Aug 21 2016 - 2:20 am

Cloud9 upsets Immortals to reach NA LCS finals

Third-seeded Cloud9 upset second-seeded Immortals with a 3-2 series win in the semifinals today
Fran Berkman
Dot Esports

Third-seeded Cloud9 upset second-seeded Immortals with a 3-2 series win in the semifinals today. Immortals came into the series with a 6-1 record against C9 in their four regular season meetings.

C9 won the series by attacking Immortals main strength—top laner Heo “Huni” Seong-hoon. Despite being the nearly-unquestioned best top laner in NA, C9 sensed weakness in Huni.

In a pre-match interview played on Riot’s broadcast of the series, C9 AD Carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi said that Huni takes “oddball picks that are sometimes abusable.” Indeed, C9 won the games in which Huni reached out of the S-tier top lane meta with Riven, Kennen, and Lissandra picks.

After failing to capitalize on early advantages in game one, C9 turned around the series in game two by overcoming a fed Riven and a 4.5k gold deficit at 31 minutes to equalize the series. The objective trading and constant team fighting made game two one of the most chaotic and entertaining games of the entire season.

Top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young's Gangplank absorbed an incredible amount of pressure from Immortals all-star jungler Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin, which allowed the rest of C9 to play with a numbers advantage elsewhere on the map. Impact won a one-vs-one skirmish against Pobelter’s LeBlanc to save an inhibitor at a key juncture in the game.

The momentum carried over into game three as C9 built a 10.7k gold lead at 33 minutes.

It seemed like C9 might cruise to the series win when they took an early lead in game four, but Immortals was able to absorb the pressure and turn the match around during a few mid-game team fights.

C9 took a page out of the Immortals playbook in game five by mitigating early kill pressure from Immortals by taking objectives elsewhere. After a massive win in a chaotic teamfight before the 24-minute mark, C9 immediately moved onto Baron to secure a significant lead.

It was none other than Huni who pushed up a little too far that allowed C9 to win yet another crucial team fight at the 36-minute mark. This allowed C9 to secure another Baron.

Immortals made a valiant attempt to stall out the game, but C9 locked up the series at 47 minutes after taking a third Baron.

C9 moves moves onto in the finals next weekend to face the winner of Sunday’s series between Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid. C9 needs to win in the finals to secure a spot in Worlds without having to go into the regional qualifier.

Immortals can still qualify for Worlds without going to the regional qualifier if CLG wins the championship, and if Immortals beats TSM in the third place game.

Here are the pivotal moments of Saturday’s series.

Game one

Pobelter used Taliyah’s Weaver's Wall and Huni criss-crossed Rumble’s Equalizer to split up C9. Immortals picked up three kills and lost none in the team fight. They immediately ran across the map to pick up Baron before C9 could regroup.  

Game two

Honestly, there was no one pivotal moment from game two, which was one of the most uniquely-chaotic games of the season. The teams traded objectives and skirmish after skirmish. Pobelter’s LeBlanc jukes in the clip below made C9 look how the rest of us felt while trying to follow all the action in game two.

Game three

Impact snowballed this first blood solo kill into a massive lead over Huni. He eventually helped the rest of C9 build a big lead that eventually carried them to a hard-earned win at 46 minutes.

Game four

Like game two, there was no single turning point in game four. It was a back-and-forth game with skirmishes across the match. Here’s the team fight that allowed Immortals to secure the match.

Game five

Immortals had the kill lead but C9 had the gold lead when Immortals initiated this team fight at 29:30. Initially scattered by the Taliyah wall, C9 regrouped to pick up kills on both ends of the fight. The win allowed them to pick up Baron, an infernal drake and several turrets.

Today - 12:04 am

The new LCK meta: Singed top?

LCK Season 7 kicked off last night, giving us an early look at the new 10-ban meta.
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Image via Riot Games

Competitive League is back. Most professional leagues kick off the Spring Split later this week, with League of Legends Champions Korea getting the ball rolling last night. After a crazy offseason, we finally get to see what the pros make of the meta, how they’ll play around overpowered tanks, and what they’ll do with jungle plants.

One of the key questions going into this season was what the new draft phase would look like with the implementation of 10 bans (5 per team). We saw some of the effects of that last night. The first match involved a fascinating storyline with the ROX Tigers facing former top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho for the first time.

