Posts Tagged ‘LCS’


Sexism in eSports banner


  Disclaimer: Some of you may remember this article being published a few weeks ago. It underwent heavy editing since then and should be a lot tighter on arguments now. Enjoy reading!


  I believe gamers need a realistic perspective on the issue of sexism in eSports and gaming in general. Here are the major points this article will address:

  • The banal sexist remarks and misogynistic jokes we’ve all grown accustomed to as a result of constant stereotyping.
  • The male dominated culture of gaming.
  • Team Siren‘s impact on professional gaming last year and the negative perception they have created towards females who want to become pro gamers.
  • Female gamers being forced to either openly express their gender or hide it entirely.



Stereotyping Females


  We all like to make our assumptions about a group of people who seem consistent in behavior; stereotypes make life easier for us. They also lead to a complete lack of understanding issues in society and almost always promote hate speech, abuse and bullying. So how much do we really know about what women go through when they try to adopt gaming as a hobby or profession compared to men?

 There’s a huge difference between how two players, a man and a woman, are seen in the eyes of the majority. Females are condemned and bullied for being incapable of competing in gaming alongside men because the male-majority assumes women can’t achieve the same skill in video games as men, which is untrue. Let me explain.

  There are no studies that show females are weaker players than males. You can use the argument that there are far more men than women in pro gaming, and casual gaming in general, but that’s due to how games were originally marketed and how “gaming” was assigned, and socially upheld, as a male gender role. As a result women have had less time to: develop serious interests in gaming, develop the skills needed to compete at a top competitive level, and make major contributions to gaming, both in achievements and in their numbers. 

 However, this does not mean that gaming is incapable of embracing strong female contenders. For example, StarCraft II player Scarlett is recognized as one of the strongest players in the scene at the moment, consistently beating top-ranked opponents, despite being “a gamer girl.” But she is one of few and that is the problem. Women are less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobby as a result of consistent framing and the rest of the community alienating them. The problem with sexism in pro-gaming starts at the bottom of the pyramid; if the industry molds around female interest and starts marketing itself equally for both genders, then we’ll see the issue resolved in more serious gaming.

Anna Prosser

 We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in the industry, alongside the community’s shock and inability to properly accomodate the increasing flux of women becoming interested in games. Pro-gaming isn’t a viable profession for women yet, as the industry hasn’t tried to reach up to a female audience. Circumstances have developed a situation where women who wish to make a living out of their hobby are cornered into finding alternate ways to do it, because their gender is a detriment to this.

 One such alternative is streaming. Streaming generates revenue through view count, rather than skill. (sometimes, skill results in a bigger audience, but this is just an isolated case, whereas in pro-gaming skill is a requirement). It favors one gender over another, because looks and character generate attention quicker than just playing well in most cases. Note that this does not include all female streamers, but it’s simply the reality of the medium. Because (most) women are left without opportunity to pursue a pro-gaming career, but streaming is easily available to them, you get a discrepancy in relevance of the two careers for females.

 Women didn’t become involved in streaming with the mentality of selling their looks. But they approached a scene that was (and still is) awkward in how it accepts them. Exploiting gender traits for revenue isn’t a conscious decision made by the majority – it’s simply a logical alternative to professional gaming when professional gaming fails to provide women the proper environment for a stable job.



Team Siren


Team Siren Promo Video The majority of the playerbase has only had bad experiences with female teams. To have girls compete in pro-gaming is a recent concept and is burdened not just by the gaming community’s prejudice, but by segregation in the real world. What few opportunities females have had to be recognized as eSports material have gone down in history as sore examples and have further exacerbated the issue. Such is the case from last year with Team Siren.

I believe the majority have seen their introductory video. One can immediately tell this promotion wasn’t thought through. It implies that their team (Gold I at the time) was capable of taking on any competition from the pro teams. The Sirens tried to sell immaturity and snobby attitude to the public and this severely imapcted the perception people had of female pro players.

Trash-talking enemy players during games only served to further degrade Team Siren’s image. The team’s reaction to the community backlash, coupled with poor management, forced the Sirens to disband a month after creating the team.

Ironically, the demise of Team Siren may have actually benefited women who wish to compete in eSports, by bringing attention to the issue that there are practically no pro women gaming currently. Attitude and marketing aside, the Sirens were brave enough to step up to the spotlight as a team of women aiming for the big scene. If the focus had been more on gaming and less on selling an image, the team could had been a success.

This all partially leads to the creation of the 2014 Amateur Challenge for ladies.



Scared of eSports

Colalin_tps  We shouldn’t ignore the fact that what being a gamer means for a male doesn’t mean the same for a female. There are societal views and expectations that all weigh heavily on a woman’s decision to commit to gaming. Women generally care more than men how they look in the eyes of the public. It’s a problem with gaming in general that it continues to be shunned by popular opinion, but women are much more affected by this than men.

  Women want the approval of others and when gaming doesn’t resonate with the people around them, they tend to stay away from it. Those women who have committed themselves to gaming and feel comfortable with are attributed the same characteristics, simply because they are a minority.

  There is a fact working against females who want to be in eSports – they’d be among the first. Teams participating in the Season 3 World Championship didn’t have a female member and, historically, have never had. After extensive research, the only example I found was Lin “Colalin” Ying Hsuan, substitute player for Taipei Assassins and Taipei Snipers. Statistically, women who compete in pro-play are a rare sight. A female wishing to pursue this career is going against the odds and that’s a demotivating realization.

  As a male you’ll probably face a wall of criticism if you go right now and tell your parents you want to abandon everything else and become a pro-player. This is without taking into consideration outside views and having the evidence to show them that people like you have become successful in pro-gaming. Now imagine how it would feel from a female’s perspective – she holds both a responsibility towards friends and family not to be perceived as “weird’ or “out of social standards” and she can’t show that women can become pro players and make a living.

  A woman who’s decided to be a pro gamer has all of this to overcome and she can’t be sure whether or not it’s even worth it.



Catch 22


  All these complex reasons for why sexism is so prevalent in gaming boils down to a simple truth – female gamers just aren’t taken seriously. Because the community is dominated by men, they assume everyone is male. Women then stick out as sort of exceptions to the rule, and they either need to conceal their gender or openly express it.

  In the first scenario, a woman is afraid of revealing who she is, because she understands the repercussions of doing so and the backlash that will follow. And insults targeted towards female gamers rarely attack the way they play; more often than not they’re just gender abuse. The male community treats women like outsiders and that’s why so many girls hide behind male avatars and nicknames – they don’t want to be blamed for being themselves.

  Good, then the problem is gone since they pretend to be male and we don’t have to care about their problems. Wrong! Being forced to hide your identity doesn’t solve anything; it’s a band-aid, a desperation move. This actually magnifies the second situation gamer girls find themselves in – expressing their gender.

  Most women simply choose to forget they’re women when they game online. This hurts those who don’t want their gender identity bent by senseless sexism on the part of the majority. When a girl gamer openly displays the fact she’s female, she’s seeking attention. If she doesn’t, she emphasizes the problem for those who are honest with their gender.

  This is not something women can solve for themselves. The male community of gamers needs to look at the way it views girl gamers currently. If basic understanding and respect aren’t present, we can’t move forward.



2014 Amateur Challenge

 Background: keSPA ( Korea e-Sports Association ) hosted The Amateur Challenge Ladies tournament this year, which features exclusively all-female teams on the pro Korean scene (OGN).

All female league  The all-female league in eSports, though inherently wrong, is currently the only real opportunity women have of breaking the gender barrier of the scene. People have likened it to other amateur leagues already out there, but what it gives girls with an interest in pro-gaming is a chance of creating a competitive environment where they are able to improve, gain experience as teams and compete at the peak level, and have a chance at making a living playing games competitively. “Professional status,” as in making a living playing video games, is something females currently aren’t even given a chance to achieve, and this league changes that!

  Though segregation of genders is inherently wrong, in the case of pro-gaming it can lead up to an equal audience of men and women. Once there are females at a skill level high enough, with experience backing them, we could see a female team climb into the LCS, and beyond. This will, indeed, make eSports a scene where anyone can become big.

  A female league is a solution born out of lack of alternatives. The fact that it’s, right now, the only shot women have at becoming relevant in eSports shows how deeply rooted this issue has become. There are girls out there who can and want to compete on the same level as other pro players, but, as all the above-mentioned arguments point out, the community and the scene have been slow to adapt to the rising interest in gaming among women.



The Sad Reality

  Female leagues serve to artificially equalize the number of men and women competing in pro gaming. The more females being involved with the scene, the more will start aiming for a career in eSports. And this is the bothersome aspect of the whole issue – we’re not that far off as a community to fixing it, we just refuse to acknowledge that the issue exists, due to the preconceived notion that games, and the leagues the pros play in, are unisex.

  In a previous section I touched on the topic that no LCS team has a female in the roster. This isn’t only applicable to the actual team members; several teams lack a single female staff member. It proves how male-dominated the gaming industry is. Bad thing? Certainly. It does make one consider whether or not we truly appreciate talent more than we appreciate the comfort of a mono-gender environment. The people reading this are among the most dedicated players and viewers of eSports and LoL. I’m assuming we all want the same thing – the best experience pro-gaming can deliver and a sport that can keep us a close community.


What Can I do to fix this


Everyone could make this easier simply by avoiding misogynistic remarks they’d never use in person. When referring to a player, talk about their skill, strengths, weaknesses and exclude gender from your mindset. This goes both ways: if you use your cleavage to attract people to your stream, then you know what kind of people to expect. Allow me to quote Magic the Gathering player Jackie Lee, from an amazing article of hers:

1. Gender jokes are not funny, they’re insensitive.

2. Seek criticism and express criticism at poor behavior.

3. Don’t insult someone based on gender. (or race, or sexuality, all these characteristics do not determine a person’s qualities)

Small note, all these points relate to both men and women. Gender equality goes both ways.


My Info Article Ending


eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)


When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:


What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?


In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 


Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.


Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!




Introduce yourselves for those who may not be familiar with you.

Coast:  Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya – Top, Danny “Shiphtur” Le – Mid, Josh “NintendudeX” Atkins – Jungle, Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard – Support, and Apollo “WizFujiiN” Price – AD.


Before we get into spring promotion, I want to talk about your recent run in the Challenger scene. You performed extremely well there, and finished with a 3-1 victory over Complexity in the NACL. What is it like playing at the challenger level?

Coast: The team enjoys playing in the LCS. We would prefer to never play another game at the Challenger level. That said, the process of playing competitively almost every day of the off-season will help us be more prepared for the next Split than the teams who took this time off.


What do you think the level of play in the challenger scene is, relative to the current LCS. Who do you think is the best current challenger team?

Coast: The NA Challenger teams we played in the off season are not close to level of play in the LCS. There did not seem to be a great deal of difference between the better Challenger teams.


What do you think are the biggest differences between the Pro and Challenger scene?

Coast: There are some good individual players at the Challenger level, but the teams do not play in the same coordinated fashion as LCS teams. Pro players also have a deeper understanding of the game, and much better overall mechanics.


What changes or improvements do you think, if any, should be made to the challenger circuit?

Coast: As the money that players can earn in the Challenger Circuit (and the LCS) increases, the quality of the teams will improve proportionally.


Jumping into promotion, what was your preparation like leading up to the matches against TWZ? Were you confident in your ability to come out on top?

Coast: We worked very hard to get ready for the Promotion match. There was no doubt in our mind we would win over any of the Challenger teams. While the match seemed close, it really wasn’t.


Did TWZ surprise you at all? What do you think was the biggest factor in them not making it?

Coast: The two hour delay after Game 1 surprised us, giving TWZ time to re-group and get their wits about them. The biggest factor for TWZ not making the LCS was having to play us.


Had TWZ played Curse or EG, do you think they would have been able to make it in?

Coast: Both Curse and EG would likely have beaten TWZ.


Now that you are back in the LCS, what are your goals for 2014? Where do you see yourself finishing? Who are your biggest threats?

Coast: We want to play one game at a time, and play our best. We are very confident in the way our team stacks up against the other teams in the league. Because of the way the team is playing right now, we like our chances against any team we will face.


Can you give us a personal power ranking of the current LCS teams, or where you see them finishing?

Coast: We believe our team will have a very good Spring Split. The final standings will depend upon who plays consistently well throughout the season. Although it is hard to predict the way the Split will end, we believe we are in the top tier of teams. There are many pundits who don’t like our chances of finishing well this Split. However, if you were to ask the other LCS teams about the strength of Coast, you would get a very different story.


How has the team adapted to the preseason changes?

Coast: We like the preseason changes, and feel it plays into our strengths.


You recently acquired WizFuJiiN as your AD carry. What led to this decision, and how has he fit into the team so far in terms of synergy?

Coast: WizFujiiN is an extremely strong AD Carry both mechanically and as a contributor to team play. The chemistry in our Bot Lane between Wiz and Daydreamin was on display during the Promotion Match. Wiz has a great attitude, and has brought a positive influence to the team.


Was Chaox ever a tryout for Coast? If so, why wasn’t he picked up?

Coast: Chaox did try out for Coast, and played with the team quite a bit. Chaox is a great guy…we have nothing but good things to say about him both as a player and as a friend of the team. At the end of the day, we felt WizFujiiN was the best overall choice for the team.


What is it like in a typical game for Coast? Is there a primary shot-caller?

Coast: One of the changes during the offseason has been improved team communication. Everyone on the team is more involved in shot-calling and making sure their teammates are aware of what is happening in the game.


What is your attitude when playing from behind, and how do you keep your head in the game?

Coast: Because we have experience coming from behind many times, we always try to believe we can win. Communication and a positive attitude help to keep everyone moving in the right direction.


How does the team spend time together outside of the game? Do you play other games besides League?

Coast: Being gamers, we pretty much play any game that involves someone winning and losing.


Something unknown about yourselves that you’re willing to share?

Coast: We secretly want to win the LoL World Championship.



Coast: We’d like to thank our sponsors CyberPowerPC, LoL-Class, Corsair, and ClickPoint Software for supporting the team.



esports AMA banner

An AMA on E-sports, from the people who bring you, live broadcasting and epic times!


Reddit AMA Breakdown

 Rioters who’ve taken part in this AMA: RiotMagus, RiotNeckBeard, RiotNickAllen, RiotChoppers, Riot Hitstreak, RiotRavenBeauty


LoL E-sports Website



Any plan to include more statistics on the lolesports site such as Baron kills, Towers, First Blood, etc.?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Stats are freaking awesome – thank you for this question. Please note a lot of stuff is in the works and don’t expect them week 1 of the LCS.

1) We’re trying to make real-time stats. We’re working some awesome devs to make this a reality.

2) We want stats in the broadcast. It improves the viewer experience and that’s a good thing.

3) We want stats to be interactive. Graphs for consumption and stuff is cool and all, but we want fans to have them at their fingertips and be able to look at cool trends. Look for more of this on and in our API in the future.

4) It would be even cooler if we could take all these real-time stats and make a fun meta-esports-game out of this… We’ve fantasized about this for awhile now ;)

edit: apparently I double posted so I deleted the less detailed one, gg.



Will you add more information about the teams on your website?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: The web and content teams worked hard to get the first iteration of the new design out, and we’ll be looking to add some bells and whistles over the next few months. We want a stronger team presence there but want to balance team access with quality consistency. Teams often contact us if they want their profiles tweaked / updated, etc., so we have a good relationship with them there.



How about text updates for those who can’t tune in to watch a game?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Gamecast on ESPN is another great example of what you’re referring to. Real-time stats unlock so many features we take for granted with today’s sports.




Will the Challenger series be added?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: We won’t stop with Challenger – our goal is to cover all leagues on :) Need to hire up a team first!

Shameless plug:



Suggestions / Improvements



Will you make changes to the bye system?


RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: As kick ass as Worlds was in Season 3, there are many ways we can improve–especially in terms of format. You won’t be seeing byes at the 2014 World Championship.



RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Yes, we got a lot of feedback from the fans on our format this year and so we will be tweaking it accordingly. Can’t share too much information, but the short answer is ‘Yes’, and it’s going to be awesome :P




How do you feel about adding soundproof booths?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We don’t like the glass booths, they actually aren’t fully soundproof (players still complain about sound leakage) and think they really isolate the players from being part of the fan experience.

We are always evolving the technology of the headsets our players use, and think with some tweaks and refinements on that end it accomplishes the same thing without separating players from the crowd.



Follow-up: Do you feel that players shouting game information can give an unfair advantage to either team?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: One cure to this is that we’ve started incorporating delays into the live feed, so if an audience is cheering so loud it may be a tell, that moment will have already passed. We catch-up during replays throughout the match so a team isn’t celebrating while the live audience is still watching a game end.



Are there plans to include audio-only streams, like radio?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: No current plans. When I drive and LCS is on, I boot up the twitch app on my phone to listen.




Are you planning on switching the format up for Worlds this year?


RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: We’ll definitely be making some changes for 2014. I can’t reveal all of the details just yet, but one thing is for sure–no more byes!




Will there be more integration with social media, other than Twitter Questions, during LCS?


Riot HitstreakButton Rioter Riot Hitstreak: Awesome question

I worked closely with the broadcast team on getting social more integrated with the broadcast this season. All of this takes a bit of time to ramp up but by the end of the season esports fans can expect the social experience to be much more compelling.

If we do contests this season, we’ll be bringing the prizing in-house to resolve the issues we had with prizing.

Social doesn’t cover Twitch chat. There are too many dongers. We are investigating ways to create more conversations on though.






Are you going to introduce an MVP-system this year?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Hey – good question. I’ve tackled this in a Reddit thread about a week ago. We’re going to have a weekly MVP for NA LCS and EU LCS. Each split will also have an MVP that is selected by journalists, coaches, casters, etc. (industry insiders). Lastly, we’re also adding an MVP to Worlds this year.



Have you planned on making merchandise for the LCS?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We are working on this as part of our larger merchandise efforts that are now underway (unfortunately still a ways away), but this particular aspect is something we know will be cool for fans and can’t wait to offer!

Will be so cool to see fans wearing jersey’s of their favorite players!



Follow-up: Why do we need to resort to third-party sellers for T-shirts, mugs and so on?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Yea sorry – we know, and are building out a team that will be focused exclusively on merchandising efforts!



RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We should just ship Fizz trident’s across the globe…that’d be awesome.

‘Boy, that escalated quickly. Brick killed a man with a Trident!’



Do you see the amount of teams in LCS increasing?


RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: We are constantly evaluating the number of teams in the LCS and the appropriate time to expand beyond 8. We take a lot of things into consideration: Ecosystem support, player talent pool, and schedule implications to name a few. For example in our current LCS format, adding even 2 more teams would add significantly more games to the year.

After making these considerations, we thought 8 teams was a good number for where NA and EU are as regions. With the new Challenger Series being introduced, as well as how strong Amateur level play has leveled up in the last few months, growing beyond 8 teams is something we will be seriously considering going into 2015. I apologize if that sounds like the safe answer, but we just want to be super careful that the time for expanding beyond 8 teams is right.



What’s going to make the LCS broadcast different than last season?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Live audience in NA and a larger audience with a new studio in EU. More crowd noise is a great thing. We’re looking to incorporate more real-time stuff like stats and facts. We’re bringing on new casters. We’ve already added new music.

TLDR: Lots of subtle, small upgrades. The LCS broadcast was one of the better things in S3, expect more small upgrades and tweaks rather than massive overhauls.



How does Riot eSports feel about media surrounding the LCS?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We think a thriving esports media is great for the LCS and all of the LoL esports community. Good media outlets drive fan discussion and interest in the sport, which benefits everyone. We try to promote good articles written by those outlets on as a way to bring attention to them. I think your idea for an esports news feed widget is an interesting one and I’ll pass that along to our web development team.

I hope that media outlets continue to grow the quality of the journalism coverage out there. Esports journalism started in the stone age – poor writing, consistency and story-telling, and the industry still has a ton of growing to do. However, I’m starting to believe that we can get there :)



Has the outcome of the Spring Split any influence on the teams that will compete at Worlds or will it be like last year?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Same as last year with no influence on Worlds, but we will be introducing a new wrinkle that should be very exciting for fans and teams competing for the Spring Championship.




Will you add more incentive for teams to take the split more seriously, given that the results won’t affect Worlds?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We expect teams will take it very seriously.

There is a lot of money at stake, there are sponsorship deals that probably reward winning, there is pride , and of course the scary thought of promotion/relegation.



Where do you see the LCS in five years time?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: That’s a really tough question to answer. If you asked me a year ago if we would be able to sell out Staples Center I would have probably rolled my eyes.

It’s growing faster than we could have ever imagined, but honestly our main focus is creating the most exciting and memorable experience for our fans, so we’ll be laser focused on that, who knows where it will take us.



Least favorite thing about the LCS?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: This is probably biased because I’m watching NFL playoffs, but right now I wish LCS playoffs were longer so fans could savor the drama of a tense post-season.



RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Pauses and technical delays :P  And Ocelote not being in the LCS right now…I love that guy.




What interesting changes can we expect for this year’s LCS?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Having loud live audiences in NA and EU will improve the overall experience tremendously (both live and online).








Do you plan on regulating owners/managers of teams so players don’t get cheated out of earnings?


Button Rioter RiotChopper: Great question. We are definitely taking steps to try to ensure that teams and managers hit a certain bar of professionalism and responsibility, but want to protect the rights of the players to work with the people they are comfortable with. We’ve seen some examples of great managers with no esports experience or formal business experience, and don’t want to do anything to prevent them from helping teams!



Why can’t one organization have two of its teams enter LCS?


Button Rioter RiotChopper: This is definitely an important point, glad you asked. Given the fact that our teams face each other four times per Split, we felt it would diminish the value of those games, and lead to many questions about incentives and the integrity of the match. We applied this rule to both EU and NA LCS because owning teams in multiple regions also leads to concerns about fair trades, Worlds matchups, etc.

We realize this is something permitted in other regions, and we are currently discussing (internally and with the regional teams) the systemwide effects of implementing that policy in those regions. We’ll continue to iterate on this policy as the ecosystem develops.



Coke Zero League



When does the Coke Zero Play-in start?


RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: The Challenger Series Play-In starts tomorrow! We won’t be streaming the round of 20, but will jump in to the round of 10 immediately following the LCS on the 2nd and 3rd days of Superweek. From there, you can expect CS nearly every day directly after the LCS broadcast.



What’ll happen to the Coke Zero League after the ELO boost bans?


Button Rioter RiotChopper: The elo boost bans actually came out after the ladder freeze and roster confirmation, by which point the team of the affected individual in NA had actually already disbanded. No team was DQ’ed from Challenger because of a single player’s elo boost ban, nor would they; teams can always pick up new players, and simply need to maintain 3 players from their ladder freeze roster.






How did Riot decide to approach and support E-sports?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Riot had always planned on developing League of Legends to become a competitive sport. It’s in the DNA of the game – tons of compelling and unique strategies that can win out in any given match, no 2 games are ever the same, it’s relatively easy to pick-up but impossible to master, teamwork is a core competency, etc.

While we knew it would be competitive and fun at all levels, we had no idea it would turn in to the professional / spectator sport it has now become, and it’s pretty humbling to see it surpass any of the expectations on that front, and then some. After seeing the fans show up in droves at our Season 1 finals, we knew if we focused on building a compelling experience it would grow, but nobody ever expected this.

Brandon and Marc are both huge esport fans (even Brandon’s wife watches most of the LCS matches), and they’ve both really driven the passion and furor around esports that resonates throughout the whole company. I’m glad they decided to make it such a core focus, otherwise I would be out of a job



In how many years do you think eSports will be accepted as “real” sports?


RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: I don’t think any of us consider it to be a binary “accepted” or “not accepted”, but rather a gradual process. Right now there’s plenty of people the world over that consider esports a real sport (myself included). We’ve already seen tons of progress in converting viewers to this perspective.

At the end of the day, I fully expect to be watching eSports with my kids (that’s about 5-10 years away, hopefully). They’ll grow up thinking of digital sports in the exact same light as traditional phsyical sports. Who knows, by then there may be a hybrid product..



Rioters in E-sports



How do you guys prepare for events?


RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: Believe it or not, the days in BETWEEN broadcasts are generally the most busy. There’s an incredible amount of planning and preparation that goes into each week, but the unique responsibilities of each person differs pretty widely. Add on to that any special projects or forward-planning plans, and you end up clocking quite a few hours a week. :)



What does that typical day of someone in the Riot eSports department consist of?


MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: It differs tremendously from day-to-day. Logistically, my role involves a lot of meetings, as I work with each group within esports. I’ll do meetings for most of the day (10am-7pm or so) and then spend several hours or more answering emails, reviewing projects we’re working on, brainstorming new stufff, etc.

It’s a very social, hard-working environment. We try to freely share ideas so that anyone can poke holes in them and make them better. That means it’s incredibly fun because the people on the team are awesome, but you also need to be the type of person that likes to give and receive constructive criticism in order to thrive.


Button Rioter RiotRavenBeauty: A typical day in Esports is pretty atypical at Riot. Some days are filled with meetings about upcoming scheduling and logistics, syncs with the LCS teams, ideating with our video producers, catching up on 1-on-1s with other Rioters.. and other days start bright and early at the studio, to put on the best damn show we can for you :)



What’s the most satisfying part about your job?


RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: Hands down the best part of being in esports for me personally? Seeing players cheering at live events. Before I worked at Riot, I was a cheering player right along side the (small) events I could attend. To be able to see Staples full of people having a great time… feels good man.



How hard is it to get such a job / what are the required qualifications?


Button Rioter RiotRavenBeauty: Tbh, it’s not an easy feat to get your foot in the door anywhere in Esports, and the candidate pool for Riot is quite competitive. Don’t let that scare you from applying though! Different roles require different attributes and levels of experience, but there are some fundamental qualities we look for in all Esports candidates: Intelligence, Passion, Strong Communication Skills, Problem-Solving Prowess, and Culture Fit. If you’re interested in seeing more detailed requirements for each role, you can check out our careers page,


RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: We pretty much don’t have any specific requirements (generally looking for all-around rockstars). But if you’re looking to aim your career towards eSports, I’d say get in some eSports experience before you apply. Because it’s such a developing and “wild west” part of the industry, you can’t exactly follow a set academic path, for example (no schools have an “eSports Management” major yet :P ). If you’re in college, get involved with your local eSports club (or start your own). Already past those years? There’s a myriad of opportunities for people to get involved with amateur events, article writing, starting their own show, etc. Show us your passion through your past actions!






In which country will the All-Star 2014 be held?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: I’m actually in Cologne at the moment with RiotMagus and Ariel Horn to kick off the EU LCS, and then we are doing some final site visits (outside of Germany?) before we let all of you guys know where the magic will happen.




Will we get Silver Scrapes back again?


Riot HitstreakButton Rioter Riot Hitstreak: Silver Scrapes is here forever.




What kind of international competition will we see this year outside of All-Stars and Worlds?


RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Not much, to be honest. We know the fans love seeing international competitions, and Battle of the Atlantic was a fun tournament, but we want to ensure that Worlds remains pretty special in that regard. It’s why the World Cup is so infrequent, or why each sport has their once-a-year events like the Super Bowl, World Series, etc.

There is still IEM Katowice!



How much does the competitive scene shape the patches we get?


RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: It’s definitely a factor, but absolutely not the only one. The competitive scene is ultimately an incredibly small portion of the total player base, but is looked to by players of all skill ranges to guide the meta and showcase what new champions can do.

When our kickass Core Gameplay team works on balance changes, they not only have to take into account what an Irelia nerf will do to the Diamond 1/Challenger players, but also to the Bronze V players who main her.

It’s a complex and incredibly delicate dance, and those guys work freaking hard.



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Introduce yourself to those who may not be familiar with you.

Youngbuck:  I am Joey ”Youngbuck” Steltenpool and I play the top lane for Copenhagen Wolves.


What was the process behind the addition of FORG1VEN and Amazing to the team? What were you looking for in replacing them?

Youngbuck: I’ve always held Amazing in high regard and knew he was one of the best junglers in Europe and Shook also recommended him so he was a very easy pick for us.

The ADC role was very hard because we needed a very high mechanic player that could replace Rekkles. Forgiven was the third or fourth guy we tested and it so turned out we accidentally found the best ADC in Europe.


Do you think the current roster is stronger than before? How has your playstyle changed between the two sets of players? Was it difficult adjusting or was there some type of natural synergy?

Youngbuck:  I think we are a lot stronger because we started to focus a lot more on training teamwork and stopped relying on individual skill completely. The synergy came very naturally aswell as the new players communicated very well with us.


Of all the teams you have been on, do you feel this one is the strongest?

Youngbuck:  I think it is the strongest one, the previous CW being a close second one and Samurai in Jeans or Curse.Eu being a good third.


You reached LCS on your third try. What is it like to finally achieve your goal and how did you stay motivated? What was your mindset like going into each promotion series?

Youngbuck:  I stayed motivated because it was something I wanted bad enough and I knew I could do it. The first two times I knew I could very well qualify but also had the possibility of losing in my mind. The third one made me the most nervous moment because the situation we found ourselves in was too perfect, a team this strong against a team this weak made me think it was a now or never moment.


What are the goals for the team now that you have made the LCS, heading into 2014?

Youngbuck:  We are looking to survive the first split and gaining the LCS experience and the second split we are looking to qualify for worlds. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would finish in the top 3 in both splits but I wouldn’t be surprised with 4th-6th either.


Are there plans for a gaming house,  and does the team plan to stream?

Youngbuck:  We are actively looking for a gaming house but as of now we are going to practice in the Riot studio while staying in a hotel.


What is your practice schedule like? Is there a lot of research involved?

Youngbuck:  We are practicing at least 5 hours a day with the team and besides that players are free to solo queue. Research usually comes the last days before the games and we talk a lot about the strategy and champion select the 2 days leading up to a match.


How do you think you will perform in the upcoming split? Do you expect to make it to Summer without entering relegation?

Youngbuck:  I think we can make it into the top 4 but this is by far the split with the strongest teams ever in EU LCS. Anything can happen I only see LD and SK ending in 7th and 8th in almost every scenario.


Who do you think are the strongest teams in the upcoming split and can you give a brief reason why?

Youngbuck:  Alliance is looking to be a favorite this season with strong individual skill in every role and a good showing at BotA. Gambit has also looked incredible the last months winning  BotA and IEM Cologne.


Which top laners give you the most trouble? Who do you feel are the current best top laners in europe?

Youngbuck:   Zorozero gave me the most trouble in practice but having said that NiP was one of the 2-3 teams we scrimmed leading up to the LCS. The best top laners right now are Wickd, Darien and Soaz.


What are your thoughts so far on the preseason changes? Is there anything in particular you like or dislike? Have they had an impact on your playstyle? What changes would you like to see, if any?

Youngbuck:  I love the new changes. It feels like teamplay is rewarded a lot more and at the same time laningphase is much more about individual skill and matchups because trinkets allow for safer dueling.


What is the current state of top lane in your opinion? What do you feel top laners can do to make the most impact in game? Thoughts on current itemization(& items in general)/changes you want to see?

Youngbuck:  I like the meta a lot since I excel in the tanky meta myself. One of the things yo usee often now is that the toplaner with the best matchup proxy farms behind the tower a lot, making sure the enemy stays under the top tower while the proxy farmer is able to put pressure in the jungle or roam towards mid.


Which champions do you feel are the most dominant right now? Are there some tops who are currently undervalued? Is there anyone you’d like to see make an appearance or return to competitive play?

Youngbuck:  The strongest toplaners are Mundo, Shyvana, Rengar and Renekton. Each having a skill set that is just a little bit different, Renekton being stronger early on,  Shyvana being a great proxy farmer and pusher while Mundo has a somewhat weaker early but beast lategame. Rengar is a jack of all trades but really excels at lategame splitpushing and roaming during the mid game.

Who should I play top if I want to wreck soloqueue?

Youngbuck:  Renekton, strongest early game hero and a safe pick with almost no counters.


Who do you think is the best Renekton player in the world?

Youngbuck:  I think I am the best Renekton, but I’m also the only one who has mained him since the start of Season 2 and played him often in Season 1 as well.


As the captain, what exactly is it you do in game? How is shotcalling handled within the team? What type of role do you play outside of the game?

Youngbuck:  When we are in game the shotcalling is done by everyone however I do call the champion selects often and make final decisions if people are disagreeing. I also schedule the scrims and am a vocal point for the team if something is going wrong.


What is your favorite soda, besides Vanilla coke?

Youngbuck:  Dr Pepper is a close second but I also like chocolate milk a lot.


Tell us something unknown about yourself.

Youngbuck:  I used to train in Mixed Martial arts and Kickboxing.



Youngbuck: Shoutout to my fans, friends and family and thanks to CW and our sponsors; Steelseries, Obutto, Komplett and Cooler Master.





First off, what is something unknown or that very little people know about you?

Alex Ich: Dunno, not sure if everyone knows yet that I am married, I have a beautiful child and his name is Dmitry.


Thoughts on the teams at worlds and did everyone make it as far as you expected? Did any of the outcomes surprise you?

Alex Ich: I don’t think that outcomes surprised me, only Samsung Ozone did worse than expected, but everything else was ok, I think we could have done better though.


Who do you think is the current strongest team in the LCS? Who do you expect to be the best in Season 4?

Alex Ich: With all the current changes I cannot answer this question. Time will show


Zed, Kassadin, and Ahri recently received changes. What would you have done differently, if anything, to tune these champions?


Alex Ich: Kassadin’s obvious nerf should be increasing ult cd, I would say the same for ahri’s ult and zed’s ult. All these heroes power is from their ultimates, so you should nerf them but not their kit overall. They can assassinate too often and it is bad.


What is it like playing under pressure for you, how do you handle high pressure situations?

Alex Ich: I think I just got used to it.


What is your opinion of Faker?

Alex Ich: I think that he is good, LOL.


What do you think seperates your playstyle from other mid laners? Is there a “best” way to play the role, or is it based on your teams overall plan?

Alex Ich: I think that my playstyle is a bit farm oriented, not sure if it is the best way to play but it is strong, my goal is to farm and become beast until the lanephase ends. I think that I excel at playing mobile assassin heroes


Are there any champions you want to see return to competitive play? Who, and what would make them viable?

Alex Ich: I would like to see a Ryze buff so he can get more playable for me. I don’t think that he is that good at the moment.


Do you think the mid lane is more important in EU than other regions? What about EU’s midlaner playstyle is different?

Alex Ich: I think that jungle is the most important role and most of the time junglers get mid lane rolling, but people give less credit to jungler and more to mid laner because he has a better score.


Who is the shotcaller within the team and how are things like objectives handled? Is there always a goal in mind or do you just takeopportunities as they come?  

Alex Ich: We have everyone speaking, I think it is one of the best ways to handle it, though has some flaws. Most of the time you can’t see all the game yourself so it’s good that people say their opinions, you only need to filter and help so there will be no mess.


What should a mid laner do to make the most impact on the game for his team?

Alex Ich: He should farm, roam, not feed, play good champion, good positioning. For example if you play orianna, u need to stay on range, use all your skills, save your ad carry, land op ultimate and not get caught, its hard.

What champions are you current favorite to play as? Who is your least favorite to play against right now? Who do you think the strongest mid champion is currently?

Alex Ich: My favourite champion to play is Kha’Zix though I am not sure if I want to play him competitively. Least favorite to play against is Riven and the strongest is Orianna/Gragas/Nidalee, something like that.


Who is the toughest mid laner you have faced?

Alex Ich: I would say Xpeke, dunno why but I got most problems with him in lane.


How have you and the team been spending the offseason?

Everyone is spending his time with the family, so we don’t spend the time together. We are still training though, preparing to IEM.


Is Froggen still one of the best mids in the world?

Alex Ich: Yes he is


What do you like to do in your free time?

Alex Ich: I like spending my time with wife and child, play soloq and play some other games.


Looking into Season 4, do you think the current top teams will stay on top, or new ones emerge as we have seen in the past? Do you think SKT can stay as dominant as they have been?


Alex Ich: I don’t know, I am not oracles, everything can happen, I would say there will be a lot of changes.


Do you feel the NA region is weaker than other regions overall? Will they emerge in Season 4? What prevents them from growing as rapidly as other regions?

Alex Ich: I think that NA region is not weaker than other regions, they have C9 who are really strong and  TSM can get big with Bjergsen, so I would say they should be ok.


How do you feel about the roster changes announced so far in Europe? What team will they impact the most?

Alex Ich: Dunno every team will be hugely impacted because of changes. We should just wait and see how it goes.


Reginald recently retired as a player, and Ocelote stepped down from the main roster of SK gaming.  We’ve seen your thoughts on them, but what was it like playing against them?

Haven’t played against Reginald for ages so don’t really remember, but tbh both Ocelote and Reginald were good midlaners, so playing against them was fun. In tournaments I got an edge most of the time though.


How do you feel about the current format of the LCS and World Championship? Do you think there should be changes for Season 4?

Alex Ich: I think that travelling every week for teams is bad thing. I would say that travelling just once every 2 weeks would be much better. And I think that games should be bo2 because the game is hugely dependent on side and pick and it can change in the next patch.


What do you think has been the biggest issue so far when finding a new support player? What are the biggest obstacles you have faced while trialing other players? What are you looking for in your support?

Alex Ich: We need a Russian speaking support that plays well. We have little time, so you should just pick and go. Most of the time we cannot just change support during the season, because we cannot take a Russian support, due to the fact that it takes around 1 month to get him passport+visa.


This was actually supposed to say “Will Edward ever return to Gambit?”, however it was recently announced that he is returning to your roster. What led to this decision? Not being able to find other supports that were as good or fit the team, or something else?

Alex Ich: I think that he knows that he will do the best in our team and we will do better with him, I would say it is just synergy.


Now that Edward has returned, do you expect Gambit to be back in top form?

Alex Ich: Yes


What are Edwards biggest strengths and what does he bring to the team that other supports can’t? What does he lack or need to improve in?

Alex Ich: Edward has one of the highest percentage of skillshots landed, he has huge experience and he is not stressful. I think his temper is explosive so he needs to work a bit on that, but overall I think he is a beast support.


Do you ever wish you could play a different role? If so, what would it be?

Alex Ich: I like to play ad and jungle in soloq, but I would say that mid suits me the most, though sometimes heroes get out of my meta.


How does the team plan to prepare for Season 4? What types of improvements overall does the team need the most? How about you individually, what would you like to improve on the most and what do you feel you are currently weakest in?

Alex Ich: I think we need to see the changes of season 4 first to know what we and I myself should change. I would say that we need to know next year’s LCS system and depending on that plan better our training because it is the weakest part of our team.


Thoughts on Mandatorycloud? Do you feel he is the best mid laner in NA?

Alex Ich: Not with Bjergsen been there. I think he is mechanically good , though he lacks experience and his or rather his team transition into mid-late game is not that good. He needs to improve on that part of game.


Predictions for the upcoming Battle of the Atlantic?

Alex Ich: I don’t do predictions, we should win our games though :D


Are there any item changes you want to see? Or perhaps a new type of item for the mid lane?

Alex Ich: Zhonya’s nerf please, thank you.

Bjergsen was recently the latest European player to head to NA by joining TSM. How much of an impact do you think he will have on the team, and will he live up to the standard TSM has set the past 3 seasons? How good of a mid is Bjergsen compared to other NA mids? Do you expect to see more international team rosters as the game progresses?

Alex Ich:  The more the game progresses – more money included – more transfers like in professional gaming. I would say that Bjergsen is really strong mid and if not strongest then one of the strongest in NA. TSM should do better with him because Reginald will control them and will have more time for handling TSM as organization so there will be five players fully related on game.


Anything else?

Alex Ich: Dunno, delete Riven from game? Tired of playing against her.



Alex Ich: I want to thank Gambit, BenQ, Steelseries, Pringles and Twitch for helping and supporting me and my team. Also I want to thank all our fans all over the world for watching our plays and rooting for us. I hope we will do even better now and in season 4 with Edward and I hope our team won’t have any more changes and internal problems.





Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.


Part of my own legal education has been the study of Professional Sports law (in the United States), so I decided to do a quick comparison of regulations and punishments between some of the major US sports organizations to Riot’s eSports organization.

In this article, I’m talking about professional League players in the eSports setting; not your everyday bronze scrub.


The Original Setup – Rules and Regulations in Physical Pro Sports


In the four major US sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), the rules and regulations are set up sort of like a corporate hierarchy: you have the Commissioner at the very top, who controls most aspects of the game itself – the schedule, regulating officials, league-based discipline, etc. The Commissioner’s power over the league and its teams is set forth through a League Constitution  (similar to a corporation’s bylaws). However, these constitutions don’t directly dictate the relationship between teams and players – those are set up contractually.

In each of these sports league constitutions there is a clause called the “best interests of the game” clause. It basically gives the Commissioner the authority to do just about anything as long as the act is in the best interests of the game as a whole.


A New System? – Rules and Regulations in League of Legends


Unfortunately, Riot’s eSports regulation setup isn’t publicly available, and most professional player contracts have a non-disclosure clause. With the  lack of available information, the best we can do is apply current sports law concepts and see how they fit onto Riot’s eSports infrastructure.

In League of Legends, the setup is very different from the club/league “franchise” arrangement most other professional sports use, but the outcome is essentially the same. Riot effectively takes on the role of “league commissioner,” exerting direct control over both the game and the teams simultaneously.

The biggest difference is that instead of holding “commissioner” power through a league constitution, Riot seems to be given that power contractually – teams sign lengthy contracts that give unilateral control over League events to Riot – which seems pretty obvious. If you want to play their game in their tournaments, you have to agree to play by their rules.

Ok, so instead of becoming a commissioner through a “league constitution,” Riot becomes a commissioner through individual contracts. Is that really any different? The answer is yes.


The Differences – Advantages and Disadvantages of Riot’s eSports Setup


Setting up commissioner power as contractual agreements has advantages and disadvantages. It’s advantageous to Riot on several practical levels:

First, Riot maintains a direct relationship with the players – as opposed to professional sports law, where only teams and owners are parties to the bylaws, and players have no direct relationship with the Commissioner. Second, individual contracts allow a large degree of flexibility – great for different teams in differing circumstances (e.g. foreign teams). Finally, Riot could distance themselves from principal-agent situations with teams/players, which has  several benefits – not the least of which involves avoiding antitrust violations.

However, there are some legal disadvantages to having a contractual setup rather than a series of league bylaws. The first is that contractual damages are very limited. Harsh penalties designed to deter behavior don’t fly in contract law – if actual damages can’t be proven with certainty, Riot has no case. This poses a problem, for instance, with cheating – you want to punish cheaters even if cheating didn’t actually help them win, but a court will require you to prove that damage was done. This may explain why Riot caught several teams screenwatching last year, but only chose to penalize when they were certain it had an impact on the game.

A related disadvantage is the lack of a “best interests of the game” clause. In professional sports law, such clauses are kept extremely ambiguous on purpose, to meet whatever new situations can come up (e.g., dog fighting, gang-related signs… etc). It also allows for flexible discipline measures to be taken – commissioners can fine teams, revoke draft picks, or even force team ownership transfers outright.

But the ambiguity that makes the clause so valuable in a bylaw is also what makes the clause detrimental to contract law. Ambiguous words and phrases are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to tell if both parties really agreed to the same thing. (e.g., what exactly constitutes a “performance enhancing” drug? Is it limited to anabolic steroids? What about prescription medications such as Adderall? Energy drinks? Caffeine?). In some situations, courts can strike entire clauses from a contract for being too ambiguous – a pretty severe disadvantage.

Will we ever see any of these issues get raised in court? Probably not, as most teams and players are not in any position to negotiate or test any of the terms in their contracts. Their bargaining power is effectively nullified by the fact that Riot has a stranglehold on League of Legends – it is, after all, their game.

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Xypherous brings the hammer down on Jayce with nerfs on the PBE, IronStylus talks future visual updates, LCS goodies in the store, CrabWizard sinks his claws into the new Sales policies and the latest Champion/Skin Sale!


Future Content: Reworks and Visual Updates

PBE: Jayce Ability Rework

LCS Icons and Bundles in Store

Changes to upcoming Sales

Champion/Skin Sale – Expires July 15th




Riot logo decorationFuture Content: Reworks and Visual Updates


IronStylus gives us a list of the next champions to receive extensive updates.






IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: There indeed is a lot to be learned from our experiences on each of these characters. Going forward we’ve incorporated a lot of input we’ve received, internally and externally in regards to each character you mention.


However, as I’ve said before, Relaunch is essentially live balance for art and thematics. It’s changes made to a character for the holistic health of the game artistically, mechanically, and with greater concern for the IP. Currently there are significant outliers in consistency, visually, thematically, story wise, and gameplay. The goal of Relaunch is to correct those outliers and bring them back in line, where applicable, to address the core of how we want to portray these characters. Skins don’t address these core issues with the champion. Skins are aesthetic choices, not fundamental character balancing.

A while back, champions were never really created with goals in mind. Only recently did we start establishing goals such as established/desired player psychology, what fantasy we are trying to fulfill, how effectively are we allowing a player to roleplay that fantasy, and how generally fulfilling is that character inside the space we want it to occupy. With these directives going forward, we’re applying them retroactively also. Case in point, Relaunch. Older champions are now subjected to the same goal creation/adherence process that new champions go through. The aim is to make them look better, be more compelling/contextually concise, and play better.

I would put Viegar, Malzahar, etc, in a Master Yi tier of relaunch.

Here’s the general tier list of VU/Relaunch which is in my brain at the moment.

This is in no way written in stone, but using what precedents have been set can inform the levels of VU or outright rework might be in store for certain characters. This is a comparison list of what has been done,not necessarily how things will be done going forward, but some parallels apply:

Trundle – Full character relaunch. Hard reboot, consists of complete visual, thematic, and complete gameplay overhaul.

Sion (?) - SPECULATORY/SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Heavy visual upgrages, possible change in thematics, major gameplay changes.*

Karma – Character “Chapter 2″ relaunch. Soft reboot, consists of evolving visuals, thematic continuation of current story, major gameplay changes.

Sivir (?) - SPECULATORY/SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Heavy visual upgrades, possible change in thematics, minor game play changes.*

Master Yi – VU + Kit rework relaunch. Upgrading of existing visuals along the same lines as the original look. Thematic tightening. Major-ish game play changes.

Sejuani – “Corrective” relaunch. Adjustment of visuals to match thematic goals. Solidifying of themes and storyline, some gameplay changes.

Nidalee/Annie/Twisted Fate/Ashe/Soraka/etc – Straight VU. Might consist of some tightening here and there. Mostly aesthetic changes. Minor game play tweaks.

This list isn’t really applicable across the board when deciding which character gets which sort of relaunch. It only generally describes the intensity of a particular relaunch, and may vary depending on the character. No character is the same, therefore no solution is the same to solving each’s particular challenges.

*Sion and Sivir are conjecture to a large extent due to how in flux those projects currently are.



What are some champions that, in your opinion, can use a visual update?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylusCaitlyn could use some sort of change to bring her in line with the rest of the Piltover champions, even if she remains dapper in her own way.

Irelia is pretty arbitrary in her design, I’d like to see how we can make her definitively Ionian looking. If not, then she just needs some good fidelity upgrades. She’s noodly and has low texture quality currently,

Jarvan is really noisy in game and though I equate him with royalty, i think he could stand to have a little more Demacian flavor injected into him.

Morgana‘s model isn’t the greatest quality at the moment.

Leona could use a pass at her geometry, make her a little less prom-dressy/armored bra wearing.

Quinn could use a simplification pass.



How would you improve Caitlyn’s visuals?


IronStylus Button Rioter IronStylus: Ever read Lady Mechanika? I’d like to bring a bit of that into her, and retain the “Piltover posh” to her. Right now she feels a bit Willy Wonka. She’s charming, but I’d like to up-tech her just a bit while retaining that charm. I think she could tweak 20% more towards the serious in terms of visuals.




 PBE: Jayce Ability Rework


jayce decoration

Jayce has been pretty problematic on the competitive scene and saw nerfs to his Acceleration Gate in Patch 3.9. Now Xypherous has decided to further tone him down as part of testing.

Remember: This is an experimental build. All of these propositions are subject to change and most likely will. Also, nerf hammer… c’mon, I had to!



XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  A quick heads up here – There is some fairly experimental stuff on Jayce that’s going into the outgoing PBE build. You guys won’t have access to this for a little while as PBE builds timing and pushes, while regular – are always on a ‘as soon as we can’ basis.


You may see some craziness in the next few days from Data Scrapers but this content is really ridiculously rough.

1. Jayce should not ignore resistances.

Yes, I know no one levels up ‘R’ anyway at the moment – but for the moment, let’s pretend that Jayce theoretically shouldn’t ignore your resistances.

2. Jayce’s poke pattern is fairly unhealthy.

Mostly from a fog of war, long range Q+E standpoint.

3. Jayce’s burst shouldn’t hyperscale and his damage shouldn’t be dependent on optimizing really weird obtuse use cases

This mostly pertains to the ‘W’ functionality changes – where people are ‘rolling’ W charges to string together a 6 shot hyper charge. Also, Hyper Charge probably shouldn’t deal 260% damage on a critical strike – or 325% damage on an IE crit strike.

4. No, seriously. A lot of Jayce’s power is locked up in really obtuse cases.

A little bit of why Jayce is so powerful in competitive play and not so much in regular play is the sheer amount of edge cases you have to abuse to get mileage out of Jayce. While some could argue this is mechanical mastery of the champion – a lot of it is simply unintuitive fodder that we should clean up so that his actual intuitive combos are powerful.

So what’s going on?

We’re testing a fairly experimental series of changes designed to shift power away from these three cases and into the rest of his abilities – as well as streamlining some of Jayce’s muddier patterns. In general, Jayce is a decent character to have in the game but the vast majority of his power is locked up in extreme abuse cases at the moment – especially with end game super burst scenarios or long range poke scenarios.

I’ll have some more specifics as we start to refine what we have – but here is a rough list of the major changes:

Passive Statistics

Shifting around his statistics to favor mana regeneration as Jayce should be more of an active laner focused around spells to achieve victory. The shift in regeneration should also compensate for the removal of Mana on Hit from Static Field.




  • HP/5 reduced to 5 from 7
  • HP/5 per Level reduced to 0.5 from 0.7
  • MP/5 increased to 10 from 7
  • MP/5 per level increased to 1.0 from 0.7

Jayce may no longer level Transform but his abilities have 6 ranks.


Hextech_CapacitorHextech Capacitor ( Passive )

* Now additionally grants 5 to 130 magic damage for the first attack after transformation, based on character level.

Moved a portion of his transform passives onto his character passive.Additionally, Hextech Capacitor is weak at character levels 1-3 but stronger at 6 and 9 to smooth out power differences between the fact that he has multi-form abilities and no ultimate.


To_the_Skies!To the Skies ( Q )

* Mana Cost reduced to 30 at all ranks from 40/50/60/70/80
* Damage rescaled to 25/75/125/175/225/275 (+0.6 Bonus) physical damage from 20/65/110/155/200 (+1.0 Bonus) physical damage

To the Skies! had some early game spike power and late game spike power. Normalizing this curve such that you don’t have to stack a ton of early Attack Damage or a ton of late Penetration in order to utilize this ability effectively for burst.


Lightning_FieldStatic Field ( W )

* Passive mana gain on-hit removed.
* Damage rescaled to 60/110/160/210/260/310 (+1) from 100/170/240/310/380 (+1)

* Basic Attacks during static field now deal an additional 10/15/20/25/30/35 (+0.2) magic damage on hit. Numbers even more highly experimental and subject to change on this one.
* Cooldown rescaled to 13/12/11/10/9/8 from 10

Static Field should encourage Jayce to stay in Hammer form and engage on his opponents for prolonged periods of time while his Cannon Transform is unavailable.

Also experimenting with a W -> R -> W swap combo – though the current gameplay is a little unintuitive.


Thundering_BlowThundering Blow ( E )

* Mana cost increased to 85 from 40/50/60/70/80
* Now has a rank 6 that deals 23% health damage and up to 700 magic damage versus minions.

Thundering Blow in top lane was often Jayce’s easy-mode button. If Jayce was in a bad spot – he could simply Thundering Blow to escape. Aggressively gating the Mana Cost on this ability means that eventually, Jayce’s second chances will run out.

However, we wanted to preserve Jayce’s engagement pattern if he chooses to be active – hence the To the Skies! Mana changes.


Mercury_Hammer Transform: Mercury Hammer ( R )

* Now grants 5 to 35 Armor and Magic Resistance, based on character level.


Shock_BlastShock Blast ( Q )

* Damage rescaled to 60/105/150/195/240/285 (+1.2 Bonus) from 60/115/170/225/280 (+1.2 Bonus) - Probably needs to be scaled up a tad.
* Missile Speed increased to 1450 from 1350

* Missile Width decreased to 50 from 60.
* Missile Area of Effect decreased to 160 from 175

* Accelerated Missile Width remains at 60.
* Accelerated Missile Area of Effect decreased to 225 from 250
* Accelerated Shock Blast initial speed increased to 2550 from 2350
* Accelerated Shock blast now decays down to 1550 during flight

Changes here are mostly to increase the dodgability of Shock Blast, especially from fog of war + acceleration gate circumstances.

The acceleration of gate also favors using E after launching Q – as this will give the opponent the smallest amount of time to react.


Hyper_ChargeHyper Charge ( W )

* Damage reduced to 70/80/90/100/110/120% from 70/85/100/115/130%
* Critical strikes now simply add 100% of your total AD to the damage (this can be further modified by critical strike damage) rather than being dependent on the rank of the skill.

* Cooldown rescaled to 14/12/10/8/6/4 from 14/12/10/8/6
* Cooldown now begins when Hyper Charge is fully consumed

* Mana Cost rescaled to 30/38/46/54/62/70 from 40

Hyper Charge harass becomes more dominating depending on the rank of the spell in a lot of cases. Early ranks of Hyper Charge tend to be less than mana efficient in a lot of ways. These changes are designed to reduce some of obtuse abuse cases of Hyper Charge with IE or priming the skill but to also make Hyper Charge’s cost roughly equivalent to its effect.


Acceleration_GateAcceleration Gate ( E )

* Mana Cost reduced to 20 from 50
* Has a 6th rank that increases Movement Speed by 55%.

Jayce brings Acceleration Gate as his primary team utility. The Jayce player should feel confident that his team contribution shouldn’t be necessarily gated by his playstyle or what he is forced to build. The cooldown nerfs in 3.9 should control Gate”s spamminess and uptime – and thus the Mana Cost here seems to be unnecessarily restricting him to Mana intensive builds.


Mercury_CannonTransform: Mercury Cannon ( R )

No longer has an armor and magic resist reducing proc.

This proc effect was mostly unnecessary – while it ensured Jayce made it to late game, the combined effect of the proc means that Jayce effectively ignored far too much of his opponent’s armor than was healthy.



Will Thundering Blow get a damage nerf?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Have not yet decided on if / what Thunder Blow needs to have changed, although with six possible ranks, it seems likely that we can rescale the damage such that per skill point, you are getting less power.

Unsure if he needs it exactly at the moment – as we’re doing quite a bit at once here.



Won’t making Jayce like the old Karma (6-level spells) make him weaker during early game?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Potentially – Jayce differs from old Karma in that he has two abilities he is ranking up base damage for per point.

Karma was ranking up side bonuses with her ranks – while Jayce is levelling both To the Skies! and Shock Blast simultaneously.



Follow-up: Does this change fix his power-curve?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: Not particularly. In this case, it’s just a simple recognition that there was no amount of passive power that we could put on Jayce’s Transform level ups to actually make it feel worthwhile to rank up unless we went to ridiculous overpowered passive stat land.

He also didn’t need any *more* complicated mechanics to get him through – so the simplest solution here was to simply stop trying to make Transform a compelling level up and just rebalance his spells around assuming people simply weren’t going to put points in Transform anyway.



Won’t buffing the base damage of To the Skies! make Jayce even harder to deal with?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous: I suspect that this is true somewhat – though lane tests right now seem to indicate that Jayce really needs to use all his abilities well in order to do well. We have a couple of other minor changes as well such as reducing his health regeneration in favor of more mana regeneration as he should really win the lane by using his abilities on you a bunch.

I’m not sure I have a whole lot to assuage your fears, other than the fact that I just ripped off 1.0 Bonus AD scaling from his Q, reduced the levelups on his ‘W’ TAD scaling, roughly 5% armor shred in his early game. While I’m sure that Jayce will have a great deal of magic damage punch to him in his Hammer form – I’m not sure that his first couple of purchases will actually cause the lane to be unconquerable.

Essentially – I do think he will be harder to itemize against but most of the changes are targetted at limiting abuse cases when he’s ahead and figuring out where the balance lies in that paradigm.



 Are these nerfs aimed at FotM Jayce?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  The FoTM Jayce is a good playstyle – it just needs a bit more counterplay – which is why we opted to really target some of the more esoteric high end abuse cases like ‘W’ priming.




How about making the Accelerated Shock Blast (E+Q) a single target skillshot?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Oh - Interesting.

So, the unfocused ball hits the gate and turns into a piercing beam?

That kind of change I definitely can’t get out in the timeframe required for this change – but that’s actually something we should look into as to whether that pattern makes more sense.



Follow-up: Won’t this just make it a 1000 MP/H Nidalee Spear?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  It is terrifying notion – but the benefits are that it opens up space for both unempowered Q and empowered Q to be satisfying without one drastically outclassing the other.

It would also mean that then we have additional space to play around with Acceleration Gate duration / cooldown to open up some space as right now Gun Q isn’t actually a spell, since it’s Gun Q + E that is theactual spell and thus the cooldown / conditions of ‘E’ tie directly into Q’s satisfaction level.

For example, if Q by itself was satisfying – you could put an absolutely ridiculous cooldown and duration on Acceleration Gate. You could make the Gate last 12 seconds and have a 40 second cooldown – because now normal Q’s and empowered Q’s have a purpose – which would actually open up a lot of interesting team cases without making Jayce ‘Team Speed Up all the Time’ guy – but rather Jayce brings ‘Giant Semi-Perma Zone Control in a Team Fight’ guy – or you could set up a siege and start peppering multiple empowered Q’s forward – but as soon as that Gate drops, you know you can rush Jayce, etc.



 Can the Accelerated Shock Blast not deal damage when it reaches the end of its range?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I have not currently tinkered with that – that might be an interesting change if we deem it necessary, although at the moment I want to tackle the fog of war reaction issue first.




 Are you worried that Jayce players will then max W over Q and E?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I suspect that’s kind of what you should do on Live right now, given the Acceleration Gate changes in 3.9.

So.. not particularly, as it can’t be worse than the current optimal Jayce style.



 Any plans to change/rework Jayce’s current passive?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  I have no idea why the flat speed boost is there – but I suspect it’s there to actually cover a bit for the mind-share it takes to transform mid-fight.

As in – it does take more planning and execution to perform swap combos as Jayce – thus the additional movement speed and ghost allows for a bit of grace in terms of mental mind share allowing you to focus on the combo, rather than mouse moving while doing so.

It also has some way additional side benefits in making the transform “feel” right from a visual perspective. Because Jayce changes his walking posture – intuitively, you think that Jayce has slowed down because his center changes.

Agreed that the ghost effect is probably superfluous – but there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to remove it. I also agree that the shifting to lane case is a bit odd but outside of it feeling silly I don’t see negative implications to it.



Isn’t the new W underwhelming for a 6-level spell?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Currently testing at 75%/80%/85%/90%/95%/100% and cooldown from 13/11/9/7/5/3.

Essentially – max rank ‘W’ right now is ‘You have roughly 2.5 Attack Speed while you are in Cannon form’

And.. oddly enough, as ridiculous as that sounds – still far weaker than live due to the priming use case.



Won’t he lose too much damage with these changes?


Xypherous Button Rioter Xypherous:  Hammer ‘W’ adds on-hit magic damage regardless of what form he is in, so Static Field –> Switch –> Hyper Charge makes up for quite a bit of missing damage due to the swap combos (either direction.)




Where are you “shifting the power so that is usable for the vast majority of players”?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  While I’m not listing all of the numerical rebalancing because frankly, it’s going to flux – from the original post there are these following comments:

  • Hammer form simply gives free resistances without needing points put into it.
  • Hammer ‘Q’ has drastically increased base damage
  • Hammer ‘W’ has a magic on-hit proc that can be used in either form
  • Hammer ‘W’ has reduced cooldown per level

From the followup posts in this thread, I’ve talked about:

- Gun ‘W’ having drastically reduced cooldown per level – but cooldown starting when you consume the procs.
- Shock Blasts ‘Q+E’ combo is agnostic of gate location.

You’re absolutely right that I’m not talking about quite a few numbers that matter at the end of the day to see whether these are nerfs or buffs – because in the end, those will be tuning points we’ll have to use.

Agreed that it’s far far easier to notice what is coming down because they’re the factors currently seeing abuse.



Why are you reworking his kit right after the Patch 3.9 nerfs?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  Yes – those nerfs were substantial band-aid hits to his most powerful build. Considering that Jayce already has a below average win rate for most players – it means that the only Jayce players that will be successful now are the ones who can best abuse Jayce’s obtuse strengths.

Which means that if we let the nerfs settle in without changing his kit – only the highest end players will be able to use Jayce. Consider the fact that we haven’t given power back to Jayce anywhere – but only took away power from his best build. Were his other builds viable or playable? General win rate seems to suggest that isn’t so – but currently you’d be crazy to amplify any part of Jayce given that it’ll be a straight buff to the competitive Jayce build.



Are you trying to remove Jayce’s potential as an AD Carry or Caster?


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  To a certain extent, yes.

Currently, the glass DPS form of Jayce doesn’t seem to be providing a ton of healthy gameplay overall – regardless of how strong or weak it is at various brackets, because it seems to emphasize excessive amounts of physical burst, coupled with an inability to build Armor to resist it – with team mobility.



Problems with the new Jayce build


XypherousButton Rioter Xypherous:  Feedback! Awesome.

Again – still not sure when you’re going to get this on the PBE but hopefully we can really hammer on this until Jayce reaches a state where people are comfortable with his style.

Let me talk about some of the points raised here and my initial responses to the changelist proposed:

To The Skies!

I’m running into two problems here – his additional AD ratio on To the Skies! early is creating a large early game spike due to how much flat AD you can stack early – and his AD ratio on To the Skies! late is creating a bigger later-game spike after his full penetration / AD build becomes.

If To The Skies! is supposed to be a good way to melee all-in – having the ability so heavily dependent on the AD ratio for the damage seems odd as it means that Jayce is effective when he’s ahead but fairly poor when he’s behind.

Jayce’s AD ratios late game are fairly ridiculous at the moment – we have to tone this down somehow but there are alternate solutions here.

Okay, so listening to reason here, simply toning down the AD ratio and give it higher base damages, especially with later ranks while keeping it physical damage
 should accomplish what I want it to do – while trying to attack both of the problems listed.

Great - This is why I talk to you guys early because I’m being reckless. Moving on.

Transform Abilities and the oddities of level 6

One of the problems with transform character is that their power level at 6 / 9 get heavily out of sync with other champions.

Hextech Capacitor will add magic damage on changing to either form – and that Hammer will provide passive resistanecs – but with non-linear scaling I can probably add a spike here in resistances / proc damage that will help curb some of the level 6 power here.

Removing the shred will tackle a lot of his abusive power – which means that the Capacitor can hopefully inherit this power.

We’ll also need to remove some of the early level 1 to 3 power – so the curve on Hextech Capacitor should probably spike at 4/6/9 – so I’m going to try something like 5/5/5/20/20/20/40/40/40/65/65/65/95/95/95/130/130/130 magic damage first.

Hextech Capacitor and Hammer Form Resistances will get a spike in power at level 6 and 9 to help smooth out this curve.

Hyper Charge

Starting with 75%/80%/85%/90%/95%/100% may be too drastic for an initial pass – However, the goal here is to really put some power into hammer form as well – rather than a complete hyperscale form based on how many ratios you have.

It’s hard to gauge how much of the power here in lane is from the heavy level-ups on the skill combined with the increase in AD – I’ll try a smoother curve for the first iteration.

The problem case with Hyper Charge is how powerful the lane poke can be and how powerful the late game power can be – however, with 6 ranks in the skill and the new CD formula, I can actually change the levelups on this quite a fact.

Hyper Charge adjusted to – 70/80/90/100/110/120%.
Hyper Charge now deals 100% bonus damage on critical strike, rather than multiplying the whole attack.
Hyper Charge CD adjusted to 13/11/9/7/5/3 – CD starts after the cast finishes.

Let me update the initial post with the key points.





Button Rioter Xypherous:  Quote:
Blind responses (ie, without being able to see them in action):- Reducing his health regen while expecting him to be in melee more seems problematic

 Mana related starts such as Faerie charm is heavily hindered by this change – resulting in a need to purchase early sustain related items. Itemizing right out of the gate for Mana will be poor and generally ineffective due to the need to cover your health bases far more than mana, if aggressively trading.

Trading 2 hp/5 for 3 mp/5 means that you should probably consider starting with sustain related opening moves.

- TTS seems undertuned; at max rank he’ll do less damage if he has 188 or more AD (roughly a bloodthirster or manamune on top of base)

TTS is/has always been bonus AD scaling – so it’s 188 bonus attack damage that it evens out at, so basically a full bloodthirster and manamune and last whisper.

But it’s laaate.

- Thundering Blow: Punishes early game, pushes him even more into continued reliance on tear / manamune, which will marginalize the impact of this change.

Almost every other ability had mana costs reduced for normal Thundering Blow cadence. Repeated Thundering Blow cadence without hard engaging with other spells will almost certainly be OOM.

- Hypercharge – Still seems spammy, mana cost seems prohibitive (once again forcing him into tear builds).

Pure ranged poke + thundering blow pattern will require a lot more mana – certainly true. Builds focused around To the Skies! and aggressive trading will not – ideally.

Accel Gate + Shock Blast combos are also reduced in total cost.

This is the most unrelenting safe attack pattern – so if you want to be safe consistently – you’ll probably be forced into heavy mana.

- Transform: Mercury Cannon – Another nerf. Shred will be missed, but no real opinion beyond that.

Proc is mostly unused power here from players.

If acquired early, mostly a trap to put points into until late.




LCS Summoner Icons + Bundle now available!


lcs banner

The new LCS icons are up for sale! Aaand the price is rather… displeasing.



Magus Button Rioter Magus: Summoners,

During the break we saw five new teams enter the LCS after winning their promotion series. With so much new blood in the LCS waters, the top teams continue to fight for every advantage as they move closer to the Season 3 World Championships.

In the spirit of this rising competition, you can show support for your favorite team by grabbing an official team logo Summoner Icon for any of the North American and European LCS teams in the Summer Split.

When we introduced these Summoner Icons on the PBE, we got a ton of insightful feedback. One thing everyone seemed to notice was that if you follow all teams equally, or if the idea of splitting allegiances makes you squirm, it was hard to collect all of the icons. As a result, we’re introducing new icon bundles that’ll help you pick up all of the Season 3 icons with fewer clicks.

Both of the EU and NA LCS bundles are 1600 RP each, which is 20% off the regular price for the 8 Summoner Icons included in the bundles. You can snag all 16 icons in the Summer Split Bundle for 3000 RP (25% off the regular 4000 RP price).

These icons are now available in the store until the end of the split for 250 RP, and are permanently added to your account. When you purchase a team icon, 20% of the price goes directly to that team as a bonus and the other 80% goes to support esports (prizes, salaries, events, streaming).

To show off your team pride, all Summoner Icons–including the new esports team icons–will be shown on the loading screen before each match.

These LCS team Summoner Icons will be available in the store until the end of the 2013 Summer Split, so support your favorite teams today!


LCS Icons – Support your Team


What do you think of the icon price tags- 250 RP for an icon, 1600 for an 8-icon bundle, 3000 to catch them all? Share below!



 Changes to Sales coming soon!


Skin Sale Decoration

Riot’s newest eCommerce associate, WizardCrab, is here to talk about the on-going plans to handle sales



WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: Hey all!

I’m the new associate in eCommerce here at Riot and I wanted to make my presence on the forums known! I’m happy to talk about anything regarding the semi-weekly champion and skin sales, F2P rotations, new flexible cost bundles, life, football (American), curling, why water chestnuts are the worst, why League needs more Crab-type champions, dogs, cats, east coast living, west coast living, the growing issue of crab underrepresentation in Congress, mini golf, advantages of walking sideways, and I suppose League of Legends. Or whatever.

I’d first like to let you in on a couple of changes regarding the semi-weekly champion and skin sales. I’d like to make the selection criteria a little more transparent. First off, every champion sale will include:

  • 1 975 RP champion
  • 1 880 RP champion
  • 1 790 RP or lower champion

The skins sales will be a little more complicated, so bear with me. Skin sales will now generally follow a pattern over the course of 2 weeks (4 sales):

Sale 1

  • 975 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 2

  • 975 RP skin
  • 1350 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 3

  • 975 RP skin
  • 750 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

Sale 4

  • 975 RP skin
  • 975 RP skin
  • 520 RP skin

This is our attempt to fulfill two main goals with the sales. The first is to get through all of the eligible champions and skins within a semi-reasonable amount of time. The second is to avoid having some weeks of all high tier item sales followed by weeks of all low tier item sales. We would like a more moderate spread every week, and think you might like that too.

I also wanted to let you know that we are planning on releasing some 1350 RP skins in the coming months. With these releases we currently plan on having an initial sale for the first few days at 975 RP.

Anyway, feel free to use this thread to discuss the new sales system or ask me questions about anything (especially the topics above)!



Will you put 1350 skins or legendary skins on sale in the future?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: 1350 skins will go on sale as I outlined. Legendary skins will not go on sale. There are no 1350 Legendary skins (in fact the only Legendary skin that isn’t 1820 is Surprise Party Fiddlesticks). If you’re referring to the three skins that were once 1820 and are now 1350, they are no longer considered legendary and are eligible for sales!



 Will these sales be consistent after the 2 weeks?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  Yes, this will be the new policy moving forward.





Do you plan to increase the number of champions/skins per sale to 4?


 WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  We don’t plan on adding more champions or skins to these sales. But one of the biggest reasons why we added the new bundles was in order to help people get access to more content at reduced price points. And the new schedule should help in general.




Will you put forgotten/aging skins on sale?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  I know there have been a number of highly sought after skins that have not yet been on sale. I’m trying to get them on sale as soon as I can. That’s why I say one of the goals is to get all of the skins on sale. Please don’t expect that I can suddenly put them all up on sale immediately, but I really hope the upcoming sales will speak for themselves.



Any news on the lifetime RP purchase rewards?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab: It’s still a priority but we really don’t have an ETA. There are a number of other pieces that need to fall into place before we an make this happen in an awesome way.




Why doesn’t this sale include 975 RP champions?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  I haven’t actually started this system with the champion sales yet. But it begins on the following sale.




How will you handle the new bundle sales?


WizardCrab Button Rioter WizardCrab:  We’re going to try to put out a new set of limited-time bundles out once per month.





 Champion/Skin Sale – expires July 15th


Sale 15 July

Get the following champions and skins at a discount before 15th July!



  • Miss Fortune – 440 RP
  • Pantheon – 395 RP
  • Vayne – 440 RP



Full Metal Rammus – 487 RP


Full Metal Rammus


High Command Katarina – 375 RP


High Command Katarina


Road Warrior Miss Fortune – 260 RP


Road Warrior Miss Fortune



IMPORTANT: Justin Carter was released from prison after an anonymous person paid the 500 000$ bail cost. The trial is scheduled for next year and he can still face 10 years behind bars, but he’s free until then. The petition, although no longer required, still shows support for his case and has already gathered 125k votes.



Week two has passed and it’s time to see where the teams stand. This has been the most balanced week possible with the three-way second-place tie expanding to a four-way tie, and Cloud9 finally suffering their first loss. The rankings are still primarily based off of wins and head-to-head, but the competition has surprisingly gotten tighter. With week three at MLG Anaheim giving teams three games each, the ties will hopefully get smashed; but the teams have started to show off what they excel at and the LCS is anything but set in stone.

Cloud9 – LCS W/L: 6-1 – LCS Ranking: 1 – Power Ranking: 1.

Cloud9 reigns supreme, but Earth looks a whole lot closer after their most recent results. This week was very different from week one for the Cloud brothers with their first loss and a very tight win. It was only two games however, and while they didn’t win the week, they’re still two wins ahead of the competition. C9 has a particular strength that makes it very difficult for them to fall too far behind in games: dragon control. Like clockwork the team is picking up dragons early and coming back every six minutes for that extra thousand gold. Even in games where they’re down in towers or kills, the fact that they have such a rigid focus on dragon means that by the 30 minute mark they’ve made 3000 to 4000 in dragon gold – keeping them from falling behind. This strength could be turned into a weakness however, and teams may start bullying around Cloud9 if they become too predictable with dragon approaches.

~Note: Second place power rankings are primarily based off head to head scores~

Team Solo Mid Snapdragon – LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 2.
TSM is in a weird spot compared to their Season One selves. Their strengths used to be that they never had a negative week, and only once went even in wins and losses. However it’s week two and they’ve already had their “one even week” by going 1-1 and the rest of North America seems to be keeping steady with them. TSM is strong this season, but so is everyone else. TSM’s biggest weakness right now seems to be their ability to adapt to bad situations. In TSM vs CLG, TSM took a very direct approach to fighting CLG: push lanes and hope to kite back once CLG engages with their heavy-engage team. The problem was that CLG had too much engagement and TSM would only kite after having lost 1-2 to the Malphite ult. TSM’s discipline was amazing, but unfortunately the strategy itself was lackluster in that circumstance.

Team Coast - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 3.
Coast’s champion picks are still exciting as hell to watch, but unfortunately for them, crazy picks are not guaranteed to work out. They are the warriors wielding awesome champion choices, but their aggressive snowball-style tends to melt against more stable team compositions, if not successful early on. Of the second place luchadores, they’re the hardest to predict the future for. Every game where they pick very snowball-oriented characters like Fiddlesticks or Riven, is a game that can end in 20 minutes for either side. It’s how they play though and if teams can’t adapt to their constant aggressive playstyle, they could easily skyrocket to first place. One way or another Coast is going to break this tie; the question is do they go up or straight down? Though there is the possibility that some teams could adapt while others get left for dead, giving Coast very unique strengths and weaknesses on a team-to-team basis.

Counter Logic Gaming - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 4.
This Week’s Winner
Counter Logic Gaming showed some vastly improved play this week as the role-swapped members have gotten comfortable enough to secure a 2-0 finish for the week. CLG’s biggest growth wasn’t individual player skill however, though Nientonsoh and BigfatLP have gotten much better since last week, but the team’s coordination. Cloud9 vs CLG’s level-one fight was a great example of this:  CLG expected an aggressive play, spammed wards from multiple players, and turned an aggressive invade into two free kills. Ward placement and the very meta-specific route CLG took to avoid wards were all team decisions. Meta-specific decisions used to be CLG’s strong suit back in 2012; the team said they didn’t adhere to the meta, but in reality they played with strategies that had a little influence from the meta or even countered it. They can deal with the strategy of the week, but they have to make sure that the players don’t get comfortable and be sure to expand their champion pools. They went 2-0 once, can they keep it up?


Vulcun TechBargains – LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 2 – Power Ranking: 5.

Vulcun has the very confusing “weak spot” of the second placers. They lost to both TSM and Coast, beat CLG – but CLG is the only team to have taken down Cloud9 – hence fifth place. However they’re still tied for second place and even if they’re in a theoretical fifth place they’re in a very comfortable position for how Vulcun plays. Vulcun doesn’t necessarily have the consistency of TSM, but last season, after Bloodwater joined the team, they would mirror a terrible week with a great week. The fact that they’re only two wins up from 7th place isn’t terrific, but if they can maintain an even win ratio they’ll most likely make it to the playoffs- where the team’s Bo3 skill comes into play. Their game versus Cloud9 showed a moment of disorganization however, when two quick picks led to Cloud9 gaining very quick momentum late in the game. That mistake could have been one sloppy mistake, rather than a continuous problem, but MLG’s games will reveal that. Vulcun has cleaned up their act when it comes to “carry” status on the team, now everyone has a chance at it (including Bloodwater), but more standard issues that teams have should reveal themselves over time.


Team Dignitas - LCS W/L: 4-3 – LCS Ranking: 6 – Power Ranking: 6.

Dignitas showed some steady improvement this week, but the team is similar to Curse in that improvements still need to be made. They’re only one win behind the other teams though, and with every team having the same number of games played it’s not too shabby of a spot to be in- since they’re theoretically two wins from second place. They were able to stomp Coast, and were counter-stomped by Curse, which puts them in the middle of the NA pack. The team does have an issue when it comes to their approach towards games. This happened last season but it wasn’t uncommon for Dignitas to underestimate the strength of a team and get blasted as a result. This might have happened in week two versus Curse, due to their perceived weakness, but this should be a smaller issue as enough teams have beaten Dignitas to give a great perspective.


 Curse - LCS W/L: 2-5 – LCS Ranking: 7 – Power Ranking: 7.

Curse showed a spark this week, going 1-1 and looking fearsome in their victory against Dignitas. Edward is playing very well, and the rest of the team has started to regain their former glory. While they’re still in a rough state, they’re steadily transitioning into their former selves. Based off statements from last week, Curse was both distracted by E3 and also adjusting to Edward, the first week shenanigans may have been due to a lack of practice. It’s not by any means a good excuse since the game should be taking priority, but it is a problem that can be fixed. If it truly was bad practice prior to the first week, then by the end of the season Curse will have had a chance to win their way back to the top six and possibly secure top two. It’s going to be a tough road, but if they are able to stay confident and stay practiced they could be the Curse from early Spring Split once more.


 Velocity eSports - LCS W/L: 1- 6 – LCS Ranking: 8 – Power Ranking: 8.

Velocity was the only team this week not to secure a win, resulting in a 0-2 week and last place in both rankings and power rankings. The good news is that it’s still early in the season and it’s still very possible for Velocity to take the top six and represent themselves in the playoffs. However, the problems from last week remained the same this week. They can play well in the early game and come out ahead, but they’re not pressing a huge advantage. Similar to Vulcun versus Cloud9, someone will get caught out in the mid-game and Velocity will lose any advantage they’ve accrued. The team needs to find a way to transition out of their strong early game to a powerful snowball, and it’s just not happening. If an analyst looked at the first 20 minutes of Velocity’s games they’d look like a very strong team, but there is some aspect to their play or picks that is holding them back. The team needs a lot of work, and if it’s not done soon, the playoffs are quickly slipping away from them.


No disappointment this week! Teams either met perceived notions or did better than anticipated. North America is a helluva lot closer than anyone anticipated. No team is perfect however and as team strengths and weaknesses reveal themselves, it’s going to be up to the teams to adapt and change on a game to game basis. It’s still early in the season though, and even little Velocity can find their way into the playoffs.



It may be the year of the serpent- but it’s the week of the Yordle, Kennen has been showing his furry face in the LCS again. We’re going to take a look at the favored Yordle and figure out why this Ionian has gone from a 0% Pick or Ban rate in the North American LCS to a whopping 90%. When a character becomes a common staple in LCS games there has to be some quality that transitioned them from viable to vital. It’s time to explore a little bit of Kennen’s history and his current skill-set in order to figure out why he’s so strong.

How does Kennen fare early game?

When weighing the viability of a champion, the first question always asked is “how does the champ lane (or jungle)?” It’s important to remember that professional League of Legends laning has a lot more variation than normal play. Lanes have been swapping like crazy and junglers are getting different amounts of buffs. The normal 1v1 top, 1v1 mid, and 2v2 bottom setup, or even the common 1v2 top, 1v1 mid, and 2v1 bottom setup aren’t even close to being guaranteed. While he has been run as an AD Carry in the post, his resurgence in the scene is based primarily off his soloing capabilities- particularly the solo off-lane (1v2 or 1v1 Top/Bot).

In this older video, Kennen is able to kill Irelia due to his high poke damage before the fight starts.

In the 1v1 Top/Bot:
Kennen is an amazing 1v1 champion in the laning phase. He has the range of a standard AD Carry (550), a very high base attack speed, an escape ability, a stun, and a really powerful level six all-in ability. What that leads to is really aggressive level one pressure with Kennen constantly autoattacking and throwing out Thundering Shurikens. This constant pressure doesn’t really stop as he levels up and unlocks his other abilities. Lightning Rush is both an initiation tool and escape tool, and Electrical Surge works as both a great pressure tool and a solid disengage. If he’s against a lower-range character, or someone who needs levels before they’re effective – like Vladimir – Kennen applies enough pressure to control the lane. If it’s a lane he can’t win, he can always play a safer game focusing on farm via autoattacking and tossing out Shurikens.

In the 1v2 Top/Bot:

It was surprising to hear that Kennen was played as a 1v2er, since at first glance he seems too squishy to spend enough time in the lane. However, his Q can be used to help last hit creeps, and eventually can be spammed to try and keep a creepwave smaller and more manageable. Lightning Rush is one of the best anti-dive skills in the game for the 1v2, it provides a tiny bit of tankiness and enough movespeed to escape characters using ghost, and is also available before most players have boots. An organized 3v1 turret dive can survive single-target CCs and Elise’s Rappel, but if they can’t reach Kennen in the first place he’s safe. Doran’s Blade is also a popular starting item, allowing Kennen to fight off a support with his high AD while providing more HP to survive ganks. He has decent kill potential with a jungle gank due to his CC and ability to close the distance on those pesky non-mobile supports. Having someone who can’t really fail alleviates a lot of pressure, since he’ll either be freefarming or dodging ganks.

Cloud9′s Kennen player Hai

What does he do mid to late game?

Kennen has a forgiving power-curve where he stays generally strong, with the exception of a mid-game lull where he’s easily blown up, but doesn’t quite have his Zhonya’s. If the Yordle goes in without that Zhonya’s as the first initiator, he dies, and he dies quickly. Once he does pick up the Hourglass or if someone else is hard initiating first like Zac, that issue is gone. When he does initiate, it is an incredibly disruptive action and has ridiculously high damage. His stun is only one second long, but it’s likely to trigger a second time.

But what about his damage?

His damage is absolutely insane. In a team fight one of Kennen’s big goals is to get close to an important squishy enemy, and land every skill he can on them. His reliable single target burst at level 11 with 100 AP is 1220, which with an Ignite can kill an AD carry very easily. His AoE damage is less consistent, but if optimal he’s only missing a Shuriken, which still leaves him dealing 910 damage. What gets more impressive is how well Kennen scales, with his whopping 3.5:1 Single Target AP Ratio, and 1:2.75 AoE Ratio. Once he builds a Zhonya’s he can survive long enough to output his crazy damage, and at that point it’s up to his team to have some decent clean up and lockdown to win team fights. The reason his ratios are so comparable to a character like Veigar is due to all his abilities having AP Ratios unlike casters like Annie and Veigar, and the bonkers 1.2:1 AP Ratio max single target damage on his ultimate.

What made him popular?

Kennen has had great damage output, crowd control, and initiation for quite a while now, even before he started getting picked around the world. He had massive usability issues though, due to a resource that other champions aren’t quite as limited by: Energy. All of his skills used to need quite a bit of energy, including his ultimate, and using his full combo required more than his maximum energy allowed. He does have a total of 65 energy return from his passive and Lightning Rush, but it’s not always possible for Kennen to close the gap, and Electrical Surge can’t proc the passive if the Kennen is trying to hold the spell for when his ultimate is activated.

When his ultimate still used energy, a level 11 Kennen using his Slicing Maelstrom needed the following: 45 energy on a max rank Shuriken, 45 on Electrical Surge, 100 on a Rank 1 Lightning Rush, and finally 45 on his ultimate. That’s 235 energy, which means if anything happens to his energy management his efficiency goes way down and he has to wait for energy – a death sentence in tight games. That issue is gone though, and his counterplay is limited.

Ways to Counter Kennen

There’s one amazing way to counter Kennen: knockbacks. Someone like Janna can use Monsoon to knock Kennen away and keep him from getting that solid ultimate down. A champion like Ezreal might be able to get away easily, but if Kennen isn’t knocked back himself then Lightning Rush will let him keep up with Ezreal and keep pecking away with his ultimate. Heavy disengagement really is the key, but heavy disengagement isn’t highly valued in the LCS right now. It was shown by CLG vs Cloud9 though, that the more skills you have to keep Kennen away, the less he can do.


To recap:

He wins or survives both 1v1 and 1v2 lanes.
He doesn’t have a huge weakness at any point in the game.
His damage and usability are crazy.
His usability has gone through the roof since they changed his energy costs
His only real counter is the unpopular heavy disengagement


It makes sense that he’s being picked now, and hell, he should have seen earlier play, but it’s cool to see him where he is. It’s unlikely that Kennen will stay top tier for very long as disengage gets more valued, but it’s very cool to see his quick growth. If you have any questions or comments about the character, feel free to leave a comment or follow me @LeagueOfStudio.


-Christopher “Studio” Grant

Categories: Esports, Original Content Tags: , ,