Tag: Saskatchewan

Smashfest Saskatoon

We here at SKL are so excited that Smashfest, in partnership with the Saskatoon Blades and IKS Media, is only nine days away. With it being so close, here is some information on what all will be taking place at the SaskTel Centre on January 27th, as well as what you can do to prepare for this awesome event.

First of all, and perhaps most excitingly, we are happy to announce that the prize pool has been increased from $1000 to $1500! This prize pool is sponsored by both the Saskatoon Blades and Tourism Saskatoon.

Not interested in playing in the main tournament? That’s okay! For those of you who were at the last Smashfest, we are re-opening the Legacy Gaming Room, this time sponsored by RegenStorm Arcade and Game On Amusements! For just $15, you can play in any and all the games we have offered in the concourse at SaskTel Centre for as long as you like. Included in your $15 purchase, you will also receive the all new SKL Player Card! These Player Cards get you discounted drinks at the Twisted Tartan for the rest of 2018. We are in contact with other sponsors to add to the benefits these Player Cards offer, so make sure to sign up for the Legacy Room to be the first to get your hands on these exclusive discounts!

Just like the last Smashfest, there will be areas for friends/family/other players to watch the tournament as it happens. Our lovely casters will be on hand to broadcast and stream the event. Everyone is welcome to come watch the event, check out all the Legacy Gaming Room games, or just come hang out. There will be mini tournaments happening around the arena for the duration, including Doubles for Wii U (registration online at smash.gg/skl2) and Super Smash Bros. Melee (registration at the venue) so don’t miss it! There will be concession stands open at SaskTel Centre for food and beverages.

Registration for the main tournament is now live at smash.gg/skl2. You can pay online or at the door. Access to the Legacy Gaming Room is also included in your tournament entry fee! Of the initial 128 available main tournament slots, approximately 40 remain, so be sure to pre-register! Legacy Room bracelets will be exclusively sold at the door.

After Smashfest, SKL is hosting the first Smashfest After Party at the Twisted Tartan (2404 8th St East in Saskatoon) starting at 9:00! This will be the first opportunity to use your SKL Player Cards to get discounted drinks at the Twisted Tartan. It will also be a great chance to get to know some of the players and SKL casters!

Also, be sure to come out to the SaskTel Centre on Friday night, as the Saskatoon Blades take on the Edmonton Oil Kings in their video game themed night! We will have SKL staff and some of the top Smash players in attendance to play some exhibition games. If you want to see if you have what it takes against some of the best smash players in Western Canada, come check it out.

If you need a place to stay in Saskatoon Friday or Saturday, the Comfort Suites (203 Bill Hunter Ave) is offering discounted rooms at $84 a night, for either two double beds or a single queen bed, until January 21st! So make sure to book your hotel room before that date!

Hope to see you all there!

-Dylan “Edge” Edgar and Kevin “BigBooty” Bode

January 27th, 2018

Approximate tournament timeline:

10:00 am: SaskTel Centre doors open.

10:59 am: Registration for SKL Smashfest closes

11 am: SKL Smashfest begins

2:30 pm: Approximate start time of top 24

4 pm: Approximate start time of top 8

7 pm: Crowning of SKL Smashfest champion

9 pm: SKL Smashfest After Party at the Twisted Tartan

Prize Pool Breakdown:

1st Place: $600

2nd Place: $300

3rd Place: $180

4th Place: $120

5th / 6th Place: $90

7th / 8th Place: $60

The Recreation Rundown

Registration for our inaugural League of Legends Rec League has finally closed! With that happening, there is some housekeeping we need to do, in order to ensure that everyone knows how this league will work, as the format will be different from our usual competitive splits.

Scheduled matches are available for viewing on the SKL website by clicking on “Tournament” under the “SKLeague” tab, or by going to the following link: https://battlefy.com/skl-esports/skl-esports-lol-rec-league/59d6644aec08220342928fa1/stage/59d664b4ec08220342928fa4/bracket/1. Teams will be scheduled to play one game per week, with the teams being responsible for the exact scheduling of their games with their opponent for each week. Scheduling between teams can be done through Discord or the LoL client. For ease of communication between teams on these platforms, team captains will be clearly labelled in Discord, as well as all team captains being added to the SKLe Club in the LoL client. If a scheduled time cannot be agreed between two teams for that week, a scheduled time will be chosen by the SKL Admin Team for early the following week.

