Showing posts with label clg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clg. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bard Chimes In on Pro Play




by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

One of the newest champs to be released, Bard, finally gets his chance to see professional play. Bard has proven to be a champion with very mixed results. He is Riot’s first attempt at creating a support that is rewarded for leaving his lane. This creates a lot of interesting strategy possibilities, especially in the current meta of constant lane swaps in professional play.

Bard is one of the more utilitarian supports that have been released. Unlike a support like Leona or Annie who only really bring CC and damage, Bard trades this damage and easy CC for more of an ability to help his team reposition, heal, and keep the enemy from moving where they want. He won’t win a 2v2 very often, but that’s not really what his kit is designed to do.

When Bard is brought out, you can most definitely expect teams to try and swap lanes. IF Bard does go into a 2v2 he’s going to want a safe ADC in his lane so it gives him the freedom to leave lane. A popular ADC right now is Sivir. She has a huge amount of waveclear and a spell shield in case she moves up too far. Sivir also works well with Bard's mid game power in his ultimate. If Bard hits a good ult from afar to engage, Sivir can pop hers to not only let her team get to the enemy, but position correctly in order to keep the enemy team locked up with follow up CC or damage.

Bard is still new, and teams aren’t really sure what to do about him. The only pro to consistently pull him out so far in competitive play is GorillA and he’s only seen spotty success on it, winning just 1 of his last 3 games. Sweet, from JinAir has been getting Bard banned against him as well, although he hasn’t actually played him competitively yet.

An interesting note from most high level players that I’ve noticed is that they max E (Magical Journey) second, over the W. I’ve tried both and I definitely see more impact from leveling E second. Bard’s heal is meant to be used as a screw-up fixer. It’s there in case you need it, not to be used when you need a top off on health. He places it for when he isn’t there to help his team, making him useful all over the map and fitting his theme.

Bard can have his shot in solo queue play as well, but he gets played a little differently. It can really depend on how your ADC is by themselves. If you know what your ADC is, make sure it works with your pick. Sometimes you get a little screwed and your ADC picks Vayne after you already locked in Bard, but it’s not a complete loss. Just make sure you’re not putting yourself into a bad situation if you can help it, Bard isn’t a jack of all trades so make sure you know why you’re picking him.

One of the first questions that comes up on Bard is your starting ability. Do you level Q or W? They have their pros and cons, but I think the higher your ELO, the more likely you are to need Q at level 1. Before you go off on me, let me explain.

In lower level games, like Gold and below, players generally don’t skirmish early and fight over getting the level 2 advantage. This means your Meep empowered auto attacks should be enough to let you stay competitive until you get level 2. However, players that understand the power of getting the early level will punish you hard for your passive start if you level W. The upside of leveling W first in lower level games is that you can place a health relic for each of your other lanes, mid, top and jungle, to make sure they can recover from a bad trade early or getting cheesed, which is once again something that happens more frequently in lower ELO games. Most likely we’ll only see Q from Bard at level 1 in professional games unless the team knows for certain they have a lane swap.

The possibilities of Bard’s ult are incredible especially around a coordinated team. I’ve already mentioned the synergy with Sivir ult, but there’s also the objective control he provides. Bard can help guarantee steals; a lot of people see the possibility of ulting Baron or Dragon to keep the enemy from taking them for a little bit. However, with some careful aiming, you can actually do the exact reverse of that scenario and ult the enemy team, specifically the jungler, and keep them from smiting while your jungler swoops in as the hero.

Bard has a lot of room for mistakes, but he brings a huge amount to a team that no other champion can bring. His abilities to Zhonya’s both enemy and ally champions and portal through walls are extremely unique to him. And while his AP ratios aren’t amazing, he scales just fine into the late game with his stacking of chimes to improve his auto attacks and not only more damage, but more utility in slows. It won’t be long before Bard becomes a staple for professional supports alongside his counterpart Thresh.


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by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 NA LCS Spring Split Predictions



by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure and the LCS FanZone Staff 

If there's anything that can be taken away from EU's crazy start, it's that you can be certain of absolutely nothing when it comes to the NA LCS. Teams have a way of surprising even the most knowledgeable of fans, so take our staff predictions with a grain of salt and probably don't bet your kid's college funds on them. To further cover our asses, we have done this in a Top Three – Middle of the Pack – Bottom Three format.

*EACH CATEGORY IS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

TOP 3

Cloud 9  The Princes of the NA LCS have no real reason to -not- be listed first. They've had no roster swaps and looked stronger than ever in IEM. Meteos played great, and the rest of the team looked solid. The only potential weak link on the team is Hai, but with such a stable team around him he can take his time getting back to form. Expect at least a top 3 finish from these guys

Team Liquid  Falling under new management and getting new players in the big carry positions, including world champion Piglet, the team appears very strong despite the loss of Voyboy. Fenix is a bit of an unknown, but the rest of the team should be very solid. Quas and IWillDominate are two of the more underrated players at their positions in the LCS and this roster more than any other should be able to challenge Cloud 9 for the top spot. This may be the year that the "always 4th" curse is broken for this team.

Team SoloMid  Santorin and Turtle still don't look their best but unless the lesser teams up their game, TSM should stay nice on top of their throne. While not showing up super strong at IEM San Jose (dropping a series to a team that had never played in LCS), TSM still has a strong lineup and the experienced coaching it needs. If they can become more adaptable in-game, they can keep themselves afloat for another split at least.

MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Team Impulse  Known as LMQ last year, Impulse's roster does look strong with farming machine XiaoWeiXiao. They brought former SKT 1K top laner Impact over to replace the departed Ackerman and Apollo takes over for Vasilii in the bottom lane, which is likely the biggest concern for this new roster.

CLG   CLG has a really solid lineup and good coaching backup, but from what we saw at IEM Cologne, they didn’t look like the best team. Zion Spartan and Xmithie have both gone a while since being consistently standout players, but they both seem driven to get back on top. Doublelift and Aphromoo will need to be on point this split for CLG to have a shot at finishing in the top 4.

