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Mobility in the Meta Banner

 

   We’ve all known that “mobilitycreep” is a problem in League of Legends, but I believe in this preseason the problem is at an all time high. Mobile champions completely dominate the meta and multiple culprits can be found in every lane. It isn’t even gap-closers being too abundant either; speed steroids, lock-on mechanics, and teleports are becoming increasingly common, and some champions even have multiple abilities that do this. Too much mobility is bogging down the game and dramatically limiting the number of champions that can be considered competitively viable.

 

The Culprits

You counter Mobility with Crowd Control

Why is this Bad?

Silver Lining

 

 

The Culprits

 

   The champions below are the main problem in this “mobility” meta. Please note that some champions can function in multiple lanes such as top/jungle, top/mid, or even top/mid/jungle (*cough* Riven *cough*), and their placement on the list does not mean they are exclusive to that lane only; I just didn’t want to list some Champs 2 or 3 times.  Remember that the main criteria to meet this list are:

1). High popularity in the current meta

2.) At least 1 mobility skill

(There are a few exceptions on this list which I will take time to discuss below)

 

Top Lane

Top Lane

 

Jungle

Jungle

 

Mid Lane

Mid Lane

 

Bot Lane – ADC

Bot Lane

 

Bot Lane – Support

Support

 

   To reiterate, every one of these champions, except Annie, Olaf, and Orianna (who I will explain later) has some kind of ability that doubles as a mobility tool; as I mentioned above, some even have 2 mobility spells (Shyvana, Riven, Elise, Evelynn, Vi, Lee Sin, Lucian, Vayne). All of this mobility on the Rift makes chasing, peeling, or killing these champions an extremely difficult task. The ease of access to Talisman of Ascension is also adding to this problem.

Mobility does have a counter; however, you might feel sick when you realize how many of the mobile champions also possess the counter.

 

 

Counter Mobility With Crowd Control

 

   axe blood decorationSeems simple enough right? Until you realize that most of the mobile champions above ALSO have a crowd control! Riven, Rengar, Renekton, Dr. Mundo, Elise, Vi, Evelyn, Lee Sin, Gragas, Kassadin, Kha’Zix, Ziggs, Jinx, Caitlyn, Vayne, Leona, Thresh, and Karma all have some kind of mobility ability AND crowd control in the same kit (Annie is excluded from the list because she has no mobility, but her crowd control is definitely one of the reasons she has increased in popularity). Now, I am including soft cc in that list, like slows and displacements, but even if you take out all those champs the list still looks like this: Riven, Rengar, Renekton, Elise, Vi, Jinx, Caitlyn, Vayne, Leona, Thresh, Karma. 11 mobile champions with a hard cc (stun/root/suppression).

   Now that we have established that the problem with the current meta  is rooted in high mobility + crowd control let’s take a look at our 3 outlier champions: Olaf, Orianna, Annie.

  • Olaf: Olaf makes the list because he is immune to crowd control while his ultimate is active. This makes him a great pick in a meta with increasing amounts of hard cc.
  • Orianna: At first glance Orianna may not strike you as a “mobile” champion but her ability to cast all her spells via the ball and use other champions as a delivery system give her a niche type of mobility that still functions well in the current meta. She is still a very strong champion but I think she is definitely getting edged out by some of the other high mobility options.
  • Annie: As I mentioned above, Annie is experiencing a high point in the meta because of her *instant* crowd control. The fact that her W and R have zero travel time put her over the edge in terms of viability over other support champions because her cc can not be reacted to and is therefore guaranteed to land. Even true support champions with AoE CC like Sona can’t compete any longer because mobility is such an issue; a spell like Crescendo, which has a travel time and therefore a window to react to it, are no longer good enough because they have a chance to miss.

 

 

Why is This Bad

 


   The main thing that troubles me about this trend is that it is strangling the meta-game in terms of viability and champion diversification, more-so than other power trends have in the past. Also, because these are the apex traits of power (mobility and hard-cc) it means we have reached a point of no return. The meta has finally become so stagnant that it can only support champions with high mobility and crowd control (with very minimal exceptions, lower than any previous metas in the past). In some cases, like Riven mentioned above, champions can be played in multiple lanes, which might seem like a cool trend but actually lends itself to my argument that specific champions are limiting the current pool of viability.

No Kassadin   It’s even more troubling than trends of the past that were nerfed because this is a champion-centric problem and not an item or balance problem (like Black Cleaver stacking). To fix this problem a TON of champions need to be nerfed (which is happening on the PBE thank god) or changed, because if not then they will ALWAYS out shadow the other choices. There are a lot of really cool champions out there, and future champions, that will continue to see zero competitive play at this rate due to this increasing trend. Ask yourself, “If I want the best chance of winning, why would I pick a champion without high-mobility or a hard-cc, or both?” The answer is “Never.” Even a lot of the niche champion picks, from the games I will be looking at below, exhibit mobility/cc characteristics (LeBlanc, Kayle, Zed, Alistar, Nami, Nunu, Zyra, Jax).

   To further illustrate this point I want to look at the champion picks that happened this week, on the current live patch 3.15, during Korea’s OGN Champion’s Winter semi-finals. The games I will be looking at will be both matches between “SKT T1 K vs KT Rolster Bullets” and “Najin White Shield vs Samsung Ozone.” I am only going to be looking at the champions picked or banned throughout the 7 games.

  • 7 games were played
  • 32 different champions were picked, the list above is 26 champions (Rengar was global banned due to bugs)
  • 85% of the champions listed above were picked (22/26) and there was an average of 8 “list champions” per game (even after bans).
  • 7 Champions had 100% pick/ban rates: Thresh, Kassadin, Leona, Annie, Shyvanna, Elise, and Gragas (all on the above list).
    • Kassadin was 100% banned
    • Elise was 100% picked
    • Annie was 86% banned (6/7)
    • Thresh/Leona were 71% banned (5/7)
    • Gragas was 100% picked in 1 series and 100% banned in another series.
    • Vi, Evelynn, Jinx, and Karma were 0% picked/banned.
  • Talisman of Ascension was made/being made 79% of the time.

 

 Overall Pick Numbers

 

  • 10 different champions were picked/banned for the Mid and Support roles (Kassadin, Gragas, Nidalee, Kha’Zix, Ziggs, Orianna, Riven, Kayle, Zed, and LeBlanc / Annie, Thresh, Leona, Lulu, Nami, Sona, Alistar, Blitzcrank, Zyra, and Lee Sin).
  • 5 different champions were picked/banned for the Top and ADC roles (Shyvanna, Dr. Mundo, Renekton, Lee Sin, and Jax/ Sivir, Lucian, Caitlyn, Vayne, Ezreal).
  • 5 different champions were picked/banned for the Jungle role (Elise, Olaf, Kha’Zix, Lee Sin, and Nunu).

