KINGZONE

Bbq Olivers end KINGZONE DragonX’s 14 game win streak

KINGZONE DragonX’s 14 game win streak has ended after a surprise defeat to bbq Olivers, ending the first half of the LCK Spring Split.

This was set to be an easy match for KINGZONE. They were considered to be the best team in Korea, if not the world, boasting an impressive 14 game win streak. Meanwhile, bbq sat at the bottom of the standings, having previously lost to MVP. MVP being the worst team in Korea according to many analysts.

 

game 1

After a week off from play for the Korean Lunar New Year, bbq came back ready to take on whatever challenge faced them. KINGZONE, on the other hand, seemed to look down on bbq and let them draft incredibly strong snowball picks. Handing over power picks such as Zoe and the recently popular Skarner. KINGZONE were quick to regret their decision.

Bbq began to snowball the game as quickly as possible. Sending mid-laner Kang “Tempt” Myung-gu along with jungler Kim “Trick” Gang-yun to bot. They repeatedly did this, snowballing their bot lane very quickly. KINGZONE was unprepared for bbq’s uncharacteristically relentless aggression and ended up handing over many kills. KINGZONE, having drafted a late game team fight composition, found themselves unable to recover, giving over game 1.

 

KINGZONE

Courtesy of KeSPA

 

game 2

Game 2 saw KINGZONE come back into their own, after a top lane substitution of Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee for Kim “Khan” Dong-ha. Bbq tried to play a very unusual pick in Kassadin Top and was punished heavily for the pick. KINGZONE used bbq’s own tactics against them, putting the Kassadin severely behind in gold after multiple top lane ganks. They then extended their side lane lead to the rest of the map, gaining full control and taking the game. With KINGZONE back on form, with a tied up series, it seemed like there was no hope for bbq.

 

KINGZONE

Courtesy of FOMOS

 

game 3

However, game 3 saw KINGZONE revert to their strategies from game 1. An early pickup of Orianna in the first round pick phase caused a lot of controversy. Orianna is a champion that is normally picked in the second round pick phase due to its versatility as a safe counter. KINGZONE’s pick felt very much out of place, in-game and in the draft.

KINGZONE mid-laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong’s performance on the champ was one of the most unimpressive showings in a long time. Bdd repeatedly failed to miss ult after ult during team fights, and was constantly out of position, making himself a massive target. One particular example of this was during the Baron team fight at around 26 minutes. Bdd was so far away from his team and was getting caught out, forcing out the ult from KINGZONE’s Support, Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon on Tahm Kench just to get him out. This resulted in GorillA dying and KINGZONE losing the fight. The mistakes kept adding up, eventually leading to KINGZONE’s untimely demise.

KINGZONE are set to face the Afreeca Freecs next. Will KINGZONE be able to fully address their issues and once again show that they are a top-tier team that is to be feared, or will they end up flopping?

 

CREDITS

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Featured image courtesy of FOMOS

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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NA LCS

The Champs of the NA LCS Week 2

With Week 2 of the NA LCS behind us, Riot has released an infographic detailing the stats for the week. The Infographic contains all sorts of information, ranging from the match results to the best players of the week. However, one thing that specifically jumps out are the champion presence and win rate stats. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Champion Presence

Over the last week of play, there were many champions who were either picked or banned for almost every match. However, in the case of three champions, they had presence for all 10 matches. The most prolific of these champions being Zoe, the aspect of Twilight. Zoe has an incredibly strong kit, ranging from CC to insane burst damage. To make matters that much worse, she has the ability to do half your health at level 1. With that in mind,  you can start to see why she was banned 9 times out of 10, slipping through the ban phase only once.

That time was during the Echo Fox vs TSM game, as soon as Zoe was on the table Echo Fox snapped it up for their mid-laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun. TSM choose not to ban it thinking they could counter it should the pick come out, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Fenix proceeded to absolutely demolish, going 8/1/13 in an almost hour-long match.

 

NA LCS

Source: Riot Games

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Ezreal. Ezreal was picked in 9 of the 10 NA LCS matches, being banned only a single time. Ezreal is a very popular pick, not only in the NA LCS but also in solo queue. According to Champion.gg, he is the 3rd most picked ADC with an 11.82% play rate, being surpassed only by Vayne and Tristana, both of which are late game powerhouses.

Ezreal rose to the top of the meta with the release of the reforged runes system, being one of the best abusers of the Kleptomancy keystone. Kleptomancy for those who don’t know grants gold for landing an auto attack after using an ability. It also gives the chance at a random consumable when this auto attack lands. You may now be asking why Ezreal is able to use the rune to greater effect than many other champions. The answer, his Q. Ezreal’s Q applies on-hit effects, meaning in the case of Klepto, his Q counts as both the spell and the auto attack. Combine this with his Q’s low cooldown time and you have a recipe for klepto spam.

Champion Winrate

Moving onto champion win rate, the infographic only included champions that had been played in more than 3 games. The infographic shows late game powerhouses such as Tristana and Azir, who if left to their own devices will completely demolish their enemies. However, what is interesting here is that the only 2 champions with a 100% win rate are champions who come online earlier in the game. Gangplank comes online mid game, and Taric is good during the lane phase.

