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. =)

Xmithie Xpeaks Mid/Jungle Xynergy

Jake “Xmithie” Puchero – “I think the safest way people can have more consistency on it is having that mid/jungle synergy”

I talked to Doublelift last weekend and he said you guys have a very high ceiling and that all of you are very talented and understand the game well. He also said you as a team are not even close to your full potential. So I’m very curious what this means, if you’re already this good and you still have a lot of room to grow, how does that play out? And how can you improve to reach that ceiling?

“Individually everyone is very talented. Everyone can handle their own internationally against these players. I think what we need to improve on… well, since the meta is [changing] we have to adapt and find all these new things… We have to be ahead of the meta. We have to be five steps ahead of everyone.”

 

What is something you are personally doing to increase your strength in the jungle and overall presence in the game?

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

“I think it is just making my time spent really efficiently. Just finding the right things to focus on. So watching vods of the LCK or specific LPL games. Or even EU games that are really interesting. But we just don’t have time usually. We scrim 8 hours a day every week. And usually on breaks, I try to make it a break to refresh my mind and stuff like that. So normally during off time [between] scrims, I try to watch a vod and ask people why it’s good.”

 

 

On the new patch, it doesn’t seem like too much has changed from the jungle perspective… But is there something that you are looking forward to going into the next few games as people get more familiar with the patch? Is there something that you think is strong that people haven’t figured out yet?

“I think there will be a lot more champions in the bot lane and people will ban more in the bot lane. Since Ezreal got nerfed [and Targon’s too], that opens up a lot of champions. Like we were just against a Xayah and Rakan and we haven’t seen that in a long time. If people ban a lot of champions in one role, we are going to see a lot of nuance. I haven’t seen a lot of two teams banning 6 junglers yet, but maybe there will be a change back to carries or back to second rate bruisers. But we will see some change.”

 

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

What is the most important lane to be closely connected with for the jungle? In 8.1 it was mostly farm and heal bot lane, so the game was more top/mid centric. But what do you think now, will attention shift back to the bot lane?

“The safest way people can have more consistency on it is having that mid/jungle synergy. Since the game is really adaptable right now where top can either play Maokai or Jayce, it really depends on how people draft the comps around it. But when you have the mid-control set, you can go to top or bottom from there, and you can go to their jungle.”

What would you say your role is on the team outside of the game?

Image provided by LoL Esports Flickr

“It’s kind of funny, because I think I’m the opposite of what I am in game. Like I think I am the most vocal in game. And then outside, I’m pretty much the least talkative out of everyone. In post game review I pretty much observe. And even when we go out – sometimes I try to troll people, but usually I get in my own circle.”

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for reading! Find Xmithie on Twitter @Xmithie (Liquid really has those handles on lock). 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. =)

weapon

Where’s all the weapon removal?

Kobolds and Catacomb’s Legendary weapons were meant to have a fatal flaw. Many thought this new influx of anti-weapon tech would counter powerful items. Oozes, Harrisons and Bloodsail Corsairs should have crushed their dreams. But despite numerous Legendary weapons being extremely powerful options, weapon removal has not been a big part of the meta. So why hasn’t weapon removal risen to the challenge?

Some weapons are more Legendary than others

weapon

Not every weapon was as strong as Aluneth or Skull of the Manari

One key reason for how weapon removal is still niche is the varying success of the Legendary weapons. Almost all of them showed incredible promise, bar perhaps the Runespear (sorry Shaman). However, for a variety of factors, only a few Legendary weapons are viable. If we consider the top 4 classes of the Kobolds meta to be Priest, Warlock, Paladin and Rogue, we can see that Legendary weapons were only really vital to Warlock. Priest’s Dragon Soul wasn’t worth the effort, Kingsbane Mill Rogue struggled vs Aggro and Valanyr was never vital to a Paladin’s gameplan.

Meanwhile, potentially powerful weapons went underused due to poor synergies or class weakness. Druid had better ramp than Twig of the World Tree, Recruit Warrior never took off, Spell Hunter declined fast and the less said about Shaman the better. The one exception to this was Mage’s Aluneth, but Tempo Mage runs no other weapons and never truly took over the meta.