 

   Now I really want to focus on the last 3 bullet points where you can see the “depth” of champion pools. All the lanes are getting strangled by the “overpowered” picks in some way or another. Mid is controlled by Kassadin and Gragas and then viability fluctuates around those 2 (20% of the champ pool controls the other 80%). Top is dominated by Shyvana and then picks fluctuate around her (20% also). The ADC position is a little more flexible and the pick usually depends on player preference and team comp but Sivir and Lucian still dominate priority, appearing in 6 of the 7 games (40%). The jungle picks are just ravaged by Elise and Olaf who appeared in the same game 4 times, but of course the big figure is Elise’s 100% pick rate (20%-30% limitation based on 2 champs).

   The Support role is surprisingly one of the most contested positions in terms of picks and bans but the statistics show that it is completely dominated by Annie, Thresh, and Leona because of their mobility and hard-cc. The fluctuation of the Support champions following the availability of those 3 is usually dictated by team composition. It is worth noting though that Annie was first picked 100% of the time she was unbanned, and Thresh and Leona were picked up in the 1st rotation on red side 100% of the time, and the 2nd rotation on blue side 100% of the time (30% of the pool controls the remaining 70%). Also Talisman of Ascension was made, or being made, 11/14 times being the most dominant of the new Support items (I wonder why…).

 

 

Silver Lining

 

   The silver lining is that while the meta is stagnant right now it still has room to grow, unfortunately it will only grow around mobility and hard cc. There are still a handful of old champions that are mobile and provide cc and it is just going to take some time for the meta to readopt them into the fold and push other less-favorable champions out. Some of the “sleeper” champions I think will see a rise in popularity again are:

Silver Lining

   These are the first that come to mind, there might be more. I have listed them in order of how likely I think they are to step back onto the scene. Obviously the jungle role is wide open for competition which is why there are a lot of junglers on the list. I think if top lane can break away from Shyvanna/Mundo/Renekton that Rumble and Malphite could make a comeback as well. Wukong seems like a prime pick for midlane right now. Kennen and Zac are on my list just to cover my ass, but I think their resurgence is more unlikely than the rest.

   I hope this gave you all something to think about. The game is always in a state of flux and anytime something problematic like this comes up Riot usually responds in a rational way to try and keep the game in balance. They already have some nerfs to Riven and Shyvanna coming to the PBE which tells me they are aware of the problem. In the mean time try and use the knowledge and statistics I have provided to gain some rating before they fix it and the next form of the meta takes shape!

Love,

Dcgreen

 

EDIT: I totally forgot about Yasuo so I added him to the list of “sleepers.” I think he will be a force to be reckoned with once people get better at playing him. His mobility is reliant on enemy units being present but he comes with some good cc and damage and scales incredibly well due to his passive. I would keep an eye out for him.

 

The other day I was playing soloqueue and my team was losing pretty badly. After some intense back and forth, good defense, and a denied pentakill, my team inevitably lost. Throughout the whole ordeal our jungler, who was playing very well despite how early our team got set behind, was complaining about how top and mid fed their lanes and how they shouldn’t overextend for 3 creeps if it means they will die, etc. He said this over and over, among other things, but still managed to get a quadrakill at one point, and almost helped us mount a comeback. So why did I convince everyone on our team to report him?

The misconception of being “Toxic.”

Players, especially toxic players, don’t like the word toxic because they don’t understand it. They think it is just some umbrella term that was coined with the release of the Tribunal and now it is just thrown around anytime someone is acting disagreeable. They also think that the amount of skill they have at this game negates any claims that they are in fact toxic. Well, toxicity is about attitude and not skill. Let’s look at the definition of toxic and see if it is actually accurate:

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation <toxic waste><a toxic radioactive gas> <an insecticide highly toxic to birds>
2 : exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis <the patient became toxic two days later>
3 : extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful <toxic sarcasm>
4 : relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market
I think it is safe to say that the 3rd definition best describes toxic players in LoL, however, I wouldn’t rule out the first definition. Obviously, toxic players never cause the literal death of their teammates but they definitely cause serious debilitation via their negative attitudes, and if we are talking about the promise of Victory, you could say that they eventually cause the death of that. Now this is all great but what the hell am I trying to say? I am trying to say that while you might be an extremely skilled player, winning your lane, and leading the team in kills, that does not mean you aren’t also lowering your team’s chance at victory by being toxic. Ocelote is a prime example of a professional player that used to be like this.

Why being a “Good Teammate” is as Important as being a Good Player.

In my example above, our jungler (Fiddlesticks) was playing phenomenally well. Despite all our lanes getting behind, he still made some good plays, took dragons, and won us team fights – all actions of a good player. However, during the game he was criticizing our solo lanes, spamming chat with useless information under the guise of “advice,” and also just flat out blaming a few people, “Jax and TF, you know we are losing this cuz of you” – actions of a bad teammate. The game was also very close at one point and we actually could have won. I am not trying to say that Fiddle’s toxic attitude made us lose, but it definitely didn’t help. I honestly wouldn’t have thought twice about trading him away for a lesser skilled player with a sunnier attitude. Why is that?

People with positive attitudes make the best teammates because they focus on their own play, they know they NEED their other teammates to win, they only type critical information or positive reinforcement, and they have high morale and a stable composure. Now let’s look at the foils of these characteristics so we can understand why toxic teammates lose more games, or according to my story, make it harder for their teams to win.

  • Focusing on your own play > Focusing on others – When you focus on your own play, you maximize your ability to carry because you stay level-headed. Soloqueue is about YOU anyways so you should be trying to maximize the experience to further develop your personal skill.  Toxic teammates focus on how others play, which is asinine.  You have no control on the other players anyways, so why should you even care about them? By clearing your head of distractions and resisting the urge to stop playing the game to type things, you maximize your potential skill in the early game and have a better chance of reaching some kind of critical mass so you can carry your team later. If you focus on how everyone else is doing, everyone will start to focus on how everyone else is doing, and you have now lowered the overall focus of your entire team.
  • Knowing you need your TEAM > Thinking your team needs YOU – This isn’t DOTA and it is extremely hard to carry a game 1v5. Good teammates know that, despite how the rest of their team is performing, they ultimately are going to need them to win the game later. This is why it is best to keep positive relationships with everyone despite if you are winning or losing. Eventually you are going to have to rely on each other and no one wants to rely on an arrogant asshole. Toxic players think their team needs them to win. “You guys are all trash and now I have to carry us out of this mess.” It’s a team game in the end, and you all need each other. Stop segregating players on your team into “people that are making us lose” and “people that are making us win.” Victory is something that is earned together.
  • Typing Critical/Positive things > Typing Negative things – Good teammates understand that chat is a resource that needs to be utilized to achieve victory. They tell their team important things like when a champion goes missing, when Dragon is going to spawn, or that they should group up to push towers. They also give ONLY positive reinforcement, which means when their team member gives-up first blood they remain silent, but when their teammates gank someone successfully they type “good job.” They understand anything that doesn’t fall in these 2 camps can distract their teammates or cause emotions to flare, which ultimately will make victory harder to achieve. Toxic teammates don’t give a fuck and are just looking for the next thing to excuse them from blame. They announce “gg” when firstblood is scored by the enemy. They don’t call mias and instead flame others when they get ganked by their missing lane. They feel the need to fill the chat with their complaints and grievances, pushing up important info like the Dragon timer and causing people to die because they are scrolling through the chat looking for it instead of focusing on what’s actually happening in game.
  • High Morale/Stable Composure > Low Morale/Unstable Composure – Good teammates keep up morale throughout the entire game. When the game is 0-10 they say things like “it’s ok guys we can still win this,” and devise plans to try and mount a comeback. They don’t type “gg” unless a Nexus is being destroyed, and even if they are unhappy with how the game is going (due to a leaver, troll, dc, afk) they keep quiet about it to keep despair from spreading. Toxic teammates throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. They type “gg” constantly and say they will report their teammates for feeding. They never accept blame and always blame others. They immediately let you know that they are upset and do as much as they can to spread that feeling to the rest of their team so that everyone feels bad for this “mockery” of a game. They always start  a surrender vote at 20. The worst part is that they don’t care. They just want to place blame and take no responsibility for how the game is going.