The question here is why they exhibit higher win rates compared to the late game carries who are essentially a guaranteed win should the match last long enough. There are two reasons for this, average match length and champion kit. Let’s start with match length, the average match length during week 2of the NA LCS was around 42 minutes. At an average of 42 minutes champions like Tristana who aren’t as good early game don’t fully come online. This is especially true vs early game damage dealers who can continuously poke them out of lane and deny CS.

NA LCS

Source: Riot Games

Secondly, we need to take a look at champion kit. First up is Mr. Fabulous himself, Taric. Taric is a great laner, this is due to his stuns and passive armour increases. He is able to set up kills an keep his team safe with relative ease, making him a very well rounded pick. Not to mention the fact that he has one of the best ultimates in the game, potentially making his entire team invulnerable.

Gangplank, on the other hand, is rather weak during the early lane phase in terms of skirmishing potential. However, this remedied by the combination of his Q and Kleptomancy. That’s right Kleptomancy is back for a second round. Similarly to Ezreal’s Q, Gangplank’s Q applies on-hit effects, but to make it that much sweeter, his Q grants bonus gold if it kills a unit. This allows Gangplank to be ahead of the enemy laner by an entire item at about 20 mins. This happens even if they go even in lane.

To take a look at the rest of the infographic, which includes lots of interesting information about the week, click here.

CREDITS

Featured Image: LoLUniverse

Other Image(s): LoL Esports

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

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Zoe's competitive

Early looks: Zoe’s competitive potential

Patch 7.22 brings the largest gameplay update League has seen in years. While the community theory-crafts fresh playstyles and build paths with the Runes Reforged overhaul, a new champion looms just around the corner. Zoe, the Aspect of Twilight, will soon be the latest addition to the Rift. With new play patterns emerging by the day, Zoe will enter the League just in time to sew some chaos. Professional players will no doubt spend much of preseason mastering Targon’s newest champion. How will Zoe‘s competitive future pan out after the pros have a chance to practice her high skill-cap style?

summoner spells, stars and… sleep?

Zoe's competitive

Credits: Riot Games

Zoe introduces several new ideas and a unique mechanic to the League. Her E, “Sleepy Trouble Bubble” is the first ability in the game to have the “drowsy” mechanic. After hitting an enemy with her bubble, Zoe sleeps her target, a form of hard crowd-control seemingly similar to a root. If the initial cast does not hit a target, the bubble lingers as a fairly wide trap. This new mechanic makes messy mid-game skirmishes against Zoe increasingly tricky. Sneaky bubble placement can cause huge disruption in teamfights. Tanks can find themselves immobile for the few seconds it takes to lose their AD-carry. Players can also use these bubbles to zone off entrances or exits to jungle corridors, taking the positional advantage to secure objective control.

Zoe‘s bubble becomes even more threatening when coupled with her ultimate, “Portal Jump.” Zoe gains an extra dimension of mobility with her portal. Although she cannot move while portal jumping, Zoe can cast abilities, ward and auto-attack. A quick “Portal Jump” near the enemy AD-carry can deliver a fast sleep bubble before Zoe jumps back to safety. Alternatively, she can quickly ward dangerous enemy territory and escape unscathed.

Zoe‘s competitive potential and teamfight explosiveness shines with her W ability, “Spell Thief.” When enemy champions use active spells or items, they leave spell shards that Zoe can steal with her WIn her champion teaser, Riot showcased Zoe‘s skirmishing strength by weaving multiple “Flashes” to make for quick spell rotations. Mechanically gifted players will take Zoe‘s competitive gameplay far beyond Riot’s teaser video. But, will this aspect of Zoe‘s kit put her in the ranks of mages like Ryze and Azir? Champions whose skill ceilings are oppressively strong on the competitive stage.

Zoe’s Competitive Skill Ceiling

Zoe's competitive

Credit: LoL Esports Photos

We have seen it with several champions over the past few years. Champs like KalistaRyze and Azir whose kits gave room for massive skill caps that dominated competitively. However, because of their dominance, Riot was forced to nerf these champions beyond viability for the average player. This causes a frustrating disparity between the pros and casual players in solo queue. The question now is, will Zoe be doomed to a similar fate?

Many initial reactions to Zoe highlight her “over-loaded” kit. In all fairness, Zoe does boast a kit with high ceilings for mobility, crowd-control and wave-clear. However, on a recent episode of Beyond the Rift hosted by Michael “imaqtpie” Santana and William “Scarra” Li, RiotWrekz and RiotMeddler dive deeper into a discussion on Zoe‘s mechanics. Scarra used the term “fake mobility” to characterize how Zoe‘s ultimate is more of a deceptive type of mobility. RiotMeddler elaborated on the point, adding that “Portal Jump” excels when used to dodge skillshots, not run down enemy champions. In the podcast, they highlight that Zoe‘s actual strength is her ability to quickly re-position in teamfights.

In Riot’s teaser, Zoe chases down multiple targets in an oppressive display of mobility. However, when we take a step back to really look at the champion, her power lies elsewhere. Zoe seems to excel more in mid-game teamfight scenarios where she can duck enemy crowd-control with “Portal Jump” and steal summoners to effectively lay down her own CC. While Zoe‘s kit is extremely impressive at a glance, the months to come will test her strength in a competitive setting. With the preseason patch constantly reinventing the meta, Zoe‘s competitive viability changes every day.

Featured Image: Riot Games

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