TwoHp’s League of Legends North American Regionals Preview

Hey everyone! I was fortunate enough to get invited to contribute an article to a fantastic blog that I am a fan of. Give the article a read, and make sure you give Phoenix Down some well deserved likes.

Who knows, if we contribute enough likes she might even let me write some more articles 😉

TwoHp’s League of Legends North American Regionals Preview.

A Thresh Play and Some Notes

Probably my favorite thing about Thresh is that he can take the high risk position altering moves of his allies and totally negate the risk. Picture a Kass or a Trist who can hop into the battle and then take a lantern ride out. Now here’s one you might not have thought of…

Don’t try this trick without a bit of practice. Some friends and myself tried to get this to happen in a custom Howling Abyss game and couldn’t make it work. Your timing has to be pretty much perfect, and my clicking skills certainly weren’t up to it.

Shame no one plays Urgot that much any more. You probably see ADC Thresh more often. Speaking of which, if you are building ADC Thresh I highly recommend working a Wit’s End into your build. It gives you badly needed attack speed and allows each of your auto attacks to do a bunch more damage. Even when you build damage on Thresh most of what you are doing is actually magic damage and not physical damage.

As most of you are aware, the last Thresh nerf took away a good chunk of his base health and basically all of his armor. I believe he starts with something like 12 armor, and I will see a lot of Thresh’s running around with 18 armor at level one. This is simply not enough armor to exist in an average lane.

Even if you spend most of your time sitting back and waiting to land a hook, your hooks have to basically be perfect because you will either have to land them from long range or you will have taken a ton of damage as you ran up to cast it. Add in the fact that you now virtually cannot miss picking up a single soul (or you will never get armor) and you can have a very rough laning phase. This has led to a lot of Thresh players maxing their shields first and simply serving as a pure utility bot, trying to survive and get a few souls to make it to late game when Thresh’s hooks and lanterns can be game changing.

If you want to keep on playing Thresh like you did in the old days, getting in close for hooks or to put down some damage on the ADC, then I highly recommend making an armor heavy rune page. Mine has armor reds, quints, and yellows with magic resist blues. You still need some MR and I find that you get enough armor from this page and having three points in that utility. I like this armor heavy page because the passive on Thresh’s E still allows him to do decent damage in trades, and the extra armor not only allows you to walk up close for hooks but will actually let you trade a bit.

The extra armor will get you through to the late game where your souls will start to make you tanky enough to survive most punishment. Maybe a lack of magic or armor pen does hurt his late game damage, but honestly, most solo que games are decided in the laning phase. Anything that makes your laning phase easier definitely helps your chances of winning the game.

Thresh is still my favorite support, but he certainly isn’t what he used to be. I will now definitely chose Blitz over Thresh if I have the choice. Blitz is just much more tanky at the early levels, and trust me, if you get an early grab on a Thresh who only has 16 armor you are basically guaranteed to see him blow his Flash and possibly lose his life.

Phage out this Weekend

Hey everyone. As most of you know Patch 3.10a recently went live on the servers. I feel bad because I did not get around to doing one of my patch previews. I like to look at the patches, break them down a bit and give you key things to look for. Well, after playing a bit on 3.10a, I want to give you something to look for. That something is the new Phage.

Phage has always been an interesting and fairly frustrating item. It gave your auto attacks a chance to slow your opponent, which seems awesome, but mostly this just led to people complaining about Phage never proc’ing. You would build Phage if you were working on a Trinity Force or a Frozen Mallet, but both of those items have largely fallen out of favor. Tri Force has been replaced by items that generate more attack damage, pen, or CDR. Frozen Mallet has been replaced by other health items that also offer Armor instead of just health – making them a bit more useful for tanks looking to get tanky for cheap.

Now Phage has been changed, and I think you can see why it is going to be a bit of beast. For 1250 gold you get an item that gives you 200 health and 20 attack damage. That part sounds pretty average, and it really is. What is amazing is Phage’s new passive. Every time you fire off an auto attack your champ gets 20 bonus movement speed for two seconds. Score a kill (yes this can be on minions) and you get 60 bonus movement speed for two seconds. Considering most items give you a measly 5% to 10% bonus movement speed, gaining a flat 20 or 60 movement speed really is pretty incredible.

Let’s look at the numbers a bit more. Most champions operate in the high 300’s, in terms of movement speed, once they have tier two boots. A few rare ones operate in the low 400’s, but usually not without some enhancements or items. Using the new Phage most champions will be able to consistently operate with around 410 movement speed will auto attacking. Kill a creep or two and your champ will be operating closer to 430/440. There are not a lot of champions in the game that can escape from that kind of mobility. Two seconds might not seem like a lot of time, but considering it refreshes each time you auto attack, you can keep the speed boost up fairly consistently if you have any amount of attack speed.

