NA LCS Finals Analysis

2016

The unexpected appearance of TSM in the finals after taking down the heavy favorites of Immortals, coupled with the CLG victory in the other semifinal points towards that this could be the best final of any NA LCS split ever.
There are many story-lines converging in one single event . TSM makes the final once again as an underdog. This is the seventh LCS split and the seventh final that TSM plays, meaning that they have made top-2 in every LCS split. There have been splits were TSM was heavily underrated and for good reasons, yet they always perform in playoffs. It is not the first time that TSM was expected to lose in the quarterfinals or the semifinals, and this is the reason why for many people TSM is the best team in the world preparing for a tournament, because they always perform better than expected in playoffs or international competition.

The off-season was plagued by trash-talk between the CLG and TSM organizations. It all started with the Doublelift transfer from CLG to rival TSM, followed by a few less than ideal PR statements, the arguments got heated between both sides igniting the oldest rivalry in League of Legends more than ever before. CLG seemed dismantled with the loss of Doublelift and Pobelter, whereas TSM looked like one of the strongest teams in the league before the split started. As the season developed, CLG showed that they were the team that had a better grasp of the meta and could work between the different personalities on the team. On the other side, TSM struggled to understand the meta, to establish and follow a leader and to win games. When the regular split came to an end, to the surprise of many, CLG was stronger team than many people had expected.

TSM can accomplish something that has never happened before and that it is unlikely to happen very often. They beat C9, the third seed in the quarterfinals. Then they beat Immortals, the number one seed. And they will play against the number two seed from the regular split in the finals (CLG). Meaning, if they are the North American representative heading into MSI, they have to have beaten the top three teams from North America in a bo5. TSM has proven that they are a team worthy of the title, and many could argue that they already beat the final boss, but the stage of Las Vegas awaits and the monster of CLG is waiting for the best revenge in League of Legends history.

Why TSM will win:

They have more talented individuals. Before the split started, many people credited TSM because they were the superior team in terms of talent. However, the regular split showed that talent alone does not win games. It is a fair point that CLG has shown for a longer period of time that they play as a cohesive unit with little internal disagreement on the shotcalling. On the other side TSM seems to have gotten past the point where the internal issues should be worrisome any longer. They beat C9 and Immortals, if there are any doubts that these is a different team than the one that played in the regular split, those should be deleted. TSM is a more talented team that seems to have finally understood the meta and be able to execute strategies that are optimal. TSM improved tremendously in playoffs, something that can play to their advantage is that no one really knows what to expect. Although they will surely play good League of Legends, it is uncertain as to whether they have more strategies that did not need to showcase because of the standard way they needed to play to beat the multiple ADC comps that Immortals tried to play . TSM seems to have an advantage in Tank metas and this is surely a final where tanks will be played. TSM has the unpredictability factor, which will probably not win them the series, but it can tilt the tie in the crucial first game which they have historically been terrible at.

Why CLG will win?

They want to win more than TSM does. Despite having won the last split at MSI, neither Stixxay nor Huhi played there, and before that CLG had not been a successful organization since season 2. They failed to qualify to worlds multiple times with very unsuccessful playoffs runs. At one point they almost got relegated. CLG not only has accomplished less than TSM has, but it was basically insulted by Doublelift with all the statements he made about the organization, and how they mistreat their players, etc. From the management to the players it seems very evident that CLG cannot afford the embarrassment of losing to TSM one more time in such a big stage. CLG also has been a solid team for a longer period of time. They played very well during the regular season and even though they did not improve tremendously heading into playoffs, they are a team that knows how to play the map and does not get impatient even in close situations, an asset very important heading into Las Vegas.

maokai

My prediction:

I think Maokai will be the deciding factor in this series. The jungler position is at one of the strongest points it has been in a while shifting the power away from top lane. CLG was successful in summer of 2015 because Darshan was the best top laner from NA on carry champions. With the meta shifting towards tanks, CLG has lost too much of an advantage because Hauntzer showed proficiency on Maokai against Immortals. Whereas CLG has never looked great when Darshan is not carrying in some way. Therefore, the mismatch in the top lane that could give CLG the advantage has been reduced enough so that TSM carries can outshine their counterparts. I predict that TSM will comfortably win the series

 

 

courtesy of youtube.com and gameinfo.na.leagueoflegends.com

 

NA LCS 3rd place game analysis

(Courtesy of lolesports.com)

The third place game will be played by Immortals, whom lost to TSM, and Team Liquid, they lost against CLG. In previous LCS seasons, the Spring Split did not give points towards qualifying for worlds. In previous seasons, spring split was mostly fought over money and the third place game did not get much attention. However, with how competitive the League has become and the distribution of points in order to qualify for Worlds, the third place game has gotten more exciting to watch. In fact, the third place game can even be more exciting than the finals in the summer split because both finalists can already be qualified whereas the third place game could determine the teams that make it to the gauntlet. Even though this is the Spring split, both teams will surely play with everything they have in order to get the maximum amount of points heading into the summer split.