Winterfox  Altec has shown he is as good an ADC as there is in North America. Pobelter has been playing very well in solo queue and he is entering his prime right now. Helios's brother moved into the top lane, and it remains to be seen how he performs in competitive play. May possibly be the surprise team of the split.

Team Coast – Very nearly did not make the LCS but showed some resiliency in getting out of the expansion tournament.  Have not been able to play much together lately, expect Coast to struggle out of the gate this split and likely further into it.

BOTTOM THREE

Gravity  Curse Academy did well in the Challenger scene, and under the name Gravity, features several ex-LCS players. If they can keep improving, they can probably climb the ranks, but they also may well continue to be plagued by the same issues they have always been.

Team Dignitas  Very shaky performance at IEM Cologne that almost saw them fall in a massive upset to Aces High. At the same time, Shiphtur showed how good of a player he is as he just about single handedly carried Dignitas to victory in that series. With Crumbzz and KiWiKiD both underperforming at the end of the last split, the magic 8 ball would say "Outlook not bright." If they can pick it up, things will be different, but they left little evidence of that before the off-season began.
  
Team 8   Whilst Team 8 is a very fun team to watch, they remain the weakest team in the NA LCS at the time. Calitrolz might be a solid top laner, but every single team has a better player in every other respective role. If they want to have a chance of making worlds (or even the summer split) They will have to practice. A lot.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Curse, CLG & Gambit joins Fnatic for IEM Cologne

By Anel “Musinlol“ Musinovic


The European team that is going to join Fnatic will be Gambit Gaming, who has a long history with Intel Extreme Masters.

Every other team in this poll doesn't have a full roster, which could have led to more votes if they had. (In Copenhagen Wolves case, they have no players at all, hence the 3% vote.)

Gambit will be going head-to-head with the recently qualified 'new' Moscow 5, who are going to represent the CIS region; the previous organisation for some long-standing Gambit members such as Diamond and Edward. It will be interesting to see Gambit playing with their newly signed top laner, Cabochard, and ADC, P1noy (previously known as Krislund), as they try to qualify for IEM Katowice through IEM Cologne.


Going across the Atlantic and looking at the NA poll, it will be Curse and CLG joining Fnatic and Gambit. 

No surprises here. CLG and Curse are both loved by the community and Curse probably clinched the higher percentage of votes since signing Korean superstar, Piglet, who previously played for the Season 3 World Championship Winner, SKT T1 K.

IEM Cologne will be taking place in Cologne, Germany from December 18th to the 22nd. Team SoloMid, Cloud 9, Alliance and Unicorns of Love were not participating in this poll as these teams are already fighting it out at Intel Extreme Masters San Jose on December 6th and 7th.

Poll graphics via intelextrememasters.com

Friday, August 1, 2014

NA LCS Week 11 Power Rankings


by Ethan “AkeyBreakyy” Akey and Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

First it was Europe’s turn, now we turn our attention to the North American scene before super week gets under way!  Just a reminder, here are the criteria the teams will be judged on; it is no different than Europe.

• It’s not just your record that determines your ranking. Just because you have a better record than another team does NOT necessarily mean you are better in my eyes.  The proverbial “eye test” is incredibly important. Are you winning games narrowly or convincingly? Did you go 2-0 in a week where you trailed in both games but the other team made massive mistakes and it allowed you to come back? How a team looks is very important.
• Results from the past few weeks.
• General trends of a team’s performance vs upper-echelon opponents in the league. Playing well vs the top tier teams is obviously more impressive than crushing the bottom three constantly.
• A team’s performance historically. This will weight a bit less, but a team like Fnatic will get more of a pass when they are struggling a bit than someone like the Copenhagen Wolves will.

So let’s get right down to it!


1) Cloud 9 (15-9) – Not much room for debate here. Their win over current top-of-the-table LMQ on Sunday was as dominating a performance as we have seen from any team this entire split. Currently sitting at 5-1 in their last six games and 7-3 in their last ten, Cloud 9 seem to have gotten over the middle season slump they had been in. One other impressive thing to note about Cloud 9 is their record vs the other teams in the top six of the standings. The only teams they do not have a chance to grab a 3-1 record versus are compLexity and Team SoloMid. LMQ has been good and currently hold first place, but everything points to Cloud 9 still being the team to beat in North America.
-Matt

2) LMQ (16-8) – While LMQ clings to the top of the LCS standings, their devastating loss to Cloud 9 last week has dropped them to our #2 spot. Like Cloud 9, LMQ has a 5-1 record for their previous six matches  - their only loss coming from Cloud 9, who hold a 3-1 record against them. The only other teams LMQ has a losing record against are Curse and Dignitas, both of whom face them in Week Eleven. If LMQ can pull wins off in both matches, C9 will be their only losing record.
-Ethan


3) Team SoloMid (15-9) – Week Ten was a very good week for TSM as they went 2-0, including a big win over slumping arch-rival Counter Logic Gaming. It wouldn't have been surprising if TSM had instead struggled the final two weeks of the season while they adjusted to their roster change, but it turned out not to be an issue. One knock against them is that they have been awful vs the top teams in the league, but I’m not sure that is entirely true. Against the top six, they sport a record of 7-10 which isn't great, but neither is it as terrible as it’s been made out to be. They are also the only team in the top six (and one of only two in the league) to have winning record vs Cloud 9. The major blemishes are the current 0-3 marks vs LMQ and Dignitas, and they will get a shot at both of them this weekend. A bye into the semifinals would be perhaps more important to TSM than any other team; the more time Lustboy and WildTurtle have to play together, the better off they are.
-Matt