Where are the other weapons?

weapon

Even Paladins typically only run two Rallying Blades

But the Legendary weapons aren’t the whole story. Weapon removal doesn’t just depend on targeting single powerful weapons. Their most common usage is simply to wrest control of the early game by seizing tempo. But these early or mid-game solid weapons are few and far between.

Sure, Aggro Paladin runs two copies of Rallying Blade, and Hunter has the odd Candleshot. But gone are the days where you’d reliably queue up into decks that ran three or more weapons. A big part of this is the decline of Shaman and Warrior. When Aggro Shaman and Pirate Warriors were at their peak, then players could almost guarantee a large proportion of games would involve Jade Claws, Doomhammers, Arcanite Reapers and War Axes.

With two of the weapon classes almost completely absent, there are simply fewer targets.

Squeezed out

weapon

It’s hard to find room for tech when the power level increases

The overall rise in the quality and synergies behind cards has also contributed to the lack of weapon removal. When the card pool is small, it’s easier to find room for the Oozes and Harrisons. But we currently have more cards in Standard than ever. Weapon tech simply has more competition.

The other impact this has is on the weapons themselves. Now, Paladins don’t even run the incredibly efficient Truesilver Champion due to the sheer volume of good options available. Non-Kingsbane Tempo Rogues don’t need Deadly Poison, and the few Control Warriors that remain are too busy trying to survive the early game to consider Gorehowl. After the standard rotation, there may be more room for both weapons and their counters.

A better tech?

One last factor in the lack of weapon removal is that another tech card has been even more useful; Spellbreaker. In the pre-nerf world of Possessed Lackeys, Voidlords, Edwin Van Cleefs, Bonemares, Cobalt Scalebanes and Blessing of Kings, silence proved extremely useful. Almost every deck had multiple decent silence targets. This is a key difference.

In general, a consistent strong effect is more useful when deckbuilding than a more powerful but less reliable one. This is especially true for tech cards, as when targeting a specific deck, you want to ensure you actually gain that advantage. With weapons so spread out over the meta, the chance of getting a powerful weapon removal effect off was simply too low for any given deck. This compares unfavourably with silence, with many decks having multiple excellent silence targets.

An oozy future?

Things may be looking up for weapons and, by extension, weapon hate. If Warrior and Shaman become more viable, we may not only see old favourites like War Axe or Doomhammer back but also new additions like Woecleaver. Control Paladin may return, leaving room for more Truesilvers and the Paladin Death Knight. However the meta evolves, we’ll probably come to a point where we’re glad we put those Oozes in our deck.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.

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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. =)

The beauty of Overwatch’s Mercy nerf (Tuesday) (cite images/featured)

The major Mercy nerf has finally hit the Overwatch live servers. The nerf has drastically changed the way her ultimate ability, Valkyrie, works. One of the advantages her ultimate had was the ability to instantly resurrect a teammate. No longer. The channel time is a constant from now on, ultimate or no. Mercy also no longer has a second charge of resurrect.

2/2/2 meta Overwatch

Mercy and Zenyatta Courtesy of: The Game Haus

The way in which competitive teams and professional gamers would engage fights revolved around having a Valkyrie charge. This will have to change. The most fair of the nerfs to Valkyrie are that the ultimate no longer lasts for 20 seconds. Valkyrie has been reduced to 15 seconds. Mercy no longer will zip around the battlefield while in Valkyrie either. Her speed has been reduced by a whopping fifty percent. This ultimately will leave her more vulnerable to hit-scan

heroes like McCree and Soldier 76.

The Change in Competitive Overwatch

While I do disagree with the severity of the nerf, I’ve been enjoying its impact on the live servers. Playing a competitive game, you always knew that if you could get the enemy Mercy to use her ultimate first, you could back-off and push in again when it was charging back up. Now, many compositions are foregoing Mercy entirely. I’ve been seeing a ton more Ana and Moira filling in for the majority healer, while Zenyatta still has a solid grasp as the second support.

