Thursday, May 29, 2014


Written by Hussain Moosvi

At the end of a fantastic Super Week in the NA LCS, the results have left a bigger question mark on roster changes than before the split started. The hope was that Week One would show the impact of those changes, but the only immediate difference was seen in Team Dignitas. With the jury still out on the others, and Week Two having an incredibly competitive schedule, fans hope to have some of their questions answered in what is sure to be a memorable week in the 2014 Summer Split.


Counter Logic Gaming (2-2) vs Team SoloMid (3-1)

The day starts off with one of the best rivalries in League of Legends. CLG had a decent Week One with the addition of Seraph and they show promise for the rest of the split. There were good signs for fans in the form of CLG's early game, which only lost to C9, and the rush hour bot lane looked as solid as ever. Link seems to have improved his laning phase quite a bit, and has shown that his trip to All-Stars was well worth it. With that said, CLG's shot calling had some glaring mistakes and it is clear that Seraph is not up to par with the other high tier top laners in terms of his understanding of the current meta. This was touted as a problem by CLG's coach, MonteCristo, and should not be a concern for CLG fans moving forward, as Seraph will only be improving from here.

TSM had a good week with their only loss to Cloud 9, but it is important to note that they had a fairly easy schedule. EG and Complexity are by far the weakest teams in the split right now, and if TSM wants to compete with the better teams they need to improve their vision control and early game rotations around the map. Amazing had a strong showing in Week One with a 10.2 KDA, while Gleeb showed potential, but against some relatively weaker bot lanes. This game will be key in scouting the strength of the TSM bot lane against arguably the best bot lane in NA. It will also give a good idea of where each team stands, with TSM finally facing a higher caliber team and CLG's two wins being against weaker teams in EG and Curse.

All that aside, TSM vs CLG matches are always instant classics. Make sure you're strapped into your seat to witness what is undoubtedly going to be an explosive match.

compLexity (1-3) vs Evil Geniuses (0-4)

compLexity and Evil Geniuses looked way out of their depth in all their matches. EG's performance made it clear that they had a lot of work to do with their new roster, and despite compLexity's huge upset win over Cloud 9, they looked lost in all their other games. This is expected of compLexity as they're coming into the strongest collection of teams the NA LCS has ever had, and with their constant "need to improve" attitude, compLexity looks to learn as much as they can from this split. EG showed a few moments of good play in mostly bad rotational decision making (Baron for Nexus is worth, right?), but that is to be expected from a team with a new player and their previous split record. EG knows that they need to make changes to improve their form and with the competitive nature of this split, they are bound to improve.

One important thing to note is that compLexity will be fielding a new mid laner in mancloud while pr0lly deals with some family obligations for this week. Despite EG's problems, this should give them a heavy advantage and it will be up to mancloud to fill some very vocal shoes in pr0lly's position. mancloud is a player with a lot of experience and an immense amount of skill, and while the change does make EG the favorites, a surprise upset from compLexity is not out of the question. Keep an eye out for the mancloud vs Pobelter match-up as it will be crucial in deciding the winner of this match.

LMQ (4-0) vs Team Dignitas (3-1)

The second highlight of the week, this match-up is going to be crucial in determining the true strength of the Dignitas roster with their new support staff. LMQ has looked dominant, especially with XiaoWeiXiao's CS numbers in every game. Vasilii seemed like a hit or miss player coming into the week with his aggressive style, but his 17.7 KDA says everything about his skill. Individually, LMQ have looked near perfect across the board. While DIG's solo lanes have been heavily upgraded and look formidable so far, it is going to be up to the "kiwipie" lane to withstand the threat that is Vasilii.

Despite LMQ's dominant performances, their shot calling at times has looked a bit shaky. It will be very hard for DIG to individually outplay their opponents in this match-up and they'll have to look at outplaying LMQ around the map. With shaky shot calling against compLexity and dominant shot calling against Cloud 9, this aspect of DIG is still up in the air. The key match-up in this game will be Shiphtur against XiaoWeiXiao. Shiphtur has looked incredibly good in DIG but has fallen behind in his CS during laning phase in every game so far. This is because of various factors and so far hasn't been too big of a concern, but against a player like XiaoWeiXiao, Shiphtur's performance is the key to a Dignitas victory. With LMQ's team aggression meeting Crumbzz's early game aggression, the first fifteen minutes of this game should be explosive and will likely decide the winner.

This is a key game during Day 1 as it sets up our expectations for both teams going forward into their equally tough Day 2 schedules. Have your popcorn ready before this starts because you won't want to miss a single second.

Cloud 9 (2-2) vs Curse (1-3)

Our last match-up of the day features two teams that have confused the minds of most fans. On one hand, we have Cloud 9, one of the most dominant teams in the history of the NA LCS. Two time consecutive NA split champions, Cloud 9 were expected to show up insanely strong at the start of this split. The losses that occurred were a huge shock to every viewer watching. A lot of fans are worried that this might be the beginning of the downfall for Cloud 9 but it is important to remember that the team was playing with barely any practice with their primary shot caller, Hai, and Cloud 9 has always recovered from losses with a vengeance. Despite their initial stumble, Cloud 9 are still the heavy favorite in this match and will most likely show the world their true strength as a team. Hai is a passionate player and doesn't take losses lightly. He'll be coming into this with something to prove.

Curse has had a very strange time so far. In all of their games, Curse looked just a tiny bit away from winning their games and the consistency with which they managed this feat is a troubling issue. Curse lost their early game in the majority of last week's matches but still gave their opponents a solid fight through good picks. They also scored a victory over Team Dignitas, who had beaten Cloud 9. The scary part about Curse games is that the issues for the team to fix aren't as blatantly obvious as some other teams. Curse plays a good game, but never a great game. Their early game needs to improve and their mid/late game, while good, could be better. Curse has been constantly improving since Spring Split, and if that trend keeps up, then this match will be a very good game to watch for the sheer rotational outplays that are bound to occur.

