Month: August 2015

The Art of Pick and Ban: Part 1

Chapter 1: YOLO

Here we are, first pick in ranked, “Your turn to Ban” flashing before your eyes. What do you ban? Well the answer to that question doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may think. When we discuss solo queue mentality, you need to set yourself up for success; you need to put yourself in position to carry right from the start. That all starts in the Pick and Ban phase.

Banning is generally the easiest part of this whole process. What’s carrying all the games you’ve been playing lately? What has the highest win rate? What do YOU know? For the sake of this article eventually being outdated, I will preface that this is being written during patch 5.16, the Juggernaut Patch. We still have strong devourer junglers, a wave of carry top laners as we move away from the tank meta, and new juggernaut champions to square it all off. Where do you even start?! Well, what do you understand? Personally, I have played a decent amount of Shyvana, so I know what she is capable of, and I know what her win conditions are. This is an example of something you understand you can play around. Probably won’t ban her. However, I think I’ve played two ARAMS total with Mordekaiser, and that was pre-patch 5.16, meaning it wasn’t even the juggernaut Morde that seems to be rising in both popularity and win rate. I don’t fully understand his damage, what he needs, nor his win conditions. If I don’t understand the champion, then I don’t know how to play around it. Ban. Apply this to the typical flavour of the month champions that pop up due to the pro scene and reworks, and you should find yourself being a little less frustrated now that you won’t have a Mordekaiser hitting level 6 and blowing up your level 4 bot lane.

What to pick is something that’s a little different when you think about solo queue versus when you play a 5v5 with teammates you know (such as in SKL), so it has to be treated very differently. In solo queue, you’re going to want to play whatever you’re comfortable on. If that’s the flavor of the month, so be it. If that’s a top lane Aatrox that no one has seen since EU LCS Spring Split of 2014, so be it. Play what you want to play and don’t let your teammates talk you into a champion that you don’t know just because “it’s OP, dood”. Playing something you know will always be better because you will know that champion’s limits, strengths, weaknesses, and spikes. Solo queue should be about enabling yourself and putting yourself in the carry role. This applies all across the board, whether you’re top, mid, jungle, ADC, or support. Now, some people like to change it up in solo queue and play a ton of different roles, and some people find one champ they have success on and play hundreds of games with it and don’t care what their duo partner says (but TRUST ME CRAFTY BUCKEYE, NAUTILUS WILL CARRY US). That’s completely fine as well. The overall message of picking your champion is to stay true to yourself, by knowing your limits and knowing your strengths.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2, tentatively titled “gg report my noob team”, where I will discuss pick and ban in a more team-based fashion, focusing on pick and ban coordination for 5v5 settings.

All my love,

Feeder Ponnox

Of Brackets, and Mistakes

When we started SKL, we knew that we would have players and teams who had time constraints. As such, we stipulated among ourselves that we would be understanding of this to some extent. During the course of qualifiers, we became more and more lenient on changes to game times. After the fourth change to week two’s brackets, we realized that our lenient policy was affecting the competitive integrity of the league. This is the last thing we want to do. Our seeds and brackets were carefully thought out weeks in advance. By changing them around, we not only confused the players and the fans, but we also affected the competition.

To that end, all brackets have been reset to the original formula. This means that ANY changes that may have occurred have been reverted.

The flip side to this is that we still want to have room for leniency. We understand that since we didn’t have the schedule defined ahead of time, it is hard to commit to games. As such, we want to be able to reschedule games if needed. So, instead of moving around brackets, we have now rescheduled the games within those brackets. Going forward there will be no adjustment to brackets, round robins, or any other games.

That all being said, as of 14:00 SKT, August 27th, 2015, the brackets are now LIVE and FINAL. The only thing that has changed from the original formula has been some rescheduling of games. Please double check BRACKETS and select Week 2 for your complete schedule.

Thank you for your understanding.

