Reapered explains how he has kept Cloud 9 relevant in 2018

I got a chance to interview Reapered about his success with C9 and what his thoughts were on NA’s performance this split and chances at the next Worlds this fall. The video was messed up (my apologies), but I have the audio included below because hearing Reapered’s laugh is great.

 


 

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

Here are a couple paraphrased questions and answers, but check the audio below for the full interview.

 

With some top teams struggling, how has C9 continued their legacy in doing so well?

“We have a lot of very experienced players, most of whom have been to worlds multiple times even. So we use that experience to focus on the topside to help Licorice, and we practice smart plays. Last year at worlds, I often said the same thing about how we needed to just play Maokai and have easy win conditions. But was sad to try and play that style, and didn’t really work out necessarily. This year, I was thinking about changing our practice and gameplay to prepare for worlds specifically.”

 

What are current things that C9 is working on? How are they practicing differently to prepare for worlds?

“Changed their style from having high baseline, easy win conditions to teams with more specific goals and win conditions. This allows players to work the map and champions in a specific way to give players amain goal and specific advantages that are planned ahead of time.”

 


 

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

 

And some of the other questions I ask:

Is the game plan largely decided by you or do the players have a lot of input?

What is it going to take for NA to be a better region? When is C9 going to be able to go farther than they do currently?

Does the fact that CLG and TSM, who are traditionally very successful, are struggling point to a more competitive and stronger region? Or are they just weaker and therefore the region is as well?

Any problems or thoughts on the meta as a coach?

 


 

 


 

Thanks for reading! Find Reapered and Cloud 9 on Twitter @Reapered and @Cloud9. Check back here for more content and our YouTube channel for my video interviews! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Impact uses meditation to help top die

Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong on Liquid’s best late game playmaker – “Everyone is really good. But if I only had one choice…”

 

So you keep breaking your own record for fastest game time, but what is going to happen if you get to a 60 or 70 minute game? Will you be able to keep the pressure?

“No, we’ll just do the same thing. I think we end fast because we catch enemy’s mistakes. So we just punish really hard. They tried to engage at a bad time and mid was open, so we just killed the nexus. So we are just better than other teams at catching mistakes I think.”

 

 

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Oh okay, so you think even in a longer game it’s all about catching them out, and you’ll still be successful in that?

 

“Yeah, we play 50 to 60 minute games in scrims and are still successful there too, so it’s the same thing.”

 

Good to hear! But hopefully we won’t run into that and we keep having shorter games, they’re more fun to watch!

“Yeah, but a lot of teams still run that rune, you know? I don’t know the English name.”

 

Gathering Storm? Do you guys not run that?

“Yeah, Gathering Storm. I think Pobelter has tried it but not me. I just like pressure more.”

 

But what is going to happen if you don’t get ahead early. You oftentimes have good early games – and Doublelift talks a lot about always putting pressure on enemies when you do have a lead – but what happens if other teams do that same thing to you?

“Well I think today we didn’t do as well [but we still won], so I’m not that scared. Mid or late game we can play better. Today, I played Ornn and I was on an island. They were 4v4 with top on an island, it was fine. And I like that because we didn’t throw the game. We didn’t have pressure, but we know we can win. We can catch the enemy’s mistake, and then we win.”

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

 


So I want to talk some about your role on the team. People often talk about you as being a big tank player, but this season we have seen you on Gangplank twice and Gnar and Vladimir (and Ornn twice now as well). But what are we looking at for your main role, or does it only depend on each game?

“Well everyone says I’m a tank player, but they forget about my old Ekko and GP. I just follow the meta, you know? My champion pool is really good I think. Because in solo queue, I always play on another champion, another champion. So that is why I play various carries too. I don’t know. Everyone says I’m a tank player, but it doesn’t matter. I’m just following the meta. I think if it’s a good champion, I’ll play it.”

 

So when are you most comfortable? How do you prepare for games and work to get better?

“I think just focus. Sometimes I miss my focus. Sometimes I just can’t see the minimap; I just panic sometimes. My vision is weird because I can’t see my champion, I can’t see the minimap. Sometimes. But last two weeks I didn’t, [I was fine]. I did that two weeks ago versus 100 Thieves, I did it. I cured it now. I changed things. I just drink coffee, because I don’t drink Coke anymore. I love Coke so much, but I gave it up because I think I am losing my brain. Because Coke is bad. I didn’t know it, but someone told me. So just coffee and meditation. I think meditation really helps you focus more. Because for me I’m usually more focused and thinking about how I can increase vision. I do it quickly sometimes too; just one second, two seconds.”

 

 

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

Oh that’s interesting, short meditations in the middle of the games, I like that. Do you ever do it before the games?

