Armada Secures His Place in History Winning Genesis 4

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/VGbootcamp

Adam “Armada” Lindgren cemented his spot in history, winning his third Genesis title. The win came over Joseph “Mango” Marquez, making it three wins in a row in a Genesis Grand Final for Armada. Armada’s run of dominance continues as he narrowly edges out Mango in the winner’s bracket and follows it up with one of his strongest finals performances ever.

Mango and Armada were destined from the start to meet again in Grand Finals. In four Genesis tournaments, no other players have made Grand Finals. It took Armada squeezing by Johnny “S2J” Kim in top 64 to even stay in winner’s bracket, and then avoiding losing 3-1 to Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman in winner’s finals. At the same time, Mango had one of the more difficult losers bracket runs to make this rematch possible.

After falling 3-1 to Armada, Mango went straight into a loser’s bracket match with William “Leffen” Hjelte, who fell into losers before top 8. In a rather sub-par top 8, Leffen vs. Mango stands out as a must-watch match. The intensity and stakes of this moment added the extra pressure, and made for a wild set. Mango took the 3-2 victory, but that’s after falling behind 2-1 in games, and even down in stocks on both games four and five. It was a set that will be remembered.

Genesis is known for its memorable moments. Mostly because of the rivalry between Mango and Armada that started at Genesis back in 2009. Four Genesis’s and still no other player has broken into the top-two. M2K had the best chance to break up the streak at G4, when he was up a stock on game four, up 2-1. But in the end, Mango and Armada found themselves facing off in Grand Finals.

The finals matchup that seemed as if destiny had intervened, felt lackluster in the end. Armada thoroughly dominated Mango, beating him in less than nine minutes, with a three-stock victory on game three. Armada went 6-1 overall against Mango, and a staggering 4-0 on Yoshi Island, which was Mango’s primary counter-pick.

Mango seemed to have used up all his mental fortitude just getting back to Grand Finals and wasn’t mentally prepared for the robot that is Armada’s punish heavy Peach. It was a showing of Armada’s consistency and mental strength, as even when he’s down 2-0 to S2J or losing to M2K, he never plays like he’s out of it. He always sticks to the game plan.

Here are the final results at Genesis 4:

1.Alliance Armada (Peach/Fox)

2. C9 Mango (Fox/Falco)

3. Echo Fox M2K (Marth/Sheik)

T5. Liquid Hungrybox (Jigglypuff)

T5. Panda Global Plup (Sheik)

T7. Tempo Storm Axe (Pikachu)

T7. G2 Westballz (Falco)

 

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Weaponizing Emotes Without BM

With no way to directly talk to the random foes you face on Ladder, there is only one way to communicate: the Emote system. These short six words or phrases may seem innocuous at first, but they have quickly developed into their own language; each one dripping with implied salt or sneer. Hearthstone is a game of information and bluffing, as well as identifying the mathematically optimal play. By utilizing the hidden meanings of emotes, you can steal wins from losing situations by exploiting your opponent’s hubris or paranoia; as long as you weren’t squelched in the process!

Thanks

What it means: “Thanks” is perhaps the most straightforward emote. Ostensibly expressing gratitude, it’s usually to taunt an opponent after they play right into your hand. They overextend into AOE? Thanks can hammer home their error as you flamestrike. They assume you don’t have Reno and set up two turn lethal? Thanks makes the “We’re gonna be rich!” that much sweeter.

How to exploit it: Outside of simple BM (Bad Manners), Thanks, like “My Greetings,” is a surefire way to express confidence, arrogance, and make your opponent unsure about their play. When your opponent emotes Thanks, they are usually trying to tilt you by highlighting the way you played into their hand. The best counter is to figure out exactly why your opponent is so smug and use it against them.

A classic way to utilize it yourself is after a Druid Mulches one of your minions. Emoting Thanks might make them think you got a spectacular random minion in return. This can lead them to hold back removal for no good reason. Another example is if your opponent gives you draws off your Acolyte of Pain in an effort to fatigue you. “Thanks” can encourage them to believe that they are helping out your game plan, implying you have a combo finisher or something that they will try and play around, when in fact you have none. Or they may just attempt to prevent future draws. On the flip side, when they draw voluntarily, emoting “Thanks” can imply you’re intending to fatigue them. They may then be unprepared for your unexpected burst or value-based combo. More traditionally, bluffing AOE by thanking them for each additional minion played can prevent them from giving you a board too big to deal with.

Threaten

What it means: Despite its tone, Threaten is the most impotent of emotes. Usually used in a losing situation as a futile expression of semi-serious rage, it implies you have little else to do with your hand. Sometimes yelling about how your magic will tear them apart is the only response to their overwhelming board.

How to exploit it: Since its use is typically from a losing position, try using it to press your advantage. Play around their remaining outs, and assume that the cards left in their hand are overly situational, or outright useless.

Implying you have no response can be hard to bluff, but incredibly potent. Typically the way to use this emote is by acting as if you have no response to a minion or board, when in fact you are holding back your most powerful answer in the hope that they go all-in and get destroyed by your perfectly timed counterplay. As well as obvious interactions with AOE, consider using it with hard removal: if you trade your whole board into their Ragnaros Lightlord while using this emote, they will hardly expect the Entomb on their Warleader or Tirion the following turn.

This card isn’t Grommash: but “Well Played” makes my opponent think it is

Greetings

What it means: Outside of its traditional use at the start of the game, Greetings is the supreme expression of confidence. By far the most BM-worthy emote, Greetings is used to infuriate and provoke your opponent when you are sure they have no counter to your devastating play. It is used before lethal, but often also before simply powerful plays, like dropping Harrison Jones into Doomhammer, or Alexstrasza after a tempo Reno.

How to exploit it: If your opponent uses Greetings, they are likely becoming overconfident. Look for awkward or risky plays that might unseat them; perhaps offer them a “well played” to lull them into a false sense of security before aggressively pursuing a risky but rewarding line of play they may not have the answer for.