I ran some test runs using an AD Teemo. Teemo does have a built in movement speed steroid, so his numbers are a little on the extreme, but I will tell you that I was operating around 430 movement speed while auto attack and around 500 when I would kill some minions. Once I added Furor boots (which give you an additional 12% movement speed for two seconds with each auto attack) my numbers went up yet again.

Teemo is a bit of an exception, but imagine a Vayne with Phage and Furor boots hunting you down. You are not escaping that. I even have a hard time picturing most champions catching pretty much any ADC with these move speed enhancers. Can you imagine trying to catch an Ezreal or Tristana with around 450 movement speed? I can’t.

Two things will probably be factors in determining how popular the new Phage becomes. I believe it’s benefits are best felt on ranged auto attackers, but Phage doesn’t really build into any of the standard items that these types of champs are looking to build. Currently, the only thing it builds into is Trinity Force. While not exactly a bad item to have, Trinity Force has kind of fallen out of favor and isn’t the best option for ADC’s who don’t use a lot of spells. Some champs, like Corki, Ezreal, and Nidalee to name a few, once constantly built Tri Force. I can see all of these champions also benefiting from the new Phage.

Melee champions face the same problem but to a lesser extent. Trinity Force works decently on pretty much every bruiser in the game, but again, it doesn’t offer tanks a lot of the stats (like armor and magic resist) that they are looking for.

Phage’s potential is also somewhat limited for melee bruisers. Ranged attackers can constantly refresh the movement speed buff with their attacks and some can even use their heavy damage to swiftly kill minions and give themselves the even bigger movement speed burst. Melee attackers cannot change course to kill minions, and while 20 bonus movement speed is still enough to stick to most targets, it isn’t enough to overcome any kind of defensive CC. I still think Phage is a great pick for any melee champ that really, really needs to stick to their target, but I feel that Phage’s full potential exists primarily for ranged attackers.

If people begin to utilize Phage more and more frequently, as I believe will happen, then tanks and bruisers NEED to make sure that they are working on Randuin’s Omen. The most effective way to stop someone who is gaining bonus movement speed by attacking you is to build an item that slows them when they attack you. Unfortunately the slow is only 10%, but it is better than nothing. Considering some champs could be chasing you with around 450 move speed I’m not sure if it will be enough, but the tradeoff should be that any champion using Phage will not be that tanky or have that much damage considering that they had to sacrifice a tank or damage item to build Phage.

Regardless of whether or not EVERYONE is building the new Phage, I do believe that there are certain champions and players who will use this item to try and ruin your day. The movement speed numbers involved are just too large to be completely ignored by all summoners or, eventually, Riot. Just remember what Phage is capable of and how you can counter it. And if you like playing ranged auto attackers or melee champs that really need to stick to targets, I highly recommend you try and find a way to incorporate Phage/Tri Force into your builds. I believe you will find the bonus move speed very much to your liking!

 

Twohp’s LoL 2013 International Wildcard Tournament Preview

For fans of professional League of Legends, Gamescon 2013 has been marked on the calendar all year as a must watch event. Finally, after dozens of grueling matches, Gamescon will determine who represents Europe at the Season Three World Championships. What many people may not take note of is the fact that Gamescon will also be sending one International Wildcard team to the Championships.

What is the International Wildcard Tournament?

Most of the major global regions are represented by professional, Riot sponsored, LoL Leagues such as the LCS in Europe and OGN in Korea. Other major regions such as Turkey, Brazil, Latin America, Oceania and the CIS countries do not have any such professional leagues. Instead, after winning their regional championships, teams from these regions must travel to Gamescon to try and win the single Wildcard berth into the World Championships.

What is the format for the tournament?

A best of one round robin will be played starting at 03:00 EDT on August 21. This round robin will be used to determine which four teams advance to the semi finals, which will be played on the 22nd. The finals will be occurring on the 23rd.

Who is participating and what can we expect from them?

 paiN Gaming: paiN will be representing Brazil at the Wildcard Tournament. paiN has existed as a professional team for two years, finishing 3rd in last season’s Brazilian Championships. They mostly play in Brazilian events but have participating at some IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) events including the recent IEM World Championships. Unfortunately, their showings at these events, which included top teams from Korea and Europe, were not particularly strong.

Official showings aside, this team does have some solid international experience playing against other top teams. Look for this experience to give them an edge against some of the less experienced Wildcard teams.

 GamingGear.eu: GamingGear is representing the CIS countries. After a strong showing at the EMS Spring 2013  tournament, the team struggled at Dreamhack Summer 2013. Both times this team faced challenger level (just below pro) teams from Europe.