Cloud 9 wants vengeance for their losses, and Curse wants to desperately prove that they belong among the top teams in NA. Both teams are thirsty for a win, and because of that, be ready for a fantastic match to end off Day 1 of the second week of the NA LCS. 

Adaptation – Change is good

by Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos

Once upon a time, Fnatic and Gambit were the two hardcore powerhouses of the European scene. There was competition from CLG.EU and SK, but ultimately, those two were the front runners. The difference in skill between them and their competition was clear, but as time has begun to pass the level of competition has grown stronger, to the extent where, in Europe, there are at least five teams within reach of the top at any one time. Adaptation is a must to be able to keep up with such a heavily demanding league and the concern that has risen in the camps of Europe’s two biggest teams is a lack of that adaptation. Read More.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Amazing is Awesome Sauce (Puns be Damned!)

by Jodi "PunkLit" McClure

Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider could not have picked a better in-game name. The twenty-year-old German jungler who recently joined TSM has left some impressive numbers in his wake. During his time with the Copenhagen Wolves, he registered some of the highest weekly KDAs, despite his team's sluggish performance. Since arriving in America, Amazing has streamed a few times. Relaxed and humorous, he exudes a good attitude along with a healthy dose of bravado. But while he's patently confident of his own skills, the two time EU MVP is very careful when making predictions about his performance with his new team.  READ MORE..

Friday, May 23, 2014

EU LCS Roster Swaps: What’s the Impact?

by Reece "Sabrewolf" Dos-Santos

Millenium - Kottenx

While Kottenx may have been picked up in the dying weeks of the Spring Split, I feel the true display of his impact to the team started with the qualifier against NiP. His ganks are impactful, the team responds better in tough situations, and overall their rotations and shot-calling have gotten miles better. Millenium now have depth to their game-flow that wasn't present last split. Their play-style isn't as predictable and their synergy with each other is stronger. It’s like Kottenx was the long lost key to unlock the chest of riches that is Millenium’s hidden potential.

Every other member of the team has seen a huge rise in both confidence and overall performance. Creaton is returning to the form he showed before he broke his hand and Kev1n is showing why he is one of the best top laners in EU. Kerp, in particular, now completely shines in the mid lane and rightfully deserved MVP for week one. If he wasn't on fantasy teams before Super Week, he definitely will be now.

Millenium already have a third of the wins they achieved last split in this first week. Last split, they faced Roccat in the opening Super Week and only managed two kills. This split, the tables were turned as Roccat were dominated and could only manage three kills. Being 3-1 and tied top with SK and Alliance is undoubtedly a better position than anyone could have imagined and clearly a position they deserve to be in.

Supa Hot Crew - wewillfailer (and the addition of Nick "LastShadow" De Cesare as an analyst.)

The difference to Supa Hot Crew this split is amazing. With the addition of wewillfailer and analyst Nick De Cesare from Korea, the crew, like Millenium, look like they've found a new lease on life. Suddenly, the mid to late game weariness is gone and replaced with structured objective rotations. Their leadership seems more solid and you can see it in their shot-calling. They still retain their explosive play-style but there is now an element of confidence and tactical awareness behind it. Other obvious differences are that this time they are in the split with the belief they'll go far, rather than just hoping to win one game. Also, wewillfailer doesn't give up as many free deaths as Migxa did. 

These changes have seen them give hard-fought battles against the top three teams in the league at the moment, coming away with a win off Alliance and what could have been wins off Millenium and SK Gaming. Considering that they finished this week 2-2 with what was probably the hardest Super Week draw of any team, it’s hard to deny the fact that the Supa Hot Crew are building up to become a real force to be reckoned with and could be a challenger for Worlds at this rate.

Copenhagen Wolves - Woolite and Airwaks

To have to come into a split replacing arguably the best ADC and jungler of spring is no easy task. The real success behind the Wolves last split was driven by Forg1ven and Amazing, the latter picking up a back-to-back MVP awards. 

While Woolite and Airwaks have shown that they are ready to debut upon the LCS stage, it's still glaringly obvious that they don’t have the relentless carrying capabilities of Forg1ven and Amazing. They have talent. Airwaks was essential in the Wolves’ only win of the Super Week against Millenium, and Woolite held his own in kills and cs, but they haven’t yet gained the experience needed to consistently pull the team through, and until they do, the Wolves will struggle with their upcoming games. 

YoungBuck, Unlimited and cowTard simply do not showcase hard-carrying potential; they come across as players who cement the success of the team rather than the players who create that success. Either cowTard or YoungBuck needs to start individually shining or the new blood needs to adjust quickly to the demands of the LCS and their team if they want a shot at playoffs.

Gambit Gaming- niQ

Many had expressed fears that Gambit wouldn't be the same after the departure of Alex, and indeed, in the Super Week, there were worrying signs. Genja put up some good stats but couldn't carry. Darien’s performance was less than helpful. EDward and Diamond seemed unable to make much impact across the games, and niQ doesn't seem to have the natural synergy with the team that Alex had. While niQ is clearly a mechanically-strong player, off the laning-phase he appeared to dwindle in relevance. It doesn't really seem as if niQ’s introduction to the team has changed any of the problems that were arising at the end of the Spring Split. 

Gambit hasn't truly replaced their leader role and the lack confidence among them is evident. Diamond, in particular, doesn't appear to be the jungle king he once was. Alliance had absolutely no regard for dragons in their game against Gambit and simply chased kills all the way to the end like a solo queue team - and they still won. Despite having the whole off-season to work on their issues after almost ending up in relegation, it appears they still haven’t filled all the cracks in their team. Every dynasty has to come to an end. Is this the split were Gambit’s does?