4) Counter Logic Gaming (13-11) – After falling 0-2 in Week 10, and losing to their rivals, TSM, we have CLG sitting in the fourth position. Entering Week Eleven, CLG currently only holds positive win records over three of the four  bottom ranked teams. With their most recent loss to TSM, CLG now sits with a even 2-2 record against them. With their starting roster sitting out Week Eleven in order to attend boot camp in Korea to prepare for playoffs, it is highly likely that CLG will land in the fourth or fifth place semifinal spot. We can’t really judge CLG on how well their substitute roster will play, but from recent showings, CLG has fallen to our fourth spot.
-Ethan

5) Curse (10-14) – Curse is one of the more bizarre teams in the North American LCS. They currently sport winning records vs each of LMQ, CLG and Dignitas respectively. And yet at the same time, they are 1-2 vs Complexity and 1-3 vs EG.  Curse have been playing fairly well since they had a poor 3-7 start with a 7-7 streak since then. While nothing amazing, it’s at a level of what you would expect from a team that’s in the middle of the pack in the standings. Despite the fact they are two games behind Dignitas, Curse gets the nod in this spot with the free fall Dignitas are currently in.
-Matt


6) Dignitas (12-12) – While Dignitas does hold the better record over Curse,  they are another bizarre team that holds winning records over top teams such as LMQ and TSM. At the same time, Dignitas is also 1-3 vs Complexity and 1-2 vs Curse. Dignitas opened the Summer Split with a stunning 7-2 record into Week Five. Since then, Dignitas hasn't had a positive win record from any week. Even though they have two games on Curse, by going 1-5 in the past 3 weeks of the LCS, Team Dignitas falls down to our sixth spot.
-Ethan

7) Evil Geniuses (7-17) – EG had a rough super week back in Week Seven when they went 0-4. But since then they have played to the tune of a .500 record, winning three out of their past six games and beating Curse twice and CLG once. EG also seems to be the team who lose more heartbreaking games than anybody else (Curse might argue that point though), often giving some of the top tier teams all that they can handle. More often than not, it seems that Altec is the catalyst for this team, especially if he gets his hands on Twitch or Tristana. It will be interesting to see how the Evil Geniuses finish the season as they draw both Cloud 9 and LMQ this week.
-Matt


8) compLexity (8-16) – Now that we have reached the bottom of our rankings, it’s hard for fans to not expect compLexity to sit at the eighth spot. The difficult decision of whether coL or EG should be at the bottom was decided by the potential that EG shows against top-tiered teams, compared to what compLexity has to show. The only glimpse of light that compLexity has shown this season is the winning record they have over Cloud 9, although one of these wins was coming out of a Super Week when it's easier to snipe a top tier team. In the past six games, compLexity is 2-4, and they haven’t had a winning week at all this split. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Evil Geniuses this week, as they could potentially can finish the season off with a draw.
-Ethan


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Do Transfers Create an Identity Crisis?



by Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos

We've begun to see an increase in international transfers and signings between the pro teams which is something we all should have come to expect with so many different teams and leagues. The most noticeable trend at this moment is the movement of Korean players to leagues across the world. In recent times, we've seen Seraph move to CLG, MakNooN, Winged, SuNo, Lactea and Olleh move to Brazil and Helios may be the latest addition to Evil Geniuses.

A rising concern is the identity crisis that could occur from teams heavily populated by other regions performing at international events. Fans will obviously want to cheer for their nation’s talent at international events the same way it is in events like the World Cup for football/soccer. Inevitably the mixture of Korean players, Chinese players and European players in the NA LCS basically voids the discussion on “which region is better” as relative nations could claim that “Bjergsen is still Danish” (as Deficio often likes to reminds us). But what we really need to do is accept that once you enter a different league, you represent that league no matter what your background is. Each region should still be represented in the majority by their own players, but there shouldn't be a hostility towards transfers from other regions.

I believe that true integration between teams worldwide will help to create a healthy international community within the LoL pro scene and will gradually help to make each league more exciting and diverse. The NA scene on a whole has benefited immensely in terms of popularity and competition since the introduction of key European players, LMQ, and Seraph from Korea. Competition is fiercer and this overall provides a better experience for the viewers as well as the players who work harder to produce upsets and exciting brawls. With more international representation across the leagues the community will find more incentive to watch leagues aside from their own. I myself have found more reason to watch the NA scene since the movement of Evil Geniuses and I’m sure that LMQ have Chinese fans that watch their NA LCS games in the same regard.

There is however a risk of domino effect that comes along with an expanding transfer market in that when one team invests in the aid of a Korean player, others will gradually do the same in order to keep up. In a professional scene like LoL’s where stability is essential for players, the last thing they need is the threat in the back of their mind that they may be eventually axed in favour of an international alternative. Perhaps stability of job is a main reason why we've seen an increase in movement of Korean players abroad as the scene in Korea is very fast paced and demanding. There is much less room for error, let alone continuous error, and under-performers are almost certainly dropped in favour of fresh hungrier blood.

There is a fine balance that needs to be considered with the LCS when it comes to transfers - the balance between stability and over-complacency. To create a stable environment, teams shouldn't really encourage dropping players midway through a split, as this harms both the team and the players. Evidence of this would be Selfie and KottenX for the Supa Hot Crew and Millenium, who needed time to grow into their new teams and develop into the crucial players they are now. Players should be entitled to play the whole split they are contracted for, or at least be rotated out for the substitutes that exist within the team already rather than axing them for someone new completely. Otherwise, what’s the point of having those subs in the first place? Rotating and battling for your spot on a team with a sub provides incentive to improve and develop as it did with EG in summer split of EU and certainly gave Snoopeh a new lease on life in terms of his performance when he was re-introduced into the starting line-up. I know if I was a player knowing that somewhere on Reddit there was a huge thread discussing my “replacement,” my performance would suffer. But what’s also important is knowing when a certain team structure just isn't working. Gambit’s failure to see this is partially what has led to their gradual season by season decay while Froggen’s realization lead to the new super team that is Alliance.

