Aug 18 2016 - 7:01 pm

Steeelback deserves better

ROCCAT stand up from their desks and breathe a heavy sigh of relief
Josh Raven
Dot Esports

ROCCAT stand up from their desks and breathe a heavy sigh of relief. They’ve escaped relegation, again. Yet despite the victory, you can’t help but feel for one player: Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi.

If Steeelback were a superhero, he’d be "Captain Reliable." Yes, this sounds pretty boring. But every crew needs that person they can always count on. When things go south, Steeelback isn’t going to single-handedly carry you to safety, but he won’t crumble along with everyone else. Unlike players like Yilliang “Doubelift” Peng and Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou, he doesn’t rely on mechanical ability, but superior teamfight positioning. It’s for this reason that he deserves better than bottom of the standings with the rag-tag ROCCAT side.

An air of uncertainty has followed Steeelback throughout his career for reasons I can’t fully ascertain. Drafted straight out of Challenger and into one of the best teams in the region, did he crumble? Did he fall apart under the pressure of performing alongside Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon? Hell no. Steeelback played his role, collected the highest KDA in the LCS, and unsurprisingly got the boot when Fnatic’s prodigy, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, came back home after running away to Elements for a split.

Then came the dark period, the few months he spent in the North American Challenger Series. Team Odyssey, which will forever be remembered as pharma bro Martin Shkreli’s failed attempt at esports, then merged with Team Imagine to form a largely forgettable attempt at qualification to the LCS. I don’t think I even need to point out who the best performing player was.

After having enough of floundering in the abyss of the North American Challenger Series, Steeelback made his way back to Europe. Initially primed to take the vacant Gambit Gaming spot, he eventually ended up on Unicorns of Love. It finally looked like Steeelback might get his chance to prove his carry potential. But Riot Games had a different plan.

Goodbye Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov, perhaps one of the best junglers of all time, hello Rudy “Rudy” Beltran, and later Jean-Victor “Loulex” Burgevin. The legendary Russian jungler was forced out of the LCS when Riot implemented new visa requirements for the league. Despite the obvious setback this caused, Unicorns of Love—not just Steeelback—actually managed to clock a half-decent season. Fifth place in the regular season led to a playoffs tie against Origen when they were still a top European team. It wasn't a surprise when they ultimately lost to Origen, but it did lead to an exodus of the starting lineup, including the journeyman Steeelback.

This is how he found himself on ROCCAT. Rebuilding after a dismal Spring Split, the side retained Felix “Betsy” Edling, who seemed to be growing into a solid, middle-of-the-pack mid laner in the region. Recruits in the form of Steeelback and two South Korean imports could have been promising, but once again he ended up being one of the few bright spots in a largely disappointing lineup.

Steeelback certainly isn’t the standout, key player on most of these teams. But not once has he been the breaking point, either. On Fnatic, as a rookie in the LCS, he played clean-up crew for the side, refining what are now his defining features: positioning and teamfighting. He’s one of those players that will almost always be in the right place at the right time, which counter-balances his relatively weak laning phase. He thrives best when on a team that doesn’t rely on him as the sole carry.

ROCCAT, though perhaps unintended, featured almost no carry potential from any other lane. Lee “Parang” Sang-won may go down as one of the worst imports in LCS history after a terrible Summer Split, while Betsy failed to live up to the hype he built after promising performances last split. Failure was inevitable, and yet despite the torrid season, Steeelback can look back at a performance that doesn’t warrant a fight against relegation. He’s not a world-beater, but certainly at the very least he's a mid-level player capable of holding his own against the region’s best.

He deserves better. But where? Leaving Unicorns of Love after the Spring Split was a mistake in hindsight, but a return wouldn’t be out of the question. Kim “Veritas” Kyoung-min didn’t have a groundbreaking split and the move would free up a valuable import slot that so many teams are looking for these days. Having prior experience with Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov is a key factor that could make this move a possibility.

LCS veterans Origen just survived a close scrape with relegation alongside ROCCAT, and will definitely be on the hunt for a new AD Carry after owner and usual mid laner Enrique “Xpeke” Cedeno was forced to fill in at the position for most of the season. Carry threats in the form of Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage could allow Steeelback to thrive alongside the well-respected Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal in the bottom lane. Origen certainly need an answer to their problems, and Steeelback could just be it.