We had our friends at CSI enhance this a few times.

And now we can make out what it says!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Okay...Now You're in Trouble...

This isn't Xpeke's "I'm sorely disappointed in my team's performance" face. This is his "Someone, going to pay for this soon" face. Burdened with a frustrating 0-2 start, Fnatic must once again do some soul searching. But, let us not forget, this is the team that looooves losing streaks and dramatic (if not insane) climbs back to the top. While their play can be improved upon (greatly?) I wouldn't count out Fnatic yet. They've stuffed a lot of damn words back into people's mouths.

The question, to me, isn't can they do it. The question is...when will their anger-fueled, bullet-like ascent back to first place start? :)

Auf Wiedersehen, Yellowpete.

Nooo, not our Yellowpete! Nooo. Although...on second thought...Evil Geniuses have been having a rough patch, bottom lane hasn't been fabulous, and there's no denying Altec has serious talent. Sure, we don't like seeing anyone replaced, especially when they've been with us for so long, but player swaps have become a necessary evil in the NA LCS, and I don't doubt there will be more of them as this split gets underway.  

(Wait..didn't I beat you in this game?)

Yellowpete bowed out graciously on the Evil Genuises' website, saying, "There is no arguing about the fact that my performance within the last couple of months has not been what I want or the team needs it to be. After closely watching the tryouts period, I believe that this is a change that can have a positive effect on the team's performance. Altec is a very talented, young player whom I could see a lot of growth in and I'm looking forward to helping him transition into the LCS from the Challenger scene."

A Tale of Two Cities
(or " Cologne...")

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NA Summer Split Preview:

Things are HEATING UP in the NA LCS!

by Pieter "antdriote" Cnudde

All-Stars is over and Korea still owns us all. But how did this off-season really affect the NA LCS scene? Many teams have made significant adjustments and this is my breakdown of all the teams and how beneficial those changes should be for them.

-Cloud 9: 1st Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Even without Hai, they had a good run at All-Stars. They've been the best team in NA for two splits in a row and they are the only LCS team that has stuck with their line-up. C9 works great together and every role has accomplished players. Balls was a big carry during All-Stars, the bot lane held their own, and Meteos is still praised by junglers worldwide. While Hai couldn't show his skill against Faker or the other mid laners at All-Stars, he's eager to play with the team again and prepare for worlds.

They come out of the off-season with all the benefits: no roster swaps, excellent synergy and good international experience from All-Stars. They are the smartest tactical team in NA and probably have learned a thing or two from playing SKT T1 K. The only thing that could hold them back would be Hai’s health.

Prediction: First place -  99% sure for both playoffs and regular season.

-Counter Logic Gaming: 3rd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Top laner Nien voluntarily left CLG after folding to fan criticism following his weak performance during the playoffs. CLG immediately started searching for a suitable replacement. Shin "Seraph" Woo Yeong presented himself to CLG’s coach and he is now living in the CLG gaming house to see if he can work with the team. A substitute for Najin White Shield in OGN, the mechanically-sound Seraph has been wrecking NA solo queue since the day he arrived in LA, playing a wide variety of champions from meta picks like Renekton and Shyvana to less orthodox picks like Lissandra and Yasuo. His English is good enough for in-game communication and he has a great work attitude. Little LAN experience is his only downfall. (He's played just one OGN game in his life.) Only the future will tell how strong the "shinergie" will be with his team.

Doublelift and Link should bring fresh All-Stars' insight on Cloud 9 and the international teams. CLG might struggle a bit in the beginning of the season (a new player always takes time to adapt,) but Seraph really wants this and he'll work hard to help them become a great team.

Prediction: Top 2 or 3 at least and might upset C9 in the playoffs.

-Team SoloMid: 2nd Place team in the Spring Split (regular and playoffs).

Sadly, the General stepped down, replaced by MVP jungler, Amazing, from the Copenhagen Wolves. Amazing has shown brilliance in the EU LCS and ended the split with the highest KDA and total gold for a jungler. Nervous TSM fans will point out that the team picked him up without trying him first, but Regi has never made a bad roster choice in the past. Mechanically, Amazing is definitely an upgrade for TSM. TheOddOne lived his glory days. He had issues adjusting to the new jungle and his pressure and duel skills were probably the worst in the league.

The departure of Xpecial was a big surprise. At first benched for his attitude, Reggie then traded him to Curse. Now Gleeb, former support player for Cloud 9 Tempest, is taking up the role. I don’t feel Gleeb is an upgrade for TSM. He is a challenger support with little experience at the top level and TSM lost a good shot-caller in Xpecial. However, he could bring some new life to the team.

This is the first time TSM has replaced two players at once, so it might take time for them to get back into form. They are a strong team that, with even poor shot-calling, could still beat most of the lower LCS teams.

Predictions: Top 4 in regular split, will try and compete for worlds. Can only go super wrong if the new players don’t fit with the team and more swaps or time is needed.

-Dignitas: 4th Place in the regular split and 5th in playoffs.

Dignitas narrowly escaped relegations by beating Coast in the playoffs with the aid of retired player, Scarra (who is now their coach). The team received an upgrade in mechanics with Zionspartan and Shiphtur, but neither player brings much by way of shot-calling ability or insight. Strategy-wise, Dig is still a very low tier team. As a coach, Scarra will try to fix many of these issues so they can contend for a top slot again. Dig now has three strong lanes, but they need to have a good transition into the mid game and fix their shot-calling issues. I don’t feel they will grow insanely this split, but they can work towards the next split and make life hard for most teams.

Predictions: Around 3-6  in regular and semis in playoffs.

-Curse: 5th Place in the regular split and 4th in playoffs.

