Welcome to a co-op series where Tim and I will cover all four World groups and what new picks we can expect in each one. We aim to get the series wrapped up before Worlds so we can focus on coverage of the matches. Enjoy the read!
Ban Yasuo. Those words held true in every game of the LPL Regional Qualifiers and Summer playoffs that featured EDG as teams took the swordsman completely out of the picture. With 5 different picks in the mid lane across 12 games, U has shown he can definitely play around his team’s apparent dislike of the wanderer.
Of these picks, Kayle came out for three of EDG’s matches. While Kayle remains strong despite her most-recent nerfs, she has definitely fallen out of flavor. Her most recent revival usually comes paired with a Zilean, creating an incredibly frustrating team comp centered around an undying carry. U has shown that he will play her with or without the Chronokeeper.
Kayle’s strengths come in droves. Amazing waveclear, great up-front damage, massive utility in the form of a heal and movespeed boost, and an ultimate that can make or break teamfights. There’s less countering Kayle and more just dealing with her, something that becomes incredibly tricky once a match gets to late-game.
When Kayle and Zilean get together, it’s like divine Intervention. Allowing unlimited dive opportunities, Kayle and the rest of her team can wreak havoc in the front line safely under the protection of Chrono Shift and Intervention. The pair also prevents a champion from just being dived on and exploded, and can force their opponents to think hard about who they want to focus and when they want to fight.
There are a Zilean possibilities, will the opposition be prepared?
AHQ’s Westdoor is known for his constant aggression. Expect all eyes to be on the mid lane as he looks to get his team out ahead early. Kassadin and Twisted Fate were almost permanently banned against Westdoor in the GPL and it shouldn’t be much different on the world stage. AHQ depends heavily on their mid laner, and acquiring a comfort pick for Westdoor is a must for them. Keeping Fizz in the back pocket is surely on the agenda, especially looking at his dominating performance on the trickster in the past.
Fizz brings deadly assassin strength to a team, being able to dash in with Urchin Strike and deal massive burst damage, only to disappear unscathed with a cleverly placed Playful/Trickster. Chum the Waters offers great disruption and zoning potential in a teamfight, forcing players to retreat or fight around its AOE knockup. It’s also a death sentence for anyone caught out of position, which can help AHQ create picks and secure objectives.
Not to say the Trickster is without flaws. Limited siege ability can set Fizz’s team behind if they’re unable to start a fight. Also an issue is getting to the backline to hunt for carries. If the enemy team sees Fizz, they can center their comp around peeling for their carry and easily counter his strengths. Lastly, Fizz is a risky laner; if he’s facing a poor lane match-up, he can easily fall behind – worst-case scenario for a champion who must be ahead to have a real impact on the game.
AHQ enters the World Championship as underdogs, and other teams will definitely have heard of Westdoor. With a reputation for clutch plays and snowballing games, letting Westdoor get any of these champions is definitely a mistake. Therein lies the largest issue: lack of diversity. While he has shown he can fall back onto popular champions like Yasuo, Westdoor’s greatest strengths come from familiarity. Teams will either look to ban him out, or prepare strategies specifically tailored to his champion pool.
Will AHQ adapt, or will they FIZZle out?
Though he dominates solo queue, Rammus is a rare sight on the competitive scene; OGN Masters saw him once in a favorable match-up against Xin Zhao and Wickd rolled his way to victory at the end of summer LCS in a zer0-stake match against Millenium, but that’s all the pro action League’s armordillo saw this year. Despite odds, it seems DanDyhas been racking some Rammus games in Solo Queue and with great success. Can we expect to see a tanky jungler sneak his way past Lee Sin? Certainly, he is blind.
The meta across regions right now favors stall comps that rely on picks to get objectives and push for map control. Rammus fits the bill with his Sonic Ball and a 2-second taunt. He’s great at locking down and soloing the currently popular hypercarries or peeling bruisers from his carries. Being the best tower-diver in the game, Rammus can capitalize on a pushed lane better than almost any other jungler. His slow clear speed means he loses significant gank pressure in the early game, but that can be off-set by just going for safer laners and stalling until Rammus can become that beast of a frontliner and initiator.
In the hands of DanDy, Rammus is a snowball machine. DanDy is the one who sets the pace for White’s matches by constantly being in the mind of the enemy jungler and predicting his moves. A Rammus counter-gank is deadly, as it can come from very far away and with guaranteed hard CC. We already know how strong DanDy is at smite-stealing objectives – put that mechanical skill on a rolling ball and you’ve got dragon control covered against all but the top-seed teams. Best part? No one plays or bans Rammus, meaning DanDy always has a surprise pick for when his team faces serious challenge (at the finals).
Ultimately, a pocket pick doesn’t matter much for White at this point, as they can likely blindfold themselves, go all mid and still stomp their group.
No data on DP’s Solo Queue training and their Wildcard matches suggest they’d like to go standard at Worlds. If they are bringing new picks against the top teams, they’ve yet to grant viewers passage to their strategy.
See? Phreak liked it. Reluctantly.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You recently placed third in the NA Challenger Series Summer. How do you feel about your performance overall and what would you have changed if anything?
frommaplestreet: As a team we’re pretty disappointed in our play against Coast, in the days leading upto the game we went into a slump and in particular I was doing very poorly with Lucian being disabled. Patch by patch almost every champion we’ve spammed has been nerfed hard but with enough games we can always get it together. I should have worked through my problems by grinding more, I went from 990 lp to about 400lp but now I think I can play this patch well.
How do you feel you stack up in the challenger scene?
frommaplestreet: I don’t like making bets or predictions on my own team as it’s rather embarrassing to lose and then look like an idiot. In the spring split we had a really good champion pool which we could carry games super hard on. Recently it feels like all the other teams have gotten much better so on any given day I think most teams can take games off each other in the top 6, which is scary since we must win the first best of 3 or we’re out completely.
What do you think about the current format of the Challenger Series?
frommaplestreet: The current format is not really optimal, the ranked 5s phase of the challenger series seems overly random as the league points don’t always accurately reflect the skill level of the team. For example LMQ was seed 2 so the absolute worst seeds to be on the ladder would be 19, 9 and 12. So if you didn’t plan ahead and dodge those seeds and got say 9th that would be much worse than getting some other random seed like 15. So really with all the seeds moving around on the final day there’s a lot of luck involved.
Do you feel there is enough incentive for Challenger teams to compete over long periods of time in attempts to make the LCS?
frommaplestreet: I think those who work hard will eventually make it. If you ever want to be the best at anything it requires a lot of self motivation. NA amateur scene is a bit too wonky with players who are good with not enough commitment or good analyst/coaches to make a team of diamond 1s to work. If you play on NA server and want to go pro you should be able to hit challenger bare minimum and the higher you go the more likely you have enough mechanical skill to jump into any team. Soloqueue in my opinion is the most important thing to do if lanes occasionally lose 1v1 or 2v2.
How confident do you feel headed into the playoffs against Wazabi Gaming? What is the teams preparation usually like before big matches?
frommaplestreet: Wazabi is the team that gives us the most trouble in terms of seeds 3-6. Now that we’re out of our slump we’re fairly confident but it could go either way since they have a lot of strong players who play very devastating teamfight oriented champions. Preparation usually just includes finding their most recent tournament matches and going through their match history seeing what champions they play and don’t play allows us to draft our favorite champions without fear of very specific counters.
Should you end up facing LoLpro again, do you believe you can beat them?
frommaplestreet: We have a really strong record against LoLpro though the last time we fought them they had a completely new bot lane but with my confidence back I’m not really afraid of any bot lane now.
Who do you expect to see in the LCS next split if an additional two teams are added? Predictions for relegation?
frommaplestreet: EG and CoL might lose their spots and one of them could get it right back if there’s a second tournament for the two additional teams. I think Coast and Curse Academy are too good to be denied a spot and maybe we’ll sneak into the LCS as well.
How large of a gap is there between Challenger and LCS teams? Do you believe that with the level of play in the LCS growing stronger every year it makes it harder for Challenger teams to keep up?
frommaplestreet: The gap isn’t too big, like some people severely underestimated LMQ going into relegation’s against XDG with some random reasoning such as “they’ve dropped games against amateur teams.” I think people will step up to the challenge and always try and break into LCS. I think the top amateur teams and the bottom LCS teams are at similar skill levels.
How do you feel about Riot potentially adding two additional slots to the LCS? Do you think even more would be beneficial?
frommaplestreet: It would greatly benefit the players like me but I think the worst part of LCS is the gap between relegations, amateur scene doesn’t get very many tournaments and LAN events. Back in 2013 it was super fun to go to MLG as an amateur player so I wish we could have more fun events like that. I don’t see having more teams as a negative if they change around the amounts of game per season.
What keeps you motivated to keep playing? How do you deal with falling short or potentially having to wait an entire split between chances?
frommaplestreet: To go pro at any game you need a lot of self motivation. I set my goals pretty high, I actually thought I would make worlds when we made it into LCS on Velocity but that was a bit overly hopeful. Some people like me lead boring lives, I didn’t really have any aspirations or dream jobs when I was growing up so in a way playing video games as a living is the easy way out for me. Winning worlds would be the ultimate goal even if the odds are one in a million I think I’ll continue to pursue it. Falling short is always difficult. I tend to blame myself and put myself under a lot of pressure so it motivates me in a way to redeem myself.