 

“Not every game, but sometimes. Almost always. Because, in Cloud 9, they taught me some meditation too.”

 

You have a really good team with a lot of very talented individuals, but who would you put on the pedestal to carry the team in difficult situations? Who is the strongest player in clutch moments when the game is on the line? In late game teamfights or last second split decisions, which player is the most talented in that moment?

“I think me maybe? Because I’m talking so much and controlling waves, though Doublelift is really good too. I’m not sure – everyone is good, everyone is really good. But if I only had one choice… Me.” *laughs*.

 


 

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

How is playing on Liquid compared to Cloud 9?

 

“It’s not too similar, Cloud 9 is more family, it’s friends. And I’m close to my teammates, but it’s more doing the job. It’s a more professional thing. I like that because… well SKT does that.”

 

So you like that it is more of a business then. And does that help you stay focused?

“Yeah and just doing my job. If I’m not bored… well, if I’m not feeling professional, I’m not as focused. I lose focus. It then becomes a boring game, you know? And then I play solo queue and it’s boring and I can’t keep playing. But now [that competitive gaming is more of a professional thing] I play solo queue so much, and I like that.”

 


Thanks for reading! Find Impact on Twitter @Impact for updates on his fancy dinners. Check back here for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Huhi – Scrims, team development and TSM

Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun on opposing mid-laners – “I’m not really that scared of any mid-laner right now.”


Congrats on the recent wins and turning it around. How do you feel about the team?

“It feels good that we are starting to prove it on stage. In scrims, we are always really confident and it was always really weird that it didn’t transfer to the real games. And now it feels like we are getting there.”

 

Obviously stage play is a lot different, but what was the issue in the transition? Lack of confidence? Or just the change in environment?

Image provided by Riot Games

“I wasn’t sure, and I’m still not actually. First of all, people are figuring out their normal daily routine on stage too. We were doing a lot of different things that the team asked us and I think that was too much at once. We slowly adapted finally and now we are there… We just had to get used to the different process.”

 

What are your plans on preparing next week for TSM? It’s an old rivalry, both teams were off to slow starts but are really ramping up now and are at 3-3, with a similar story this split and in the past. So are you looking forward to it? Is it still the same big match like it usually is?

“I think for sure. This time we have an ex-TSM member. We’ve never had that, that’s a new thing for us. But we kind of want to make sure that all of us treat the TSM match the same as other matches so that we can stay focused on our games. I don’t think we will do anything different to prepare versus them.”

 

Do you think they have any big weaknesses that you are going to try and exploit?

“Well, I think MikeYeung was having a pretty hard time in the early split just trying to get used to his team too. So I guess the mid-jung synergy could be a potential place to punish since me and Reignover are pretty comfortable with each other.”

 

There have been a lot of big mid lane plays, with our first pentakill on Febiven last week and others picking up steam, like Pobelter. But people have also been talking about you as well and how you lead the team differently this split than before. So where do you personally put yourself in this group of mid laners, and who is the strongest/scariest to go against in lane?

Image provided by Riot Games

“It’s pretty hard to say one, because I haven’t thought about it yet. I would say the first and second split that I played, I had those tier lists in my heart, though I never really said it. But this time I’m not really paying attention that much on it because I’m just really confident with my team and I know that it doesn’t matter. We will beat every team as long as we play our game and we focus on ourselves. So I’m not really that scared of any mid-laner right now.”

 

So when are you most comfortable then? When do you go into a game feeling really confident? Is there a specific team comp or champ that you like more than others?

“I’d say when we play the champions that we practice in scrims, for sure. We have that muscle memory where we know what we are capable of and the power spikes and what we have to do to win the game and that makes the game much easier. Also, right now, I’m pretty comfortable in almost every game because my team helps me feel comfortable. Like yesterday, I felt like I was playing really bad, and even though I was, my team was making sure I was okay and helping me to stay in the game. They got my back and we won the game easily.”

Image provided by Riot Games

Do you have any big weaknesses that you’re working on?

“I think because of our strengths – playing as a team – I feel like our weakness is, if you die, everyone will try to save that guy and die together. So those are the points we want to improve on. Like when we have to do that and when we don’t and try to not bleed. And that’s a challenge we have to try to figure out.”

 


Thanks for reading! Find Huhi on Twitter @Huhi to send him your energy. Check back here for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Please Sing for Sneaky

Zach “Sneaky” Scuderi – “I make up for it in other ways, like just screaming randomly.”

Parqueso – Are the changes to 8.2 going to be a buff to Cloud 9’s bot lane? Is this playing towards your strength? Are you more excited for the changes that are coming?