After a scheduled game time has been agreed upon by two teams, a tournament code can be generated in Battlefy for their match. However, it is important to not generate the tournament code too far ahead of time, as the generated codes expire after twenty-four hours. Battlefy will track all of the stats for the matches, as well as reporting the outcome of the match, through proper use of the tournament code.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us on our Discord channel! And remember, it’s a rec league, so try to have some fun out there. 😊

 

Warm regards,

Kevin “BigBooty” Bode

SKL Hearthstone Invitational

Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dylan “Edge” Edgar and I helped to run the last SKL Hearthstone tournament last season.

This last tournament series saw players play from May until July to compete to see who was the best in Saskatchewan. The tournament before that saw players play from November until February (even longer) and both tournaments saw people unable to commit every week for those months. Some dropped out for work reasons, or personal reasons. But many in the tournaments disliked how much time was required, along with a few other issues that arose from the tournament (complicated, streaming schedule, etc) I personally talked with many of the players to gauge what worked, what didn’t, what they would like to see added and what they would like to see removed. So we tried to find a solution.

We believe we found one.

Starting with our next tournament (September 24th! See Below!) we will be hosting tournaments held each month from now until December, with the winner of each of these being invited to the SKL Invitational held at the beginning of December. The tournaments will be of the following format:

  • Swiss Bracket, cutting to either top 8 or top 4 (based on attendance)
  • Winners receive invites, anyone finishing in top 8 or top 4 will receive points
  • Bring 4 decks, ban 1
  • Conquest OR Last Hero Standing (At least 1 of each)
  • FULLY ONLINE, played in 1 day (or 2 if we have enough people, but likely 1)
  • $5 buy-in

The tournaments will start in the morning, with last minute registrations due by a certain time designated on our website or on the Facebook page. There will be registration beforehand (which I strongly recommend) and the tournament/signup/match submissions will be held on Battlefy. We will be streaming the top matches on our twitch (twitch.tv/saskleague).

But wait, Edge. This invitational…only 4 players are going to play in it?

No. There will be 8!

Our first tournament winner, Jonathon “Alarid” Odne, has received the first invite to the invitational.

4 more winners will receive invites. This leaves 3 more spots. These spots will be filled by the players who collect the most points. (5 points for 2nd place, 3 points for 3rd-4th place, 1 point for 5-8th if the tournament cuts to top 8 instead of top 4).  Each tournament you play in, a certain amount of points will be added to your total (which will be displayed on our website sklesports.ca) and the top 3 players will receive invites to the invitational, with one exception.

Lets say Alarid plays in the next tournament and wins it again! This would mean that now he receives 2 invites to the tournament. But he only requires one. We will then transfer that invite slot to the 4th person on the leaderboards, to ensure all 8 slots are filled! Simple right?

I will personally be open to any discussion or comments about the tournaments moving forward, as will others from the admin team. Positive or negative, if you have something that you feel can make our tournaments better feel free to let us know.

Good luck players, and pull up a chair by the hearth!

Dylan “Edge” Edgar

Register Now!

Click the button to register for first tournament in the new format! The Tournament takes place online on September 24th, 2017!

Introducing SmashFest, presented by IKS Live!

SKL eSports is proud to announce SmashfFest, presented by IKS Live! This Super Smash Bros Wii U event is a one day Singles and Doubles tournament taking place Oct 1st at the University of Regina.

Come watch the games live in the Riddell Centre Theatre, or come hang out in the Legacy Room to play retro games, mini-tournaments, or grab a snack at the concession and licensed bar.

For More info, go to http://sklesports.ca/smashfest/

SKL | League 2017 Fall Season

The time has come yet again! The 2017 SKL League of Legends Fall Season is upon us, and registration is now OPEN!

For those who don’t know, SKL-LoL is a seven week League of Legends league that pits amateur teams against each-other in a highly competitive atmosphere. Every game of the regular season is streamed and cast live on Twitch.tv with the top four teams invited to a live finals event in Saskatchewan! The winners take home a cash prize and the title of Champions.

For ALL the details check out the registration page here.

Player Experience: Hearthstone

Hello, my name is Dylan “Edge” Edgar, and I was the victor of the Saskatchewan Hearthstone Championship this season, going 7-2 in the regular season and winning the finals in four sets! Brief overview of myself before I get into details about the tourney: I’m an avid gamer who has played League of Legends competitively (currently on Rocky Mountain Classics as their sub, maining jungle), as well as having a Magic: The Gathering background (which is what got me into card games initially).

