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European Spring Playoffs Infographic: Picks & Bans, Win % and More!

Hey readers! Thanks for your reddit feedback on yesterday’s NA Infographic. I’ve done a few changes for the EU version, a simpler background image, some cleaner choices in color and arrangement, but kept the overall look and feel the same. I’ve had some requests for data like KDA and some other statstics here and there, I’m looking at the right way to implement that information for our next LCS infographic. Let us know what you think!

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GGU Needs a Uniform, allMIA Has a Suggestion

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LCS Spring Playoffs Preview: ROUND 1

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The LCS Spring Split finished up last weekend; but North American and European teams are still battling it out for Summer Split spots and cash money as 6 NA teams and 6 EU teams participate in separate tournaments with the top teams from each tourney grabbing 50,000 dollars. The tournaments will run concurrently with Quarterfinals tomorrow, Semifinals on Saturday and Finals on Sunday. If you came here looking for an overview of the tournament brackets and format, or want to know what happens to the teams who lose in playoff competition, check out our NA and EU guides to Playoff & Relegation.

European Quarterfinals – Friday 4/26/13 – 6am Pacific/9am Eastern/3pm CEST

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Match 1: 3rd Place SK Gaming (17-11) v. 6th place AgainstAllAthority (10-8)

Riot’s Spring Playoff kicks off with a contest between two teams who met just recently in week 10, giving us what might be a good idea of what to expect in round 1. Against All Authority  who came into their game with SK hot off of two victories earlier in the week looked poised to ride their streak high into the playoffs, but SK had other plans for the 6th place team as SK AD Carry CandyPanda played out of his mind, controlling Top in a lane swap which would help lead SK to decisive victory over their Round 1 opponents. Like AaA though, SK split their games in week 10, winning a pair but dropping 2 including the season’s final match against EG Raidcall. Though their last match was not closely contested, Round 1 matches are in a best-of-3 format which could allow a little more leeway for either team as each come into this game cold off of final game losses in the Spring Split. Look for SK to be favored in fan voting, but watch for AaA to come into this game prepared to take revenge for their week 10 loss. Both SK and AaA will have their backs against the wall as the winner of this Best-of-3 proceeds to the Summer Split, while the loser will be forced to compete for their LCS slot in the upcoming Summer Qualifier. wolvesegplf

Match 2: 4th Place EG Raidcall (15-13) v. 5th Place Coppenhagen Wolves (13-15)

In a match that the whole world will be logging on to watch, two huge crowd favorites in Evil Geniuses and the surging Coppenhagen Wolves will meet to decide who moves on and who will have to fight for survival in the Summer Qualifier. EG, who like their former sister team CLG over in NA, have played at a very high level all season despite constant struggles and inconsistency. Coming into the Spring’s final Super Week, EG found themselves in a position whereby they could be jumped by Wolves in the standings and fall to 5th place for the first time all season; but after 3 amazing victories (including 1 over powerhouse Gambit and 1 over their playoff opponent Wolves) EG cemented their 4th place spot and proved to the world that they can still hang with the league’s top teams. Wolves began the season very slowly, losing game after game until their name became synonymous with defeat. After a mid-season roster swap put newly anointed LCS superstar Bjergsen in the mid lane Wolves went on an absolute tear, crushing teams left and right, lifting them in the standings to 5th place and earning them a playoff berth. Despite their middle of the pack ranks, EG and Wolves each feature top ranked mid laners in Froggen and Bjergsen whose lane will certainly be a major focus in this Best-of-3. One thing about this match is certain: whoever loses will give some poor team a very rough matchup in the Summer Qualifer next week.

North American Quarterfinals – Friday, 4/25/13 – 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern/Midnight CEST

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Match 1: 3rd Place Team Dignitas (17-11) v. 6th Place Good Game University (11-17)

Like American fans who will be up at the crack of dawn to see the best European teams fight it out for top honors, European fans will have to prop their eyelids open with toothpicks to stay up for North American LCS action later that same night. Match 1 features a Best-of-3 which pits two very different teams against one another in a contest that is anything but already-decided. Dig has played at a high level consistently, enjoying a brief stay in the top spot mid-way through the Spring Split. After a ravenous Team Solo Mid – reinvigorated by the addition of WildTurtle – turned the corner late in the season and went 5-0 in Super Week, Dig saw their team fall back to 3rd place in the standings. With their LCS future on the line, Dig is facing off against GGU who, like Wolves, struggled early in the season, had a roster swap and surged back into contention. In GGU’s case, dropping top-rated support Bloodwater and picking up new star Daydreamin lead NintendudeX and the boys to a late-season win streak and a 6th place playoff slot. With All-Star mid Scarra bearing down on them, can GGU fend off former first place Dig and move on to the Summer Split? Look for Dignitas to pull out all of the stops in this one as they do not want to fall in the first round after earning a permanent top-3 stay in the standings all season long.