Apologies,

Kadins
(Matthew Rousseaux)

 

Farewell to Friends

We would like to announce the departure of two SKL Admins. Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar and Brook “V Moppy” Wagner.

DXI Edge has been helping out with SKL since the beginning. His numerous contributions include securing major sponsors, helping with advertising, and assisting a great deal in the day-to-day behind the scenes workings of SKL. DXI Edge will continue to contribute by writing articles for our website, but unfortunately will have to stop with the administrative side of things for the sake of competitive integrity. He has left us in the hopes of qualifying for the regular season with his team, Indecision. We wish to thank DXI Edge for all of his help and we wish him the best of luck in the qualifying tournament.

V Moppy has also been helping out with SKL since the beginning, with his major contribution being designing all of the posters that you hopefully have been seeing all over Saskatchewan. He has left to focus more on work, as well as climbing that solo que ladder. SKL thanks V Moppy for all of his talents and efforts. They are greatly appreciated.

Once again, we would like to thank both of these gentleman for their hard work, talents, and contributions to SKLeague. We wish you both the best of luck in the future.

See you on the rift,

Zaramali 😉 (JK) and the SKL Team!

In The News: DaZaninator, Ponnox and Kadins talk SKL

WATCH

Gamers launch provincial e-sports league

REGINA – Saskatchewan is behind the times when it comes to competitive video gaming, but League of Legends enthusiasts are hoping to change that with a new e-sports league.

“In Korea the scene is huge and in China too. In North America it’s getting pretty big,” said Blake Zanidean, one of the people behind SK League.

Organizers have set up a League of Legends tournament, which will feature amateur players, but professional players can make a good living off the sport.

“Some of these players are bringing in more than most hockey players do. It’s very large in most other places except for Canada,” said founder Matthew Rousseaux.

Two years ago, he tried to launch a local league, but it didn’t stick.

“It got about a week into it and then it fell apart,” explained Zanidean. “It just didn’t have the manpower behind it.”

Now, a larger group of volunteers is trying to get the project off the ground once again, hoping sheer numbers change its fate.

“It is an incredibly popular game because it’s technically free to play. Anybody can jump in there and play it with minimal requirements,” said Rousseaux.

Originally, organizers wanted to see eight teams of seven compete in the tournament. To their great surprise, 33 teams and more than 230 players signed up.

“We’ve had quite a bigger turnout than we were expecting. It’s definitely good,” said Zanidean.

Both Zanidean and his friend Bailey Dietrich live in Saskatoon, while Rousseaux lives in Swift Current. Other players are spread out across the province. They are all united by their love of e-games, especially League of Legends.

“The game always remains fresh. They always update it. They always add new things to the game,” said Dietrich.

The players have been honing their League of Legends skills for years, spending countless hours experimenting with different heroes.

“At least an hour a night. But then if I have a lot of free time, it can easily turn into three or four,” said Dietrich. “There’s so much you can do, so much strategy around it. It’s really just a fun game to grab with your friends and play.”

Each game runs between 20 minutes and an hour, depending on the efficiency of the team.

“As a team, you really have to rely on each other. Every person fills a role and you want to destroy the enemy’s base,” Zanidean explained.

Participants are entering the tournament with various levels of experience, all hoping to take home the top prize.

A few teams have even signed up from Alberta, willing to drive to Regina’s Matrix Gaming Centre for playoffs in the fall.

The qualifying tournament starts online Monday. Registration is closed, but playoff games will be streamed online.

Via Global Regina

Patch 5.16 – Qualifier Patch

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It is August 20th and possibly the biggest patch of all time has landed! Rather than go over each item of the patch one by one, I’m going to give you an overview of what I believe will change in the meta after the patch, how the meta will be affected, and more importantly, what you need to watch out for going into the qualifying tournament. Let’s get started!