Image provided by Riot Games

Sneaky – “I’d say personally I always enjoy changes, basically no matter what they are. The only time they’re sad is if they nerf all ADCs, so I just lose power overall rather than compensation nerfs. I really enjoy those, where they hit something on a champion’s kit but then they buff something else to compensate. So it’s not like ‘Yeah your champion is just worse, no matter what.’

With any patch, changing up the starting items, it’s always fun to figure out what you’re supposed to do because it kind of feels like it opens up more picks. With Targon’s and triple pot it was so hard to push people out of lane, but now you can’t really buy it – I mean you can, but nobody buys it right now – you buy dorans blade or shield usually as the starter for ADCs. So it’s just a whole lot less sustain… You can get knocked out easier. It’s pretty fun to play.

I enjoy my time! I am not sure if I can say it’s beneficial for the C9 bot lane, because it’s always a learning experience for every patch, even if they don’t change anything [bot lane specific]. There’s always things changing around like new picks or small meta changes.”

 

P – Speaking of new picks, have you seen much change in the scrims? Are there any more interesting picks coming out in scrims that we haven’t seen yet?

Image provided by Riot Games

S – “It’s been a little bit different. I haven’t seen too much Ezreal because, you know, they nerfed Klepto AND Ez. I mean, Targon’s is removed too… Besides that, the pool has been pretty similar to last patch for ADCs. And supports too. I mean there are some things you could play. Like Brand got buffed, you could potentially play him support. Jinx got buffed too, she could be pretty good. I play her in solo queue, and she feels pretty nice. So there could be some people that will come out a bit more in this patch, but just not the first week. Usually in the first week people are still playing what they’re used to rather than ‘Oh, Jinx got a huge buff, she’s really good into this!’ That kinda takes a while to figure out.”

P – Smoothie said he was expecting to see a lot of range supports, but then it’s been mostly tanks still. Do you expect that to continue? Or is that something that is maybe just people continuing that playstyle from the last two weeks?

S – “I think that is for sure one of the things that was looked at when the patch notes came out, like those supports coming in. I think there is still a possibility of them coming in, but it’s just figuring out what you have to remove from the game to make those picks viable. Like say Alistar kills the ranged supports, no matter what… If you ban it, does that open up all the picks? And people will test that kind of thing. And maybe sometimes people just won’t pick the Alistar and then they’ll play into it and they’re like ‘Wow, that was really stupid.’ I don’t know about one week, because generally those things kind of take time… I think that stuff definitely comes out, but I think it might take a while.”

 

Image provided by Riot Games

P – So, just for a random switch up, who is the best singer on your team? Or who sings the most?

S – “Personally, I cringe when I hear people sing to songs. It’s not like it’s terrible but…”

P – What if they’re a really good singer?

S – “Yeah I still cringe. Like have you seen Darshan’s videos? He has made a few videos with CLG doing covers of songs. I just can’t watch them. There is something about them that makes me not able to listen to people just singing along to a song.”

P – What if they’re singing just lyrics, like not along to a song?

S – “It is not necessarily as much a cringe but… *laughs* Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t enjoy it that much so I don’t sing much myself, but I make up for it in other ways like just screaming randomly. Similar noise levels I guess.”

 


Thanks for reading! Find Sneaky on Twitter @Sneaky to sing him the prettiest of lullabies. Check in soon for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Doublelift – Liquid, Lucian and crazy proposals


Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng on the regular season – “Whether we win or lose, we will be the best in playoffs.”

 

Parqueso – How are you feeling about the new team?

Image provided by Riot Games

Doublelift – “I think our team has a really high ceiling, but we don’t often play to that ceiling. We all came from really different background – our team is an amalgamation of a lot of different players who had success in totally different ways. Like for me, I went from CLG in their prime and then I moved to TSM, and we were garbage and then we switched to having a rookie support and all of a sudden we were really good. In the end, we are just trying to figure out how to play with each other, because individually we usually win all the lanes. It actually really reminds me of playing on TSM, which is funny because I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect to play with three strong lanes and a jungler that… Well, I think the difference between Jake [“Xmithie”] and Dennis [“Svenskeren”], is Jake is a lot more cerebral about the game and he does everything really calculated, very efficiently, and communicates pretty much every possibility in the jungle. He is a really smart player and mechanically is also about the best if not THE best. No one actually will ever give him credit because I think he missed a Sejuani ult one time. *laughs* But honestly his mechanics are insane. But our team in general, we are trying to flesh out communication and trying to figure out how to play with each other because our strengths are different.”

P – So if you all play to the ceiling – and the team as a whole plays together to the ceiling – would you put yourselves first?

