Why are Hunters so weak right now?

Smite hunters have always been the rulers of the Team Fight in past seasons. As your team’s main source of consistent damage, many times the performance of your Hunter is what would win or lose you the game. In Season five, though, it’s a different story.

The duo lane is under performing in Season 5. For Supports, this isn’t new. They’ve been getting less farm than anyone else since Season 2. But for Hunters, this is a frightening new meta. They have less impact on the outcome of matches than they ever have. And until very late in the game your Mid Laner is expected to deal far more damage. What brought about this shift in power?

The causes

Easily the most damaging change that hit hunters recently was the reduction of XP sharing. In the Season 5 patch, the total split XP from sharing minions was brought down from 150% to 120%. Originally, this change might not have seemed massively detrimental to Hunters due to the meta toward the end of Season 4 favoring a roaming support. But as the meta developed, this change became the dread of all Hunter players.

The biggest immediate reaction to this change, along with the jungle changes that increased the farm of jungle camps, was to have your jungler primarily farm camps. This meant that when your support rotated, there was less farm in it for them.

Image courtesy of smitegame.com

In addition to this, the larger map size made rotating cost more time. As a result, Supports have wound up ordinarily staying in the duo lane until well into the Mid Game. Compounded with the XP changes, Hunters lost an enormous amount of farm going into season 5.

But in the early Season 5 meta, Hunters were still strong. This was due primarily to the item Deathbringer being way too powerful. At the beginning of Season 5, this item gave 35% critical strike chance, along with its critical damage improving passive. After patch 5.2 hit, it was massively nerfed. But unfortunately, a few other Hunter items were brought down with it: Devourer’s Gauntlet and Asi saw nerfs in the same patch.

Towards the end of Season 4, Hunters were admittedly a little too powerful. But after all the changes, it seems like Hi-Rez has hit the role too hard. What can be done to bring the role back up?

The fixes

The most obvious way to fix this situation would be to give the duo lane more farm. This would help not only the Hunter, but the Support as well. But that’s easier said than done. You can’t just increase a number to give the duo lane more farm.

Smite Hunters

Image courtesy of smitegame.com

A buff to Guardian’s blessing could be the answer. Something that increases the XP split to players in your assist range could improve things. But that’s always a difficult balancing act: you don’t want to improve it to the point where junglers pick it up too.

Another suggestion would be to increase the number of minions in a wave for the duo lane. But this could lead to more problems. With increased minion wave sizes, Sieging duo lane Towers would become too easy. The duo lane’s Towers would need to be buffed in response, creating an inelegant design situation where the Duo Lane follows different rules from other lanes. Additionally, this could impact the meta in unexpected ways. If the Supports decide to roam again, suddenly Hunters are ahead of everyone else in the game. It would also reduce the viability of Hunters with poor clear, like Xbalanque.

There is not an easy fix to this problem. It seems most changes Hi-Rez can make have equal downsides. That’s a problem for Smite’s Designers to solve in the following patches. For the moment, though, the duo lane is going to be stuck feeling a little under powered.

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Top art courtesy of smite.wikia.com

fnatic

EU LCS Spring Split All-Pro Awards

The 2018 EU LCS Spring Split regular season has finished, and the standings are locked. Before the league enters playoffs, it is important to reflect on the past nine weeks and recognize the All-Pro players who have stood out. Each split, “the EU LCS English broadcast team, regional language broadcast teams, 3rd party media, and pro teams” submit ballots outlining their choices of the best players.

All-Pro Team, Coach of the Split, Rookie of the Split, and Most Valuable Player are the four recognitions. Each of these categories has its own definition, which is outlined on LoLesports.com, and copied within each section below. This is my public ballot and reasoning for each individual chosen.

All-Pro Team 

“The EU LCS All-Pro team represents the individual stars in their respective roles. Players in the 1st team are the objectively best players in each position. If you’re in the All-Pro team, you truly are the best in Europe.”

First Team

TOP – G2 WUNDER

G2 Wunder is my choice for first team All-Pro top laner

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Wunder is one of the most clear standout performers this Spring Split, compared to others playing his position. Just watching G2’s games, fans can tell that he is always maintaining pressure. The audience most likely remembers his carry performances on Gangplank and Camille, but Wunder also put up solid wins on Ornn, Gnar, and Cho’Gath to round out his champion pool.

Objectively, Wunder leads top laners in almost every statistic–kills per game, assists per game, deaths per game, death share, gold and CS difference at 10 minutes, and damage per minute. His 5.9 KDA is tied fourth in the league, which is much higher than the next best top laner (Alphari, 22nd). Wunder should be an honest MVP candidate for this Spring Split.

JUNGLE – SPY XERXE

Jungle is one of the toughest roles to judge independently, because it is a less structured role than laners. Xerxe won out at the end of the day, because of his early proactivity and overall value to Splyce. When compared to G2’s Jankos, Xerxe offers more utility and cerebral gameplay. He has shown success on a wide range of champions, as well as efficiently choosing between farming and ganking.

Xerxe leads junglers in KDA, death share, First Blood, and gold difference at 10 minutes. His 63 percent First Blood rate is the highest in the entire league, which boosts Splyce’s team rate to 74 percent (second overall). Xerxe has also never suffered as the victim of First Blood, and his 13 percent death share is fourth lowest in the league. Finally, Xerxe is the only jungler to draft Ivern on stage, giving him a bit of a “wild card” factor.

MID – G2 PERKZ

G2 Perkz is my choice for first team All-Pro mid laner

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The mid lane was pretty stacked this split, but Perkz is still best-in-class. Not only does he feel like an anchor for G2 in the early game, but he is also an intimidating carry in the late game. He brings more stability and consistency than any other competitor in his role. While abusing the meta picks, Azir, Ryze, and Zoe, Perkz has also experimented with more assist-centric picks, such as Sion, Galio, and Taliyah.

Perkz’s 4.7 KDA, 78.9 percent kill participation, 5.6 CS difference at 10 minutes, and 650 damage per minute are all top three for mid lane. His death share 21.8 percent death share is fairly high, but Caps and Jiizuke have 21 and 19.5 percent, respectively. By the 15 minute mark, Perkz averages ahead in 73.7 percent of games, also third highest among mid laners. This deep and wide strength profile that makes Perkz number one.

ADC – FNC REKKLES

With Zven relocated to North America, Rekkles has been able to showcase just how deadly he can be. Even in games where Fnatic fall drastically behind, Rekkles is somehow able to solo carry teamfights. Few players in the league probably eat more bans during the draft than Rekkles.

Some of his statistics are jaw-dropping. Among AD carries, Rekkles has the highest KDA (13.5), First Blood rate (44 percent), gold difference at 10 (+254), and damage per minute (674). There is a reason Fnatic provides him with the highest gold share of all marksmen. Rekkles is also unafraid to draft Ezreal or Sivir when his role is pinched, and then still execute without fail. It is hard to form an argument against him as first team All-Pro.

SUPPORT – MSF MIKYX

MSF Mikyx is my choice for first team All-Pro support

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Despite Misfits’ team-wide issues, Mikyx has been excelling as support. He and Hans sama have a dominant laning phase, generally accounting for most of Misfits’ early game leads. Mikyx follows through as a threat through all phases of the game, often acting as crucial disengage and protection to allies, or catching out an enemy and salvaging fights.

Surprisingly, Mikyx holds the second highest overall First Blood rate in the EU LCS–56 percent. Misfits’ support also averages 8.1 assists per game and 80.1 kill participation, both second among supports. According to Games of Legends, Mikyx has the highest support vision score per minute (2.98), and, he is ranked the second best EU LCS support by Best.GG. His 3.4 KDA is pretty average overall, but mostly due to his 26.6 percent death share. Thirteen of his 18 games have been on tanks, such as Braum, Tahm Kench, or Alistar, so higher deaths is not terrible since he is so involved in Misfits’ teamfights and vision.

Second Team

TOP – MSF ALPHARI

Misfits’ top laner comes in for EU LCS second team All-Pro. While other tops have varying effectiveness over the course of the split, Alphari brings higher highs and higher lows. He pushes his leads, especially on carries like Gangplank or Camille, and minimizes his losses. Alphari’s champion pool seems deeper, as well, showing solid performances on Shen, Malphite, Swain, and Cho’Gath.

A 4.1 KDA (second among tops), 17.2 percent death share (first among tops), and zero percent First Blood victim rate (tied first among tops) make up Alphari’s most impressive statistics. In a pool of over-aggressive, reckless top laners, Alphari remans calculated and safe. Even with Misfits’ low overall win rate, Alphari keeps his cool and never seems to lose the game for his team. If Misfits are able to solve their late-game decision problems, then expect Alphari to shine even brighter.

JUNGLE – G2 JANKOS

G2 Jankos is my choice for second team All-Pro jungler

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

In a strange twist, having the two best solo laners is the only issue holding Jankos back from first team All-Pro. No doubt, Jankos has been a consistent force in the EU LCS this split. He turns up for ganks and counter-ganks whenever needed, but is often allowed to free farm while Wunder and Perkz hold down their lanes.

Jankos’ 80.8 kill participation and 3.17 vision score per minute are the highest among junglers. He also holds top three for KDA (5.9), death share (17.6 percent), and damage per minute (212). Jankos has been one of the few junglers to look formidable on such a wide array of champions, including Nunu, Kha’Zix, Skarner, and Olaf.