 

SO, what you’re here for: the tournament. I started playing Hearthstone again in October after a pretty long hiatus from the game. I actually started playing the game back in July 2014 and played throughout one of the worst times in Hearthstone history: Undertaker summer. I logged in every once and awhile to get card backs and what not, but I never really played the game heavily, as to me it seemed too easy and I much preferred playing Magic. Fast forward to October, and the timing of my return couldn’t be more perfect. I had recently been getting frustrated with League as a game, and wanted to go back to my card game roots as I hadn’t been able to play MTG in over a year, and I had always told myself that I could hit legend if I really wanted to, so I decided to try starting October 3rd (also happened to have a new patch hit this day, so brand new meta!).

 

Twenty days later, I was hooked and managed to hit legend.

 

It was right around that time that I started looking for tournaments, as I wanted to continue to see just how good I was at this game, or if it was just a fluke. Going into these tournaments also meant I had to learn other decks, as my climb to legend was almost exclusively ZooLock and Midrange Shaman, with a little bit of Tempo Mage here and there (my favourite deck ever as it reminds me of Delver decks from Magic). So I signed up for PrairieLAN and managed to get second in a GRUELING tournament that had me playing my final at 4:30 am against a friend of mine, only to lose out to Frigid Snobold off of Ironforge Portal into Shield Slam to have just enough damage to kill my Ragnaros. To say that loss stung a bit was an understatement, but sometimes RNG gods crush you.

 

Right after PrarieLAN (beginning of November) was when I heard about the SK Championships. I decided to sign up and see competition in this great province of ours, and began testing. I began watching streams, recording opponents’ tech choices to see what was popular/good vs what was bad, and I even started testing lineups in open cups to see what I liked best. Eventually, when the season started I had settled on banning Shaman, and running MidShaman, Tempo Mage, Zoolock and Secret Hunter. But as time went on, I realized that although I loved Rexxar on ladder, I had teched my Hunter list to be good against Shaman (as it was almost 25% of what I was playing on ladder) and I didn’t know how to build/test my Hunter deck in a format where Shaman was permabanned, so I decided to scrap it for MalygosDruid. I used this lineup for the first tbree weeks of the tourney and went 3-0.

 

Then Mean Streets of Gadgetzan emerged, and immediately I saw Pirate Warrior, Jade Druid and Mid-Jade Shaman as decks to watch for. Reasoning for Pirate Warrior was obvious for everyone, as it was a Tier two deck before the expansion and all this expansion did was inject steroids into its cutlass holding arm. Jade Druid seemed almost impossible for control decks to beat (I still remember Day one posting a photo of me having 7 14/14+ Jades vs RenoMage). I decided going in to try and change as little of my strategy as possible, as it seemed to be working for me beforehand and I didn’t like the play style of Reno decks (on top of accidentally disenchanting Reno and Brann to feed my Midrange Shaman legend climb. Whoops), so I focused Midrange Shaman, Pirate Warrior (my aggro replacement for Zoo), Jade Druid (which seemed to me a better MalyDruid), and I ended up deciding Miracle Rogue would be my third deck, as I had been slowly learning how to play it as its engines reminded me of Storm and I heavily enjoyed playing something that wasn’t midrange/aggro. I used this lineup for four more weeks going 3-1, with my loss being an eye opener.

 

After starting the season 6-0 and having hit legend back to back to back, I decided to slack a little bit with the Christmas holidays. I had hit legend in eight days in December (Dragon Warrior crushed the initial meta) and I went to Cuba for eight days, so the amount of Hearthstone I played was pretty minimal going into my match with LordSloth. When I got back and starting testing my decks for my match, Shaman/Warrior/Rogue were doing fantastic for me, as per usual, but Jade Druid was starting to get worse and worse. I was beating it consistently on ladder, and I didn’t feel as confident in the deck as I used to, but I didn’t have the card Reno Jackson to play Reno decks and I was NOT willing to play Dragon Priest mirrors (having almost zero practice on Priest as a class), so I decided to just play Jade Druid again. And after starting 2-0 vs LordSloth, JadeDruid got reverse swept. I was crushed. It was after this round that I decided that if I was going to actually want to compete in open cups and try for the blizzard circuit after holding a top 200 position I couldn’t let card availability affect me. So I bought sixty packs, had enough for RenoMage and RenoLock, and started spamming the decks until I became proficient with them, which proved successful as my only loss after that was to Tbatz in an unlucky round where he had to top deck back to back answers in my Rogue vs RenoPriest loss, and kill me the turn before I had lethal as Renolock vs his combo druid. Once I beat Monsterosity I was locked for live finals and the real testing began.