DL – “Yeah for sure, I would not have joined TL if I did not think we were going to be first! … Communication is the key to the good teams but sometimes you don’t need to communicate small things, and as soon as our instincts are clicking to look towards the same play or feel out the game in the same way then we’ll definitely be the best. I think we are the only team that can close out the game when we get ahead. Like, in NA and EU right now there are so many snooze fests, and it’s because the team that gets ahead doesn’t know how to win! They’re afraid of making plays and taking risks, and our team is definitely not. I’m a really aggressive player and I know how to snowball leads, and everyone on the team is really good at that too.”

 

P – I want to talk a little bit about Liquid. Obviously you were there last Spring, but how does it feel as an organization now compared to how it was back then?

Image provided by Riot Games

DL – “Back then I felt like I was just a mercenary that came in and the systems were already in place. The power dynamics between players, some players really vocal, some players said nothing – felt powerless – the way the coaches interacted with the players, it felt really unproductive. It just felt very bloated. People memed about how they had like 20 players, which is true, they had 15 or something. They had a lot of coaches, a lot of bloat, like too many cooks in the kitchen. I came in and I just tried to do my best – give advice here and there – I didn’t feel like I came in as a leader I feel like I came in to do a specific job. This new Liquid, when they picked me up, they wanted me to help create the culture of the team… I like to work hard and be very critical… I want Liquid to be a team that is really productive, so whether we win or lose, we will be the best in playoffs.”

P – Other than Targon’s what would you propose to change the meta away from these late game stall-outs?  

DL – “I’m not a game designer by any means, but I really like when the game changes drastically. Like, I think the Runes change was cool, I really liked the new runes! But I think they should maybe equalize the scaling of the game. I think gathering storm is really, really bad. It’s just so dumb that one rune can make the difference of having 200 AD if the game goes to 70, 80 minutes like in the SKT game. It’s just toxic, because it’s just “well I’m playing gathering storm hard scaling and try to end the game before it happens.” *sighs* I wish they would equalize scaling across the board so you don’t see where one team’s mentality is just “stall for late,” like as late as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s 40 minutes or 80 minutes, that’s the goal – as late as possible. I think that’s a really annoying way to play and to watch someone play. So I propose crazy changes across the board. No more hard scalers, no more only early game champions – like pantheon. You’ll see a lot more diversity, you’ll see a lot more strategies. You won’t see a team just turtling for 30 minutes. It’ll just be more interesting play.”

 

P – If you could choose, what champion would you want to see back in the bot lane?

DL – “Lucian! I want high skill champions, not hard afk, farm-for-late champions to be the meta, which is funny because people think of me as this player who plays scaling, but I love playing Kalista and Ezreal and Lucian and playmaking – Old Corki! Old Graves! I love playing those champions because they are skillful and fun, and watching Caitlyn and Ashe is just boring and Tristana and Kog’Maw… It’s not for me.”

 

P – So were asking Riot right now!

DL – “Yeah, this is my plea! Please make skillful champions the meta, and the game will be more fun to watch and play!”


 

Image provided by Riot Games

 

Thanks for reading! Find Doublelift on on Twitter @TLDoublelift to send him some love. Stay tuned here for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett on their victory over TSM, onstage intensity and words for MikeYeung

“I genuinely feel like I have a long term home here. I really love playing with my teammates.” – Dardoch on Echo Fox

Parqueso – What are the comms like when it gets into these really late game teamfights? How do you keep calm, how do you keep your composure? Especially as the only one who can get into the backline.

Dardoch – “Well I wouldn’t necessarily say I kept composure during the game. *laughs* I was screaming a lot, and I was really intense… Every time I would engage, I was screaming who I was going for. Like, “Kill Bjergsen! Please kill Malzahar, kill Ez!” That kind of stuff. But overall, when everything calms down and we need to talk about strategy, like after the teamfight disperses and we are clearing waves, everyone is really calmed down and we just get the concise plan out.”

Image provided by Riot Games

P – Everyone talks about 100 Thieves showing up and proving to not just be “pretenders,” but what about you guys on EchoFox? People talk about how you seem to have potential, but could easily fall apart. Any response to that?

D – “I wouldn’t say we have solidified ourselves as a top team yet but we are definitely on the right track. And I think if we have a couple more strong performances, we will definitely solidify ourselves as a top team.”

P – Does the memeing and flame from the community or whomever propel you forward or is it just something you want to die off?

D – “It is something I just wish would die off, but really I am numb to that banter already. It’s been going on for so long, but I know what is going on inside my organization and I know how my teammates feel about me, and I’m really happy about how they feel about me and our relationships. So I don’t really care about the public’s wrong perception of me.”

P – You present as a very emotional player, and I’d say a number of LCS pros are – you can just see the passion when they play. How do you use that emotion? And is it something you actually think about, or does it just exist?