As long as players can find stability within their teams, and not every problem is solved by bringing in a Korean player, transfers should never be a problem for the LoL pro scene.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

NA LCS PREVIEW : Week Two


Written by Hussain Moosvi

At the end of a fantastic Super Week in the NA LCS, the results have left a bigger question mark on roster changes than before the split started. The hope was that Week One would show the impact of those changes, but the only immediate difference was seen in Team Dignitas. With the jury still out on the others, and Week Two having an incredibly competitive schedule, fans hope to have some of their questions answered in what is sure to be a memorable week in the 2014 Summer Split.

DAY 1



Counter Logic Gaming (2-2) vs Team SoloMid (3-1)

The day starts off with one of the best rivalries in League of Legends. CLG had a decent Week One with the addition of Seraph and they show promise for the rest of the split. There were good signs for fans in the form of CLG's early game, which only lost to C9, and the rush hour bot lane looked as solid as ever. Link seems to have improved his laning phase quite a bit, and has shown that his trip to All-Stars was well worth it. With that said, CLG's shot calling had some glaring mistakes and it is clear that Seraph is not up to par with the other high tier top laners in terms of his understanding of the current meta. This was touted as a problem by CLG's coach, MonteCristo, and should not be a concern for CLG fans moving forward, as Seraph will only be improving from here.

TSM had a good week with their only loss to Cloud 9, but it is important to note that they had a fairly easy schedule. EG and Complexity are by far the weakest teams in the split right now, and if TSM wants to compete with the better teams they need to improve their vision control and early game rotations around the map. Amazing had a strong showing in Week One with a 10.2 KDA, while Gleeb showed potential, but against some relatively weaker bot lanes. This game will be key in scouting the strength of the TSM bot lane against arguably the best bot lane in NA. It will also give a good idea of where each team stands, with TSM finally facing a higher caliber team and CLG's two wins being against weaker teams in EG and Curse.

All that aside, TSM vs CLG matches are always instant classics. Make sure you're strapped into your seat to witness what is undoubtedly going to be an explosive match.



compLexity (1-3) vs Evil Geniuses (0-4)

compLexity and Evil Geniuses looked way out of their depth in all their matches. EG's performance made it clear that they had a lot of work to do with their new roster, and despite compLexity's huge upset win over Cloud 9, they looked lost in all their other games. This is expected of compLexity as they're coming into the strongest collection of teams the NA LCS has ever had, and with their constant "need to improve" attitude, compLexity looks to learn as much as they can from this split. EG showed a few moments of good play in mostly bad rotational decision making (Baron for Nexus is worth, right?), but that is to be expected from a team with a new player and their previous split record. EG knows that they need to make changes to improve their form and with the competitive nature of this split, they are bound to improve.

One important thing to note is that compLexity will be fielding a new mid laner in mancloud while pr0lly deals with some family obligations for this week. Despite EG's problems, this should give them a heavy advantage and it will be up to mancloud to fill some very vocal shoes in pr0lly's position. mancloud is a player with a lot of experience and an immense amount of skill, and while the change does make EG the favorites, a surprise upset from compLexity is not out of the question. Keep an eye out for the mancloud vs Pobelter match-up as it will be crucial in deciding the winner of this match.



LMQ (4-0) vs Team Dignitas (3-1)

The second highlight of the week, this match-up is going to be crucial in determining the true strength of the Dignitas roster with their new support staff. LMQ has looked dominant, especially with XiaoWeiXiao's CS numbers in every game. Vasilii seemed like a hit or miss player coming into the week with his aggressive style, but his 17.7 KDA says everything about his skill. Individually, LMQ have looked near perfect across the board. While DIG's solo lanes have been heavily upgraded and look formidable so far, it is going to be up to the "kiwipie" lane to withstand the threat that is Vasilii.

Despite LMQ's dominant performances, their shot calling at times has looked a bit shaky. It will be very hard for DIG to individually outplay their opponents in this match-up and they'll have to look at outplaying LMQ around the map. With shaky shot calling against compLexity and dominant shot calling against Cloud 9, this aspect of DIG is still up in the air. The key match-up in this game will be Shiphtur against XiaoWeiXiao. Shiphtur has looked incredibly good in DIG but has fallen behind in his CS during laning phase in every game so far. This is because of various factors and so far hasn't been too big of a concern, but against a player like XiaoWeiXiao, Shiphtur's performance is the key to a Dignitas victory. With LMQ's team aggression meeting Crumbzz's early game aggression, the first fifteen minutes of this game should be explosive and will likely decide the winner.

This is a key game during Day 1 as it sets up our expectations for both teams going forward into their equally tough Day 2 schedules. Have your popcorn ready before this starts because you won't want to miss a single second.



Cloud 9 (2-2) vs Curse (1-3)

Our last match-up of the day features two teams that have confused the minds of most fans. On one hand, we have Cloud 9, one of the most dominant teams in the history of the NA LCS. Two time consecutive NA split champions, Cloud 9 were expected to show up insanely strong at the start of this split. The losses that occurred were a huge shock to every viewer watching. A lot of fans are worried that this might be the beginning of the downfall for Cloud 9 but it is important to remember that the team was playing with barely any practice with their primary shot caller, Hai, and Cloud 9 has always recovered from losses with a vengeance. Despite their initial stumble, Cloud 9 are still the heavy favorite in this match and will most likely show the world their true strength as a team. Hai is a passionate player and doesn't take losses lightly. He'll be coming into this with something to prove.

Curse has had a very strange time so far. In all of their games, Curse looked just a tiny bit away from winning their games and the consistency with which they managed this feat is a troubling issue. Curse lost their early game in the majority of last week's matches but still gave their opponents a solid fight through good picks. They also scored a victory over Team Dignitas, who had beaten Cloud 9. The scary part about Curse games is that the issues for the team to fix aren't as blatantly obvious as some other teams. Curse plays a good game, but never a great game. Their early game needs to improve and their mid/late game, while good, could be better. Curse has been constantly improving since Spring Split, and if that trend keeps up, then this match will be a very good game to watch for the sheer rotational outplays that are bound to occur.