Using Greetings yourself makes your opponent overestimate your position. They might look for low percentage chances at lethal, or Hail-Mary plays from Discover or other types of cards. Typically it makes them play overly aggressively to try and win, despite your perceived advantage. It can also cause people to play overly defensively if they fear you have set up lethal. If you discover a card, then Greetings can make your opponent fear the worst (such as Coldarra Drake in Reno priest, or Sacrificial pact against a warlock that seeks to play Jaraxxus). It’s best used in combination with a card capable of punishing an overly aggressive play, like lifegain or a beefy taunt. It can also be a value play that can punish overly defensive action (depending on context).

Wow

What it means: Wow, at its most basic level, indicates mild surprise or shock. This is usually relating to in-game RNG; a particularly bad or good hand, or outcome from a random event are usually the most likely inspirations. This is most typically used after the player in question is on the receiving end of bad luck (though it can also be used in a conciliatory sense after good fortune).

How to exploit it: If your opponent emotes Wow without anything especially noteworthy happening on board, they are usually indicating frustration at their hand. Use this against them by playing to your deck’s strengths, and perpetuating the current advantageous situation.

Using it yourself can, like Threaten, imply your situation is weaker than it is, allowing you to goad them into overextending or making an incorrect read. For instance, passing turn one without comment might indicate you are a Control Warrior; but emoting Wow whilst mousing over certain cards before passing over the turn might make your opponent believe you are a frustrated Pirate Warrior with an unfortunate mulligan

Oops

What it means: Oops is either used sarcastically as BM, or sincerely in order to indicate recognition of a misplay. Occasionally it’s used for BM purposes, but otherwise is one of the most sincere emotes.

How to exploit it: Your opponent recognizing their screw-up makes this emote harder to exploit.

Things get more interesting when you use it yourself, however. For instance, seemingly incorrect plays that in fact disguise a higher-level strategy can be passed off as a misplay. For instance, you might deliberately leave yourself with one, rather than two, weapon durability as a Rogue. This plays around Harrison Jones, but you can pretend it was a mistake. This could perhaps lead your opponent to save Harrison for a turn you don’t play around it (that, of course, will never come). Or, if playing one of the few remaining Warrior decks that incorporate Battle Rage, then your lack of Hero Power whilst undamaged can be passed off as negligence, rather than seeking to encourage your opponent to damage your hero for a future extra draw.

Well Played

What it means: Well Played is sometimes used mid-game, either sincerely to acknowledge a good line or spot-on read, or sarcastically to shame an opponents misplay. However, the overwhelming majority of uses of Well Played occur right at the end of the game, when lethal is all but assured.

How to exploit it: Most of the time, your opponent emoting well played indicates resignation if losing, and acceptance of victory if winning. If they use it unexpectedly, it’s often wise to play defensively.

Well Played is perhaps the easiest way to bluff lethal in the game; opponents are often hardwired into panicking the second they hear it. This can push them to adopt sub-optimal and overly defensive lines of play to play around anticipated burst damage. A perfect way to do this would be against any Reno deck while they are at a low, but not dangerous life total. Forcing them to Reno early can allow you to squeeze in extra damage that you otherwise miss. It can also give you the breathing room to stick a powerful minion. A classic move is while playing against a low-health Jaraxxus. A Well Played can bait out taunts or healing. You can then nullify before you draw your true combo that will actually win you the game. Fear is arguably the most powerful emotion, and as such Well Played becomes the most powerful emote to bluff with.

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Symmetra Basics – Sassy Sentry Support

 

Photos Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Turret defense games. Most of us have played them. You place a turret and it kills things. Symmetra is no stranger to this mindset. Her rework makes her less reliant on specific situations, and much more capable of aiding her team, either offensively or defensively. Let’s take a look at her reworked abilities, and see how effective they can be.

Primary Weapon –  Photon Projector – 7 Meter Range.

Symmetra’s weapon pulses a short range beam which will attach to a nearby enemy, dealing damage over time. This little death beam has attachment issues. Dare I call it… clingy?

Ability 1 – Sentry Turret – 6 Charges, 10 Sec Recharge Rate.

Symmetra places a small sentry turret on walls, floors, ceilings, and many other objects. The turrets will automatically attack enemies within range. Any enemies hit will have their movement speed reduced temporarily. Symmetra can place up to 6 turrets at any time. Effectively placing your turrets can land some pretty sweet plays. It’s always fun deleting an enemy player with minimal effort.

 

Ability 2 – Photon Barrier – 10 second cooldown. 

Symmetra projects a floating, forward-moving barrier which absorbs a large amount of damage. The cooldown starts as soon as you use the ability. The range the shield will travel depends on whether or not anything is in its path.

 

Ultimate Ability 1 – Teleporter – 6 Charges – Health: 50, Shield: 350.

Symmetra places a teleporter down at her current location. The teleporter connects to another teleporter located in the teams spawn point. Players can use the teleporter near the spawn point to quickly return to battle. Be sure to place your teleporter strategically because it doesn’t take much damage to be destroyed.

Note: If a point is captured, the teleporter will be instantly refunded.

Ultimate Ability 2 – Shield Generator HP: 50 Shield: 350.

Symmetra places a wide range shield generator at her location. The generator provides a 75 damage absorb shield to all nearby teammates. The shield works through walls and other objects, as well as through terrain.

Note: If a point is captured, the generator will be instantly refunded.

These are just the basics for playing Symmetra. Effective placement of her sentry turrets, teleporter, and shield generator can land some pretty sweet Play of the Game’s, multi-kills, and a really enjoyable play experience. That’s all for Symmetra. Let us know what you think in the comments, I’m David from The Game Haus and as always, Good Luck, Have Fun!