 

Now, going into the finals I knew I had to change my strategy. For almost twelve weeks, I played some combination of Shaman/Aggro/Combo/Control, thinking that I would be able to beat any decks people would bring just purely out playing some of my opponents. In the top four, with all the players either people that almost beat me (Magi) or players that DID beat me (LordSloth, Tbatz) I knew this strategy wouldn’t work. On top of that, I figured I would be able to roughly predict what each player would play (spoiler alert: I was wrong) and as such tech my decks/lineup in a way that I was not able to before.

 

So to start off my testing, I decided to make sixteen decks that I thought I liked and starting narrowing class by class what I thought each “best deck” for each class was, and what lineup it favoured. So in my naming of the decks, I named the deck what archetype it was and what ban it wanted and started crafting lineups together and teching lists that had similar ban wishes. I wanted to have two lineups completed before the European playoffs to see how accurate I was in the meta prediction and to see if I had the right idea of what was powerful versus what was not. Surprisingly, I was very similar in my deck choices with the second place player (Greensheep) and a couple of the Top 8 players (Sjow and Neirea) as I had the following predictions in my testing:

 

  1. RenoMage would be super popular. As such, if I was playing Rogue, I wanted at least one Beneath the Grounds in my list, cutting down on Fan of Knives and banning Shaman.
  2. Because of this, instead of running Aggro Shaman, I was beginning to favor Mid-Jade shaman more and more, as it was a similar playstyle to Dragon Warrior (one of my favourite decks) and let me play less mirror matchups on ladder instead of Aggro Shaman.
  3. Pirate Warrior needed to have at least one Mortal Strike in an open deck list format, as it made people play around things you may or may not have (mortal strike makes good players try to keep you as close to thirteen life as possible before killing you, similar to pre-nerf Molten Giants made you want to keep your opponent above fifteen health before bursting them and current control warrior with revenge).
  4. RenoMage was better than Renolock due to being able to play greedy to beat the other Renodecks, while also having anti-aggro tech fit in to beat the aggro decks. However, Jade Druid required cheesy burn strats to win, and as such Inkmaster/Pyroblast was best if you were wanting to beat Druid (or just not play it and concede the fact that you were going to lose to Druid).
  5. In a meta where everyone is playing Reno decks to beat other aggro decks, Tempo Mage had an ability to sneak out wins due to having an interesting win condition vs Renolock: burn. TempoMage in my testing was crushing Renolock with ease and as I was expecting players to play Renolock, I began refining lists of Tempo mage based off of APXVoid and Amnesiac’s lists.

 

I realized something soon after this tournament however. I figured that although the players in the top four may not watch the European championship, they WOULD be watching the North American championship. This would mean all these players would be using the same things I learned to change their lists and change the meta the day before lists were due. Which meant I ALMOST had to start from scratch the week before lists were due. This was also right around the time that Aggro Rogue was starting to get more refined, and I was finding I was having pretty good success against Pirate Warrior with it. While testing against Monstrosity a couple games, I was confirming my suspicion that this was a Rogue deck that could actually beat Pirate Warrior consistently (which was a deck I was expecting everyone to play. Spoiler alert: only one other player did). I narrowed this down as my Rogue deck of choice, as the previous day in an open cup using a lineup of Shaman/Miracle Rogue/Pirate Warrior/RenoMage, in the round of thirty-two I swept a players Rogue list, and in the top sixteen I had my miracle rogue list swept. Not wanting a repeat of my match vs LordSloth, I eliminated Miracle Rogue from contention. Having already narrowed my Shaman list to Mid-Jade Shaman earlier (and tweaking it based off what i saw from Greensheep), I just had to narrow down my Warrior deck, and my flex slot in my lineup.