MID – FNC CAPS

What Caps lacks in the laning phase he makes up in the mid and late game. While generally the target of a lot of enemy pressure, Caps gets through the early game as best he can. Caps always becomes Fnatic’s secondary damage threat with Rekkles and takes over games. His diverse champion skill set, including Aurelion Sol and Veigar, makes drafting versus Fnatic extremely difficult.

Caps has the second highest damage per minute (659) in the EU LCS, and the highest damage share (32.6 percent) of any mid laner. His 4.3 KDA is tied for third among mids. While his kill participation and CS/gold/XP difference at 10 minutes are on the lower side, Caps does the most important job for mid laners–dishing damage while staying safe. His .07 deaths per 1000 damage contributes to his first place rank on Best.GG.

ADC – MSF HANS SAMA

MSF Hans sama is my choice for second team All-Pro AD carry

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Hans sama is like a watered down Rekkles. He is online at all stages of the game, often winning lane with Mikyx and transitioning to crushing team fights. Misfits’ AD carry has exceptional positioning around objectives, allowing himself to output damage while remaining alive. He is one of the only EU AD carries that looks good on Kog’Maw.

Hans sama holds a 5.3 KDA, second only to Rekkles. He leads marksmen in CS difference at 10 minutes (+7.6) and First Blood rate (44 percent), and has a top three gold difference at 10 (+210), damage share (33.3 percent), and share of games ahead at 15 minutes (72.2 percent). All of these statistics are even more impressive when taking into account Misfits’ 44 percent win rate.

SUPPORT – G2 WADID

Wadid carried over his play-making from last year onto G2. Excelling on Braum, Taric, and Janna, G2’s support does a great job protecting Hjarnan and enabling his carries. Wadid may not have the most dominant laning phase of all the supports, but he is the best at pressuring objectives and fighting in the mid-late game.

8.2 assists per game sets Wadid at the top of the entire EU LCS. Although he only has the fourth highest kill participation among supports (77 percent), Wadid makes up for it with the second lowest deaths per game (1.9). Wadid is actually ranked as the strongest support in EU by Best.GG, and his 9.8 percent gold share is the second lowest in the league.

Third Team

TOP – SPY ODOAMNE

SPY Odoamne is my choice for third team All-Pro top laner

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Recency and win rate bias probably puts Odoamne above Alphari for some people. But, looking back on the first few weeks of the Spring Split, Odoamne really struggled. Just looking on his first six matches, Odoamne’s KDA was 1.04. However, he maintained a 3.37 KDA over the last 13 games.Odoamne’s resurgence has allowed Splyce to finish the split in third place, and if he held this higher form over the entire split, then maybe he would be second or first team All-Pro.

Despite these earlier woes, Odoamne averages ahead in CS, XP, and gold at 10 minutes. He also participates in First Blood in 42 percent of games (first among top laners). While Odoamne has the highest death share among top laners (33.8 percent), he also contributes 25.6 percent of Splyce’s damage (second among tops). Odo is peaking at the perfect time for playoffs, with powerful performances on Camille, Vladimir, Cho’Gath, and Sion.

JUNGLE – FNC BROXAH

Even though Broxah is surrounded by strong players and veteran leadership, he deserves credit for his individual performances this split. Broxah plays a large part in Fnatic’s ability to gain early pressure and transition into mid-game momentum. The team averages ahead by 800 gold at 15 minutes (second in EU), has a 78 percent First Blood rate (first in EU), a 61 percent dragon control rate, and a 58 percent Baron control rate (both second in EU). Fnatic also maintains a 55 percent jungle control rate, which is first in the league.

Broxah has been crucial to Fnatic’s dominance this split. Jarvan IV, Sejuani, and Zac have put Broxah on initiation duty, which works well for the team. However, Broxah’s Kha’Zix games have been some of the best in the league. He has the second highest KDA (6.5), third lowest death share (15.3 percent), and the second highest First Blood rate (50 percent), while never falling victim to First Blood. Broxah has truly come into his own this year.

MID – VIT JIIZUKE

Jiizuke has been a central part of Vitality’s success this split. His aggression has helped define the team’s playstyle, which kept Vitality towards the top for most of the regular season. The best-looking Ryze in EU, Jiizuke benefitted most from the Zoe-Azir-Ryze meta prior to patch 8.5. His highlight plays are some of the flashiest of the entire split, often pulling off 1-v-2s and clutch escapes.

Jiizuke averages ahead in lane in 77.8 percent of games with top three gold, XP, and CS differences at 15 minutes. He also outputs 611 damage per minute (second among mids), which makes up 31.8 percent of Vitality’s overall damage (second among mids). And while Vitality has been on a downward trajectory on the back half of the split, few would blame it on Jiizuke’s performance. He offers the most kills per game (3.6), but also the third most deaths per game (2.1).

ADC – H2K SHERIFF

H2K Sheriff is my choice for third team All-Pro AD carry

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Sheriff and H2K have had the opposite effect this split. Prior to Shook’s starting, Sheriff only had seven kills and 11 assists over eight games, most of which were in H2K’s win over Fnatic. His KDA was 1.8. He and H2K were free wins in the eyes of the community.

Since Shook joined the team, Sheriff has blossomed into a true late game carry. His KDA has risen to 4.2 (5.87 over the last 10 games). Sheriff outputs the third most damage per minute (652), has the highest kill participation (85.5 percent), and the third lowest death share (12.8 percent) in the entire league, despite the devastating first four weeks. Other AD carries, such as Kobbe, Hjarnan, and Minitroupax, are not able to match Sheriff’s consistency, despite their stronger teammates and being higher in the standings.

SUPPORT – FNC HYLISSANG

Although Hylissang is not the star of Fnatic, he has still been a solid performer for the top team. Fnatic’s overall strength allows Hylissang to get away with more face-checking and errors than other supports, but his initiations and his impact with champions like Braum, Rakan, and Alistar is undeniable. His strategies are working much better this year with Fnatic’s controlled style than last year with Unicorns of Love.

Hylissang has a top three KDA (3.7), gold and XP difference at 15 minutes (+229, +150), and First Blood rate (50 percent) among supports. The rest of his stats are not ideal, especially considering Fnatic’s place in the standings, but his utility and effectiveness for the team raise him above other supports like Norskeren or kaSing. Hylissang feels more like a threat of his own.

Rookie of the Split

VIT Jiizuke is my choice for Rookie of the Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

VIT JIIZUKE

The 2018 EU LCS Spring Split has been full of promising rookies, including Jiizuke, Sheriff, Norskeren, and Minitroupax. However, what elevates Jiizuke, in particular, is everything he brings to the game. Not only is he formidable on the Rift, but he also brings so much that League of Legends fans enjoy–aggressive playmaking, high energy on stage, and a winning personality. Jiizuke immediately left his mark on the EU LCS from day one, and he has been riding the wave ever since. Vitality is lucky to have him as a competitive mid laner, but fans are also lucky to spectate live and on-screen.

Coach of the Split

SPY PETER DUN

While Splyce still need to prove themselves moving into playoffs, they have had a much better regular season than many expected. Peter Dun came on board a plateaued organization with a rebuilt roster for 2018. So far he has been able to lead the team to a third place regular season finish, and each individual member, as well as the team as a whole, seems to get better week after week.

YamatoCannon comes in a close second for this award, but the fact that four fifths of Vitality’s roster had already played together last split, and Vitality’s loss of momentum over the split, detracted from his perceived contributions.

Most Valuable Player

FNC Rekkles is my choice for Most Valuable Player

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

FNC REKKLES

This vote does not require much explanation. Rekkles is a world-class player who looks just as good as ever. With Febiven, PowerOfEvil, Zven, and Mithy gone to North America, Rekkles has much less star power to contend with. He is one of the only players to play at a consistently high level over the entire split, at all stages of the game, on any champion, regardless of the draft.

When SoaZ or Caps is diminished, Rekkles is always the one that steps up to carry the team. When Fnatic falls behind by a significant amount, Rekkles is the one that reels it back in. Every other player in the EU LCS feels like they have significant weaknesses. Rekkles overshadows them all.

Honorable Mentions

FNC SOAZ/BWIPO

SoaZ is certainly a top three top laner. While his statistics are not stellar, his role on Fnatic is essential to how they play. Enemies often set SoaZ behind and catch him out in side lanes, but he milks the attention and makes those sacrifices in order for Fnatic to win other areas and make aggressive trades.

But it feels awkward voting for SoaZ over Odoamne or Alphari when he did not play the last couple of games. Fnatic has been very transparent about why they brought Bwipo on stage, and it was not because SoaZ is slumping or having any issues. But, because he did not finish out the regular season, and Bwipo was able to step in without hurting Fnatic’s chances, it is hard to cast a vote for SoaZ.

H2K SHOOK/SELFIE

H2K Shook deserves an honorable mention

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

In that same vein, Shook and Selfie did not play the entire split. However, it is undeniable how large their impact has been for H2K. Before Shook joined the team, H2K had a 1-7 record. Since he joined, H2K has had a 7-3 record. His ability to control the pace of the game, and to help H2K maintain mental fortitude through rough games, deserves credit.