Genesis 4: Smash Doubles Bringing the Hype

Photo courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/commons/images/a/ab/G4logo.jpg

The doubles events have delivered at Genesis 4, with upsets, new faces in top 8, and extremely high-level play. After a lackluster day one, with the Smash Crews somewhat falling apart with top players exercising their right to skip the event, doubles made up for it.

The lead story of the day is the brilliant play from arguably the most underrated team in Melee doubles: William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Ackakaya. They took out the second seeded Swedish duo of Adam “Armada” Lindgren and his brother, Andreas “Android” Lindgren. The set went to five games, and the Fox-duo of Leffen and Ice combined the excellent team spacing and synergy with their constant ability to survive the Swedish brother’s team combos.

Ice and Leffen advanced to winner’s finals and will face off against the top overall seed, and hometown favorite, in PewFat. Kevin “PewPewU” Toy and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni had little trouble disposing of every team in their path. They beat Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma in a quick 3-0.

Afterwards, the most successful Melee team in history (M2K and Hbox) ran into another up-and-coming doubles team, with Jeff “Axe” Williamson and Justin “Plup” McGrath. The Pikachu and Sheik composition allowed for supreme edge guarding and the back-and-forth hits from both Plup and Axe. The estranged team only lost on game 5 to Ice and Leffen, so this team is a serious threat to make a loser run and win this event.

Unfortunately for Plup and Axe, they face Andorid and Armada first thing tomorrow morning. In the only other matchup between these two, the Swedish team got the better result. In winners, the question is: can anyone take out the world’s most consistent Melee team in PewFat?

PewFat’s strength is dominating individual matchups while always being in range to help their teammate. Ice and Leffen excel in the same areas, so this could potentially be a bad matchup for the top seed. The key in losers will be to take stocks from Android early and often, as we saw in the loss to Ice and Leffen.

Smash 4 Doubles Bringing the Hype

Unexpectedly, Smash 4 doubles has stolen the show at Genesis 4 day two. The meta-game is clearly still developing and the use of Cloud has almost become necessary in team compositions. Obviously, Cloud has the strongest follow-up finishes with his limit break, and teams are finding interesting ways to use him optimally.

The champions, Elliot “Ally” Carroza and Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Peres, had MKLeo on Cloud, ready for any of Ally’s Mario back throws. The win came over the Japanese team, Rei “komorikiri” Furukawa and Ryuto “Ranai” Hayashi, who managed to reverse sweep the top seeded team at Genesis 4 in Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrio and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada.

MKLeo and Ally took out the Japanese pair twice, once in winners round 2 and again in grand finals. It was a huge statement for both teams. Considering every player in grand finals was from outside the United States, it was also a huge day for international Smash fans.

 

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Genesis 4 Preview: Will The Top Seeds Run the Table?

The importance of the Genesis tournament series for the longevity and growth of the Super Smash Bros scene can’t go understated. It’s a legendary event that has produced arguably the best Smash sets of all time. It’s where the Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Adam “Armada” Lindgren rivalry began. Genesis is history, and more history will be made this weekend at Genesis 4.

Genesis 4 will be the biggest Genesis to date. Six individual Smash tournaments. 11 overall events that will be taking place, including Rivals of Aether and Street Fighter V. Two crew battle tournaments, one for Smash 4 and the other for Melee. It has something for every type of fan.

The main events will be Melee and Smash 4 top-8. The competition for the doubles tournaments and even Smash 64 will be fierce and deserve your attention though. 3,000 players are registered and ready to compete. Here’s a preview for every single event happening at Genesis 4 this weekend.

Smash 64 Singles

Smash 64 has significantly less entrants than the other two Smash games (185 for singles), but the story lines and competition is still top notch. Recently signed Daniel “SuPeRbOoMfAn” Hoyt, who won Super Smash Con to round out 2016, is once again the heavy favorite. In terms of dominating his personal game, no other player in the Smash community comes close.

The field has nearly every player in the top 10, so expect some of the more notable names to reach top-8. Boom won’t have an automatic trip to winner’s finals. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett is a rising star and a real threat to take out the game’s best. His second-place finish at Super Smash Con showed his potential. Wizzrobe is slated to play Boom winners round 2 in top 64 which could be on upset alert.

Outside of those two, classic names like Isai, the Mexican players Arturo “Mariguas” Nunez Hernadez and Distrito “Dext3r” Federal, and the ever so dangerous Peruvian slayer Alvin “Alvin” Leon Hara will also be in attendance as the second seed. It’s a stacked field, but the real story will be whether Boom can win another Smash 64 major.

Winner Prediction: SuPeRbOoMfAm (sorry, he’s just too good)

Smash Melee Doubles

Don’t sleep on Melee doubles this weekend; the top five teams will be in attendance, and certain teams will be put to the ultimate test. PewFat, Kevin “PewPewU” Toy and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni, had a great 2016 as the year’s best team, but let’s see how they perform at an event with M2Box (Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma), team Alliance (Armada and Andreas “Android” Lindgren), and team Europe (William “Leffen” Hjelte and Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya).

Therefore, the winner of this event is nearly impossible to predict. Even Mango and Johnny “S2J” Kim could make a run. An event of this magnitude with players taking the doubles side seriously will result in some of the highest-level teams matches possibly ever. Most of the teams registered, who have a shot at winning, are combos of players who have teamed before and have chemistry. It will be a great gauge on the best doubles team in the world.

Winner Prediction: PewFat

Between Hungrybox’s hand issues, the northern California crowd, and the introduction of PPU’s Fox play for counter-picks, it just feels like it’s finally their time to take a Genesis.

Smash Melee Singles

Three Genesis events and three Mango vs Armada grand finals. Will it happen again? The biggest hurdles for the possible quadruple rematch is easily Leffen and Hungrybox. Hungrybox made huge strides in 2016, and despite a hand injury, can ruin everyone’s fun by winning. Leffen, on the other hand (get it?), missed last Genesis and is a huge threat to ruin the Genesis script.

