MSI Semifinals 2017: Team WE v. G2 Esports

MSI: Team WE vs. G2 Esports Preview

Saturday May 20, 2017, the second semifinals match of MSI will be underway. Team WE will face off against G2 Esports for a spot in the finals. Both teams have exhibited their fair share of stellar and underwhelming performances throughout the tournament. They will be doing their best to shore up the weak spots and study their opponents in order to reach peak performance. This best-of-five series will be all or nothing.

Team WE

The LPL representatives have made it through MSI with a 7-3 record, just below SKT. They dropped games to TSM, SKT, and GAM. Every player has had standout performances throughout the tournament. Team WE will be favored to win in this match-up, since they defeated G2 in both of their Group Stage bouts.

How They Win

WE outclasses G2 in almost every statistic. Gold difference at 15 minutes (+1,047/-342), first three turrets (80 percent/10 percent), dragon control (47 percent/30 percent) and baron control (54 percent/38 percent) all heavily favor the Chinese team.

In both of their victories against G2, WE drafted Ashe for Jin “Mystic” Sung-jun and Malzahar for Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun. WE’s jungler, Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie, massacred Kim “Trick” Gang-Yun in the early game. Su “Xiye” Han-Wei played AP diver-assassins LeBlanc and Kassadin. And Ke “957” Changyu has been most impactful on tanky disruptors, particularly Kled.

All of these pieces come together to form a bursty pick composition. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen was most often caught out by Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Nether Grasp, Explosive Cask, or Chaaaaaaaarge!!! and deleted before he was able to output enough damage. Team WE should maintain this draft strategy and playstyle, because G2 does not seem to have an answer at the moment.

Both wins were secured between 28 and 31 minutes. Team WE took first turret in both matches, which led to the first three turrets in just under 20 minutes. They then proceeded to take baron between 21 and 25 minutes, which allowed WE to break G2’s base and win. In their first game, G2 secured one tower and one dragon. In the follow-up match, WE did not allow them to take any towers or dragons.

How They Lose

Karma and Nami are champion picks that stick out in Team WE’s losses. Xiye lost both games when taking Karma to the mid lane, and Ben lost both games when playing Nami support. 957 looked weak on top lane Jayce, as well. The individuals cannot be fully to blame, but it seems like a good idea to keep these picks on the bench for now.

All of WE’s losses came off the back of sub-30-minute barons secured by their opponent. Against TSM, the gold difference never rose to more than 2,000 until they took a baron. From there, TSM closed out the game, taking a second baron and only ceding 4 kills. Team WE was leading SKT by 2,100 gold at 22 minutes, but Han “Peanut” Wang-ho landed a baron steal. SKT broke their base, took a second baron and won. Team WE’s loss to GAM was mostly due to Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh’s Kha’Zix getting fed a triple kill around 10 minutes.

If WE gives over baron, their chances of losing are high. When viewing statistics for the four semifinal teams, their win rates align with their first baron rates. This objective is pivotal to their playstyle. Properly pressuring around baron was a main catalyst for drawing in G2 and picking off key carries. However, if WE is sloppy in clearing vision or shot-calling around Smite, then it could spell disaster.

Player To Watch

Team WE’s top laner, 957

Team WE’s victory will rely heavily on 957 in the top lane. They have won every game that he has drafted Kled, and he has maintained a 27.0 KDA with the champion. On the other hand, his single Jayce game fed TSM their first 5 kills. G2’s Ki “Expect” Dae-Han is not necessarily the same carry threat that SKT or TSM have. WE will rely on 957 to repeat the masterful disruption he exhibited against G2 in their prior match-ups.

G2 Esports

Making it into semifinals by the skin of its teeth is G2 Esports. The EU LCS representatives finished the Group Stage with a 4-6 record, only picking up wins against Flash Wolves (2), GIGABYTE Marines (1), and TSM (1). Seeing as they lost both matches against Team WE, they are the underdog in this best-of-five series.

How They Win

G2’s victories varied drastically from each other. Three of the four wins were secured 42 minutes or later, and allowed the enemy team to secure at least one baron. Two of those three late-game wins involved G2 falling behind 8,000-9,000 gold at some point. The only champions drafted in multiple wins were Caitlyn, Nunu, and Orianna.

