennial powerhouse Counter Logic Gaming (7-4) as they may have the best shot of ending Dig’s impressive run.

Can Curse Keep Up?

Curse, who began the season an undefeated 8-0 suddenly dropped behind a surging Dig in the standings after a startling loss to their now-first-place rivals and a second disappointing showing against former Saint vicious, Voyboy and Elementz teammates CLG. Now at 9-2 Curse looks to keep up with Dig in two big games: a March 16th clash with TSM who is looking to avenge last week’s loss to NyJacky and the gang and another round with HotshotGG and team CLG a day earlier on the 15th. Come back to allMIA later this week for a closer look at these two key grudge matches which may well decide whether Curse can keep up with a Dignitas squad who seem poised in a softer week to take a commanding lead in the standings.

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Will CLG Hold On to a Top 4 Spot?

CLG should be looking back over their shoulders this week despite claims in promotional videos that they “aren’t scared” of any of the bottom 4 teams. CLG, who are a 4th place 7-4 in LCS competition play a key rematch against 5th place team Marn (4-5) and has to back up their brave talk against a scrappy MRN who handed CLG a loss on February 27th. In the win, MRN top laner MegaZero played Renekton to 5/0/11 perfection, diving towers and playing a key role in two Baron contests which helped propel MRN to victory. MRN – lead by ADC Heartbeat’s now-ubiquitous Tristana/Blade of the Ruined King build – has a chance to knock off CLG and possibly enter the top 4, shaking up the NA LCS in a way nobody expected after a few weak showings from bottom 4 teams early on. In order to claw their way into the top half of the standings, MRN will also have to find a way to best Vulcan (3/15) and the formidable Curse (3/17) the latter of whom has not lost to a bottom 4 team yet in LCS competition.

WRAP-UP

With IEM finishing up weekend, LCS competition heating up next week and the approaching MLG Winter games, LoL’s professional scene may have never been so heated before. Check back with allMIA for previews and post game analysis for the biggest League of Legends professional contests. Leave us a comment and let us know which games you’re looking forward to and which matchups you think need a closer look.


The Golden Rules of the Rift: 5 Gameplay Keys to Success in League of Legends

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Many summoners feel like games are won and lost in champion select, others feel your attitude and behavior can have a major impact on the game as well, but what about good general gameplay decisions that you can make to help your team win while you’re out there on the rift? We’ve assembled here a streamlined list of 5 basic rules you should try to follow every time you play League of Legends which will help you carry your way to more victories.

RULE #1: DON’T CHASE

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This comes first for a reason. Engaging in long, extended chases – especially on high HP targets (Mundo) or targets with a lot of escapes (Nidalee, Kassadin) – is probably the best way to squander advantages and lose games. One bad tunnel-vision chase will very often turn a successful gank or team fight into a net-loss for your team. Why though? Shouldn’t chasing down and eliminating enemies be a top priority? It’s a gold boost and it keeps an enemy off the map, right? Well not always. Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario A: In Game Time 4:45

Hecarim runs up top to put an early gank on Singed for his friendly Akali. After a good charge from Hecarim’s “W” and a few attacks, Singed is chunked pretty low and runs, flashing away onto his tower. Hecarim chases a little too long, losing HP from Singed’s poison trail and from minion attacks. Singed turns to flip Hecarim onto the tower, but Hecarim pulls off, running back and avoiding death. A fleeing Hecarim makes it down into river just in time for the enemy jungle – Jarvan IV, who saw the whole fight and had time to run up in response – to drop an E>Q combo on him from tri-brush: “First blood! An ally has been slain”.

Scenario B: In Game Time 31:12

The blue team has been getting pushed around most of the game, and desperately needs an advantage to stage a comeback. They have a strong team fight composition and think they can catch a member of the purple team out of position and force an objective. Purple team’s jungler, Fiddlesticks, gets caught in a warded bush near the Baron pit, and the blue team melts him down. The rest of purple team comes pouring in a little late, and a team fight begins. Quickly, the blue team breaks down the enemy team, trading 0-for-3. Purple team’s Ryze and Teemo know the fight is over, and run back towards their top tower. If blue team chases, what happens? They hit a string of mushrooms in the jungle, get CC’d by Ryze, fight on top of a tower, maybe take down a target but in doing so lose some teammates, HP and most importantly time which prevents the blue team from killing Baron Nashor and ending the game.