Ana and Moira are much more fun and dynamic to play as a support main and offer a better feeling of skill while playing. As Moira you must know when to charge the offense, sending a biotic orb to drain players life as your tank line pushes in. Conversely, if you use the offensive biotic orb, you’re left without the healing orb for ten long seconds, and if your team starts dropping you’ll have misread and misplayed the engagement. Ana is much in the same way. Her shots can deal some great supporting damage while also laying massive heals for teammates. Her tranquilizer dart is also extremely satisfying to land on flankers or an incoming Genji who just pulled out his Dragonblade.

What Makes Ana and Moira Mercy Replacements?

 

Overwatch

Ana’s single-target healing is second only to Mercy
Courtesy of: The Game Haus

Moira and Ana have drastically different ultimates that allow for a different set of engagement strategy. Ana’s Nano Boost is almost entirely used as an offensive engagement tool to allow a DPS hero to deal an insane amount of damage, or to send a tank in to take massive amounts of damage and disrupt the entire enemy team. Moira’s allows for both a defensive and offensive use. Her Coalescence pierces enemy shields, which is useful against many of the Orisa Roadhog compositions appearing on some maps like Junkertown. It also heals, keeping members of her team alive while dealing damage.

Ana’s most useful ability and game-changing ability is her biotic grenade. Her ability to cancel out healing for four seconds is an incredibly long duration during a team fight. Ana can turn the tide of battle with one well placed grenade. If Zenyatta is about to use his transcendence, she can use her grenade to cancel its effects on his teammates. If Roadhog takes a breahter, Ana can eliminate all of his health regen. Ana was a blast to see played competitively and professionally, and her resurgence with Mercy’s nerf is sure to excite.

Lucio’s Utility

Overwatch

Image courtesy of: The Game Haus

Lucio and Mercy use to be the go to support pair. When Zenyatta gained more relevance and Mercy was reworked, he mostly fell to a utility role. On control point maps, he was a popular pick. His area of effect healing output made him invaluable in keeping control of specific spots and choke points. With Mercy severely reduced in her usefulness, Lucio may start being paired more often.

His aoe speed boost and heal make him a great pair with Moira for rushing in to take points swiftly. In a quadruple tank composition, these two supports are almost always involved. Pairing him with Zenyatta can also be effective. Although the heals would be light, the defensive ultimates excel in keeping teammates alive. Lucio’s speed boost is still one of the most useful tools to ripping through enemy defenses at map choke holds. Lucio may be receiving a popular revival with the downfall of Mercy, and fans of more interesting compositions like quad tank may be in for a treat.

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Targon’s? More like TarGONE’s

Apollo – “Targon’s meta is dead… I think.”

 

First thing’s first, let’s breakdown the Double Targon’s meta.

The “Double Targon’s” factor was the scapegoat and catalyst of the prominent competitive meta for patch 8.1. It, along with other contributing factors, allowed weak laners to survive the early game and scale up for late game teamfights. The meta was not only made possible by both ADC and Support taking Targon’s Brace, but also by Fleet Footwork, Overheal, Perfect Timing (AKA Stopwatch), Kleptomancy Elixermancy (Ezreal only), etc. Because of all the defensive options, bot laners were extremely safe (definitely not the status quo). Strong early laners had no guarantee of being able to smash lane because the enemy laners could always count on healing and playing defensively.

This made engage supports, like Alistar, much stronger, the mindset being, “If you don’t lock the enemy down and kill them now, they will heal it all back!”. That, in turn, increased the value of more defensive supports like Braum and Taric too! If Ali engages, Braum throws up a shield and absorbs all the damage. And because Targon’s increased it’s heal by % missing health, it was insanely easy to heal up after any skirmishes that didn’t end up in a kill. If you chunk an enemy ADC down to 30% health, within a couple Fleet Footwork procs and a few clangs of the Relic Shield, they would be back at a comfortable 90%. They may lose pressure for one or two waves, but the danger factor was incredibly low.

To make matters worse, once the Targon’s quest is completed, you generate a hefty shield while out of combat. So this meant laners walked to lane with a passive shield, immediately generated an Overheal shield on top, added even more shield with Fleet Footwork (which also provides even more movement speed for running away), and had tons of Targon’s proc healing if the shield was ever broken.