In all of their wins, Zven had two or fewer deaths and had a gold lead on the enemy AD Carry. It is obvious that he is their primary carry threat. G2 lost both games that he drafted Ashe. Zven only has wins on Caitlyn, Twitch, and Kog’Maw thus, G2’s draft will need to revolve around these champions. Ivern, Lulu, Karma, and Orianna have at least 50 percent win rates for G2 thus far. Combining multiple enchanters into the draft may allow Zven to break even through the early game and fully carry in the mid-late game.

Luka “Perkz” Perković has also been a consistent source of damage throughout MSI. Mid lane is arguably the most stacked position at the tournament, and Perkz has been going toe-to-toe with some of the best in the world. He has been averaging 28.8 percent of G2’s damage, the highest among all mid laners (second highest overall behind Zven). Putting Perkz on a champion that can control side waves, particularly Fizz, could be a good back-up if Orianna is banned.

How They Lose

There are several situations that G2 should avoid. Keep Trick off of Lee Sin, he failed horribly twice on the champion. Also, they should not draft Ashe for Zven or Zyra for Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez. Zven needs to be able to output immense damage, and Mithy plays much better on protective champions. Even Tahm Kench or Braum are preferable to Zyra if Lulu or Karma are unavailable.

If Trick continues to have poor early games, then this will most surely be G2’s defeat. Trick has the second lowest KDA and the second highest death share of all players at the tournament. He also has the lowest average damage of all junglers at the event.

While their best strategy generally results in early deficits, G2 will need to play intelligently between 15 and 30 minutes. Team WE’s average game time is over 5 minutes shorter than G2’s, which means if they cede 4,000-6,000 gold leads, then it will be highly unlikely for G2 to win.

Player To Watch

G2 Esport’s top laner, Expect

Expect has been putting up some big games this tournament. He has maintained a 3.7 KDA while only contributing 11.9 percent of G2’s deaths. The top laner has secured wins on Jayce, Gragas, Shen, and Nautilus. G2 also released a video of the final shot-calling from their win over TSM, showing the team’s faith in Expect.

The flip side is that Expect has some of the lowest damage of the top laners at the tournament, and his kill participation is low compared to 957. G2 will need him to be more involved as a proactive member of the team, matching 957’s map movements. Perkz and Zven can pump out the damage. Mithy can shield and provide vision. And Trick is under-performing. Expect may be the biggest factor that could turn this match-up on its head.

Prediction

Unless the stars align, and G2 are able to draft a true “protect the ADC” composition, then Team WE will skunk them 3-0. Trick got steamrolled by Condi in both of their Group Stage games. Mystic and Ben have been performing well enough to keep up with Zven and Mithy. Expect and 957 will most likely be trying to execute similar strategies, but 957 has proven to be more successful up to this point. Perkz matches up against Xiye pretty well, but the synergy among the entire team is heavily in WE’s favor.


Player/Champion Statistics: Oracle’s Elixir

All Images: LoL Esports Photos

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Call of Duty Global Pro League Week Four Preview

This upcoming weekend marks the last week of Stage One of the CWL Global Pro League. Week four will commence with American teams OpTic Gaming and Enigma6 facing off against European teams Red Reserve and Elevate. The teams will clash at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

As with weeks prior, each team will face one another in a double round-robin format. The top two placing teams will advance to Playoffs as well as qualify for Stage Two of the Global Pro League, Pool Play at CWL Anaheim, and Call of Duty World Championship later this year. The 3rd place team will also qualify for Stage Two of the Global Pro League, Pool Play at CWL Anaheim, and Call of Duty World Championship. The team that places last will face Relegation in order to qualify for Stage Two.

OpTic Gaming is most likely poised to take first place in the group while the other teams will be battling it out for the ever important second place. With no other teams available to scrim in the EU region, Elevate and Red Reserve have not been able to get in good practice since April.

OpTic Gaming

OpTic comes into this weekend, regarded by analysts and players alike, as the best team in the world. The combined talents of Seth “Scump” Abner, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, Damon “Karma” Barlow, and Matt “Formal” Piper have been playing together longer than any other team in competitive CoD.