This is why less-skilled but nicer players are more preferable in my book. Toxic players just want to blame people and complain and take no responsibility for the outcome of the game. League of Legends is a team game, yet they seem to forget that they are part of the team and they are just as responsible for a Defeat as they are responsible for a Victory.

Keep Your Chin Up and Your Mouth Shut

I hope this puts things in perspective and highlights the flaws of some of you that are reading this. I am not saying that a nice attitude trumps skill every time because some games you will have an asshole player that just snowballs the game and gives you a quick victory in 25 minutes, but that doesn’t mean it’s preferable. It also doesn’t mean that guy wins all the time. Imagine the games he is in that don’t snowball and his team starts losing! I can just picture the chat now…

League of Legends is a team game but in soloqueue it is more important to worry about yourself and not on your team; at least not until the mid-game where you have to work with them to close the game. Keep the focus on your own play and just worry about how you integrate with the rest of your team when the time comes, not about what happened before that. Stay positive and others will stay positive too. It is much easier to surmount a comeback when everyone is focusing on coming back instead of still arguing about firstblood which happened 20 minutes ago!

Categories: LoL News Tags:

lcs banner

Players want to learn to be more self-reliant so that they can “carry” more games. What I am about to explain will help you win more games, regardless of the role you get stuck with in champion select. “Carrying” a game doesn’t always mean getting stronger than your opponent and brute-forcing a victory. In most soloqueue games you can beat your opponents through tactical advantages and the enemy’s mistakes, even when you are losing, as long as you are willing to work with and coordinate with your team.

*I consider this an “Advanced” tactic because it requires you to know some more detailed concepts/strategies of this game such as, vision control, deep warding, and rotations. I will try and briefly explain vision control without detracting too much from the original concept*

A Quick Guide to Vision Control

A team’s vision control is determined by what towers are alive or dead. You hear Jatt  in the LCS say that mid tower is the most strategically important tower because of how much vision advantage it gives the opponents who kill it. When a tower dies there is less “safe ground” to be in, innate vision is lost in critical areas, and this opens up opportunities for the you, or the opponent, to increase vision into enemy territory. Safe rotation paths are also limited based on tower presence. Below I have included a map which is intended to be a “rough” visual-aide so we can move on to creating pressure.

SummonersRiftForgive my poor photoshop skills but I made this quickly so I could have a reference. As you can see when all  towers are up there are a lot of available paths (shown in green) for the enemy to rotate. You can also only “safely” ward the exits/entrances to the jungle, allowing very few opportunities to make surprise ganks.

Once the Outer towers go down the enemy’s safe rotation paths are reduced to the white lines. The white dots also show where offensive wards can now be safely placed to open up pick opportunities.

Once you kill the Inner towers there is 1 main path for enemy rotations (also movement within the walls of the base) which if you ward you can always see what is going on and set up great picks.

Creating Pressure

split push

 

Zed split-pushing to create pressure bottom while the rest of his team pushes top.

“Pressure” can be summed up as creating a sense of urgency for the enemy to respond to due to your presence. Good examples of pressure are pinkwarding Dragon/collapsing towards Dragon, split pushing a turret, or grouping up to team-push. Different kinds of pressure open up different kinds of opportunity because you force the enemy to react. It is always better to dictate pressure than to react to it. Pressure is delicate to balance though and losing pressure can cause you to lose a game:

Have you ever just been slaughtering an opposing team and then you have a terrible dive/teamfight and the opponent gets an ACE and them seemingly out of nowhere they comeback to win the game? It’s not because you threw so hard, it is because your pressure was containing them, but you lost all the pressure with the failed fight and gave control of pressure back to the opponent. When lanes are pushing and you’re grouped up making plays with your team, the enemy is forced to react to you, which means they leave lanes, allowing lots of farm to be lost, and spend all their time wave clearing at a turret which spreads 6 cs unevenly across the whole team. Pressure causes resources to be bled very thinly. When you lose a fight to the enemy, not only do they get all the money/exp from the fight, but they get to reclaim all the lanes and take their turn at pushing towers and other objectives. Now you’re under pressure. This is why it is better to siege towers instead of trying to close things out with a risky dive. Even if it takes you 10 minutes to siege down the tower, you’re also containing and pressuring the enemy for 10 minutes.

In summary: Pressure causes the enemy team to react. Reacting to pressure, especially from across the map, forces the enemy to rotate which is when they will be vulnerable.

Forcing Rotation

rotate

 

Nocturne is killing Bottom Inner turret, so Nunu rotates to defend and place wards.

Pressure forces “rotation” so why is this good? The enemy is extremely vulnerable when they are rotating to respond to pressure. The sense of urgency clouds their judgement and causes them to make mistake like face-checking brush or walking through fog of war. If you have someone split pushing top while 4 of you push mid you force the enemy to react to 2 situations; they can now make up to two mistakes. Let’s say that your team stops pressure on mid and begins to “offensively rotate” top. Now, the enemy knows that 5 people will be in top shortly and they have to “defensively rotate” to save their tower. This is where the urgency causes them to make mistakes and why vision control is so important. If the enemy foolishly rotates through the fog of war instead of taking a safer, but perhaps longer route through their base, you have an opportunity to make a “pick” which will increase your chances of an easy victory.

In summary: The enemy team becomes incredibly vulnerable because they have to react to you. They have to follow you when playing from a disadvantage. They have to make decisions on the fly that can be persuaded by pressure and urgency (top inner tower is about to die, going through the base is safest but the tower will die, going through the jungle is risky but I’ll save the tower). They will also have their guard down if they have the illusion of safety due to tower presence.

Make Picks

Pick

Ahri picks Nunu with a charm instantly killing him with her team and baiting the enemy into a 4v5 fight.

So this is the most obvious section, but a “pick” is when you catch an opponent completely off guard and kill them, ultimately forcing the rest of their team into an awkward 4v5 situation. Picks allow your team to still take objectives and create pressure even if you have a weaker team composition or are playing from behind.

In my previous example if you move from mid inner tower to the top inner tower, chances are the enemy will rotate along their base wall/red jungle. If you have secured vision control, can get into a brush before they react, and kill someone you force the enemy to again react  to what you are doing. Do they defend their Inner tower 4v5 or do they let it fall? In soloqueue people are not smart and they will make hasty mistakes like engage 4v5, or defend inner towers when the more strategic inhibitor tower is the better place to fight. The more mistakes you cause them to make the better chance to win. The reason I said that you don’t always have to be playing a “carry” to make this work is that even as a Support you can get vision control for your team and encourage them to pressure areas which you have the most advantage (wards) in.