D – “It’s 100% natural onstage. My adrenaline pumps so much in these really high intensity games, when it’s almost entirely on me to get the engage – especially in that game when legitimately no one else on the team could engage the fight – every time it goes correctly, my heart is just racing. It’s so fun! It’s really an awesome experience playing onstage.”

Image provided by Riot Games

P – What changes do you expect to happen in the jungle in competitive play going into patch 8.2?

D – “I mean, we are going to see a lot of Nunu bans. That is probably one of the dumbest balance changes I have ever seen come out of Riot games and it is just actually baffling that they haven’t reverted it yet. And I hope that is the quote of this interview, because it is absolutely ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous for them to buff Nunu that absurdly. The champion needs a rework. He is just boring. He needs a rework he doesn’t need a buff. I just needed to say my 2 cents on Nunu. But I think most changes are just from lane matchups. Targons gone from adcs, spellthief’s gone from other laners and junglers. We’ll see the most change in [lanes] due to the change in targeted spells changing minion aggro.”

P – Lastly, I’m starting up a segment called Everyone Else is Trash, where I encourage players to engage in some friendly banter with their opponents. Do you have anything fun you’d like to add?

D – “I actually don’t really want to bm, but I could give some words of encouragement to MikeYeung. Just directly to Mike, ‘Mike I think you’re a really good player and I think you have a lot of potential. You’re going to get a lot of hate because you are on TSM and you’re losing. But just keep your head down and keep working. You have really good players around you, and I think you guys will be fine.’”

Wholesome Dardoch provided by Riot Games

 



Thanks for reading! Shoutout to @Dardochlol for being an amazing interviewee. Stay tuned here for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Everyone else is trash

As the esport industry has been growing over the past few years, so has the debate about whether or not esports are even sports. And, while I am of the opinion that it doesn’t even matter, what actually makes a sport a sport? Athleticism? Mental fortitude? Competition? Trash talk!

 

Whether you are watching fancy celebrations or post game banter, trash talk is an integral part of the game. Hell, it’s sometimes hard to make it through a hockey match without players socking each other in the face. But all of that makes it fun! It adds to the drama of a big match; it gives players life and personality. Talking smack makes us more interested in the outcome of the game, regardless of what is being played – the same goes for League.


When Doublelift trash talked TSM this whole offseason, it made the TL – TSM season opener all the more interesting. Would he be able to back it all up, or would he make a fool of himself? The match was no longer just a player competing against his old team, there was pride on the line. You could feel tangible emotion in his quest for revenge. He did not want to win, he wanted to “absolutely demolish TSM’s legacy.” THAT is something worth watching.

 

So who cares if esports are sports or not, they are here to stay! And as long as they’re here, we might as well talk some smack. It’s not a game without some flame! Here are all the things our beloved pros are telling me about their Wood 5 opponents…


Week 2

  • Adrian – “TSM seems really passive as a team… MikeYeung is just another ward for them.”

 

  • Doublelift – “Febiven literally ints in every one of my solo queue games, so it’s funny that he went on stage and shit talked, but every game I’ve ever seen him he is just hard trolling my game… So I think he just got lucky vs CLG.”

 

  • Aphromoo – “C9? Who is on that team?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you’d like to flame me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Smite. Gank. Dive.

Meteos and Svenskeren talk Jungle Meta

Call of the Wild: A Boar, a Blob, and a Demacian Standard!

Cool Rammus

Gone are the days of spiders falling from the sky and monks roundhouse kicking you into your enemies’ awaiting arms. No, for quite a while now, we’ve been graced with the same chicken killers game after game. While there were a plethora of offseason changes, with entirely new runes, rosters, and a franchise to boot, the jungle stayed practically untouched.

In the NA LCS Week 1 games, Sejuani and Jarvan IV each had a 50% presence, with Zac right behind at 40%. While this number may not seem too incredibly high at first glance, those champs won 80% of their games when opposing any other jungler. It seems clear that the tank/utility junglers have a much bigger impact in competitive play than some of those solo queue freelo junglers (Evelynn, looking at you).

League of… Jungle Diversity?

Most of the pros I spoke with define the current jungle meta as tank + utility dominant. Those specific few champs are just a clear cut above the rest. However, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen completely disagrees, stating,

“The jungle meta is pretty fun… Even though there are a lot of memes about Sejuani and Jarvan … you can counter them as well.”

Not ironically, Sven was the ONE  jungler to pull off an upset against these top tier tanky champions, playing Evelynn into Juan “Contractz” Garcia’s Jarvan IV.

But don’t get too excited! Even though he is having a bit of fun picking from a more diverse pool of junglers, he isn’t planning on playing Lee Sin any time soon.

“I’ve been trying Lee Sin in scrims … but I have to play twice as good as my opponent… It’s not really worth the effort.”