After a slow start to the Infinite Warfare season, OpTic won back-to-back International LANs: CWL Paris and CWL Dallas. Having lost to eUnited in the Grand Finals of CWL Atlanta after a miraculous Loser’s Bracket run, a new fire was lit under the team. With Formal now acting as their “In Game Leader” the newly invigorated OpTic looks to place first this weekend.

OpTic has been teaming together since April 2015

Enigma6 Group

Enigma6 were unable to complete during the 2016 Black Ops III season due to the age restriction of the CoD World League. Now with a team able to compete, E6 have experienced moderate success so far this season. At the first LAN of IW, E6 came out of the Open Bracket to eventually place 7-8th. So far they have not been able to repeat this performance, with their most recent placing a 9-12th finish at CWL Dallas.

After CWL Dallas, rumors swirled that Mike “MRuiz” Ruiz would retire and Preston “Priest” Greiner would take his place. Controversy ensued due to the rules surrounding CWL roster locks leading into the GPL. However, MRuiz stayed on the team as they hope to secure a spot in the Stage One Playoffs.

Enigma6’s 2017 CoD Roster

Red Reserve

Having lost half their original roster during the EU rostermania following CWL Paris, Red picked up Niall “Niall” Sunderland and Sean “Seany” O’Connor. Since then, Red has been on a hot streak. In their first MLG GameBattles 2K series, the newly formed team placed second and won the next 2K.

Red would go on to put on an incredible performance in the Loser’s Bracket at CWL Dallas. They would eventually finish 5-6th. At the next LAN CWL Birmingham, Red again placed 5-6th, showing that this newly formed squad can hang with the best. Red is poised to make a serious run at the second place spot this weekend.

 

David “Urban” Marsh of Red Reserve

Elevate

At their first LAN after adding Rhys “Rated” Price in place of Seany, Elevate had an abysmal performance placing 21-24th after starting in Pool Play. After their poor performance in the US, Elevate seemed to bounce back with a 5-6th placing at CWL Birmingham.

Like the other EU team in the group Red, the biggest issue for Elevate heading into the GPL is their lack of practice. With other EU teams leaving early to boot camp in the US, Elevate has not scrimmed since April, according to players on the team. Looked at as the weakest team to qualify for Stage One of the GPL, Elevate has a lot to prove this weekend.

Jordan “Reedy” Reed and Josh “Watson” Watson at CWL Birmingham

Predictions

  1. OpTic Gaming
  2. Red Reserve
  3. Enigma6
  4. Elevate

Jack Waters is an avid Call of Duty Esports fan and wants to hear from YOU! Find him on Twitter.

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2017 MSI stage and crowd in Brazil

MSI Play-In Champion Power Picks

The first stage of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational is complete. Two wildcard teams have moved on to enter the second stage where they will meet representatives from NA LCS and LMS. Last weekend was a joy to watch, as teams from around the globe came together to battle on the Rift. This weekend promises similar excitement.

Before heading into the match-ups, though, it is important to highlight key champions. These are champions who had high pick and ban rates. They have been contested throughout the tournament. As regions enter and exit the competition, some preferences are bound to change. However, the following choices have proven themselves to be fruitful, and will most likely remain power picks for the remainder of the contest.

Top

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Shen   Pick/Ban Rate (P/B): 58%   Win Rate (W%): 25%

Shen is valued for his ability to impact the map. Stand United allows the top laner to protect allies with a shield, or follow the channel with Shadow Dash to engage fights.

Split-pushing is a bit easier, since Stand United and Teleport allow Shen to enter a neighboring lane. Top laners generally build Tytanic Hydra, Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel on this champion.

Do not let the low tournament win rate fool you. Players such as Seung “Huni” Hoon Heo and Yau “MMD” Li-Hung have 100% win rates with the champion, and Ki “Expect” Dae-Han, Asım “fabFabulous” Cihat Karakaya, and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell are 67% or higher (Spring 2017).

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Fizz   P/B: 79%  W%: 57%

AD tank Fizz has become a menace yet again. Trinity Force is essential to this playstyle. Top laners have built Sunfire Cape, Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel for tankiness. They may include Blade of the Ruined King or Wit’s End for attack speed and augmenting the bonus damage of Seastone Trident.