Cloud 9 wants vengeance for their losses, and Curse wants to desperately prove that they belong among the top teams in NA. Both teams are thirsty for a win, and because of that, be ready for a fantastic match to end off Day 1 of the second week of the NA LCS. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NA Summer Split Preview:

Things are HEATING UP in the NA LCS!

by Pieter "antdriote" Cnudde

All-Stars is over and Korea still owns us all. But how did this off-season really affect the NA LCS scene? Many teams have made significant adjustments and this is my breakdown of all the teams and how beneficial those changes should be for them.

-Cloud 9: 1st Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Even without Hai, they had a good run at All-Stars. They've been the best team in NA for two splits in a row and they are the only LCS team that has stuck with their line-up. C9 works great together and every role has accomplished players. Balls was a big carry during All-Stars, the bot lane held their own, and Meteos is still praised by junglers worldwide. While Hai couldn't show his skill against Faker or the other mid laners at All-Stars, he's eager to play with the team again and prepare for worlds.

They come out of the off-season with all the benefits: no roster swaps, excellent synergy and good international experience from All-Stars. They are the smartest tactical team in NA and probably have learned a thing or two from playing SKT T1 K. The only thing that could hold them back would be Hai’s health.

Prediction: First place -  99% sure for both playoffs and regular season.

-Counter Logic Gaming: 3rd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Top laner Nien voluntarily left CLG after folding to fan criticism following his weak performance during the playoffs. CLG immediately started searching for a suitable replacement. Shin "Seraph" Woo Yeong presented himself to CLG’s coach and he is now living in the CLG gaming house to see if he can work with the team. A substitute for Najin White Shield in OGN, the mechanically-sound Seraph has been wrecking NA solo queue since the day he arrived in LA, playing a wide variety of champions from meta picks like Renekton and Shyvana to less orthodox picks like Lissandra and Yasuo. His English is good enough for in-game communication and he has a great work attitude. Little LAN experience is his only downfall. (He's played just one OGN game in his life.) Only the future will tell how strong the "shinergie" will be with his team.

Doublelift and Link should bring fresh All-Stars' insight on Cloud 9 and the international teams. CLG might struggle a bit in the beginning of the season (a new player always takes time to adapt,) but Seraph really wants this and he'll work hard to help them become a great team.

Prediction: Top 2 or 3 at least and might upset C9 in the playoffs.

-Team SoloMid: 2nd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Sadly, the General stepped down, replaced by MVP jungler, Amazing, from the Copenhagen Wolves. Amazing has shown brilliance in the EU LCS and ended the split with the highest KDA and total gold for a jungler. Nervous TSM fans will point out that the team picked him up without trying him first, but Regi has never made a bad roster choice in the past. Mechanically, Amazing is definitely an upgrade for TSM. TheOddOne lived his glory days. He had issues adjusting to the new jungle and his pressure and duel skills were probably the worst in the league.

The departure of Xpecial was a big surprise. At first benched for his attitude, Reggie then traded him to Curse. Now Gleeb, former support player for Cloud 9 Tempest, is taking up the role. I don’t feel Gleeb is an upgrade for TSM. He is a challenger support with little experience at the top level and TSM lost a good shot-caller in Xpecial. However, he could bring some new life to the team.

This is the first time TSM has replaced two players at once, so it might take time for them to get back into form. They are a strong team that, with even poor shot-calling, could still beat most of the lower LCS teams.

Predictions: Top 4 in regular split, will try and compete for worlds. Can only go super wrong if the new players don’t fit with the team and more swaps or time is needed.

-Dignitas: 4th Place in the regular split and 5th in playoffs.

Dignitas narrowly escaped relegations by beating Coast in the playoffs with the aid of retired player, Scarra (who is now their coach). The team received an upgrade in mechanics with Zionspartan and Shiphtur, but neither player brings much by way of shot-calling ability or insight. Strategy-wise, Dig is still a very low tier team. As a coach, Scarra will try to fix many of these issues so they can contend for a top slot again. Dig now has three strong lanes, but they need to have a good transition into the mid game and fix their shot-calling issues. I don’t feel they will grow insanely this split, but they can work towards the next split and make life hard for most teams.

Predictions: Around 3-6  in regular and semis in playoffs.

-Curse: 5th Place in the regular split and 4th in playoffs.

Pleased after ending fourth, Curse didn't seem to look for a roster swap until they saw the opportunity to pick up Xpecial as their new support. Xpecial seems like an advantage for the Curse line-up:  a decent shot-caller and top NA support to help Cop realize his full potential.Curse has always shown great early strategies and fighting ability, but they look like a group of kids playing the game for the first time when they go past the 20 minute mark. Hopefully some coaching and the addition of Xpecial's voice will help Curse become stronger in the upcoming split. Both Curse and Dig have made mechanical upgrades, but their core issues are still there, so they are pretty even to each other. Curse will have problems in their solo lanes, though, in the head-to-head games.

Prediction: Around 3-6 in regular and maybe semis in playoffs.

-Evil Geniuses: 7th Place in regular split.

The only team that didn't get relegated during the promotions tournament. They haven’t announced any official roster swaps but are supposedly doing some try-outs. EG will need to improve a lot in their laning and skirmishes. They are tactically not the worst team in NA, but they fall too far behind in gold to fight for the objectives they want to take.

Innox has a small champion pool with almost no meta picks. He might become more relevant now that the tank meta top is shifting a bit. Pobelter seems to be godlike, but only on rare occasions. When he finishes high school in June, he should be able to work on his consistency and perhaps live up to the hype that surrounded him earlier in the season. Help will still be needed for Snoopeh and Yellowpete, who don’t seem to be able to handle the competition in their respective roles. The try-outs might help EG a bit, but if they just get outplayed mechanically, it will be hard for them to win a lot of games. I’m fearing for the boys in blue - but there's always hope.

Prediction: 6-8 (and probably relegations again).

-LMQ (aka Chinese overly-hyped train)

Yes, LMQ swept the challenger scene. No, they won’t just come in and win NA LCS. You put any LCS team in challenger and they will also dominate the scene (eg. Coast in NACL) but that doesn't mean they would be tops in the LCS. LMQ is created from a secondary Chinese team that has great mechanical players (like most Chinese teams) but they lack any strategy and seem to experience a lot of LAN nerves.

LMQ will make every game hard for the bottom teams because they mechanically outclass them. They can win the solo queue way - stomping lanes and having better team fights. But the smart teams can just avoid the fights they don’t want and play safe or use lane-swapping to diminish the early lane bullying from the Chinese team. C9 showed at IEM and All-Stars that Chinese teams can be beaten and this team is much weaker than WE and OMG. I don’t see the team picking up an analyst or coach anytime soon, so they will probably be a Chinese TSM - strong lanes, good fights, but poor decision making. We’ll see how far they can make it in the split against the growing NA scene.

Predictions:  3-5 in regular and semis in playoffs.

-compLexity

The third-seeded challenger team may have beaten Coast, but they don’t look any better than them. Westrice had great issues against Zion and it seems only PR0LLY is really at a decent level to compete in the LCS. They are just a challenger team that will soon realize their solo queue mentality alone won’t make them a successful team in the LCS.

Predictions : 7-8 (At this point, I don’t see a way that Complexity can avoid relegation.)

The first Superweek will give us a better view how the teams look with their new rosters. The teams that ended the LCS with the same rosters they have now will have a great advantage going into playoffs and should be the highest seeded teams.

Thanks for reading my NA LCS preview. Thoughts or comments? Leave them below or tweet me @antdrioite

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Link at All-Stars : The Unseen Threat


By Jeremy Heimann and Jodi McClure

Counter Logic Gaming's Link has a lot in common with a Teemo mushroom. Quiet and very low-key compared to his larger-than-life teammates, the young mid-laner can sometimes be invisible to LCS fans, but ignoring him on the playing field is deadly. He'll explode on you if you're not paying attention, and even though he's small in stature, this mechanically-sound eighteen-year-old can pack a lot of punch. Similar to Hai, (the recovering Cloud 9 player he'll be replacing at All-Stars,) Link has a large champion pool to draw on and heavily favors current meta bullies like Lulu and LeBlanc. And like Hai, he's familiar with a team that likes rotations. Plus, like Hai, Link excels at late-game shot calling. In fact, he's practically the ideal made-to-order player for those mid-less white-hoodie-wearing gangstas.

For both parties, the temporary trade appears to be an excellent deal. Cloud 9 gets a competent replacement and CLG gets an interesting look inside the enemy camp. Besides gaining experience on the international stage, the understated Link will have a chance to infiltrate Cloud 9's mind and maybe steal a glimpse at the sacred pages of LemonNation's notebook (and copy them with a pen camera, if he's got any James Bond in him at all.)

Call it a sweet but smart move by CLG, who won't be getting much practice in anyways with Doubleleft away at All-Stars. No downside, huge upside, and great exposure for the unusually wraith-like Link, who's only been growing in confidence since earning a spot on CLG's starting line-up. He'll go to All-Stars. He'll blend in. And he'll do for Cloud 9 what he does best - silently playing the ghost in the machine while his cyborg mind absorbs everything. And then he'll bring it all back to his team. C'est la vie, C9!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Potential Replacements for Nien:


By Joshua Kon 

#1. Link moves to top, Shiphtur becomes new mid for CLG - this is the one option that will have CLG fans drooling, as Shiphtur (at some points in this split) has shown he is the best mid NA.

#2. IkennyU - from the Blue Caster Minions that won the Riot Collegiate Championships from UW.  A top challenger rank and no real team, he may find his way to CLG.

#3. ZionSpartan - a strong top laner from Coast, he may be offered the position.

#4. Innox - if EG loses to C9 Tempest, you may see Innox be offered a position from CLG.

#5. Ackerman - this is a potentially a great pick up if XDG pulls off a miracle off against LMQ! Doubtful, but if not on an LCS roster after this weekend, the opening with CLG may fit perfectly for the top laner from Royal Club's 2nd place team.

#6. Maknoon - way out in left field - he has been streaming non stop and could easily make a transition to a good CLG team. Very doubtful though!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NA LCS Playoff Predictions


NA LCS Playoff Predictions by antdrioite.

I’ll try and explain why I believe each team will win. Note that I add percentages to some matches. I believe those have more chance for an upset.

1.  Quarterfinals

CLG – Coast H2H (4-0) Expectations (2-0)

Even when CLG didn’t have Dexter on the team they had no problems with Team Coast. CLG has shown they can adapt quickly to new patches and clearly have a better mid/late game than Coast. If ZionSpartan or Shiphtur don’t get too big in the early game, CLG will just walk over them with good rotations and objective control. Dexter just has to control the pace of the game, and lane swapping can lessen the impact Zion has early in the game. Link can definitely handle himself against Shiphtur and the rush hour botlane has not shown fear of to many other botlanes. If both teams get evenly strong team comps then CLG should have no problems closing out the series in two quick games.

Dignitas – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 60-40%

Curse has been in a weak spot the last couple of weeks and will need to prove themselves during the playoffs. A win against CLG (who were obviously not taking the game seriously and had problems with the Shen bug) doesn’t convince me that Curse is back. Even though Curse has a lead in the head to head, Dig won the last game and has shown much improvement since Scarra stepped down as mid and became the full-time coach of Dignitas. Both teams have some unorthodox picks and might surprise each other with that, but Dig has shown that they can adapt quickly. Curse could definitely take a game off Dignitas with some strong picks or early snowballing but Dig shouldn't be surprised twice and I give them a good chance of winning the series 2-1 or even 2-0. Curse can’t be underestimated and will definitely show a good match, I give them a 40% chance of actually making an upset and winning the series but I do not expect them to actually win it.