Pleased after ending fourth, Curse didn't seem to look for a roster swap until they saw the opportunity to pick up Xpecial as their new support. Xpecial seems like an advantage for the Curse line-up:  a decent shot-caller and top NA support to help Cop realize his full potential.Curse has always shown great early strategies and fighting ability, but they look like a group of kids playing the game for the first time when they go past the 20 minute mark. Hopefully some coaching and the addition of Xpecial's voice will help Curse become stronger in the upcoming split. Both Curse and Dig have made mechanical upgrades, but their core issues are still there, so they are pretty even to each other. Curse will have problems in their solo lanes, though, in the head-to-head games.

Prediction: Around 3-6 in regular and maybe semis in playoffs.

-Evil Geniuses: 7th Place in regular split.

The only team that didn't get relegated during the promotions tournament. They haven’t announced any official roster swaps but are supposedly doing some try-outs. EG will need to improve a lot in their laning and skirmishes. They are tactically not the worst team in NA, but they fall too far behind in gold to fight for the objectives they want to take.

Innox has a small champion pool with almost no meta picks. He might become more relevant now that the tank meta top is shifting a bit. Pobelter seems to be godlike, but only on rare occasions. When he finishes high school in June, he should be able to work on his consistency and perhaps live up to the hype that surrounded him earlier in the season. Help will still be needed for Snoopeh and Yellowpete, who don’t seem to be able to handle the competition in their respective roles. The try-outs might help EG a bit, but if they just get outplayed mechanically, it will be hard for them to win a lot of games. I’m fearing for the boys in blue - but there's always hope.

Prediction: 6-8 (and probably relegations again).

-LMQ (aka Chinese overly-hyped train)

Yes, LMQ swept the challenger scene. No, they won’t just come in and win NA LCS. You put any LCS team in challenger and they will also dominate the scene (eg. Coast in NACL) but that doesn't mean they would be tops in the LCS. LMQ is created from a secondary Chinese team that has great mechanical players (like most Chinese teams) but they lack any strategy and seem to experience a lot of LAN nerves.

LMQ will make every game hard for the bottom teams because they mechanically outclass them. They can win the solo queue way - stomping lanes and having better team fights. But the smart teams can just avoid the fights they don’t want and play safe or use lane-swapping to diminish the early lane bullying from the Chinese team. C9 showed at IEM and All-Stars that Chinese teams can be beaten and this team is much weaker than WE and OMG. I don’t see the team picking up an analyst or coach anytime soon, so they will probably be a Chinese TSM - strong lanes, good fights, but poor decision making. We’ll see how far they can make it in the split against the growing NA scene.

Predictions:  3-5 in regular and semis in playoffs.


The third-seeded challenger team may have beaten Coast, but they don’t look any better than them. Westrice had great issues against Zion and it seems only PR0LLY is really at a decent level to compete in the LCS. They are just a challenger team that will soon realize their solo queue mentality alone won’t make them a successful team in the LCS.

Predictions : 7-8 (At this point, I don’t see a way that Complexity can avoid relegation.)

The first Superweek will give us a better view how the teams look with their new rosters. The teams that ended the LCS with the same rosters they have now will have a great advantage going into playoffs and should be the highest seeded teams.

Thanks for reading my NA LCS preview. Thoughts or comments? Leave them below or tweet me @antdrioite

Thursday, May 15, 2014

LCS Central's Question of the Day!

We asked:
What Champion was the hardest for you to learn?
Certain Champions appeared to be more vexing than others! Here's some of what you had to say:

  • Elise! First transforming champion I played so I ended up getting confused a lot and just button mashing hoping for the best - Judar ‏@PikaJudar
  • Bought Elise, played a game, refunded. Bought Khazix, played a game, got mecha Khazix. - Brandeezy ‏@Im_Brandeezy
  • Elise. Several attempts and I'm still none the wiser. Orianna is the same. I just get nowhere with them. - кαчʟεıɢн ‏@Kayleighh_x
  • Elise :P It's the transforming that gets me haha, so many choices. - Heather ‏@owlxie
  • Elise. She was my first transformation champ :3 but last year she was my main. - Conrad Von Newman ‏@BaronVoNewman 
  • Leblanc for me, as a main jungler it was so hard at first. - Alexandre S. ‏@eclecticvenus 
  • Leblanc. There's something very beautiful about playing Leblanc, it's either get fed or feed, it's like art. For me, I was fart. - Martin Eriksson ‏@PyunTaeFoo
  • Simply Leblanc :). Every time I play her, I'm confused which build or combo should I go to maximize her damg. Plus her E is hard. - Rays ‏@RaysPham
  • Leblanc. I can play any other champ fine, haha. - Narokuu 死の天使 ‏@Narokuu
  • Still can get the hang of Draven, so many things to keep track of in order to optimize your use of him. Making sure to use axes to cs for passive, catching axes, keeping 2 up, refreshing W constantly, it's so much to do. - Arron Dempsey ‏@ArronDempers
  • Ryze and Draven, I've tried so hard to learn those two because they're both really strong but I just can't do it. - Dominic Broadhead ‏@HanzoKurosawa 
  • I still think Draven was one of the hardest ADCs to master. Hitting that catch and throw rhythm isn't always easy. - Alec C ‏@Gambit_Le3tha 
  • Draven x) - Reflexink ‏@Reflexink
Vayne, Orianna and Syndra:
  • Might have been Vayne for me, she can only apply AA but her movement coordination is so difficult if you wanna live while dealin dmg. - Waljakovo ‏@Waljakovo
  • Vayne for me but now I'm God with her. - joshua röder ‏@RderVayne
  • Vayne and Syndra :3 - foxxy ‏@letsgetfoxxy 
  • Syndra. She's not the champ for me. I tried once and I gave up in life. XD - Kristaaaaal ‏@FluffyKristal
  • Vayne + Orianna for me, still learning! - Connor Spaulding ‏@ConnorSpaulding
  • Orianna. I can never keep track of the ball :/ - Joey ‏@TheRockHD
  • Ori. She balled way too hard for me. - Kerwin ‏@CaiusTSR
Zed, Kha'Zix, Rumble:
  • I can not play Zed. I suck xD for some reason I can only play with mages. I gotta work on dat lol - Mayu Amu Hinamori ‏@MayuAmuHinamori
  • Kha'Zix. He was the first I ever loved playing although I sucked. Now he's one of my best. - Lux ‏@adorbss
  • Rumble, he doesn't have the same mechanics as any other character, and eventually I settled to be mediocre with him. - Aaron Zeatlow ‏@A_zargast
  • Rumble was very tough for me, I prob can't play him anymore - Pieter Cnudde ‏@antdrioite
  • I can't play Zed to save my life. - Yamustache ‏@LoLYamazuya
And surprisingly...Ashe:
  • Ashe..and Varus..sad I know I can play Ori with no problems but ask me to use an arrow and it's like I'm a nub or sumthin. Katie Diegan ‏@kate_diegan 
  • Ashe. I'm not a good ADC as it is, and I am not a fan of auto-attacks. Rito pls nerf. - Jt 'Ribbwich' Egbert ‏@_ribbwich
  • Ashe, after 2,5 years I still cannot play her. - Victor KlebΞrg ‏@zquaredninja
Twisted Fate, Jinx, Varus and Irelia also got a couple of mentions. So kudo's to anyone who can play these champions've mastered other people's nightmares. :) 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An Interview with Darker

