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Interview with Forg1ven banner

Touted as one of the best AD carries the west has to offer, I had a chance to talk with Konstantinos “Forg1ven” Tzortziou about his time on Gambit, the upcoming World Championship, and his competitive future.

 

I’ll jump straight into it. You’re currently serving a 4 game suspension due to negative behavior. What are your thoughts on the ruling?

Whatever I say on this matter won’t change anything even if I obviously am still really furious so what’s done is done.

 

How are you spending your downtime? What are your hobbies besides League?

Whenever I am not in front of a computer for my job I just divulge into social life. Otherwise I am either watching a tv series or playing a different game.

 

You were recently searching for another game to play, with a potential to win money in the future. Does this mean you wish to switch games, or is it just something to do on the side? Are you considering taking a break?

I have changed from CS 1.6 to DotA to League to CS:GO and in the future to HotS or whatever gaming title is really fun and appealing so yes. This doesn’t mean I will go pro because at some point I will have to finish my university studies and fulfill my army obligation so we will find out eventually.

 

Where do you stand on your current goals for competitive LoL? Do you see yourself returning to Gambit next year? If not, where would you want to play if you could play anywhere?

My intention is to play my last upcoming spring split with GMB unless an offer comes for the team which me and the organization find beneficial for both(Which i don’t see happening). I intend to honor my contract.

 

How is playing with Edward? Did you have to make any changes to your playstyle?

It was certainly the most entertaining and fun bot lane partnership I’ve ever had. It was harsh in the start but I really cared about Edward to improve him and through this I would improve too. I think in the end he became a better player, not the best, but significantly he showed progress that he did not with his former AD carries. One of the best personalities I’ve ever encountered. I didn’t have to change playstyle cause of Eddy, mostly cause of how my team operated and how I think I was misused or not prioritized at all so I gave up a lot.

 

If you could play with any support in the world, who would it be?

I don’t care tbh I believe that whoever I play with for a month or a bit more the player will show drastic improvement in at least one or more aspects of the game. Unlimited did, nRated did, Edward did, so I can’t see why this trend wouldn’t continue.

 

Would you ever consider playing in a different region? Where?

Yes. Obviously I want a go to NA at some point. Next worlds I will be 24 years old and I don’t think that is really hopeful. In general. wherever they speak English.

 

What do you think the teams “skill cap” was in terms of potential placing?

I think 4th place was the highest most likely.

 

What are Europe’s chances at worlds? Do you believe Fnatic is a title contender?

I am not following league since I got punished so whatever I say would be wrong and a lie so good luck to the representatives.

 

Which AD Carries were the most difficult to play against in the regular season? Who in your opinion are the top 3 AD carries in Europe? Who do you want to play against the most?

There was no bot lane that would stand out in general either cause of the meta or cause of the inability that exists with European bot lanes for consequent years. The only exception was the H2K bot lane. I think top 2 are Hjarnan and Freeze. No preference since everything seems to be the same over and over.

 

There was a recent overhaul of AP items, and talks have surfaced of AD Carries needing an item overhaul as well. What do you think on the current state of AD carry items and do you think item paths are stale? What would you change to improve the role?

I really wish that at some point AD carries would cease to exist so they fully realize that the role/items are extremely problematic. I prefer the Bloodthirster meta. I am not the one responsible for changing the role there are people that are getting paid to solve this kind of issues so it’s up to them.

It already started to happen kind of with Mordekaiser. I was thinking about it and I don’t get why teams haven’t tried to replace AD Carries with an AP Mage bot lane for example.

 

There has been criticism of your champion pool in the past, notably that you don’t like playing champions like Kalista and Sivir. Is there a truth to this? What is the decision making like behind what champion you will play during the game?

I didn’t play Kalista and I don’t think this was a problem since even if I played I am 101% sure that nothing different would have happened or we wouldn’t get a win just because of ‘that champion’. I was playing Sivir but after 1 week teams that had blue side were banning Sivir against us so nothing I could do there either. It’s rarely up to me to pick a champion. I present my team with the choices we have during a champion select and based on what we trained last week and they decide pretty much what is the most optimal.

 

The promotion tournament is just around the corner and Gambit has chosen Mousesports as their opponent. Why Mousesports?

I guess they are seemningly the weakest team available to pick. Wishing GMB the best since I won’t be able to assist.

 

After watching the final, were there any surprises in the Origen vs. Fnatic Matchup?

I saw the vods. Pretty much expected a 3-1 in favor of fnatic but not 3-2 to be honest.

 

What are your thoughts on either team and their current strength heading into worlds?

Origen could go further if they don’t collapse under pressure or hype. But for most Fnatic is the sure bet.

 

Do you watch/follow other regions?

No not at all.

 

Did you watch the NA Finals? What are your thoughts on NA teams and where they stand comparatively to Europe? How good is Doublelift/Aphromoo?

Since lane phase has pretty much disappeared it is really hard to see combinations to shine but I personally think they will stand up to their responsibility that they will be given by their team.