Your Draven is known as a threat, but we don’t see him very often at all anymore. What do you think he needs to become a more common pick again?
frommaplestreet: Draven is a pretty risky pick, he relies heavily on his 550 auto attack range and at the moment the itemization for him isn’t optimal. All Draven wants is a lot of AD for cheap due to his insanely high AD ratio on his Q. Draven should still rush BT I think due to the fact hes doing all autoattacks for 90%+ of his damage. Even if he’s massively ahead the 550 range limitation can allow enemies to quickly flash initiate on him so heavy peel is necessary to make him viable at high level.
What do you feel about the current state of AD in 4.13?
frommaplestreet: I think they have a massive impact in the game. Tristana and Kogmaw just do way too much damage at all stages of the game. Besides those two the ADC’s are relatively balanced. Though recently there’s been a few overpowered tops coming out like Maokai, Alistar, and Nidalee. If those champions don’t get nerfed soon I might shed many tears.
frommaplestreet: Special shout out to all the people that still believe Velocity cheesed their way into LCS despite us stomping all our lanes :^)
This is an experimental series where I’ll try to cover pro-level games, going over picks, bans, a summary of the game, highlights, winner/loser. Everything you see here is MAJOR SPOILERS! The series is for people who have limited time to follow eSports and want to know interesting matches they can rewatch, standings and so on. Any feedback is greatly appreciated, as I’ll likely do more than a few changes to the format.
This is a work-in-progress article I’ll continue to update as games progress.
Team Comps: Fnatic’s pick comp is a standard this season: strong focus on single-target lockdown and laners that can bully early, deny gold and snowball by midgame. Roccat’s comp is more late-game rounded, with solid utility and front-liners to keep Kog’Maw safe and tearing down Fnatic.
Roccat’s relentless invades pushed soAZ and Cyanide away, but a late response to an invasion in their own jungle left Jankos without a blue buff.
A level 4 set-up on mid from xPeke’s long-range stun, followed by CC from Cyanide and Jarvan IV made for a successful dive at level 4. Roccat promptly reacted by moving top and securing their first tower of the game.
First Blood – 4:43 (in-game timer)
Shortly after, a 4-man rotation from Fnatic took out Roccat’s bot lane tower. VandeR’s attempt to put deep jungle wards as a follow-up, however, resulted in his death and evened out the gold for Fnatic. (11.2k to 11.3k)
Another brilliant show of coordination from xPeke, Rekkles and YellOwStaR on mid lane set Overpow even further behind, as he was again dove, despite the revive.
First Dragon fight: 9:30 (in-game timer)
A messy fight on dragon cost Fnatic dearly, as they underestimated the speed at which Roccat could rotate to the pit. With Celaver backing them up, Roccat won a 2-for-1 exchange, pushed Fnatic away and secured the objective.
Top and bottom towers were traded for both teams at 12:30 and Roccat set up a long siege on the second-tier bot-lane tower.
Second Dragon fight: 17:30 (in-game timer)
A hook from VandeR onto xPeke started another engage onto Fnatic. Between Kha’Zix’s AoE slow and the speed of Roccat’s comp, they cleaned up a 2-for-0 and secured the second dragon.
Xaxus overtended on top lane and wandered into a full burst from xPeke. His death, however, pulled the majority of Fnatic on top lane and Roccat once again correctly rotated and took out the inhibitor bot lane tower. One by one, members of Fnatic dived in to protect the base, but their lack of coordination left them without an inhibitor.
Baron attempt: 26:30 (in-game timer)
Roccat meticulously set up vision control around Baron, but the threat of Tidal Wave and Fnatic circling around them made them abandon the objective.
Teamfight: 31:00 (in-game timer)
With vision around the Baron area swinging in Fnatic’s favor, they set up an ambush in the mid lane brush and caught Roccat off-guard and a successful engage from xPeke and SoAZ won them a decisive battle. But the decision to chase after Roccat instead of going for a siege forced them to fight in a terrible chokepoint near blue buff. VandeR landed hook after hook, followed-up by a clean-up from Kha’Zix and Nidalee and yet another dragon for Roccat.
Fnatic’s vision control paid off and caught Roccat in a bad spot.
Fnatic overextended after winning an engage and paid everything for it.
Baron taken: 43:00 (in-game timer)
Despite gaining the momentum, Roccat were indecisive around Baron, constantly giving up vision to Fnatic and falling back. Their patience paid off in the end, when VandeR baited Fnatic into another disastrous fight in the jungle. They pushed two members away and piled on Baron, bursting it down before any meaningful retaliation. Fnatic stuck around for way too long and xPeke and soAZ were both picked off.
An ace for Roccat near the bottom lane inhibitor decided the match and Roccat picked up their first win in a best-of-5.
Game ends: 44:00 (in-game timer)
Verdict: Absolutely spot-on rotations from Roccat. Fnatic maintained the pressure even after losing the first dragon, but Roccat were one step ahead throughout the whole match. Even though Fnatic managed to successfully shut down attempts at split pushing with the Twitch pick, they couldn’t hold up to Roccat’s relentless map control.
Roccat controlled the momentum of the entire game, removing vision from Fnatic, forcing fights for objectives and decisively winning them. They identified the purpose of Fnatic’s comp – creating picks – and, for the most part, denied them opportunities to lock down a target. When fights weren’t going their favor, they kited and landed poke until they felt they could gain the upper hand. They got every single dragon and played fights to the strength of their comp.
MVP of the game was definitely VandeR, who was an absolute beast on Thresh, securing picks and saves with the lantern left and right, winning all of Roccat’s crucial fights practically on his own.
Team Comps: A heavily AoE-focused comp from Fnatic, focused on overwhelming damage in the late game and control of waves. Roccat fell back to a more pick-oriented comp with Fizz and Tristana, but still kept their focus on late-game strength.
Standard 2v2 and 1v1 lanes on top and bottom. Solid roaming from Jankos forced flashes from Fnatic on both top and bottom and denied Cyanide his second red buff.
First dragon: 11:00 (in-game timer)
Despite the map control, however, Roccat found themselves struggling in all lanes. Aggressive pushing from soAZ pulled Jankos to top without much result, but his position opened a clear dragon take for Fnatic.
Continued ganks from Jankos ultimately helped Roccat’s bot lane take the first tower of the game. But the struggling Xaxus was left without support and was soon dived by Cyanide and soAZ.
Cyanide chased deep into Roccat territory for the kill on Xaxus and was welcomed by a full combo from Overpow.
Overpow dies to soAZ and YellOwStaR; on the other side of the jungle, xPeke gets caught and dispatched of by Jankos.
First dragon fight: 19:30 (in-game timer)
Fnatic tried to pull dragon and switched to Roccat’s mid towers. An awkward rotation put 3 people on top lane, leaving the defending side of Roccat without any wave-clear. Overpow sacrificed himself to stall the push from Fnatic, who followed an inhibitor tower with a dragon. Roccat went all-in with Jankos and managed to shove Fnatic back. Accidentally, the chase left Roccat completely split and Rekkles managed to pick off two free kills while kiting.
Roccat went deep and fell into a slurp of void ooze and burst from Rekkles.
First inhibitor: 24:40 (in-game timer)
Fnatic turned on the aggression and grouped for the exposed inhibitor in mid. A quick pick-up on Celaver secured the objective and Fnatic rotated to Baron.
A brilliant play from xPeke clearing a ward while his team was hiding in the pit baited Xaxus, who had no vision and was quickly sniped.
After an unsuccessful attempt at Baron, Fnatic chose top lane as their next focus. A couple of mistimed engages from both teams left both teams without crucial cooldowns and, in the process, Rekkles was instantly deleted by Overpow.
Roccat fell back to defending their respawned inhibitor, but couldn’t find an opportunity for a pick with Overpow and abandoned the objective.
Second inhibitor: 34:33 (in-game timer)
Fnatic again switched to pushing top lane. A long-ranged stun from xPeke secured a kill onto Celaver and, without their AD, Roccat were forced to fall back and play without two inhibitors.
Baron: 35:30 (in-game timer)
The troubles for Fnatic started after Baron was taken. YellOwStaR was hooked and bursted down, leaving the rest of Fnatic trapped in the pit, with a blood-thirsty Roccat closing in on them. With no way to jump the wall and barely any health, Fnatic grouped patiently and waited for the engage. But what was sure to be an ace for Roccat ended with a twist.
xPeke came out huge in the fight, landing a stun and instantly dealing with two of Roccat’s surrounding members. The clean-up from Fnatic left Roccat outmanned and the momentum of their game slipped from that point.
Fnatic were cornered in the baron pit in a 3v5 and managed to swing the fight.
xPeke turned the tables with a spectacular stun onto Roccat’s back-line.
A desperate attempt at an ambush from Roccat backfired horribly; they leaped onto soAZ, only to be caught around a Zhonya’d Swain and a turn-around from the rest of Fnatic.