Furthermore, this could be the event of the breakout star. Players like SFAT, Ice, Justin “Plup” McGrath, and James “Swedish Delight” Liu have been threatening to take out the top-six players for the better half of last year. Genesis 4, with the extra month of preparation, could be the event one of these names creates a Melee upset that will never be forgotten.

In addition, expect the brackets to be filled with upsets. A tournament with 80 of the top 100 players in attendance is sure to set off some unfamiliar matchups and results. Expect the unexpected; last year Michael “Nintendude” Brancato took out M2K before top 8. If I had to bet, I’d say a God falls before top-8.

In the end, the event will almost surely come down to if anyone is good enough to beat Armada. He has been on a tear of tournament wins in the winter months, and it’s unclear if the Swedish snipers reign of terror is ending. That said, Mango will be playing in front of a raucous crowd all cheering for him, and we all know what happens when Mango gets momentum and a crowd behind him.

Melee is the marquee event this weekend, with 1,700 players signed up. The matchups in top 64 will all be entertaining, from Ice facing off against Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna, to the Evo runback of Jeff “Axe” Williamson against Otto “Silent Wolf” Bisno. The story lines will be endless and the amount of high-level Melee waiting to be played is staggering. There’s a reason most Melee players consider Genesis the holy grail.

Winner Prediction: Armada

It’s hard seeing anyone beating this guy at the level he’s playing at right now. Mango can win this tournament but it will take some diligent play and making sure he gets a shot at Armada in Winners bracket.

Smash 4 Doubles

Smash 4 doubles is still in its infancy. The team that wins is usually the two best players, as opposed to the best strategy, character choice, and the most skill combined. Keeping that in mind, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios and Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada are clearly the best team. The only other team even on a comparable level is Elliot “Ally” Bastien and Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez.

It will still be interesting to watch the different team compositions and styles. Japan will have two of the more interesting teams: Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura and Takuto “Kameme” Ono, plus Rei “Komorikiri” Furukawa and Ryuto “Ranai” Hayashi. They will present interesting styles and a possible threat to the top players. Jason “Anti” Bates and Salem will be the other team capable of winning the entire event.

As is the case for every tournament at Genesis 4, the focus will be on if anyone can take out the top team. Nairo and ZeRo are incredibly talented players with chemistry. There are some serious contenders who could beat out those two, but it’s unlikely at this point.

Winner Prediction: Nairo and ZeRo

Smash 4 Singles

ZeRo is once again the favorite to take Genesis. He’s starting to return to form after a sporadic 2016. But with that, it’s safe to say Smash 4 is the widest open tournament of them all. It’s not out of the question to wonder if a player not named ZeRo can win Genesis.

MKLeo wasn’t at Genesis 3 or many of the 2016 majors, so this will be his first real test at a major. He has shown the ability to hang with anyone. Ally is another player who can win this event. He’s clearly not fazed by large crowds (Evo 2016 champion) but has unfavorable draw in bracket (he’ll face ZeRo in Winners Semifinals).

Even a couple years into Smash 4, the meta game still is developing. It makes these major tournaments more fun because the results can be random at times. ZeRo might be the clear-cut favorite, but the rise of Cloud players like Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey and Kimorikiri are lurking, waiting to pull off the upset. That’s not even mentioning players like ANTi, Salem or Larry Lurr who have taken out every single one of the top five players, including Zero.

Winner Prediction: MKLeo

This is MKLeo’s moment. Here is a kid the Smash world has been waiting on for the past two years, and he has finally got his chance. If anyone can take out ZeRo and run the table, it’s the versatile MKLeo.

I hope I provided fans with a guide to what to watch for this weekend. It’s impossible to predict what will happen. One thing is certain though, it will be entertaining to watch it all unfold.

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Bounty Hunter

Sunday Hero Spotlight – Gondar the Bounty Hunter

Welcome to the second Sunday Hero Spotlight. This week we will be taking a look at Gondar the Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunter has the potential to be a menace in the early game, and can provide vision of enemy heroes through the use of his ultimate.

Bounty Hunters Lore

Bounty Hunter

Image courtesy of dotafire.com

“When the hunted tell tales of Gondar the Bounty Hunter, none are sure of which are true. In whispered tones they say he was abandoned as a kit, learning his skill in tracking as a matter of simple survival. Others hear he was an orphan of war, taken in by the great Soruq the Hunter to learn the master’s skill with a blade as they plumbed the dark forests for big game. Still others believe he was a lowly street urchin raised among a guild of cutpurses and thieves, trained in the arts of stealth and misdirection.

Around campfires in the wild countryside his quarry speaks the rumors of Gondar’s work, growing ever more fearful: they say it was he who tracked down the tyrant King Goff years after the mad regent went into hiding, delivering his head and scepter as proof. That it was he who infiltrated the rebel camps at Highseat, finally bringing the legendary thief White Cape to be judged for his crimes. And that it was he who ended the career of Soruq the Hunter, condemned as a criminal for killing the Prince’s prized hellkite. The tales of Gondar’s incredible skill stretch on, with each daring feat more unbelievable than the last, each target more elusive. For the right price, the hunted know, anyone can be found. For the right price, even the mightiest may find fear in the shadows.” [Courtesy of www.dota2.com/hero/BountyHunter/]

Overview

Bounty Hunter is a Melee Agility hero, that has a built in escape and is capable of nuking down enemies quickly. In competitive games and higher MMR brackets, Bounty is often played as a roaming Support due to his ability to move around the map unseen. In the lower skill brackets, it is often common to see Bounty in a farming position.