 

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced in maintaining a career as a pro gamer? What drives you to keep playing?

Riot cause with their rulings or decisions they have created a really big apathy and disappointment inside of me for the game and this ‘career path’. In the past it used to be motivation to show a better quality than my counterparts in my role, now I really don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway.

 

Will you continue competing in League of Legends? 

We will know after worlds.

 

You’ve been playing quite a bit of Heroes of the Storm. What is your opinion of the game so far and do you expect its eSports scene to grow to be a viable option for players? What attracts you to the game?

I think it’s a fundamentally different game from DotA and League and it will attract people. It’s up to Blizzard to pretty much make it a stable professional gaming title because in some years the other titles will ‘drop’ in popularity. I have no idea how it will do. You can say that HotS is comparable to Season 1 League at the moment.

 

What is your ideal breakfast?

Fast food or cereal.

 


Tim Kimbirk is a journalist for Team SoloMid. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.


INTERVIEW WITH MIZURUSSIAN

Coming off of a 2nd place finish the the LJL Grand Championship, I spoke with Hiroki “MizuRussian” Nakamura on the recent finals, the future of the LJL, and eSports in Japan.

 

Hello Mizu. Nice to speak with you again! You took first in the regular season and 2nd in the Grand Championship. Are you satisfied with these results and what are the immediate goals for the team?

To tell the truth, I’m not 100 percent happy with the result because we had our goal from the start to win Grand Championship. But I’m proud of how well Rampage players has performed from being middle tier team last year to this result.

 

You played a close 5 game series against DetonatioN FM. What was your preparation like heading into this set?

We had good preparation for S2 Final, we researched a lot and our Coach Dragon is really good at it. For the Grand Championship we didn’t prepare very well. One of the biggest reasons was our Top Laner getting into in Car accident 1 week before the Grand Championship. So our scrims got cancelled meanwhile, but I’m really glad that he’s still alive and recovery is going well.

 

You were up 0-2, what happened after that second game? What contributed to losing the next three matches and ultimately the series?

Our mentality and physical strength wasn’t good enough, since we have  recently recruited the team I think we lacked in experience compared to Detonation FM. We need to take this loss in a positive way and use it as a learning experience for next time.

 

How strong do you rate the other wildcard regions? Who do you see as the biggest threat at the IWC? Can DetonatioN FM make it out of wildcard?

Most of the people probably think Turkey is strongest team as I do. I think Detonation need to prepare and use their full potential to win against them, and against other regions too. But I have full hope and wish Detonation FM to win since they beat our team. I want to see Japan make it out Wildcard.

 

What got you into eSports originally? What led to you taking an interest in the Japanese LoL scene, especially given its infancy at the time.

I was a player before in Europe, born in Sweden and after a while I talked with Japanese players about 3 years ago which made my interest to organize teams here in Japan.

Right now I’m living in Japan, before in Sweden it was ok to manage the team from distance. At that time, Rampage was keeping number one spot for about 1 year since there wasn’t that many good teams. Now I have to be here in Japan to manage the team and I think I made the right choice since team has changed for the better..

 

How much has changed in the past year for the Japanese LoL scene? What steps do you think need to be taken to bring the competition to a higher level?

The eSports scene in Japan is getting more popular but not enough for the marketing side, and I think that’s our work to do. We need to work all together here in Japan since the eSports scene isn’t big enough but I think in the future future it will grow and improve a lot.

I think most effective part for LoL scene in Japan would be making a server, which I’m waiting for!

 

Japan has been slower to take to PC gaming, LoL included. Do you think there is a naturally smaller cap to the growth of the scene and talent pool because of this? How much of a difference would a dedicated server make?

I think the reasons are that arcade games got too popular here in Japan, and the culture here is a bit different. Japanese parents/people don’t prefer kids to use the PC or play games.. Once a server is made here in Japan, I think the amount of players will increase a lot, x20 to x30 and that’s great for us to pick up more talented players.

 

What is a practice schedule like typically? Walk me through a day in the life of an LJL team.

I think Rampage lack on practice, we only practice 3 to 4 days a week because we have students. Other professional team has 5 to 6 days a week with longer practice time. It’s one thing Rampage need to change and working on it now.

 

What do you think would help grow the Japanese LoL scene? Do you believe it can be as large as other scenes and do you expect it to see a surge in popularity once it has an official server?

I think the first step is to open a new server and everyone needs to adapt after that.

 

There has been a lot of discussion on Coaching styles recently. I am wondering how the Rampage coaching staff approaches the topic and what your thoughts are on different coaching styles?

Rampage is working with CTU organization from Korea right now, we got Coach Dragon san from there and getting a lot help from the CTU. Dragon san was an ex Professional player for HoTs and LoL so he knows how the players are feeling when they play and he can advise well by reading their mindset to show them the right way to get better. I’m really happy I met Dragon san and that he became Rampages Coach.

 

Do you play the game? What rank are you and who is your favorite champion?

I don’t play the game anymore, playing ARAM only with friends. I was rank 12 solo queue before and I was known as Cassiopeia/Twisted Fate in Japan.

