(VODs: Full Game)
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!
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.
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!
While looking for new streams to feature in our community series, I ran across the stream of genuine Rioter RiotGradius who – according to his Twitter feed – is part of the Information Security team at Riot Games. Gradius is ranking up in Silver IV solo/duo queue, so I asked if he’d answer some questions about his experience in ranked and if we could gain some insight about what it’s like to work for Riot Games. The following is an interview conducted via-text, formatted for the blog. Please give Gradius a big THANK YOU on Twitter or here in the comments for sharing his time with us!
allMIA: How did you come to work for Riot?
RiotGradius: I started working for Riot after meeting them at SCALE last year. I met a few of the recruiters and network dudes there, and I gave them my resume. I was already a pretty avid player of LoL, so this job sounded awesome. After some back and fourth with recruiting, I got myself a summer internship. That turned into a full time job after the internship period!
allMIA: Who is your favorite Rioter to work with in the office?
RiotGradius: Honestly, everyone here at the office is great to work with. It’s super apparent that we’re doing what we do because we love the game and our players. At first I thought it was the “company motto” but it really is how things are run around here. Though, I have to say that “working” (read : nerf wars) with the Network OPs team is a lot of fun.
allMIA: What’s your favorite champion and role at the moment?
RiotGradius: Favorite champion right now would have to be Sona. I’m having a blast supporting with her. Favorite role right now is support! Been doing a lot of that, after coming off a spree of jungling.
allMIA: I see you’re climbing ranked solo/duo queue. What advice do you have to fellow summoners who are also trying to improve their game?
RiotGradius: The biggest thing I’ve seen recently that will destroy a game before it starts is people being stuck in one role. Don’t always assume you’re going to play your favorite role. Yes you might have a “best role,” but be prepared to play any of the 5 roles. If you’re particularly bad at a role and your team is needing you to play it, specify that it might be better for someone else to take that role since it is your worst role. This is much better than calling “MID” at the beginning of a game and not working [with] your team.
allMIA: If you were a LoL Champion, what would your Ultimate be?
RiotGradius: “Distracted” Passive: For every minute in lane, RiotGradius recieves -5 Ability to Focus. As Ability to Focus decreases, bad calls, lack of MIAs, and map unawareness increases. When RiotGradius returns to the fountain, Ability to Focus is reset to 100.
Active: RiotGradius gains +100 focus. All abilites that are normally decreased during laning are increased greatly. This focus then continues to drop as normal. (180 Second Cool Down)
allMIA: If you could have a chat with any champion in LoL who would it be and why?
RiotGradius: I’d love to chat with Riven. Mostly because I have a LoL-crush on her, but also because I think she’d have a lot of really cool stories about the battles she’s fought in as well as how her life changed after leaving the Noxian army.
Like the interview? Leave a comment! We’ll be reaching out to Rioters, prominent members of the community and average leaguers alike to bring more Q&A content to the front page of allMIA soon! Your feedback is very much appreciated!