 

What made me decide on my flex slot was actually a wrong prediction on my part that ended up paying off anyway. After my match with Tbatz, I assumed he would be playing Druid in the finals. And as his brother (Magi) was also playing, I assumed he would be as well, and I didn’t want to play a control deck that was weak to Druid. Seeing the success of Greensheep and RDU with TempoMage, and it being a deck I had previous success with in the tournament, I decided I would run a “full” aggro lineup with MidShaman/Aggro Rogue/Pirate Warrior/Tempo Mage. I played four open cups with the lineup and tested it/refined the lists to my liking (the aggro rogue list went through the most changes and was the one the casters asked me about a lot, since they hadn’t seen Deadly Poison in aggro lists at that point) and after seeing quite a few NA Championship players playing the aggro lineup as well, I decided to lock it in and submit the lists. And to my surprise, when the lists were revealed there was not a single Druid…

 

Approaching the tournament I tested with a player that I had met on legend ladder (HemiPowered) and figured in my first round matchup I had a pretty good shot based almost exclusively on my matchup vs his Reno-Lock. Because it was super greedy, I knew the following for my decks going into the matchup:

  1. If he didn’t draw Reno against Pirate Warrior I would win.
  2. If he did draw Reno but I was on the coin, I would win (because he could not coin it out turn 5)
  3. If I had a decent draw with tempo mage I would win (this felt like the easiest matchup for my 3 decks vs his 3 decks)
  4. Aggro Rogue could beat every deck in his lineup if he stumbled at all

 

After testing the matchup with typical Shaman bans I was 5-0 in series, reverse sweeping Renolock 3 times. So we decided to try him banning my Pirate Warrior instead of my Shaman. All of a sudden I was losing every matchup. Surprisingly (or not if you think about it) his lineup was VERY good vs Mid-Shaman. Dragon Warrior had stronger threats come out faster, Renolock was super greedy and AoE based so it gave him time to set up, and Dragon Priest had large efficient threats and a lot of AoE. And since I had teched my list against Aggro, I was a little worried that he may be able to sneak out a win with this strategy. So I hoped he would follow the hivemind and just ban my Shaman, and if he did I knew I could 3-0 his Renolock.

 

The other two players I didn’t test much of their lineups for a couple reasons. LordSloth’s lineup was a carbon copy of NRG Amnesiac’s, and since I had played against it in open cups I knew to never play Tempo Mage until my last deck, as it’s unfavoured in the Aggro Rogue and Pirate Warrior matchups. As long as I won the Tempo Mage mirror, I felt comfortable in that matchup so my next few open cups (even if it was a bad decision) I queued Tempo Mage as much as I could to understand the deck a bit better and to try to play against as many Tempo Mage mirrors as possible. As for Tbatz’s lineup…well aggro > greedy control decks. I knew WHY he went the way he did for his lineup as he was trying to target Reno decks (which his lineup does quite well) as both Sloth and I had played Reno decks in the tournament. The problem with that is because I lost so much to Druid against him, his brother and his friend, I was expecting them to bring Druid. And while at one point I considered bringing a double Reno anti-aggro lineup, I had to remember I wasn’t playing against ladder/HCT opponents. I was playing against SKL opponents, who have a different opinion on the meta. So instead of expecting aggro and teching against it, I decided to go full SMOrc and hope for the best.

 

So finally tournament day arrived. I went up early to visit a couple of my friends and was happy to see so many of them at the Mana Bar (shout out to them for hosting the tournament by the way) ready to cheer me on. I sat down for my first matchup (which thankfully he decided to ban Shaman) and, of course right off the bat, I drew Patches. Off to a great start…and two games later I was down 0-2. A lot of people thought I was done for after being down 0-2 so quickly but thankfully, I had done the testing and knew that the Renolock was where I would get all my wins (as long as he didn’t draw Reno which, thankfully, he didn’t) and came back in the series 3-2.

 

Round two ended up with myself vs LordSloth (which I was expecting) and, again, I went down 0-2 after losing the Pirate Warrior mirror and Aggro Rogue mirror. Not so fun fact, I actually clicked on the wrong matchup initially. I wanted to start Aggro Rogue, because in my opinion (and after testing against Monsterosity) the matchup of Pirate Warrior vs Rogue is favoured for the Rogue list AND its favoured vs Tempo Mage, leaving only a 50/50 matchup in the mirror. I ended up queuing Warrior into Warrior and losing the 50/50, and then queued Rogue as at worst I play the mirror (which I did) but sadly ended up losing it again after a big Edwin VanCleef turn.