Skills

Shuriken Toss

Bounty Hunter Shuriken Toss

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

Damage Type – Magical (Does not pierce spell immunity)

Damage – 150 / 225 / 300 / 375

Mana – 120 / 130 / 140 / 150

Cooldown – 10

Track Bounce Range – 1200

Bounty’s first skill is his main nuking ability. Shuriken Toss is a unit target ability that, upon connecting with the target, also applies a mini stun. It is often used in conjunction with Bounty’s ultimate, Track. Shuriken can be used to interrupt channelling abilities, including TP’s.

When a Tracked unit is within 1200 range, the Shuriken will bounce to them, causing them damage and applying the min stun. As such, when Bounty is trying to chase down a target, it is often common to throw the Shuriken at a non Tracked target so that the Shuriken will bounce to all the other Tracked targets.

Aghanims Upgrade – Shuriken Toss will bounce twice on each hero that is affected by Track.

Jinada

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

Critical Damage – 150% / 175% / 200% / 225%

Move Slow – -15% / -20% / -25% / -30%

Attack Slow – -15 / -20 / -25 / -30

Duration – 3

Cooldown – 12 / 10 / 8 / 6

Bounty’s second ability is a passive that grants him the ability to crit and maim every 6 seconds when maxed. This skill allows Bounty to deal sizable damage out of nowhere early on in the game.

Shadow Walk

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

Damage Type – Physical (Pierces Spell Immunity)

Duration – 20 / 25 / 30 / 35

Fade Time – 1.0 / 0.75 / 0.5 / 0.25

Bonus Damage – 30 / 60 / 90 / 120

Cooldown – 15

Mana – 65

Bounty’s third ability allows him to fade into the shadows and become invisible for a certain amount of time. When attacking an enemy from Shadow Walk, Bounty will deal bonus damage. The bonus damage will not be included in the calculation for Jinada’s critical strike.

Shadow Walk has a fade time, meaning that it is possible to get an attack off as Bounty fades into invisibility and then attack again whilst invisible to get the bonus damage.

Track

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

Speed Radius – 900

Bonus Speed – 16% / 18% / 20%

Bonus Gold for Self – 150 / 250 / 350

Bonus Gold for Allies – 40 / 80 / 120

Duration – 30

Cast Range – 1200

Cooldown – 4

Mana Cost – 65

Track is dispellable.

Bounty’s ultimate is a Unit Target that marks any enemy heroes. This will provide True Sight of any Tracked heroes to both Bounty and his allies. As well as providing True Sight, Track will grant bonus gold to Bounty and any allied heroes near the Tracked enemies when they die.

Track provides bonus speed to Bounty and his allies when they are near tracked enemies.

Talents

Bounty Talents

Image courtesy of dotabuff.com

At Level 10, 54% of players choose to take the +15XP Gain instead of the +157 Health. This is likely because Bounty prefers to have levels, and due to his play style, should not require the additional health.

At Level 15, 62% of players choose to take the +40 Attack Speed over the +15 Movement Speed. Interestingly, this seems as if it is the wrong choice, as the +15 Movement Speed talent has a 52% win rate in comparison to the 49% for the Attack Speed.

At Level 20, 73% of players choose the +100 Damage over the +8% Spell Amp. Most players choose the extra damage as it works in conjunction with Jinada, allowing Bounty to Crit for more damage. The Spell Amp talent has a +3% higher win rate in comparison to the Damage. This may come down to the lack of people picking the talent, or it could be that due to Shuriken Toss being a Magical spell and some players building Dagon, it can synergize well with Bounty’s skill set.

At Level 25, 65% of players choose the -5s Jinada Cooldown over the +20% Evasion. This choice seems straightforward in that if players are reaching Level 25, they will likely benefit from the 1s Jinada Cooldown. This will allow them to deal massive damage from right clicks alone.

Skill Build

Popular Skill Build. Image courtesy of Dotabuff.com

This is the generally accepted way of leveling up skills on Bounty Hunter. Choosing to max Shuriken Toss, followed by Shadow Walk, and then Jinada. This is generally the most common way to level up Bounty, as Shuriken Toss can provide good burst damage early in the game. Jinada is left until last as it does not generally show its value until the late game.

Play style Suggestions

Bounty is generally played as a roaming four position Support, who has the ability to cause great havoc in the early to mid game. As a Bounty Hunter, it is important to pressure the lanes where possible. Rotating often has its benefits and can often force Supports to buy counter vision to see the rotations coming.

If possible, rotate to between the Mid Tier 1 and 2 towers to have a chance at killing the Courier in the early game, which will provide your mid player with an advantage.

Getting Level 6 on Bounty is pivotal to being able to use him to his full potential. If a team is behind, a few Track kills can change the tide of a match.

For the best example of an excellent Bounty Hunter, check out this Youtube link to highlights of Maybe Next Time (MNT), widely regarded as the worlds best Bounty, playing for Ad Finem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LIQbxrtJ8c

Suggested Items

Image Courtesy of Dotabuff.com

When playing Bounty in a Support capacity, players will tend to pick up Arcane Boots, and then progress into Mekansm, followed by Guardian Greaves. This is generally because Bounty is happy to be an aura carrier who focuses on building utility items to help buff the core heroes on his team.

In pub games, it is common to see Bounty players rushing either Dagon or Desolator. Dagon provides great burst potential in combination with Shuriken. Desolator provides good damage, and also armor reduction, both things that Bounty can benefit from if focusing on right clicking and using Jinada to its full effect.

Final Thoughts

Reply from MNT regarding Bounty Hunter in 7.xx Patch.

Whilst MNT might think that Bounty is still viable in the current patch, the stats speak to the opposite. Currently, he only has a 46% average, which is below average. As MNT mentions, the addition of the Backpack has increased the ability for players to carry vision based items whilst not losing inventory space.

Bounty can be played in situational games where the enemy heroes are susceptible to early game aggression. In his Support capacity, Bounty eventually becomes more focused on providing Track vision / gold whilst also giving beneficial auras to his team.