Former Gambit Gaming support player, Andrey "Darker" Plechistov, sat down with me to discuss what he's been doing since parting ways with the team, the past and current state of Gambit Gaming, and his outlook on the current state of the European scene.
Since departing from Gambit during the previous Summer Split, you went to University to finish your education. During that time, did you try looking for another team to join?

Yes, I was trying teams quite a lot.

Was there a particular reason none of those teams worked out?

Well, roster changes mostly. For example, I was playing with Brokenshard in a team before he went to NA and overall it looked quite promising. I think we could have made it to the LCS qualifications, but after he left, the team was basically not the same and we didn't manage to find a good replacement. Also, people didn't have motivation to continue so we had to part our ways. Another promising team I had recently with ForellenLord, and not being able to play with the same roster also was a huge factor there since we had to switch three junglers (two of them went to high challenger and LCS teams) two weeks before we went to Copenhagen Games tournament. We had to pick up a pretty good but inexperienced player and he just didn't have enough time to improve. We didn't put on a good show there, so I decided to not continue trying out new people again but focus on finishing my study which is going to give me more freedom and time to find a solid team later.

Alright, so lets go back to your time in Gambit. You mentioned in your Facebook post that there were several issues in the team that ultimately led to your decision to leave. Was there something that Edward brought to the team that allowed them to perform well for so long? He didn't exactly have the best showing during his time in Curse. Did something special happen when the roster consisted of the original five members?

It's hard to tell, but I personally feel like it's about Edward being with the original M5 roster since the beginning. They were getting used to each other while they also had the best individual skill on their positions. Genja was pretty much godlike during Season One and Two. In Season Three, Edward left the team because they had problems with communications and their results got worse. I can't agree that he didn't have the best performance in Curse though. I actually think that he did very well in his position there, but Curse didn't have the best players at that time and weren't a very good team overall.

That's a fair assessment. So why is it that you think those winning results couldn't be replicated with you or Voidle? Did internal issues become worse over time?

I think me or Voidle could have played there and performed well, but the attitude from other members and management should've been different. In short, I can say that for me a team can only do well when people are doing everything to achieve the same goal and have the will to work with each other, but when I was in Gambit it wasn't like that, sadly. Despite that, I really appreciated the opportunity to become a member of a world-class team and show that I can perform on a big scene against the best players. I'm looking forward to playing League on a high level again and I believe it will be an even better experience for me.

So let's fast forward to the present where Alex Ich has left the line-up for personal reasons. Do you think they can still be a world class team without him?

Everything is possible and I have no doubt that they have the individual skill and experience to be the team which is able to beat the Koreans again. But it will only happen if they change their mindset and attitude. Also, replacing Alex Ich is a huge thing considering how hard he was carrying them in the second part of the 2014 Spring Split and playoffs. Time will tell.

There has been some mention among the community that Alex Ich had fallen off this season. What's your opinion on his current skill level? Is it as good as it has always been?

Many people talk about player X from Gambit performing bad in 2014. I see it as sign of the team not performing well in general, not just some individual player. I think Alex Ich was carrying hard during his last games on the team and pretty much saved Gambit from relegation with his Ziggs (I think they still would've won vs. Denial, but it's another story.) Now he switched to top lane and initially he won't be playing as good as he was in mid lane, but I know him for a long time and I believe he adapts really well and is able to switch roles and be one of the better players in it.

Well then, lets move on to a Gambit member who receives a bit more criticism: Genja. He's frequently discussed about his particular playstyle and unorthodox build paths. Some of his peers still consider him one of the best AD carries and some think he's among the worst. How do you think he stacks up against other EU AD carries like Rekkles, Forg1ven, CandyPanda, etc.? And why is it that he dislikes solo queue?

I would say that Gambit's bot lane was in the bottom four during last split and compared to Fnatic, CPH, and SHC, they didn't look good. Regarding Genja, I can only say that he still has his strong side: he's still a very smart player with strong team fight  positioning. At the same time, I believe that players like Forg1ven, Rekkles, MrRalleZ and CandyPanda were better mechanically and decision making-wise. I don’t know his solo queue situation at the moment, so I can't answer.