Final Thoughts

aftermath

 

The Aftermath of the Nunu pick. Notice the healthbars of the team creating the pressure. This resulted in an ACE.

This is definitely a tactic that is going to take some practice to pull-off in soloqueue. Learning proper ward placements and even coordinating your team to try and create pressure/create picks will not be easy. However, it is an incredibly strong gambit play to fall back on if you want to close the game, break a stalemate, or want to try a last-ditch effort to get back into the game. Soloqueue players make the biggest mistakes when 1 person on their team is dead and it is very easy to coax them into a 4v5 engagement by applying more pressure after you get a pick, especially at Inner towers which are incredibly hard to defend. Remember even if you are not a true “carry” you can still carry your team to victory by doing as simple things as getting/securing vision control. Vision wins games.

 

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Coming into the final Super Week of the Summer Split, Cloud 9 dwarfs the competition with an outstanding record of 21 wins and 2 loses. Vulcun, CLG, DIG, Coast, and  TSM are the last remaining teams to possibly give C9 additional losses this split. With a win rate over 90% is there really a chink in C9’s armor that is able to be exploited?

We only have 3 bans

Champion select has to be one of the weakest facets of NA professional play. It is apparent to me that NA is still stuck in the mindset of “countering your lane opponent,” thinking this will clear an easy path to victory. Let’s examine an issue that Riot has been hard at work on since the beginning of Season 3 called “counter play.” The idea is simple, “nothing a champion does in lane should be uncounterable.” This is not a direct quote but it is the general idea behind counter play. Riot has moved from the rigid “rock-paper-scissors” formula, of past metas, and developed the game so that lots of strategies and champions are viable and can function in different compositions. The game has become more about countering the opposing team’s composition, rather than trying to counter their champions. With that said…

I see lots of teams scratching their heads when it comes to the ban phase against C9. In my humble opinion they have enough compositions and versatility up their sleeves that banning champions like Rumble or Ashe are wastes of a ban if you are looking to shake-up C9, because they can just replace them with something else like Kennen or Ezreal. Personally, I think that teams should focus their attention on putting Meteos on an uncomfortable jungler since he seems to be the “rock” that holds his team together. The biggest ban targets against Meteos are Nasus and ZAC for sure. He has played them 17/23 games in the LCS, and 8 times in their last 10 games. His next 2 highest picked junglers are LeeSin and Elise, which he has a loss on both of them. Forcing him off of his comfortable “tanky/farmer/initiator” champs causes C9’s regular dynamic to shift slightly and they become less cohesive as a result. Also, Balls rarely plays bruiser champions and mainly plays AP in the top lane. He has played Shen 1 time in the past 10 games and played Ryze, Kennen, Rumble, Karthus, and Elise the other 9 times. If you take away Nasus and ZAC from Meteos and force him onto Elise, you may also force Balls to play something different which shakes up their team’s dynamic even more.

Pick at least 1 Duelist and a Jungler with wave clear

To apply pressure C9 focuses on shoving lanes early in hopes of eliminating the outer turrets so that they can apply heavy map pressure. They accomplish this by picking a jungler with good wave clear (Nasus/ZAC) and also having a potent duelist on their team to always have the threat of a split push (They picked Zed 5/10 of their last games). To counter this it is essential to spot any lane swaps C9 may plan so that your duelist can get good farm to pose the same kind of split-push/dueling threat.

You could also just lane-swap better than C9 and pick an early team fight comp and go for an early Dragon and try to snowball the game.

Sneaky is a weak-link

C9’s ADC, Sneaky, is definitely one of the weakest facets of their team. He is not known as an “all-star” carry like Doublelift or Zuna and also never plays hyper-carry ADC’s like Tristana, Vayne, Twitch, or Kog’Maw. He played exclusively Draven and Ezreal, before the Draven nerfs, and now plays almost exclusively Ashe, playing her 7 out of the last 10 games. He has played Vayne and Twitch 1 time each this split. Sneaky has the 3rd highest KDA in the NA LCS, but this is largely due to the fact his team wins so often. Comparatively, Sneaky has the 3rd lowest Champions Killed per game of all ADC players in NA.

In both games that C9 lost, their opponents were playing long-range hypercarries (Tristana and Kog’Maw). In my opinion if you can create a composition with sufficient peel and a hypercarry, then defeating C9 is as easy as mirroring their objective control in the early game and beating them in the late game. The stats don’t lie. Sneaky also has the lowest Champions Killed per game compared to Hai and Balls, and if he is forced to play a hypercarry to compete with the opposing team’s composition he will be more uncomfortable and even less-likely to carry or contribute to his team.

Conclusion

I think the biggest problem with the NA LCS is that a lot of the older teams are stuck in their rigid mindsets from seasons past and are just having a really hard time adjusting. We see this in other regions also, teams like Evil Geniuses have had a rough time both EU LCS Splits because they are so accustomed to their “late-game” style of play from season 2. There are even some Korean teams that have not fully adapted this new style of play, such as Najin Sword who won Champions Winter earlier this year, but has yet to make it out of group stages in Champions Spring or Summer. It’s crunch time though and C9 still has 5 games remaining, 4 of which are against “Titans” of the NA LCS. With proper research, strategy,adaptation, and execution it is very possible we see C9 pick up another loss before heading off to Regionals.

 

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Champions_Spring_2013

Seriously? If you are into the competitive League of Legends scene and you are not watching the Korean OGN Champions you are only depriving yourself of some of the most entertaining and spectacular League of Legends the world has ever seen. If you think the NA LCS is entertaining you haven’t seen anything yet. I have nothing but good things to say about this competition and encourage everyone that enjoys  eSports and gets aroused by  extremely high level competitive League of Legends to head over to the OGN Twitch Channel and watch.

  • The level of play is completely next-level and out of this world. You have never seen anything so incredibly skilled, strategic and tactful, entertaining, and sometimes absolutely crazy in the best way you can imagine.
  • The shoutcasters are divine! MonteCristo and Doa have an incredibly natural chemistry together and are not only incredibly informative about the game, and Korean scene, but also just as entertaining to listen to as the games are to watch.
  • The crowd is incredibly loud and awesome, and they do it without stupid horns! People cheer, girls scream, and every play, juke, and kill is met with the appropriate amount of admiration that you would expect at any professional level sporting event! It makes it incredibly exciting to watch!
  • The level of production that goes into the tournament is incredibly high. Even the “2nd rate” English stream is very impressive and I think even Riot’s LCS could stand to learn something from the production OGN puts into their Champions tournaments.
  • It plays 2-3 times a week, 4 games a day. The amount of content you get access to is almost equal to the NA and EU LCS combined! It also airs extremely early in the morning (AM) which means you get to watch VoDs and can seek out the games you want to watch and skip past all the down times, interviews, and picks/bans if you’re just hungry to watch games.
  • You will learn something new, or see something new, almost every broadcast! It isn’t a secret that Korean LoL is the real deal. If you are looking to improve your game or learn the latest trends and strategies then it would only benefit you to watch the OGN games.
  • It’s only $5.99 a month! This is actually a lot better than OGN’s past broadcasting options where they would charge $1.00 for a 24 hour pass to watch VoDs.