 

Shoutouts?

I would like to thank Tim san for a great interview again, and I hope there will be more Japanese esports lover in future like me. I’m a big fan of League of legends and hoping Japanese eSports scene will get better with time. Next time Rampage will try to get the Wildcard spot here in Japan, so please remember us and if we get there, please cheer for us!

 


Tim Kimbirk is a journalist at TSM. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.

 

Interview with Powerofevil Banner

 

Last time we spoke you were just coming off of a second place finish in the Spring Split. Now, you’re about to face Fnatic in the Semifinals. First however, let’s talk about your most recent game against Fnatic.

Our game vs Fnatic was not as we expected coming into the rift. We had a good start but made 1-2 crucial mistakes which got us really far behind and props to Fnatic with closing out the game insanely fast and punishing our mistakes.

 

You let Ryze through seemingly with the plan of attempting to shut him down early, which did work and led to an early advantage for you. What fell apart that the game turned around so rapidly and was closed out in only 23 minutes? What was your gameplan before the match?

As mentioned before these 1-2 errors crucial were the biggest reason we lost the game. I felt ahead BUT we were only even. We had a better scaling composition so we were totally fine with that until we got dived bot and Ryze got back in the game.

 

With Fnatic going 18-0, and an almost assured qualification the 2015 World Championship, do you think they are title contenders? What makes them so strong?

They are for sure title contenders. Not dropping a single game in the regular is insane BUT I am hyped to face them in the playoffs in a bo5. I am sure we can make it a close series. I think they just have some of the best tp decision calls and shotcalling in the game.

 

You were playing with Gilius. What are the differences between him and Kikis?

Gilius is not as experienced as Kikis LCS wise. He is warding less and his routes are not as carefully plannes as Kikis but he improved a lot on that. With his good mechanics he got us ahead in the early game most of the times. The best thing on him was that he always wanted to improve and he was really confident in the calls he made even as a new player.

 

Can you talk about H0r0? It is understood that he will be playing with the team in the playoffs. Has the team been practicing with him? How has the team dynamic been and is there a difficulty communicating in the team due to language barrier?

Horo was the starter vs Roccat. We felt really confident after practicing for a week with him in scrims. I think one of the biggest thing was that we started having fun in scrims again and you learn a lot if you enjoy the game as well. I dont think we have to many problems communicating with Horo both outside of the game or in the game. He sometimes speaks a little bit slow but he improved a lot on that already. We are trying to help him ingame when he trys to say something but normally thats not a big deal.

 

What are the advantages of H0r0, in your opinion? He’s definitely no stranger to the competitive scene, where do you think he stacks up with the rest of the competition? How is the Jungle/mid synergy going?

Horo is planning his route really careful which means he nearly never gets chaught. His warding is similiar to Kikis which helps me out a lot. If you call for him, he trys to come ASAP and is not looking at what he is losing. He will try to help you and get you back in the game even if he falls behind for that. He had a really good performance in the series and I am proud of reaching semis with him. I would say the jungle/mid synergy is fine right now but obviously can still get improved on.

 

How did you feel heading into your series against roccat, and what steps did you take to prepare?

We prepared the whole week playing scrims and speaking nearly everyday about bans, counterbans, picks and counterpicks. We felt really confident in the series with our bans that we didnt switch anything till the last game where a change was needed after the “sivir” ban.

 

What are you working on most to improve on individually? What is your current favorite solo queue champion?

I think I need to improve on my eye when I can go for a roam and get kills on another lane. I feel like I dont have the perfect eye for that yet. Syndra is my favorite soloQ champion. Your laning phase is decently strong but her burst after 6 is just insane.

 

How do you feel about the recent Azir changes? Was it overdone? What changes would you have made?

In my opinion Azir is not tier 1 anymore. He lost an insane amount of combat potential (1v1) with losing the knockup on the E spell. In general it is way harder to ult people in both teamfight and 1v1.

 

What changes would you make on the mid role, if any?

I dont think I would do any changes. I like the meta right now and that you have a huge diversity in the champions that are available.

 

What is the pregame and in-game dynamic like? What I mean is, what is the thought process behind say, your pick for example, and what factors go into what you will play? Once in-game, how is shotcalling handled? Is it just one player making calls, or does everyone have a role?

When I look what I am going to pick, I am checking out their bans. What did they ban what do they want to go for maybe. What is our team composition about. What is the enemy team composition about. Do they, for example, have enough engage? This can lead sometimes to picking a poke champion. (Kog/Varus). Normally I dont care about what I can get countered with BUT sometimes you NEED to look at that and you are forced to go for not the best pick for the team but the 2nd best.

 

Who do you think are the top 3 mid laners in Europe right now? Who is the hardest to lane against and what makes them difficult?

I think the competition is really close so its hard to say who is top 3 right now. The hardest to lane against is probably Ryu/Nukeduck and Pepiinero because they are always trying to win their lane even if they maybe overextend.

 

How dank are your memes?