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Immortals:

After rolling through the regular season with an 17-1 record, and not playing in the quarterfinals, they started slow against TSM. However, to the surprise of everyone they never recovered in that series. They were swept by TSM in an extremely disappointing 3-0. Immortals accomplished so much during the regular season that they should still come in as the favorites. Immortals biggest weakness coming into the match is not that Huni cannot play tanks or that the meta is shifting away from Reignover, their weakness is psychological. It is fair to say that regardless the result in the semifinals was, they had accomplish enough to suggest they would easily surpass TSM, it would follow that they were overconfident in that match-up and for good reasons. Confidence is a really good asset in pro Lol, and the fact that Immortals will double think its ability to win games in the current meta will play tremendously in TL’s favor. However, TL must capitalize on it quickly. The first game will be incredibly telling on how the series will play out. If Immortals wins the first game and is able to restore confidence, the series should go their way. But if TL comes out winning the first battle on the rift, their psychological advantage will seem too great to overcome.

Another vulnerability that Immortals was exposed to is its inability to play tanks. Huni has never been known for playing tanks and last year at the world championship he decided to play tanks against Smeb, who showed him how to play carry top laners. In light of Huni’s inability to adapt or win lane against Smeb, the default position seemed to be to play tank champions and contain Smeb. Huni did not give his team and chance and chose to battle it out every time. Either Huni is completely unwilling to play tank champions or he just doesn’t know how to play them. Either way, if he doesn’t realize that we are in a tank meta coming into Las Vegas, TL will almost certainly win unless they can get their tanks from other roles.

piglet

Team Liquid:

Their incredible turnaround should be celebrated from a management point of view. However, TL seems to never be satisfied and that leads to positive and negative consequences. On the bright side, they will never get complaisant and will always obsess to be the best. On the negative side TL should not be so hard on itself because it will surely have confidence problems down the road. This is the last place team after the first two weeks of the split, and they turnaround the season and came into the semifinals thinking that they could win it all. Their actions speak louder than their voices and they surely looked like under the right circumstances, TL could be the North American representative heading into MSI. However, they should not be so stubborn to think that it is a disappointing season that did not portray who the best team really was. They should look to the split as a learning experience and do their best to prepare for next season. It is surely disappointing to think you are the favorite to accomplish something and then fail to live up to your best, but it is more disappointing to live in the past and think that you deserved it more than whoever won it.

Contrasting Immortals, TL comes in with their confidence through the roof. They played a tough semifinal and showed that they can battle toe to toe with the second seed from North America. Although they did not win, seeing all the progress that went trough within the organization in order to even qualify for playoffs, TL comes in hoping to break the curse of always getting 4th place. TL’s confidence and their good grasp of the meat will give them a big edge over Immortals.

I think most people would still predict Immortals to win the semifinal, but I think TL will come out on top.

 

courtesy of lolesports.com, bigbadesports.com and dailydot.com

NA LCS semifinals analysis

vegas

(Courtesy of lolesports.com)

TSM advanced to the semifinals in the most TSM fashion possible, losing the first game, adapting, and changing their strategy, won them the next three games and their ticket to Vegas.
TL managed to beat a NRG team that did not look like a playoff team. Piglet and Matt dominated the series as if Trick2g was playing normal games versus viewers. Dardoch put a clinic on how to jungle and demonstrated that his Rookie season award was no mistake.

The semifinals match-ups put Immortals against TSM, and CLG versus Team Liquid. It could have been better if TSM and CLG would have faced each other only to attempt to defeat the final boss of Immortals. Unfortunately that is not the case and puts TSM in the toughest position to make the finals of an LCS split ever.
TSM has made all six finals of the six NA LCS splits, the toughest one was in the summer of 2014 when they had to beat LMQ. If one goes back and remembers that LMQ had dominated the season but started to fall towards the end, one remembers how big of an underdog TSM was coming into that semifinal. The first four games of the semifinal were won by blue side, and it was extremely likely that LMQ would win the fifth game on that side, and against all odds TSM managed to advance to the final of that season.
Season 6 has unprecedented challenges for TSM, one of their worst regular season splits against the best regular season split of any NA LCS team, a 17-1 Immortals. TSM is not used to being heavy underdogs in the NA region, but if they managed to advance one more time to the finals it would prove have invaluable of an asset Reginald really is.