From the moment the first enemy (especially the enemy jungler) dies, your team is on a power play clock. At 30 mins, you have something like 25-30 seconds (hit “tab” to reveal the scoreboard and check) before your enemy respawns and your “power play” is over, thus you must immediately leverage your advantage as soon as you get it. As soon as the enemy backs out of a team fight that your team has won, turn your attention to an objective. Get Baron, take dragon, push a tower. Don’t chase your enemy and waste time. In fact, if you’re playing a tanky champion and your team has just lost a fight, the best thing you can do is run and try to get the enemy team to waste time chasing you. Winning a team fight is meaningless if you don’t press the advantage it gives you.

RULE #2: TIME RESPAWNS

blue-buffIdeally your jungler and support should be handling these tasks because their role is more about global awareness than say, an ADC, who is focused on getting fed. That being said, every player (especially if it’s you) should try to observe this simple rule.

Dragon respawns 6 minutes after death.

Baron respawns 7 minutes after death.

Red Buff/Blue Buff respawn 5 minutes after death.

Wards expire 3 minutes after being placed.

Write it down and tape it to your monitor if you have to. Next, open your options menu and turn “time stamps” on. When you see an enemy drop a ward, take note of the game time in the top right hand corner of your screen. In chat, let your team (especially your jungler) know where the ward is and when it expires (“ward in tribush, expires 7:44”). If your jungler is smart, he’ll time a gank just after the ward expires, before another can be placed for an easy kill.

When a major objective (Baron/Dragon) goes down, in chat you will see “[Champion/The Enemy Team] Has slain The Dragon/Baron Nashor!” If you’ve turned time stamps on, right next to that notification, you’ll see the exact time the objective went down, and can time accordingly. You don’t need a stop watch, and it takes about 2 seconds of your time and attention, but can lead to huge gold advantages for your team. When you see: “[20:33] ill_monstro_g has slain the Dragon!” you’ll type in chat “2633 dragon” and remind your team when the spawn is coming up (“>2mins on dragon, set up”). Ideally,  you’ll have your team sitting on top of the objective just before it spawns so you can take the objective uncontested. Uncontested objectives win games, so make it your business to time respawns. Finally, a huge advantage can be gained timing buffs. If you’re in a solo lane mid, and after a gank you sneak into the enemy jungle and steal blue buff, take note of the time. In 5 minutes, you and your jungler can set up to steal it again. By denying the enemy their buffs, you’re costing them XP, gold and obviously, the buffs. You may have seen some summoners tell you to leave a small minion (one of the little lizards) so that the buff will not respawn; this can be a good idea situationally, but it’s almost always better to clear the whole camp and time it, especially if your enemy did not see you take the buff. This way, you know when the camp is back up and the enemy does not, allowing you to take it again, gaining you more XP, more gold and another buff.

RULE #3: FOLLOW YOUR LANE

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The new “smart ping” system is wonderful, and very useful for sending specific information to your team in a pinch. Stopping to type “MIA” while trying to farm, or while watching for a gank might be hard, but a quick MIA ping is simple. However, a quick MIA ping isn’t enough when your lane disappears. Where is the enemy laner going? You might assume they’re going back, but what if they are going to gank bottom lane? As soon as your lane goes MIA you immediately have a choice, the right answer to which might win a lane. You have to try to put yourself in your enemy’s shoes. When was the last time they went back to buy? When was the last enemy buff you saw; are they going to their red/blue? Is one of your lanes pushed out, ready to get ganked by your MIA laner? If your lane opponent runs straight up or down river, making it apparent that they are going to gank another lane, you need to follow-up, otherwise you’re going to lose somebody their lane. If the lane being ganked looks like they can escape, you can try giving them a “warning” ping and taking advantage of the MIA by pushing a tower. This works especially well if your confidence in your team is high and the tower you’re pushing is low on health and can go down easily. Almost always, though, you’ll want to follow your opponent to the lane they’re going to gank so that you can help your team, and turn a gank around into a team fight win for your side.