Bounty may receive some buffs to bring him back into the Meta, but for the time being he is more of a situational hero.

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Position Selection highlighting Jungle

The Most Important Position in the EU LCS

There are five positions on a League of Legends team: Top, Jungle, Mid, AD Carry, and Support. But, have you ever wondered which position is the most valuable? Which position brings the most to the table? Which position is the most crucial? While analyzing data surrounding EU LCS roster swaps in the off-season, I came across some intriguing patterns. These patterns suggest that not all positions are valued equally. Namely, Jungle is the key role.

You can tell a lot about an LCS team’s priorities based on its roster changes in between Splits. One team may choose to keep a star Mid laner, while another may choose to try a rookie Support. Some teams keep an entire starting line-up. Some teams start over from scratch and replace every player. If you look at all of the roster changes as a whole, you will begin to notice some fascinating trends.

Here is a chart showing the distribution of veterans and rookies across each position for the 2017 EU LCS rosters, and how many roster changes occurred within each position in the off-season (as well as the ratio of veteran to rookie players accounting for the changes):

Veterans Picked Up Rookies Picked Up Total Changes Total Starting Veterans Total Starting Rookies
Top 1 3 4 6 4
Jungle 4 3 7 7 3
Mid 2 2 4 8 2
ADC 3 3 6 6 4
Support 1 4 5 5 5

For the purposes of this analysis, I am classifying a “veteran” player as any player who has participated in one or more Splits in the EU LCS. I am classifying a “rookie” player as any player who has not participated in any EU LCS Splits. Therefore, any imported players who will be playing their first Split in EU are classified as rookies (for example, Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon).

Pertaining to the Jungle position, there are two things to point out about this chart. Firstly, the most player replacements happened in this position. 70% of teams changed their Jungler between Summer and Spring. This indicates that many teams were disappointed with their Jungle performance and needed a change in that position specifically.

Secondly, of the seven replacement players, only three are rookies. Compare that to one half of ADCs and Mids, three out of four Tops, and four out of five Supports. Even though many rosters are changing their Junglers, they seem to have disproportionately less faith in rookies and new imports at that position. Many Junglers from last Split simply switched to a new team, rather than retiring, moving to a different region, etc.

Why did so many teams choose to change their Jungler? What about that position made it a priority for so many rosters? Here is a box and whisker plot showing the KDA distribution of EU LCS players by position:

(Disclaimer: the following data only includes players who participated in 12 or more games for the same team.)Junglers represented the widest range of KDA last Summer.

We can see that Junglers occupied the largest range of KDA last year. Some of the highest overall KDAs were Junglers, but also many of the lowest. They had an abnormally low median KDA of 3, 21% lower than the median of all players. This means that there is a large divide between the top 25% of Junglers and the bottom 75%. Half of the Junglers had a KDA between 3 and 6.8, while the other half were between 1.9 and 3.

For a different perspective, I divided all players into tiers based on average KDA last Summer. Players with the top 10 KDAs are Tier 1, top 20 are Tier 2, etc. I then graphed a distribution of each role based on KDA Tier:KDA distribution by role

Besides the huge skew of ADCs to high KDAs, the distribution that stands out is the Junglers’. They are the only other role with more than one player in Tier 1, less than two Tier 2, and less than two Tier 3. It is also the only position with more than three Tier 4 players. Jungle’s line starts high, dips low, then rises high again. That dip, between Tier 1 and Tier 4, represents the divide between excelling Junglers and those under-performing. They generally occupied the high end and the low end of the KDA distribution.

How does this information pertain to the off-season? We can imagine that those three to four Junglers in Tier 1 and 2 would be heavily contested. Teams who have them want to keep them. Teams who do not have them want to incorporate them. The Jungler in Tier 3 is somewhere in the middle, but the Junglers in Tier 4 and 5 should be dropped.

Here is a list of the Junglers from last Split accompanied by their Tier Ranking and KDA:

Trick 1 6.8
Trashy 1 6.2
Jankos 1 4.7
Spirit 2 4.7
Maxlore 3 3.3
Shook 4 3.2
Move 4 2.8
Amazing 4 2.6
Mightybear 4 2.6
Gilius 5 2.5
Memento 5 2.4
Airwaks 5 1.9

Kim “Trick” Gang-Yun, Jonas “Trashy” Andersen,  and Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski were all Tier 1. All three of their teams qualified for Worlds last year. G2, Splyce, and H2k retained them in the off-season. Lee “Spirit” Da-yun barely fell into Tier 2, and mutually parted ways with Fnatic. Then there is a drop off from 4.7 KDA to 3.3. All other teams either dropped or swapped their Junglers. Many teams then picked up one of the dropped Junglers, due to their veteran status.

This analysis shows that the top-tier teams have top-tier Junglers. And those top-tier Junglers are significantly ahead of their low-tier counterparts relative to other positions. Since there is such a variance between good Junglers and bad Junglers, many teams prioritized the role in the off-season. Worlds-qualifying teams kept their Junglers, while all seven other teams incorporated new players. Many of these new players have played at least one EU LCS Split, showing a lack of faith in rookies for Jungle in particular.

In conclusion, I argue that Jungle is the most important position in the EU LCS. There are so many variables that go into the role. Junglers contribute to ganks, lane pressure, neutral objectives, and vision. Oftentimes, viable Jungle champions dictate the meta.

Riot Games has placed a lot of focus on Jungle gameplay. The developer completely reworked the camps, implemented Plants, and adjusted Smite in the pre-season. Lead Gameplay Designer, Andrei “Meddler” Van Roon, recently shared Riot’s thoughts about the state of the game. Simply stated, “We believe jungler influence over game outcome is too high.”