Also, Selfie has been essential to H2K’s wins. Statistically, he has a very strong laning phase, and is involved in over 80 percent of H2K’s kills, while keeping the lowest death share of all mid laners. This split has been the best showing of LCS play from Selfie, and he could be in the conversation for the third best mid laner if he had played over the entire split at his current level.

credits

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Statistics: Oracles Elixir, Games of Legends

Looking for a podcast covering EU and NA LCS? Check out LCS Weekly on Twitch. 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 Thomas!

Smite’s Unofficial Power Rankings – Spring Season 5

Hinduman’s Unofficial Smite Rankings are here.

On Sunday, HiRez’s  Esports talent manager, lead smite caster and resident Brit Graham “Hinduman” Hadfield released his first Smite “Power Rankings” of season 5. As a team-based game in Smite, individual rankings based on pure statistics don’t work as well as with many other more individual based sports. This being said, Hinduman’s opinionated rankings are as close to a formal ranking system as Smite gets.

The latest rankings are the first since September 2017, and with Super Regionals and Worlds both having passed since then, there were many changes to the rankings. This article will break down the risers and fallers, as well as give some opinions on what The Game Haus’s Smite writers think Hinduman could have done differently!

Solo Lane Rankings

In North America, the main change here is the return to the league of Nicklaus “Divios” Neumeyer. Although he sat out for Season 4, he instantly returns at #2 in the rankings and will hope to resume his Season 3 reign of terror in the North American solo lane this split. Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill’s solid season 4 and resulting promotion to a top team (Spacestation) is also reflected by his modest +2 rise to #3. The big loser in North America was ScaryD. Unable to produce his best play in the Fall split and on his third roster of the year he falls a huge 4 places.

In Europe, a strong showing from the Croatian Adrian “Deathwalker” Benko throughout season 4 has led some to pronounce that he might be the best player in the world. Although it may be too early to make such a sweeping declaration, his place as #1 in Europe was made clear by his continual redefining of the solo metagame throughout the last season. A modest showing from Jeroen “Xaliea” Klaver at Worlds was the only factor keeping the flagging Harry ‘Variety’ Cumming from falling further, meaning the Season 3 Worlds MVP falls only a single place.

Mid Lane Rankings

Starting out in North America once again, the two Worlds Mid Laners both make rises in the rankings. A huge +3 for Kim “Baskin” Woon-young reflects the superb team carry he has once again become. Known in Season 2 and 3 as one of the best Solo Lane players in the world, he took a few months to establish himself in the Mid Lane. However he showed up with a huge performance at the World Championships in January bringing him into consideration as one the top players in the world. A more modest +1 rise from Brandon “Venenu” Casale was also clearly deserved. The biggest story, however, has to be the three new, returning or role-swapping players to the position. More changes are therefore certainly coming in the next iteration of these rankings.

Europe, however, is a completely different tale. Although there is one new face, the rest of the rankings remain exactly as they were, with Emil “PrettyPrime” Edström and Joakim “Zyrhoes” Verngren retaining the top two spots.

Jungle Rankings

Similar to the Mid Lane rankings, In North America again we see a meteoric rise for one of the SPL’s younger players, Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin. Almost a completely new player to accompany his name change from Varizial1, Spracklin has risen to the top of the region, reflecting his team’s World Championship victory. The other players in the region all shuffle down to reflect this, as well as to make room at #4 for the return to the Jungle of the former NA king Andrew “Andinster” Woodward.

Over in Europe, good overall seasons for British standout Benjamin “CaptainTwig” Knight as well as Bulgarian ace Aleksandar “iceicebaby” Zahariev have finally displaced long-time favourite Kennet “Adapting” Ros and Summer Split standout Anders “QvoFred” Korsbo at the top of the roster. It will be interesting to see if the Season 5 meta helps the latter return to former glory.

 

ADC and Support Rankings

In North America, the EUnited ranking revolution continues further with Support Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss and ADC Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich rising four and three places respectively, with a couple of returning players and role swaps the only other major changes to the rankings.

A similar story can be seen in Europe, with Team Rival’s strong end to the season reflected by the respective improval of Liam “Vote” Shanks and Petar “KaLaS” Matejić.

Our Perspective

Personally, the biggest disparity in the rankings to me was Venenu’s somewhat modest rise to #3 considering his domination playing The Morrigan and Discordia at Worlds. I would honestly have been fine with him being rated #1 in his position along with the rest of his team.

TGH Smite writer Nolan Evans believes that KikiSoCheeky did very little to deserve holding onto Fourth place in the solo standings. Indeed, he reckons that both Fineokay and ScaryD deserve to be above him!

What do you think? Have your say in the comments or on twitter, you can tweet me @KingHazzam or us in general at @TheGameHausEsports

 

All rankings are the opinion and sole work of @HirezHinduman on twitter and do not reflect the official views of Hirez or The Game Haus. All Images created by The Game Haus using these rankings.

EU LCS and NA LCS have slightly different champion prioritization in the 2018 Spring Split

A detailed look at EU and NA LCS champion preferences in 2018

While North America and Europe share a similar meta so far in 2018, the two regions do exhibit slightly different preferences in champion select. Differences in positional strengths and in-game strategies caused different champions to rise and fall in draft priority. These two regions mirror each other in certain shifts between patches 8.1 to 8.2, but they have diverged in certain respects, too.

By looking at the draft history of EU and NA, analysts can extrapolate information about these two regions. Does one region prioritize a certain position over the other? Are there any champions that appear frequently in one region, but not the other? Champion select can answer these questions, and more.

NA LCS from 8.1 to 8.2

North America prioritized Zoe, Ezreal, and Kalista on patch 8.1 in the 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

NA LCS prioritized Gangplank, Gnar, and Zoe on patch 8.2 in the 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

At the start of the 2018 Spring Split, NA LCS teams spent most of their bans on Zoe, Kalista, Ornn and Tahm Kench. Pick-wise, Ezreal and Gangplank sat at the top, due to their synergy with the new Kleptomancy rune. Tanky protector supports, Braum and Taric, had top-10 presence, as well as Gnar, a generalist top laner.

Once 8.2 hit professional play, Ezreal, Kalista, Ornn, Tahm Kench and Taric drop from the top 10. Sejuani, Azir, Galio, Ryze and Zac took their places. Two extra mid lane champions jumped into the top 10 with two extra junglers. Priority on AD carries and supports dropped, in response. Most of the champions that fell in priority was due to direct nerfs, changes to support itemization and nerfs to Kleptomancy. Zoe remains the most perceived overpowered champion, with high ban rates and a low average ban turn.

EU LCS from 8.1 to 8.2

EU LCS prioritize Kalista, Tahm Kench, and Azir on patch 8.1 in the 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS prioritized Sejuani, Kalista, and Zoe on patch 8.2 in the 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

Across the pond, EU LCS teams showed less priority on the Kleptomancy users (Ezreal and Gangplank) in patch 8.1. Instead, they banned Jarvan IV and Sejuani much more frequently, while leaving Tahm Kench, Ornn and Zoe available more often. EU teams drafted Ezreal, Tristana, Caitlyn and Varus with almost equal frequency to one another.

Transitioning into patch 8.2, Sejuani skyrocketed in priority, Jarvan IV dropped out of top-10 presence and Zac took his place. Azir and Gnar fall from grace, but Camille and Caitlyn jump to 90 percent presence. None of these champions had much changed on the patch update, so most of the prioritization changes are adaptations from the first two weeks of play. EU teams only had one top lane champion with top-10 presence in both patches, while the other roles had an even spread.

NA LCS and EU LCS top lane comparison

NA LCS teams prioritized Gangplank, Gnar, and Ornn in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Gnar, Ornn, and Camille in the top lane in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

Gnar and Ornn have been clear favorites over the first three weeks of gameplay between NA and EU LCS. North America is showing favoritism towards Gangplank and his interactions with Kleptomancy, while Europe has less than half as much priority. Instead, EU teams are happy to pick Camille as a counter to Gnar, and still draft Cho’Gath as a scaling AP tank.

Ban turn is another interesting regional difference. NA teams ban Gangplank and Ornn around turn four or five, while EU teams do not ban any top laners that early in the draft. The other prioritized top lane champions are banned around turns six and seven in NA. EU teams average one to two turns later to ban top laners. This could indicate that EU teams save counter picks for top lane more often than NA.

NA LCS AND EU LCS Jungle COMPARISON

NA LCS team prioritized Sejuani, Zac, and Jarvan IV in the jungle in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Sejuani, Jarvan IV, and Zac in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

It is obvious which champions have been dominating the jungle pool across both regions: Sejuani, Jarvan IV and Zac. These junglers provide early ganking, scaling tankiness and multiple forms of crowd control for teamfighting. Sejuani, Jarvan IV and Zac make up 60 to 90 percent of jungle picks in NA and EU.

Beyond those three, NA and EU show similar trends. Rengar, Kha’Zix and Evelynn represent the assassin class, which provides stealth, mobility and high early damage. NA junglers won three games of three games with Evelynn, while losing three of four with Kha’Zix. EU junglers have shown the reverse–winning four of seven with Kha’Zix and zero of two with Evelynn.

EU junglers have been experimenting with more jungler options than NA. Kold played Kayn, Xerxe played Ivern, Jankos played Skarner, Maxlore played Lee Sin and Memento even played Camille. Meanwhile, MikeYeung’s Shyvana has been NA’s only unique pick so far. Europe’s junglers may be willing to take more risks, but, unfortunately, only the Ivern pick resulted in a win.