2.  Semifinals

TSM – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (1-2) 35-65%

Fans will hate me for this but I just think TSM is a bit weaker these days. They also admitted to having problems adjusting to new patches. With patch 4.5 being such a big one, CLG will have a clear advantage in that point. TSM got a few blows during Super Week, losing to last place XDG and getting (sorry for my words) crushed by C9. CLG had a much better game against C9 and were on a mission the last day of Super Week. CLG has admitted that TSM is a strong (maybe even stronger) opponent, and much will be decided in the pick and ban phase. TSM can choose which side they start on, so they have a small edge in that if they want to counterpick mid twice or just have the strong first pick jungle/adc. TSM wins most of their games by having strong lanes and forcing team fights in the mid game so they can take an objective after they win that fight.
     Dexter is a bit stronger in the jungle than OddOne. If CLG can have even lane match-ups, they should have the edge transitioning into the mid/late game. They have stronger rotations and are clearly better in lane swapping. If Bjergsen and Dyrus don’t get too big, Dexter should be able to control the pace of the game until his team's rotations help them close out the game. Much will be decided in the botlane since both botlanes have shown they can carry the game. Wildturtle’s Twitch can’t be underestimated and neither supports should be given Thresh for free. Dyrus might not be the shining star of TSM, but he's been their rock for a long time and will have to be at his best if TSM wants a chance to win this series. I believe CLG can win this series 2-1, but TSM will not just roll over and die. I do fear their slow adjustments to new patches and worse objective control/jungle early will cost them. Whatever the outcome may be, this should be one hell of a series to watch for all the fans.

Cloud 9 – Dignitas H2H (3-1) Expectations (2-0)

Cloud 9 has been on fire. They evened their win streak record and after being in TSM’s shadow for most of the split, they want to show they are still the number one team in NA. Dignitas beat them once in the start of the split but these aren’t the same teams anymore. C9’s rotations are almost perfect and even if the lanes falter, Meteos can step up and solo the game.  
     Dignitas will not surprise Cloud 9 with special picks. All lanes are solid and if one gets behind, the rest will step up to carry the game. Dignitas fans might hope on a miracle but a focused C9 is almost unbeatable. Dropping only seven games in two splits and ending number one in both those splits tells enough, in my opinion. The team also has the biggest KDA and much better synergy than the new Dignitas with Goldenglue. This will probably be the most one-sided series of the playoffs and is mostly just preparation for C9 to win the playoffs. Dignitas should just try and show they can perform and take lessons for the third place match against TSM.

3.  5th and 3rd place match.

Coast – Curse H2H (1-3) Expectations (2-1) 50-50%

Both teams are at the bottom of the table and have problems being consistent. Coast has shown some improvement in the last few weeks and I always have the feeling they can win the game they are playing. Like Scarra said, up until they lose the game, they're winning. Shiphtur and Zion are incredible sololaners and show time and again that they can take control of a game. But winning is a team effort and league is a five man game, so the rest of Coast will need to step up to help get themselves out of relegations.
     Curse shows some life now and then but they lack consistency and a solid plan when going into pick and ban phase. If Coast can pick up LeBlanc or Nidalee for Shiphtur, then Curse will have a lot of problems dealing with both him and the always strong Zionspartan in the top lane. I feel those two might be just enough for Coast and they can avoid relegations if the rest of the team just doesn’t fall behind in this match. Curse has the advantage in the head to head standings and might take that to the playoffs but will not have it easy. I believe both teams are evenly matched but Coast will take the series on the backs of Shiphtur and mostly Zionspartan.

Dignitas – TSM H2H (0-4) Expectations (0-2) 30-70%

TSM will be hungry for the victory after their most likely close loss to CLG and will not give Dignitas an easy time. The head to head record shows that TSM have had no problems with Dignitas this split and I think that will continue into the playoffs. Bjergsen will have little issues with Goldenglue and the superior laning should give TSM the match quite convincingly. Dignitas should definitely show some strength after their games against C9, but I believe TSM will win this match without many issues.

4.  The Finals

Cloud 9 – CLG H2H (3-1) Expectations (3-1) 60-40%

Cloud 9 proved to be the superior team in their last two meetings with CLG and, with near flawless rotations, they deserve the number one seed they earned this split. But they showed some weakness in their last game against Coast, and CLG will exploit any weakness that they can find. The pick and ban phase of every game will be very important for the outcome of the match. Both Cloud 9 and CLG have great rotations and the small skirmishes around objectives like dragon will probably decide the outcome of every game.
Dexter and Meteos will watch each other, and the team that wins the jungle battle will most likely come out victorious. If their latest match in Super Week was a taste, then this will definitely be the best series of the weekend. I expect both teams to show everything they have, but C9 will have a clear edge because they are the older and a more consistent team. Dexter has made big impacts for CLG and they will keep growing, but C9 has proven and should prove that they are still the number one team in NA.

5.  Persons to watch

Zionspartan is the strongest player from Coast and is also their voice. If the team gets into late game, he will be the man that gives the commands and will lead Coast to victory. Not just through skill but through leadership. If he has a good game and the team doesn’t fall behind, anything can happen for Coast.

Bjergsen is maybe new to the shot caller role but he'll need to be at the top of his game if TSM wants to end in the top three and maybe even win the playoffs. TSM is solid and will fight for every game, and Bjergsen will definitely not be easy on his opponents. Watch out for TSM when they get to the midgame with a good teamfighting comp or with Bjergsen on LeBlanc in a strong pickcomp. Even his Syndra should spread fear to his opponents and not to be underestimated. TSM won’t win or break with Bjergsen but he will have a big part in their victory.

Meteos and Dexter: Both junglers help their team immensely during the early game and their control around dragons and buffs will determine the success of their matches. Both junglers should be feared, but note that without their team they can be punished for aggressive behavior. Meteos might opt more to farm and Dexter to roam but if they get a small lead, they will be aggressive and dominating throughout every game.