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Genesis 4: Day Two Melee Singles Recap

    Photo courtesy of vgbootcamp

Genesis 4 day two has come to a close. There are eight Melee players remaining and four doubles teams still eligible to take home the Genesis trophy. Day two had fantastic matches tied in with some upsets, but the trend in top 64 was finishing off players 3-0.

Plup Pulls the Upset of the Day
It’s not often William “Leffen” Hjelte gets beat 3-0 in a set. But Justin “Plup” McGrath did just that. He not only swept Leffen, he two stocked him in every single game of the set. Straight domination by Plup’s Sheik, who kept Leffen’s Fox in the corner. His edge guard conversion rate was high.

Plup will enter champion Sunday on winners side of top 8. He matches up against Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. The two are practice partners, but M2K has an overwhelming advantage in the set count. However, Leffen did qualify for top 8 by eliminating Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez.

Mango vs Armada Winners Semifinals
Genesis will get the famous rivalry between Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Adam “Armada” Lindgren, but not in the Grand Finals. Mango was questionably ranked in the fourth slot, setting up the matchup with Armada. Mango had a strong 7-3 record against Armada in 2016, but the match should come down to the wire.

The most likely scenario is winner of this set wins Genesis 4. Mango already sent Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma to losers bracket with a 3-1 victory. Each game was close, but Mango had counter-pick advantage. Hungrybox will face off with Jeff “Axe” Williamson, who’s having a good tournament.

S2J Thrills the NorCal Crowd
Easily the most intriguing set of day two was when Johnny “S2J” Kim sent the crowd into a ruckus and pushed Armada to the brink. Armada is rarely ever in that situation, so it was a key moment for S2J. His neutral game shined as he was landing long combos and evading attacks efficiently.

Unfortunately, his edge guards fell apart on game 5, as Armada got the reverse sweep. S2J eventually went on to get dismantled by Axe’s Pikachu to finish right outside the top 8. Even Armada looked shook at certain points against S2J.

Upset Results
Rishi “SmashG0d” Malhotra managed to take out James “Swedish Delight” Liu before top 64. SmashG0d went on to lose to Weston “Westballz” Dennis, who qualified for top 8 losers, but had another good performance at a major.

Swedish wasn’t the only top-15 player to fall to a lower seeded player. Mustafa “Ice” Ackakaya lost to Southern California Ice Climbers 3-0. Army did finish at his highest career placing, losing 3-0 to Joey “Lucky” Aldama. Lucky ended up winning six games in top 64 and finished one spot outside top 7.

Similarly to Hungrybox, Westball had some hand injury issues last week. His injury has not affected his game play, as Westballz has looked super strong. He qualified for top 8 by beating Zac “SFAT” Cordoni. It was a slaughtering, facilitated by the fact that SFAT wasn’t mentally prepared.

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Thoughts on NALCS Day 1

Standout Rookie Junglers

Courtesy of Riot Esports Flickr

Rookie Cloud 9 Jungler, Juan “Contractz” Garcia, looked far from any rookie we’ve seen in NALCS. In two games against the North American powerhouse, TSM, he ganked early and often. Both games he got first blood, and set the tempo for Cloud 9 to take the series 2-0. He started game two with a 5-0 kill score on Lee Sin, basically snowballing the early game before sealing the deal with an amazing ult onto Wildturtle in the final team fight.  

A lot of analysts were wondering whether they should believe in the hype for 17 year old Jungle prodigy. After a performance like that, it’s almost hard not to. In his post game interview he was extremely humble, saying, “This isn’t where I want to be yet, I want to be much better.” If this is only the beginning, everyone will be watching to see how far he can really go.

Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham of Echo Fox had much less hype around him. Most people expected him to be average at best. In both games against Phoenix1, Akkadian was able to get Echo Fox off to an early lead with some aggressive ganks to the Mid and Top lane. Although, the team fell short with some late team-fighting failures, Akkadian was a standout player for me. Nobody was really talking about him before the NALCS Split, but it definitely looks like they should be.   

 

TeamSoloMid’s Shotcalling Troubles

Courtesy of Riot Esports Flickr

People will be quick to place the blame on replacement ADC Jason “Wildturtle” Tran for this loss, but TSM as a whole played poorly from what we’re used to seeing. Even the draft was questionable.  

What stood out the most was the poor shotcalling, specifically in Game 2. Jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen made an amazing Baron steal to keep TSM in the game. He died quickly after, and instead of TSM resetting with four members with Baron Buff they decided to try to make a pick on Cloud 9 support, Andy “Smoothie” Ta. The team takes a poor 4v5 fight and Cloud 9 takes an inhibitor for it. In the final team fight of Game 2, TSM tries to focus down a very tanky Nautilus which leads to them getting Aced, and Cloud 9 ending the game from there.  

This isn’t the first time they’ve had questionable decision making either. Poor decisions with Baron buff against Unicorns of Love also led to them losing 1-2 at IEM Oakland. That was a few months ago. It raises the discussion of how much they miss former ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s contribution to shotcalling. If this team hasn’t fixed those issues yet, it will be a tough Split for them. Cloud 9 is a hard first opponent, but if TSM can’t fix their shotcalling issues, Doublelift may need to come back sooner than later. Reginald has made it clear that anything outside of first is a failed Split for TSM. 

P1’s abysmal early game vs. Echo Fox’s terrible late game

Courtesy of Riot Esports Flickr

Phoenix1 and Echo Fox came into the Spring Split with not too many expectations. Most people were ranking P1 as a middle tier team and Echo Fox near the bottom of the standings.  

Echo Fox surprised most spectators as they were able to take command of the early game for both games. Back to back ganks from Akaadian for Mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen set him up to be able to carry on his Leblanc. That was not the case, as poor teamfighting allowed P1 back into the game. It was a back and forth clown fiesta for a bit before Phoenix1 eventually closed out Game 1 with a victory.