Combine all that with 4 Stopwatches in the bot lane, and everyone became virtually unkillable. Viable ADCs were almost exclusively late game scalers and top tier team-fighters. Kog’Maw, Kalista, Ezreal, and Tristana topped the charts, with others like Varus and Sivir falling short behind. Lucian, sadly, was left unplayed – except by Huni; but that’s a whole different story for another time.

With all these cheap and effective ways of scaling for late, the bot lane became an extremely dangerous place to be a minion.

Image provided by Minion Champion Spotlight


But don’t just take my word for it. Take a pro’s words instead!

Doublelift explains that, “Targon’s is an extension of the support meta, because people become unkillable, and supports are stronger than ADs in lane. So [prior to this meta] you get in these weird situations where even when you hit a Tahm Kench twice, if he Qs you once, you actually lost the trade… So that’s why Targon’s came in. If I’m gonna be useless, I might as well be useless but generate gold for my support who is actually useful!” 

And what’s with all the festivities? Patch 8.1 is a…

“Farmfest,” – Apollo, Hakuho, Aphromoo, Adrian, Smoothie

“Snoozefest,” – Doublelift (said twice)

 

That equals 7 festivals for our minions! But don’t be fooled. It still is a crap place to be for those little descendants of Lari


Provided by TimeLordJikan

Changes to expect in 8.2?

As it turns out, this meta was pretty lame to watch, mostly due to the slowdown on botside. Therefore, the patch largely focuses bot side to address and influence that lane specifically. Even most of the Keystone changes were focused on the bot lane. Guardian and Aftershock both got a slight power shift to make them each a bit more unique and more specifically viable rather than generally fine.

Smoothie predicts that, “Next patch, the ranged supports are going to have a bigger impact in lane. But, blind picking melees may still be strong.” Aphromoo seemed to be on the same page, stating there is “probably gonna be a lot more ranged supports, [though] Ali and Braum will still be in there for counters.” He also predicts that “ardent is gonna come back a little bit,” though he claims to not really favor that meta either. 

Altec points out that 8.2 will bring back some spice to the lane again. “Now that the double Targon’s meta is gone, you will see more difference between the bot lanes. You’ll get to see who are the good bot lanes and the not so good bot lanes… If people make bad trades, it should be a lot easier to make plays.” 

If Altec is right, the Clutch Gaming duo in Apollo and Hakuho may be in luck! Apollo states, “We’re better when we’re fighting bot lane, rather than the farming, hyper carry [style] bot lane.” Although he later claims it’s all in Hakuho’s favor. “I just go with the flow,” he says. Hakuho agrees, stating “As a laner, I always wanna fight in bot lane.” And with palpable enthusiasm and anticipation for the upcoming matches, he claims he’s “hyped for next patch, because the bot lane meta is kinda boring right now… Bot lane is gonna be fun again!” 

However, even with all of this hope for change, Doublelift still finds time for some last second pessimism realism. “I have a feeling that games are still going to be going super long, and if Janna comes back into the meta, I might actually claw my eyeballs out.”


But Apollo, is it really, really dead?

Of course we won’t know until we see the meta unfold, but we can all sure hope so. Altec claims that while, “Technically you can still buy Targons, it’s just not as good as it was before.” I actually think that is extremely important! The potential to run double Targon’s provides the ability for Kog’Maw (and other crazy scalers) to stay relevant in a meta that is sub-optimal for hyper carries, while still providing room for those like Lucian to shine!

Doublelift agrees, stating “It definitely won’t be as strong, but it’ll still be viable. I don’t think it’ll be every game, but I think initially what’ll happen is everyone is gonna switch to dorans, and then someone is gonna find a way to make targons still viable and it’s gonna be finding its way back. Because yeah sure you don’t have the shield, but what you have is three wards. That’s not bad!” At least now when we see double Targon’s, it will change the entire botside game, because vision control will get a heck of a lot more lopsided. Dives onto the scaling carries will be hard because of vision, not 300+ health shields on the ADC!! 

 

I asked Doublelift if he would be the first to bring out the Yasuo ADC, to which he responded, “Yeah yeah. No. Idk Idk!” Unsatisfied, I challenged him, “Well, can you pull it off?” And with full confidence….