So if you are looking for some Insec’s in 2018, head over to the LPL (who happen to pick Lee pretty often and play 6 days a week)!

Defining the Meta-os

William “Meteos” Hartman is less impressed with the current viable jungle options, even though Zac is an old Meteos special.”The meta now is looking still pretty similar to how Worlds was with Sejuani, Jarvan looking good.” He hopes “more junglers get balanced into the mold that champions need to have.”

Meteos HeadshotHe simplifies this jungler mold down to champs that “have some level of early game pressure and then transition into a more vision control, tanky, utility champion as the game goes on.” He backs this up explaining that “jungle just doesn’t have the guaranteed income that other roles have.”

Therefore, champions with high baseline values – or those that can survive placing deep wards and provide some protection and cc for their scaled up carries – do better in competitive where vision control and team fighting rule the Rift. He explains that some of the drop in the Gragas pick/ban rate is due to him receiving multiple nerfs and “it’s hard to pull him off because he just can’t kill jungle camps.” When asked about Lee Sin, he explained that while he can provide the early pressure, he doesn’t provide the same utility late game for the carries, just an ult and a couple shields.

He finishes up by explaining why the other terror of solo queue – Kha’Zix – doesn’t perform well in competitive eiter. In solo queue, the bug is constantly “going around getting a million kills … and teams aren’t coordinated… But in competitive, you’re probably being tracked most of the game. So even though they can’t see you when you’re invisible, they probably have a general idea where you are.” All in all, “not offering a frontline is pretty hard for your team.”

Final Thoughts

I have to say I side with Meteos. The highest rate of success for junglers comes when they cover for their carries in the late game. Yes, they often spend more time fighting wards than wolves, but a win is a win. Even in the one jungle upset that Sven had as Eve vs. Jarvan IV, he had more than half of the team’s deaths, while Contractz only had 1/8th of his team’s. Sven did have almost 90% kill participation, but he quite possibly could’ve had a similar impact on kills and a smaller impact on deaths by playing Sejuani, who went unbanned that game.

But, don’t take my word for it! These two masterminds face off this Sunday at 3pm PST. Who has a better read on the meta? Will Meteos focus on protecting his carries? Or will he take Svenskeren’s advice, play aggro, and betray his beloved Sneaky? Tweet me your predictions @parkeso! I want to see what you guys think. Thanks again for tuning in! See you on the Rift! 😉

Lux Thumbs up

Hey guys, thanks for checking out my debut article! Throughout the season, I’ll be attending the NA LCS and talking to all your favorite pros to bring you some inside thoughts and opinions on the meta, runes, and offseason changes. Whether you have been following the scene for years or just started recently, I hope to find some meaningful content for you! For requests, comments, or words of affirmation, please tweet me @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

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2017 Scouting Grounds draft and the future of NA LCS

The 2017 NA Scouting Grounds draft took place this weekend at Riot’s Los Angeles studio. Amidst the crowd of players and press, we witnessed a historic step for the NA LCS. While the players involved in the draft will likely join the 2018 season Academy teams, their significance lies in the future of esports. The 2017 Scouting Grounds draft is one way for Riot to show fans that they mean business. And Riot are not the only ones stepping up. Cloud 9 (C9) and Clutch Gaming (CG) were the only two teams to buy out another org’s draft positions. So what does this draft tell us beyond 10 new faces to Academy teams?

North America’s Development Problem

scouting grounds draft

Credits: LoL Esports Photos

For years, North America as a region has been criticized for its lack of homegrown talent. While many NA fans are quick to throw up names like Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, Eugene “Pobelter” Kim or Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, there are undeniable problems with North America’s talent pool. In an interview with Travis Gafford, Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh, said “we have a third of the player-base as much as Europe and a third of the ranked players as Korea so they have a lot more options to choose from.” Clearly this is an issue that North America cannot fix overnight. There is no waking up tomorrow morning and suddenly the player-base triples to match Europe.

This is precisely why the Scouting Grounds draft is such an important marker for the future. North America’s only option is to capitalize on and develop its existing talent. Enter the Academy league. Unlike the former Challenger Series, the upcoming Academy system emphasizes development over LCS promotion. It’s important to understand that LCS promotion and regional development are not the same in the old CS system. Admittedly, Challenger Series has given us players like Jae “Huhi” Choi and Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes on Counter Logic Gaming (CLG). However, over the course of its inception, Challenger Series became a place for relegated pros and teams to try and regain a spot in the LCS.

This became a huge problem for North America. In addition to favoring already established pros, many teams even opted for imports over fresh talent. This is precisely why Scouting Grounds plays such an important role for the future of NA. It gives a chance for players like Ziqing “League” Zhao and Ming “Spica” Lu to gain recognition outside of solo queue.