But from a meta perspective, the more interesting match started after Smeb and KT walked off with a win. That’s when Longzhu Gaming and Samsung Galaxy both busted out pocket picks.

Wait, what? Singed top?

The craziness started in game one, when Samsung, playing on the red side (and picking second), inexplicably left Rengar available. That allowed Longzhu to first-pick the terrifying jungle assassin. In return though, they got Ezreal, Poppy, Zyra, and Viktor, strong picks themselves and ones that Samsung is familiar with.

Then with the last pick, top laner Gu "Expession" Bon-taek went with Singed.

Singed is fun and unique champion who can push minion waves in a way few champions can match. His mechanics have led to some pretty ridiculous strategies. But he’s not known in professional play because of his low overall damage and uselessness in team fights. Singed players typically play with a one-versus-five mentality, something that usually doesn’t agree with the typical Korean focus on team cohesion.

For Longzhu, Singed was honestly an afterthought for most of the game. That’s because Rengar took over. Lee "Crash" Dong-woo was all over Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong’s Lee Sin from the start, taking over the blue side jungle and enabling his bot lane to push with impunity.

That can be risky against Samsung’s strong solo laners, but it paid off as the Longzhu duo roamed around for turret after turret. Kim "PraY" Jong-in’s Jhin was absolutely incredible, pushing people off turrets and sniping them from range.

Samsung tried to turtle and defend, but that’s where Singed came in. Having built Zz’rot portal, he made life hell for Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin’s Poppy. Poppy wants to teamfight, but with Singed constantly pushing, CuVee had no priority and Longzhu romped.

We are not sure that Singed will continue to be a popular pick; he’s too easy to camp if there isn’t pressure elsewhere. But we’re also excited to see more team strategies being built around previously off-meta champions. 

More pocket picks to come

Image via Riot Games

Samsung responded in game two with a new champion: Camille somehow made it through the first ban phase. But then Longzhu came back with a counter pick of their own: Jax.

This game was what 10 bans was all about. It was incredibly fun watching these two top laners duel. At first, Camille had the upper hand, taking on Jax and then Song "Fly" Young-jun’s Ekko, beating both. But after Jax got a couple items, he became the stronger bruiser, getting a solo kill back. Stuns, dashes, and ults combined in a terrific dance. It was an incredible display of skill from two players and everything we hoped 10 bans could be.

Game 3 was a more straightforward Samsung win, but we got even more champions. New jungler Kang "Haru" Min-seung picked Kha’zix, and a level one invade got him first blood. In the mid lane, Lee "Crown" Min-ho picked Corki, someone we hadn’t seen in a some time. His range advantage kept Fly pushed in and Samsung played a steady game to win.

Three games, full of creative strategies and pocket picks. This is likely what Riot envisioned when they moved to the 10 ban system. But of course, these are the highest skilled players in the world—can players in Europe and North America, perhaps with smaller champion pools, recreate the success we saw last night?

In just a few days, we’ll find out.

Jan 17 2017 - 10:33 pm

These are the first four teams confirmed for the IEM World Championship

Eight teams will be competing at one of the largest international League of Legends events.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

Half of the teams slated to compete at one of League of Legend's largest international events in 2017 have been announced.

The IEM World Championship will once conclude at IEM Katowice in Poland in March after roughly four months worth of competiton across three international events. Eight teams in total will be attending the event. Earlier today ESL revealed the first half that are slated to compete at the event.

The first four teams that will attend are Europe's H2K and Unicorns of Love, North Americans Cloud9 and lastly the Eastern European M19 squad, which was formerly known as Albus NoX Luna.

A majority of teams attending the event have been invited based off of their performance in the 2016 League World Championship. Additionally the victors at IEM's events in Oakland and Gyeonggi, which were won by Unicorns of Love and Samsung Galaxy respectively.

Reigning world champions SKT T1 and Chinese supersquad EDward Gaming have also secured invites to the event after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2016 World Championship, but have not confirmed their participation yet.

Eight teams will be competing at the event in total, though the final contestants are yet to be decided. None of the competitors representing the East Asian League Master Series were able to advance from the group stage. They also failed to qualify through IEM Oakland or Gyeonggi.

The IEM World Championship will take place from Feb. 22 to 26.