Fizz has also been used for split-pushing. Playful Trickster is a low-cooldown spell which allows for speedy roaming. Top laners have been choosing Ignite-Teleport as Summoner Spells for early laning and global pressure.

Gigabyte Marines flexed Fizz into the mid lane once already, and other teams will most likely be open to this idea. In the right hands, this champion is truly a nuisance, which is why he has been banned so often.

2017 MSI top lane power pick: Galio   P/B: 75%   W%: 86%

The newly reworked Colossus made his debut at MSI. So far, he has been oppressive. Galio’s combination of tankiness, utility, and damage are difficult to overcome.

Players are building Spirit Visage and Sunfire Cape to provide resistances and ambient damage. Knight’s Vow and Iceborn Gauntlet have been prominent items, too.

The semi-global pressure of Hero’s Entrance is perfect for top laners, especially playing around objectives. Shield of Durand and Justice Punch provide high-impact crowd control for Galio’s team. So far, Nautilus has been the only other top lane champion with a higher win rate than Galio (with more than one game played).

 Jungle

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Ivern  P/B: 79%   W%: 50%

Redemption, Locket of the Iron Solari and Athene’s Unholy Grail are only built by the jungler if they are playing Ivern. His shielding and healing are ridiculously powerful when combined with Triggerseed.

Teams excel when Ivern enables his laners to snowball and siege turrets with Daisy! His jungle clear is quicker than most. He is also able to donate his blue and red buffs more frequently to teammates.

Drafting Ivern allows teams to create protect-the-carry compositions. When paired with Lulu, Orianna, Karma or Shen, Ivern unlocks marksmen, assassins, and mages to play fast and loose.

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Lee Sin  P/B: 88%   W%: 53%

Lee Sin is League of Legends’ perennial jungle champion. Once truly overpowered junglers have been banned or picked, many players fall back to Lee Sin. His mobility and early pressure allows teams to push the pace and snowball quickly when played correctly.

This tournament has seen Lee Sin played 15 times: 6 games more than the next most played champion. He is a versatile pick that can mesh with almost anyone. None of the best junglers are afraid to pull him out to demonstrate their Flash-Dragon’s Rage mechanics.

All of the remaining junglers at MSI have at least 64% win rates on Lee Sin this Spring. Han “Peanut” Wang-ho has maintained a 100% win rate over 11 games.

2017 MSI jungle power pick: Graves   P/B: 88%   W%: 75%

Teams have been smart to frequently ban Graves. Junglers have won 6 out of 8 games with him at MSI. End of the Line provides insanely fast jungle clears. Quickdraw allows him to move through thin walls and gain bonus resistances. Collateral Damage nukes low health targets.

No participating jungler has less than a 73% win rate using Graves. Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan has a 100% win rate and a 13.3 KDA over 5 games on the champion. Kang “Blank” Sun-gu sports 100% and 17.5 over 2 games.

Black Cleaver and Maw of Malmortius are featured items beyond Enchantment: Warrior. Players at MSI have even been building Blade of the Ruined King, which is arguably overpowered at the moment.

 

Mid

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: Syndra   P/B: 79%   W%: 50%

Koray “Naru” Bıçak and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok have the lowest win rates on Syndra: 67%. All other mid laners at MSI sport 71% or higher.

Syndra has been a mainstay in the mid lane for a few splits at this point. Her combination of waveclear, crowd-control and reliable burst damage are hardly matched. She has the highest total number of bans for a reason.

The average damage per minute for Syndra players at MSI is 629. This is higher than any other mid lane champion with multiple games played. Expect her presence to remain on the high side moving forward.

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: LeBlanc   P/B: 71%   W%: 33%

LeBlanc’s strengths are similar to Syndra, except LeBlanc is more of an assassin. Distortion allows mid laners to quickly roam to other lanes or into the jungle. High level players can utilize Mimic to confuse and outplay opponents.

Hextech Gunblade and Void Staff are currently staples within LeBlanc’s build. When paired with Sorceror’s Shoes and Abyssal Scepter, LeBlanc’s burst is unsettling. One successful Ethereal Chains stun onto a squishy target is guaranteed death.