A big talk among the community now is that acquiring an analyst is a necessity in any team. A few experts have suggested that if Gambit picked up an analyst then they could possibly perform at a more optimal level. Later, Alex Ich mentioned that they attempted to pick one up but that no one took his suggestions to heart when it mattered. It seems to be common knowledge that the Gambit members are stubborn when it comes to getting input about their own position. From your time on the team, do you think the players have the capability of listening to an outside source's suggestions?

Yes, I think so. I believe that being open-minded is a huge part of success, especially in League when the game is changing so fast constantly and part of what you considered to be good before can no longer work in the next patch.

Let's move onto the current state of the European scene. During the off-season, it seems that NA has attempted to make strides in improving by importing players to bolster its talent pool. Also, Fnatic's performance at the 2014 All-Stars was very lackluster considering they were expected to do well as a team coming off their third consecutive LCS Championship win. Would you say that EU is currently behind the other regions right now?

Yes, I think EU is pretty weak in its current state. I see two core problems there:

First one is that organizations just don't feel like they should pay if they pick up a non-LCS team. From my experience, most organizations don’t feel like giving you a contract with a salary in it. They don’t want to risk their money and they don’t get respect or loyalty of players because of that, but it's very important to make professional relationships work for both sides. That’s my very own personal point but I really want organizations to start actually paying for representing their name and working with them. Then they can ask from their players and expect them to show progress and make results. When an organization offers nothing, people lose motivation and teams can easily disband when some of their players get better offers or players just go to another region if they see an opportunity. Many talented players move to NA because money is there and I really want EU organizations to step up their game.

Second problem is that 'coaching thing' is in very poor state in Europe; many LCS teams don’t have a good coach or analyst. I'm not even talking about challenger teams. Players who don't open their mind and listen to outside opinions while people who are trying to be coaches are usually pretty bad at what they are doing. So the picture we have is good mechanically but often cocky or arrogant players who don’t listen to outside words (my coach is bad and I’m a good player - why would I listen to this guy?) mixed with inexperienced or bad coaches. If players pay more attention to what other people say and try to work with an analyst and focus on getting one and actually listening to what he's saying, they can improve their game understanding and communication skills. I believe EU can be top region again.

So if organizations were willing to pay analysts and coaches a realistic salary, do you think more people would go for the job? Is there a sufficient amount of experienced people who are capable of being coaches or analysts? Or do you think EU should try to look abroad (NA, KR, etc.)?

First of all, I think players should get contracts with a salary in it. Analysts and coaches should get paid as well since it's serious business and should be treated like it. In terms of looking for proper coaching and analysts, I think EU organizations should look towards other regions, but that just comes from my experience. Maybe there are some very skilled coaches who can actually help teams even in EU.

What about the player talent pool? Does EU have all the necessary talent to compete with the Eastern regions?

Can't say much because there are not so many international events. If we look at All-Stars, we can say that Fnatic got pretty much outplayed on a mechanical level, so it's hard to say about the whole EU as "best mechanical" region from this state. Talent needs work, it's not enough to win against Koreans just by having players like Rekkles in your team. EU teams need to step up in many aspects - training regime, mindset, attitude etc. Also from my perspective and team-searching process, I feel like many players here in Europe are pretty lazy and rely on outplaying people who play worse without trying hard on improving, expanding their champion pool etc. If a player doesn't play a certain champion but it's clearly good, that player can just say "Nah, I don’t feel like playing it" and won't learn it. Obviously this is bad and changes must happen in order for Europe to become competitive again.

So with how things currently are, do you think Europe can make a good showing at Season Four Worlds? Do you see any of the issues being addressed in the upcoming weeks?

We have to see how teams will perform. There's still enough time to improve and fix issues, everything is in hands of players and team management and they just need to be smart and work effectively to solve problems. There are bright sides of EU as a region: SK's improving during the split as an example of that.

So since no new teams entered the EU LCS, how do you predict the standings to look like for the Summer Split?

Too many changes and too much time to predict anything, but I believe that SK and Alliance will do fine.
Alright then, any shout-outs or people you want to thank?

Shout-out to my friends and people who support me. Thank you for making this interview with me and good luck in your games and life tasks to everybody reading this.

And thank you for the interview as well as graduating from university. That's a very impressive accomplishment. Best of luck finding a new team. We're all hoping to see you back in the competitive scene.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Here a Braum, there a Braum...

Everywhere a Braum...Braum...

New Champions - Insta-locked and played like crazy for a week after their release. With little exception, every normal I played today had two Braums in it, each throwing up their cool ass shields and laying out their spiky blue lines of death. Our happy little rift poros were certainly well-protected! Personally, I found Braum just annoying enough to make a great lane opponent, and just kill-able enough to not seem ridiculously OP. I declare him amazingly well-balanced straight out of the box. The question is, will we still see him next week, or will players return to Leona and more traditional tanky supports?

So what do you think, Summoners? Is Braumania here to stay? 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Welcome To Paris : A Fast Look at All-Stars

by Jt 'Ribbwich' Egbert

Halfway to worlds, the leagues are all ready for a chance to take a warning bite out of each other. As the All-Star hype train reaches critical mass, let's look at how these five teams have earned their invitations. We start with the kings:


Korea is being represented by the winner of the Season Three World Championships, SK T1 K, although it is pretty well-known they aren't the strongest team in the region. (A title that probably belongs to one of the teams in Samsung Galaxy's stable.)

Why They Can Win: Mechanics, Mechanics, Mechanics. All of the pros in this region are 100% entrenched in their teams. This makes their personal mechanics match their team play mechanics. They time things to the millisecond, and outplay opponents on a large scale. Even the most solid teams end up tilting after experiencing SK T1 K's abuse.

How They Can Lose: Overconfidence is a weakness most Korean teams share. If their opponents remain calm and poised and stick to what they know (instead of going on a tilt trying to counter them,) any team has a chance of beating the god-kings.