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Match 2: 4th Place Counter Logic Gaming (13-15) v. 5th Place Vulcun Command (12-16)

Bloodwater’s landing place after leaving GGU was Vulcun, who have also enjoyed great success following the transaction. Bloodwater’s timely ults and great shotcalls enabled Zuna and company to rise in the standings, almost overtaking a reeling CLG – the only team in LCS competition to earn top 4 honors while posting a winning percentage under .500. Like the EU games, both CLG and Vulcun came out of Super Week bloodied, trading wins with other top and bottom teams, and like the EU playoffs the NA games look cloudy behind inconsistent play on all sides. Vulcun and CLG’s week 10 clash gives viewers a small preview for this Best-of-3 contest; a match that CLG took convincingly despite a  relatively small gold gap. CLG who traditionally play very well in Best-of-X format tournaments, but have struggled in the LCS Round Robin format may have a small edge over Vulcun who, while playing much better of late, will have to beat All-Star AD Doublelift and the rest of CLG in 2 games to move on.

Round 2 and Beyond

The 4 winners in Round 1 will move on to compete with Curse, TSM, Gambit and Fnatic in the Semifinals on Saturday, but all 8 of the semifinalists will be competing for cash only at that point; all having earned their ticket to the Summer Split. With Finals on Sunday and next week holding the Summer Qualifier, these previewed teams will see a lot of action in the next week so keep coming back to allMIA for continued coverage of both the NA and EU LCS Playoffs.

Want to follow the action on Twitter? Here are some feeds to follow:

@ill_monstro_g (allMIA Editor, game commentary/discussion)

@EsportsDailyLoL (LoL Updates – Live stats/scores)

@LeaguepediaLive (Leaugepedia’s Live stats/scores)


All You Need to Know: EU LCS Playoffs, Promotion & Relegation

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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.


LCS Playoffs, Relegation & Summer Season EXPLAINED

Salutations, Summoners! Are you a little confused about the format of the LCS in the upcoming weeks? I was, so I learned about it and put together a fairly comprehensive graphic which should quickly explain in detail what you should expect to see from the LCS Spring Playoffs, Relegation Tournament and upcoming LCS Summer Season. It’s a BIG IMAGE, so click it to see its full size. You won’t be able to read the text in the thumbnail preview below. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or ask me on Twitter: @ill_monstro_g

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CompLexity Won’t Be Held Down (WK10 SPOILERS)

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Wednesday’s week 10 matchups included two key games involving 8th place Team CompLexity. coL, who saw a small boost in their performance after picking up star-mid laner Pr0lly began the week in a situation where they would have to win all of their week 10 matchups and get some help from losses on other bottom 4 teams in order to make the Spring playoffs. With their backs against the wall, coL played like a team with something to prove; in the first game of week 10, coL faced the then-second-place Team Dignitas (VOD here) and dominated Scarra and co. Pr0lly played out of his mind, posting up a 3/0/6 line and averaging around that golden 10 cs/min standard by crushing whole waves with the impressive AOE damage of Gragas. Not to be outdone, Pr0lly’s teammates all brought their A-game with coL support M eye A coming out as the game’s MVP. M eye A’s play on Thresh was so on point that he seemed to create plays out of thin air; for example it was not one but two consecutive hooks from M eye A that grabbed First Blood and a double kill bottom lane to begin the game. A few amazing things made the doublekill on Patoy and Iamaqtpie possible: first, perfect support positioning and a timely flash from Brunch U grabbed the kill on Patoy, but the second kill comes almost entirely from M eye A who begins the animation on Death Setnence, flashes over the minion between he and Qtpie and flies in managing to secure the kill for his ADC all while giving up a kill to the turret and not to Qtpie.

coL seemed to have a plan going into their Dig match, exploiting displacement and high mobility to create otherwise impossible plays. Besides Lautemortis and Brunch U playing the J4/Miss Fortune ult combo to perfection, Pr0lly continually used his ult to control the pathing of the enemy team while Nickwu used Jayce’s interrupts to prevent Dig from abusing Shen’s ultimate. coL knew they had to come out aggressively against Dig to win, so they ran 4 Fortitude Potions and made gutsy plays early to gain an advantage that they never really gave up for the remainder of the game.