Văn “Optimus” Cường Trần lost his only LeBlanc game at MSI. Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok have yet to get the chance to play her this Spring. All 4 other mid laners have 60% or higher win rates.

2017 MSI mid lane power pick: Ahri   P/B: 50%   W%: 75%

Mobility is Ahri’s biggest strength in the current meta. Spirit Rush gives her three dashes to enter and leave fights as she pleases. Ahri’s item path is also one of the most flexible, as she can build into a teamfighting mage, an assassin, or some combination. MSI featured Morellonomicon, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Hextech Protobelt, Hextech Gunblade, Abyssal Scepter, and Luden’s Echo during the first stage.

Ahri has had the highest total plays during the tournament: 8. She also had the highest win rate of any mid lane champion with more than one game played. It would not be surprising to continue seeing her picked throughout the remainder of the tournament. However, Su “Xiye” Han-Wei lost his only Ahri game this Spring in the LPL.

Bot

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Ashe   P/B: 88%   W%: 50%

Ever since Blade of the Ruined King rose to prominence, Ashe has remained pick or ban in most regions. Her global engage (Enchanted Crystal Arrow) and follow-up damage (Ranger’s Focus) potential is unrivaled in the AD Carry position.

Only Nguyen “Slay” Ngoc Hung has fewer than nine games on Ashe this Spring. All bot lanes in the tournament should be comfortable playing on this champion.

Items on Ashe are straightforward. Runaan’s Hurricane, Infinity Edge, Berserker’s Greaves, and Last Whisper generally round out the build. Landing ultimates is crucial for an Ashe to succeed. The entire team needs to be ready to pull the trigger after a well-placed Enchanted Crystal Arrow.

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Caitlyn   P/B: 67%   W%: 40%

The non-utility marksman with the largest presence at MSI thus far is Caitlyn. While her Yordle Snap Traps provide small amounts of crowd control, Caitlyn’s primary goal is to rattle off as many auto-attacks as possible. Her passive, Headshot, can decimate entire teams once Runaan’s Hurricane is in play.

It’s unclear whether or not Caitlyn will remain such a high priority for the rest of the tournament. Her win rate so far has not justified her high pick rate. Many of the world’s top AD Carries seem partial to drafting marksmen with higher skill caps and higher risk-reward, such as Ezreal, Twitch or Lucian.

Only Jin “Mystic” Sung-jun has played Caitlyn more than 3 games this Spring. Lu “Betty” Yuhung, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran have played her one game each.

2017 MSI bot lane power pick: Varus   P/B: 67%   W%: 43%

Varus has the lowest average damage per minute of the entire AD Carry class at MSI (392). He is played similarly to Ashe, except he trades lower engage pressure for higher poke damage. A well-placed Chain of Corruption can lock someone down long enough to eliminate them. Piercing Arrow gives bot lanes the ability to snipe low-health enemies.

Varus’ build path is virtually identical to Ashe’s, as well. Blade of the Ruined King, Runaan’s Hurricane, Infinity Edge, and Last Whisper are common. Some attack speed builds can include Guinsoo’s Rageblade.

Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Mystic have win rates 50% or lower with Varus. Betty has maintained a 100% win rate over sevengames played.

Support

2017 MSI support power pick: Lulu  P/B: 100%   W%: 53%

The only champion that is currently 100% pick or ban is Lulu. However, she only won just over half of the time. Lulu’s majorly impactful Wild Growth couple with the reliability of Help Pix!-Glitterlance-Thunderlord’s Decree poke makes her relevant at all stages of the game.

All support players at the tournament should be well-versed in Lulu’s gameplay. Her mechanics are rather straightforward, but proper timing of speed-ups, shields, slows and enlargments separates the best Lulu players from the majority.

2017 MSI support power pick: Zyra   P/B: 33%   W%: 50%

321 damage per minute is not bad for a support champion. That has been the average for Zyra at MSI so far. Brand is the only support to out-damage her.

Zyra seems to work for all support players at the tournament except Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who only has a 20% win rate on the champion. Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Jie has even maintained a 100% win rate with Zyra over 8 games.