One Zhonya and Roccat’s seemingly certain pick-off resulted in a wipe-out from Fnatic.
Team Comps: Roccat went with Nami and Aatrox, both of which strong laners who ca. Fnatic correctly counter-picked the Fizz and Aatrox picks with Morgana, who can easily deny an engage and peel for the squishy Kog’Maw.
Both top laners and junglers invaded on opposite sides and Roccat rotated for a 4-man-push on the top lane tower, securing their first objective at the 4:22 mark.
First Blood: 5:10 (in-game timer)
xPeke blew his flash very early in a poor engage with Overpow, which cost him his life later on. With his defensive summoner on CD and no escsape on Ahri, he was an easy kill for Jankos and Overpow.
A timed bait from Xaxus made soAZ stick around after he had popped Blood Well and exposed himself to Jankos right after losing vision. Fnatic’s reaction was immediate – a gank onto bottom lane which quickly had VandeR killed – but they mistimed their recalls after they’d stayed to push the lane, which gave Roccat plenty of time to secure dragon.
With just a few minutes until the next dragon, Jankos moved to establish vision control. Caught by xPeke and Cyanide, he ran deep into Roccat’s jungle, baiting both members of Fnatic into a brilliant Tidal Wave from VandeR and two kills secured at the cost of none. Over-commiting for Jankos cost Fnatic the second dragon of the game.
Jankos tried to sweep-clean a ward and was immediately engaged on by xPeke and Cyanide.
A perfect Tidal Wave sealed the deal on xPeke and Cyanide, who’d chased into no-man’s-land for Jankos.
The persistence of Fnatic to split-push with soAZ and xPeke paid off and both tier 2 towers for Roccat were taken down with failed response.
Third dragon: 23:40 (in-game timer)
Roccat were denied vision of the dragon area and Xaxus facechecked just as Fnatic were moving to secure to objective. Mid-way, he fell in love with xPeke’s Ahri and his death gave Fnatic an uncontested dragon.
Fnatic switched their tactics to careful probing around Roccat’s defense, managed to find an opening and took bot lane’s tier-2 tower, leaving Roccat without vision of all their jungle entrances.
soAZ overstayed his welcome on top lane and was hunted down by Overpow and Xaxus, dragging xPeke in the grave with him. A few minutes later, his overly aggressive split-pushing again cost him his life.
The trend of Fnatic committing to pushing continued to feed Roccat kills, as YellOwStaR was cornered and quickly taken down. However, the results of Fnatic’s suicidal runs were starting a landslide- Roccat’s base was low on health.
Even YellOwStaR paid for Fnatic’s over-zealous split pushes without proper map vision.
A careless chase from Roccat found Celaver snared to the ground, with soAZ walking along the flank to turn the fight and wipe out the fleeing members of Roccat.
Roccat commit without thought and soAZ is there to swing the fight.
Another wonky engage from Roccat; Overpow went deep into Fnatic’s jungle for a kill onto YellOwStaR and Roccat lost two members in the process. Fnatic’s bottom inhibitor tower was taken down by Xaxus in the process, but the team was already in a dominant position to pressure Roccat. VandeR and Celaver tried to take dragon on their own, but were promptly punished and hunted down by xPeke and Cyanide. Xaxus, caught in the cross-fire of the chase, also died, as Roccat’s control of the game quickly crumbled.
Fnatic knew they needed little to tumble over Roccat and went for a push on the bottom lane. A critical positional mistake from Xaxus snowballed the fight beyond control and Fnatic proceeded to tear down Roccat’s base and take the win.
An overly greedy soAZ falling prey to Roccat, but without consequence- the match was already sealed.
Team Comps: Fnatic put all their bets on a strong late game, with Vayne and Kassadin, backed by Jarvan and Shen on the front line. Vayne needs a 2v1 lane to come out the early game with a gold lead, and Roccat properly counterpicked with Tristana and Nami, both of which can pressure and deny a 2v2 lane.
Fnatic were quick to establish control of Roccat’s red-side jungle. Clever mind games from Roccat baited a few recalls from Fnatic’s bottom lane, who wanted Vayne put in a 2v1 lane. Ultimately, Fnatic managed to have their bot lane go against Irelia, but at the cost of experience and minion gold.
Roccat weren’t going to have their way with a Vayne free farming and Jankos put heavy pressure on the top lane; first time he was kited back, but after a cheeky teleport from Xaxus, they secured first blood on YellOwStaR, putting Vayne further behind and forcing her away from gold and XP.
Teamfight: 15:30 (in-game timer)
Jankos and VandeR went deep into the jungle for a pick onto YellOwStaR, but a clutch Wild Growth prevented his death. Cyanide, with a perfect Cataclysm, trapped Roccat in their retreat as xPeke flanked from the side. Despite solid positioning, however, Fnatic’s AoE comp was promptly overpowered by Roccat’s assassins, who even took down Rekkles on the other side of the blue buff area.
Perfect positioning by both Cyanide and xPeke; unfortunately, not enough to halt the engage.
Rekkles caught over the wall in a 1v3; flashy kiting secures him a kill on Celaver.
A costly mistake from Jankos and Xaxus on the top lane: both assassins dived past Cyanide onto Rekkles, only to be trapped in a Cataclysm and chased down by 3 members of Roccat.
First Dragon fight: 23:00 (in-game timer)
Fnatic rotate to secure dragon, taking the objective before Roccat could intervene. Regardless, both teams clash, and Roccat once again went way too deep against a Jarvan that quickly punished them for playing over-aggressive.
A seeming advantage for Roccat turns into disaster…
as they are once again caught and punished for their terrible positioning.
Second dragon: 30:00 (in-game timer)
Fnatic secure the next dragon and take Jankos along with it, as he dives for the last-second smite.
Baron: 31:00 (in-game timer)
With a numbers advantage they head for Baron and a classic over-commitment for an objective they can’t kill in time. Jankos respawns, Overpow goes ham in the pit and the resets and mobility of Roccat wipe out stragglers. Only Rekkles survives to tell the tale of Fnatic taking Baron.
Fnatic secure baron, but Roccat are on top of them and Jankos is coming from the side.
With Fnatic low on life and fleeing, Roccat’s trio of hoppers can chase and wreck.
Second Baron: 39:13 (in-game timer)
Fnatic try to find an opening, but only their front liners can jump into a fight quickly, with xPeke and Rekkles dangerously behind and exposed. A fight breaks out on the bottom lane and a deceptively strong engage from Cyanide goes wasted; the rest of Fnatic couldn’t follow up and they’re chased down and killed, one by one.
What looks like a good engage ends in shambles; Fnatic are all burned out on resources to follow-up.
Roccat follow-up on the ace with a mid tower and inhibitor.
Third Baron: 47:30 (in-game timer)
Overpow and Xaxus get a sneaky gank onto soAZ, blowing Stand United and rushing for the inhibitor. Rekkles and YellOwStaR flank from the side and take out Xaxus, but the damage has been done and Fnatic lose an inhibitor and key map control.
With bot lane being constantly pushed, Roccat rotate to the top lane. Cyanide tries out a last desperate engage and is countered mid-flight by a Buster Shot; with the front liners left alone and the back line being murdered by Overpow and Jankos, Fnatic lose the game after almost an hour of back-and-forth fights.
Team Comps: Fnatic’s comp is the new flavor of Season 4 – Rengar in the jungle, helping deliver Orianna’s ball in the middle of a teamfight, with Lulu and Nami’s utility backing Kog’Maw against back-line divers. Roccat’s comp is more thinly spread across controlling fights with Alistar and Jarvan and creating picks with Tristana and Fizz, while scaling into late game with both damage and utility.
Standard lanes and lack of early jungle invades, with bot teams playing the farm game. With both summoners on Xaxus on cooldown, Jankos rotates for a gank and gets soAZ dangerously low.
First Blood: 4:45
Jankos and Xaxus push onto the tower, diving soAZ and securing a kill for Jankos. But Cyanide leaped from the side brush, rooting Xaxus under the tower and evening the trade. From top, Jankos rotated for a dive onto xPeke and got a second kill with Overpow.
Roccat’s bot lane baited a bubble engage from YellOwStar, with a ward behind them ready for Xaxus and Overpow to join the fight. A clean 2-for-0, followed by a dragon for Roccat.
Right when Rekkles is turned into fish food.
First Dragon: 16:10 (in-game timer)
soAZ went further and further behind, as Jankos kept camping his lane and diving him with Xaxus. Eventually, the response from Cyanide came and a successful gank on Celaver allowed Fnatic to siege the tower and take dragon afterwards.
Without a Statikk Shiv on Tristana, the troubles with Roccat’s comp began go creep up; with Fnatic grouping up to push mid lane, Roccat had no opportunities for picks and, without any wave clear, were forced to leave their tier-2 mid tower uncontested.
Second Dragon: 24:30 (in-game timer)
Fnatic were in place for the second dragon, took it without retaliation and rushed to clear the Baron area of wards. With Overpow sitting in the brush on top lane waiting for an ambush, he chose a risky route to escape and found himself chased by a balled Cyanide. As Roccat were retreating, an amazing ult from xPeke held them in place and got Fnatic a clean 2-for-0.
xPeke flanking from the side to land a perfect Shockwave.