No I am not getting paid by OGN to write this, I wish I was. I just feel bad keeping this secret to myself. Obviously some people probably know about, and watch, the OGN, but not enough do. Like I said in the beginning you are just depriving yourself if you don’t watch these games. They are really that good and entertaining. I have never been so entertained or smiled so much while watching League of Legends and for $6 bucks you can’t go wrong!

Love, Dcgreen

OGN Twitch Channel - http://www.twitch.tv/ongamenet

 

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lateandfat

It’s been a while since I wrote an article but I figured better late than never. Today I want to talk about some old habits formed in Season 2 which may have carried over to Season 3 but are no longer the norm. Some of these things may be common knowledge to a lot of you, but some of us are late to the party.

QuintessencesChanges in Rune Pages

With some of the changes in Season 3, there’s now more room for rune page development. The main trend I want to talk about, something that I didn’t discover till about a week ago, is the switch from “Flat Mana Regen” yellows, to “Scaling Mana Regen” yellows for mid lane champions. Ever since the beginning of Season 3, I knew that mana in the early game got better for casters so I started to switch out all my Flat Mp5 runes for Scaling HP; but it’s safe to say Mana Regen is still king. The switch from Flat Mp5 to Scaling is because mana regen options in the early game are much more accessible. With Crystaline Flask, or even starting with one mana potion, you can now run the mana regen runes that scale because there is less pressure on making your natural mana-bar sustain the majority of the laning phase on its own. The Scaling runes also break even with the flat runes at level seven which means that usually after your first base you will have survived lane long enough for the runes to kick in like the old runes, and additionally provide you with a nice healthy regen rate through to the late game.

The other class that got some leeway on yellow runes is Support. With the added +3 Gp10 to ambient gold, Supports no longer have to run the +2.25 Gp10 runes in yellow and can instead substitute for things like Armor or Mana per level. Of course you can still run the Gp10 yellow runes for an excellent gold flow throughout the game, but the armor for more early survivability is definitely tempting. I would at least consider switching to Mana per level runes for champions like Lulu who I always find to have a meager manapool. Her ult costs 100 mana and she has a manapool of roughly 500 at level 6, which is usually on the empty side if you have been harassing a lot, so switching runes might give you the breathing room you need.

 GP10 Items and  Sightstones

A bad habit I developed in Season 3 was instead of going a Gp10 item on my Supports, I would just rush a Sightstone as fast as possible and then never buy additional wards. I did this because I believed that if you placed two wards with the Sightstone every three minutes, the money you saved on wards would equate to a Gp10 greater than that provided by PhiloStone’s 5Gp10. While the math is correct, it always left my team at a sight disadvantage because I would neglect buying actual wards and instead continue to develop my other items. To help combat this habit I started going Philosopher’s Stone first on all my supports and manually buying wards until I eventually got a Sightstone, and continued to buy wards afterwards. Constantly needing to buy actual Sight Wards will help remind you to not solely rely on your Sightstone. If you rush a Ruby Sightstone it is easy to crutch on just those three wards and forget to spend additional gold on regular Sight Wards. Remember it is less important for you, as the Support, to actually develop items past a Gp10, a Sightstone and Boots; you need to put priority on warding. Since I switched over to getting a PhiloStone first, I was able to break my Sightstone dependence and now it is uncommon to see me on a Support with less than three wards, in addition to my Sightstone. I have increased my Support game win-ratios just by providing my team with tons of vision. It is a great feeling to win by catching an opponent off-guard because you provided your team with excellent vision.

 CDR Changes  Seraph’s Embrace and  Sorc Shoes

CDR was revamped in Season 3 quite a bit and Fiendish Codex is an attractive item since the mana regen was removed and the stats were reallocated. It also builds into three items that give 20% CDR, which is amazing, and finally gives us a flat 40% CDR with Blue Buff. I urge you to try and fit the Codex alone into your early builds and then late game transform it into one of its 20% CDR builds to really give you that DPS spike you need to compete.

Seraph’s Embrace is also the real deal if you play a Champion that can charge the Tear of the Goddess quickly (188 spell casts). It is ridiculously gold efficient at 2700g and after you factor in the bonus AP, which is usually ~60+, and the Shield, which is about ~550 after the patch, its quite a fantastic item! Here is a cost analysis provided by LolWiki:

Base Gold Value

Passive Gold Value

Gold Efficiency

  •  Seraph’s Embrace is gold efficient even without the activate.

The last item I wanted to talk about is Sorc Shoes. It is important to note that these boots were nerfed in Season 3 (-5 Mpen), but still cost 750g, the same as before. I think it’s safe to say that Sorc Boots are worth skipping in a lot of scenarios to further develop your core items. In high level games, LCS included, it’s not uncommon to see most AP mids finishing their Death Cap, RoA, or Athene’s before purchasing Sorc Boots. In some cases I would argue it is better to get Ionian Boots of Lucidity (15% CDR) for 700g and then Void Staff earlier in your build, but that’s just me. I think overall in Season 3 Mpen is a much weaker stat, which is a shame. We see a lot less Abyssal Scepters in Season 3, compared to Season 2. Liandry’s Torment seems to be the hands-down best Mpen item to build, but it works best on most of the top lane APs and not so much the AP mids. It is something to think about but with less Mpen from runes and boots, and bonus MR from Runes and Masteries staying the same I think stacking more AP is better in most cases then getting an overpriced 15 Mpen.

 

I know a lot of this information may not be relevant to a lot of players, but as I said I was late to the party on finding all of this out and so I hope that this article serves as a bridge for people who may still be stuck in some of their Season 2 ways. I would argue that Season 3 is still fresh and there is a lot of room for experimentation, so do not be afraid to venture outside the box and try more unorthodox builds and strategies.

In my recent hiatus, I took some time to refocus my priorities and I have decided to continue writing about soloqueue (sorry Dom and TT communities) because I think I can stomach it again. Also in my free time I had been doing a lot of personal research in the fields of Health and Fitness and have started a blog about what I have discovered there, so for anyone looking to get in better shape inside and outside the game I suggest you keep reading my articles and also check out my blog. If you want to keep up with me you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter also listed below. Stay tuned for more!

Love, Dcgreen

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Twitter

LoLKing Profile

Health & Fitness Blog

Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

The Stale Meta: Top 5 Supports

The Stale Meta: Poke

Junglers: How to Win 65% More Games!

Snowball Queue

jungle-win

 

Greetings Summoners; today I want to talk about the current state of soloqueue, or as I am referring to it now, Snowballqueue. Over the weekend I queued up for six games, I preceded to win one and lose five. I finally got demoted to Plat III, which was long overdue and at this rate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit Plat IV again. It had been a long time since I played Summoner’s Rift but I don’t think I was that out of practice. I did notice a staggering correlation between all of the games though. Five of the games that I played all ended in landslide victories with the winning team getting a minimum of 20+ kills and the losing team staying in single digits. The game I won was 27/6 and the games that I lost were always 2x/y. So what makes games snowball so hard and what can you do to prevent it? I have a few theories on this.