We had our first taste of China in the World Finals, when we got to see Royal Club's Tabe drop bears on people's heads. This time, we'll be seeing the Chinese team, OMG.

Why They Can Win: Aggressively striking from the shadows with fearless precision, the deadliest Chinese team is the unseen one. This team could take the win from nowhere, and you won't even see them first.

How They Can Lose: Vision. Other teams can pressure them out of their comfortable, unseen presence if they have a well-warded map. Get them on a tilt and the "W" is yours.


The surprise winners of the Season Two World Championships, the Taipei Assassins are going to this years All-Star challenge as well, and they're riding the momentum of an undefeated spring season.

Why They Can Win: This region is always an unexpected treat - mixing Korean mechanics with Chinese aggression - but their best shot at winning lies in the fact that other teams are coming in crippled. SKT is slumping. C9 doesn't have Hai. OMG is playing with a rusty Cool, etc.

How They Can Lose: They don't really posses any team-fighting skill, so they need a lot of practice. Considering they'll be up against the best players in the world, the answers to this question are pretty much endless.


Europe is one of the most competitive regions in the world, with some of the closest records we've seen in a single split. The European playoffs were hard fought, but ultimately they went in favor of perennial favorites, Fnatic.

Why They Can Win: Fnatic have great potential if they wear their amazing pants to these games. Fast reflexes, excellent mechanical skills and good rotations can lead Fnatic to victory.

How they Can Lose: By not bringing those pants. Fnatic has shown many times that they will attempt to try new things and push the meta as far as it will go. If their picks are bad and their play inconsistent, it might not be an impressive showing by Xpeke and the boys.

North America:

Who can say no to apple pie? Undefeated playoff contenders and double split winners, Cloud 9 HyperX, face their first Korean challenge in SKT T1k, and look to exact revenge against EU rivals, Fnatic.

Why They Can Win: Cloud 9 will come into this series prepared. They have done the legwork. They know their enemies...and LemonNation's legendary notebook has something in store for every one of them. Early Jungle pressure and superior rotations should keep even the best opponent on their toes - as long as they can synergize with Hai's replacement, Link.

How They Can Lose: C9 might have trouble keeping their collective cool under the immense competition these teams are sure to bring them. If they get out-pressured and over-aggressed, places where C9 has shown weakness before, it will spell the end of the red white and blue at All Stars.

That's all I have, thanks for the read, I will see you all in Paris! (Well, in twitch chat!)

League of Legends : Ushering in World Peace

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Link at All-Stars : The Unseen Threat

By Jeremy Heimann and Jodi McClure

Counter Logic Gaming's Link has a lot in common with a Teemo mushroom. Quiet and very low-key compared to his larger-than-life teammates, the young mid-laner can sometimes be invisible to LCS fans, but ignoring him on the playing field is deadly. He'll explode on you if you're not paying attention, and even though he's small in stature, this mechanically-sound eighteen-year-old can pack a lot of punch. Similar to Hai, (the recovering Cloud 9 player he'll be replacing at All-Stars,) Link has a large champion pool to draw on and heavily favors current meta bullies like Lulu and LeBlanc. And like Hai, he's familiar with a team that likes rotations. Plus, like Hai, Link excels at late-game shot calling. In fact, he's practically the ideal made-to-order player for those mid-less white-hoodie-wearing gangstas.

For both parties, the temporary trade appears to be an excellent deal. Cloud 9 gets a competent replacement and CLG gets an interesting look inside the enemy camp. Besides gaining experience on the international stage, the understated Link will have a chance to infiltrate Cloud 9's mind and maybe steal a glimpse at the sacred pages of LemonNation's notebook (and copy them with a pen camera, if he's got any James Bond in him at all.)

Call it a sweet but smart move by CLG, who won't be getting much practice in anyways with Doubleleft away at All-Stars. No downside, huge upside, and great exposure for the unusually wraith-like Link, who's only been growing in confidence since earning a spot on CLG's starting line-up. He'll go to All-Stars. He'll blend in. And he'll do for Cloud 9 what he does best - silently playing the ghost in the machine while his cyborg mind absorbs everything. And then he'll bring it all back to his team. C'est la vie, C9!

Monday, May 5, 2014

LCS Central's Question of the Day!

We asked:

Which team do you think will benefit most from their off-season changes?
And here's what you had to say - 

‏@meltotheany said: I hope #Dignitas because I'm a fangirl and #CLG because they will be so scary if Seraph is 100% confirmed as their starting top!

@LoLDecayd said: Seraph hype train incoming. But I think Dignitas/Curse benefited the most.

@Gentleman_Joey said: Love Dig's moves. Zions an amazing top laner and they got arguably the 2nd best mid in NA last split. Dig looks good.

‏@Reckcer  said: Fixing the weak solo laners on Dig will definitely be the most beneficial thing to happen for a team.

‏@JessuehCosplay said: Have to go with TSM again, Amazing will most likely get coaching by TOO to adjust to NA, also new support wind. looking strong!

‏@packieeeeee said: If Seraph stays on CLG then CLG it is. But since that isn't 100% sure yet I'll go for Curse!

‏@COGAvenger said: I'd have to say TSM, TheOddOne coaching and some new players put them in a great position - just what they need to break the slump!

‏@DSherony said: I really could talk about this for hours. C9 probably benefits most from all the off-season changes everyone else has something new.

‏@AndrewGridah said: Removing legacy members like OddOne and Xpecial might just put TSM in the position to take 1st place finally in this upcoming split.

‏@n_Fatic said: I'd say @TeamCurseGaming, imo, got the best support in NA/EU on their team. If IWDominate steps it up next split then who knows!

‏@kate_diegan said: I don't know about changes but I think EG will make it big next split. i think they need the whole team under 1 roof to make magic happen.