Roccat dived onto xPeke in mid in a 1-for-1 trade, but had to flee with Fnatic looking for revenge. YellOwStaR and Rekkles found themselves alone in mid lane, flanked by a teleporting Overpow and YellOwStaR bit the bullet for his carry. But an overextend from Overpow onto Cyanide threw the advantage Roccat had built that fight and cost them a mid inhibitor.
First inhibitor: 34:57
A dangerous dive on xPeke is more than Overpow can chew off.
A messy fight broke out in Roccat’s red-side jungle and Fnatic ran scattered, with Cyanide scrambling to enter stealth and save Baron.
Terrible place for Fnatic to be fighting and Cyanide lives by the skin of his teeth.
Fnatic shifted towards the bottom lane and set up a siege. Cyanide was hooked and Roccat went for the opportunity, but through Lulu’s ultimate and a plethora of shields, Rengar survived. Despite Celaver not dying in that engage, the difference in health bars was enough for Fnatic to shove down the inhibitor.
Cyanide survives the engage and a greedy Celaver almost dies chasing.
A desperation Baron from Roccat was a reflection of the ends to which a team determined to go to Worlds would go; but Fnatic were in position and aced Roccat, securing a spot in Seoul.
An all-or-nothing attempt at Baron from Roccat ends in a (predictable) ace for Fnatic and the game.
Team Comps: Alliance knows there’s no reason for risky comps; with Ahri and Twitch, they have solid teamfight potential at any point in the game and good wave clear, and Lee Sin in the jungle is enough to keep them safe from ganks early on. SK’s comp is also not reinventing the wheel, but a mix of mobility and CC means they are capable of standing up to Alliance in teamfights. Of the two teams, Alliance’s comp can more easily create picks, while SK’s comp is more about controlling the field and having a safe back-line.
First Blood: 3:00 (in-game timer)
An invade from Alliance on SK’s red-side jungle forced a flash for fredy, making Shook an easy victim for a dive.
First Dragon: 3:34 (in-game timer)
The response from SK was spot-on – a level 2 dragon.
Alliance continued their effort to shut down Fredy on the bot lane. On the second attempt at a gank, Wickd pulverized Aatrox mid-flight and Fredy’s escape route was cut off by Shook. But with amazing juking around the minion wave and life stealing with the triple life steal bonus on Blood Thirst, Fredy got his passive back during the fight and flashed away, surviving against all odds.
A well-timed Pulverize stops Fredy mid-flight and Shook Safeguards in.
Masterful micro from Fredy keeps him alive as he dances around the minion wave, life stealing at no health.
Teamfight: 19:00 (in-game timer)
With Alliance ahead in kills but lacking in objective gold, they head to secure dragon and find a wandering SK. Wickd dove and the positioning from Alliance seemed to outpace that of nRated’s wall. But, as is common for regionals today, the chase went too deep and SK eventually apprehended the low-health members of Alliance.
A well-split Alliance set up for a teamfight with Wickd in the front.
Alliance push on, but Jesiz is coming to swing the fight in SK’s favor.
Third Dragon: 19:45 (in-game timer)
Teamfight: 26:30 (in-game timer)
Another dragon fight where Alliance seem to be reacting to SK’s movement rather than initiating objectives on their own. They’re out of position and relentlessly chased down by a full Blood Well Fredy.
Shook jumps in, but Elise beats him to the execute on dragon and a fight breaks out.
Teamfight: 32:00 (in-game timer)
Yet another fight for dragon breaks out in a repeating pattern: Alliance trying to get a free pick and being poked hard after very exposure. Another objective went to SK and Alliance were again forced to run away, incapable of dealing with Fredy.
Fredy dives in and stays a threat for Alliance who can’t commit much to killing him.
A timed engage from Froggen onto Candypanda sniped the carry of SK and got Alliance a tier-2 mid tower. At the same time, however Fredy pushed down the top inhibitor tower. A fight for control of the Baron pit area created another pick for Alliance, but with no chance to gain anything from it.
Fredy goes wild and gets kited and blown up. Again, Alliance can’t take an objective
Teamfight: 41:40 (in-game timer)
Another oddly familiar fight begins with Fredy recklessly diving onto Froggen, almost taking him out as the rest of SK struggle to catch up. Skirmish after skirmish found Tabzz alive and healthy, swinging every fight in Alliance’s favor.
Fredy dives for another Baron fight but Tabzz and Froggen abuse their mobility and wreck face.
Tabzz gets the jump onto Candypanda and afterwards walks to top lane to clear up an overcommitted SK.
First Baron: 52:10 (in-game timer)
Alliance won the vision control battle and secured Baron, catching an overextended Candypanda and continuing their chase. A perfect disengage from nRated meant SK’s ADC would be the only victim of that poor trade.
A solid Tidal Wave starts a dive for Alliance and opens the inhibitor.
Alliance seemed to be getting pushed back, but a stealthed Tabzz with red buff turns around the initiative.
With SK’s base bleeding health on both Nexus turrets, they went for an ambush from the brush onto top lane, the obvious target for Alliance to close the game. Unfortunately, it was Wickd who facechecked and SK couldn’t disengage before losing two members, which proved enough to decide the end.
An all-or-nothing fight from the brush catches Wickd, but the cow is too tanky for SK to handle and they get dismantled all the way to the Nexus.
Game ends: 56:21 (in-game timer)
Spoiler Inside: Alliance vs SK Gaming, Game 1 Winner
Maokai – the latest of the top laners to emerge in pro play – fell in the hands of Wickd. A strong mid-lane comp from Alliance, with good area control from Xerath, Corki and Morgana. SK’s comp was a mix of strong engage with Morgana and Elise and safety to fall back on, with Kayle’s Intervention.
First Blood: 3:37 (in-game timer)
An easy flank from Shook caught Jesiz from the right side of mid lane. Jesiz wisely didn’t blow Flash, as he was already left without room to escape. Shook continued to set up map control by forcing a flash on top lane.
Past 6, Froggen was caught by Svenskeren from the side and tried to flash over the Wraith wall to escape, but a quick follow-up from Jesiz’s Spirit Rush secured the kill.
Bot lane gank: 12:20 (in-game timer)
An aggressive Flash into Soul Shackles from Nyph started what was seemingly a 3v2 on bot lane, when Svenskeren joined the fray and quickly dealt with Alliance’s support.
A gank from Alliance goes ultimately in SK’s favor, as Svenskeren leaps with Intervention to kill Nyph.
First Dragon: 17:15 (in-game timer)
A completely out-of-position Alliance gives up dragon to SK without getting an objective in return.
Second Dragon: 25:11 (in-game timer)
As teams closed in on the dragon pit, Candypanda ate two crucial Dark Bindings from Nyph, the second of which almost cost his life, even through Intervention. Those skillshots were enough to push SK away from the objective and Alliance got an uncontested dragon.
A binding lands onto Candypanda and SK runs scared and at half health.
Teamfight: 26:40 (in-game timer)
A binding engage from Nyph started a fight and Candypanda was caught in a chain of CC by a Flash-Cocoon from Shook. This time, however, the engage baited Alliance and SK began to push back. But the follow-up split Svenskeren from the group. SK lost their jungler and had to fall back.
A 3-for-o Dragon fight ended in a landslide for SK as they cleaned up a way-out-of position Froggen. With Intervention being used aggressively on Fredy, Alliance couldn’t deal with the front line of SK.
Fredy dives in and Intervention keeps him healthy and swinging as Alliance scramble for room to retreat.
First Baron: 37:30 (in-game timer)
A terrible engage from Wickd left Alliance unable to follow-up and the tree was left to be chopped down by SK. Without a front-liner, Alliance are forced to give up Baron.
Wickd dives with Twisted Advance, but look at where the rest of Alliance are.
A desperation attempt at catching Candypanda overextending on the bot lane resulted in disaster as Living Artilery scouted the attempt and Froggen was hunted down and killed. With the main wave-clearer for Alliance down, SK were free to take out the rest of Alliance’s base and secure the win.
Game ends: 38:00 (in-game timer)
Spoiler Inside: Alliance vs SK Gaming, Game 2 Winner
Team Comps: Alliance’s comp is about poking and then going for picks with Shook and Froggen. SK is more focused around snowballing early game, with two stealth champions to catch people off guard. Both comps can teamfight really well; however, Alliance can afford to take more risks due to the mobility of their comp, whereas SK are more reliant on finding the right moments to engage.
With the fear of Swain countering Maokai, SK went for a surprise 2v1 lane and forced a level 1 Flash from Wickd with the threat of Morgana and Twitch. A level 2 roam from Nyph also burned the Flash of Jesiz.
First Blood: 3:35 (in-game timer)
The ambush comp quickly paid off for SK and Evelynn and Twitch piled onto Nyph on the bottom lane, who was locked down by a binding from nRated. The retaliation from Alliance was a kill onto Jesiz, who already had Flash down and made an easy target for Shook and Froggen.
First Dragon: 8:40 (in-game timer)
An uncontested dragon went the way of SK.