NA LCS AND EU LCS mid COMPARISON

NA LCS teams prioritized Zoe, Ryze, and Azir in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Zoe, Ryze, and Azir in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

Similar to the jungle pools, the mid lane pools for NA and EU have been very similar. Zoe, Ryze and Azir dominate the draft with the current scaling AP meta. Galio and Malzahar are high-engage options that follow the S-tier picks, but their presence really falls off.

As mentioned earlier, EU’s mid laners seem to prefer picking or banning Ryze over Azir or Zoe. NA teams ban Zoe earlier and more frequently, while EU teams ban Azir. Thirteen unique champions have been picked and banned in North America, while Europe only has seven. Huhi, PowerOfEvil and Jensen are well-known for having deep champion pools, which could explain the variance. Pocket pick fans will be happy to see Nisqy and Betsy win games with Veigar, who has not seen EU LCS play in over four years.

NA LCS AND EU LCS Bot lane COMPARISON

NA LCS teams prioritized Kalista, Kog'Maw, and Tristana in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Kalista, Kog'Maw, and Tristana in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

The AD Carry position has fewer options to begin with, so most regions will see play on the same champions. Kalista, Kog’Maw, and Tristana are currently the scaling options of choice, as they synergized with the Fleet Footwork-Relic Shield-Overheal meta. However, EU teams are much more likely to take Kalista off the table than NA.

Ezreal saw higher play rates before his nerfs in patch 8.2, with NA teams showing a higher preference than EU. NA also prioritized Varus just below the S-tier picks, while EU has gravitated towards Caitlyn. Xayah is really only picked when paired with Rakan, and Sivir is a last option for deep scaling compositions.

NA AD carries have been much more successful with Kalista than EU AD carries. She carries a 56 percent winrate, 4.8 KDA, and +12.7 CS difference at 15 minutes in the NA LCS. In the EU LCS, she is 0-4, carries a 0.7 KDA, and -10.8 CS difference. This could be reason for EU teams to lower their priority on her in the coming weeks.

NA LCS and EU LCS Support Comparison

Na LCS teams prioritized Braum, Tahm Kench, and Taric in the first three weeks 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Tahm Kench, Braum, and Alistar in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

Bulky support champions with protective abilities and engage or disengage are the cream of the crop, currently. Tahm Kench reigns supreme in this “protect the AD carry” meta, and Braum is a close second. Both EU and NA prioritize these two champions far above any other supports. Alistar is the third option they share.

NA also has Taric just below the Kench-Braum tier, but he only has 17 percent presence in EU. Ornn support has also been played in NA, but not in EU, and all three games were wins. Thresh, Janna, and Shen have been pulled out a few times each, but the support pool has to be pinched first. Zilean is just under Rakan in EU’s prioritization, thanks to Kasing on Splyce. NA teams have played Zilean mid, instead.

Putting it all Together

NA LCS teams prioritize Zoe, Gangplank, and Gnar in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring SplitImage from GamesofLegends.com

EU LCS teams prioritized Kalista, Tahm Kench, and Braum in the first three weeks of 2018 Spring Split

Image from GamesofLegends.com

Over the first three weeks of the NA and EU LCS, over both patches, most champions overlap. Kalista and Braum average the highest prioritization between the two regions. The other top 10, while the same champions, are in very different places relative to each region.

Zoe and Tahm Kench are the most obvious diverging champions. Zoe is NA’s highest-presence champion at 97 percent, banned 26 times, picked three times. In EU, Ryze, Azir and Zoe all sit around the same level in fourth through seventh. Tahm Kench, on the other hand, is at the bottom of NA’s top 10, while being 100 percent pick or ban in EU.

One defining difference between the regional priority lies with top lane. Gangplank and Gnar have been 90 to 93 percent present, while Gnar is all the way down at number 10 in EU and Gangplank is down around 43 percent presence. In EU, they have higher priority on the supports and jungle champions. Tahm and Braum are virtually pick or ban, while Sejuani and Jarvan IV sit 10 to 20 percent higher in EU than NA, and NA is prioritizing Zac over Jarvan IV altogether.

Finally, NA teams pick or ban Kog’Maw much more, relative to the rest of the top 10 in EU. Both regions show an 83 percent presence for the marksman, but he falls sixth highest presence for NA, while only ninth highest in EU. Overall, EU teams cycle through the same champions more frequently than NA, causing them to show six champions with 90 percent or more presence.

credits

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images and Statistics: Games of Legends

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Upset will be a rookie for the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Meet the rookie class of EU LCS Spring 2018

Riot Games recently announced that the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split will begin on January 19. The league will no longer be split into two groups, and matches return to best-of-ones. FC Schalke 04, Misfits Gaming, Team Vitality, Fnatic, Splyce, Team ROCCAT, Unicorns of Love, Giants Gaming, G2 Esports and H2K are the competing teams.

Like past years, the 2017-2018 off-season was filled with roster changes. Only 14 players will be on the same team in Spring 2018 that they were on in Summer 2017. Febiven, PowerOfEvil, Zven and Mithy transferred to teams in North America. With so many players changing teams and leaving the region altogether, new faces will fill the void left behind.

12 rookies have joined teams in the EU LCS for Spring Split. This is about half as many rookies as the 2017 Spring Split (roughly 21), but more than North America’s 2018 crop (roughly eight). The newcomers are distributed across top lane (two), mid lane (three), AD carry (three) and support (four). There are no starting rookie junglers this split.

 

Ruin will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

GIANTS – RUIN

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, Giants Gaming

Summer statistics – 4.0 KDA, 61.8% participation, 22.5% damage

One of the only rookies to remain on his Challenger qualifier team, Ruin is the top laner for Giants. He helped Giants qualify into the LCS through the EU CS Summer Split last year. His best performances were with Gnar, but he also played Jarvan IV, Cho’Gath and Poppy. Jungle-top synergy will be Ruin’s biggest adjustment for 2018. Giants replaced Gilius with Djoko, a much less aggressive jungler with poor 2017 performances.

 

WhiteKnight is a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from Leaguepedia

UNICORNS OF LOVE – WHITEKNIGHT 

Most recent experience – European Challenger Series, Paris Saint-Germain

Summer statistics – 1.2 KDA, 41.4% participation, 16.3% damage

WhiteKnight is the other top lane rookie for Spring 2018. His Challenger team, Paris Saint-Germain, performed much better in the 2017 Spring Split than Summer Split. Nautilus is the only champion that WhiteKnight played more than twice, maintaining a 60 percent win rate. With Unicorns of Love spiraling downward at the end of 2017, and rebuilding in the off-season, WhiteKnight should look to simply learn and grow as much as he can in 2018.

 

Caedrel is a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

H2K – CAEDREL

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, FC Schalke 04

Summer statistics – 6.2 KDA, 71.9% participation, 28.4% damage

With all of their 2017 members released, H2K is rebuilding for 2018. Caedrel joins to replace Febiven as mid laner from S04. He finished the EU CS Summer Split with the most kills and assists of any mid laner. While it will take time for all five new H2K players to gel, Caedrel has potential as a rookie. His best performances were with Corki, Orianna and Leblanc.

 

Blanc will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from Leaguepedia

TEAM ROCCAT – BLANC

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, Paris Saint-Germain

Summer statistics – 2.7 KDA, 73.5% participation, 36.3% damage

The other rookie from Paris Saint-Germain, Blanc joins Team ROCCAT to replace Betsy in the mid lane. He was a standout while in the EU CS, with solid laning statistics and damage. Blanc also has experience as a starter for Jin Air Green Wings in the LCK, and substituted for G2 during their first series of Summer Split 2017. He will be a pivotal figure for a completely rebuilt ROCCAT line-up.

 

Jiizuke will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

TEAM VITALITY – JIIZUKE

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, Giants Gaming

Summer statistics – 6.5 KDA, 72.2% participation, 31% damage

Jiizuke is the only Italian player in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split. He joins as Vitality’s mid laner, along with three other members of Giants’ CS roster. Jiizuke drafted mostly Orianna and Leblanc during Summer Split, but also mixed in five Ekko games. Previous synergy with his teammates is a huge advantage that Jiizuke will have over the other rookie mid laners.

 

Upset will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

FC SCHALKE 04 – UPSET

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, FC Schalke 04

Summer statistics – 8.2 KDA, 14.4% death, 29.4% damage

Upset is the other player remaining with his promoted Challenger organization. S04 rebuilt their entire roster around the rookie AD Carry. Unlike some of the other 2018 newcomers, Upset will be surrounded by veterans at every position, which should allow for an easier transition. He has shown proficiency on a wide range of marksmen, and he is well-rounded at every stage of the game.

 

Sheriff will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from 5mid.com

H2K – SHERIFF

Most recent experience – 2017 Turkish Promotion League, Besiktas Esports Club

Summer statistics – 3.3 KDA, 53.8% participation, 20.9% gold

Sheriff enters the EU LCS after a stint in the TPL this summer where he helped Besiktas finish second place. He joins H2K as their rookie AD Carry, along with Caedrel, Santorin, SmittyJ and Sprattel. The veterans of H2K’s team have been relegated to Challenger leagues for a while now, so they will need Sheriff to execute in order to succeed. Kalista and Ashe were his best champions during Summer Split.