Depending on the needs of a team, support players build full damage or more healing and shielding. MSI has seen Redemption, Locket of the Iron Solari, Liandry’s Torment and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter.

2017 MSI support power pick: Karma   P/B: 63%   W%: 50%

When Lulu is unavailable, Karma becomes the next best utility support. Her Mantra-Inspire shields and speeds up the entire team, which provides some the most potent engage and disengage a support champion can offer. Karma’s Mantra-Inner Flame offers strong poke in lane, which is why many players choose Thunderlord’s Decree as their keystone mastery.

All of the remaining support players have 60% or higher win rates with Karma. While it has not been as common this Spring, Karma can also flex into mid lane. Xiye, for example, has won 100% of LPL game using mid Karma (6 games).

 

While these may have been the most prominent picks in the first stage of MSI, plenty of champions were played. Unique picks such as Sona, Blitzcrank and Darius left their mark on the Rift. Tahm Kench was played in the top lane. Hopefully, there will be more variation as other teams enter the competition. Nonetheless, look to these last seven teams to show how high the ceilings are on these champions, and why they may currently be so popular internationally.

Champion Images: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Champion_squares

MSI Champion Statisticshttp://www.gamesoflegends.com/tournament/stats.php?id=MSI%20Play-In%202017

Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lolesports/albums/72157683248434325/with/34384923145/

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Call of Duty has a new Rivalry: OpTic vs eUnited

A phenomenal grand final at CWL Dallas was the latest matchup in Call of Duty’s newest rivalry. The match was almost an exact replica of CWL Atlanta’s grand final, except that this time OpTic Gaming, instead of eUnited, won out on last map after going to a second series.

The tournament was OpTic’s second win of the year, making them the only team with two major LAN wins under their belt.

OpTic breezed through pool play, going 12-1 in map count. The journey became more difficult in the championship bracket, where both Luminosity and Splyce took OpTic to game five. Their toughest opponent, however, was eUnited, who took them to two game fives after extending the series by winning the first one. Both teams, hungry for their second LAN win, put on a show that attracted over 100k viewers to MLG.tv.

CWL Dallas was stacked, with top teams from every region in attendance. Two European teams, Splyce and Red Reserve, even managed to place in the top six. Before this year, North American teams dominated the competition through and through. Now, more Europeans are seeing the light of Championship Sunday.

OpTic is a team that is no stranger to Championship Sunday. Since Advanced Warfare, they have been at the top of the podium more than any other team in Call of Duty, and all without making roster changes.

Along the way, rivals have risen to meet them, only to fall off. FaZe, who have stuck together just as long as OpTic, were a fierce rival in Advanced Warfare and look to be this year as well. They have only placed below 3rd once so far. On Black Ops III, Rise Nation was seemingly the only team that could stop OpTic. However, their roster this year has had varied performances.

eUnited Rises to the Occasion

With their current roster, eUnited appears to be the only team capable of hanging with OpTic through Championship Sunday. The grind wears teams down, and only those with the experience and skill to make it through reach the grand final. Twice now, eUnited have outlasted everyone else to meet OpTic in the grand final of a CWL event. Twice now, they have kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

Atlanta was where eUnited proved everyone wrong. They were “jetpackers” and “online warriors,” and that was the reason, supposedly, they started the tournament with a high seed. It was then that eUnited showed their worth, as they ran through the teams in their pool and won over several tough opponents on their way to the grand final. There, they met OpTic, who worked their way through the loser’s bracket after losing to Team EnVyUs earlier on. In that grand final, OpTic looked unbeatable. They were on fire, from their loser’s bracket run onward, and eUnited looked to be just hanging on. But despite the 3-0 thrashing they suffered in the first series, eUnited was able to bounce back and take the championship. It was a first for all members of the team.

eUnited’s roster doesn’t consist of superstars, or at least, they aren’t superstars yet. Team captain Justin “SiLLY” Fargo-Palmer is flanked by three players that few had heard of before this year: Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson, Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, and Pierce “Gunless” Hillman. In fact, Arcitys and Prestinni, who happen to be twin brothers, only turned 18 two months before last year’s Call of Duty Championship. They quit their regular jobs to pursue a career in Call of Duty, and it’s paying off.