Not good, haha!

 

You started the series off with a strong 2-0. What was your mindset heading into the 3rd game and what happened in games 3 and 4 that led to those defeats?

I think a huge factor was the Kalista pick. We didnt play against her for weeks and werent used to the overaggressive style that the support can manage to do.

 

You’ve been in a game 5 scenario for most of your playoff life, are you used to it to the point you would say you feel comfortable, or at least calm?

I dont think a 5th game will ever be calm. It went to 50 minutes again and it was the same scenario as in the 4th game. People were scared of losing it again so everyone took his last power and we played it out carefully…keeping TP’s and Maokai Righteous Glory engages in mind.

 

What was your plan heading into the final match and what was going through your head?

We were thinking about Kalista but in the end we didnt want to change anything. The 4th game was ours and we lost it more than they won it (Not denying that they had an insane comeback). When they banned Sivir we saw our chance of being able to switch a ban.

 

You’re up against an undefeated Fnatic next. What is your preparation like heading into that series and are you confident you can come out ahead? Do you expect a close series?

They didn‘t drop a single game and that is why you should respect them BUT that is a weakness as well when they drop their first game in the series I think. It doesn‘t matter that you went 18-0 in the regular split. If you lose the series, you lose and go to gauntlet system most likely.

 

Did you expect to be in yet another semifinal in what is still your rookie season? Is there a lot of pressure this time?

I dont think there is much pressure on us. I am sure everyone expects us to lose against Fnatic which means we can only upset people and not disappoint anybody.

 

What are your thoughts on the NA semifinal matchups and who do you believe is the strongest of those teams? Which NA teams do you think will be at Worlds and which do you feel are the strongest or you would like to play against the most?

Its hard to predict to be honest. I will let myself get suprised who goes to worlds, but I would love to face Bjergesen there. I am sure he would want revenge from our last time we met in IEM.

 

How do you think Incarnati0n has done in his NA debut?
I think he is a middle tier midlaner for now but becomes better every day.

 

Shoutouts?

Thanks to everyone who supports me and keeps supporting me in the Playoffs. I am going to try my best reaching worlds with my team!

 

Screen-Shot-2015-06-27-at-9.08.30-PM-624x284

Announced last month, Yuri “KEITH”  Jew been staying at the TSM house on a trial basis.

Today, TSM has released a video announcing their decision to stick with Wildturtle as their starting AD Carry.

 

View the video in it’s entirety below:

 

Heading into MSI what was your preparation like heading into the event? What were your expectations beforehand and did you feel confident that you could perform on an international stage?

We prepared like we did for playoffs in the NA LCS, but keeping in mind the meta in the other regions and what they’re likely to play. I don’t think we ended up having the best grasp on the Meta though, and we didn’t have enough time to adapt after playing all the international teams in scrims. I had pretty low expectations since I try to avoid having high hopes and disappointing myself, but I did have confidence that we could potentially do well.

After playing in scrims I felt pretty confident in my own individual play compared to the other mids in the tournament, I don’t think it was lacking. Our mid pool was very safe and independent of help, so it might not have looked like I had a lot of pressure/control in the matches.

 

Looking back, would you have done anything differently at MSI? What are your thoughts on your own performance?

For me personally I would have put a lot more practice into Leblanc and Azir as those were power picks that patch but we didn’t pick up on them in time. Azir is a champion that requires a ton of practice, and we thought we would be able to efficiently counter LeBlanc, but it’s very difficult considering her power level on that match. I think my individual performance was fine, I played pretty consistent in all laning phases but I also didn’t play champions with high kill pressure. Unfortunately I didn’t get to show much later in the game since we fell apart early in every match.

 

What are your thoughts on the MSI Finals? Did you expect EDG to win? 

I thought the final could go either way but SKT would take it in the end, was pleasantly surprised seeing EDG counter Fakers Leblanc and win the final game, definitely deserved!

 

What did you learn most from the event? 

Mostly to respect other regions and their meta/picks. Other teams had heavy focus on top lane and there were a couple of meta picks we didn’t pick up on before the tournament. It’s important to stay on top of the meta and play what is strongest if you want to compete internationally.

 

It always gets asked, but I have to: What was it like laning against Faker?

Laning against Faker on stage was a cool experience. I was nervous in the early game but he made a couple mistakes that let me get pressure and blow his summoners. I feel like they may have underestimated us and therefore he was going for aggressive trades that he normally wouldn’t have, which ended up getting punished.

 

How has your play changed since joining TSM? What do you believe you have improved on most?

When I joined TSM I played mostly assassins and some Orianna, but my Orianna was not near the level of the rest of my assassin champion pool. Since joining TSM I can play more playstyles and a bigger variety of champions. I also learned how to translate my own lead in lane to snowballing other lanes and winning the game, instead of trying to get more kills or a bigger cs lead.

 

How much impact does the mid laner have on the game and what should their primary focus or role be? 