 

Minitroupax will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

TEAM VITALITY – MINITROUPAX

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, Giants Gaming

Summer statistics – 10.7 KDA, 10.1% death, 27% damage

One of the most anticipated rookie additions to the EU LCS for 2018, Minitroupax is the ADC for Vitality. He finished the EU CS Summer Split with stellar statistics and helped Giants qualify for the LCS. Minitroupax mostly played Caitlyn and Kalista, but he also showcased high marks on Xayah, Tristana and Jhin. Ex-Giants support, Jactroll, is also joining Vitality, making them one of two bottom lanes staying together from 2017 into 2018.

 

Targamas will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from Twitter

GIANTS – TARGAMAS

Most recent experience – 2017 Challenge France, GamersOrigin

Summer statistics – Unavailable

Targamas will be the player with the least experience in the EU LCS this spring. He enters the LCS from Challenge France, the French national league, joining Giants as a rookie support. With supports like Jesiz, Chei, Klaj and Noxiak without LCS starter positions, Giants must see something worthwhile in Targamas. He joins Steeelback in the bottom lane.

 

Norskeren will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

TEAM ROCCAT – NORSKEREN

Most recent experience – 2017 European Challenger Series, FC Schalke 04

Summer statistics – 5.9 KDA, 17.8% death, 64.4 participation

Norskeren will duo with HeaQ in ROCCAT’s bottom lane this spring. The Norwegian rookie support played for S04 last split to help qualify into the LCS. A fiendish Tahm Kench player, Norskeren put up solid performances in EU CS last year. Luckily, Schalke’s jungler, Memento, will join ROCCAT, as well. The synergy and utility of these two players will be the main hope of weaving together Profit, Blanc and HeaQ into a winning team.

 

Jactroll will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

TEAM VITALITY – JACTROLL

Most recent experience – European Challenger Series, Giants Gaming

Summer statistics – 5.3 KDA, 21.2% death, 69% participation

Giants’ Summer Split support, Jactroll, joins Vitality for 2018. Playing mostly Braum and Thresh, he prefers play-makers over enchanters. Jactroll enters the LCS with three of his four Challenger teammates, which should make the transition that much easier. With only five of 10 LCS supports carrying over from 2017, this position is ripe for a rookie to take over.

 

Totoro will be a rookie in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split

Image from Unicorns of Love App

UNICORNS OF LOVE – TOTORO

Most recent experience – 2017 League Champions Korea, bbq Olivers

Summer statistics – 2.7 KDA, 19.3% death, 65.1 participation

Totoro is a “rookie” out of the LCK, joining Unicorns of Love as a support. His previous team, bbq Olivers, maintained a 28.9 percent win rate, and Totoro played for ESC Ever prior to that. He mostly played Braum and Rakan during Summer Split, but also drafted 11 different champions over 45 games. As a rookie Korean import, Totoro is the polar opposite of Samux’s previous support, Hylissang, which will take time to adjust.

These are the rookies for the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split. All 12 of these individuals will shape the professional League of Legends landscape this year. One of these players may become the next European superstar. One of these players may not handle the pressure. Nonetheless, it will be exciting to watch these rising talents mesh with their respective teams and coaches and grow throughout the Spring Split.

credits

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr, Leaguepedia, 5mid.com, Twitter, Unicorns of Love App

Player and Champion Statistics: Games of Legends, Oracle’s Elixir

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 Thomas!

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FlyQuest secured a franchise slot for 2018

FlyQuest: A new logo, a new roster, a new beginning

As the off-season continues, North American LCS organizations are putting together their teams for 2018. Most of the line-ups remain as rumors and reports, but FlyQuest is one of a few that is fully confirmed. While TSM and Team Liquid are garnering attention for their dramatic overhauls, FlyQuest has flown a little bit under the radar. On November 30, they announced top laner Flame, jungler Anda, mid laner Fly, AD carry Wildturtle and support Stunt as their roster.

Balls, Moon, Hai and Lemonnation are no longer apart of the team. The identity of this organization is completely made over, as none of the original 2017 Spring Split members remain. Many fans are questioning whether or not FlyQuest will perform as highly without Hai’s shotcalling presence, but the organization seems prepared to move beyond that next year. With a franchise slot, a more polished logo and an updated roster, FlyQuest will look to reclaim the top of the standings.

Wildturtle Remains

WildTurtle is FlyQuest's AD carry for 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

FlyQuest’s 2018 roster was rebuilt around WildTurtle, their veteran AD Carry. Of their five Summer Split players, WildTurtle stood out most often as a hard carry. Despite FlyQuest’s 6-12 record, Wildturtle averaged the fourth most damage per minute, good enough for a 26.3 percent damage share. He has played in the NA LCS for five years now, which makes him one of the longest tenured players.

Moving into 2018, Wildturtle will have a lot on his shoulders. With the likes of Zven, Doublelift and Sneaky, the AD carry position will be very competitive. Wildturtle will need to rise to the occasion for FlyQuest to compete. With a fresh new support backing him up, Wildturtle should take control of the bottom lane and carry FlyQuest to victories.

While Wildturtle died more than any other AD carry in the Summer Split, it was mostly due to FlyQuest’s team playstyle. As the scrappiest team in the league, they would look for fights even if they were behind. Every member of FlyQuest finished the season with the most deaths in their positions. This strategy is most likely gone with Hai.

Wildturtle played on Cloud9, TSM and Immortals before his time on FlyQuest. He has gone to the League of Legends World Championships three times and he has made it to the NA LCS finals even more. Wildturtle is capable of making FlyQuest a top team in 2018, especially if the meta favors late-game scaling marksmen. If the other members are able to play around him by engaging fights and protecting him, then Wildturtle will willingly carry them to victory. He rarely tilts in-game, and he is an apparent positive player out-of-game.

imported solo lanes

Flame will play top lane for FlyQuest in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

FlyQuest will employ Flame and Fly as solo laners in 2018. Flame is known from his past year as Immortals’ top laner. Other than his brief stumbling in the beginning of the 2017 Spring Split, he looked exceptional. While on Immortals, Flame showed strength in laning phase and teamfighting, playing Jarvan IV, Shen, Nautilus and many others.

Fly also played in North America in the Summer Split. Gold Coin United finished the Challenger Series regular summer season 8-2, thanks in part to Fly’s mid lane performance. He maintained a 100 percent win rate with Orianna, and over 10.0 KDAs on Galio, Corki and Taliyah. He should fit right into the stacked LCS talent pool.

Beyond the alliteration, Flame and Fly bring consistency and reliability to the mid and top lanes of the map. These players are also unafraid to carry or support their teammates. They should be compatible with Wildturtle, since Immortals and Gold Coin United played well around their passive AD carries.

There have been several past teams that failed to utilize their dual-Korean solo lanes. Team Envy with Ninja-Seraph and Ninjas in Pyjamas with Profit-Nagne are two examples. Communication and synergy were the major issues holding back those rosters. Since Flame and Fly have already spent time on North American teams with mixed nationalities, then maybe they have overcome any issues with communicating. With relative newcomers playing the supportive positions, it will be of utmost importance.

Jungle and Support Solo Queue Stars

Stunt will play support for FlyQuest in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Anda and Stunt round out the roster as jungle and support. Anyone who watched the NA LCS should recognize Stunt as the support who shared duties with Shady on Phoenix1 in Spring Split. While Shady typically played high-damage supports, Stunt was more apt to play Karma, Lulu or Taric. He was most recently a substitute for Immortals during this year’s Summer Split.

Anda was also a substitute for Immortals this summer. While he has not seen the stage as much as Stunt, Anda is known as a formidable solo queue player. He switched from top lane to jungle, where his top champions are Nidalee, Elise, Lee Sin and Rengar. FlyQuest will hope to channel his mechanics and raw talent into success, much like Moon during the Spring Split.

These two young athletes will be the deciding factors for FlyQuest in 2018. Stunt will need to prove himself as a starter. Anda will need to translate his skills into a more coordinated setting. Hopefully they developed synergy during their time on Immortals, and FlyQuest saw that before signing these two. Jungle-support synergy is huge, as shown by Xmithie-Olleh and Lira-Hakuho in the Summer Split.

If Anda and Stunt are able to develop more playstyle flexibility, then that would boost FlyQuest’s chances even higher. Flame and Fly have shown their willingness to play roaming and utility champions, which would empower Anda and Stunt to play more carry champions. But there will be times when the meta calls for tanks and utility from jungle and support. If Anda and Stunt can work together to establish vision, seamlessly communicate and enable Flame, Fly and Wildturtle, then it could be a recipe for success.

putting together all of the pieces

Fly will play mid lane for FlyQuest in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

FlyQuest’s recipe for success involves each of these players fulfilling their roles. Flame will be a rock in the top lane, absorbing any enemy pressure while steadily chipping away at the opponent top laner. Fly will generally gain an advantage in his lane, but rely more on Anda’s jungling for vision and ganking. Wildturtle and Stunt will play the lane passively. As long as they have a scaling AD carry and enchanter support, then they will be in their comfort zone.

Once mid game rolls around, Fly and Anda will take control of whichever river they want. Flame and Fly will look for any chance to impact other parts of the map and begin the snowball. Anda and Stunt will do their best to protect Wildturtle and allow him to output all the damage in the world.

Finally, this team’s teamfight could be their golden ticket. It all depends on communication and flexibility. The top half of FlyQuest’s team can easily gain a lead, and bottom lane just has to make it through laning phase without giving too much. Coordination will most likely be difficult in the first few weeks of the split, but by the halfway point, FlyQuest could become quite the contender.

