Category Archives: League of Legends

The Bird is the Word, and an Unnecessary Nerf

Before this week of LCS play kicks off, and OGN Summer starts soon, I had a few thoughts on early LCS play and the OGN qualifiers.

The hyper-carry is back. High damage, high risk champions like Kog’maw and Twitch have made their way back into competitive play in the Spring and Summer season, expanding a not-so-stagnant AD Carry pool (I’ve personally witnessed the successful competitive play of every AD Carry except Ashe and Urgot). Recently Alliance of the EU LCS threw a wrench in the hyper-carry composition by adding Anivia as a mid-laner. Alliance’s midlaner, Froggen, is a well known Anivia expert, and they used her late game scaling and excellent zoning to protect the AD Carry in their two wins last week. A second preferred component of the composition is Thresh, the do-it-all support that has excellent engage, disengage, peel, tankiness, and crowd control. Don’t worry though, we’ll nerf someone straight out of competitive play first (more on that later). I love Thresh, I really do, but he’s does almost everything with very little downside/counterplay.

So how do you pick against the hyper-carry comp? With hard engage and backline diving champs. I suspect we will see more Vi again in the jungle, as the rise of Morgana as a support hurt Vi. Banning Morgana, which does happen sometimes, means Vi becomes Vi-able again (yes, you just read that). Early game junglers are still preferred, but hyper-carry comps are happy to go late game, so jungle ganks before level 6 might not be the end of the world.

You can also counter the hyper-carry comp with bans targeted at the preferred supports or AD carries. Currently we see the vast majority of bans aimed at mid lane, then jungle or top lane. That could change. I’m curious whether we will see Anivia bans against Alliance, and I suspect we will.

I’m supremely disappointed with Riot’s quick decision to nerf Soraka out of competitive play. The Soraka pick opened up the mid lane, by either letting her through the ban phase or opening up a different midlaner by banning her. I thought that change to her silencing ability was ok, but didn’t like the damage reduction of her Starfall (Q). In addition, my biggest gripe of all was not letting the pro players work out a counter. She was a fun pick to see, and her composition encouraged small skirmishes all game long. It’s too bad it was gone in a flash.

Quick Hitters:

– TSM is a mess, I’m not sure Coach Locodoco can fix it.

– LMQ is the real deal, but probably not the best team in NA right now.

– Dignitas is playing incredible right now, and I see flashes of excellence from Cloud 9. Cloud 9 has some issues to sort out, but at their highest level are the best team in NA. Dignitas could get there though, the two additions from Coast and the coaching have done wonders for that team.

– Alliance looks fantastic, and I think the improved map play makes them the best team in Europe. SK is very good, but I’m not sure their individual skills are strong enough when they play other teams with good map movements.

– Fnatic is playing just good enough for them to think things don’t need to change. They’re wrong. As far as I’m concerned, even if they win the EU Summer Split, they are irrelevant to the world stage. They are incredibly skilled, but they take terrible trades in objectives and don’t play the map.

– Samsung is really really really scary good. Odds on favorite for a Season 4 World Championship. Wake up early to watch OGN or Masters and you’ll see what I mean.

Gaming Roundup

I’ve intended to write a blog post every week for almost 2 months, but I always end up doing something else. No more I say, time to write again. Of course, then there was the issue of what to write about, as I have been barely playing World of Warcraft lately. I’m not sure what has been keeping me away, but I just haven’t felt the pull of WoW outweigh Starcraft 2, League of Legends, or XCOM lately. So I settled on just changing my focus to gaming in general, and write about what I’ve been up to.

I purchased XCOM on Steam a few weeks ago and was addicted almost immediately. I’ve always been a sucker for turn-based strategy with games like HOMM and Lords of the Realm (I still play Heroes of Might & Magic 3, and found a way to play online with my brother as well), and XCOM is a twist on that with turn-based combat and soldier movement. The story is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the value of the game, and I found the user experience to be pretty enjoyable. I defeated the game on Normal without much fuss, and decided to try my hand at Ironman Classic difficulty. It’s exceptionally difficult, and I have a feeling that its going to keep me coming back.

One of the reasons I needed to purchase a new computer was that Diablo 3 and upcoming Blizzard games were no longer going to support the video card in my iMac. I love my new computer, but I admit to being a little disappointed in Diablo 3. I recently found the time to complete my first play-through on Normal with my Monk, and enjoyed it quite a lot. The disappointment surfaces after that. I’m really supposed to play the entire game again, only harder? I really don’t think I get it, but I’ve created a few new characters of different classes, figuring it would be fun to play them through. So far though, this hasn’t drawn me in at all, and I don’t get the attraction of repeating the game with a more powerful version of my original character.

League of Legends has been an absolute blast to play, and I can feel myself getting better, which is cool. The problem is that there is still not a clear role that I excel at or enjoy, but Attack Damage Carry (ADC) I’ve ruled out – I just don’t enjoy it. I have, however, had excellent runs as a single lane bruiser, jungler, mid-lane Ability Power Carry, and Support. Unfortunately  I’m almost exclusively stuck playing support in most PvP games, as most other players prefer the glory of a high kill count. And I swear, after the Sejuani rework I’m going to work her top lane, jungle, AND support. You’ll see.

I’ve also had a lot of fun watching the NA and EU LCS. This competitive series is so well run, and while I dislike the observer UI for LoL, I’ve learned a lot and had a good time watching the powerhouse teams rock games without losing a single turret, while occasionally the weaker teams come up with a monster performance and knock off a heavy favorite. Riot has a winning formula in their hands and I think they know it. Now if only the observer screen wasn’t so awful.

Starcraft 2 launched its expansion Heart of the Swarm and I urge all of you who love gaming to pick this up, even if its only for the campaign. This is the most fun I’ve had playing a video game since I got Mario Brothers 2 brand new back in the day and stayed up all hours of the night trying to beat it. The teaching missions and the story were excellent, and the game is much more user friendly than its predecessor Wings of Liberty, especially to new players. I won’t get into SC2:HotS too much here, as I have another post dedicated to it coming up.

Warcraft has waned on me, probably because I have lost my passion for raiding and now feel that I need to re-invent myself in game before deciding to re-enter the fray. It doesn’t help that most of our members are on mountain and pacific time now and we’ve had to move our start time back to 10 pm eastern. I mean, damn, I’m 32 years old with two kids – there’s a good chance I’m unconscious by that time. I’m going to focus on playing my alts, and slowly working on my Leodar’s rep (not even revered with Golden Lotus – don’t ask), because I still love the game, and I think Mists of Pandaria really is an exceptional expansion – I just need to find my place in it right now.

Happy gaming and happy hunting to you.