After Dallas, OpTic’s Damon “Karma” Barlow was impressed. “I wasn’t a believer [two] months ago but that showed how good [eUnited was],” he said.

eUnited is well aware of the rivalry they’ve gotten themselves into, and it reaches further than Call of Duty. Just this week, eUnited faced OpTic in the Gears of War Fight Night.

“Hey @OpTicGaming. We will get a Halo team if you get a League of Legends team. Then we can have a real rivalry. Deal?” eUnited joked on Twitter.

The rivalry between OpTic and eUnited was born in Atlanta but grew up in Dallas. So far, it’s created some of the most exciting Call of Duty in recent memory, and we hope to see more of it next month in Columbus when the Global Pro League begins.


Image: eUnited Twitter.

Josh Billy is a long time Call of Duty fan. You can email him at joshuatbilly@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Faker the “Meta establisher”

Courtesy of, www.youtube.com

                           Courtesy of, www.youtube.com

A Meta Establisher is someone who plays a champion and other people for whatever reason, follow the lead of the Meta Establisher and play the champions that the meta Establisher is playing. Below are a few reasons why Faker has been an incredible Meta Establisher in the midlane throughout his career.
Faker has long been considered one the the best League of Legends player of all time. Although his statistics on every category are beyond impressive, one aspect of his game that should not be overlooked is the respect other players have for him. Faker has established the meta in the mid lane almost since he came into the scene, some of it has to do with his ability to quickly figure out what champions are overpowered after a patch is introduced, but the respect other players have for him, also contributes to his Meta Establisher history.

Xerath:

Faker introduced Xerath into the scene worsening the wave-clear meta where Xerath and Ziggs were prioritized. Throughout the next few months Xerath was the top pick/banned champion across all regions and was introduced by Faker.

Ryze:

Faker introduced Ryze into season 5 Worlds. It was not until the tournament was over that other teams realized that the champion was overpowered, yet Faker figured it out before the tournament started and continued to use it even in the finals against Koo Tigers.

Karma: 

Faker introduced Karma into the scene. The champion was used in the midland for a short time, yet other regions(notably NA) picked it up. Faker only played Karma once, funnily enough lost that game. However, Karma was a contested pick in NA, exacerbating the situation due to the fact that Bjergsen got a pentakill on her.
Faker played his first competitive game of season 6 with Corki. Although he has not played any other games with the champion, Corki has become a priority pick in NA, and has seen some play in other regions.

Viktor:

The champion that was more established by one player in my opinion was Viktor in season 5. Faker prioritized this champion picking it into anything last season. This is something very uncharacteristic of Faker since his incredibly big champion pool, means that he typically does not highly prioritize a single champion. However, his undefeated record on the champion, making it one of the champions that he is undefeated on having played the most games on(used to be LeBlanc, but he lost with her at MSI). The interesting part is that every region prioritized Viktor as well last season when the midlane meta was composed of :Cassiopia, Azir and Viktor. Yet, LMS region and NA had negative win rates on the champion despite prioritizing it. NA had more than ten games played on Viktor and continued to first pick/ban just because Faker had tremendous success on the champion.

LeBlanc:

Arguably Faker’s most successful champion is LeBlanc, one of the champions that requires mastery in order to play at the competitive level. Last season before MSI, around spring time, every team banned LeBlanc against SKT. Yet, anyone else who attempted to play the champion, was not nearly as impressive as Faker was. No other player was feared for his LeBlanc, yet teams had to ban it against SKT and it took the most anti-LeBlanc team composition to finally defeat Faker on that champion. Although very few players followed Faker’s lead around this time, and even fewer had success on her, LeBlanc deserves an honorable mention because Faker was the only one that figured out how to effectively use her. The champion was later nerfed and it can be said it was a target nerf towards Faker as he alone made the champion look overpowered.

Honorable mentions:

There are many more examples like mid Riven, Zed, Ahri and Ezreal that Faker has in some way or another influenced the meta with. They deserve an honorable mention, but they were either not introduced by Faker, or other players did not follow Faker and played the champion enough.