These are my predictions for the NA LCS playoffs. Whatever you might believe or agree too, just support your team and enjoy the matches. They should be amazing!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

LCS Central Team Rankings Week 11



LCS Team Rankings : Week 11 : by Joshua Kon 

1. Cloud 9 - Last week, C9 went 2-0 in the NA LCS, destroying Curse and Dignitas. They have the toughest Superweek in NA facing both CLG and TSM, the powers of NA LCS.

2. Team Solo Mid - Despite a loss to CLG this weekend, TSM still looks strong and ready as ever to take the #1 seed and push to represent NA in the All Stars event!

3. Alliance - The hottest team in EU is finally living up to their potential. After a terrible start Alliance now finds themselves on top of a very tight race for the #1 seed in EU LCS.

4. Fnatic - Still hot from their 2nd place finish at IEM, Fnatic also finds themselves tied for first in Europe after a nightmare middle part of the split.

5. Counter Logic Gaming - Looking for another five game winning streak, CLG is coming off hot wins against XDG and TSM. Since Dexter has been in the roster, CLG has only three losses, two to TSM and one to C9. They look to beat C9 this week and maybe steal the #2 seed.

6. SK Gaming - They held First Place for a little while but now they have a chance to take their new roster and end a Split with the #1 seed in EU.

7. Gambit Gaming - Edward made some flashy plays on Thresh last week but Gambit needs to be careful this week as they face one of the toughest schedules in EU. If they don't win against CW on Tuesday they might find themselves fighting in Relegation much like NIP earlier this year.

8. Roccat - They are the roller coaster team in EU. Along with Gambit I personally feel Roccat has a much higher ceiling than what they have shown. They too need to be careful not to have a bad Superweek and find themselves on the outside looking in.

9. Copenhagen Wolves - The Wolves had  a strong Week 10 and may be a spoiler to some teams ahead of them. They have the potential to knock off anyone and they'll have to do some of that if they don't want SHC taking over their 6th seed.

10. Super Hot Crew - This is the bracket busting team in the EU LCS. Skill wise, I feel they are a bottom 2 team but they have very good chemistry and have proven with their strategies they can beat anyone fast. Look for the CW vs SHC match on Thursday to decide if they make the playoffs or if they are busted!

11. Dignitas - The Scarra era is over but a win against EG gave Dig fans hope. I personally was impressed with Goldenglue's performance on Lux after giving up first blood!

12. Curse Gaming - Playing the two top teams in NA really pushed Curse down but being up on TSM early shows the potential these guys have. A few misplays and some dodge spear practice and who knows what this Curse team could of done vs TSM.

13. Millenium - At the bottom of the EU LCS, Millenium maybe enjoying their final week in Cologne but their new Jungler looked strong and confident in his ability to be a shotcaller in the future.

14. Coast - If there would ever be a possible free agent/trade system in the LCS then two at the top of everyone's list would be ZionSpartan and Shiptur. These two could really be the missing pieces of Curse and Dignitas but can't succeed on Coast because of the weak cast around them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

NA LCS W10D2 Sun, March 30th

Today's Matches: 

1. Counter Logic Gaming vs XDG
2. Curse vs Team SoloMid
3. Cloud 9 HyperX vs Team Dignitas
4. Evil Geniuses vs Team Coast


C9 have tied TSM for first place. Can they steal it away? 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

NA LCS W9D2 Sun, Mar. 23rd

Today's Matches: 

1. Team SoloMid vs Team Dignitas
2. Team Coast vs counter Logic Gaming
3. XDG vs Curse
4. Cloud 9 HyperX vs Evil Geniuses

TSM and C9 continue their neck and neck battle for first place in the NA LCS.


Meteos...Streamlined...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

NA LCS W9D1 Saturday, Mar. 22nd

Today's Matches: 

1. Team SoloMid vs XDG
2. Curse vs Team Dignitas
3. Team Coast vs Cloud 9 HyperX
4. Evil Geniuses vs Counter Logic Gaming

Hello LCS friends! So...Let us call this what it is: A day full of underdogs getting a crack at upsets. There could be some stunning victories. There could be some complete annihilations. There could be some really bad puns. In fact, I'm sure of that last part. But the most important thing is, after a week of seeing no one but C9 at IEM...we're ready for some hardcore NA action!!



Thursday, March 6, 2014

NA LCS W8D1 Fri, March 7 SUPER WEEK

Today's Matches : 

1. Evil Geniuses vs Cloud 9 HyperX
2. Team Coast vs Team SoloMid
3. Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Dignitas
4. Curse vs XDG
5. Team Coast vs Team Dignitas

Ready for an exciting weekend of great LCS action, NA Fans? :)


Sunday, March 2, 2014

NA LCS W7D2 Sun, March 2

Today's Matches:

1. Cloud 9 HyperX vs Team SoloMid
2. Evil Geniuses vs Dignitas
3. XDG vs Counter Logic Gaming
4. Curse vs Team Coast

The C9 / TSM game is definitely the headliner...but I'm also curious to see if XDG and Coast can continue their winning streaks. You realize...it's possible XDG could end this day NOT in last place...because they are now getting SheePR! Will CLG get fleeced? :P
                                         

After ewe...



Saturday, March 1, 2014

NA LCS W7D1 Sat, March 1

Today's Matches: 

1. XDG vs Cloud 9 HyperX  
2. Counter Logic Gaming vs Curse 
3. Team Dignitas vs Team SoloMid 
4. Team Coast vs Evil Geniuses  

There's no reason to suspect the 3-11 XDG won't continue to hemorrhage in their match vs the far superior C9, and a C9 win will put a bit more heat on TSM to win their match vs Dignitas. A TSM win will also be good for CLG, who are trying to hold on to their third place spot.Their match vs Curse is somewhat of a toss-up - CLG have the stronger record but Curse has posted near identical stats to them in terms of KDA and gold gains. For the fourth game, I believe Evil Geniuses will ride their two game winning streak to a victory vs Coast, but I don't believe ZionSpartan and the boys will make it easy for them.


 Also...I do think ZionSpartan will shut down Innox top..so there's that.. :P