Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The 2013 All-Stars Shanghai Overview

This weekend starts the 2013 All-Stars event in Shanghai, China. The All-Stars event allows one team from each region to fight against other regions around the world. The teams will consist of members of that region being voted in by the fans. The regions that are considered are North America, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and Korea. Since Southeast Asia’s powerhouse team, Taipei Assassins, won the Season two Championships, Southeast Asia get a free entry into Round 2. The winners of the grand final of the All-Stars event will secure a spot into the Season 3 World Championships as a Bye position. With the matches being played to the best of three, the first round will also be a double-elimination. The event will also be played on the Frejlord patch, with Lissandra, Trundle, and Sejuani disabled.

For the first two days of the All-Stars event,  matches will start late at night for North America, which will be 10 PM PDT and 1 AM EDT and won’t end until roughly seven hours later. The final day of the event will start at 7 PM PDT and 10 PM EDT and end roughly eight hours later again since the Grand Finals will start at 12 AM PDT and 3 AM EDT.

The format of the brackets is considered as:

Round 1
North America vs China
Europe vs Korea
(Losers bracket of the Round 1)

Round 2
Southeast Asia will face whoever wins North America vs China
Europe or Korea will face whoever wins the Losers bracket of Round 1.

Round 3
The winners of Round 2 will face off in the Grand Finals of Round 3.

At the end of April ended the final All-Stars roster voting with China counting their votes. Being the first to know, North America and Europe received their votes in the middle of April, while Southeast Asia and Korea received them a week later. Here are the rosters for the All-Stars teams.

North America

Top: Dyrus
Jungle: Saintvicious
Mid: Scarra
AD Carry: Doublelift
Support: Xpecial
Coach: Liquid112

Most of us know that Dyrus is one of the most solid Top laners next to Voyboy in North America. Known for his awesome Shen, Singed, and Rumble play, Dyrus makes a perfect fit for North America. Even though Saintvicious is known most for missing his Smite and “confirming” stuff on his stream, Saintvicious has a wide knowledge of the Jungle and hopes to give the power needed to exceed with his amazing calls as the shot caller for North America. Scarra is best known for his informative streams and his amazing Diana, Katarina, and Gragas plays. Doubelift claims he is the best AD Carry mechanically and we’ll get to see it during their Round 1 match against China. Xpecial is best known for his Crescendos on Sona and is not scared to play an amazing Thresh during games. With team Curse’s manager, Liquid112, to coach the North American team, we shouldn’t underestimate North America in the All-Stars games.


Top: sOAZ
Jungle: Diamondprox
Mid: Alex Ich
AD Carry: Yellowpete
Support:  Edward
Coach: hxd

The French man himself, sOAZ from team Fnatic, won the spot to represent Europe for top lane as him and Evil Geniuses’ Wickd played out a 1v1 Top Lane match. sOAZ is best known for his amazing bruiser pool, like Jayce, Kha’Zix, and Zed, and his smart split-pushing tactics during the Spring LCS. The powerhouse team, Gambit Gaming, got its chance to send three of its members to the All-Stars roster. With some people saying he’s one of the best Junglers in the world, next to Korea’s InSec, Diamondprox will represent the European All-Stars as their Jungler. Bringing unusual champions to the Mid-lane, like Zilean and AP Master Yi, Alex Ich represents the Mid-lane for the All-Stars. In a bruiser-styled metagame, we’ll hope to see perfect double-bruiser team compositions from the European team between sOAZ and Alex Ich. On AD Carry for Evil Geniuses’, Yellowpete gets to compete for the chance of bringing Europe one step closer to the winners of the Season 3 World Championships. Yellowpete is best known for his Kog’Maw and Varus plays. The Thresh Prince himself, Edward from Gambit Gaming, is taking the spot as Europe’s Support. Edward can be very aggressive as a Support player and even considers himself as a “Support-Carry”. With Fnatic’s coach, hxd, it’s safe to say that the European roster is full of strong picks and we should definitely see them at least in Round 2 if they can beat the Korean team.