If you’re the jungler and you see mid lane leave to gank bot, don’t stand there and finish wraiths – ping your mid lane and follow the enemy to prevent the gank. If you’re the mid lane, and you see your opponent go up to grab blue, look at your map. Is the enemy jungle there to help, or is he ganking bottom lane? Where is your jungler? If you think you can get your team to meet the enemy at their blue, you can secure (and time) a buff and pick up some kills in the process. Little responses like this will set you up to win your lane phase, and eventually the game.

RULE #4: SHOP RE-ACTIVELY

The biggest mistakes many new and veteran summoners alike make is to follow a rigidly set item build every time they play a champion. While resources like LoLpro and SoloMid might be very useful for learning the basics of a champion and what items synergize well with their kit, you can’t follow the same build every game. In order to be successful your item build must be flexible and responsive to what’s happening in your game. Your items are a reflection of your team’s needs in the specific game you buy them in.

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The best example of this is your choice in boots. Let’s say you’re jungling with Vi and you’ve got your level 1 “boots of speed” and are considering your upgrade. Most summoners prefer Mercury Treads for the Tenacity buff and the slight MR, some junglers like Boots of Mobility (henceforth referred to as “boots 5”) for the extra speed between ganks and camps, and still others go with Ninja Tabi for armor or the CDR of Boots of Lucidity. Which is the right way to go? The answer lies in what the enemy team is doing. If the enemy has a lot of CC (Crowd Control) – for example, Ashe ADC, Nautilus jungle, Nasus top etc. and they have an AP mid (say, Veigar) who has a few kills already, Merc Treads is the right choice; they help handle most of the threats that specific enemy team brings. The MR is preferable to the armor on say, Ninja Tabi for dealing with Veigar’s burst – especially if you’re already heavy on armor in your jungle build, and the tenacity helps you cut through the CC of the front line and get in on the enemy carries. Likewise, if the enemy is running an AD heavy comp with say a Zed mid, Ninja Tabi provides the extra little armor you might want, and for a lower cost which might allow you to pick up more damage or HP on another item. If you’re jungling and finding that you’re ahead early and ganking effectively, sometimes grabbing boots 5 is the best option for even more aggression and counter-jungling.

The same logic you use to choose your boots should apply to all of your purchases. Are there some core items you should always aim for? Yes. When you’re AP mid, you’re almost certainly going to buy a Deathcap, for example. However, the priority you place on certain items, and the items you buy outside of your core build should reflect the needs of that specific game. When you don’t know what to buy, look at their team – who is the most fed? Who presents the biggest threat? Buy something which addresses that threat. Are you a tank worrying about a fed enemy ADC? Pick up a Randuin’s Omen to mitigate their damage and attack speed. Are you a carry who is getting bursted down by huge combos? Pick up a Quicksilver Sash to protect yourself against the early burst.

RULE #5: KNOW YOUR ROLE IN FIGHTS

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Very frequently in chat, teams who have just lost a fight will start to declare “focus carries” or “focus their ADC” or sometimes something as simple as “don’t target tanks”. This is only partially true, and following this advice 100% of the time will lose team fights, because it leads to bad behaviors (like breaking rule#1 – Don’t Chase). First, consider what your job in a team fight is. There are a few roles which must be filled by someone on your team, and depending on who your teammates are, you might be better suited to one of these roles or another. Once everyone knows what they should be doing in a team fight, you should not have to worry about “focusing the ADC”, because you’ll win the fight before everyone is standing around just trading damage until one side falls.