Jungler Influence and Why You Should Only Focus on Not Dying to Them.

Junglers have come full circle and are once again the biggest influence on any single game’s development. I was soooooooooooooooooooo excited for Season 3 when the Jungle revamp came and the overall idea was to keep the jungler farming longer and taking more damage so he would be less likely to gank; I don’t know what happened and that model is a thing of the past. Powercreep maybe? Anyways, Junglers are back to ruining the day for everyone and now the best thing you can do is not even win your lane, it’s just not getting ganked. As soon as you get ganked by the jungler you lose all control of your lane and the game snowballs out of control. If the jungler kills you and burns your flash he will come back. You will get zoned and then your lane counterpart will roam, which will increase the success of the next gank. Rinse and repeat. Before long you are losing towers and dragons and the game snowballs completely out of anyone’s control. You will have a jungler of you own of course, but it will more than likely come down to which team has the jungler with better fundamentals of the role. All I can really say about this is start spending a lot of money on wards and try not to die. Winning your lane is not important as long as you can hold the lane to prevent roamaing, and not die to prevent snowballing.

Why Do Games Snowball so Hard?

I believe that games are more prone to snowballing now because items have gotten so cheap. In the item revamp all Riot did was increase the cost of Resistances and Attackspeed, which are late game stats, and they lowered the cost of most other things as well as re-evaluating some stats like AP/CDR items. Damage and Health, as I have explained in other articles, are at a premium price and as soon as you die in lane and give your opponent 300 for 400 gold they will come back with a significant advantage. If you die again you will be so far behind it’s just too hard to come back, plus you will prob be sinking your reduced income into wards which will also cripple you. When you get behind you basically become a ghost man for your team. If the other team goes to take Dragon you now have to stay in your lane because you need the exp and gold. While Dragon would be nice you can’t afford to waste time and potentially give the team another kill, you’re essentially useless. From here things get out of hand. The winning team has more gold, they have more wards, they have more levels. You come to a really vicious crossroads where you need to buy damage to kill them, but they are buying more damage than you, and have a lot more HP, Damage, and Resists because of levels. If they happen to be a tanky champion (usually the Jungler) not only will they do a ton of damage with their levels, but they will be buying more HP which will make them impossible to kill. As you sink all your damage cd’s into this monster tanking your turret, his team is behind him destroying you from the back lines. I don’t know if I am sounding too negative here but this is how the games I play usually pan out.

Ok, No One Died During the Laning Phase. Now What?

Lets say that everyone on your team is competent. No one lost their lane too bad in terms of cs, there were lots of wards to keep the jungler at bay, and you managed to pick up a Dragon or keep even in towers or whatever. Well, it’s soloqueue, so now that you have done the impossible you get to put your entire chance of winning on which team screws up first. Remember when I said five of the games I played all ended in landslides? Well the sixth game I played was the one where everything went ok. We actually had a mid-game and there were lots of even team fights. Unfortunately five random people are not easy to coordinate. While one person farms 200 gold in the jungle for a major item, the other four wait stupidly in the mid lane as the enemy team approaches as five. One gets caught, the rest try to help, ACE, Defeat. Basically you get snowballed on, you do the snowballing, or you gamble on which team throws first. It’s not very fun anymore to be honest.

Final Thoughts

This article might seem a bit cynical but I feel like there are a lot of truths to it. Soloqueue has just become so vicious in the past few months, and I didn’t even touch on the people raging in all chat on both teams, etc. I just can’t do it anymore, it brings me no joy. I am tired of queueing up and being like “I am gonna play mid and carry” and then I am last pick, and the first two picks are arguing over who gets mid. I don’t even chime in I just pick whatever is leftover and that’s not what I wanted. I could learn to Jungle and just try to carry every game but I don’t enjoy jungling, that’s not why I play. Who wants to be Rank X in Y Division for playing a role they don’t main? I have defaulted to playing strictly Dominion and Twisted Treeline for now and my reasoning behind this is that you can play whatever Champion you want on those maps and it usually works out and I have fun. I play Dominion when I just want to let off steam and I play Ranked 3’s because I would rather play with two coordinated friends, I would play Ranked 5’s if I had four good friends but I don’t so 3’s works just fine. If I had to suggest any kind of band-aid to the snowball queue problems I would honestly just say get four friends and make a team. Play what makes you have fun, that is what I have begun to do and I am finally enjoying League of Legends again.

I won’t be playing soloqueue anymore, so I won’t be writing about it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about something I am uneducated to talk about. I would like to switch to focus of my column to either Dominion or Twisted Treeline. I understand not everyone is interested in those two formats of the game, but some people are. If you are more interested in one over the other, please let me know in the comments so I know which format to focus my articles on. Thank you and I look forward to writing again soon.

Love, Dcgreen

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LoLKing Profile

Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

The Stale Meta: Top 5 Supports

The Stale Meta: Poke

Junglers: How to Win 65% More Games!

jungle-win

I’ve begun to notice a heavy shift in the importance of Jungler presence this Season. Something I always preached back when I was writing articles and making videos in Season 2, was that the Jungler completely dictated the pace of the game, and if you had a good Jungler you would most likely win. When Season 3 started I finally thought this trend was dead and that Junglers would basically become another laner with the increased gold from the jungle. As always, people learn to adapt and can now micromanage the jungle to be able to farm it efficiently while still keeping lane pressure. Ok, so what does this mean? What is all this about Junglers winning 65% more games?

Dragon Control and Why it’s More Important than Ganking.

With the passing of the LCS Superweek an interesting infographic was posted that showed which team won based on the objectives they completed first. In my opinion the most interesting statistic was that in 26/40 games the winning team took the first Dragon. Now, the other two similar statistics are that 24/40 teams that got firstblood and took the first tower won, however I think these are less important to look at for soloqueue. The reason I think firstblood/towers are less important in soloqueue is because these stats come from the LCS competitive scene and the current popular strategy is to 2v1 laneswap, three-man gank the one-person lane, and then kill the tower. Since 2v1 lanes are a rare occurrence in soloqueue, we will only be focusing on Dragon and why it’s so important.

Noxian Guillotine Firstblood in Soloqueue is a Coin Toss.

While ganking is important as a Jungler, getting your team first blood is not going to increase your win-percentage by that much in soloqueue. You need to aim for something more convincing. We should also compare “competitive scene firstblood” to “soloqueue firstblood.” In the competitive scene, the person that gets firstblood is coordinating with four other people who he can communicate with and better apply his 400g advantage. In soloqueue getting someone firstblood is great, but there is a good chance they don’t know how to effectively apply that kind of an advantage, and they are probably not going to try and coordinate their newfound power to help the other players. It’s definitely a 50/50 thing in soloqueue and if at the end of one of my articles you didn’t learn anything more valuable than a coin toss, well then my articles wouldn’t be worth reading.

35% of Pro’s Lose After Giving Up Dragon. Imagine That Number in Soloqueue.