 

This left me versus his Tempo Mage with my three decks, having to 3-0 it again in order to move on to the winner’s final. Thankfully, I had some pretty great hands with my warrior and rogue decks so all that was left was the Tempo Mage mirror. Turn three was an interesting one as I was given the choice of either Mirror Image Ping or Flamewaker. I wanted to protect my Mana Wyrm while also preserving Flamewaker to use with a spell, as very rarely is it every correct to play a Flamewaker blind. In the Tempo Mage mirror you need to be able to use every possible resource you can, while also saving as many of your minions for face damage as possible. It ended up costing almost costing me, and after seeing a Summoner’s Stone off of Fireland’s Portal, I felt like I was done for. Thankfully, he had only minions in his hand and the fireball he used ended up only getting him an Eerie Statue (you saw me freak out on camera because I saw 7/7 statline pop up off of a four mana spell and assumed it was Flamewreathed Faceless. Thankfully, it was not.) I then managed to get three one mana spells with an Antonidas, and in my desperation to catch up I almost misplayed. I used Arcane Missiles first because I was expecting to trade my mana wyrm to try and stay alive and control the board. But when the first or second missile hit face, I actually looked at his health total and realized if I went face with the Wyrm this turn, I could set up lethal next turn. I did the math two or three times in my head to see what he could have to kill me, and it was only Fireball/Frostbolt. Having assumed he would have used it with the Stone, I decided to go face and pray. He didn’t have it, and I snuck out a win.

 

For the finals I was actually expecting LordSloth to win but Magi managed to sneak out a win after actually winning withis RenoLock (spoiler alert: he drew Reno). So I had two chances at the title against Magi, the person’s whose lineup I tested the most against. Our first best of five he actually ended up winning 3-1 after drawing super well with his Dragon Priest/Warrior, and unfortunately drawing Reno with his Lock this time. Our second matchup (winner takes all while the production was being taken down around me) I managed to beat his Dragon Priest with my Pirate Warrior by turn six, get out a large Edwin vs his Dragon Warrior with my Aggro Rogue meaning my Tempo Mage just had to beat one of his decks (it ended up losing to Priest and Warrior but beat the Renolock again which is what I was expecting) and just like that I was Saskatchewan’s Champion!

 

Overall the tournament was a great experience and I will definitely do it again. I’m hoping this article shows people that it is a fun format with a lot of thought process behind it, and I would love to see it be a bigger tournament next time around (with hopefully some prizing this time). If Hearthstone articles are something people want to see more of let me know and I’ll be glad to write some up if SKL wants them.

 

League of Legends Recreational

Good day summoners!

Over the past few season’s we’ve noticed a large skill gap form in our League of Legend’s Competitive League. As such, many teams and players who were interested in competing in a fun local league have gotten frustrated with the highly skilled teams they encountered. Our goal is still to provide the best competitive atmosphere we can for our high Elo players, but we also want to create a more recreational and fun atmosphere for everyone else. We’ve been contemplating how best to do this for quite some time, and think we can solve a lot of the logistical issues associated, but would really like to hear what the community thinks, since it’ll be for you guys.

We’d love for you to fill out a survey to best understand how we go about implementing a recreational setting. Within the survey are questions about prizing, format, skill divides, smurfing etc. Tell us what YOU think. We are really excited about this idea, and hope everyone else is too.

Fill out the survey below!

The Draft

Hello! My name is DXI Edge and I’m the current Coach/Analyst for Team Malicious Intent. My role on the team is focusing on optimizing item builds, drafts, macro play adjustments, watching VODs from pro play and seeing how we can translate that into our games, as well as finding possible champion picks that are underrated.

 

One of the major aspects of League of Legends, especially in team play, is the draft. Just to give a brief rundown of what I mean, the draft is the pick and ban phase at the beginning of the game, and how each team approaches this strategy. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how good a team is. If you do not draft properly, (according to the meta and according to an unwritten set of “rules” which I will get into) your team will lose. It is just that simple. If you can outdraft your opponent, you can set yourself up for success in the game at minute zero, and put yourself at a significant advantage.

 

The set of rules I mentioned earlier assumes a few things:

  1. There is a clear “meta”
  2. Members of the team CAN play almost all of the “power picks” in the meta

 

Very rarely does the first rule ever not happen, since due to pro play and analysts (aka, people like me), clear “best” champions or strategies are identified. Due to League of Legends being as old and popular as it is, it is very easy to watch what works and what doesn’t, and base strategies for teams based on this information.

 

NOW. What are these rules? I’m going to be going over these one by one in articles over the next few months, but we’re going to start with the most important rule in my opinion.

 

Your comp must have wave-clear.

 

Before I go in depth on how to draft wave-clear, what is wave-clear? Wave-clear is the ability for a wave of minions to be killed (or cleared) quickly and effectively. This can be done either by one skill, or a couple of skills with low cooldown/mana costs. I DO NOT CLASSIFY ULTIMATES AS WAVE-CLEAR and this is an important aspect to mention for one of the champions in the “meta” right now.

 

Why is wave-clear so important? Simple: turrets are the single easiest way to collect large sums of gold for your team, and having a turret up effectively says “This area of the map belongs to us”. Keeping your turrets alive while destroying the enemies’ turrets is the basic component of this game, and is the base of which this game was built on. So what does wave-clear have to do with turrets?

 

When you are looking to take turrets, you want your minion wave to get to the tower as fast as possible to remove the Armor/MR buff from towers, as well as have the minions tank the damage while you destroy the tower.

 

When you are looking to defend turrets, you want your opponents’ minion wave to be eliminated as fast as possible to add the Armor/MR buff for your towers, as well as have the enemy champions take damage from your tower.

 

There are two levels of wave-clear for a draft: S tier and A tier. Your composition for a draft should have NO LOWER than two points, but the most optimal number is three points. If you have two points, there needs to be a champion included in your composition that can use an ultimate for wave-clear (ex: Ryze) or has pseudo-wave clear in their kit (ex: Kalista). However, for optimal drafts the number should be three.

 

Now that we know why wave clear is important, let’s take a look at what I believe are the best champions for wave-clear in the meta as of now (Patch 6.6 and 6.7).

 

S Tier (2 points):

Mid: Azir, Lissandra, Lulu, Lux, Varus

ADC: Sivir, Jhin

 

A Tier (1 point):

Top: Gangplank, Ekko, Graves

Jungle: Graves

Mid: Twisted Fate, Zilean, Orianna, Corki

ADC: Lucian, Corki, Caitlyn

 

Lets start with S Tier. Why are these champions in S Tier? These champions can clear waves with two skills typically, on relatively low cooldown. Another major aspect, however, is their role. All champions in S Tier are mid/ADC. Why is this? Very rarely do you have mid laners or ADCs split push. Most of the time you will have your ADC and mid laner together, or be collecting waves with your team to approach a split pusher. Seven champions are the bread and butter of destroying waves quickly, and when it comes to the tier list of power picks in the current meta, these champions are at the top of the “power picks”, due in part to their ability to clear waves.

 

For Azir, it isn’t so much his skills as much as his ability to place soldiers down and attack them from such a distance that he is safe.

 

Lissandra can Q waves on very quick cooldown, or even use her E (although not recommended) to clear waves. Lulu can use 2 quick Qs, Lux can bind the first two melee minions and then throw her E down, and Varus can use Qs or even his E.

 

For ADCs, Sivir is the queen of wave-clear. Turn on bouncing blade, throw a Q, and the wave disappears. For Jhin, using his traps, his W, or his Q can clear waves effectively as well. Although he is not as effective as Sivir, he gets the job done.

 

In my opinion, one S tier champion is the same as having two A tier champions. If you have one S tier champion and one A tier champion in your comp, your draft has the appropriate amount of wave-clear.

 

Now let;s look at A tier. A tier differs immediately from S tier due to the inclusion of tops and junglers. Although tops and junglers may have as strong wave clear as those in S tier (Graves, for example), due to junglers having to roam/flank and top laners needing to use teleport appropriately, these champions cannot be S tier and cannot be the fundamental wave clear of a team comp.

 

Gangplank, Ekko, and Graves all want to teamfight and split push, so they can use TP on cooldown. They can push waves very quickly (Gangplank barrels, Graves/Ekko Qs) and are good duelists and teamfighters. Gangplank is also very proficient in that he can use his ultimate anywhere on the map to help clear a wave.

 

Graves as a jungler is, in my opinion, the best jungler in the game right now. Although Kindred/Nidalee/Graves are the top three, Graves gets the edge as number one for me due to his flexibility and his spot in A tier for waveclear. His Q and autos are both AoE and can clear waves quickly.