They should resemble 2017 Summer Split Fnatic. Each member can carry in their own right, and when they are coordinated and decisive they look amazing. But when communication breaks down, or a player gets tilted, then it all comes crumbling down. FlyQuest is looking to make waves in 2018, and most of the community is sleeping on them.


Featured Image: FlyQuest’s Facebook

Other Images: LoL Esports’ Flickr

Player and Team Statistics: Games of Legends, Oracles Elixir

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 Thomas!

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FC Schalke 04 will live or die by jungle and support in 2018

The 2018 League of Legends preseason continues to heat up, as LCS teams announce roster changes and the media reports daily updates. North American franchising has been a large spot of attention, while the European league has been quiet. Some major players are reportedly transferring to North America, but others have maintained that they are staying in Europe. A select few have announced that they are remaining on the same team from 2017 into 2018.

FC Schalke 04 is the only team to officially announce their entire EU LCS roster. Since re-entering the LCS by promotion from the Challenger Series, Schalke replaced four out of five players and only kept AD carry Upset. Schalke brought on Vizicsacsi, long-time top laner for Unicorns of Love, Pridestalker, Rookie of the Summer Split from Roccat, Nukeduck and Vander, reputable mid laner and support most recently from Team Vitality. There is a plethora of experience between Vizicsacsi, Nukeduck and Vander, while Pridestalker and Upset are promising young talents.

vizicsacsi: the catalyst

During his time on UOL, Vizicsacsi consistently set the pace of their matches. He is able to play carry champions, such as Gangplank, Irelia and Rumble. Tanks, such as Shen, Gnar, Maokai and Poppy, come naturally to him as well. ‘Csacsi has shown mastery of split-pushing, teleport flanks, lane swapping, diving and teamfighting. He is honestly one of the most well-rounded players in the league.

Vizicsacsi enters Schalke 04 as the catalyst of the team. He truly excels when he is able to gain a lead for himself and press the enemy team to respond to him. Pushing towers in the side lane, or diving the enemy bottom duo, ‘Csacsi applies pressure every chance he can get. During laning phase, he will draw enemy jungle attention, making room for Pridestalker to impact mid lane and the enemy jungle.

Moving into the mid game, Vizicsacsi will communicate ways that he can force the enemy’s hand. The opponent’s top laner will choose between regaining control of his lane or following Csacsi to another point on the map. Vizicsacsi always tries to use his tools offensively, so Teleport, Stand United, Cannon Barrage and other timings are crucial for Schalke victories. He will use these global abilities to press the attack when ahead, or turn the game around when behind.

Pridestalker: the wildcard

With only one split under his belt, Pridestalker comes on board without a clear role. Roccat finished the Summer Split with a 5-8 record, mostly losing because of their weak solo laners and poor neutral objective control. The team had an overall lack of proactivity, even when Pridestalker assisted his team in gaining early leads. The team finished the regular season bottom three in the league for First Blood, first turret, first three turrets and dragon percentage.

With the 2018 Schalke line-up, Pridestalker will be the true wildcard player. Team Vitality in the 2017 Summer Split is a good example of what happens when a team of veteran players has a sub-par jungler. Hopefully, Pridestalker pulls through as a keen tracker, keeping tabs on the enemy’s whereabouts and strategy. His most played champions include Kha’Zix, Graves and his pocket pick Warwick, all perfect for singling out the enemy jungler and punishing failed ganks.

Pridestalker needs to be the thorn in the enemy’s side. Each of his lanes are formidable in their own right, so Pridestalker can continue to lock in junglers with solo kill potential. He should focus on managing deep vision in the opponent’s jungle to track their pathing and allow the other members of Schalke to make smart decisions. Pridestalker’s ability to mesh with the rest of the team, to function as a counter-jungler and to control the map will be crucial. He will truly be the wildcard for Schalke’s Spring Split.

Nukeduck: the Anchor

Vitality’s saving grace in the 2017 Summer Split, Nukeduck has won the respect of Europe’s elite players over his several years of experience. Despite Vitality’s 5-8 record, Nukeduck generally won his lane, played a wide range of champions, and output almost a third of the team’s damage. He is one of the only players in recent memory to truly stand out while playing for a losing team.

Moving into 2018, Schalke will hope to utilize Nukeduck’s consistency and unleash more of his carry potential. The mid laner pulled off wins with zoning mages like Orianna and Syndra, AD hyper-carries like Corki and Kog’Maw and mobile assassins like Leblanc and Kassadin. With a more consistent jungler and bottom lane, Nukeduck should be able to be even more dominant in lane, opening him up for more roams and invades.

This could be a match made in heaven. Schalke is looking for redemption since their initial flop in the EU LCS, and Nukeduck could be the key. He continues to prove himself worthy in the eyes of his peers. 2018 is Nukeduck’s chance to regain some team glory since his days with Lemondogs. At worst, he will be the anchor in the mid lane: reliable and consistent.

Upset: the raw talent

Schalke’s AD carry, Upset, is the only qualifying member that they held onto for 2018. With a complete roster rebuild, Upset will need to adapt quickly to his new bottom lane partner and other teammates. Other than Pridestalker, every player Schalke acquired in the off-season will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to help mold Upset into a future star. This player quickly rose to prominence in the European Challenger Series, and he will look to begin his legacy as an LCS-level player next year.

Europe has a great track record with rookies in recent years. Broxah, Caps, Pridestalker, Alphari, Hans sama, Xerxe and Samux were all rookies in 2017. Schalke is betting on Upset’s potential by building the entire team around him, and for good reason. Throughout the Summer Split he averaged ahead in lane at 15 minutes, which transitioned into menacing teamfighting. Always aggressive, Upset is not afraid to step forward to inflict those extra ticks of damage. He typically output 600 damage per minute, good enough for a 30 percent share.

This raw talent needs to become focused in 2018. With the proper structure, Upset could develop into the next Forgiven. His precision and presence on the map are very similar to the legendary AD carry, and it is no coincidence that Schalke is pairing him with Vander, Forgiven’s old support. Upset can easily become a prominent player in the EU LCS Spring Split, and there is a future for him if Schalke plays its cards right.

Vander: the facilitator

Vizicsacsi will create pressure. Pridestalker will scout the enemy. Nukeduck will consistently carry. Upset will pop off. Vander will be left to gel it all together. This support’s first task is to help Upset create pressure in his lane. Then they will transition that pressure into jungle invades and securing dragons. Protecting Nukeduck and Upset in teamfights will be Vander’s ultimate responsibility, since Pridestalker and Vizicsacsi will most likely engage.

Thresh, Braum and Alistar are Vander’s most played champions of all time, but he has had most success with Taric, Trundle, Nautlius and Shen. Vander definitely performs best with tanks that bring utility to the game. He has never really looked as comfortable on Nami or Lulu, and he has never even played Soraka on stage. This could be one opening for Schalke’s opponents in the future, especially if the meta favors enchanters.

Vander did not elevate Team Vitality as expected in the Summer Split. They still did not come close to making it to playoffs. Hopefully, a new roster and infrastructure will see Vander return to his 2016 H2K performance. He supported Forgiven and the rest of H2K to a World Championship semifinals finish. Just like Nukeduck and the Schalke organization, 2018 could be a year of redemption for Vander.

Schalke 04: the New Hotness

Krepo will coach FC Schalke 04 in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

On paper, Schalke has top talent in almost every position. There are some question marks around Pridestalker’s actual skill level, Nukeduck and Vander’s confidence levels since playing for Vitality and Schalke’s support structure as an organization. 2018 will provide the answers to these questions.

Schalke is the first team to officially announce its roster. They have beaten other organizations to the punch, and maybe it will pay off. This mix of formidable veterans, rising stars and overall playstyle flexibility could make for a sharp team. The Spring Split will be full of tests, especially considering Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels is head coach. This will be Krepo’s first appearance back on the League of Legends scene since stepping down from Riot casting after a scandal earlier this year. This will be his first time coaching, although he is a former LCS player and caster.


Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Player and Team Statistics: Games of Legends, Oracles Elixir

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Voting is open for the 2017 All-Star Event

My picks for the 2017 EU LCS All-Star team

The 2017 All-Star voting has opened for esports fans around the world. Members of each region are deciding which players in each role get to represent them as All-Stars. The cream of the crop is rising to the top, as League of Legends players cast their votes.

This year Riot regionally restricted voting, meaning North American players vote for the NA LCS All-Stars, Europeans vote for the EU LCS All-Stars, and so on. Just like every year, there are ongoing debates about what factors into a player’s All-Star status. Is it based on their match statistics? Is it about their team’s success? Does a player’s legacy factor into it? These and many more questions are on everyone’s minds.

I have decided to publicize my choices for the EU LCS All-Stars, since that is the league that I covered most this year. Total disclosure, I am a North American resident, so my actual votes were restricted to the NA LCS. Nonetheless, I do have opinions on who should be considered the European All-Stars this year.

As these choices are subjective, much of what someone finds worthy of All-Star status is merely how they feel when watching a player. An All-Star is someone that wows the audience with their skill and consistency. They are a player that always contributes to their team’s success. All-Stars bring a strong presence in every competition, which usually translates into draft strategy, lane pressure, teamfighting and controlling objectives.

Here are my five choice players. I am only factoring in 2017 performances, including Spring and Summer Splits, Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship. I largely ignored Rift Rivals, and these player choices do not take into account whether or not a player is their team’s shot-caller.

Vizicsacsi

UOL Vizicsacsi ranks first among EU LCS top laners

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

My only player choice that did not qualify for Worlds this year, Vizicsacsi is the best that Europe has to offer. He consistently put up impressive performances this year, while Unicorns of Love suffered inconsistency as a team. ‘Csacsi is the only top laner in the EU LCS that should play up to the level of any other region’s All-Star opponents. He has been a leader on Unicorns of Love for almost four years straight now, longer than any other top laner in Europe.

Vizicsacsi carried games on Shen, Cho’Gath, Galio and Gnar this summer. He is the only EU LCS top laner to be top four in CS, XP and gold at 15 minutes, damage per minute and damage percentage in Spring and Summer Split this year. For these reasons, Vizicsacsi was first team All-Pro in Spring Split, and third team All-Pro in Summer Split. Finally, Vizicsacsi is one of the most talented players in the world who consistently gets denied opportunities to attend international events, so All-Stars would be a chance to provide him one.

SOAZ and Odoamne are the next closest contenders, in my book. Personally, sOAZ’s negative social media presence towards the end of Summer Split and during Worlds makes it difficult for me to vote for him as an All-Star. His performances this year were solid, even if Fnatic’s overall strategy was leaky. He was also much more likely to be stuck on a tank, rather than experimenting with a wider variety of champions (which, of course, is not entirely his fault).

Odoamne’s credentials are similar to Vizicsacsi’s. He is a legacy EU LCS top laner who has been on H2K since May 2014. Odo was a consistent force this spring and summer, which earned him second team All-Pro both splits. However, Odoamne’s laning phase was considerably worse than Csacsi’s in the Summer Split. He finished seventh-eighth among top laners at 15 minutes.

Maxlore

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Misfits’ run at Worlds was due largely in part to Maxlore’s jungling. There is recency bias in my selection, because Maxlore was not as impressive during Spring Split on Roccat, but he clearly improved through Summer Split. Misfits initially brought him on to replace KaKAO because of his communication. I would say Maxlore fulfilled that promise, as Misfits’ team cohesion and synergy got better and better every game.

The Sejuani-Gragas-Jarvan IV meta benefited Maxlore more than almost any other jungler. He consistently made the most of his tankiness and crowd control. While Misfits did not have the best neutral objective or vision control, their team-fighting was definitely better than their European counterparts, and Maxlore was a huge part of that.

Jankos is Europe’s renowned jungler favorite, but he did not have a stellar year. His “First Blood King” title did not ring true, and his pressure did not seem as strong as years past, especially during the tankier jungle metas. Jankos is still definitely a top European jungler, but not the top jungler of 2017, in my opinion.

Broxah would actually be my second choice. He had a strong showing domestically in Spring Split, and he did earn the first team All-Pro honor for Summer Split. Broxah’s early games were clean, but as the game went on he seemed to have a harder time knowing exactly when to engage or peel, when to contest or concede. I could totally understand someone casting their vote for Broxah, but I simply found Maxlore’s performances at Worlds more All-Star worthy.

Perkz

Perkz is G2's mid laner at the 2017 EU LCS Summer Split finals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Mid lane is the role that seems the most straight-forward to me. Perkz had a monster year, even with some setbacks towards the beginning of Summer Split. He brought an excellent combination of laning phase pressure and team-fighting prowess that is hard to find. Other mid laners rarely acquired early game leads against Perkz, and even if they did he never felt fully out of the game.

Add in his Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship performances, and Perkz feels like the right choice. He consistently played up to the level of his opponents, including Faker, xiaohu, Crown and xiye. There were plenty of times where the other members of G2 felt non-existent, yet Perkz always seemed like the player with a plan. He is passionate on and off the Rift. You can feel it in his interviews and in his social media, especially his update following Worlds. Perkz simply feels like the best representation of a European All-Star. 

PowerOfEvil is a close second choice. He exhibited quite a resurgence in 2017 from his days on Origen. Misfits brought him on when they entered the LCS, and he helped bring them to a World Championship. PowerOfEvil’s presence made mid lane the focus of most of their matches, especially when playing Orianna. He almost always got roaming priority during laning phase, and was happy to sacrifice CS and XP to assist his teammates. While I can understand votes cast for PoE, he lacks the bravado that Perkz has, which is keeping me from seeing him as an All-Star.

Febiven and Caps are decent choices, but neither seemed as consistent throughout the game as Perkz or PowerOfEvil. Febiven rarely felt as dominant in team-fights, while Caps regularly played without respect for the enemy jungler. H2K threw early leads due to Febiven’s passivity. Fnatic often lost leads due to Caps’ aggression. They are definitely crucial pieces for their respective teams, but they lack the versatility that Perkz and PoE bring.

Rekkles

Fnatic may qualify for Worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The entire Fnatic roster was rebuilt around Rekkles for 2017, and he totally delivered on the pressure. In Spring and Summer Splits, as well as Worlds, Rekkles consistently went even or won bottom lane, and quickly transitioned into methodical positioning and damaging in team-fights. It seems like he had the flashiest moments among AD carries in the EU LCS, juking, flashing forward and making the most of every auto-attack.

Rekkles was also the most inventive marksman in Europe this year. His Kennen went unanswered for a long time. He was one of the only players drafting Sivir when the champion pool was pinched. Rekkles also gave the greatest Twitch performances, all while gladly playing the meta Varus, Ashe, Jhin, Caitlyn, Xayah and Tristana. No other AD carry matched this level of versatility, which is a huge reason he is considered an All-Star.

Zven is the only one who came close, but he was not as dominant this year as last year, in my opinion. He was by far the most consistent bottom laner in Europe, outputting damage and not dying. However, he rarely seemed to push his limits the way Rekkles did. To be fair, Fnatic’s playstyle revolved more around Rekkles than G2’s did around Zven, but that does not discount Rekkles’ performances below Zven’s.

There is a wide gap below Rekkles and Zven. Hans sama certainly stepped up in LCS playoffs and Worlds, when the meta needed him most. I’m not convinced he is on the same level as Fnatic and G2’s AD carries, especially when considering the rest of Summer Split. Kobbe and Samux had consistently good performances throughout the year, but their teams were too inconsistent to let them shine.

IgNar

Ignar is Misfits' support at the 2017 EU LCS Summer Split finals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Similar to Rekkles, IgNar’s champion pool seems endless. He played Malzahar, Zyra and Tahm Kench in Spring, and Thresh, Rakan, Alistar and Bard in Summer. Misfits then drafted Taric, Janna, Leona and Blitzcrank at Worlds. IgNar stuck to the meta when necessary, but he was not afraid to adapt and innovate. This flexibility is part of the reason Misfits was able to make a deeper run at Worlds than expected.

G2’s mithy had a great year for himself. He did have several game-saving plays in the Summer Split. However, while he showed a wide variety of playstyles, he lacked the same innovation as IgNar. I cannot remember a time when mithy drafted a surprise, non-meta pick. He generally went with the flow, and locked in an expected support to compliment Zven’s champion. For this reason, mithy feels like less of an All-Star.

Jesiz, Chei and Wadid were impressive in the support role as well, but they showed a bit less consistency and lack that clutch factor. Jesiz is more aligned with mithy, where his role revolves around Rekkles. H2K and Roccat rely more on Chei and Wadid to actually carry them in games.


Featured Image: LoLesports.com

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Team and Player Statistics: Game of Legends

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map

What the Season 5 map changes mean for Smite

A lot has been said about Smite’s map and most of it has not been positive. It appears that Hi-Rez have listened and for Season 5 we are going to have a new map. From the little we already know, it looks like a lot of the community’s gripes have been addressed.

What we know already

The biggest complaint about the map has always been that it’s too small. One of the problems this creates is that it makes rotations go unpunished as you are not sacrificing farm going from lane to lane. As it currently stands it takes less time to clear and get to another lane than it does for new lanes to meet.

This creates multiple problems, but one of the most apparent is the lack of identity junglers have in Smite. A recurring complaint is that compared to other MOBA’s, junglers feel like a second mid rather than an actual jungler. For a while now we have known Smite as having two genuine laners in an ADC and solo, and then the core centered around mid lane of jungle, support and mid. They spend so much time together that instead of feeling like their own roles, it more feels like a combined role which plays different parts in a fight.

map

Image courtesy of Reddit.com/r/Smite /u/Gehlen_

The larger map should help solve this problem to some degree, as rotating around will now be more likely to cost farm on the map, simply due to travel time. As of right now, there is just so much farm clustered around the mid lane which is available without cost that the tri-lane is inevitable. In competitive play we keep hearing that ADC’s are pretty much being left alone, this is one of the reasons why. Warriors from solo can impact and get to the farm around mid quicker and are much better at contesting it early.

The larger map should also help junglers because if people are naturally more spread out, ganks become a more powerful tool. Anyone who plays a lot of Assassins knows that they really thrive when they can isolate people. Turning a 1v1 into a 2v1 is more impactful that turning a 3v3 into a 4v3. Also Assassins for the most part are burst damage, close range squishy targets. So it becomes a lot harder to do what they want to when there are multiple people peeling and there is enough damage to blow them up. If there are more ganks the SPL should also become even more fun to watch.

