a summoner's guide to League of Legends

Posts tagged “guides

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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NA Spring Playoffs INFOGRAPHIC: Picks/Bans/Wins

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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

 


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


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.


Visual Tips… With A Spear Behind Them! – Xin Zhao

Xin Zhao is a tanky melee champion with high early game damage, plus both strong chase ability and disengage potential. Xin Zhao is a versatile champion who can fit comfortably on most teams as his item build allows him to become very tanky or high damage depending on his team’s needs. His strength is as a jungler as evidenced by his very high pick/ban rate in competitive play and the high number of pros who play him regularly, but his excellent dueling ability also makes him a competent top.

So you want to add the Seneschal of Demacia to your champion pool? Here’s some tips… “with a spear behind them!”

Be sure to check out Saintvicious’ Jungleology video on YouTube for a more in-depth look.

Preview Size – Click to Enlarge

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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!


Quick Tech Tips: Remotely Restart Your Router or Modem

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If you’re like me, your router and modem are far away from your primary gaming station. When your internet connection drops in the middle of a match, it can be a hassle to run all the way downstairs, unplug your router or modem, wait 30 seconds, reconnect then hope that refreshing your IP was enough to get your connection working again. Luckily, with a few keystrokes you can quickly command your router to refresh your IP and your DNS, which will normally fix most dropped internet connections (obviously putting aside instances where your internet connection drops because of an ISP issue).

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Whether you’re a Windows 8 user, or have some previous version of Windows, the process of remotely refreshing your IP is very similar. First, find your search bar. Windows 8 has a good quick-search option. Use the “hot corner” by putting your cursor in the top right of your screen. Click the search “magnifying glass” button and type “cmd”. Windows 7 and earlier can access the same function by clicking “start” and typing “cmd” in the search field in the bottom of the start menu. Once you’ve searched “cmd” Windows will open a “command prompt” which is a powerful tool that lets you give commands directly to your operating system for a variety of different functions.

To refresh your IP and DNS you’ll need two easy to remember commands:

  • ipconfig /renew
  • ipconfig /flushdns

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Additionally, if you’re having serious problems, sometimes you may find it helpful to use “ipconfig /release” followed by a “renew” command, though this takes longer. Generally after renewing your IP and flushing your DNS you can expect your internet connection to come back online within 30-60 seconds. When your team is counting on you and you’ve dropped out of a game, this method can save you precious seconds and get you online in time to save the game. If you have any quick tech tips you’d like to share with your fellow summoners, leave a comment and we’ll feature your tip in a future Quick Tech Tip article.


Average Leaguers: PeGaZuZ is Making The Climb

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A gigantic thank you to the team over at Average Leaguers, a League of Legends community Facebook group that features funny and informative content from – well – Average Leaguers: Bronze, Silver or Gold ranked, it doesn’t matter. Average Leaguers seeks to bring content developed by individuals in the LoL community to the masses, and yesterday they became the first LoL web resource to link allMIA.

After reading through Average Leaguers’ newsfeed and having a few laughs, I was struck with an idea for a new feature named after our new Facebook friends. The Average Leaguers Spotlight here on allMIA will focus on one individual in the community who is trying to make an impact with their blog, stream or media content.

PEGAZUZ SPREADS HIS WINGS

Today, while watching the IEM Quarterfinals, a Twitch.TV user named PeGaZuZ dropped in and said he would give away some skins if he got over 50 viewers on his new stream. On a whim, I dropped in because Blaze and Anexis had just wrapped their first game up. What I found on Peg’s (as I came to affectionately call him) stream was a very interesting phenomenon that I’d like to take a second to share.

PeGaZuZ is a Silver V (just like me!) ranked summoner on the Europe Nordic&East server who has a goal to reach platinum by the end of the season. He invites his viewers to give him feedback and criticism to help him improve and reach his goal; as I’ve created allMIA for many of the same reasons – to share what I’ve learned and to keep a record of the things I need to improve upon as a player myself – the channel really struck a chord with me, so I stuck around.