Mid lane has a lot of impact on the game, since if you lose control of mid, their mid can move first to every skirmish or fight around the map. Also when you lose mid tower you lose a lot of control, and they can freely move into your jungle without being spotted by the first mid turret. The primary role or focus changes depending on what champions you play. You can go play assassin/split pushers, poke champions, team fight or supportive champions, the mid lane is very versatile in terms of its role.

 

How are you enjoying the current Meta? What changes, if any, would you make to the game right now?

I don’t mind the current meta, though it saddens me a little to see assassins falling out. Mid lane is mostly about fulfilling a poke or team fighting role depending on your team’s needs.

 

Who do you see occupying the top 3 spots before playoffs? Do you believe NA is a contender for the World Championship title, more specifically TSM?

I think the top 3 in NA by the end of the split will be us, Gravity and Team Liquid in any order. Gravity has really shown up this split and shown they can be strong, and Liquid is extremely solid. NA is looking slightly weak as a region but hopefully the top teams can pick it up with a bootcamp before worlds. With the right mindset I believe any of us can catch up with a month or two of boot camping.

 

Are there any champions outside of the Meta you would like to see in competitive play? Who is your  favorite champion in Solo queue right now?

Even though he can be situationally viable I love playing yasuo and wish he would be a more competitive pick. He has such a high skillcap and outplay ability and is a champion you never stop improving on. Also the likes of Riven mid, miss those times.

 

Shoutouts?

Shoutout to all the fans for supporting us, especially after the fiasco at MSI, we’ll do better in the future! Also thanks for all our sponsors and TSM for giving me the opportunity to be here. I’m living the dream.

 


Tim Kimbirk is a Journalist and content creator for TSM. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.

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WIZARDRENEK5

Sorry for the late update, I moved!

Once I settled down, I fired up a game and bam! A Fizz agreed to trade roles with a Renekton, but the trade never happened. As soon as the game loaded up Renekton was furious because he had his Fizz runes and masteries, and all the Fizz had to say was “whoops (:”.

Needless to say the game was filled with very colorful language. Oh well!

 

Author: Ketherly twitter

Edit: I probably will not update this banner haha, here’s a poorly made process gif instead!WIZARDRENEKprocess

 

Ekko New Challenger Banner

 

Fitting in

This week, Ekko became eligible in the LPL, as well as the EU and NA LCS. While still disabled in LCK, it’s always exciting when a champion enters or returns to the meta, and in this case rings especially true. Regarded as “overloaded”, Ekko can be seen as a burst mage with a ton of utility,  not to mention the fact that he can escape most situations relatively intact. His E skill, Phase Dive, grants him the ability to chase down opponents, or get out of a potentially lethal encounter. Coupled with an AoE stun, the pick potential is real from whatever position he is played.

Making his competitive debut in EU, Ekko would take on a variety of roles as players figure out exactly where the AP assassin belongs. Billed as a mid laner, does Ekko truly stand without limits?

Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far.

 

Stage 1 Europe

After bans in the first 3 games of the week, we would finally see Froggen bring Ekko out to a strong performance of 4-1-4, though eventually falling to Fnatic. In his next appearance, Airwaks brought the time shattering menace into the jungle, ending up with a 3-2-3 score and a defeat.

Played 3 more times, only one player would find success on Ekko as Froggen received yet another loss with a modest score of 2-2-1. Fnatic top laner Huni pulled off the only Ekko win in EU, going 7-1-7 and rushing what has become the standard: Morellonomicon. In the clip below, Huni shows us Ekko’s bait potential, Fnatic style.



Kikis would also bring Ekko into the jungle, suffering a 1-4-5 loss to H2K. It’s worth noting that in both Kikis and Airwaks games, neither jungler opted to build sightstone. With a questionable rush of Spirit Visage on Airwaks, and Kikis going from his Cinderhulk into a Locket of the Iron Solari and Glacial shroud, a case can be made for the early vision offered by sighstone over getting tanky as fast as possible. Time will tell.

Ekko premiered in Europe, but would make his first true mark in North America.

 
Stage 2 North America

At the end of day 2, Ekko’s debut would spark numerous questions. Where is he best played? What should he build? What role does he serve? The NA LCS would provide no clear answer as he ended week 3 with wins across all three roles.

Interestingly, in both of his losses in North America, Ekko was played mid lane, and ended with a positive score. With Innox going 5-2-5 in their loss against Team 8, and Bjergsen 7-1-6 against Team Dignitas, neither player could capitalize on their advantages, hinting at something far from revolutionary: Ekko is team dependent. While he boasts awesome slaying power, Ekko is also loaded up with a stun and a slow, granting his team just as much utility as damage. Coordination is key, best displayed in Team Liquid’s game against Cloud 9.



Opting for a sighstone rush and lots of early game pressure, IWillDominate gave us the first glimpse of Ekko’s strengths in the jungle. At the end of the 39 minute matchup, Ekko became a tanky time-travelling terror, soaking up damage for his team and controlling team fights through zoning and intelligent placing of his ultimate.