Another reason for the lack of identity junglers face is that they have no way of being stealthy. How can a jungler hide what side of the map they’re on when they have to constantly dip into waves for XP and all the entrances to the jungle are in the sight of the other team. At least part of this has been addressed as now there are entrances into the jungle which are completely hidden.

What we don’t know

As of now all we have really been given are the dimensions of the map, so there is a lot to still be addressed. We have been told that there will be at the very least new jungle paths and gameplay changes.

What can new jungle paths offer us? Firstly, we could no longer have straight line paths directly from lane to lane. The effect of this would be to artificially make the map bigger, as rotations will take longer. Secondly, they could make the jungle feel more dangerous. The jungle in Smite at the moment is not a particularly dangerous place if warded correctly. The jungle lanes are massive, and there is not a huge amount of mystery in them. By that I mean with decent wards, it’s incredibly easy to have all the major pathways and entrances covered. You know where everybody is or could be, making the jungle a less punishing place than it should be. Especially with how much space there is in them and numerous escape routes.

Other gameplay changes they could make have to do with farm and how it functions. Clear is king in smite, with how the map currently functions early pressure in mid is just far too important. To emphasize that point we are currently in a late game meta, but still the priority is early pressure. Look at the resurgence of Raijin. He is regarded as one of, if not the strongest mid right now. What is the single best thing about Raijin, his early clear. We have also seen ADC’s and mid laners starting together in mid while supports solo duo in Season 4. If that doesn’t highlight the value of mid clear I don’t know what else will.

There are a few things which make the mid clear so important. One of them is how much farm there is around mid and how quickly you can get to it. Another is that the mid wave meets five seconds before any other wave, so not only is it closer but you have a head start. A lot of the stress over mid lane pressure comes from these two reasons. So with the new jungle paths and gameplay changes maybe we will see camps take longer to get to from mid and waves meeting at the same time.

Another big gameplay change we could potentially be seeing is how splitting camps works. As it currently stands splitting a camp actually generates farm out of thin air. This is another reason why you want the mid lane pressure so you can go split all the valuable camps around it. It is also one of the reasons why junglers are attached at the hip to their mid laner. In a competitive setting you just can’t give up the 33 percent extra farm gained from splitting a camp. It’s like trying to play without last hitting, you are just going to fall behind. If you are splitting every camp, you need to also be getting waves, otherwise you are just going to get massively behind in the jungle.

Conclusion

What we know so far about the new map looks good. One of the things holding Smite back for a long time has been the map, both in competitive and casual play. So it is great that it looks like Hi-Rez are really doing something different with the Season 5 map.

If you want to know more about the problems the map creates and have some insight into upcoming changes check out Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss’ great video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIdjaukI-54

It really is the best resource out there at the moment to understand how and why the map is played as it is currently. Also all the changes we have seen so far are ones that PBM suggests in this video, so if you want a feel for what else might be coming this video is great for that too.

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Top image courtesy of Playstation.com

Worlds’ OP five after week two

The Group Stage of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship has finished, and the quarterfinals are set. The second week was a roller-coaster, as many teams who struggled in week one made a come-back in week two. Groups B and D had massive shake-ups, while groups A and C had major upsets without affecting the standings.

Just like in the first week, we saw certain players shine. We saw new champions drafted, updated item builds, and adapted strategies. Other players faltered, whether on their own or as part of deeper team-wide issues. Recency bias will paint over their week one performances, and they will be remembered for how they fell short.

Rather than dwell on missed opportunities, it is important to lift up those players who executed. These are the five most fearsome from the second week of Group Stage.

Top: ssg Cuvee

SSG's Cuvee was the most OP top laner in week two of worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Almost every top laner had major failures this week. In SKT’s loss to AHQ, Huni sacrificed four of their 12 deaths. Khan did not play all three games, and Rascal only played one (not really a failure, but it’s more difficult to judge against players who had 3-4 games). Cloud9’s Impact and TSM’s Hauntzer looked much less coordinated than last week.

However, Samsung’s CuVee actually looked strong in all three of his games. He averaged ahead in gold (+235), CS (+8), and XP (+237) at 15 minutes. SSG’s top laner was the only player with a lead in their game versus RNG. His Cho’Gath found 1907 Fenerbahce’s AD carry multiple times, and helped enable Samsung to deny G2 any neutral objectives.

The top lane pool in Group C (Letme, Expect and Thaldrin) is not the most intimidating, but members of Groups A, B and D all played inconsistently. WE’s 957 had strong showings, but he averaged behind in laning phase, despite having advantageous match-ups. One could also argue that he contributed less to their victories than CuVee did to Samsung’s.

Jungle: EDG Clearlove

EDG's Clearlove was the most OP jungler in week two of worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Say what you will about week one EDG, but they played their hearts out this week. Clearlove got first blood in two of three games. He secured the Rift Herald, multiple dragons and first Baron in all three games. While he averaged behind in XP (-323) and CS (-12), Clearlove averaged ahead in gold (+280) at 15 minutes. His 6.0 day eight KDA was the highest in Group A.

EDG’s jungler is a big reason why they accrued over 3,000 gold leads by twenty minutes in all three games this week. Clearlove made sure to give advantages to his carries, particularly Scout and iBoy. His Jarvan IV ultimates were key to locking down Sneaky and AN’s Kog’Maws.

Maxlore did provide spectacular early game pressure for Misfits, but they lost crucial Barons in three of their four games this week. Mlxg was stifled in his Rek’Sai game against G2. WE’s Condi had great performances this week, and he may even be more worthy than Clearlove. Team WE’s lanes seemed less dependent on Condi’s early influence, because they drafted advantageous match-ups more often.

Mid: WE Xiye

WE's Xiye was the most OP mid laner in week two of worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

It was difficult to choose the most OP mid laner this week. Arguments could be made for Bdd again, Xiaohu, Xiye, or even Perkz, Caps, Faker or Scout. However, WE’s Xiye seems like the best choice. Not only did he average more kills (4.0) and assists (5.7) per game than any other mid laner in his group, but keep in mind he is in Group D. He clearly out-performed Bjergsen, Maple and PowerOfEvil, which cannot necessarily be said about mids in any other group.

Part of the credit should certainly go to his jungler, Condi, but Xiye knew what to do with his leads once he had them. His Jayce was pivotal in WE’s siege composition versus TSM. Xiye used Corki to roam and dish damage against Flash Wolves. Finally, he had multiple solo kills on PowerOfEvil, helping dismantle Misfits’ lead.

LZ’s Bdd was really the only other mid laner as dominant. He continued to use roaming zone mages to spread his leads and out-roam his opponents. This is a valid strategy. However, it just does not feel as powerful as Xiye’s performance this week. Xiye played three different champions with slightly different play styles. The pressure was higher on Xiye to shut down main components of TSM, MSF and FW for their victories, while Longzhu’s group has those pressure points more on bottom lane and jungle.

ADC: LZ Pray

LZ's Pray was the most OP AD Carry in week two of worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Mystic, iBoy, Bang, Uzi, Zven, Rekkles… so many great AD carries are at this championship. But in week two of the Group Stage, Longzhu’s PraY reigned supreme. He carried LZ to another 3-0 week on Kog’Maw and Varus. PraY’s 6.3 kills per game topped all players in Group B, and his 8.7 assists were highest among Group B’s AD carries. He also put up 991 damage per minute, 39.6 percent of LZ’s total.

PraY and GorillA made Immortals, Fnatic and Gigabyte Marines’ bottom lanes pale in comparison. While their early games have not necessarily been oppressive, their late-game fighting is clean. In all three of LZ’s games, PraY came up massive in teamfights just past 30 minutes and they closed. While last week’s wins seemed much more dependent on Khan and Bdd, this week PraY drove them home.

Bang and iBoy had high highs on day eight, but they both had duds, too. Bang finished the AHQ loss 0-1-0 over 37 minutes. IBoy finished the SKT loss 1-3-1 over 38 minutes, despite having a clear early lead. These losses dilute their gameplay in victory. Mystic had a similar situation in Group D, where his two Caitlyn games were extremely oppressive, yet he had two early laning deaths against Misfits from lack of respect. Uzi was outplayed by G2’s Zven in Group C, as well.

Support: SSG Corejj

SSG's CoreJJ was the most OP support in week two of worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

As mentioned last week, the support role is currently difficult to judge between players. All of the supports at this year’s Worlds are exceptional. With the meta revolving around Ardent Censer and enchanter champions, Janna and Lulu have dominated the draft. Both have a 92% presence in the draft thus far. Since they focus almost exclusively on the success of their AD carries, if their teammates lose, then they lose.

That being said, Samsung’s CoreJJ had a fantastic week. Even in the loss to RNG, CoreJJ finished with a positive KDA. SSG’s marksman, Ruler, could not put up the carry performances he has shown without CoreJJ’s constant buffs. He came out of day six with a 28.0 overall KDA, averaging 0.3 deaths and 8.0 assists per game.

EDG’s Meiko and Misfits’ IgNar also stood out this week. The only factor preventing Meiko from being in the OP five was the bottom lane competition in his group.  Uzi-Ming, Zven-Mithy and Padden-Japone came out more consistently strong this week than Bang-Wolf, Sneaky-Smoothie and AN-Albis. While IgNar was ambitious to draft Blitzcrank, Taric and Thresh this week, he did not play as crisp as possible. The Blitzcrank ultimately lost in the late game to TSM.


Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Team and Player Statistics: Game of Legends

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