TOP LANE

Let’s start at the top of the map. At the moment, the “S” tier top laners appear to be Olaf, Gnar, Shen and Rumble (with Maokai, Fizz, Hecarim and Gangplank not being too far behind). If we take a look at which top laners were buffed, we see Darius, Lissandra, and Zac being buffed directly, while Rumble received a nerf to his ultimate. However, if we look at item buffs/new items such as Sterak’s Gage and Titanic Hydra, we see an interesting new addition to the meta; specifically, Sterak’s Gage and its synergy with Trinity Force. Previously, Trinity Force users (Ex. Darius, Irelia, Jax) would build just Trinity Force as a damage item, or sometimes one other damage item if they got REALLY fed (Blade of the Ruined King on Irelia/Jax, Tiamat/Hydra on Darius). Now, Sterak’s Gage allows these users to build Trinity Force into Sterak’s Gage, giving them survivability and a TONNE more damage (pun intended). Because Sterak’s Gage enhances base damage and not additive attack damage, Sheen and Trinity Force adds this damage. If we take Irelia, for example, at level 13 she has a base attack damage of about 100. That means before, Trinity Force proc’d autos would do 100 + 200 (Sheen Proc). Now, with Sterak’s Gage, before going berserk your autos do 125+250. After entering Primal Rage, this changes to 150+300. That’s a lot of damage on a champion that can easily do this every one and a half seconds.

So what should you watch out for in the top lane? I expect the S tier to still be Olaf, Gnar, Shen and Rumble (that ult just does SO much in mid game teamfights), but expect this to expand to also include for sure Irelia, and possibly Darius. I have not actually played much with Darius so I am unsure as to what this will do for him, however Black Cleaver seems core on him so I don’t expect him to build Trinity Force. In teamfights if he gets one kill with his ultimate he will be able to go nuts, so watch out for Darius in teamfights AD Carries! Fizz and Hecarim, although Trinity Force users, I do not expect to build this item due to their reliance on CDR and both their build paths taking too long to build it (Fizz’s build path is typically TriForce, BORK, Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, Merc Treads and another item, while Hecarim goes TriForce, Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, Righteous Glory, Boots and another item). This however could alter their build paths if this item is as OP as it sounds, in which case top lane will become “if you aren’t AP, and you don’t build Sterak’s Gage, you aren’t viable”, which may become the case.

TL;DR: Sterak’s Gage may change top lane to become land of the Trinity Force.

JUNGLE

One of the biggest changes that comes to the Jungle is the Cinderhulk change. After doing some math, this will help Cinderhulk users mid game, but reduce their late game (obviously, due to removing 10% of the scaling). Essentially, when you first buy the item, you receive 460 health instead of 375. Every 100 health you buy is 15 instead of 25, so to regain the 100 health you have to buy 1000 bonus health. Essentially, after two health items the item is even, and after the third or fourth health item, the item is weaker. However, one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of Cinderhulk junglers bought Frozen Heart as a second item due to the incredible amount of armor (100) and CDR (20%) it gave, which synergized with a lot of these champions’ kits (Ekko, Gragas, etc). Now, with the Frozen Heart nerfs, it will weaken these champions.

Before today, I would say Tier S belonged to Elise. Elise was queen of the jungle. If you couldn’t play Elise, you better be banning her.  This patch brings a nerf to Elise, but in my opinion, it’s a small nerf. 4% of current health may seem like a lot, but if you take the average champion health of 2.1k, that’s only an 80 damage nerf. Now you might be saying “Edge, that’s a LOT”. Well, it is. It is going to knock her down a peg, but Elise’s strength was never her human Q. Elise’s strength comes from her Spider Form execute, her rappel, her stun duration at early levels, and the damage her spiderlings do now, due to being magic. Although this will knock Elise down a level, she will still be a Tier 1 Jungler.

So who else moves up a notch? Skarner. Elise just moved down to everyone else’s level at Tier 1, which as of now includes Gragas, Ekko, Rek’Sai, Evelynn, and Elise. Skarner is now in this tier, or higher. If you max E, you can apply stuns to entire teams. His Spire near the Dragon allows you to solo it with ease, and if teams try to fight you near your spire they will get screwed. If you capture the spire near enemy buffs you can outduel opponents easily. Building Cinderhulk and Titanic Hydra along with Black Cleaver does a lot of damage and is very tanky, and his ult is always incredible. Skarner is Tier 1, maybe even Tier S.