In their match against TDK, Bjergsen was able pull off a score of 12-6-7, taking control of the mid lane and eventually the game in a relatively standard match from TSM.



Finally, ZionSpartan would put up an admirable 4-3-9 in his victory against Gravity, once again showcasing Ekko’s carry potential even when starting defensively, choosing to build a Seeker’s Armguard before the traditional Morellonomicon.

Ekko secured a 3-2 overall win record in NA, leading to even more questions.  Next stop, China.


Stage 3 China

There was no shortage of Ekko play in the 12 team LPL, finding himself played in 11 out of the 24 games in Week 4. In a region known for it’s teamfighting, it would be interesting to see the Chinese teams approach to the league’s newest champion.

Our first glimpse of Ekko in the LPL would come in the form of a loss in the midlane as Dade gave up first blood and fell 3-5-1 to Pawn’s Leblanc. Being forced into an abyssal scepter, Dade never quite managed to claw back into the game and EDG closed the game out in typical EDG fashion – convincingly.

The next showing of Ekko would be by none other than Rookie. Living up to his nickname of “Faker Junior”, a 10-3-13 score in game 2 against LGD showed us what can happen when Ekko gets ahead early. Controlling the pace of team fights and zoning enemies with his W ability, Parallel convergence, Ekko’s presence in 5v5 scenarios is impossible to ignore.

 

 

In a less than spectacular performance, Flandre would flounder, going 2-7-1 with another strange item build on Ekko, choosing to build Cinderhulk and Trinity force and operating with a summoner spell combination of Teleport and Smite. After Snake took an early tower, QG would take hold of the game with a solo kill from V, and never slowed down from there. From behind, Ekko was never able to get into the Snake backline, and his team fight impact was rendered useless.

The first matchup of IG vs. OMG would feature Cool on Ekko, but with an 0-0-1 score, it was pretty much the Uzi show. It would be the 4-1-16 Jungle Ekko of mlxg to give us our next win on the champion in game 1 of RNG vs. WE, followed by a poor attempt to do the same by Spirit in the next game, closing the set 0-2 with a score line of 3-2-6. Not wanting to follow in Spirit’s footsteps, Eimy showed us once again that Jungle Ekko is more than a gimmick, controlling the pace of the game against one of the best teams the world has to offer in EDG.  He would close game out game one with an impressive score of 4-1-22. With Pawn and GODV both posting losses in the mid lane, it would be Eimy to bring out Ekko two more times, posting up a 3-1-19 win and a 1-4-4 loss in their set against WE. Not out of the ordinary for a jungler, every game Ekko was played in the jungle featured a Sightstone rush, with victories using both Ranger’s Trailblazer and Stalker’s Blade.


 

Wanting a more clear idea of his success in China, I consulted with LPL caster Froskurinn Devin “Froskurinn” Ryanne Mohr.

 

“I think Ekko has found most of his use in the jungle – starting fights using his kit as a gap closer and slow for the rest of his team, serving as an initiation tool. Mlxg and Eimy showed much better performances than the mid laners, apart from Rookie.”

 

I asked her what she thought about Sightstone on Ekko, and mentioned that in EU, there was no Sightstone on Airwaks Ekko in his loss against Gambit, but Team Liquid’s win against Cloud 9 was impacted heavily by the presence of IWillDominate’s sighstone Ekko, allowing him free reign over the map.

 

“I mean obviously it has some relevance but I think it’s more how they’re considering using him versus how its being executed. In the mid lane he’s just another burst that can soft counter assassins but in the jungle it’s more about choke points – and his W being used in those choke points.  They only build him tanky to help his clear be safe, but he can run so far ahead of his team and catch everyone with his W/E combo. His ult is a safe backup in case the enemy team turns to burn him – and while they try to do that, the time the enemy spends on him allows his team to catch up and murder them now that all their cooldowns are gone.

As far as China is concerned – His jungle dynamic really works with the team fighting specialties in China of in playing with angles and choke points, and I think that’s how the Chinese teams have been using him best and where we’ll see a priority outside teams that have all-star mid laners like Cool, Rookie, GodV, etc.”

 

Ekko would end his run in China at 5 wins and 7 losses, with three of those wins coming from the jungle. It’s been made clear that Ekko doesn’t fare well from behind, and that team coordination is more important than ever, with many of his strengths coming from how much impact he has in team fights. He may have a huge toolbox, but using those tools efficiently is critical to his success. It will be interesting to see where Ekko finds his place as the various summer splits unfold, but one thing is certain: Ekko does have limits, and teams will have to play around them if they want to succeed with – or against – the boy who shattered time.

 

By the Numbers

Here’s a quick look at Ekko’s performance so far, broken down by region. All games took place between Jun 11th and Jun 14th.