Why scouting grounds draft matters

scouting grounds draft

Credits: LoL Esports Photos

At the Scouting Grounds event this past weekend, we saw both Cloud 9 and Clutch Gaming invest in higher draft positions. Cloud 9 bought out two positions to pick up League, Ash, and Blaberfish2 for exclusive negotiating rights. When talking about C9‘s CEO, Jack Etienne, Riot commentator Aidan “Zirene” Moon said, “this guy is serious about growing talent that hasn’t been completely in the spotlight yet.” Zirene highlighted that Jack’s ability to identify and develop early talents like now European stars, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu. As a CEO, Jack has a proven track record in bringing out the best of new players.

Alternatively, new team Clutch Gaming does not share this history. At least as far as esports goes. CG picked up two promising players in support Vulcan and mid laner Palafox. But, a single additional draft pick does not exactly scream hype. The fact that Houston Rocket’s GM Daryl Morey attended the small event, does however speak volumes to how seriously the Rockets are about their new team. In an insightful interview with Travis Gafford, Morey emphasized that the Rockets and Clutch Gaming are “in this for the long haul.” He explained that the 2018 season will be a steady learning experience for the CG organization.

Obviously, Clutch Gaming does not share experience that Jack Etienne has developed in his time with C9. However, Daryl Morey’s reputation as a general manager in the NBA is nothing short of incredible. His approach to team investment and growth led the Houston Rockets to major successes over the years. Clutch Gaming made it clear this weekend. They are dead serious about developing North America. It is extremely exciting to see a new org that is hungry and willing to invest in growing NA regionally.

The future of NA LCS

scouting grounds draft

Credits: LoL Esports Photos

To say the sky is the limit is an understatement. Riot NA’s move to franchise the league has already brought about dozens of roster changes and player opportunities. The Scouting Grounds draft is a preliminary step for North America to grow holistically. Meaning, not only should fans pay attention to NA LCS, but also to how teams work on their upcoming Academy rosters. An organization’s success should reflect both LCS and Academy standings. As a whole, teams with the proper infrastructure, coaching staff and player relationships will shine in 2018.

On paper, Cloud 9 and Clutch Gaming have taken the lead in terms of their dedication to player development in NA. Surely, it will not be long before other teams and coaches start to pick up on these trends. And if these team owners take development seriously, we may see a revitalized pool of NA talent in coming years. “This is where winning traditions can start being grown,” analyst, Mark Zimmerman said when discussing the 2017 Scouting Grounds draft. There is perhaps no better way to word the future of NA LCS.

The 2018 season marks a turning point for North American League. What teams choose to do now will set the precedent for years to come.

Featured Image: LoL Esports

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scouting grounds

Standouts at 2017 North America Scouting Grounds

The 2017 North America Scouting Grounds event took place this weekend. 20 of NA’s top challenger players worked alongside four NA LCS organizations to test their mettle in the Riot LA studio. OpTic Gaming (OPT), Team SoloMid (TSM), Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and Cloud 9 (C9) were the four teams to participate at this year’s scouting event. After a series of placement matches on day one, the players headed into the third and first place matches. Let’s highlight some standout players in their respective teams.

Fighting tooth and nail

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Credits: LoL Esports

Coming in at fourth place overall, Team Cloud Drake (CLD), led by C9, struggled to find their footing in their third place match against Team Mountain Drake (MTN). Despite the tough series, two of CLD‘s players managed to show resolve in their play. First off, League in the top lane showed up despite being counter-picked in both games. In game one, League’s Cho’Gath not only stayed toe-to-toe with Rodov‘s Gnar during the laning phase, but even managed to earn a solo kill. At 17 minutes, League’s superior timing at a teamfight bottom turned the fight in CLD‘s favor. In his second game, League demonstrated several heads-up plays using his Teleport to flank and engage teamfights. Although CLD failed to capitalize on some of these plays, League’s proactive playstyle stood out respectably.

Another player on CLD who performed on-stage was Fanatik. Although Fanatik fell behind his veteran counter-part “Nintendudex” pressure early on, he adapted quickly in game one. After recognizing the mid-jungle focus for Team Mountain Drake, Fanatik countered a dive to secure a clean 2-0 fight. In his second game, Fanatik capitalized on a crucial team MTN mistake and stole the Baron to keep his team alive. At 26 minutes, Fanatik’s Jarvan found a four man “Cataclysm” to lock down multiple enemies and win his team the fight. As the youngest player at the 2017 Scouting Grounds, it will be interesting to see how he develops as a player.