On the other side of the equation CLG has remained a top team in NA since the start of the competitive scene. CLG has struggled in the last couple of years to fight for a split title. At one point they almost got relegated. They finally won a title in the last summer split, but as things looked to have gotten better, star ADC Doublelift left the team. In a renewal of the team’s pieces it seemed unlikely that the team would compete for the title this season. Nonetheless, they finished second in the regular season and were the only team to beat Immortals. The oldest rivalry in League of Legends does not face each other this time, but if they do in the finals, it would put into perspective how superior their management is in terms of experience and organization.

(Courtesy of pentakill.tv)

(Courtesy of pentakill.tv)

TSM vs Immortals

Immortals come in as the heavy favorites, there is no doubt about it. An extremely dominant season ending with an almost undefeated record should be enough reasons to explain why they will win the match-up. However, there is one disadvantage that history has shown to teams that are so superior to others. When teams have been extremely dominant because of mechanical skill and raw talent like LMQ and LGD, once other teams catch-up in raw talent, and they manage to make it out the laning face with minimal losses, history has shown that these teams become vulnerable to transition small leads into winning games. Teams that in the past have relied heavily on outplaying opponents have not shown to be invulnerable. The only exception could be Samsung White in season 4 that almost always won games in the early games. However, they also proved to be an incredible advanced strategic team.

Why TSM Will win?
Immortals has been unchallenged so far. When Fnatic went undefeated last summer they displayed their strategic prowess by not winning games in the early game. In fact in multiple occasions they came back from incredible gold deficits. Immortals has not shown that their macro-level strategies are polished because they have not been able to. If TSM can make it out of the early game, they can exploit the fact that Immortals likes to use Wildturtle as front-line because in previous instances it has not made a difference. Immortals is a great team, but they have not shown what they are capable of and that is scary.

Why Immortals will win?
Not much needs to be said here.

(Courtesy of pentakill.tv)

(Courtesy of pentakill.tv)

CLG VS TL

Had this been the quarterfinals match-up and CLG would have undoubtedly been the favorites. However, TL made NRG looked like a Challenger series team. Not only did they 3-0 NRG, they did so in an extremely convincing fashion.

Why CLG will win?
They have looked strong the entire season. They do not have the best individual players, but in an era where macro-level gameplay is more important, CLG performed better in the regular season and should look to advance to the finals. CLG can lane swap against TL’s strong laners and can reduce the impact that Dardoch can have on the game by doing so. TL strength lies in the early game, and a team with solid macro-level game play like CLG should take the series by lane swapping when advantageous or picking stronger lanes.

Why TL will win?
They put on a clinic against NRG and their early level strategy and mechanical talent secured games from the early stage of the games. If they manage to get standard lanes or standard 2v1  lane swaps, it should be to TL advantage. However, if they get lane swaps were turrets are traded and both teams safely make it out of the early game, it should play to CLG’s advantage.

 

 

NA LCS Playoffs Predictions

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TSM vs C9 :
Arguably the most interesting rivalry in LCS history face each other one more time. They have claimed five out of six NA LCS titles, they have faced each other in multiple finals and they have dominated the NA region since S3 (with the exception of summer of S5).
TSM and C9 have historically been the two best NA teams in bo5 series. In the early days of the LCS era, C9 was undefeated for two consecutive splits in playoffs. However, on the other side TSM has historically been the best team in preparation for a tournament or for a series. They have not been the best team, but it favors them multiple games against a single team than a bo1.
The clear favorite is C9. C9 finished higher in the standings, they have a 1-1 record against TSM this split and have looked like a cohesive unit over the last 10 weeks. However, they seem to have hit their potential. Individually, one is not expecting more out of any player. No player has been under-performing recently in C9, therefore, it is logical to assume that the team that will show up in the  playoffs will be very similar than the one that showed up in the regular season.

fty

When we evaluate how C9 plays, one has to look at strong individual players. Rush will play a over aggressive style of jungling, Jensen will be solid in the mid-lane, Balls will look to have late-game impact and the bot lane is looking to transition into the mid-game without falling behind, but with limited resources. Their shot-calling used to be impeccable, but since Hai swap positions a couple times, it has not been world class. Nonetheless, one of the best in the region. Unless C9 has practiced cheesy counters or strange strategies, which has not historically characterized them, one knows what C9 will bring to the table. Individual talent coupled with strong macro-level strategies.

On the other hand TSM has looked shaky throughout the split. Arguably the team with the most talent, at least in terms of what the players have accomplished, has struggled to even maintain a winning record. TSM brings the most talented individual players, coupled with one of the least decisive and weakest shot-calling in the region. TSM is a team that historically has performed better than expected in playoffs and are still a strong contender to make it to the finals. TSM has made it to all six finals of all six NA LCS splits, they have won half of those series. For the most part, they have not been the favorites to win it all, yet they always manage to make it to the finals. This is arguably the time it will be the most challenging since they beat LMQ in the semifinals before finally beating C9. TSM comes in as the underdog, but they have been here many times and always deliver. Therefore, it would not be surprising if they manage to improve tremendously the week before playoffs, and the area they should be looking at, is macro-level strategies and shot-calling.

nrg

NRG vs TL:

The two teams that have performed most unlike each other face each other in the first round of playoffs. TL started things off very slow with an almost 0-4 start, they actually started in last place with a 1-3 record after coming back from an incredible gold deficit in their fourth game. NRG on the other side got things rolling the first two weeks with a 3-1 record and their loss came against Immortals. NRG’s strong early came to a halt as they only managed to secure a spot in the playoffs with a 9-9 record. On the other polar opposite, TL turned around a season with he help of Dardoch, ending with a 10-8 record, meaning they had a 9-5 record in their last 14 games. Taking into consideration the fact that 2 of the losses in their last 14 games came against Immortals, that means they had a 9-3 record in their last 12 games non-including Immortals. The reason why I take that into consideration is because everyone lost both of their games to Immortals (except CLG). The above statistic is also relevant considering Dardoch is a rookie and it took him a couple of weeks before getting used to performing on stage.

NRG has tremendous trouble beating teams with a winning record. They had a 0-2 record against Immortals, CLG and C9. NRG lost all six games against the top three teams, and only managed to win one game against the fourth placed team (TL). NRG has a combined record of 1-7 against teams with a winning record. In a playoffs scenario, where you have to beat a top team three times, it looks challenging for NRG to do something three times which they did once in 8 games.

There is an advantage that NRG  has that we have not mentioned, their only win against a team with a winning record came late into the split in week eight. Not only did they manage to secure an important win that would serve as a confidence booster coming into playoffs, but they managed to do so against Team Liquid. That means that amidst all the struggles NRG had beating good teams, they beat the team they would face in playoffs two weeks ago. Although that match will have no effect in the eyes of the viewer, one has to take into account that it will give NRG the confidence it needs to battle toe to toe with Team Liquid.

 

Conclusion:

I was excited to see how the brackets were filled in. I am excited to see C9 and TSM battle it out one more time. I cannot wait for the winner to play against CLG. And I am also excited to see NRG and TL face each other. I think they are very different teams and will be interesting to see what ideology works best. Spring Split usually has not had the importance that this years has, and I think is due to the increase in level of play. My prediction? It will be awesome to watch.

 

courtesy of lolesportspedia.com and youtube.com,

 

 

 

 

NA LCS: The League of David and Goliath

david

The exciting culmination of the NA LCS Spring Split regular season taught us that the region is incredibly divided between title contenders and teams avoiding relegation. The trend seems to have been clear where teams with management problems, translate those problems into poor team performances on stage. The league’s Goliaths have proven that they possess sufficient resources to potentially become a good team. Lack of talent and experience seems to be an important factor in the overall organization performance as well.

immortlas

1)Immortals:
Although their organization is new, they enjoyed the benefits of investors and sponsors that supply key resources to compete for the title. With the acquisition of two Korean players, the exploitation of regional talent, and the acquisition of Matt Dylan all point to the direction of great management decisions with abundant financial resources.

stixxay
2)Counter- Logic Gaming:
I did not think in a million years that releasing Doublelift could have resulted in team improvement. I was skeptical of the organization statements that they released him because the team under-performed because of him. Although it was obvious that Doublelift influenced the team in a negative way, I would have never thought how much damage a single personality could have on a team. The Doublelift story comes at a time where another trend seems to arise. The trend is that as the game develops, mechanics are much less of a factor and macro-level play and strategy have become more important.

buny
3) Cloud 9:
They are another example of macro-level play and chemistry outperforming mechanics. Bunnyfufu is regarded as a better mechanical player, yet they perform better with Hai. Cloud 9 has tremendous talent and it would of no surprise if they manage to steal the crown from Immortals.

dardoch

4) Team Liquid:

Dardoch deserves an article dedicated to himself. However I will briefly describe how he drastically turned around a season for a team that was at the brink of starting a 0-4 season. In that fourth game, Team Liquid led by Dardoch managed to turn around a huge gold deficit and in doing so managed to qualify for playoffs. Dardoch deservingly won rookie of the season and should be MVP contender.

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5) NRG:
Probably not too happy with how things turned out in the second half of the season. NRG is still a new organization that should look at the split as a learning experience. Monetary resources allowed the org to acquire Korean talent, but poor macro-level game-play and lack of strategic diversity stagnated progress.

double
6) TSM:
I was expecting TSM to be the second best team and title contender for the League. They have historically been incredibly good in preparation for playoffs and should be considered in the conversation. They are definitely capable of providing an upset, especially in the quarterfinals against C9. However, the amount of talent in that team does not justify a 9-9 season. I was progressively expecting them to suddenly dominate the League once the team learned to be on the same page, but I was left waiting.

The teams that did not qualify for playoffs all showed that it was not as much as the player’s fault, but an organization problem. Echo Fox did not know how to handle team VISAS. Renegades could not find replacement for a severely underperforming RF Legendary. Team Impulse did not manage to sell their LCS spot before the season started and Dignitas did not provide too many resources into their League of Legends team. Overall, the teams that did not qualify for playoffs share a single denominator, a lack of management involvement with the team and with the players.

 

courtesy of Forbes.com, lol.esportspedia.com, youtube.com, redbull.com, lol.esportsmatrix.com, gosugamers.net and gosugamers.net respectively.

Assessing The Lane Swap Meta

lane t

Lane swaps, particularly 3v0 and 4v0 turret pushes have dominated the game for quite sometime. They are incredibly good for the team that wants to avoid bad lane match-ups, the game quickly develops into the middle stage, and it is an incredibly safe way of getting out of the early game for both teams.
From the team’s perspectives, it makes it highly likely that they will transition into the mid game with an equal chance of winning the game.

Typically, both teams get a turret and farm on either the top laner or the ADC. Although the game can become a farmfest, sometimes both teams have an interest in doing so because the reward of setting up a play is not greater than the risk. In the early stages of the game, Dragon nor Rift Herald, give teams a significant advantage. In fact, in many occasions, teams that get either neutral objective uncontested, actually get behind because they sacrifice so much standing gold on the map.

How do lane swaps look in the eyes of the viewers?

The average solo queue player that wants to watch LCS looking for mechanical skill does not enjoy the lane swap meta. Someone who has watched professional League of Legends for quite some time may understand why the lane swaps are good and on what circumstances teams have an incentive to do so.

However, very few viewers enjoy the turret pushes and the lane swap meta because it is a skill that the average player does not need to acquire. It almost feels like watching a different game altogether.
The large majority of viewers watch Pro-League to improve at the game or for entertainment. There is also a component of following your favorite team, which falls under the entertainment category.

However, every skill that the pros possess can be translated and emulated in some way in solo queue. From the average viewer, learning certain team comps, learning how and when to ward, learning about matchups, etc, is useful information that can be readily used in solo queue. Therefore, it is understandable why most people are unhappy with the current lane swap meta.

Montecristo’s response was that if people do not like the current meta, they do not appreciate the complexity of the game. It seems naïve to say so, because if the game somehow changed so drastically that games were literally a push all the way to the nexus, I doubt even Monte would enjoy such meta. In other words, if the game evolved enough to where the optimal way of playing was a 5v0 turret push for both teams, I can hardly conceive anyone liking that meta. This argument shows that one can appreciate the complexity in League of Legends and the complexity of the lane swap, yet still not like it.

draven
I do agree with Monte that lane swaps should be viable options for avoiding bad lane matchups. However, our disagreement seems to lie in that I do not think they are enjoyable to watch. If more action happened like in the lane swaps of earlier seasons, where supports and junglers would roam around, maybe lane swap meta would be more interesting. Lane swap metas where top and jungler killed camps together and sometimes made plays around the map, although less entertaining than standard lanes, those metas were still entertaining to watch because of the strategic diversity the game had to offer. 3v0 and 4v0 turret pushes are not fun to watch even if one appreciates the complexity of that strategy.

 

courtesy of youtube.com and team-dignitas.net

League’s advantage over traditional sports

League of Legends and Esports in general are contrasted by traditional sports in that the demographic involved in Esports is much more specific than that of traditional sports. Traditional sports are not dominated by a specific demographic. Some races may prefer basketball, others may prefer football and still others may prefer soccer. Nonetheless, every demographic, including age, gender and race is heavily represented in traditional sports. One potential advantage and disadvantage of League is how heavily concentrated within one demographic League is. It used to be that of males in their late teens to early twenties, but even that is expanding.

demo 1
Initially, Esports was associated with only nerds playing games and watching other people play games. In the interest of the community that perception is slowly but surely changing as a legitimate form of competition. As Esports has expanded, the demographic of people that play League has expanded as well, with more and more females, older people and younger kids being introduced to the game. The game has transitioned from the nerdy stereotype to a game played by all races within the male demographic of early twenties and late teens. That is to say, the game has evolved into attracting all kinds of males, not only gamers.
Unfortunately, the game is still heavily dominated by the demographic of High school and college males, and this allows for considerable differences with traditional sports. We can observe traits or characteristic of people of this demographic throughout all aspects of the game. A few characteristics of this demographic are immaturity, trollness, interest in comedy and unprofessionalism. All these traits are not necessarily bad, they are just characteristics of the interest of a certain demographic. Everyone goes through different phases in life and there is nothing wrong with identifying them, and analyzing as to how they affect the game is marketed. There is nothing intrinsically wrong for someone to have a “trolly” personality, it is the job of the person to evaluate whether that it is something that provides personal satisfaction and whether he or she should continue to endorse such character. The same thing applies with the other traits, there is nothing wrong about being immature. Everyone is immature at some point in their lives, it is the job of the individual to determine if that is something he or she wants to adopt as a life-style. In modern times, immaturity has a negative connotation, but the way it is used here is just as generalization of a specific demographic and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that.

skyy
In particular, the NA and EU LCS broadcasts attempt to provide the most entertainment in light of their understanding of their audiences. The NA and EU broadcasts can be described as very trolly, and sometimes a little immature. They are trolly and immature relative to similar broadcasts in traditional sports. Which by the way, I find hilarious. The shows Primetime League and All-Chat are an exacerbation and satirical representations of the unprofessionalism we are discussing. All together, the leagues broadcasts, and the shows produced by Riot, even the popular videos by other sources like Sky and Thoorin, are specific examples that the community enjoys comedy as much as it does strategical analysis of the game and that is a wonderful thing.
The fact that the game is heavily dominated by a single demographic gives the ability to Riot to provide for more entertainment for their audience. Since most of all belong to that demographic, most of all will want something out of League related content that it is more specific than what the average Super Bowl viewer wants. The avergae Super Bowl viewer is not average at all. Almost half of the U.S population watches the Super Bowl and there is very little that unites them that can be specific enough to take advantage of, the thing that the average super bowl viewer likes is music and that’s what they get. However, in League we take advantage of the fact that we are immature, sarcastic, satirical and unprofessional people, and we can take advantage of that. Even though we all want League to expand because it will provide with some benefits, the specificity of the audience is something that will be lost as the game continues to expand.
The unprofessionalism of League and the small niche it targets can be seen as serious disadvantages, but they are in my opinion, big advantages over traditional sports in terms of the entertainment they are able to provide.

What C9 vs CLG Taught us

1) Rush is a God:
Little else needs to be said here. Rush was last’s splits MVP, and he has translated his individual skills to C9. With his super aggressive style of counterjungling, and his carry mentality, Rush has managed to carry C9 multiple times. Although they lost against CLG, he pulled many clutch Insect Kicks on priority targets that gave hope to C9 fans. Jensen put his hands on Le Blanc, a play making champion. However, it seems that all the highlights came from Rush, who made possible a C9 comeback.

c9 rush
2) C9 is an incredible entertaining team to watch:
C9 has been the most entertaining team to watch this season. With few decisive victories, and few decisive defeats, C9 has made every game they played very entertaining to watch. Coupled with the fact that their games are usually close, C9 has many individual talented players who like to play champions with outplay potential.
C9 probably participated in the top three most exciting games to watch this season, making them an all around great team to watch.

hhai
3) Hai’s shotcalling is not world-class anymore:

Hai was considered a strong individual player early in his career, it has been a long time since he has been considered a carry player or a strong individual player. It seems Bunnyfufu is much stronger individually than Hai is. Nonetheless, C9 necessitates Hai’s shotcalling, he has played three roles and has been unsuccessful individually in all of them.
In the game against CLG, Hai got caught a few times costing precious gold and time to his team. It is unfair to say it was his fault since Darshan was so far ahead of Balls, but one wonders how good Hai could be if he had better knowledge of the role. He has been playing the role for only ten weeks and is already showing that his shotcalling alone is enough to give him the starting position. Hai is a player to keep an eye on as he gets more comfortable in the role.
4) Split push is not as good as the other strategies:
It has been since season 3 where Jax was a split push monster and the strategy was widely used. With the addition of new objectives and fast-paced games, it seems that splitpush is a strategy that has not been strong for a long time now.
Darshan, whom was using Jax, was 2.5k gold ahead of Lulu, yet he had trouble getting any towers. My problem with split push strategies is that it is almost impossible to crack inhibitor towers split pushing alone in competitive gaming. Jax only cracked the inhibitor tower by dying to Le Blanc who recalled as Jax was getting the tower. As Jax died, Lulu teleported to the Baron pit and C9 got the Baron. Even though Jax managed to get the inhibitor tower it seems they gave more than what they got.
In my view, whenever there is a split push it seems that whoever wins the 4v4 wins the game, and that is why in my opinion splitpush strategies are not as strong unless a splitpush champion is OP, like Fiora is now.
5) C9 looks better with Hai:
Hai said in the post-game interview that he had made mistakes in the shotcalling. In the past, Hai barely ever made serious mistakes shotcalling. He was never the God of mid-lane, but his shotcalling was definitely world-class. His shot-calling is still one of the best, but changes in meta and role swaps made have altered his view on the game. His shotcalling form support role has not been as impressive, but as he adapts and learns the role, one can only expect good things to come .

Hai is still an essential piece in the C9 puzzle. That shows that C9 has a high skill-cap and they should continue to rapidly improve in the coming weeks as Hai gets more confortable in the support role.

 

courtesy of snsgamers.com and lolesports.com

Should Riot have been more ambitious selecting venues?

Riot was in charge of the process of selecting the venues for Worlds and I am sure they selected a group of people that their sole objective was to organize the S6 World Championships. That being said, one of the most important aspects was to select the locations that the matches would take place in. This team from Riot had access to a lot more information that I  do, therefore, will be omitting information because quite frankly, I do not have access to it. Nonetheless, I will offer a critique as an outsider as whether or not Riot chose the best locations that were available. Riot probably looked at dozens of locations and venues, and the venues they chose had a lot of thinking and logical reasoning that I am ignorant of, our job is to evaluate why Riot chose the venues it did, and whether they could have done a better job at it.
Even though Riot has no doubt chosen good venues for Worlds, it leaves a feeling of disappointment that the venues exclude an extensive part of the NA population. The southestern, the central portion of the US, and Canada were all left out without the chance of attending our favorite event of the year. Once again Riot probably took this into account, and for one reason or another decided that those were not ideal locations. However, one still wishes that the world championships would have hit areas that have never had access to competitive League.

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I was highly disappointment to find out that the venues are small, and that two of the venues have already been used before. The finals will be a the Staple Center and the semifinals will be at Madison Square Garden. The disappointment comes from the fact that it seems that Riot is unwilling to try new venues and new places for this World Championships, there is an added mystery and excitement to having the Worlds championships at a new place. In the case of selecting the venues it is useful to draw insight from traditional sports. When the FIFA soccer World Cup was held in South Korea and South Africa, those were much more exciting venues than Germany and Brazil because they had already held a World Cup, even though it was more than 30 years ago.
S3 Finals were in the Staple Center and S5 Na LCS spring finals were in Madison Square Garden, these venues have recently been used for competitive League, and it seems that S6 Worlds should have been in different locations. There are hundreds of great venues in the U.S that are of equal or better quality for such event. The only time that I think a venue is exciting when it holds an event of this magnitude more than once is when it is an anniversary. The Olympics originated in Olympia, Therefore commemorating Greece with the 100th anniversary of the Olympic games could be exciting for spectators. The Soccer World Cup was first played in Uruguay in 1930, there has been talks about having the final in the same stadium in 2030 to commemorate such occasion. Even though Uruguay is not developed enough to organize a FIFA world Cup, it would be great if the final was played in the same stadium it was played a 100 years ago.
League of Legends is a young game, it probably will not last 100 years, but it is still a young game. I do not think there is any added excitement to having the finals played in the same stadium that it was played 3 years ago. That being said, there is added excitement to having the Finals venue located in a city that has not had access to League like Austin or Boston. Therefore, it was disappointing to find out that Riot did not get out of its comfort zone and chose venues that have recently been used.

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I particularly love big stadiums. When I was a kid, managing a big stadium, or perhaps owning one was my dream. Riot has stated that they like smaller and closed venues because the atmosphere of the venue can be better transferred to the online stream. After S4 worlds finals were held in a stadium with a capacity for forty thousand people in South Korea, Riot realized that even though the atmosphere was good, it was hard to transfer that energy to the stream. Therefore, ever since then, Riot have chosen smaller and closed venues. I completely understand and agree with their observations, however, my criticism would be that a big venue that is closed, could transfer the energy just as well as a smaller one. I can be biased here, but it seems one of the factors that influenced S4 worlds being so low in energy was the crowd. We have learned that Westerners are much louder when it comes to fanaticism for traditional sports and Esports than their Korean counterparts. There are too may great options in America that would make for a great live and online experience. Even though the Cowboys stadium is a little ambitious, I am sure League could fill that stadium and provide for an awesome online experience.

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The Chicago Theater only has capacity for four thousand people and it was chosen as the venue for the quarterfinals. I am having a hard time compromising so much capacity for the idea of a great online stream. The NA LCS holds about four hundred people and even though is in a studio setting, it just does not provide the energy one wishes it did because it just does not have enough people. I know for a fact that if I was in charge of selecting the venues I would have rejected anything that had less a capacity of ten thousand people, even for group stages. I just do not think that as great as a venue can be, if it does not have people in it, it just cannot have a great atmosphere.
The fact that worlds will be held in the West is a positive because I think NA and EU have shown that they are better live audiences than the Korean ones. I am even happier it will be held in NA and that the finals are on a Saturday because that means that you will see me at the Staples Center on October 29th.
I wish Riot would have been more ambitious with the capacity of the venues they chose. I wish Riot would have been more willing to explore different options in different locations, and I really wish NA wins Worlds this year.

Facts and photos courtesy of riotgames.com, tripadvisor.com and chicagolakefrontcarnivalmuscfestival.com

Teamfights Balance

The meta primarily depends on the runes, masteries and items that are considered the strongest. If an item or mastery makes a champion stronger than the other ones, chances are the meta will be played around that item, or that specific subset of champions. In the current state of the game, it seems that the meta revolves around a few keystone masteries. Because damaging champions can abuse some of the damaging masteries, the current meta revolves around being able to abuse those masteries, or setting up strategies to counter meta strategies.
League of Legends teamfights are at the shortest they have ever been. Engage champions are having a hard time in the current meta and when teams group, they typically exchange spells, until a team engages decisively. As the casters have mentioned it, teamfights take a while to happen, but when they do, they explode.

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Early in season 1, if one looks at the VODs it seems that teamfights took longer than games take now. It seems that the game has progressively gotten quicker and teamfights have progressively gotten quicker as well. The problem with fights being skewed in one direction or the other is that it eliminates the possibility of some roles appearing in competitive play.
When fights are too long, champions that do a lot of damage over time rise up to the challenge. Champions that can tank for a long time probably thrive too if the meta revolves around durability. However, in such meta, champions with high burst and low damage over time will probably be nonexistent. In a meta like the one we have now, burst is prioritized. Therefore, mages, bursty ADC’s with long ranges and assassins thrive. Because these champions thrive, tanks and ADC’S like Vayne will probably not see much competitive action.

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Teamfight balance is the idea that different strategies and different kinds of teamfights should be viable in order for any kind of role to exist in League of Legends. The purpose of having teamfight balance is to improve the viewer experience and the strategies that can be implemented into a game of League of Legends. Only when a teamfight can be long or short will the game be truly balanced. Because only in such instance will different kinds of champions and strategies will be viable options. Riot probably thinks that is better to leave some champions off the competitive scene because they do not enhance the viewer experience, Warwick and Nasus probably belong in that category. However, the role they perform, should always be able to come to light in competitive gaming for the purposes of strategic diversity.
Teamfight balance is about integrating every role into the meta. Throughout League’s existence, a certain subset of champions have been prioritized. Where poke has been the priority during the old Nidalee days, tankiness was prioritized during the Cinderhulk meta, bruisers during the juggernaut meta, or support champions in the juggermaw meta. When the game lacks duration in teamfights, chances are a subset of champions are being left out altogether. Therefore, a subset of strategies are being left out of the game altogether as well. If the goal is to enhance viewer experience, teamfight balance is a key factor for competitive and recreational League to remain entertaining.

 

Courtesy of youtube.com and elohell.net

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