 

Global

 

Number of games available June 11-14: 44

Picked or Banned in: 37/44 (84% P/B)

Total picks:  21

Total bans:  16

Winrate: 43% (9 Wins, 12 Losses)

Most successful position: Jungle (4 wins)

Breakdown by wins: Jungle (4), Mid lane (4), Top Lane (2)

Breakdown by losses: Jungle (3), Mid Lane (7), Top Lane (1)

Most played by: Eimy – Jungler of Unlimited Potential (3 times, 2 wins, 1 loss)

Total games mid: 11

Total games Top: 3

Total games jungle: 7

 

Europe

 

Total Games: 10

Picked/Banned: 90% (5 picks, 4 bans. Uncontested 1 game)

Winrate: 20% (1 Win, 4 losses)

 

North America

 

Total games: 10

Picked/Banned: 70% (5 picks, 2 Bans. Uncontested 3 games)

Winrate: 60% (3 wins, 2 losses)

 

China

 

Total Games: 24

Picked/Banned: 87% (11 Picks, 10 Bans. Uncontested 3 Games)

Winrate:  45% (5 Wins, 6 Losses)

Winning players across EU/NA LCS and LPL

 

Top: Huni (EU), ZionSpartan (NA)

Mid: Bjergsen (NA), Cool (LPL), Rookie (LPL)

Jungle: IWillDominate (NA), mlxg(LPL), Eimy (LPL)

 


Tim Kimbirk is a journalist writing about eSports for SoloMid. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.

Categories: Esports, Original Content Tags: , , , , ,

Incarnation Rift Pulse banner

 

Rift pulse is back with another weekly update of the most recent events in LoL esports. With the NA and EU LCS back in full swing, the second half of season 5 has officially gone global.

 

North America

 

  • CLG announced their new coaching staffwith  Chris “Blurred Limes” Ehrenreich stepping in as Head Coach.
  • Ex Nihilo, a new organization, has formed a team consisting of a blend of former LCS players and Challenger players.

 

NA LCS

 

NA

 

 

Europe

 

  •  Gambit Gaming announced that they will have a two-week trial period for Kévin “Shaunz” Ghanbarzadeh in the head coach position.
  • Mike “Wickd” Petersen announced on twitter that his team has signed to Denial eSports.
  • Jesse “Jesiz” Le and Luka “PerkZ” Perković join Gamers2 in their fourth attempt to make the European LCS.
  • Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi has left Fnatic in wake of Rekkles return, joining Odyssey Gaming in their pursuit of qualifying to the the NACS.

 

EU LCS

 

EU

 

 

 

China

 

 

LPL

 

cHINA

 

 

 

 

Korea

 

 

LCK

 

LCK

 

 

 

 

SEA

 

LMS

 

 

LMS

 

Brazil

 

CBLOL

 

CBLOL

 

OCE

 

OPL SUMMER

 

OPL summer

 

 

 

Scene Updates

 

  • The NA LCS Summer Finals will be played in NYC, with the EU finals heading to Stockholm.
  • IEM announced the details of Season 10, with the World Championship once again taking place in Katowice.

 

 

images via lolesports, Riot Games

 

Incarnation-Interview-Banner1

 

When were you originally contacted by c9? What were the original talks like and did you have plans pending the removal of your ban?

Originally Jack reached out to me around November last year inquiring if I was interested in being a mid lane coach for Hai.  I was interested in being a part of Cloud9, but as a player not a coach.  This led to several conversations about how this could potentially happen if I was to ever be unbanned.  Ultimately we came up with a plan where I would be contractually bound to Cloud9 and if the opportunity ever presented itself I could try out for the mid job.

 

On entering the mid lane in place of Hai, will you be taking over as primary shotcaller, or is a different system being developed? How comfortable are you shotcalling and do you believe you can grow in the role? 

I’m open to getting more involved in shot calling but Meteos is handling it now and doing a great job at it so I see no reason to make any changes.

 

Are there any champions you wish were played competitively that aren’t, or some that you just wish to see played more?   

Yasuo, Fizz. I wish the mid lane champion pool was more diverse and not mainly control mages.

 

What do you like to do in your downtime? Do you play other games or have any hobbies?

At the moment I don’t have other games I’m playing but in the past I enjoyed playing CS:GO.  For now though I’m putting all my focus into League.

 

You were at a significant deficit in the lane phase against TSM, what was going through your mind? Did you get into the “play for lategame” mentality? How confident were you that you could bring it back?

I was very nervous as this was my first competitive match on stage and I felt like I had to prove myself.  I knew there was going to be a lot of attention on how I performed today which increased the pressure of the event.  To make matters worse I saw that Bjergsen got ahead by getting the small raptors on an already difficult match up.  Add in the level 3 gank and I was looking at a rough start.

As the game progressed I felt more comfortable playing on stage and I knew I just needed to be patient and scale into late game.

 

In your opinion, what was the biggest turning point of that game and when did you realize you were going to win?  

When I stole blue and we sieged mid and then rotated top and got two towers.

 

How is the communication in game? What do you think needs improving the most and do you believe you will be one of the top teams at the end of the summer?

The communication is going well but we still have several things to work on.  I’m satisfied with the progress we’re making though.  If we continue to improve I expect we will be one of the top teams at the end of Summer.

 

Shoutouts?