This team looked very solid coming out of the televised CIS regionals. If they can channel the form they showed at EMS Spring 2013 then they may be able to turn some heads.

 Lyon Gaming: This team is the winner of the 2013 Latin American Regionals. Lyon was built to incorporate some of the top talent in the Latin American region, and it definitely showed in the regionals.Still a fairly new team, Lyon has not participated in any notable international competitions.

There is no doubting that Lyon has some very talented players, but their lack of international experience could hurt them. Look for them to try and take advantage of other teams that may not have taken the time to learn about Lyon’s style of play.

 Dark Passage: Dark Passage emerged as the winner of the Turkish Championship. Based close to Europe, this team frequently participates against high level European talent. They are currently a challenger team on the EU West server and finished second at Dreamhack Summer 2013, a tournament at which they took multiple games off of the Copenhagen Wolves (a former EU LCS team).

Not only does Dark Passage have a great deal of international experience, they have actually exhibited quite a bit of success against mainstream talent from Europe. At Dreamhack, for example, they handily defeated a team that crushed GamingGear.eu at that same tournament. Their past experience and success has to make this team the favorite to win the Wildcard Tournament.

 Team Immunity: This team is as new as the Oceanic Championship that they captured. Many of the players on this team have experienced respectable individual success on the North American and Oceanic servers.

Another un-scouted team with very minimal international experience. Immunity will be in tough against the more experienced teams.

Why should you watch this tournament?

Your average North American and European LoL fan is very familiar with the style of LoL played in NA, EU and even Korea, but they have little experience with the game outside of these regions. This tournament has the potential to display a clash of play styles the likes of which will not be seen until the World Championships themselves. Just because these teams are not part of the more established pro scenes does not mean they are not capable of playing some amazing matches, especially when a trip to the World Championships is on the line.

Based on the minimal information available, most of which was results, I believe that Dark Passage has a good shot at winning this tournament. Either way there will be some excellent quality LoL to be watched. If you would like a slightly more detailed breakdown of each team check out this Riot produced article here.

Who knows, maybe this will be our first good look at the future World Champion. Remember, very few people had ever seen the Taipei Assassins before they captured the Championship. The International Wildcard Tournament is definitely worth tuning in to.

Check out WCG Canada’s League of Legends Online Qualifier

Like watching high level League of Legends? Curious to see what some of the best LoL teams in Canada have to offer? Then you should definitely be checking out World Cyber Games Canada’s online qualifier this Sunday (August 18).

The games, which will play out between 2 pm and 8 pm EDT, will be used to give out two of the top seeds for WCG’s Canadian National Final. The finalists will join the LG Hunters (winner) and UBC eSports (runner up) who advanced during the first qualifiers, held in July. The Canadian National Final will eventually determine which team represents Canada at the WCG Grand Finals in Kunshan China, in late November.

The qualifier is being facilitated by WCG Canada and participants will be playing at a variety of cyber cafes throughout the country. WCG Canada is an organization dedicated to establishing cyber-gaming (e-Sports) in Canada, promoting e-Sports events for all Canadians and recruiting cyber athletes to represent Canada at the international World Cyber Games tournaments.

It is expected that somewhere between 12 and 16 teams might participate in this weekend’s LoL qualifier. The tournament will open with round robin matches that will decide which teams advance to the quarterfinals. All matches will be best of one except for the finals which will be a best of three.

If the final from the first qualifier was any indicator, there is a good chance that three action packed games will be needed to decide the winner of the qualifier. Don’t believe me? You can go here (games start at around 45 min) to check out the semi finals and finals of the first qualifier. Even though both of the top teams receive seeds only the winner will receive free entry at the National Final and a cash prize.

Now let’s say that you’ve been watching the League Championship Series for three straight days and you are not sure if you will be suitably impressed by this qualifier. Rest assured, the professional LoL teams are not the only ones with some talent.

Three of the teams already confirmed to be participating in the qualifier are the University of Waterloo, ForcePlay and Colossal Canadians. University of Waterloo teams frequently compete in the IvyLoL League (along with UBC), a league containing some of the best collegiate LoL players from Canadian and American schools, many of whom eventually turn pro. Colossal Canadians made it through to the semi finals of the first WCG Canada qualifiers and has fought against other top LoL teams in past Intel Extreme Masters qualification tournaments.

This is just a small example of the kind of talent that will be participating this weekend, and who knows, WCG tournaments have served as the coming out party for some amazing LoL talent. You may even get a sneak peak at the next HotshotGG. Best of all, at least for my patriotic pride, is the fact that the talent is all Canadian.

When this weekend rolls around and you are looking for some LoL to watch, the action going down on the WCG Canada twitch account will more than satisfy your needs. And if you happen to live in a certain frosty land north of the 49th parallel, make sure you check out the qualifier and give WCG Canada a follow on Twitter and Facebook to help support the continued growth of e-Sports in Canada.