a) Tanky intiation – it’s your job to lead the way and soak up damage and CC. A friend once told me that as a tank, your HP is a resource which if unspent is worthless. Get in there first (not too far ahead of everyone) and try to get some ultimates blown on you, so they can’t be used on your carries. Once you’ve initiated, your job falls into one of the other key categories (probably peel, but possibly dive)

b) Burst – You’re the AP mid. You have crazy burst damage capacity, enough to take down any single target on the enemy team. Who should it be, the ADC? Probably not. If you catch the ADC separated from their team, burst away and win a team fight with the power play advantage; but in a straight up 5 on 5 Baron contest or fight in mid, you need to think more carefully. The ADC is squishy and won’t take all of your massive damage to kill. One of your teammates has the responsibility of diving on carries and taking them out, and anyway, how are you going to get past the enemy front line to be in range to kill the ADC? You’re going to get shreded by Dr. Mundo as you try to reposition. Instead, you should be keeping a safe distance, waiting for a major threat to get in range and nuking them. Your job is to punish bad initiations, dives on your carries and enemies who get caught in CC. Once your combo is down, you should be ducking into a bush until you can nuke another enemy.

c) PeelYou’re probably either the jungler, top laner or possibly the support. You have strong disengage abilities (Xin Zhao’s R, Thresh’s E, Janna’s R), CC (a knock up, slow, stun, etc.) and probably one of the lowest damage outputs on the team. Your job is to keep the enemy off of your carries, when the enemy Xin Zhao dives with his E onto your Graves, it’s your job to knock him back or stun him so Graves can survive the fight and kill his assailant. Lots of top lanes and jungles assume their job is to dive and kill the enemy carry – but if everyone dives on the enemy carries, who is going to protect your ADC and AP mid? What happens if your ADC dies first? You’ve lost the team fight.

d) DiveYou have a strong ability to reposition and stick to targets, you’re probably a top laner or jungler, or sometimes and AD mid like Kha’Zix or Zed. You do some of the highest damage on the team (probably 3rd after mid and ADC) and are a strong duelist or assassin type. Your job is to get past the enemy tanks trying to peel and kill the target they’re protecting. When people say “focus the ADC” – this is the person they’re really talking to. Champions like Vi (with her unstoppable R), Hecarim (huge charging R and E), Olaf (with his R and high damage output), Nocturne and Jax (with his big burst and leaping Q) are ideal for this kind of role. You need to be fast enough to get into the fight, and be durable enough and do enough damage to kill your target(s) before you go down.

e) Sustained DamageThis is the ADC. With some random exceptions like unconventional team compositions or in a weird situation like a very fed Quinn top lane, the ADC is your sustained, team-fight-wide global damage. It’s your job to essentially kill everything and win the fight for your team. This is where the “focus the ADC” advice falls apart. As an ADC should you always go after the enemy ADC first? No. Your job as the ADC is to survive long enough to win the fight with sustained DPS on enemy targets. If you die, you do zero DPS (damage per second) so your team loses. If the enemy carries are out of your range, and between you and your targets are a bunch of beefy tanks with lots of CC your job is to stay back and poke as much as you can at the targets who you have a shot on. If you find an opportunity (say, after a bunch of ults are blown on your tank, or if the enemy team all get stunned) to jump in and kill their carries, of course you should! But you must do as much damage as you can safely. A dead ADC is useless to everyone.

How do I get my team to fight like this in solo queue?

Surprisingly all it takes to get your team out of the blind “focus ADC first” is generally just a little communication. Remember that you can’t count on other players to make good descisions for you, so take a look at the enemy team, and your own team comp, and make the descisions. If you’re a very strong top lane Olaf with a lot of kills and farm and you have a nice tanky jungle Cho’Gath on your team with lots of CC, the choice is easy! Before the next team fight say something like “Cho, try to peel for Orianna and Varus, I’m gonna dive their carries.” Just agreeing who will peel and who will dive is generally enough to lead to success in most solo queue team fights, all other factors being even.

WRAP UP

Of course, these 5 rules alone won’t win you every game. There are a ton of important concepts and mechanics in League of Legends that you have to be familiar with to succeed consistently. Minimap awareness, player attitude and communication and a slew of other concepts are core to winning, but if you follow these 5 general rules, you will see your chances for success in solo queue and arranged 5s alike rise dramatically.