Jun 19 2014 - 4:22 pm

Visa issues keep Gambit Gaming out of Wembley

Gambit Gaming will be missing four of their starting players when the League Championship Series heads to Wembley Arena in London this weekend, because they were unable to secure visas in time for the event
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Gambit Gaming will be missing four of their starting players when the League Championship Series heads to Wembley Arena in London this weekend, because they were unable to secure visas in time for the event. And according to them, it was through no fault of their own—Riot Games did not give the League of Legends team enough warning to actually process them in time.

“It takes from three to six weeks for Russian citizens to acquire this visa,” explained Gambit Gaming. “On top of that, players don’t have a chance to go abroad during this period, since they have to leave their foreign passports in a consulate.”

The organization was surprised to find out about the LCS trip to Great Britain on May 22, when Riot officially announced it on the League of Legends website. That only gave the team four weeks to prepare, and considering two of those weeks would require keeping the players’ passports at the consulate, it just wasn’t an option for the team.

“We would have to miss two stages in Cologne,” said Gambit Gaming. “It is completely senseless to sacrifice two stages to attend one.”

Even missing one week could be disastrous for the 4-6 Gambit Gaming, whose record is just good enough to place them at sixth in the standings, barely in the playoffs and just out of relegation. This week they play the 3-7 ROCCAT, an important match that could decide who makes the playoffs and who is fighting for their LCS lives.

As such, the team is bringing in four ringers to play out the week. They’ve made no official announcement on who will fill the roster, but the Riot Games Fantasy LCS website lists a quartet of European Challenger players on the roster, including “Fury III” as marksman, “Loulex” at jungle, and a duo of players from Challenger Series team Heavy Botlane, French top laner Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and Finnish support Aleksi “Hiiva” Kaikkonen.

While the team says Riot Games put their best foot forward in trying to smooth over the issue once they were aware, Gambit placed blame squarely where it was due: on Riot’s failure to notify the team of the schedule in a timely fashion. Considering an event like the LCS at Wembley probably takes months to prepare, that’s inexcusable for a professional league.

Gambit Gaming requested that their games be rescheduled due to Riot Games’ “lack of foresight”, but the request was declined. That leaves them in a sticky situation. Missing the week would dock them two forfeit losses, along with other “severe” penalties.

Riot’s refusal to reschedule has met with criticism around the community, as many feel the competition is marred more by using substitute ringers than simply moving matches back one week.

The oversight may come from ignorance of the Russian visa issue. European Union citizens can travel to Great Britain for the weekend with only a passport and no visa, so this was not a potential problem for most teams in the LCS. But for Gambit Gaming, with only one EU player, Polish mid laner Sebastian “niQ” Robak, the simple weekend trip is a headache of epic proportion.

The visa issues keep piling up for League of Legends’ top competition. Just last week, Ram “Brokenshard” Djemal of Complexity was removed from their starting lineup due to visa delays that would see him missing most of the Summer Split.

Riot Games should be well aware of Russian visa issues, as well. Gambit Gaming had to use three subs during week six of the Spring Split earlier this year after their German visas expired. The team needed five business days at home to renew the three-month visas for three players, but with the LCS Europe schedule placing matches on Thursdays and Fridays, the team never had the time to do it during the season. That situation may have been avoided with better long term planning from Gambit Gaming, but the current one seems out of their control.

“The organizers’ careless actions have a negative impact not only on us, but, more importantly, on our fans, who paid for tickets and accommodation and changed their plans for this weekend in order to attend this event and support their favourite team,” said Gambit Gaming. “Acquiring visa is not an issue as long as it is addressed in good time. As for our fans, who counted on meeting us in London, we can only express our condolences.”

Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube

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.