‏@JoeyDevaux said: Honestly, I think it's Curse. If Xpecial shows up to play then I think he'll dimensionalize the line up.

‏@AmunyLoL said: Dignitas. They now own very strong laners, and I can't wait to see how Crumbz will be able to apply pressure more freely.

‏@cbgaara said: Definitely clg. Having a consistent high level top laner will help them out greatly

‏@Konman81 said: CLG, a high mechanical top laner is almost the missing piece for them.

‏@Fenixsniper said: CLG! From #3 to #2 or 1 ez

‏@salicylism said: Probably DIG. Very good additions to their roster.

‏@rHougs said: Dig and C9, digs new solo owners are massive and C9 not making any changes is pretty smart

‏@irvomusyoka said: Dignitas!! They now have a very strong midlaner and their toplane can carry hard at times! As well as the legendary kiwipie bot!

‏@RderVayne said: i think Dignitas have strong players now if they can handle their shot calling then they will be strong next split.

‏@nuggetsauce said: After watching CLG's new top laner, they got a lot stronger.

‏@thebadw0lf_ said: Dignitas!

Looks like Dignitas picked up a lot of new fans and support this week. What do you think, #LCS Friends? :) 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Promise's Recovery : Slow...but Promising.

Two months ago, AHQ League of Legend's pro, Cheon "Promise" MinKi, ruefully admitted on the Inven forums that he intentionally threw games due to threats from his team's manager. Just minutes after writing the post, Cheon attempted to take his own life, jumping from the top of a twelve-story building - but the flexible metal roof of a shed and the pliable plastic of a recycling bin mercifully intervened. Despite all odds, the young marksman lived, although multiple fractures (including a broken right arm and leg) now devastated his body. Promise emerged from his coma, underwent several hours of surgery, and began a slow and painful path to recovery.   

(The shed Promise hit.)

His story garnered international attention for weeks. Fund-raisers brought an influx of substantial donations from well-wishing fans. Fellow players streamed for him and NA LCS teams kicked in proceeds from their merchandise sales. In total, almost $53,000 US Dollars were raised. The last update we had was during a visit last month from Inven, when Promise became overwhelmed with emotion. Barely able to write due to his injured hands and unable to speak due to a badly broken jaw, he could express only that he was sorry for his actions, thankful for his survival and amazed by the outpouring of love he was receiving from everyone.

So how is he doing now?

Latest picture from Promise

This past weekend, Promise updated his Facebook page, showing just how thin he'd become while lamenting his half-swollen face (labeling one half 'Starved Promise' and one half 'Fat Promise,') but considering his condition two months ago, he looked remarkably well. His jaw, which had been wired shut, can now move, and his mouth is able to open a fair half-inch. (A feat he measures by how many stacked tongue depressors he can fit in there.) 

His spirits seem brighter, despite considerable bouts of pain. His Facebook posts reflect a craving for pizza and a desire to game again. While it may still be some time before he can eat solid foods, he's been enjoying soup and ice cream. He is in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation for treatments. His hand (which had several pins placed in it) is very weak and his thumb function is bad. (He's been working on gripping and moving a mouse.) He eagerly looks forward to getting rid of the splints on his arm and leg.

From the tone of his posts, Promise seems to have grown mentally stronger. It's an encouraging sign from a young man who was at such a point of despair back in March.

His Facebook page is MinKi Cheon if you'd like to send him a fast hello or note of encouragement. I'm sure Google Translate will make your words understandable enough.       

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Off-Season Report

By Joshua Kon and Jodi McClure

Covering rumors and confirmations and all news that has taken place these past few days!

Positions Still Up For Grabs -

1. CLG's Top Lane *assumed to be Seraph but no official word yet*
2. Gambit's Mid Lane *niQ will play for them first week but nothing official*

Confirmed Retirees - Bischu, Benny and Cruzerthebruzer have all officially announced their retirements.

Confirmed Benched -

1. Nien - Benched himself from CLG feeling his performance was not up to his standard. He is currently a CLG Sub and does not look to be coming back for any team this split.
2. Migxa - The European support for Super Hot Crew has been benched after his record-breaking death performance last split. Leading player to replace him right now is Leduck.
3. Goldenglue - Put aside in favor of Shiphtur.
4. BunnyFuFu - Put aside for Xpecial.

Moved to non player positions

1. The Oddone - Stepped down and will remain with TSM as a coach. 

Confirmed Left Their Teams -

1. Forg1ven - 

Confirmed Movement - 

1. Shiphtur and Zion - officially joined Dignitas
2. Amazing - officially joined TSM as their new jungler.
3. Xpecial - officially moves to Curse. Yes...Curse. 
4. Gleebglarbu - becomes TSM's new support.  
5. WeWillFailer - joins Supa Hot Crew as their new support.
6. Woolite and Airwaks - join C.Wolves's as ADC and Jungle.
7. Alex Ich - Joined a reworked Ninjas in Pyjamas with k0u, Freeze, mithy and Nukeduck.

Team Disbandment - Every season we see teams and organizations break up when failing to enter or re-enter the LCS and this season was no different.

1. Complexity Red - After Black made it to the LCS, it didn't take Complexity much time to disband their other amateur team.
2. SK Gaming Prime - Confirmed to be disbanded
3. Reason Gaming - Confirmed to be disbanded

Not Disbanded -

1. XDG Gaming - Despite rumors to the opposite, XDG is not disbanding. The team owner, Marshall Alexander, confirmed that he is in talks with other teams to buyout/trade player's contracts. XDG will continue as a challenger team, but Alexander is trying to be accommodating to players who wish to remain in the LCS.  
2. Coast Gaming - Reorganizing for challenger, most likely with a whole new roster, although Daydreamin, Nintendudex, and Wiz still under contract until October.