“Yeah, I can pull off Yasuo ADC. Easy!” – Doublelift 

Image Provided by Riot Games

 


And what’s the deal with Thresh? Wildturtle told me there would be buffs!!

Don’t expect to see Thresh much in competitive as long as we are in 8.2. After the Targon nerfs to ranged champions, I think even Nunu might have a higher play rate despite him potentially being perma-banned for a while. And although Aphromoo claimed that “Thresh is still viable, but it really depends on confidence,” Adrian disagreed. “I still think Thresh is pretty bad… He definitely needs more buffs… I don’t think there is any good situation to play him unless you’re really good at Thresh and there’s nothing else to play.” Either way, I hope to see a little love thrown towards everyone’s favorite chain warden so we can get back to watching even more big flays in the bot lane.


 

Image provided by Sunsero

Thanks for reading! For questions on the current meta, find some reliable source somewhere, or just watch the NA LCS every weekend! I’ll be there talking to your favorite pros. Tweet me some questions you want to ask @parkeso. Follow me on Insta @parqueso for some fun stories of pros and fan interactions, especially Saturday and Sunday! For all other inquiries, you can email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. Thanks! And email Riot asking for Thresh buffs!

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. =)

Will post-nerf Cubelock conquer all?

Hearthstone’s incoming round of balance changes are as wide-ranging as they are unusual. Unlike the Gadgetzan patch a year ago, the balance team chose not to leave soon-rotating cards untouched. Surprising many, they instead focused three of their four nerfs on cards from previous sets. Corridor Creeper, Raza, Bonemare and of course Patches will soon be significantly weaker. But while these changes delighted many, some grow increasingly worried about Cubelock.

The untouched terror

cubelock

Control Warlocks lost nothing to balance changes

Cubelock is a powerful combo Warlock deck that uses Skull of Manari and Possessed Lackey to cheat out demons, typically Voidlord and Doomguard. It then seeks to duplicate these minions multiple times with Carnivorous Cube, Faceless Manipulator and Bloodreaver Gul’dan. So far, so standard. It’s powerful, but not gamebreaking. So far, so standard. But what has people worried is that so far, it’s the only top-tier deck that plays none of the nerfed cards.

This poses a question; with none of the other tier one decks up to their former strength, will Cubelock run rampant, destroying the meta as we know it? Well maybe; but there are strong reasons to believe it may not.

Counters will rise

cubelock

Perhaps Quest Rogue could return to challenge Warlock?

One of the problems with the meta as it is is that Warlock and Priest hold it in a vice-like grip, pressuring it from different angles. Though their winrate isn’t astronomic, they’re incredibly popular, and they pressure decks in different ways. Razakus is the ultimate Control killer, with armor-shattering OTK potential and massive long-term burn damage. Meanwhile Cubelock shuts down aggro and midrange with massive walls of Voidlords and a huge variety of powerful boardclears. But with Raza Priest no longer the foe it once was, and Aggro diminished, it not only frees up Warlock, it opens up its counters.

Decks like Big Priest, Quest Rogue or Control Mage can crush Cubelock by pressuring its lack of hard removal, early game tempo or vulnerability to transforms or silences. It’s also worth mentioning that Control Warlock also does very well against Cubelock, and with no Raza Priest to pressure it down, may become the dominant Warlock archetype.

Wrecking with teching

cubelock

Cards like polymorph hard-counter many Cubelock minions

But you don’t have to counter-queue to counter Warlock. There are a number of potent techs that would help quell a Warlock meta. Most notable is Spellbreaker; a versatile silence that both neutralizes Voidlords and renders un-popped Cubes useless. But there’s more than just Spellbreaker. All transform removal, silences or return-to-hand effects can massively cut into a Cubelock’s strategy. Even Faceless Manipulators and Prince Taldarams of your own can copy their boards.

Otherwise, tweaking your deck to be stronger against Cubelock can be as simple as a few snowball minions. The deck runs no early removal to deal with cards that can quickly grow out of control like Vicious Fledgling, Scavenging Hyena or Frothing Beserker. These can prove to be a massive problem when the opponent plays around defile, quickly smashing down the Warlock’s health total while providing the tempo to build a sticky board.