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PeGaZuZ was very pleased with the sudden influx of viewers his stream got after his IEM advertisement but was immediately met with some initial criticism: once he gave away the skins, wouldn’t everyone leave? Peg tried to give his viewers an incentive to stay on the channel by taking music requests and by frequently interacting with his audience via Twitch’s chat function. From here the conversation turned into a very constructive one with Peg’s new audience suggesting things he might do to improve his channel and keep some of these new viewers. As a new streamer, PeGaZuZ does not have a microphone or webcam set up yet (he will set them up next week), which many players pointed out was key to the success of his stream, since it personalizes the stream, makes it memorable and gives viewers a reason to return (for sparkling personality!)

The most rewarding part of this experience – for me – was the random slice of life from the community that I got a chance to experience. Unlike a pro player’s stream which is filled to the brim with spam and summoners who are begging to play with the streamer, the small audience gathered for Peg’s stream had a conversation about the game, got to know one another and learned from each other. It was a great example of how individual summoners can produce and contribute valuable and high quality content that betters the League of Legends community as a whole.

I’m now following PeGaZuZ’s Twitch channel, and anticipate future broadcasts, just to check in and see how he’s doing. It’s great getting advice from the professional gamers out there, but amateur channels like Peg’s are valuable because they’re like real-sports-stories unfolding before our eyes as the “Average Leaguer” streaming improves their skills and the content of his/her stream. I look forward to seeing Peg set up a mic and camera, and eventually reach his lofty Elo goal.

If you have a favorite amateur streamer, or know somebody who is making the League of Legends community a little brighter in their own way, leave us a comment and we might feature them in a future Average Leaguers spotlight.


Humility OP: Carrying With Attitude

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Every time a frustrated summoner laments their solo queue experiences in a public forum such as r/leagueoflegends or the official Riot forums, one of the top comments invariably pertains to the behavior of the afflicted player. “Stay positive!” “Don’t rage” and “Communicate with pings” are always among the top suggestions from fellow summoners. Yet despite this pervasive sentiment, many players cannot stymie their bad habits, and continue to toil in their imagined “ELO Hell”.

So what new addition to the dialog can I make which might help those players who can’t seem to stop “raging”? The afformentioned advice to stay positive and focused is applicable, but that’s not enough for some players. I believe it’s the mindset you must have behind your behavior which makes advice like “stay positive” more universally applicable.

WINNING IN CHAMPION SELECT

This is one of the most prominent problems with solo queue, especially in lower divisions, and since it’s the first thing you do every game, let’s talk about it first. Everyone has heard this advice: “play carries in solo queue because you can’t trust other players to win for you”. This is the feeling of what is apparently the majority of solo queue players, which often leads to a scenario where nobody wants to play a supportive role. The outcome of this situation is normally competition – sometimes very unhealthy competition – for roles, an unhealthy argument which begins the game in the worst way. So how do you avoid the pitfalls of champ select? The simple answer is you cannot. The most important thread running through every piece of advice for solo queue is that you must control everything you have the power to control (same as the “play carries” advice), and this extends to your team’s behavior. You can’t pick your team in solo queue, and you can’t guarantee that everyone will be as smart, talented or respectful as you. What you can control is how respectful you are to others. You’ll find that by being as cordial and respectful as possible, you can turn toxic trolls into productive teammates on occasion – and when you can’t, would being rude back have done the trick? No, so being respectful is at least worth your time and effort in that it might just work.

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We’ve all been stuck in champion selects like this. Can’t dodge? Be flexible. Fill the open roles, support if you have to. All the skill in the world can’t win a game if your team is demoralized and infighting.

Pick Order > “Call” Order

Sorry, it’s true. Mechanically true. Once somebody locks in Kog’Maw, what are you going to do? Convince him to support your Vayne? That kind of mindset will lose games, because if you’re stubborn enough to make defiant picks and not care about the outcome, your teammates will probably behave the same way.  Of course, it’s customary in the community to state which role you’d like to play (it’s smart to say so kindly, e.g. “Jungle/Support Pref” or “Mid/Top please”) but if first pick wants to play your role, and picks it before you have the chance, you’ve reached your first important choice of the game. How do you respond? If you’re not willing to fill another role, you’ve begun your game at odds with your team, and you’re going to lose.

Consider the following: what are your goals? To improve your skills? To win games? To climb into “gold” or “platinum” ELO? Just to have fun? The truth is all of these goals are reached by taking a common approach: try to control the game with your attitude. Being kind to your team (especially when they don’t deserve it) isn’t about being nice to them, it’s about making sure you have the best possible chance to achieve your goals. Remember your goals are to win and climb the ladder. Once your teammate has locked in the role you want you may feel like your chances of winning have diminished, but they only get even worse when you “rage” at your teammates or refuse to cooperate.

What about when another member of your team is the one whose role was taken by a higher pick? They’re raging away and poisoning your team because they don’t want to get “stuck supporting” or they “can’t ADC”. Guess whose responsibility it is to solve this problem? It’s yours, because you can’t count on others to solve your team’s problems. If you don’t do it, who will? Offer to switch your preferred role for the discontented player. Often the angry player won’t even take you up on the offer, but will immediately be a little less upset when they see some members of their team are willing to cooperate. This is your opportunity to show your team you are cool under pressure and can lead them to victory with good advice and cooperation. “If you don’t want to support, take mid from me, I can play Lulu” you’ll say. Is that player going to be as good of a solo mid as you would have been? You don’t know. What you do know is that if they had been “forced” to do something they didn’t want and had an attitude about it, your team would lose. This is a mindset thing: winning is more dependent on cooperation than individual skill. If you don’t actually believe this, you’ll never be able to make the healthy team-oriented choices that lead to wins.

WHY IS ATTITUDE SO IMPORTANT?

A team’s attitude is one of the most important factors among those that contribute to success; this is reflected in Riot-implemented systems such as the tribunal, the honor initiative and the quick in-game tips (“Did you know players who swear at their teammates lose 13% more games?”). I think most summoners who are genuinely trying to get better at League of Legends understand this concept, but find themselves frustrated by and reacting to teammates who do “rage” or “troll”. One common sentiment I’ve heard expressed by frustrated summoners is is “if I don’t say (x), that player is going to think what he is doing is OK” or “I don’t want that player to think they’re good.” This leads me to the shift in the mindset you have to have in order to successfully play with humility.

Be “Selfishly Humble”

Drawing a line between what you feel and what you communicate to your fellow summoners is important for your success in solo queue. Yes, the ADC who is feeding bottom lane is doing something wrong. Yes, the FOTM in mid lane is building incorrectly. Yes, your jungler is screaming and cursing in all-chat about how bad you are; and while you may feel as though these obstacles have made your game unwinnable – sometimes these obstacles make you feel like you don’t even want to win – you still have influence over the outcome of the game. You are 1/5th of your team. You know that the most productive response to somebody who is criticizing your build is not “STFU” or some derivation thereof, but sometimes the player in question is so wrong, or so toxic to you that you want to throw good sense to the wind and flame back. Humbly accepting the criticism of someone who you know is wrong, or who is rude in their critique can seem impossible for some summoners. So why should you be humble?

Who cares if some “scrub” in solo queue insta-locks and builds incorrectly? If a fellow summoner is hostile to you, or does not want to take advice, there’s nothing you can do except try to mitigate the stress their bad play puts on a team, and being mean or crude only puts more stress which in turn lowers the likelihood you’ll win your game. When you respond to a build criticism or a flame after a botched play (“WTF! Don’t tower dive, noob!”) you have a few options, let’s consider each of them and the impact they might have on your team and the game.

1) Ignore the troll

This is a pretty common approach which in practice delivers mixed (and therefore generally negative) results. A loud, discontented player generally only escalates their aggression when they don’t feel they’ve been heard. If you give no credence to their words, often that player will complain loudly to the rest of the team, or worse to the enemy team in all chat (“[ALL] omg this Ahri!”). Why is this bad? A few reasons. First – the more time your teammates spend flaming you in chat, the less focus and attention they have on the game. Second – if the enemy team gets the sense that you are disorganized or not on the same page, they will exploit that weakness. Expect extra ganks top lane if it becomes apparent that your top lane is not content with the play of your jungler. Finally – one poisoned player often “infects” other players on their team with negativity. A few rude comments from one player can quickly frustrate others and turn your whole team against one another. Very often I see players who struggle with team behavior claiming that they have to carry every game with their skill, that they have to play ADC or mid because they can’t trust solo queue players to carry for them; this same attitude applies to behavior: you cannot count on your teammates to control unruly players. Remember, you’re 1/5th of your team. If you’re not going to control the trolls, what are the odds someone else will?