Their rousing success against Dig was repeated against GGU (VOD here) as coL ran a slightly similar team composition (including a repeat performance on Gragas from Pr0lly, much to the chagrin of the casters who wanted to see him continue to try new champions) and again picked up 4 Fortitude potions to begin the game… including one on M eye A’s Sona. This time around coL again got excellent performances out of all 5 players with Nickwu’s Kha’Zix play clearly standing out as top-notch against GGU. Grabbing first blood in a straight up brawl and continuing on to eventually post an awe-inspiring 6/1/5 line, Nickwu controlled GGU backed up by excellent supportive plays from Pr0lly, M eye A, Lautemortis and another crazy score from Brunch U who posted a 7/1/5 line of his own.

While coL has shown their teeth on the first day of Super Week, they will have to stay sharp as they have 3 remaining contests including a game a piece against the number 1 and 2 teams in Curse and TSM. While Curse looks to be stumbling a little in the latter portion of the season – dropping 2 games to TSM and their first “bottom 4” loss yesterday to GGU – TSM is on top of their game, having suddenly surged into 2nd place just 1/2 game behind Curse for first place and MRN (coL’s other remaining matchup) is just as desperate and dangerous as Lautemortis and Co. With Curse looking for a little redemption, TSM spiking in power and MRN with their backs against the wall, can coL maintain the momentum picked up from yesterday’s wins? TSM and coL’s game kicks of today at 2pm PDT: tune in to find out, and follow me on Twitter: @ill_monstro_g to share your opinions, cheers and jeers during the game.


Spring LCS Going out With a SUPER WEEK Bang!

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Wednesday, April 17th 2013. Day 1 of the final week of the Spring LCS. Today, the North American branch of the LCS begins their final push to the finish line, in games that will determine playoff seeding and possible relegation from LCS competition. Before we take a look at what matches will help decide the fate of the eight North American LCS teams, let’s see where they stand as we move forward into week 10.

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Starting at the top, Team Curse stands firmly 2 games ahead of 2nd place team Dignitas. Dig has not looked as sharp of late with a replacement for regular jungler Crumbzz, but with Crumbzz back in the lineup for week 10, it’s actually Team Curse whose roster might be in peril. Following last week, Curse’s starting support Elementz had some critical things to say about “team captain” Saintvicious over a screencap of a Skype conversation between Curse’s jungler and CLG’s ADC Doublelift in which the two criticized Elementz, even going so far as to call him “trash” and blame him for recent Curse losses. In his response video, Saint continues the “Elementz doesn’t take the job seriously” narrative that he has been speaking about since before Season 3 began. It’s hard to say how much of this rift in the Curse lineup is genuine strife between Saint and Elementz and how much might be for show, or just normal Curse antics, but it will be interesting to see how the recent scuffle in the Curse ranks impacts their performance. In the time since the flareup between Saint and Elementz, Curse has played poorly in scrims (not uncommon for a team known to lose in practice and win in tourney play) going 0-9 against CLG in one stretch. Of course, Team SoloMid is right behind Curse as well and have been playing quite well with Chaox replacement WildTurtle and are in just as good of a position as Dig to overtake Curse and grab 1st place.

None of these top 3 teams have games against one another on the first day of Super Week, and instead are playing the likes of CLG, Marn, CompLexity and GGU. Some of these lower-ranked teams have made huge changes, and seem hard to predict in week 10. CLG has been playing very well in scrims, but find themselves in a position where they could be in 5th place behind GGU if they drop both of their Wednesday games and GGU wins theirs. GGU, who went on a tear last week winning all 3 of their matches, looks much improved after the departure of Bloodwater – a move many did not predict panning out for the former last-place team. The important thing to remember about the standings here is that only 3 games separate the 5th and 8th place teams, meaning every single game played this week could  be the game that decides who will move on to the Summer season and who will be left behind.