A team of duos

scouting grounds

Credits: LoL Esports

For Team Mountain Drake, led by Counter Logic Gaming, their duos stood out more than individual play. First, no stranger to the NA LCS, Nintendudex showed serious synergy with Ablazeolive, one of the foremost challenger mid laners in North America. The communication between the two was on clear display during a fight in game one of the series. After Ablazeolive used his Teleport to return to lane, CLD‘s Linsanity saw an opportunity to get a pick. But, Ablazeolive turned on the enemy mid laner, locking him down using Malzahar’s “Nether Grasp” to buy Nintendudex time to join the fight and finish the kill. Ablaze’s teamfight ability shined in game two where he hit multiple key “Shockwave’s” on Orianna to seal CLD‘s fate.

The second pair to come through was MTN‘s bottom lane. Support Winter and AD-carry Value stood out as remarkable players in their roles. Winter’s aggressive style transitioned to key roams on Alistar to tip early skirmishes. In game one, Winter’s awareness on Alistar punished a poorly set up flank by CLD‘s mid and jungle, deleting the enemy Ryze from the ensuing teamfight. In game two, his engages on Rakan set up multiple fights for his mid laner to land game-winning ultimates. Winter’s AD-carry, Value also had his fair share of star play. In game one, an over-ambitious engage from CLD, Value landed a four-man “Featherstorm” + “Bladecaller” combo to clean up the fight. By layering his ultimates with his team’s engages, Value pumped out 927 damage per minute in game two. He earned himself player of the series with a combined 18/3/15 KDA across two games.

Live and die by the flames

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Credits: LoL Esports

Team Infernal Drake (INF), led by TSM, gave viewers some heated highlight plays to live up to their team name. In game one of the finals match, INF found themselves pushed in heavily. Their opponents, Team Ocean Drake (OCN), had remarkable vision superiority in INF‘s jungle, making it difficult for them to find fights on favorable terms. But their support Teesum on Rakan was able to find a three man engage with his “Grand Entrance.” This catch gave room for his carries to unload their damage before the enemy team could respond. However, Teesum’s performance in game two was largely lacking. Despite being the team’s main tank on Braum, several flubbed shields using his “Unbreakable” led to multiple teamfight deaths.

Game two was where two of INF‘s carries stepped up. After a rough game one, INF funneled resources into their AD-carry, NoahMost. Although his teamfight presence was weak throughout the early game, Noah was able to capitalize on an overzealous rush by Team Ocean Drake. With five members barreling toward his Xayah, Noah released a “Featherstorm” + “Bladecaller” combo that rooted five members. After locking down the entire enemy team, Noah’s Xayah mowed down the opposition for the only Pentakill at the 2017 Scouting Grounds.

The third player on INF to showcase his star potential was PieCakeLord in the top lane. Although his team was behind for much of the second game, PieCakeLord on Fiora was able to exert tremendous side-lane pressure that often brought multiple OCN members to stop him. Still, he managed to out-pressure the enemy Shen throughout most of the game. After the enemy Azir wiped his team at the Baron pit, PieCakeLord outplayed the enemy mid and top to keep his team in the game.

Stomping the Scouting Grounds

scouting grounds

Credits: LoL Esports

After drafting possibly the strongest team at Scouting Grounds, eyes were on OpTic Gaming’s coaching staff to make that roster shine. And boy did they shine. First, Vulcan‘s Taric was able to turn an early gank into a kill on the enemy AD-carry, setting a serious tempo advantage for team OCN. In the late game, Taric’s damage negation with “Cosmic Radiance” allowed his team to stampede over teamfights. In game two, Vulcan’s engages on Rakan practically spoon fed kills to his mid laner, Palafox.

Palafox had questions circling about his potential after being drafted as the 20th pick. But he brought the heat. Playing as Malzahar in game one, Palafox found an aggressive pick onto the enemy Orianna. After Orianna seemingly flashed to safety, Palafox landed an instant over the wall “Call of the Void” to secure the kill. Palafox’s Azir was the single greatest game-deciding factor in game two. A gigantic “Emperor’s Divide” knocked up four members of INF, completely shifting the momentum mid-game. Again at 46 minutes, Palafox earned a quadrakill at the Baron pit to push OCN‘s advantages over the edge.

Third, OCN‘s top laner Kaizen came into his own in game two. His Shen managed to outplay an early 2v1 dive by INF‘s top-jungle duo, earning himself a kill on his lane opponent on the way out. Although the enemy Fiora’s split push pressure was strong, ultimately, Kaizen’s teamfight utility became a winning factor for his team. Across the board, Team OCN performed spectacularly at this year’s Scouting Grounds. It will be exciting to see these players develop on future academy rosters. And, a win here shows good signs for OpTic Gaming who hope to make a definitive statement in their first season in the NA LCS.

Featured Image: LoL Esports

Looking for a podcast covering EU and NA LCS? Check out LCS Weekly on SoundCloud. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Michael!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon