This year’s Champions Winter final features a pair of starkly contrasting storylines featuring past winners of the prestigious Korean tournament. On one side, we have SK Telecom T1 K, who have been on a rampage since early 2013, only dropping sets to both Samsung Galaxy Ozone and Samsung Galaxy Blue in Champions Spring 2013 and the 2013 World Cyber Games Korean Qualifiers, respectively, en route to a 1st place finish in Champions Summer 2013 and the LCS Season 3 World Championship. On the other side, Samsung Galaxy Ozone has faced an up and down year since their victory in Champions Spring 2013, where they defeated an overwhelming favourite in CJ Entus Blaze, but has shown inconsistent finishes ranging from a respectable 3rd in Champions Summer 2013 to a paltry elimination from the group stage at Worlds.
The much-hyped semifinal matchup between SK Telecom T1 K and KT Rolster Bullets fell across a wide range of different outcomes ranging from heavily contested and exciting in game 1 to a yawner of a stomp in game 3 in favour of the Season 3 LCS champions. Despite much discussion and speculation as to whether or not the Bullets could make the next step or whether SKT would continue to be their gatekeeper to a 1st place Champions finish, there wasn’t any particular doubt that SKT would end up winning the series. What probably surprised most was the convincing extent in which they won, but regardless of the second and third games, the back-and-forth opening match proved to be the best window into both teams and the state of their play. As expected, the outcomes were decided by early lane dominance and failure on KT’s part to apply jungle pressure, as well as the two crucial fights over Baron, both of which could have ended up in either team’s favor.
There is truly nothing more exciting in League Legends right now than watching OGN’s PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013/2014. An unlikely playoff seeding putting SKT T1 K, SG Blue, KT Bullets, and CJ Blaze into the same half of the bracket resulted in a very crowded quarterfinals that has led to a semifinal meeting between two of the undeniably best teams in all of Korea, and perhaps the world. It’s quite remarkable that both organizations of such high stature in SKT and KT could possibly meet in non-finals contexts twice, the first of which eventually sent SKT to the Season 3 World Championships; had Bullets been able to best their foes in the regional qualifier, it may very well have been them hoisting the trophy at the Staples Center last September.
Twisted Fate is a broken champion. This is a fact that Riot has said directly and that teams across the world acknowledge by consistently banning him in competitive play. Unlike Jayce, who is overpowered in part because his kit is being abused in ways that were not intended, Twisted Fate is overpowered because he is working exactly as he is supposed to. Twisted Fate’s ult, Destiny, allows him to have a map presence unlike any other champion in the game, and simply being picked forces the opposing team to change their strategies and playstyle to account for him. In the hands of the extremely skilled players and teams, such a game presence translates into a huge advantage. And because no team wants to have to deal with that advantage, Twisted Fate is consistently banned by teams particularly in China and Korea. It’s also very telling that Twisted Fate is largely absent from the NA scene, but that’s a discussion for another time. What is important is that Twisted Fate has a huge influence on the competitive game in a way that he shouldn’t as a champion that has been identified for needing changes.
One of the most fascinating things about sport isn’t necessarily the mechanics and theory that contribute to a game’s outcome, but rather the human element, the unpredictable being that often goes against our perceived expectations. Humans play the game, and everything that humans are, leading up to that game, add a layer of emotional depth that goes beyond strategy and analysis. You can ask a basketball player about high percentage shots and efficient shooting zones like the “corner three,” but if that particular shot is the one that wins a game, you’re probably more likely to hear about how that player feels about being the hero, the redeemed, the legend, and so forth. That moment is a story to the person who experienced it.
There are often times while playing League that I wonder “was there anything that I could’ve done to prevent that situation from escalating?” Here, though, I am not talking about a game that snowballs or when a poor jungler gank that turned into a triple kill for the opposing team. I am instead referring to the way a game falls apart when players abuse the chat feature because they are upset. We have all had games where the most combat seems to be happening between players in the chat screen instead of with champions. These are unfortunate situations, but they are also a problem that is frequent enough to get me wondering if there is a way to prevent it from happening. Because of how much of a part it plays in creating and aggravating situations of verbal warfare between players, for a while I have wondered whether we would be better off without the All-Chat feature in game.
Week 5 was highlighted by what was perhaps the most entertaining (yet, beneath the surface, most exposing) game of the LCS season so far in North America. With heavyweights Vulcun and Cloud 9 battling for the top of the class, Cloud 9 came back in unbelievable fashion. It really bugs me that in this game, much like others this week and last, it was an indecisive b**** call that decided the outcome of victory.
Bar- I mean, Mr. Nashor, has been unkind to this league, and in the spirit of Dignitas, here are some B-words that describe the teams in this week’s power rankings.
At the highest level of play, the most renowned professional League of Legends players are often heralded for their “champion pool” within a given role on the team with which they play, usually resulting in instances where teams ban out specific champions that the individual can play. At the North American and European LCS level, the talent pool isn’t high enough to warrant blanket champion must-bans the same way Jayce and Twisted Fate are banned in Korea and elsewhere in Season 3; outside of that, bans are most often directed at players in order to limit their champion selection options, which opens up a wide variety of counterplay strategies from the opposing team.
Hello! My name is Myst and I’ll be joining Kriz as a writer for the Piltover Pundit. I am not an exceptional League player, only mid-tier, but I enjoy the game quite a lot and want to share my observations and experiences playing it. In the future I may write about any number of topics related to the game (including Riot or the professional scene), but for my introductory post I want to tell you a little about why I love League of Legends.
Yesterday, an interesting League of Legends educational service called LoL-Class.com launched. It is a service that takes an online lecture approach to teach customers how to become better at the game. Its main attraction point is its partnership with professional League teams from the North American scene, most notably the top teams in the ladder right now, with lessons taught from the pros at both Cloud 9 HyperX and Vulcun TechBargains, among others. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a test lecture last night, which featured Cloud 9’s mid laner, Hai Lam.