Ruler of the rotation

Things get a bit trickier after the Year of the Mammoth however. Cubelock loses only Mistress of Mixtures from current lists, and may get substantially stronger if Blizzard continues to give Warlock such high quality cards. Meanwhile existing decks lose far more, including many of Cubelock’s counters.

If Cubelock is going to run rampant, it’s likely going to be after the following expansion. But all is not set in stone. Key cards may be “Hall of Fame”‘d, new techs may be printed and new more powerful strategies may arise. With all that said, it is certainly an archetype Blizzard should keep an eye on.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.

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How Hearthstone’s ladder changes will benefit everyone

Hearthstone’s ladder system has been overdue for a big revamp for a while now. A poor new player experience, inconsistent matchmaking and a long monthly slog were continual problems. Rank floors at 5, 10 and 15 alleviated this, but only partially. Now though, a bevy of changes promise to provide long term solutions to these issues. Though they won’t come into effect until March, they should be a more forgiving silent director of our Hearthstone experiences.

The progression problem

ladder

Players can be put off by the grind and pressure of Ranked

The main problems identified by players can be split into two categories: grind at the high level, and matchmaking for newer players. Solving them isn’t easy; Blizzard have to balance them against the value of the sense of progression that climbing brings. A stagnant ladder would have little grind and good matchmaking, but little progression. But too much mobility leads to frustration, as happens now.

Hitting high ranks or legend now puts you back to rank 16 at the start of a season. If you don’t start grinding rank straight away, this can leave you cleaving a path through newer or less serious players in order to even get close to the rank you achieved last season. This is bad for everyone. Legend players have a long slog of grinding through autopilot matchups, and newer players get farmed. And due to the high compression of players at the top of the ladder, every lucky streak pushes them far beyond what their collection and experience is capable of defeating.

Room to play

ladder

There’ll be more space between new players and veterans

The changes seek to strike this balance better. The first and most immediate is to increase the number of stars per rank. This gives newer players more “breathing room”, as there is less of a sudden transition from ranks 25-21 and 20+.  What’s more, there will be more space for newer or more casual players from ranks 20-15, improving matchmaking further.

Since Hearthstone is an inherently varied game, bad luck can currently easily put new and veteran players together. A string of bad luck on one end, and a series of good fortune on the other, and suddenly a new player’s Free to play Mage can face up against an all-golden Kazakus Priest. Increasing the numbers of stars per rank increases the distance between disparate decks and skill levels, meaning better matchmaking for all at lower ranks.

Of course, this has the side-effect of increasing the grind to hit a certain rank, but this is where the second change comes in.

Less of a reset

At the end of each month, players will no longer be reset more if they climbed higher. Now, players will simply be reset by 4 ranks; so if you hit rank 3, you’d start at rank 7, and so on. This massively reduces the grind-load to hit legend each season, as well as improving matchmaking further. The changes are most notable for pro or consistent legend players. Pro player Stanislav “Stancifka” Cifka posted a good breakdown of how it will impact pros on the /r/Hearthstone subreddit. He’s hopeful it will reduce the grind and encourage play across more servers.

But this isn’t just good for Legend or high-rank players. It’s also beneficial to the more casual or newer players that otherwise need to be farmed from rank 16 onward in order to allow them to regain their rank. In keeping top players confined to rank 5 and up, there’ll be fewer unfair matches against those far more experienced with far bigger collections. While the raw stars to reach a given rank will increase, the overall play experience will get far better; especially as stronger players begin sticking at rank 4 and up.

ladder

With less reliance on winstreaks, Aggro may see less dominance for early-season climbing

A meta shift?

One unexpected impact the ladder alterations may have is a shift in the metagame. One perennial problem has been the rewarding of fast games (think Aggro decks) over slow. This is exacerbated by the requirement of Legend players to grind through low-ranked opponents every month. What’s more, the need to take advantage of winstreaks means Aggro gets even further benefit, as a middling winrate with fast games can still get you stars faster as you ride the winstreak variance.

With less of a reset, and with legend players left at a rank with no winstreaks at the start of a season, Aggro is less favoured early on. This could lead to more promotion and play of interesting midrange or control decks, and an overall more balanced metagame.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.

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