I’ve Had Enough of Shaco

It is time that I got this off my chest. It has been a long time in coming. The reasons may have changed over time, but the hate remains the same. I have had enough of Shacos.

Just to be clear, my hate is not reserved exclusively for the champion – but the champ isn’t great. His lore isn’t overly developed other than to tell us he’s a clownish assassin who probably isn’t from the game world. He’s disliked by everyone and no one gets close to him. Sounds to me like he might be more misunderstood than anything, but he is an evil sounding clown – kind of hard to endear yourself to that.

What used to make him even less likeable were his abilities. Jack in the boxes that would surprise and fear you all while laughing at you. And do not get me started on his darn Deceive. Apparently giving him a mini teleport wasn’t enough, so Riot decided he should be able to teleport and then end up in stealth. I think it is especially easy to hate any champion who can easily escape you, or at least that is what helped to drive my hate.

You couldn’t be too aggressive in lane or Shaco would turn up behind you. You had to be careful in your jungle or Shaco would take your buffs and kill you. Even if you were able to almost kill Shaco he would just blink over a wall, go invisible and then his player would likely taunt you in chat. If all of this didn’t make you want to throw your keyboard across the room then I don’t know what would.

Shaco was annoying, he was frustrating, but at least you kind of had to respect what he was capable of. Sometimes you would even be fortunate enough to get a good Shaco on your team and you could laugh, a bit, at the enemy’s suffering. Even then I always tried to reserve a healthy bit of hatred for the demon jester. This was usually made quite easy by the people playing him.

The nature of Shaco’s kit makes him a fairly selfish champion. Almost all of his abilities are designed to help him, alone, and allow him to go and try and kill someone. Often times you see the same kind of behavior in the people who play Shaco. They want to get kills, they want to keep themselves alive and they don’t seem to care about what happens to their teammates. Not that they can really save their teammates anyways, but many Shaco players seem to think that just because they were able to escape a tough spot their team should have been able to as well. Often they are not afraid to voice this complaint along with a few choice curse words.

I am a firm believer that certain champs attract people of certain personality types. I have rarely met any Sorakas or Sonas who have given me much grief. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have champs that are designed almost entirely to help others. These champs tend to attract players who like to help others and will do so instead of striving for individual glory. Shaco, a champ designed to reward hard individual play and aggression, tends to attract the kinds of people who could care less about their teammates. Sure a lot of this is stereotyping, but if you are a player who mains Shaco I challenge you to show me that you also play a bunch of passive team first style supports.

Between the people who play him and the champ himself, I thought my hatred of Shaco had settled into a comfortable division between the champion and the players who play him. This was not to last. Somewhere along the line the champion changes caught up to Shaco and he no longer is the powerful jungler he used to be. Before, he could effortlessly clear his jungle and leave to attack elsewhere. Now it seems that he struggles to clear his own jungle with any kind of speed, and often relies on teammates to keep him safe.

You know that this new found reliance on others bugs Shaco players. You can hear it in the way that they demand you protect their jungle and desperately criticize you for losing your lane even though Shaco never one made an appearance there. The best thing is that if you give in and devote time and effort to help Shaco be effective you will be rewarded with a champion who contributes very little to the late game outside of split pushing. But don’t worry. Shaco will split push and then yell at your team for being unable to win the resulting 4 v 5 fight somewhere else on the map. Before, I had a healthy hate for the champion. Now i just hate the players who insist on trying to make him work and take it out on their teams when they have a rough time of it.

Tonight I won a game with a Shaco on my team. I was supporting as Leona and helped my good friend go 18-1-12 on Tristana. Our Shaco spent the entire game moaning about how we were playing the game, struggled to break even in the KDA department and then had the nerve to repeatedly insult the other team after we had won. It’s not every day that you report someone on your team, but this guy was a real treat. Sadly, in my experience his behavior is pretty standard for most Shaco players, which is probably why I’m not a huge fan and its definitely what pushed me to write this rant.

Whether it is his abilities or the people who play him, I feel like I will never truly like Shaco. It saddens me that he is popular enough that if he continues to be underpowered he will eventually get some kind of rework that will bring him back to popularity. I can’t tell which I hate more: a Shaco who is behind and complaining or a Shaco who is ahead and bragging. Either way, I have had enough of Shaco and hope that he languishes in his current state of disfavor for as long as possible.

Are there any players of certain champions or heroes (in any game) that you dislike? Maybe you find healers to be too smug in their healing ways? Let me know and do not be afraid to bring forth all kinds of illogical and emotionally driven arguments. I would much rather we get them out of our systems here than explode mid game!