Southeast Asia

Top: Stanley
Jungle: HarLeLuYar
Mid: Toyz
AD Carry: Chawy
Support: MiSTakE
Coach: Puffs

Having two members and one previous member of the Season 2 World Champions, Taipei Assassins, on their roster and two members from the Singapore Sentinels, Southeast Asia is definitely one of the strongest rosters for the All-Stars event. In Top lane is Stanley, who is considered one of the best Nidalee players in the world. Stanley’s Jayce is strong and his Shen is even strongerWith HaRleLuYaR’s insane Lee Sin plays, the other regions should be scared if Lee Sin is ever picked. Bringing the most intense Orianna plays to the Season 2 Championship games, Toyz should not be overlooked, especially if given Twisted Fate. Hailing from DoTA2, Chawy will be playing on AD Carry. Chawy is best known for playing his AD Carrys as a Mid-lane plays Mid, with constant harass and always using his spells. Once played as the Support player for Taipei Assassins, and now for Taipei Snipers, MiSTakE can be best known for his Blitz and Janna plays. With Garena coach, Puffs, Southeast Asia should synergize their strengths and make no room to show any weakness if they wish to win the All-Stars event. Southeast Asia also should not let their Round 2 spot underestimate their opponents that win Round 1.


Top: Shy
Jungle: InSec
Mid: Ambition
AD Carry: PraY
Support: Madlife
Coach: Reach

Probably the most popular region, known for their insane early-game plays and cheesing, Korea is definitely a force to reckon with. Giving the highest plays with Singed, Jax, and Rumble, Shy is a tough Top-laner. Between himself and Diamondprox, InSec is classified as one of the best Junglers in the world. InSec brought Zed to the Jungle table and has almost perfect mechanics with Lee Sin. Considered as one of the most consistent Mid-laners, Ambition brings great Ryze, Orianna, and Diana plays to team compositions. With a narrow spot for the best AD Carry between many fans, next to Doublelift and WeiXiao, PraY’s mechanics can achieve an early First Blood with the help of his Support, Madlife. Madlife is known for his absolutely amazing and almost perfect Blitzcrank and Thresh plays. With a wide aggressive Support pool, Madlife is definitely one of the deciding factors on what other regions need to pick and ban if they wish to shutdown Korea. As a Starcraft: Brood War retired Pro player, coach for NaJin e-mFire, and now the coach of the Korean All-Stars team, Reach will definitely give Korea the chance they need to reach the Grand Finals.


Top: PDD
Jungle: Troll
Mid: Misaya
AD Carry: WeiXiao
Support: XiaoXiao
Coach: Aaron

Much like Europe’s All-Star roster, China also had the chance to get three members of a single team, team World Elite. But first, coming from Invictus Gaming, Top laner PDD is one of the highest ranking players on the Chinese server. PDD’s consistencies are sure to stick with him as he enters Round 1 against North America’s Dyrus. Known previously as ClearLove, Team World Elite's Troll can also bring Lee Sin to the table like the rest of the Asian All-Star Junglers. With Nocturne getting popular, we might see Troll play Nocturne in a composition or two. If there was a player that could bring more global pressure to a team, it’s definitely Misaya with his Twisted Fate. If China can secure Shen, Nocturne, and Twisted Fate in the same composition, it may be bad news for North America and possibly Southeast Asia in the first two rounds. Reaching number one of the Korean leaderboards, WeiXiao is going to be tough to beat; especially since Blue Ezreal now exists and Vayne is still a solid pick. WeiXiao gets the opportunity to be supported by XiaoXiao, a wonderful Sona and Lulu player. Not only are three members of team World Elite on China’s roster, but so is their coach, Aaron. Aaron will create opportunities that the China All-Stars team will need if they wish to secure the region’s spot into the Season 3 World Championship.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Overview of the Season 3 Summer Promotion Series

 This weekend kicked off with the Season 3 summer Promotion series for the North American region. On the first day, the Challenger teams faced off in a best of three games.

The first match of the day was Quantic Gaming (formerly team Orbit). Quantic faced off against team Astral Poke that resulted in Quantic taking the first win with a 2-0 lead. Next, is Velocity eSports (formerly Dirt Nap Gaming) versus The Salad Bar. The Salad Bar picked up the first game but lost the next two matches to Velocity eSports, giving Velocity the chance to fight team Marn on Saturday. After the Velocity win, team Summon and Ranked 5’s winners Fidelis matched up and team Summon got the win with 2-0. The final match of the day would be between team DoubleBuff (formerly known as 1 Trick Ponies) and Azure Cats. Azure Cats bring home the win 2-0 and get to face CLG on Sunday.