Now, you might be asking “what about Devourer Junglers?” These junglers do not work well in competitive play. Do you notice how only one jungler in all four regions has been playing Devourer junglers? I’ll give some reasoning why. With a synergised team, vision control is increased in Ranked 5’s (or at least it should be). This means that at all times the Devourer jungler can be tracked if they are in their jungle. Early game ganking junglers, or junglers that bring more utility and don’t require items to scale are able to take advantage of this by a) counter-jungling, or b) snowballing the lanes, knowing the Devourer jungler will be too busy farming to counter-gank. For this reason, Devourer junglers should be avoided.

As for who I believe has the potential to move up a tier with the item changes, keep a lookout for Olaf as Righteous Glory is receiving a cost reduction (and this is a core item on the Viking) and he’s receiving two items that synergize well with his kit. I have a feeling the Viking will be receiving a lot of picks and bans in the coming weeks, even more than he’s currently getting. Zac may also be very good, so watch out for the blob…thing.

TL;DR: Elise moves from Tier S to Tier 1 (along with Rek’Sai, Gragas, Ekko, Eve), watch out for Olaf and Skarner jungle. Don’t play Devourer Junglers, as you will be exploited.

MID LANE

The major change we see in the mid lane is changes to Viktor (thank goodness, sorry Trendan). The “S” tier of mid laners before the patch were definitely Viktor and Azir, and now Viktor is being beaten down a notch with the change to his Hexcore. There was a helpful graph posted on Reddit the other day that basically showed that pre-16, any Hexcore (except for Perfect) is giving less AP (approximately 20 on average.) and less mana, but post level 16 with Perfect Hex-Core, Viktor receives MORE AP (but still less mana). So what does this mean for Viktor? Well for starters, the popular build of flat AP and CDR boots is not going to work anymore due to the mana nerfs. Now Viktor HAS to build a mana regen item (Morellonomicon, Athene’s) in order to stay on par with previous levels, and at level 7 if you upgrade your Hexcore, you can not one-shot casters anymore. Instead, you need an additional Doran’s Ring or Amplifying Tome in order to one -hot caster minions, which is rather important for his lane control. Although I expect Viktor to receive a few points off his winrate and his overall play rate to go down, he still is a strong champion. Just not Tier S anymore.

As for Azir…he was buffed? Yes you heard me right. Buffed. Not necessarily to numbers, but his soldiers receiving all around buffs to where they go and how they act, along with general bug fixes. As of now, he is still Tier S mid lane and should either be picked, or banned if the enemy plays a good Azir (build Nashor’s Tooth, Rylais, Zhonyas, Void Staff, Rabadon’s Death Cap and Sorc Shoes, Max Q-W-E). However, if the next few champions pick up play we might begin to see less Azir…

A couple picks to watch out in the mid lane are Leblanc, Zed, Lissandra, Kassadin and Yasuo. These champions are important for a couple reasons, and I’ll go over each of them in quick detail:

Zed: Half of his previous nerf was reverted, which is important. He can now return to his Shadow .5 seconds after landing with his ult, which is a big deal. Expect more Zeds to make a return, ESPECIALLY due to armor as a whole being nerfed.

Lissandra: I did not really go over her in the top lane portion even though I mentioned her, and that’s because of her potential in both mid and top. The heal added to her ultimate is important, as she can now wait a bit before ulting in the middle of a team fight. She can E in, use her spells, and THEN ult, rather than having to E or flash in and only use ultimate, as she will now be able heal back most of her health. This, along with the AP changes, might result in Lissandra making a comeback mid or top, but my guess is mid, due to her weakness to top lane Trinity Force users like Irelia.