I’d like to thank Logitech for providing us with an office to practice.  I’d also like to thank HTC for my new M9!

 


Author’s Note: This interview has been condensed from twenty questions to seven. Please excuse the brevity, I hoped to provide more insight and will include a follow up interview with the original, extended question set in the future.

Tim Kimbirk is a content creator and interviewer for SoloMid. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.

 

 

Metoes Interview Banner

 

 

Looking back on the NA LCS playoffs, what would you have done differently? What do you believe you did well despite the outcome?

Our biggest mistake in the playoffs was not doing lane swaps correctly.  TSM got advantages out of lane swaps every game which put us at big disadvantages right away.

 

Heading into the summer split, what is your preparation like?

We have been scrimming as much as we can to get used to playing with our new roster.

 

What are your overall thoughts on MSI? How strong did you believe TSM was going in and whatdo you think went most wrong for them? Were you surprised by any of the other teams?

MSI was an interesting tournament, I think TSM was a little overconfident going into it and their loss against fnatic was hard on them mentally which rolled over into the rest of their matches in the group stage. AHQ played surprisingly well. In the past, Southeast Asia hasn’t done that well with the exception of TPA at season 2 worlds.

 

With Hai recently stepping down, what is the team dynamic like? Is there a lot of adjustments in adapting to playing with incarnati0n or is it more of him molding to the team?

The team dynamic is similar but I’ve had to step into the shotcalling role since Hai left. New rosters don’t run smoothly over night so it will take some time for everyone to adjust to the new lineup but it seems to be going in the right direction so far.

 

What is the biggest difference between Hai and Incarnati0n in the mid lane, so far?

Hai was a really selfless player who put a lot of emphasis on vision, roaming, and helping out everyone else on the team. Incarnati0n plays more of a carry style.

 

Hai was renowned for his shotcalling. Will you be assuming this role or will it be passed on to incarnati0n? What is the team doing to make sure communication stays on the same level or better with the loss of Hai?

I’ll be taking over the shot calling for the team. It was always a combined effort before with hai, where I covered most of the macro oriented shot calling while he did the micro stuff such as pulling the trigger for a fight or going for high risk plays. Those are things that I’m working on and hoping to have ironed out as soon as possible. I hope that the communication is good with the new roster. I think that our success as a team previously came not only from Hai’s shotcalling, but our ability as a team to listen to his calls without hesitation or resistance. We all had a lot a trust in Hai’s leadership so we followed him blindly and I hope the team will put the same level of trust in my calls.

 

Do you believe the current roster is a contender for worlds? What do you wish to improve on most individually? As a team?

Worlds is an entire split away and I haven’t even begun thinking about it. I think that everyone on the team is skilled individually but winning competitive matches goes way deeper than just mechanics. I’ll be happy with whatever result we get as long as we give it a perfect effort

 

How do you expect the newer teams, TDK and NME, to perform? Who do you see in the top 3 positions at the end of the split?

I haven’t played against TDK or NME in LCS yet so there’s no way to tell. They both looked good in the challenger series so only time will tell

 

How are you feeling on the current meta and state of the game overall? What changes, if any, would you like to see?

I think that Cinderhulk is interesting for the game because it changed up the champion pools but it has led to some weird stuff that I’m not a big fan of. I don’t like top laners running Smite or the fact that Warrior junglers get out scaled so hard by the % hp on Cinderhulk… I also really dislike any meta where Nunu is a top pick.

 

Describe your playstyle. Do you believe there is a “superior” way of jungling, or is there a way to make any style work within a team?

I don’t know if the way I play falls under a specific style. Limiting yourself to one style seems like a mistake so I try to be aggressive when I can and cautious when I need to be. I suppose you could say that my style is safer and more farm oriented than other junglers. I do not like going for high risk plays when I don’t have to and I care about vision control.

 

What changes do you expect to see with patch 5.10? What are your thoughts on 5.10?

I expect the top junglers to be nerfed, the patch is probably going to feel bad for a while but then I’ll get used to the nerfs.

 

What’s your current favorite champion and why?

My all time favorite champions to play are Elise and Zac. I originally started playing each of them because I enjoyed their play styles and I found a way to fit them into my competitive champion pool which yielded pretty good results until they were inevitably nerfed.

 

Thoughts on Zac? Will we see him return at any point this season?

I liked Zac when Cinderhulk first came out but since then I’ve liked him less and less. I think there are a few problems with Zac. First of all, if you play him in a traditional jungle style of ganking and warding for your lanes while buying Sightstone and Locket, you’ll be way too squishy for team fights and drop dead as soon as you jump in. The only way to be strong enough for team fights on Zac is to play selfishly which doesn’t put much pressure on the enemy team. Secondly, Zac’s E is almost impossible to hit given how much mobility and how many knock ups champions have nowadays. Lastly, Zac doesn’t do very much damage with a tank build and he’s easy to kite.

 

Shoutouts?

Thanks to our fans and sponsors for the continued support!

 


Tim Kimbirk is a content creator and interviewer for SoloMid. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.