Aug 29 2016 - 12:05 am

TSM outduels Cloud9 to win 4th NA LCS championship

Team SoloMid recovered from a game one defeat to beat Cloud9, 3-1, in the championship series of the NA LCS Summer Split today in front of a capacity crowd at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre
Fran Berkman
Dot Esports

Team SoloMid recovered from a game one defeat to beat Cloud9, 3-1, in the championship series of the NA LCS Summer Split today in front of a capacity crowd at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

After a 17-1 regular season, TSM got through the playoffs with little resistance, sweeping Counter Logic Gaming in the semifinals and only dropping the one game to Cloud9.

TSM has now won four of the eight NA championships since the LCS format debuted in 2013, and they’ve never finished lower than second place. In addition, TSM essentially solidified its stature as the most dominant franchise in NA by denying Cloud9 what would have been their third championship.

Much like they had all season, TSM won Sunday’s series with solid lane play, cohesive team fighting, and by punishing Cloud9’s mistakes. Mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, who was named MVP of the split before Saturday’s third-place series, went 18/4/24 in TSM’s three wins.

Jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen was named player of the series after consistently being in the right spot at the right time to help his teammates gain advantages.

Cloud9 was scrappy throughout the series. They won game one after mid laner Nicolaj Jensen got an early solo-kill with Cassiopeia against Bjergsen’s Vladimir. In game three, jungler William "Meteos" Hartman took Zac, a champion that hasn’t been picked all split, and converted two successful early ganks before mistakenly getting a bit too aggressive.

Top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young, in his first split with C9, had a standout performance for a second-consecutive week. He plays Gnar as well as any top laner in NA, which will be a huge asset if Cloud9 can manage to secure a spot at Worlds.

Since TSM auto-qualified for Worlds by winning the Summer Split, Spring Split champion CLG has now secured the second NA spot based on championship points.

C9 can grab the third spot if they win two series in the regional qualifier. First, they’ll have to defeat the winner of the series between Team Envy and Team Liquid. If that happens, they’ll face Immortals, who they beat in the semifinals.

Here are the pivotal moments of Sunday’s championship series.

Game 1

It seemed like TSM successfully slowed the game’s pace enough to neutralize C9’s early lead. Then this fight happened. TSM got the engage they wanted, but a perfect pillar from Andy “Smoothie” Ta saved Jensen, whose Cassiopeia was about to be knocked to her death by a Gragas ultimate. AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi then joined the fight, and C9 was able to win it with both of their carries pumping out damage.

Game 2

TSM got some good ganks and solo kills to build a lead, but their strong team fighting allowed them to control the map in game two. Here’s the first of several fights in which TSM was able to navigate the ebb and flow. Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell’s Ekko disrupted Cloud9’s carries during the initial engage, and Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng re-engaged for TSM with Jhin’s Curtain Call.

Game 3

After two successful ganks from Meteos with his Zac pocket pick, it looked like C9 might have found a winning strategy. On his third attempt, Meteos got a bit too aggressive and gave back C9’s early lead, a mistake he would repeat later in the game.

Game 4

Cloud9 looked like it was fighting its way back into the game on the back of Impact’s Gnar, but TSM turned the tables in this, the second-to-last team fight of the game. Like many in the series, it was a brawl that TSM barely managed to win.


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!

Jan 19 2017 - 9:07 pm

After pre-season updates made the Jungle worse, Riot says ‘oops’ and promises to fix it

Riot’s dev team explains why the state of the jungle is so broken and how they plan on dealing with it.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

During the League of Legends pre-season, Riot made big changes to address some glaring issues within the Jungle. But it only made the situation worse.

In somewhat of a “My bad!” moment, Lead Champion Designer Andrei 'Meddler' van Roon explained what backfired with the jungler role. In his post, he comprehensively lists all of the reasons that the jungler might just be the most broken role in the game (sorry ADCs!).

The community has been complaining about the state of the jungler for a while now, but this is the first official answer we’ve seen from Riot on the matter. Riot said it very simply, and very directly in the Nexus post.

“We believe jungler influence over game outcome is too high.”

So what exactly is wrong with the jungler?

Impact

Perhaps the most significant issue with junglers before the pre-season was that farm-obsessed junglers became much too powerful. Monsters were too easy to kill relative to how great the rewards of gold and experience were. The dominant tactic for junglers became out-farming the enemy jungler, and whoever fell behind ended up hindering their team dramatically.

Back then, the rest of the team would attempt to help their jungler get ahead by getting an early kill on the enemy jungler, setting back their progress considerably. The team began to revolve around the jungler. This was a contradiction to how the jungler had been perceived in earlier seasons—as a supporting role designed to gank and help their teammates in lanes do well.

Riot wanted to fix that, so it lengthened spawn times on monster camps and made them harder to kill (but increased the rewards the camps give to compensate). The idea to push junglers to gank more than they farmed worked a little too well.

Not only are junglers ganking too much, but they also survive way too long. With new tools like the Honeyfruit plant and gaining health back with every smite, junglers just won’t die. They are able to farm more camps for more rewards and gank more lanes without losing enough health to warrant going back to base. This led to junglers gaining too much experience—with level advantages on lanes that they’ve never had before.

Game agency

The term “game agency” has been tossed around a lot lately. First, with the current feelings that ADCs are going through, and now, with junglers.

In a basic sense, the term “game agency” in this case is just another term for a role’s identity within the game. What purpose do they serve, and is it unique enough to feel important? The issue with ADCs right now is that they don’t feel important enough to the state of the game to have a unique identity (aside from being Lee Sin’s punching bag).

Junglers, however, have the opposite issue. Junglers and jungle champions have an identity, but it’s such a strong, outstanding identity that it overshadows the unique strengths and weaknesses of the other roles. They have too much raw power. It’s to the point that laners have become afraid of making moves on their lane opponents unless their jungler is preparing to gank, when normally they would only hold back if they knew they were outmatched.

This has something to do with the extreme rate at which junglers gank now, but combining that with the high sustainability, high damage items, and high level scaling makes for a frightening amount of power for one role to have.

Plans to reduce the overall power of the jungle have yet to be announced, but Riot did confirm that the plan is to knock the role down a few pegs.


So what can be done?

Well, Riot is taking responsibility for all the power it’s given the jungle role.

It is administering some short-term solutions, including lowering jungle experience rewards, cutting sustain across the board, and increasing the damage that jungle monsters deal.

Junglers won’t be able to live in the jungle for the first 10 minutes of the game without heading back to base, they won’t hit a huge power spike by leveling harder than laners can on jungle camps alone, and they won’t be able to gank quite as much.

These solutions likely aren’t the long-term solution. There will still be junglers that can clear the jungle faster, and we may just end up where we were before the pre-season—Farming Simulator: Jungle Edition. Farm-frenzy junglers could rise to the top, but luckily, it likely wouldn’t be quite as bad this time.

A long-term plan is in the works, and hopefully Riot maintains its clear and open communication as the situation progresses.