The 26/40 statistic stands out to me because it is a pretty convincing statistic for the competitive scene. Dragon is a nice objective but it has never seemed as game-defining as getting the first Baron (27/37 [16/17 in EU] games won), yet it yields a 65% higher chance to win the game. If the statistic is indeed consistent and 35% of PROFESSIONAL teams can not overcome a first Dragon deficit, think of how large that statistic would grow for soloqueue. In my experience, Junglers in soloqueue put too much emphasis on ganking lanes and not enough on securing Dragon. What is better: 400g for one person on your team (+200g with an assist) or 950g for your whole team? How many times have you seen a Jungler complain “You’re all pushed I can’t gank!” Instead of complaining, go buy a pink ward, clear Dragon, and then get bot and mid to help you kill it!

DragonSquare People Understand Dragon is Important and it Prompts Stupid Decisions.

If all your lanes are pushing, they are winning, so why not snowball their gold advantage? Also, if at any point your mid or bot lanes secure a kill GO DO DRAGON! Think of how difficult it is for the opposing team to respond in a timely fashion if you coordinate pushing in your mid and bot lanes at the same time and collapsing to Dragon. First off they have to decide if losing 6+ minions worth of gold and exp is worth stopping you. Then they have to determine if they can possibly steal it. Then they have to coordinate collapsing on you from two different sides so that you don’t 4v1 their collapsing mid or 4v2 their collapsing bottom, or 4v2/4v3 if their jungler is even in the area and is also aware of what’s happening. You are creating so much chaos for their team and creating so many opportunities for them to make a mistake for you to capitalize on. It is so incredibly difficult for a team to come back from not only losing a Dragon, but also losing one or two Champions in an uncoordinated collapse, and then that resulting in them losing a mid or bot tower because you are now four strong and pushing. If this happens and you get Dragon and a Tower, you get a combined 1700 global gold for your team. That’s a hard advantage to lose with.

Snowball Queue.

The overall point I want Junglers to take away from this is that you are an extra appendage for the rest of your team. You are four extra skills and two extra summoners for each lane, you are extra eyes on the map, and you are responsible for getting the snowball rolling. Gank lanes, but if you can’t gank for them then ward for them. If your team has wards use the vision to your advantage and secure global objectives. Don’t just sit in the jungle the whole time, farm and think you are going to carry the game. Tell your mid to push their lane while you go bottom to help them push, then collapse on the Dragon. You need to try to create situations for the other team to overreact and make mistakes so you can capitalize. If you start to adapt this into your normal ganking routine I think it is safe to say you will win 65% more games, and I would actually say even higher.

Love, Dcgreen

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Twitter

LoLKing Profile

Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

The Stale Meta: Top 5 Supports

The Stale Meta: Poke

 

poke

With the way the game has been changing lately I think it is time to go back and revise something I wrote about in one of my previous articles. “Developing Your Killer Instincts” was my least read article (although at the time I wrote it I think it was the best way to gain rating), and the main focus of it is now obsolete, but I still think it worth revisiting the topic and talking about what has changed and how that reflects on “Poke” which is what I want the central focus of this article to be.

Aggression in the Mid Lane: a Thing of the Past, and by Past I Mean the First Week of Pre-Season 3.

In the Killer Instincts article I wrote about how the revisions to the jungle made being aggressive in the early game an incredibly superior strategy compared to Season 2. My reasoning behind this was that jungler clear speeds were increased and the more traditional junglers of the time (Amumu, Maokai, Skarner, Mundo, Lee Sin, Shyvana) took a lot more damage. This meant most lanes experienced less jungle pressure and therefore could capitalize on winning 1v1’s instead of waiting for ganks or fear being ganked. How things have changed.

The new top junglers can clear fast, healthy, and apply tons of pressure, so basically back to Season 2. This has some adverse affects on all the lanes, but I want to focus on mid lane the most, since the side lanes play by prison rules; 2v1 lanes, three-person ganks, and pushing turrets down before four minutes. Because venturing into the middle of the lane is now dangerous again, mid lane has reverted back to being a farm lane (Note: I did not originally realize this and give full credit to Scarra from his mid-lane vid). Farm you say? Then why do we see champions like Diana, Lux, and Nidalee so highly picked instead of great farming/scaling champs like Karthus or Anivia?

Poke.

The difference between Season 3 and Season 2 is that now everyone has tons of HP which has caused mid laners to become more Poke oriented (Note: I recognized the transition to more pokey champs which was the articles original focus, but included Scarra’s farm lane input to make my article more thorough). Dealing damage from a long range is now a big deal. When you can whittle your 3k hp opponents down to 2k Hp before you engage you level the playing field, so to speak. You could theoretically play Karthus or Anivia vs Lux and do just fine in lane, but when it comes to pushing down towers, or even an inhibitor, Lux’s team will have the advantage of zoning and doing damage to your team at a distance before they see fit to engage. By instead picking a different mid champion with better poke capability you give your team the same tools as your opponent. It is also necessary to lane with the ability to do damage from a sizeable distance so that your lane opponent doesn’t shove you in with their poke/wave clear and go roam. You need to be able to keep each other in check and farm at the same time. This is also another reason that the only AD champs we see in mid are Kha’Zix, Zed, and sometimes Jayce.

Now there are exceptions to the rule; I am not trying to say, “Never play Ryze again!” We saw Curse beat TSM in LCS with Ryze, and a couple teams in EU absolutely dominate with Kassadin who doesn’t have the greatest poke either. It is important, however, to remember these teams create strategy and synergy within their compositions which allow for things like this to happen. Basically, if you are going to play soloqueue I would still recommend playing a mid champ with poke, especially if you are the first team to pick a mid champ, but if say the opposing team picks something like Annie before you pick your AP champion do not force yourself to pick a poker because there is a good chance you could run Ryze or Kassadin in this instance and successfully out-carry them. Acknowledging strong meta trends is one key to being a good player, adapting is another.

What Lies Ahead?

As I mentioned, the above premise holds true a majority of the time, but with certain situations presenting way for innovation. However, the game is always changing. With the new buffs to BotRK AD Carries might become the forces they were in Season 2, putting less pressure on AP mids to be able to poke down HP before engagements. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Dignitas run Draven with BotRK absolutely slaughtering 3k HP enemies like they are paper while Scarra plays an assassin like LeBlanc which he uses to one-shot the opposing ADC. The buff to BotRK may have been the hidden nerf to Giant’s Belt we needed and turn the meta completely upside down. The game is very volatile from patch to patch. We’ve already had “League of Cleavers,” “League of Warmogs,” and now possible “League of the Ruined King.” We can only keep an open mind and hope I can change the name of this series from “The Stale Meta” to “What League is it this Month?”

Love, Dcgreen

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LoLKing Profile

Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries

The Stale Meta: Top 5 Supports

supports

Finally we are here to talk about the Top 5 Supports. Probably the happiest group of Champions coming into Season 3, and I have to say that even with the unfortunate evolution of the Giant’s Belt, Supports are still ridiculously happy. Wards are cheaper and more accessible, gold acquisition seems better, even with less Gp5 items, and health comes easy in the form of Sightstones, Kindlegems, and Aegis. There are some Supports that have fallen completely out of favor, like Soraka, some that have made the transition from Mid to Support, like Zyra, and some newcomers like Nami and Thresh. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 and see why they all deserve to be there.