 

Zilean, Orianna, and Corki are all good wave clearers, however they aren’t AS strong as S tier champions. Zilean wants to use his bombs for stuns and as such it’s not optimal to use them as waveclear. Orianna needs to be a little bit closer and wants to place her ball in specific positions due to her ultimate, so she loses a point. Corki cannot insta-clear waves and has to use a lot of his rockets for clearing waves, so he cannot be in S-tier.

 

Twisted Fate, although has the wave clear of an S tier champion, wants to use his ultimate for flanking and wants to split push. So although the wave-clear is S tier status, the champion wants to be played as a split pusher, so he loses a point.

 

Lastly, Lucian has very short range. Although his Q and double-tap can clear waves effectively, his ultimate is what his “defining” wave-clear skill is, and as such cannot be placed in S tier.

 

 

Now that we know the defining champions in the current meta, let’s take a look at some example drafts from both pro play and SKL, and see if we can predict the result of the game based purely on wave-clear. We are going to examine drafts done where one team drafts less than three points of wave-clear based on my scoring system compared to one team that does, and see if the wave-clear team won.

 

 

 

 

 

H2K vs Fnatic  – 3rd place match

Games 1 / 2 (same drafts)

H2K:                            Fnatic:

Maokai                        Ekko

Kindred                      Graves

Ryze                            Azir

Kalista                         Ezreal

Thresh                        Trundle

0 points                      4 points

Predicted winner: Fnatic

Actual winner: Fnatic

 

Although this draft from H2K was called “very strong”, in my opinion this draft was horrible. They rely completely on snowballing and picks, with no way to out-siege/defend against Fnatic’s team comp.

 

H2K vs Fnatic  – 3rd place match

Game 3

H2K:                            Fnatic:

Maokai                        Gragas

Kindred                      Graves

Lissandra                   Kassadin

Corki                           Ezreal

Alistar                         Braum

3 points                      1 point

Predicted winner: H2K

Actual winner: H2K

 

This was just an overall bad draft by Fnatic for a few reasons, but this article is solely looking at waveclear.

 

Jin Air vs SKT – Korean Playoffs

Game 3

JAG:                             SKT:

Gangplank                  Maokai

Graves                                    Kindred

Ryze                            Cassiopeia

Kalista                         Sivir

Alistar                         Tahm Kench

2 point                        2 points

Predicted winner: JAG

Actual winner: SKT

 

Here is where my system becomes not so foolproof, and I wanted to include this decision for a very specific reason.

 

Although the point system is tied, I have JAG as predicted winner. Why? The inclusions of Kalista and Ryze. These two champions, although not on either of my tier lists, are “tie-tippers”. These champions are just below A tier and as such, if I were to analyze this comp based purely on wave clear, I would predict JAG to win. However, Faker is a god and SKT pulled out the old school Ryze counter and won a perfect game.

 

KT vs SKT – Korean Playoffs

Game 2:

KT:                              SKT:

Maokai                        Trundle

Nidalee                       Elise

Corki                           Zilean

Kalista                         Sivir

Alistar                         Tahm Kench

1 point                        3 points

Predicted winner: SKT

Actual winner: SKT

 

 

Very strong picks from KT’s side, however they did not include enough wave-clear in their comp compared to SKT’s. I will say this though: Kalista does have some amounts of wave clear, however not enough to compensate for a one point draft. As I said earlier, a two point draft can be mitigated with a Kalista, not a one point draft.

 

FOTN vs TMI – SKLeague Week 6

Game 2:

FOTN:                         TMI:

Nautilus                      Trundle

Zac                              Gragas

Ahri                             Azir

Sivir                            Jhin

Alistar                         Morgana

2 points                      4 points

Predicted winner: TMI

Actual winner: TMI

 

Hey, this is one of my drafts! Our early pick included an S tier wave clear right off the bat in Jhin, setting us up for flexibility in the draft and only needing one more point. We follow it up with another S tier pick, while our opponents picked only two points of wave-clear.

 

 

 

 

 

RDS vs A53 – SKLeague Week 6

Game 2:

RDS:                            A53:

Irelia                           Malphite

Hecarim                      Gragas

Lulu                            Varus

Ezreal                         Corki

Alistar                         Braum

2 points                      3 points

Predicted winner: A53

Actual winner: A53

 

This game was looking to break my rule for a little while! However, the wave-clear allowed A53 to sit back, farm up, and catch up slowly while RDS could not push through.

 

Well, that’s it for today. I hope this helps the drafts of SKL and your dynamic queue games in the future! I’ll be back soon for the next rule: Engage.

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