After the Challenger matches were completed, the winners of those matches got to face the bottom two teams of the spring LCS and the two losing teams of the Playoffs. The matches played out to a best of five games.

Quantic Gaming got to face off against the bottom team of the spring LCS, team CompLexity. Quantic looked strong in all of the games they played and took home the next spot in the summer season, knocking CompLexity out 3-0. With their win against The Salad Bar the day before, Velocity eSports got its hands on seventh placed, team Marn. Marn played strong and definitely their best, however got the losing decision of going 2-3 against Velocity eSports. Since team Marn are now out of the LCS, word of Marn, their manager, is that the team will now disband (http://marnorz.blogspot.com/2013/05/so.html). Sunday started the final day of the Promotion series that consisted of matches of Dignitas vs team Summon and Azure Cats versus CLG. Since Dignitas lost against Good Game University on the first day of the Playoffs, Dignitas had to save themselves when brought up against team Summon. Dignitas played the best they could to take the win 3-1 against team Summon. Team Dignitas is back in the summer LCS! The final matches would become the strongest matches of the entire weekend with Counter Logic Gaming vs Azure Cats. CLG takes home the spot to remain in the LCS for the summer as they won against Azure Cats 3-0, giving Azure Cats no breathing room, much like Quantic Gaming did to team CompLexity.

With the Promotion series now over, the final teams that will be in the summer season are as followed:

Team Solomid
Good Game University
Team Curse
Team Vulcun
Quantic Gaming
Velocity eSports
Team Dignitas
Counter Logic Gaming

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Opinion on the LCS

I don't think the LCS is fair for competing teams nor the whole “Job Security”. The Season begins with a Qualifying/Promotion series to see which four other teams make it into the actual Season. With the Spring season now over, it begins with the summer Promotion series, where the bottom four teams of the Spring season now need to face one of the four teams that beat another qualifying team (8 qualifying teams in total, 4 teams from the bottom-four of the last season’s LCS).

I do have a conflicting pro/con of this. The Pro is that it allows new teams (the qualifiers)  to come into the LCS rather than the same eight teams that we see in the LCS already. The Con, however, is that a team that doesn't qualify for the next season’s LCS has to win either a qualifying event spot or get Top 5 in Ranked 5’s in order to place in the Promotion series.

Some teams might disband if they feel like they cannot get a high enough rank to place. Take for example, CLG. CLG lost the Playoff match against Vulcun 2-1. If CLG loses to Azure Cats tomorrow night, they might disband because of their recent lack of success and games won. This doesn't necessarily mean that the players on that team will retire, but it will set the players back. The disbanding team members will then have to find a new team and climb that Top 5 ladder or qualify within events just to only get into the LCS Qualifiers or Promotion series.

Even though it depends on the region, I’ll use North America for example, the teams aren't consistent enough. GGU, who placed 2nd in the Spring Playoffs, almost beating TSM 2-3, were the team that got 6th place in the spring season alone. If GGU can beat team Dignitas and team Curse, both 2-1 in the Playoffs, then it really does say something about consistency.  As I'm writing this, team Complexity just lost 3-0 to team Quantic, who is a qualifying team. Complexity did so well in the final weeks of the spring season but yet is falling short to a qualifying team that didn't even qualify for the spring Qualifiers.

I know that things change; like Quantic’s roster did with adding Meteos, Balls, and SneakyCastro, which help become a better factor for winning, but for the teams that don't have constant roster changes (CLG and team Dignitas for example), it might hinder that team’s future. If these teams don't improve on what is making them lose matches, they will either disband or will never be seen in the LCS again.

I hope this all makes sense, but I just don't agree with the format Riot is using for successful teams, especially if the region is not consistent. Maybe it might all change next season, for example, TSM. TSM was in 4th place by the end of Week 9. With Dignitas and Curse losing their matches and TSM winning all five of their matches, it brought TSM straight into 1st. One factor why this happened is because of their roster change of replacing Chaox with Wildturtle in Week 6. If TSM becomes consistent because of Wildturtle, then you have one more consistent team within the region.