In Game 2, Akaadian aimed his ganks to the Top Lane for former World Champion Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok to  be able to carry on his signature champion, Singed. Echo Fox were ahead by as much as 3.1k at one point, and once again, threw their lead at a poor team fight around dragon. Shortly after, Phoenix1 took baron and ended the game in 24 minutes.  

Phoenix1 simply won’t be able to rely on poor mid-late game team fighting against stronger teams. Inori will need to be more active in the early game if this team really wants to contend. It may have been nerves, but most teams won’t throw away huge gold leads like Echo Fox did today.  

 

Echo Fox’s Jungler, Akaadian, looked better than what most people expected. Much of the early leads were off the ganks and pressure he was distributing among the map. Mid and late game shotcalling will need to improve if this team wants to make playoffs. Looper looked okay at best, but not nearly what we expect from a former World Champion. The language barrier may be more of an issue than they had suspected.  

One thing that may also develop is a rivalry between these two young junglers. In an interview before the match, Akaadian called spectators out for overrating Phoenix1 Jungler, Rami “Inori” Charagh last season. Akaadian also noted that if Inori isn’t able to “cheese” people, than he’s basically useless for the rest of the game. When David “Phreak” Turley asked Inori about it in the post game interview, he declined to fire any shots back towards Akaadian. He chose to let his play speak for him, but it will be interesting if this evolves into a mini-rivalry between these two young NALCS jungle talents.

TeamSoloMid Owner, Reginald, Fires Shots at Other Owners Importing

In an interview in between Games 1 and 2 between C9 and TSM, Andy “Reginald” Dinh fired shots at other team owners, saying, “A lot of the team owners don’t know what they’re doing. They’re importing Korean talent over without knowing how to place them into their roster.”  A lot of NBA teams buying into the NALCS with no experience of the scene have been trying to acquire the biggest names possible and hoping it works without having the right infrastructure to support them  

He specifically aimed his comments towards Team Dignitas and Echo Fox, saying, “They’re going to place bottom half for sure.”  

It’s a bold prediction going into the Spring as most new North American teams have looked to Korea to import some of the best players in League of Legends. Reginald’s philosophy with TSM is to prioritize communication and synergy over individual skill. No one can really argue as his team finished first place in Summer 2016 for North America, only losing one series to Phoenix1. CLG, who won Spring last season, had five players who all spoke English as well.  

This Split will definitely prove Reginald right or wrong. Many of the newer teams entering the scene have imported a lot of Korean talents in an attempt to contend for an NALCS title. It will be interesting if more owners follow Reginald’s philosophy moving forward, or continue with the trend of importing high-profile Korean talent.

Courtesy of Riot Esports Flickr

Day 1 of NALCS is in the books and I look forward to the rest of the match-ups!

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Pokémon Hits DreamHack! – VGC 2017 Leipzig, Germany Regional Championships Recap

Our first European tournament coverage comes to us from DreamHack Germany, which happened last weekend, along with the Georgia Regional Championships in the US. Despite being held at such a huge event, the tournament itself was not given any stream coverage (more on this later). It was a bit of a smaller tournament compared to Georgia, but there were still some cool teams and Pokémon to break into the Top Cut. Check them out below!

Results & Teams (Top 8 Cut)

1.Markus Stadter

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/143.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

2.Davide Carrer

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

3.Baris Ackos

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

4.Alexander Fijalkowski

East Sea

5.Joshua Schmidt

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

6.Nico Davide Cognetta

7.Andrea Di Francesco

East Sea

8.Andrea Sala

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/778.png

 

No Stream?

You’d think at an event like DreamHack, who advertised the Regional a ton on their website and their promo video, would stream the tournament knowing that it would draw a lot of viewership. That wasn’t the case, however. To be fair, Leipzig was a relatively small tournament for Masters (only 129 competitors), so that most likely would explain the lack of a stream from the local scene. I hope that Pokémon VGC events in the future will be held at events like DreamHack due to the amount of exposure Pokémon could gain as an esport from that large of an event. Hopefully if there is another event like this, DreamHack (or whoever is hosting) will recognize that there are people that would love to see Pokémon streamed with the quality they can provide.

Also, a quick note:

Since there wasn’t any significant coverage (like a stream) analyzing specific Pokémon and strategies that were used, spectators may be left in the dark. Plus, many of the “niche” Pokémon that appeared in Leipzig I’ve already covered in other pieces. In addition to some new thoughts, I’ll provide links to the pieces where certain Pokémon were covered.

The Niche Picks

Mandibuzz Image result for mandibuzz

We haven’t seen a Mandibuzz since Dallas, and this time there were two! Both in the finals! Mandibuzz could be something that jumps up in popularity since it has cut a Regional twice. It now also has a Regional win under its belt, thanks to the current third best player in the world. Markus mentioned in one of his streams that he usually brings Mandibuzz when he faces a team that is fast and without speed control. Tailwind, and speed control outside of Trick Room, haven’t seen much use in this format, and I’m not sure why. It’s most likely that most teams don’t have room for a Flying-type Pokémon, but Mandibuzz has a lot more utility than just setting up Tailwind. You can read my other thoughts on Mandibuzz here.

Snorlax  Image result for snorlax

Speaking of Pokémon who are going to jump in popularity thanks to a Regional win; here’s Snorlax again. Another Eastern trend is making its way to the Western meta game, and now I think we all know how good Snorlax can be. Here are my thoughts on Snorlax as a Pokémon.

Lapras Image result for lapras

All I’m going to say is that Lapras cut two Regionals in one weekend. I have an entire piece dedicated to why this Pokémon is good.

Final Words

In conclusion, this event should’ve been streamed. Congratulations to Markus Stadter for his win, solidifying his spot among the top players in Europe (according to Championship Points, but also you know…current 3rd in the world). The meta game looks pretty concrete for now, but we’re only three months into the season, so anything could happen. The next Regional Championships are coming up in February in Anaheim, California, where the World Championships will be held later this year.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

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