A fight for the second dragon broke out with nRated and CandyPanda finding an out-of-position Nyph. Despite a numbers advantage, SK couldn’t find an opportunity; a Nevermove from Wickd caught two people and zoned the rest and Alliance got dragon in exchange for Nyph.
Fredy goes deep, but Wickd zones the rest of SK and Alliance secure dragon.
While both teams fought for objectives, Froggen was trying to make plays on his own, Spirit Rushing aggressively to get the jump on Jesiz. Eventually, his persistence paid off and he took out Fredy on the top lane.
A dragon fight started, but SK were woefully out of vision and Alliance abused that lack of wards to bait SK into fog of war and pick them apart.
SK try to finish off Wickd, but Ravenous Flock outheals everything and SK lose control of dragon.
First Baron: 31:30 (in-game timer)
SK caught Alliance without vision of the Baron pit and with Froggen pushing bot lane. An uncontested Baron went without response, as Froggen was unable to kill the inhibitor.
First inhibitor: 36:25 (in-game timer)
With the Baron buff ticking away, SK grouped up to pressure bot lane. Wickd teleported to defend the turret but was immediately hit with Dark Binding and bursted down. SK continued their push and took out the bot inhibitor.
Second Baron: 40:25
SK established map control around Baron and set up an ambush in the brush. In the ensuing fight, they traded a support for jungler and felt confident taking Baron afterwards. But they were dropped dangerously low and Alliance, instead of defending their base, went on the initiative and killed everyone on SK safe for Candypanda and Svenskeren.
SK set up an ambush near Baron and trade a 1-for-1.
SK overcommit for Baron and, despite taking it, die in the retreat.
From there it’s a predictable outcome; Alliance pushed to the Nexus and with some fancy kiting around the structure, secured the win.
Game ends: 41:40
Spoiler Inside: Alliance vs SK Gaming, Game 3 Winner
Team Comps: A double AD comp for Alliance, backed by the safety of Lee Sin’s early jungle and Alistar and Braum’s peel says one thing – Alliance want a drawn-out game where they can siege and set the pacing. SK’s comp is assassin and reset-focused – they need to dive on priority targets and get kills, relying on just the peel from Morgana to keep CandyPanda safe.
An invade from Alliance forced an Flash from CandyPanda. A level 3 gank on top lane from Shook traded Flashes, but overall early aggression was non-existent. Bad news for SK, who had a mid lane to babysit as Froggen’s Tristana mercilessly pounded on Jesiz trying to farm under tower.
First Dragon: 11:45
An uncontested Dragon went the way of Alliance.
First Blood: 14:11
A bottom lane gank from Svenskeren caught an overly aggressive Nyph.
SK set up a siege on mid and Svenskeren spotted Froggen on the side and went for the kill. However, Alliance quickly established control of the fight and zoned SK from advancing onto Froggen while the rest of Alliance flanked from the side.
Froggen baits Svenskeren onto the side and Alliance trap SK in a narrow jungle path.
A zoning ultimate from Nyph keeps SK in place while Alliance clean up.
A prolonged fight on bot lane split both SK and Alliance in opposite directions. Froggen was forced to run, but later turned around as Shook and Tabzz made wonderful plays on their own. In the resulting overcommit from SK, Froggen got himself a quadra kill and his bounty was swiftly cashed in by Jesiz, who cleaned up a triple kill.
Froggen with the resets on Tristana secures a quadra kill.
First Baron: 33:22
A fight around Baron started as Wickd was caught near the golem area. His ultimate kept him healthy while the rest of Alliance ran to assist. SK were fighting in a choke against Braum and Lee Sin and lost decisive control of Baron.
SK collapse onto Wickd, but Alistar’s ultimate is enough to get him back to his teammates and turn the fight around.
First Inhibitor: 35:10
The rest of the match was witnessing SK collapse into a pool of bad calls and getting caught left and right; Alliance pushed their way into SK’s base by brute force and after countering a final engage from SK, wrapped up the game and secured their place in the finals against Fnatic.
Spoiler Inside: Alliance vs SK Gaming, Game 3 Winner
Welcome to the Rework Forge, a series where we theorycraft reworks for Champions that have fallen out of glory over the seasons. In each issue I cover one Champion, going over thematic strengths, why that Champion is currently weak/unsatisfying and my proposed rework. I’d like to turn these articles into discussion points, so if you have a crazy idea for the Champion in question, I’d love to read it in the comments!
I took up IronStylus‘s challenge to rework Dianawithout using numbers. Before we get to the crazy theorycrafting, though, let’s first identify the problems of Diana and why the Champion relaunch team is even interested in reworking her.
You may remember Diana’s days of glory, when she could pop you like confetti on level 6, build tanky while carrying and make you hate both her and the Earth’s only natural satellite. Since that time she’s been repeatedly nerfed and is now neither an issue nor is she relevant in the meta.
The core problem with Diana is her design struggles with an identity. She’s both an assassin and a fighter, which might have sounded fantastic and unique on paper, but turned out to be a disaster to balance in practice. The assassin role is about making a quick pick-off and trying to avoid any fights you can’t disengage from or end instantly. The fighter role has you diving in, expecting to take a lot of damage and having the survivability and mobility to be a threat to the enemy back line. Mix them together and you get… a whole lot of nonsense. Diana’s only option in a fight is to go all-in, yet she’s supposed to have both the threat of an instant burst and sustained damage. In a scenario where Diana’s live version works well, she’s so completely overwhelming on the front line that she’s able to both survive and nuke squishies. If she can’t do both, she becomes an underwhelming bruiser and that’s no way to end up if you’re occupying a theme as awesome as having moon powers.
Diana is, thematically, a star concept for Riot’s Champion creation team. She is an outcast who worships the Moon of all things, an ideology shared by no one else on the Fields of Justice. Yet in execution, her kit, aside from Crescent Strike [ Q ], seems so bland and uninspired by her appearance and backstory. Here’s my idea on how to fix that:
Moonsilver Blade [ Passive ]
Every 3rd consecutive hit, Diana cleaves targets in front of her for additional magic damage.
Crescent Strike [ Q ]
Diana unleashes a bolt of lunar energy that travels in an arc, dealing damage and applying a Moonlight debuff to enemies hit. Moonlight can be consumed by W and E and grants Diana increased Attack Speed for a few seconds after it’s consumed.
[ Notes ] Overall the same spell, with decreased cooldown and damage.
Blade Dance [ W ]
Cannot be cast on targets unaffected by Moonlight.
Diana rushes a small distance through target enemy, gaining a huge attack speed bonus for the duration of the dash and landing an instant basic attack as she goes through her target.Consecutive casts of Blade Dance increase the number of instant basic attacks.
[ Notes ] Really small cooldown; think Yasuo’s E. Ranks in Blade Dance decrease the internal cooldown between casts and increase the number of basic attacks you can potentially stack.
Moonpath Seeker [ E ]
Diana throws an illusion of her weapon at target location, dealing damage and slowing nearby enemies. If Moonpath Seeker hits an enemy Champion affected by Moonlight, the debuff is consumed and Diana can instantly teleport to the weapon illusion.
Eclipse [ R ]
Diana brings down the sun and shelters her moon behind a celestial body, causing an eclipse. Target circle area is illuminated and enemy champions outside it lose vision from wards, turrets and teammates. If an enemy champion steps outside the illuminated area while the spell is ongoing, he is feared for a short time.
Over the duration of the spell, the circle gradually becomes smaller from one end. Targets in the illuminated area have the Moonlight debuff constantly applied until they leave the area or the spell ends.
[ Notes ] Huge cast range & cooldown. Ranks in R increase the duration of Eclipse.
Here’s a preview of how Eclipse would look like (in glorious 10 FPS):
Here’s what I sought to remove in Diana’s kit:
Fighter spells like an AoE vacuum and a spammable shield
Lack of initiation before level 6
Reliance on a single combo (Q, R, R) to kill targets
Contradictory champion design, i.e focused on both bursting and being a durable front-liner
And here’s what I wanted to keep/add:
Lots of opportunities for Diana to pick her fights and initiate on squishies
No easy way to disengage
The passive cleave, with added mechanics that make it core to Diana’s combos
Moon-inspired spells that capture the theme of Diana being ruthless and a loner
Eclipse! How do you a moon champion without an eclipse spell?
Some of the ideas and interactions in this kit you may have already guessed, but I’d like to go over how this version of Diana would function.
I’m glad you… I asked myself that.
Going into it, I knew I wanted Diana to be as unique gameplay-wise as she is thematically. I also wanted to solve the binary nature of her engages, mainly Q-R-R. I scrapped the concept of a tanky front-liner assassin completely, because it goes against the idea of assassins. I removed Diana’s shield and vacuum/slow spell and focused on creating as many opportunities in her new kit to pick fights and make plays.
I love Diana’s Q and passive and I wanted them to be central to how she plays out. Crescent Strike sets up everything for you before your ultimate. It’s a unique skillshot and should, in my opinion, be at the fore-front of Diana’s future design. It fits her theme so well and works great in-game. The passive isn’t as exciting as Crescent Strike, but it emphasizes a thematic point of Diana – her curved sword. I love the design of it and how it’s swung so oddly; it makes Diana stand out from your typical sword-wielding character. Also, it’s pretty satisfying to get that swipe off and it makes a nice swooshy sound… moving on.