Top 5 Supports and Why?

I am going to rate the supports, again in a soloqueue perspective, based on what they bring to their team and the ease/risk in which their abilities can be used to greatest effect. My list is actually going to be organized by the styles of supports and by which Champions I think are the best for that style of play.

#5. “All-In” Aggressive Melee:  Alistar and  Leona

The “All-In” Melee Supports are my least recommended for soloqueue. While they have the greatest snowball effect if executed properly, they also have the greatest negative snowball effect if you fail to capitalize on your aggression. If there was built-in Voice Integration in the League client, or you are duo queueing, then these supports could possibly be the best to play, but the reality is that you are going to be playing with an ADC who is more concerned about farm then about aggression. You ping a million times on the opposing carry, land a perfect “Headbutt/Pulverize” or “ZenithBlade/Stun” and the ADC is sitting in the brush auto attacking minions. Now you are stuck in melee range with all your skills on cooldown as two people + minions take away chunks of your HP. This happens over 50% of the time and I wish that was a made up statistic. These two Champs do have a great team fight presence, but if you die early in lane too many times due to uncapitalized aggression you will be underlevelled and underfarmed and only be able to get your cooldowns off once before you die in a big fight. Coordination is just something I would never count on too much in soloqueue and that’s why I think the Melee Supports get the bottom spot. Alistar gets the edge over Leona because he can use Unbreakable Will to escape more situations than she can and also because Pulverize is an AoE stun compared to Leona’s single-target stun and hard to hit Solar Flare.

#4. Aggressive Casters:  Zyra  Lux and  Nami

These are the Supports you want to pick when you want to be really aggressive in lane. They all have crowd control spells and are all ranged which means you make no commitments if you mess up your aggression or your ADC doesn’t follow up. Despite their extreme volatility in lane, relative safety, and ability to transition into a pseudo-AP/Support Champs in the late game; they do provide the least amount of “support” to their team in a general sense. Additionally, all their aggressive abilities are skill shots with long cooldowns which means once you mess up your aggression you are extremely vulnerable. If you are very practiced in the art of bush-control and skill shots then I would recommend them as they add some much needed spice to the Support play-style, but if not I would recommend some of the higher up supports due to their ease of play. Zyra gets the edge because her Seeds/Plants can double as wards. Lux comes in seconds because she has a shield and more damage than Nami. Nami is on the list because I think she deserves a spot; she’s incredibly underrated and actually has a unique kit. She bring an AoE cc that is akin to Alistar’s Pulverize and provides some good spell damage in team fights with her bouncing heal and Ultimate.

#3. Peelers:  Lulu and  Janna

These are the Supports you play when you aren’t quite comfortable with being overly aggressive in lane and instead want to focus on giving your ADC a strong farm lane, and incredibly strong team-fight defense. They are both safe picks; Lulu having the superior laning phase and Janna having the superior team fight. I call them “Peelers” because they both provide the most spells to protect their ADC. Lulu has slow, shield, polymorph/speed, extra HP/Slow Aura, and her passive provides extra dps. Janna has Tornado CC, a slow, a shield, a Knockback/Heal, and her passive provides MS. They are also the safest warders because of the speed their spells/passives give them, and the amount of cc they have. Lulu gets the edge over Janna because of her superior laning phase.

#2.Aggressive Auras:  Sona and  Taric (pre-nerfs)

This is an interesting tier because Taric might disappear after the upcoming nerfs. Right now though I would say these are the safest and best supports to run in soloqueue (before bans). They both provide incredible team utility with their auras. They have heals in lane for good trade/sustain. Sona has great harass with her poke and Taric has unique aggression for a melee support; the fact that he has a ranged stun and an armor aura which doubles as a damage spell make him a force to be reckoned with if you find yourself out of position. I give Sona the edge over Taric because I feel she has a SLIGHTLY weaker lane phase but the fact that she has an AoE CC Ultimate and remains a relevant Champion through out the entire game for damage, heals, and speed, compared to Taric who literally becomes a walking stun/armor aura, that she is more valuable overall. You can make as many arguments about the fact she has weak base stats but that really hasn’t changed the effect of her presence in the League in both soloqueue and pro scenes.

 

#1. Game Breakers:  Blitzcrank and  Thresh

I think that even if I was writing a “pro-scene” Top 5 list, the #1 spot would remain the same. If anyone watched the OGN Winter Championships then they know how powerful Blitzcrank can be, as displayed by Madlife. Actually one of the keys to Najin Sword’s victory over Azubu Frost was banning Blitzcrank all three games. It’s crazy that we haven’t seen more Blitz in LCS but he might not be as good anymore because it’s hard to burst a 3k hp target down off a random Hook. I am also surprised at the lack of Thresh but have no idea why he is so under-represented by the pro teams. Anyways, the reason that I have these Champions in the “Gamebreaker” tier is that because their kits are so unique that even if you are significantly behind you can break the game wide open by landing a clutch Blitzcrank Grab and sometimes even a Thresh Hook, or saving someone with Tresh’s Lantern. It is important to note though that Thresh carries SIGNIFICANTLY less weight than Blitzcrank; he requires coordination or awareness from your team, which usually isn’t in abundance in soloqueue games. Thresh does fill the “traditional” support role better than Blitzcrank, though because you can still shield people and cc them decently well with all of his spells so he is worth picking up and learning because he usually slips through the bans, and there is always a small chance you have a killer Fizz or Akali player that actually knows how to use the shield. Blitzcrank on the other hand is much harder to get a hold of in soloqueue unless you can manipulate the bans in your favor.

What Happened to Soraka?

I don’t know. She is in this really weird spot right now where supports are getting more aggressive in lane, which makes her early levels (1-4) much harder to survive through. That is unless she just maxes Starfall and Silence, in which case you could pick any of the other supports listed above and be in a better spot. Her heals are also on such a long cooldown and there are so many healing reduction effects flying around that her kit just gets slaughtered before she even steps onto the Fields of Justice. Shields are superior because they are found on champions that build AP, have short cooldowns, and aren’t reduced by grievous wounds. Soraka seems like she would be right at home in the HP meta because she restores health but she would need to see some significant tweaks to her kit to become viable again. I think Riot has done such a good job phasing the game away from heals that they may need to rework Soraka again because people don’t even use Summoner Heal. When was the last time you bought Elisa’s Miracle… the last time you picked Soraka? Correlation? I dont know…

 Nunu

I almost forgot about this guy. There isn’t much to say about Nunu. I think the nerfs sent him back to the ice age (LOL). He used to be imbalanced which is what drove his popularity. Now that he is balanced, or perhaps underbalanced, he has no place in the meta anymore. I would honestly rather have a Support Ashe in place of Nunu. She does similar things to Nunu and it would be a nice way to get Ashe back into the bottom lane.

Love, Dcgreen

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Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 AP Mids

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Top Laners

The Stale Meta: Top 5 AD Carries