Some key matchups in NA Week 10 for you to keep an eye on:

coL vs GGU: 4/17 3pm PDT

CRS vs GGU: 4/17 5pm PDT

CLG vs TSM: 4/17 4pm PDT

DIG vs CRS: 4/18 5pm PDT

TSM vs GGU: 4/19 3pm PDT

GGU vs CLG: 4/19 5pm PDT

DIG vs TSM: 4/19 6pm PDT

coL vs MRN: 4/19 7pm PDT

Remember, you can see all of the games live via Riot’s streams on Twitch.TV, Azubu and Youtube. All links available on na.lolesports.com. If you can’t watch live, follow me on twitter – I tweet live during many of the LCS games, and will be bringing you up-to-the-minute commentary on all the LCS action.


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!


If You’ve Ever Said “GG” Before The Nexus Fell…

This is for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVwA4vuXZ3E

 


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.


NA LCS Week 8: PR0LLY Makes a Splash for coL

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Salutations, Summoners!

Week 8 was a wild one with upsets, come from behind wins and razor thin margins of victory. Roster changes were the story this week as many teams were sending out lineups with some new faces. When asked what the most significant roster recent change was by NA casters, the overwhelming Twitter response was the changes at TSM, and while WildTurtle has been playing very well in place of the ousted Chaox, player swaps for team CompLexity and Vulcun have made immediate and measurable impacts for two teams battling it out to stave off relegation at the end of the Spring season. Vulcun has a new shotcaller, imported from GGU: Support Star Bloodwater, while Chuuper stepping down has made room for new coL mid laner PR0LLY. In some of their first matches with their respective teams, fans got to see these two new transplants head-to-head in LCS competition on Friday. PR0LLY distinguished himself by making plays with an unconventional pro-level pick: Annie. It was PR0LLY’s late flash/stun combo which allowed coL to push down the remaining towers in mid lane and roll on to victory. More impressive was when we learned in a post game interview that prior to gameday PR0LLY had never even really played Annie, proving two things: 1) Annie is easy to pick up and 2) PR0LLY is a gutsy, flexible player who is going to make a big difference for his new team.

Of course, the game which may henceforth be called the “Annie Game” wasn’t the first big game for coL this week. In a match CLG expected to win, PR0LLY brought out Ziggs – another champion rarely seen in pro play of late – and popped off, ending the game with a score of 5/2/14, leading his team to a victory in a ridiculous back and forth match that you really need to see to believe. PR0LLY’s success with unconventional picks has NA summoners and fans alike wondering how much of the meta is really set in stone. PR0LLY – by picking champions that his opponents have not practiced against recently – is really making a statement about how teams prepare for games. With over 100 champions – most of whom are viable – how can a team prepare for a mid laner who is just as likely to play one champion as any other? PR0LLY’s success in week 8 will likely not go unanswered. Expect to see other pros experimenting and bringing new champions to the table as everyone races to the end of the Spring season, looking to adapt and rise above the competition.

Despite picking up two impressive wins, coL is stuck at the bottom of the standings looking up. Luckily for coL, they don’t have to look too far as only 2 wins separate everyone in the bottom 4 of the NA LCS standings. Next week’s games are crucial in determining who will move on to the Summer season, and who will be relegated in favor of two new LCS teams. Is it too late for CompLexity, or can PR0LLY’s unconventional style carry them to wins over GGU and the mighty first place Curse? With every team in competition next week except Vulcun Command, coL is in a position to advance in the standings. Games kick off at 1pm PST this Thursday; with only two weeks left in the season now is the time to tune in and watch the climactic matches of the Spring.


Customize Your Rift!

Summoner’s Rift is a beautiful map! But for those of you who have played thousands of games, and miss the variety that the winter map from S2 gave to the game, LoL Forums user Yurixy has your back. Check this thread for a selection of visually interesting and diverse skins for Summoner’s Rift, including a beach map and a sci-fi futuristic alien planet look!

For those of you worried about violating your TOS or getting banned for custom skins and models, fear not: Associate Technical Artist Riot Drachis has made several encouraging posts in Yurixy’s thread, so if you want to shake up your game visuals a little, follow Yurixy’s guides, and if you have any other great visual LoL tweaks you want to share, make sure to leave us a comment or tweet a link to us @ill_monstro_g


America’s New Pastime: Our Generation’s Sport

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Growing up, I was a baseball fan. My father – in his childhood – was a fanatic. My father did it all: Collecting cards, scoring games, playing elaborate statistics games at home on his bedroom floor while the Yankees played on the radio; or playing stickball in the street with his friends. For our fathers’ generation and many before; baseball was life – America’s Game. As I got older and began to understand and appreciate the game, I watched my father’s love of baseball erode before my very eyes. As I grew to enjoy the sport, my dad seemed to lose interest. I asked him once why his childhood passion was no longer a source of happiness for him, and he grew wistful in his response. He recounted that even though he and his friends liked other sports – they were all big football, hockey and basketball fans too – baseball was special because it was the only sport where kids and adults alike could look down on the field and think: “I could do that”. Baseball players were not the enormous superhuman athletes who dominated other sports – they seemed like average guys; some were short or fat, some wore glasses and had names like “Mick” and “Ernie”. Baseball was on every day and night, it was a sport where 30% success is considered all-pro. Baseball was the most accessible sport, the closest thing to ownership that a fan could feel for a game.

Time passed, and in 1998 I watched my Yankees win 114 games. I held my breath with the rest of the country as two superheroes competed to break the holy grail of sports records: the single season home run record. Though it’s 15 years in the past now, more than any other summer I feel like I can remember every day of 1998, watching news reports and catching front page headlines to see if McGwire or Sosa had pulled ahead.

10 years later as I watched these heroes stand accused of cheating on the floor of Congress,  I understood why my father lost his love of baseball. Baseball was no longer the pastoral, blue-collar game he grew up watching and feeling a part of. Today’s players were now like those from other sports – gigantic finely tuned super athletes. Gone were the Babe Ruths and the Joe DiMaggios who reminded starry eyed kids of themselves, replaced instead with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and  Barry Bonds: guys with multi-million dollar contracts and crates of steroids. Baseball was no longer a game for average men and boys, and that fact killed the love of the game my father and his generation previously held on to.

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Mark McGwire testifies before Congress about his alleged steroid use.

When Season 3 of League of Legends began this winter, I was struck by the synergy of the ranked ladder system for average players who wanted a tangible measurement of their improvement relative to top-level professional competition. Suddenly I found myself queuing for ranked matches on weekdays and tuning in to pro games on the weekends – two things which I’d never really done before. I saw guys just like me playing my favorite game at the highest level and found myself thinking: “I could do that”. Just like the kids in the street playing stickball and dreaming of being Ted Williams, professional League seemed accessible to me, I felt a greater connection to the game than I do with say, football. With League of Legends attracting record numbers of viewers, even mainstream media outlets are wondering: is this America’s new sport? MLG Dallas saw 2.6 million unique viewers, not a record high for e-sports, but what’s impressive is the “engagement time” – the average viewing time for MLG Dallas was around 150 minutes, much higher than the Super Bowl averages.

In some ways, the inter-connectivity provided by the web and the forward thinking team at Riot have created an environment in which a competitive spectator game can be enjoyed by fans all over the world in new, unprecedented ways. While traditional sports struggle to move into the 21st century weighed down by massive T.V. contracts and blackout restrictions, League and games like it enjoy a much more open experience for fans. Games are streamed all over the world for free. Replays are available on demand the moment the game begins – for free, and most importantly, Riot and other major games manufacturers encourage fans and sites (like allMIA) to cover their pro leagues. When we post match highlights, we’re able to bring you links directly to key moments in the broadcast in a way that a Hockey or Football blog simply can’t, due to NFL and NHL restrictions.

Our pros stream every day, connecting with the fanbase in a way that major sports just can’t. The game we play is the same game our pros play, and the dream that one day we’ll work our way up to the “challenger” tier, and qualify for a pro team is real and tangible, and it drives us ever closer to the game we love. As major American sports continue to alienate themselves from fans with bloated contracts, blackout restrictions, endorsements and lawsuits, companies like Riot offer a more attractive alternative. Consider this: 10 years ago, would you have ever pictured a scenario where you watched other people play video games with the enthusiasm that you watch “real sports”? I know I didn’t. Imagine where we might be in 10 years from now. We’re witnessing history, and even better – we can be a part of it. The NA and EU LCS first-half seasons wrap up in a few short weeks, will you tune in to see the future of competitive sports? Leave us a comment or tweet to us @ill_monstro_g – tell us what you think about the growth of e-sports and where we’re going as a community.


Choose Our Next Contest While We’re AFK!

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See those RP cards? A photo taken by your’s truly and uploaded this very day. We’ve got a bunch of RP, and we want to give it away to our readers! Since we’re going to be away this weekend (not at PAX East, but at a wedding!) we’re looking for your input. While allMIA goes on a short hiatus from March 22-26, tweet your contest ideas, or leave them in the comments of this post. We’ll choose the best option, run the contest, and give out RP prizes!  Our last contest was a huge success and we anticipate this one being even bigger!

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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!


EU LCS Heats Up on GG Bye (spoilers)

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With Gambit Gaming on their bye week and in international competition at MLG Dallas for week 5, the other 7 EU teams had a week to shake things up without the dominant Russian squad around to spoil things. Without the competition of Alex Ich and his team, Fnatic took advantage in a big way, picking up wins in all 3 of their matchups, propelling them to a first place spot in the EU division. Former CLG.eu squad Evil Geniuses continued to toil with mixed results. Almost mirroring their former sister team’s struggles in the NA division this week, EG continues to play close games which seem to get away from them in the end. Froggen came out in an interview recently, expressing frustration with his team’s performance and stating that the playstyle which brought EG past success is no longer effective in the game’s current state, and that his team would have to adapt to survive. Froggen’s comments seem eerily similar to Doublelift’s frustrated remarks about the ADC role after CLG’s disappointing start to the NA season.

With some of the top teams in the world struggling to adapt to new strategies and team comps in Season 3, it would stand to reason that newer teams have an edge and should be rising; and yet like the bottom 4 NA teams, the bottom half of the EU standings continues to be populated with newer, less decorated teams. Wolves, GIANTS!, Dragonborns and Against all Authority all maintain sub .500 win percentages by continuing to trade wins with one another while consistently losing to the senior teams in the division (only bottom 4 team to beat a top 4 this week? aAa over SK). If top teams are still trying to adapt to Season 3 and new teams can’t seem to take advantage, what will it take to unseat a top pro team – and can whoever adapts best this season compete with the top Korean teams who continue to dominate on the international stage? Come back to allMIA later this week as we look ahead to week 6 EU and NA action and discuss some practical methods for western viewers to catch games in the top Asian leagues whose seasons begin soon.


Dig/MRN Meltdowns in Week 5 – NA Shakes Up

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All week 5 NA LCS VODs here

North American League Championship Series action live from Dallas at the MLG Winter Championships brought havoc to the LCS standings this week. Dignitas – who looked poised to control the LCS standings from atop the division with 3 games against bottom 4 NA teams – absolutely imploded in Dallas with losses to GGU, Vulcan and CompLexity.  Curse, who took 3 straight games this weekend move to number 1 in the standings. One of Curse’s big match-ups was against rival CLG who – in losing to Curse – put their 4th place slot in jeopardy. With the CLG loss, it was up to 5th place team MRN to step up and win some games to close the gap separating them from CLG. Like former-first-place Dignitas though: MRN dropped all three of its games this weekend – including a crucial head to head with CLG – devastating their position in the standings and allowing Vulcan to climb over them into 5th place. After their third loss of the weekend, MRN’s team owner/manager Marn was active on Twitter and had this to say:

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MRN, like CLG had roster issues moving into week 5. Marn himself was going to fill an empty roster slot, but was notified that team managers are ineligible to compete as players (the same rule does not apply to team owners, which is why HotshotGG can play for his team). Marn’s post-game tweets are not 100% clear – will Heartbeat be moved out of the lineup? Or will he shift to another position, moving someone else off the main team?

A Korean Team An EU Team and Two NA Teams Walk Into A Tourney…

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MLG Tournament VODs here

How do you figure this one worked out? Further fueling the East vs West storyline,this weekend’s MLG international best of 3 tournament pitted the top two NA LCS teams, the top EU LCS team and Korean outfit KT Rolster B against one another for MLG honors. In the semifinal round Gambit Gaming looked to shake off their disappointing IEM showing and followed up by taking Dignitas down in two straight games. With the losses to GG, Dig’s losing skid at Dallas increased to 5 straight. With GG advancing, fans began looking forward to a preview of what may still end up being the LCS championship matchup: Curse vs Gambit. Plans for a championship preview were dashed when CRS could not translate their 3-0 LCS success into a win over KT Rolster B, who took Curse down in 2 games.

The only best of 3 to see a third round this weekend in Dallas (including the invitational games) was the GG/KTB final. Gambit struggled to keep up in game 1, matching KTB in gold for the majority of the game until the Korean team’s slight advantage proved to be too much. Game 2 was Gambit’s, but game 3 gave South Korean fans yet another victory over a Western team to celebrate after a blunderous Baron call lead Gambit into a second consecutive loss in an international event.

After Korean victories in the last two major international events you may want to know more about the Asian scene since no Asian teams compete in the LCS – no worries, Riot has you covered. Check back with allMIA later this week for a closer look at the Korean meta and how to catch games in the upcoming OGN and Tencent 2013 seasons.


“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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Curse in First! CRS over CLG at MLG Dallas (SPOILERS)

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It all began with Dignitas: 10-2 1st place NA LCS team dropping a game in the week’s upset special against 7th place team compLexity. (VOD coming soon). coL jungler Lautemortis on his favorite champion – Cho’Gath – was unstoppable in this game, posting a 4-0-4 score by the time coL took the game’s final Baron before pushing to the nexus for the win. Meanwhile, Curse was set to play rival CLG in the rubber match of their 1-1 LCS series tie. After making critical errors in week 4 against their rivals, Curse needed to play a clean game to come away with a win.

(Curse vs CLG week 5 LCS – MLG Dallas VOD)

CLG began the game with issues, with jungler Chauster out of the lineup due to illness, CLG was forced to send in former midlaner Bigfatlp – AKA jiji. Jiji playing mid displaced new CLG solomid Link, who moved to top for the matchup, while HotshotGG shifted to the Jungle. With this setup, CLG was playing with a sub who has not been practicing with the team, and two key players out of their normal positions. Perhaps to compensate, CLG attempted an early jungle invade, which resulted in first blood after a good reaction from Curse. Aphromoo – on Lulu – got caught by Wraiths and began the tough game for CLG. CLG attempted to gain an advantage over Curse by sending their superior poke ADC lane to mid, as Doublelift‘s Caitlyn would surely fare better against NyJacky‘s Ryze than Cop‘s Miss Fortune would against Jiji’s Gragas. Curse did not allow the lane swap to throw them off their game, and sent their ADC/Support to middle lane also. Elementz‘ Sona used her sustain to help MF win the lane despite Caitlyn’s superior poke. Though CLG banned away Saint Vicious‘ favorite jungler Xin Zhao, Saint picked up Jarvan IV and dominated CLG while HotshotGG – jungling with Shen – simply could not keep up with Curse’s aggression.

The loss for CLG should have cast a darker shadow on their odds to remain in the top 4, but team MRN who was in a good position to move up the ladder dropped their first MLG Dallas game to team Vulcan (VOD) who got an absolutely brilliant performance from top laner Sycho Sid. With upsets all over the LCS, by the time Riot leaves Dallas this weekend we might see a few more shakeups in the standings. Stay tuned as the EU LCS begins and the NA games continue.


ZAC Unleashed! Gelatinous Jungler Ganking a Lane Near You Soon!

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Salutations, Summoners! 

Today, Riot revealed the details of upcoming champion Zac, and he’s as cool as we thought he’d be! Check out his abilities:

  • Cell Division (Passive): When any of Zac’s abilities hit an enemy, a piece of him falls to the ground. Zac can pick up fallen pieces to recover health. When Zac dies he splits into four blobs. These fragments will attempt to reform over a short duration. If any survive, Zac revives with a percentage of his maximum health based on the number of remaining blobs.
  • Stretching Strike: Zac throws a two-handed punch that deals damage and slows targets in a line.
  • Unstable Matter: Zac’s body explodes outward, dealing flat damage to surrounding enemies. Enemies struck also take damage based on their maximum health.
  • Elastic Slingshot: Zac is immobilized as he charges up a dash toward the target location. The range of Elastic Slingshot increases up to a cap as Zac charges the ability. Zac then fires himself towards the target location, damaging and stunning all nearby enemies upon landing.
  • Let’s Bounce: Zac bounces into the air, immediately knocking up, slowing and damaging nearby enemies. Once airborne, he bounces three times, dealing damage with each impact.

With his revive passive, Zac can take more risks for his carries than some other tanky/CC heavy champs might be able to because he can get back up from high-threat pick off moves like Caitlyn’s ult. How will turret aggro work in conjunction with his passive? If the turret “gibs” Zac, does the aggro switch? If so, his abilities as a tower-diver will also be impressive. With a CC-heavy kit and an interesting gap closer, Zac will likely be a powerful jungler. His HP regen mechanic is interesting, and might be more easily leveraged in the jungle than in lane. When a neutral creep camp attacks Zac, he can just wiggle in the camp to pick up HP as opposed to in lane where he will have to watch where he steps to avoid taking more damage in a trade.