Each time the silly season of roster changes rolls around, we get moves that we could have never predicted. So who knows, maybe ROCCAT will look to improve their own squad after re-qualifying for the LCS. If they can acquire new talent in the top lane and newcomer Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi can continue improving after a strong showing at the promotion tournament, ROCCAT might just have the talent needed to make a playoff push.

Hopefully Steeelback will find the right mix next Spring. Perhaps his laning phase still needs some work, perhaps he’s not capable of mechanically outplaying the stars of the region, but with Steeelback you get consistency, and there sure isn’t a whole lot of that outside of the top few teams in Europe. Maybe it’s time for teams to stop overlooking that facet of Steeelback and actually utilize him to his strengths.

Jan 17 2017 - 8:11 pm

The spring NA LCS finals are coming to Vancouver

NA’s biggest League of Legends event is returning to Canada.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

For the second season in a row, the North American League Championship Series will reach its conclusion in Canada.

Following the explosive confrontation between TSM and Cloud9 in the 2016 Summer Split finals in Toronto, the 2017 Spring Split finals will take place in the 20,000 seat Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver from April 22-23.

Riot has not announced when tickets for the event will go on sale, so Canadian fans and those looking to attend should keep their eyes peeled. 15,000 fans attended the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split finals last year, completely filling the Air Canada Centre, which should indicate just how high demand for tickets is.

This marks the NA LCS' second-ever final abroad, as seven of the league's eight finals haven taken place in locations around the U.S. Compare that to the EU LCS, which has been spoiled in terms of its show being taken on the road, as the tournament has visited a multitude of countries since its inception—including Poland, the Netherlands, England, and France.

The NA LCS 2017 Spring Split is set to start on Jan. 20.

Today - 1:25 am

Get your Red Envelopes ready—the Lunar Revel event in League starts today

Riot is kicking off the 2017 Lunar Revel with some slick new skins.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

The Lunar New Year is a sacred, historic holiday that is celebrated by nations in the far east. It marks the beginning of the year based on the cycles of the moon. There’s dancing, festivals, parades, but much more importantly: A special League of Legends event. Why is that so important? Because you can get sweet new skins, of course!

The Lunar Revel Event is a yearly occurrence in League that features shiny new goodies to buy in-game. The event was announced and started today, so after you update the client, you’ll be able to take part in the festivities.

1) Free Icon

That’s right, for the small cost of going to the official Lunar Revel web page, you can claim a free Summoner Icon! The interactive home page acts as the hub for the Lunar Revel event, and you can click through the menu to see all the features. There’s even some lore tying each of this year’s Lunar Revel skins to their respective champions.

2) Champion Skins

There are three skins coming out for the Lunar Revel event this year: Garen, Azir, and Vi. Each has a matching Summoner Icon available in the store.

Garen’s sword and rad man-bun make this skin what it is: Awesome. When he spins to win, a green dragon swirls around him. When he ults, the giant sword that falls from the heavens... well, it’s green.

Azir seems to be more of a themed skin specific to this year, as it’s the Year of the Rooster—and Azir is as rooster-like as any League champion gets. His soldiers are also made to match his skin, sporting golden armor.

Vi’s theme is “the green demon” and when she ults, a big green dragon swirls up into the air and slams back into the ground as she does. This one’s our favorite, but mostly because it’s the only time we’re ever going to see Vi in a ponytail.

Not only are those three new skins available now, but past Lunar Revel skins and bundles are in the shop as well.

3) Crafting

A brand new Lunar Revel crafting system will also be in the client until the end of the event. It uses the same crafting page as usual, where you open chests with keys you earn from playing games and combine shards to form skins and champions. You can buy a Revel Red Envelope for 250 RP and visit the crafting page in your client to turn it into a skin shard and one random relic.

The relics come in three types: the Pauldron Relic, the Golden Relic, and the Gauntlet Relic. Once you have all three, you can combine them into Epic Skin Shards (1350 RP skins), random skin permanents, Gemstones, or Hextech Chests and Keys.

4) Merch

Finally, you can visit the Lunar Revel merch store to check out some IRL event goodies. Want a shirt featuring each Chinese Zodiac with League champions instead of the usual animals? Well it’s in the merch store, as well as a collectible figurine of Lunar Revel Azir.

The event is running from now until Feb. 2, so be sure to log into the game and check it out!