Blade Dance is simple on its own, yet surprisingly complex when mixed with Diana’s passive
I’m a fan of champion mechanics with simple use, but deep potential, and I think they fit the assassin archetype perfectly, because they involve a lot of practice and game knowledge. Blade Dance, for example, sounds pretty simple, right? You run through a guy and swing a weapon at him, which might be common life in your district. Now let’s take into account that every 3rd attack you’re hitting for bonus damage and Blade Dance gives you an escalating number of instant attacks. After every dash, you need to be thinking, “how many times can I proc my passive onto an enemy and not waste it along the way”? Before getting into that, you need to set up Blade Dance with Crescent Strikes, which should hopefully be on a low enough cooldown that you have the freedom to create paths to your target quickly. Thus, a spell that’s easy to understand at first glance becomes a lot more mechanically complex in the context of the champion’s whole kit.
Throwing your weapon at sun-worshipersis useful and solves design issues
Speaking of chaining mechanics together, Moonpath Seeker is another spell that requires the player to set up a scenario where it’s great. On it’s own, it’s a long-cooldown, long-range poke that slows. But if you hit a Crescent Strike and follow up with Moonpath Seeker, you get a clear opening for Blade Dance due to the instant teleport. Again, the mechanics behind it are nothing complex; what can be complex is considering which method to use in a given situation.
A major change to Diana’s kit is you can’t chain Crescent Strikes with Lunar Rush and start wailing on heretics anymore, because Lunar Rush is gone. I thought of Moonpath Seeker as a substitute to that initial lack of gap-closing, but I also wanted to fix the issues I find with Moonfall, it being short-range CC you don’t need when you’re already in range for your other spells. My reworked E works like a two-step dash and a slow all in one and is a spell that helps you engage, not follow-up on an engage. It works great if you consider that Blade Dance has a really short cast range.
The ultimate is where the whole kit comes together
Diana having a spell that turns day into night and causes an eclipse is, admittedly, a no-brainer. However, it’s hard to fit gameplay mechanics that accurately depict the nature of an eclipse. DotA’s Luna can block out the sun, but the end result is a bunch of space lasers that hit really hard and nothing that plays with the aspect of restricting light.
Having Eclipse apply Moonlight constantly while in the illuminated area gives Diana a battleground for Blade Dance. She can spam it on a single target until she’s omnislashing them with each cast, run between enemies if they’re all in the area of the eclipse or try to escape by using the fear aspect of leaving the spell’s AoE. It’s a shrinking arena that gives you the tool you need to fight efficiently (Moonlight debuffs) and also poses a constant source of pressure for anyone caught in it.
In keeping with the spirit of having multiple combos and opportunities to create picks with the new Diana, Eclipse can be used in a manner of ways. If you’re far away from your target with no chance of reaching them, you can call down an eclipse and throw a Moonpath Seeker to absorb a stack of Moonlight and teleport for a Blade Dance smackdown. You can also use the same combo of ult + E as a very long cooldown escape. If you’re really good with Eclipse, you can catch someone off with the shrinking light and fear them in a direction you want. I can go on, but Eclipse is, in short, a play-maker and a memorable spell that unlocks the potential of the rest of Diana’s kit.
The shield (Pale Cascade)
Spammable survivability is a fighter mechanic, not an assassin one. In going with the theme that I want Diana to be a straight-up assassin that interacts with Moonlight, it didn’t make sense to keep it on her. Then there wouldn’t be room left for Blade Dance and that’s a core asset of my rework proposal.
Also… shields are pretty damn boring, aren’t they? They can be cool if they help other mechanics stand out (like Karma’s shield allowing her to set up her snare leash (W) ) or they’re reactionary, like Janna’s E, but in Diana’s case, it’s just extra effective HP you get for free when you jump on someone. It makes her a ball of stats, which is why she was gutted to begin with. It’s hard and counterproductive to be balancing tankiness on a Champion that should be approaching fights with finesse and hitting combos. It ruins the philosophy of making a Champion that shouldn’t be going ham without a front liner.
The vacuum (Moonfall)
This one never made for me on Diana, for a number of reasons. First, her ultimate defines her as a single-target assassin, yet Moonfall seems to suggest you should be fighting lots of enemies at once. Its lengthy cast time makes it hard to weave between other spells while you’re chasing a target that’s actively trying to not die. On the same note, you can’t really do without a slow on Diana’s live kit, since she wouldn’t be any threat if she didn’t have some way to keep you in range.
As a signature utility spell, I translated the uses of Moonfall to Moonpath Seeker, while getting rid of the awkward vacuum and close range. In my opinion, Diana’s utility spell should help her close the gap, not keep up once she’s in range, because she struggles with the former, not the latter.
I had plans to cover Diana in this series later down the road, but the challenge from IronStyluslead me to think she’s closer to being reworked than some other champions. Whatever course the Champion relaunch takes with her, she deserves a set of mechanics that no one else has, that truly make her stand out. She occupies a space in fiction that few characters have threaded and I’d love to see the gameplay match up to that level of artistry.
There are many avenues you could take with a champion that has such a unique theme (if you need examples, this thread is filled with awesome suggestions) . The one I chose is a kit that benefits from an eclipse spell, yet functions well without it. I took what I most enjoyed about Diana and kept it in its original form, while thinking of new mechanics that would resonate with Diana’s theme and gameplay. In my head, it’s all flowers and fairness; in practicality, it could be useless or obscenely broken. But that’s why these articles are aimed to be a discussion point.
I love interacting with creative people and I’m sure there are many readers who have their share of ideas about Diana. I’d like to read them in the comments, so whatever your thoughts are on my article and Diana, fire away!
New to the series? Here are all my previous entries on the Rework Forge:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at email@example.com.
This is your second split with TSM. What has been your favorite moment with the team so far?
Bjergsen: I think some of my favorite moments are when we net a really important victory against top teams like C9/CLG. The atmosphere in the team is great, everyone is happy and feel like we achieved a common goal. Always a great time catching dinner with the team after a hard fought game.
How do you stay focused in the midst of multiple roster changes and periods of less than optimal performance?
Bjergsen: If anything I feel like everyone gets more motivated once there is a roster change. Everyone feels the pressure and want to show they deserve to be on the team and wanna set a good example for the newcomer. For the hard times, again, I think it’s just a big motivation boost for everyone to improve as fast as possible. We all want to be the best, and we all want to win. If we don’t succeed it means we didn’t do a good enough job, and we all work hard to change that.
It seems that when you are on fire, so is the rest of the team. Is this just a result of all the gears working together? Do you feel pressure to carry games, or does it come naturally as the team performs as a unit?
Bjergsen: Mid lane champions usually have a lot of control over the game, especially if ahead. I’m also the primary shotcaller so it’s easy for me to communicate what I need to snowball and carry the game. If we are in a period of losing a lot I tend to return to champions where I’m more independant and feel like I can affect the game more as a single player, but that’s not always the best way to play the game. We just all need to trust each and each others abillities to do their job.
How has it been playing with Amazing in the jungle?
Bjergsen: I really enjoy playing with Amazing, he’s probably the jungler with the most raw skill I have been in a team with. Raw skill mainly being great mechanics and early game desicion making. He loves making aggressive plays and playing strong champions that can impact the game from the get-go. I really admire that style since it’s one I like myself, so we mesh very well.
You lost to LMQ and Cloud 9 in week 11, both teams you will potentially need to beat in the playoffs. What do you feel was most lacking? What do you think has been the biggest issue in facing these teams throughout the split? Do you think you will be ready for them when playoffs roll around?
Bjergsen: I think our biggest issue was working on a lot of problems we had going into the week and then forgetting our basics and just what we were already good at. We lost games the way I haven’t seen TSM lose games in a while, we got outplayed from the early game and laning phase and lost the games from there. It’s hard to say what were our problems vs them during the split. I don’t think they had some kind of great counter to our gameplan, we had issues as a team and LMQ played extremely solid every time we faced them.
Curse. They seem to be doing incredibly well lately, and they are 8-1 in their last 9 matches against top teams. What do you think it is about Curse that causes them to do so well against top teams and suffer a bit against lower ranked teams? How big of a threat are they in playoffs?
Curse is a wildcard team, they have good pick and bans and a lot of pocket picks, you never know what they will play. I think they are a really interesting team that people may have been underestimating some games during the season. I always thought it was just a matter of time before Curse started performing since they had been doing well in scrims since the beginning of the split, they are gonna be a force at playoffs. Their games are definitely gonna be exciting to watch!
Going into playoffs, what do you hope to improve the most individually? As a team?
Bjergsen: Individually I just wanna further improve my shotcalling and plays in high pressure situations such as important teamfights/gamebreaking picks. Both things also come with comfortabillity in champions since it’s a lot easier to focus on everything else if you have 100% control over your champion and you need to put in little thought to actually play your champion. We have a lot of things to work on as a team, I just think we need to be more conscious about every desicion we make in scrims so we can replicate it better in the LCS. We lost very little scrims and felt confident going into superweek, but were unable to replicate the same plays we made in scrims. So personally I would like to work on making every decision conscious and make sure very little things happen out of the blue.