Want more details? Check out the skinny over on the official Riot forums.

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This Is Why We Ward

via reddit


It Ain’t GG Till It’s GG.

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Shh. Don’t speak. First watch this video.

That was CLG.EU (now Evil Geniuses) playing Moscow 5 (now Gambit Gaming) at Dreamhack 2012 this past summer. The kill spread may not seem like much to us average players, but take a look at the gold lead the Russian team has on CLG.EU – over 24,000 gold. Thats 7 and 1/2 Bloodthirsters. That’s 850AD (with max stacks). GG. Except… not. CLG sticks together, makes a play and takes the nexus for the win, down 24,000 gold.

GG.

It’s funny that these two little letters have so many different meanings and applications to gamers,  yet usually we can tell exactly what they mean given context. Of course “good game” is meant to be a sportsmanlike affirmation of a friendly competition – the equivalent of a Baseball team shaking hands with their opponents after a game. Despite its intended meaning, GG has come to mean so much more to the summoners of League of Legends. Over time, it has morphed into shorthand for “the game is over” as a frustrated imperative.  Players say “gg” after a bad team fight, following first blood or sometimes as early as champion select when – for example – a summoner doesn’t get the role they want to play.

“gg i cant play support”

“gg mid feeding”

“gg no jungle help”

“gg support KS”

These are all uttered by summoners around the Rift every day and has become a continually growing problem in League of Legends. “GG” said to teammates before a nexus is destroyed signals that a summoner has given up and will not play as effectively – or worse – when attached to a slew of insults (“gg top is noob, uninstall kthx”) demoralizes a teammate who is already (presumably) behind and in need of help, not insults.

Sometimes, a summoner will spout “gg my team sux” in [ALL] chat which is perhaps the most destructive abuse of the term. If signaling to the team that a summoner has given up is bad, imagine what happens when the enemy team sees that their opponent has given up.

To me, abusing “gg” is one of the most destructive habits exhibited by League of Legends summoners. Some summoners argue that the game they’re playing is hopeless, but saying “gg” prematurely accomplishes absolutely nothing except upsetting others, which should never be your goal. If you find yourself wanting to hurt another player, if you want to make someone else feel bad because they aren’t good at the game, or because they make mistakes; you are the reason you lose games. A player who is making mistakes can be taught to make smarter plays. A summoner with a mean streak who is so competitive that they berate their team at the slightest misshap can’t be taught to behave like a human being and will always reduce their team’s chances of success.

If you think of yourself as super competitive – and use that as an excuse to play angry – consider that truly competitive players always want to give themselves the best chance to win the game; this means never doing anything that reduces their chances of winning. You may feel that there is nothing you can do to improve your chances to win… but you can always make it worse. Don’t. Every game you play has something to teach you. Look for the lesson – even when your team throws – and you might just learn how to play from behind.

Post-Rant

If you want to learn how to win a game that seems lost, take a look at our article covering game 3 of the IEM Hanover 2013 Grand Final (VOD). CJ Entus Blaze’s play in game 3 shows how a team should play when losing the early game if they want to make a comeback. While the rando-pubstars you’re matched up with in Silver III solo-queue may not exactly be Korean mega-stars, every game you’re losing is a chance to practice the kinds of plays and strategies which help turn around losing games. Don’t give up. Don’t blame your team. Don’t say GG until it’s really GG.


Changes Coming to Champ Select? Lyte Says So

Just quick post to let you know that RiotLyte is having a discussion about “fixing” champion select right now over on the official LoL forums.

The player behavior and experience teams at Riot are tackling some of the biggest problems in not just League of Legends but indeed all of online gaming and beyond. When a company employs people who ask questions like this one:

1) Real-Life Context | This scenario really illustrates how context outside the game can influence behavior inside the game. Traditionally, game studios don’t design or solve for context. Or can they?

You know that they are pushing the boundaries of what it means to play games socially and anonymously. As a community, we’ve got to do our part to support Riot’s attempts at manipulating player behavior as it directly benefits the entire player-base  Fewer games lost because of toxicity, less frustration and anger over a recreational activity – these are the net benefits which we all reap when Riot innovates in the social interactivity space. Check back with allMIA later for a closer look at RiotLyte and the plan to fix champion select.