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2) Rage back

Has this ever worked for you? Ever? Have you ever once swore at another player, or told someone to “STFU” and gotten desirable results?

3) Control the Troll (hint: choose this one)

Most often when someone is “raging” at their team in solo queue, it’s because they are feeling frustration that you can probably identify with. Sometimes, decent players will express this frustration in controlled bursts at first (e.g. “Xin we need u to build damage”). This is the best time to address the problem before it gets out of control. You shouldn’t spend an excess of time explaining your every move, but a simple acknowledgement of the criticism is usually enough to placate a frustrated player. Taking the previous example, responding with acknowledgement (“I’m working on it”/”Buying a brutalizer next”) or a brief explanation of your plan (“Yep, need a few wards first”/”Want to finish Warmog’s, BoTRK is next”) is usually enough to communicate the following to the angry summoner: you’ve heard them and you’re not another solo queue jerk who thinks he knows everything. Remember, you’re not the only good summoner who deals with toxic trolls on a daily basis. Everyone expects to run into unfriendly and rude summoners, appearing to be one of the “good guys” is an easy way to mitigate the damage done by unruly teammates.

Even though you may not always agree with the critiques of your team, even though you may not think they’re worth listening to, simply acknowledging them and trying to be kind will often curb most of the problems presented by these “troll players”.

BE THE PLAYER YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH

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I think like.. Gandhi said that, or something.

Everyone wants to be on a team with a total man-mode monster who carries with a  20/0/10 score, but you can’t guarantee you’ll play that well every game. What you can control – every game – is your attitude and your treatment of fellow summoners. Nobody wants someone on their team who spends the whole game cursing at their jungler, nobody wants a teammate who keeps talking about how “everyone at this ELO is a noob” and that they were “diamond in season 2”. Don’t be that guy. Model the kind of behavior you want from  your team in your own conduct, and sometimes your team will rise to the occasion. Time respawns, (“next dragon: 16:12”) thank teammates, (“good gank, Lee”) place wards, and be supportive when things go wrong (“nice try, ping me next time”).

Your own positive mindset will not win you 100% of your games. Being positive will not make every troll change their ways. Sometimes it will seem like you are the only one who cares about winning, and maybe you are. In that case, it’s even more important you’re focused on increasing your team’s chances of winning. If you feel like you can’t be calm enough to be respectful and kind to your team, you should take a break! Skip the next game and watch a stream, see what the pros are doing while you cool down; go take a walk, get a snack. When you come back, get ready because it’s going to be your positive attitude which will carry you to victory.


Diving Into the League – How to Watch the Pros Play

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When I decided I’d like to improve my game knowledge and learn some new skills to help me out in solo queue, the unanimous sentiment opinined by other players was to “watch the pros play”. At first I felt a little reserved; watching? Shouldn’t I be playing? How do I go about watching games? I’d seen some tutorials about how to use LoLReplay and heard some buzz about Twitch and the now defunct Own3d, but I struggled with the core concepts involved. Watching other people play League of Legends seemed like a cumbersome, tiresome ordeal that I wanted no part of. I felt like there was an experience barrier keeping me from giving it a try, so I continued to toil away in blind pick.

With the advent of the League Championship Series (LCS) and the changes to the Ranked system in season 3, watching the best-of-the-best has never been easier. The imaginary barrier keeping the average player from seeing the game played at the highest level is now, in fact, only imaginary. Any fan of professional sports knows that sometimes accessing game content can be restricted by blackouts, copyright laws and other frustrating barriers, but the burgeoning e-sports scene is largely unmarred by such obstacles.

GETTING STARTED

So what is the best way to begin catching professional level League of Legends games? The afformentioned LCS is a great option for newbies and e-sports megafans alike. Access to the content is very user-friendly and the schedule is very pro-sports-like and easy to track, there are even iOS and Android apps which track stats and provide results for LCS games.

The current format of the LCS is a round robin tournament (each team plays every other team 4 times) split into two reigional divisions: North America and Europe. North American teams play Thursdays and Fridays, while their European counterparts play Saturdays and Sundays. Interested parties have a few simple ways to access the content through Riot’s e-sports hub: LoLesports. On game day, the bulk of the front page is dominated by a Twitch.TV stream, that is to say if you log on Friday afternoon, you’re one click away from an organized HD stream with professional commentary and analysis. If you’re a little late, or missed a game you’d like to see Riot also offers a YouTube link on the main page which is on a short delay, but allows users to rewind and re-watch any part of the broadcast; this is the most useful part of Riot’s LCS coverage, the abililty to catch the important moves that your average solo queue player wants to learn. Watching a successful gank unfold on bottom lane is entertaining, but for it to be informative, you’ll often want to go back and see: what was the jungler doing right before? How did the lane set up for the gank? Where was the enemy jungler during the gank? Riot’s YouTube stream allows you to effortlessly jump to any point in the broadcast, creating your own personal highlight reel.

INDIVIDUAL STREAMS

Of course, the LCS is only broadcasting on weekends, so if it’s Tuesday, where do you go for new content? Well, the number of weekend games is sometimes massive, and all LCS broadcasts are archived on both Riot’s Twitch channel and YouTube channel for re-watching. In addition, Twitch is home to the personal streams of many top-tier League of Legends players. Streams are an excellent resource because many streamers take time to explain their thought process and descision making which can help lead new players and verterans alike to develop good in-game habits. So which streams should you watch? Most professional players and high-level streamers primarily play one role, so if you’re trying to learn a specific champion or role, you should look for casters who play that role. If you’re looking for good general game knowledge, it’s best to find the most informative streamer and follow them. I’ll break down some suggestions by topic – please drop your own personal suggestions in the comments, and I’ll append the main article to reflect community choices.

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While sivHD may not be the best caster to watch for strategy, it’s the best to watch if you want to be reminded that League of Legends is in fact, a fun game.

Top Lane

Voyboy – Team Curse’s top laner. Voy is known for his explanations and “teaching” style while streaming. A great stream to watch for aspiring top laners and new summoners alike.

Wingsofdeath – Wings is one of the most informative and teaching-oriented streamers for LoL, and a great top laner to learn from.

Mid Lane

NyJacky – very frequently duo queues with team Curse partner Saintvicious, known for his Veigar.

Scarra – funny, talented and informative. Dignitas’ mid lane phenom is one of the best AP mids to watch and learn the game from.

ADC

IAmLOD – a diamond ranked ADC who streams very frequently.

Chaox – TSM’s ADC is known for breaking down almost every play and explaining his thinking as he carries his team to victory. Highly informative!

Support

Destiny – while not on a pro team, Destiny has some great support tips to share from his diamond-ranked streams.

Tsatsulow – the high ELO support from team summon is a good watch for new supports!

Jungle

Saintvicious – one of North America’s top junglers also streams on twitch.tv and is very informative and reflective while he plays. Additionally, Saint produces a series of highly informative in-depth jungling video guides on YouTube which he streams live Tuesdays at 4pm PST.  Saint mostly plays very aggressive, carry-style junglers.

TheOddOne – TSM’s TheOddOne is also one of the best junglers in the North American scene, known for his funny and quirky comments as well as his vast game knowledge and preference for tanky, supportive junglers.

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WRAP-UP

I highly reccomend making a free account on Twitch.TV. Twitch has a very accessible system for bookmarking channels you enjoy, so you can easily see which of your favorite casters is streaming. Don’t limit your choices to what’s listed here, click the “League of Legends” section under games and browse all current streams. Some of the best streams on Twitch are aspiring summoners just like you and me trying to climb the ranked ladder. If you find one you like, follow their channel and drop me a line in the comments about it.

So why should you watch a game instead of playing it? League of Legends is a complex game with many mechanics all working simultaenously. It can be very difficult to focus on micro-gameplay and big macro map awareness concepts at once and still learn from mistakes when you make them. Watching another game allows you to focus entirely on the skill you’re hoping to work on, and get useful feedback and commentary from more experienced players at the same time. If you’re still unsure, give it a try! The only thing watching streams costs is a little time.


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.

Rift_1.1_Shopkeeper

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

watsmyrole

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.