You had a rough time with Dignitas during the regular season and pulled off a close win against them in week 11. Do you expect it to be a close matchup in the quarterfinals?
Bjergsen: Dignitas is an interesting team to play against. We have two games during the season where we either had a bad pick/ban or a bad approach to how to play our teamcomp. I think we are at least better at those things now, and overall better as a team than we were in the middle of the season. It’s definitely gonna be close games vs Dignitas, but if we can get productive practice going into playoffs I’ll feel confident going into the match.
TSM included, do you think an NA team can improve to the point of being title contenders at worlds? Is NA still playing catch up with other regions?
Bjergsen: I think there is a chance an NA team can win worlds, but to be frank it’s very slim. The Korean teams are looking stronger than ever, but I do believe all a team needs is a patch that fits them and good practice going in and even a western team can win worlds. I wouldn’t say NA is behind all the others regions, I think NA/EU are very close right now, and I can’t wait to watch the top teams from each region play each other at worlds. I think the SEA and Chinese teams are wildcards, since they have their own kinda meta and have different priorities.
What are your thoughts on CLG going to Korea to bootcamp? Do you think it will have a noticeable impact on their game? How strong do you expect them to be when they return?
Bjergsen: I think under the circumstances CLG’s choice was smart and probably the best thing they could do. I really don’t know how much it will impact their gameplay. They could come back as the best team in NA, or they could come back still trying to adjust to the way the Korean plays, and not finding their place yet.
You are known for your assassin play, though we haven’t gotten to see much of it lately. Do you expect to see assassins making a comeback with the most recent changes?
Bjergsen: Assassins are definitely a lot better now than they were earlier in the season, and you might see me playing some. I can’t tell you too much but I guess time will tell!
Orianna is a champion who seems to thrive regardless of whatever the meta may be. We have seen you play her a bit, how important is it to have her in your arsenal?
Bjergsen: Orianna is just a great solid pick, it’s a champ you can pick in pretty much every situation and she’ll do great in your team comp. Just a solid pick that’s very versatile which is why she’s so popular. Also a great blind pick champions since she has little to no counters.
Without giving anything away, do you think we’ll see any surprise or pocket picks looking into playoffs and potentially worlds?
Bjergsen: Haha, we might. I see a lot of pros picking up different kinds of champions in soloQ. Could be a lot of surprises with the new patches!
Who would you play if you were allowed to pick anyone for one match?
Bjergsen: If the situation is just right, I think the fans would love to see the return of Zed. Every time I stream I’m constantly getting asked to play him. There’s nothing I love more than making my fans happy, so I would probably go with Zed!
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL
You came into the LCS in the middle of the split. Did you feel pressure to perform right away or did you naturally ease into playing competitively on LA?
KaSing: I was definitely very nervous subbing in for Supa Hot Crew in week 5 since LCS was based in the UK for that week. At the time, i had a bit of lan experience from various lans such as Insomnia, Gfinity, Dreamhack. I can still remember the sound of my heart pounding like 5 minutes before first match versus Copenhagen Wolves so I knew that I had to perform to the best of my ability.
How is playing professionally compared to your time on Team Dignitas UK?
KaSing: It is very different playing now in the LCS compared to the amateur scene back when I was in Dignitas UK with Impaler because I was good friends with everyone back then, whereas being in an LCS team you need to be professional when it comes to practice under a specific schedule that everyone agrees to.
What do you like most about playing with MrRallez? What do you feel stands out about him most?
KaSing: MrRalleZ is an adc who definitely outperforms a lot of other adcs in the EU LCS from my perspective, playing with him has been a pleasure. Although we haven’t played for that long together compared to the other bot lanes in LCS, I think that we can only improve and get better in the long run and I’m entirely confident in MrRalleZ’s ability and mechanics to win the game whenever we are playing. I feel with MrRalleZ, he is able to understand that the role of the Support isn’t just only about the lane but also about applying pressure to the entire map.
What is your favorite support to play? Why? Is there any support that you wish was played more often?
KaSing: My favourite support right now is probably Zilean because I love his skillset, his laugh, pretty much everything about him. He is very fun to play and has a unique playstyle which the enemies will not know how to play against. I wish that ap supports were played more often such as LeBlanc because I enjoy champions that utilitize good mechanics. She has tons of damage regardless of her ap and requires high skill to play which fits my playstyle.
How would you describe your playstyle? Do you think it has changed since playing with SHC?
KaSing: My playstyle during the first week of when I played with SHC was overly aggressive, I would dominate lane phase but kind of fall off midgame as I was nervous to make plays. Now I think it has changed to a more smart-aggression playstyle where I punish the enemies mistakes harder rather than blindly playing hyper-aggressive.
What bot lane do you enjoy playing against most? Why?
KaSing: I like playing against Rekkles and YellowStar because they’re both very good in terms of mechanics and their duo lane synergy is immaculate so it would help me understand how to play the bot lane matchup better.
Do you believe there is an EU team capable of winning worlds? Who?
KaSing: I think the only EU team capable of winning worlds as of right now would probably be Alliance because having the best jungle/mid combo would be the EU trump card on beating the Korean/Chinese/NA teams.
How do you feel about the way support is currently? Do you believe the 4.13 patch will bring in any notable changes to champion pools?
KaSing: I feel like supports could do with a bit more space in terms of warding as I feel like 3 isn’t enough to ‘support’. Although Riot done this so that people would value wards more and people would play this game so that it’s more 5v5 rather than 1v9. 4.13 is bringing back tank supports such as alistar because since spellthiefs edge is getting nerfed, this is a nerf to all ap poke-heavy safe supports such as Morgana.
KaSing: I would like to shoutout to Supa Hot Crew, Team Acer, CMStorm, fans and my brother Eric Tsang.
You’re playing with an entirely different team compared to a year ago. What do you think is the biggest difference between then and now? Which version of TSM do you think has been the strongest?
Dyrus: Back then it wasn’t as structured and Regi would carry the entire team on his back while running the organization. Now we have a structure and great players from other regions so we’re definitely stronger now.
What do you think of Amazing so far? What do you think he brings to the team that was lacking before?
Dyrus: Amazing brings high mechanical skill and more meta junglers to the table.
What was the biggest difference you noticed with the addition of Lustboy?
Dyrus: His mechanical skill was at the highest when he came here. He knows a lot about the Korean meta and brings his knowledge over.
Do you feel your playstyle has changed with the new roster?
Dyrus: Individually I do the same thing, just with different champions and more communication.
How is it adapting to new players? Is it hard to get synergy going?
Dyrus: It’s easy, I always get along with my teammates because I just love to play league of legends.
You have been the pillar through the swaps over the past year, and now remain as the only player that’s been on the team since season 2. Do you feel the current team is the strongest it’s ever been, or has the potential to be?
Dyrus: I feel like our strongest point was during the patch when Regi subbed. Now that the patch changes literally every day we have to learn to adapt quick, especially since most of the time before big matches the patches get changed and practice becomes limited.
What about yourself? How strong do you think you are now relative to the rest of NA top laners? The world? Do you feel you will continue improving?
Dyrus: I feel like I won’t ever be the best because I lack innovation. All I’m doing right now is trying to keep up with international top laners. As for NA the only real threats to me in lane are Balls and Ackerman. Everyone else is either the same as me or below.
How has it been with Locodoco so far?
Dyrus: Having locodoco on the team is like having 6 players instead of 5.
Do you expect to make worlds? Who do you feel are the strongest teams to represent NA, based on current strength?
Dyrus: I think it’s really rough for us this year with all the roster swaps and visas. We have a lower chance than usual but it also puts us in the corner which allows us to play with our backs against the wall. It’s really hard to say right now, C9 and LMQ seem to be the strongest with Curse right behind them.
What are your long term goals? Will you continue playing after season 4?
Dyrus: I’m just going with the flow, I’ve considered retiring because of the stress, but in the end I’m just going to stick with it until I’ve become bad enough at the game to not play competitively
You were off to a rough start this season. How do you handle slumping or ramping up? What keeps you focused?
Dyrus: Watching my own play and watching others play allows me to reset my mind and just copy again. I revert to older more comfortable champions when I forget how to play or I imagine how the lane should play out and what I can do in lane out of game.
C9 and TSM seem to have a storied history since last year, is there any real rivalry there, similar to with CLG, or is it different?
Dyrus: It’s different, there isn’t really a rivalry but it’s a battle for 1st place. Instead of a rival they’re kind of like your unwanted friend in the scene.
How do you feel about LMQ so far? Have they met or exceeded expectations?
Dyrus: They exceeded expectations, at the start of the season they were really bad. Now they’ve improved a lot and are pretty much better than most of the teams. I feel like they aren’t taking LCS seriously though so we’ll see.
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL
If you’ve played League for any number of days, chances are you’ve experienced the sweet joy of having someone AFK or disconnect in a match. Though this article won’t discuss dealing with people deliberately leaving games, it will talk about a solution to all other factors leading to a person not participating, factors that are usually resolved within several minutes.
Pausing is a feature I love having in competitive games, like StarCraft, StarCraft II and DotA 2. It harkens back to a smaller, more mature audience that had a certain etiquette of sportsmanship I miss from my old days of playing Brood War. I’d like to see it brought to League, a game that’s innumerably bigger than the examples I’ve given (which brings its own issues), in a way that doesn’t harm a player’s experience, but helps him/her out in situations where you really need that pause.
[ Note ]There is pausing in pro-level games; this article discusses the possibility of adding a pause on the live client, for normal games, custom games and ranked games.
Pausing solves problems that lead to in-game toxicity and unbalanced matches. For all its downsides like extending game length, the possibility of someone spamming pauses to annoy others or prematurely unpausing a game, it’s a great tool to give to players because it empowers them in situations that would otherwise be out of their control.
A pause is an unspoken agreement between players that they’re willing to wait X amount of time in the interest of a fair and fun match. Because it’s an automated system, you can’t cheat it by disconnecting from malicious intent, as players would inevitably unpause.
Here are some scenarios I’m sure most of you have found themselves in that pausing could remedy:
Real-life emergency you need only a few minutes to resolve
ISP issue you can quickly contact your provider about
Game crashing right before start due to poor Internet connection and you need time to reconnect
Basically any scenario where you need to wait a few minutes to continue playing
I feel that arguing why there needs to be a pause in LoL is fairly redundant, but what it boils down to is this: it’s a 5v5 game and if you have someone in your match AFK on either side, it makes that match unfair and not fun. If you had a tried-and-tested solution to this issue, surely you’d want to figure out how to implement it, no ?
Who gets to pause and who doesn’t starts in the Tribunal. Say, a player is evaluating a case of a toxic element reported for offensive language. Upon reviewing the chat logs, the Tribunal user finds out that one of the reported player’s teammates has tried to calm him down, encourage him, or has generally responded maturely to the onslaught of rudeness. That player has shown responsibility and willingness to act serious and so the Tribunal user recommends him/her to be rewarded with a feature that would be unavailable to reported players – the option to pause a match once.
Positive players from Tribunal cases with a sufficient number of votes are reviewed by Riot staff. This both sifts through the majority of players who wouldn’t use the pause for its intended purpose and discourages attempts at trolling the vote system, i.e recommending a toxic player that just happened to not be reported. Upon approval, the player-in-review receives a notification on his landing page in the client that he/she can pause any match once. Let’s call this a pause charge. The number of pauses earned are displayed in the profile page, as shown below. To pause, you need to spend a pause charge. The game won’t take away the pauses you’ve earned, unless you are later punished by the Tribunal, in which cases you will either lose all your pause charges or be put on probation for a few weeks, if it’s a light offense.
A paused game can be unpaused by anyone at any time. This follows the model of, for example, DotA 2, where the system is merely a test of people’s willingness to respect a pause. That way it’s a harmless addition that could, at worse, be a mild annoyance, but never an abusable option where you pause a losing game and the winning team is unable to resume.
My proposal relies on a Tribunal that not only services as a glorified courtroom for problematic players, but rewards positive players for their exemplified attitude. You may remember an article I wrote on the option of voting for a Most Valuable Player earlier this year; I still believe the behavioral systems need to be focused on encouraging people to behave well, as it’s just an approach the majority relate to more than the fear of punishment.
As an abusable mechanic and a possible nuisance, I’d like to leave pausing in the hands of players who are most likely to use it as intended. If I were to, say, put a pause option in the menu for everyone to use, like in StarCraft, I’m potentially allowing 10 people to all interrupt a match, and they all might have a different mentality towards the feature. If I exclude those who leave games frequently, who use toxic language, who are easily frustrated and so on, I’m limiting the cases where a game would be paused for the sake of ruining other people’s fun, and not contributing to it.
Let’s say my proposed system has curated all toxic players from the list of potential receivers of in-game pauses; I’m still not sure the feature won’t be abused. Even though a permament pause option would encourage more people to behave like decent human beings in LoL, it would defeat the purpose of having pause be available only to those who’ve proven they will use it appropriately.
Since the Tribunal already offers cases of reported players to review, it makes sense to start hunting for positive players to reward there. That being said, I’d like the Tribunal to expand to where users can review honored players for additional rewards. This would be a separate function in the Tribunal and would again include the voting system and the reviewing by people working for Riot.
Pausing can be necessary for all manner of circumstances and if you waste your pause and the time wasn’t enough for the person to come back… well, that doesn’t sound fair, does it? Also, as mentioned above, having to wait for someone should be an open agreement between players and not a restrictive system.
I can’t give you any statistics here, so I’ll use past experience from competitive games where you’re allowed to pause. In my time of climbing through leagues in StarCraft, or practicing playing DotA 2, I’ve had, at worst, 1 or 2 cases of someone unpausing a match without the agreement of the person who issued the pause. You’d logically assume that very few people would respect a pause, since disrespecting it increases your odds of winning. In my opinion, it’s the psychology of unspoken sportsmanship that has made pausing such a useful feature, at least for me. I’ve seen players in DotA who are actively toxic in chat wait for a person on the enemy team to reconnect.
Once again, talking about this is fairly pointless, as I can’t guarantee it will be the case in League. My perspective is that the majority respect a fair match and will not go out of their way to play with unsatisfying odds on either side.
League isn’t a Michael Bay movie where there needs to be action constantly or the audience would just get up and leave- it’s a 5v5 strategic battle that needs people to coordinate. If you have one less person for that, you’re at a severe disadvantage, and that harms the player’s experience a lot more than having to sit through a pause.
I’m sure most readers of this article are familiar with the misfortune of dealing with circumstances that could be a solved by a simple pause. I believe a pause feature can be added to League in a way that enforces the teamplay environment and doesn’t just open another avenue for players to abuse the people they’re in a match with.
What are your thoughts? Do you even want pausing to be in LoL, and, if so, do you think my idea is realistic?
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming from Korea’s OGN league and jumping straight into competitive play in North America, I had a chance to sit down with Lustboy after defeating Evil Geniuses in his LCS debut with Team SoloMid.
Lustboy, how was your trip from Korea?
Lustboy: It was good. On the plane I thought about the game and about bot lane in general.
What is your favorite thing that’s happened so far while in the US?
Lustboy: Wildturtle jumping forward into the enemy team!
How are you getting along with the team so far? Who do you think you are most alike?
Lustboy: We are all getting along well. I think me and Amazing have the most in common.
Playing with Wildturtle, what is the biggest thing that stands out to you in his play?
Lustboy: I like playing with Turtle because he has great mechanics and can out play the enemy adc reliably.
Do you think WildTurtle is the best AD Carry in NA?
How strong are you as a bot lane right now compared to how strong you could be?
Lustboy: We are very strong right now and we have a lot of room to continue growing and be even stronger.
How was your first LCS match? Was there a lot of pressure to perform? How do you feel about your performance?
Lustboy: It was good. We mostly played defensively because we knew we were playing for top lane. I felt like Krepo did not play as aggressively as he should have. There was no stress, but a lot of pressure coming into a team where you have high expectations to perform, especially when people already expect you to perform. I gave my best and feel like I did well, but I performed at about 30% of my potential.
Who do you want to face the most? Why?
Lustboy: I like playing against CLG because they have a very strong bot lane.
Do you feel you are the best bot lane in NA?
TSM now has 3 players that came from another region. What are your thoughts on regions importing talent?
Lustboy: I believe that except for EU, only top players are traded to other regions. I believe it is good for top talent to be able to move freely. That said, I think when an entire team transfers from one region to another, it makes cheering for them a little less genuine. Not to take away from any teams, all of them are just as hard working as the next and deserve to play and compete where they wish. I just don’t want it to become an issue of oversaturation of foreign talent to the point where a single region takes over the entire international scene.
Anything else you would like to say?
Lustboy: When I first arrived I was anxious and felt a lot of pressure. Once I saw how motivated the rest of the team was I started to feel more relaxed, and after the most recent games I feel like the weight has been lifted. I am ready to prove that I am a top player and will only get better.
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL
Jang-sik “Lustboy” Ham will be replacing Gleeb as TSM’s starting support player. This was not an easy decision for us since playoffs are less than a month away, but this drastic change is necessary for us to maximize our chances of qualifying for the World Championship.
Lustboy is the former support player of the Korean team CJ Entus Blaze and played for them for two years. He helped Blaze secure their 1st place win at OGN 2012 Spring, 2nd place at OGN 2013 Spring, and 1st place at IEM 7 World Championship in 2013.
“Our performance this split has been underwhelming and we don’t feel very confident going into playoffs. When we picked up Gleeb, I knew it would take time for him to play comfortably against top supports, but he’s not where we need him to be yet and we are running out of time. I know it’s late in the split, but we feel this change needs to be done to improve our chances of making it to the World Championship.” – Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi, coach of TSM
Gleeb will remain a substitute player for TSM and we will continue to support him. He will be posting a statement within the next couple of days.
Lustboy is already at the TSM house and will debut at LCS this weekend.