Leblanc: Leblanc’s damage was never nerfed. Her W speed is going back up a bit, while she was already starting to see a bit of play in the east. This buff might just bring her back into the meta, especially since she counters a lot of mages.

Yasuo: Yasuo is an interesting one, as he is starting to see a lot of play in China, and a lot of pro players are spamming him due to a new build arising: Statikk Shiv-Trinity Force-Infinity Edge. This gives Yasuo his 100% crit again. Now the other reason I want to bring him up is Sterak’s Gage. Why? Well, we talked about Trinity Force in the top lane. And all Yasuo wants to do is dive the back line. This gives him more damage, more health, AND stronger Trinity Force procs. And armor is getting nerfed? Expect this to be a regular 4th/5th item on Yasuos. You should be afraid. The wind is coming.

Kassadin: These buffs to his ultimate help bring back some damage to Kassadin’s kit, and his core items offer the most AP in the game to scale with. Expect Kassadin to make a comeback, but he will still take forever to scale so CAMP HIM. CAMP HIM, CAMP HIM, CAMP HIM.

TL;DR: Viktor not as strong but still good, Azir still very strong, expect assassins to make a comeback due to defensive item nerfs and buffs to the champions.

AD CARRY

Not much happened to AD Carries except for armor reduction. There was one key factor, however: Randuin’s now reduces critical strike damage, and more people will be building health due to the new items. This makes Blade of the Ruined King users, such as Vayne, much stronger, and AD Carries that use Infinity Edge slightly weaker. Expect Tier 1 Ad Carries to be Vayne, Kalista, Corki, with Lucian potentially making a comeback, and Bloodthirster Draven being stronger than IE Draven now. Another champion to keep an eye on as to whether he will be good or not? Mordekaiser and his mighty ghost dragon.

TL;DR: Seriously? Just read it.

SUPPORT

Alistar received a nerf to his Headbutt-Pulverise combo (or a buff to those of you that could not do it easily) in that it can be dodged easier due to him moving slower. Nami also received a substantial buff to her movement speed increase while using spells on champions, and more specifically, her ultimate, which now gives allies 120 movement speed when it hits them! This is a very good buff to Nami, and I expect her to be Tier 1 now, along with Braum.

TL;DR: Alistar nerfed, Nami tier 1.

 

Whew. That’s a lot to take in. So, what did we learn? Well, top lane is going to be dominated by Trinity Force users and AP laners. Why? AP laners, because AD Assassins like Zed and Yasuo are going to be making a comeback, and Elise/Nidalee have been nerfed which restricts the amount of AP damage sources in other lanes. Expect Rumble, Lissandra, Lulu, Olaf, Gnar, Irelia, Shen, and Gangplank to be the most played top laners moving forward, with Darius potentially being very VERY strong. Jungle will stay about the same with Skarner potentially being broken, however these defensive item changes and Titanic Hydra may be more impactful than I thought. Elise will also be tuned down a bit (thank goodness). In mid lane, expect Azir to be picked or banned. However, a resurgence of assassins may stem this a bit. AD Carries will be about the same, but Infinity Edge users did receive a nerf due to the Randuin’s change. Vayne, Kalista and Corki are my top three moving forward. For supports, Nami will be Tier 1 along with Braum. Alistar might be knocked down a tier due to the W speed nerf.

Expect basic team comps to be:

AP Top-Tank Jungle-AD Mid-Corki-Support

Trinity Force Top-Tank Jungle-AP Mid-ADC-Support

That’s all for today. I will probably update next week for the sixteen remaining teams to see if I was right or wrong, along with what I might have missed.

 

Thanks for reading!

Dylan “DXI Edge” Edgar

 

 

 

 

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Teemo

Here we are in the midst of many big changes being implemented right before the World Championships (Corki Buffs, where you at?). Many of these reworks, changes, buffs, and nerfs are very controversial, and I can foresee us going in depth with these changes and analyzing them when they become set in stone outside of the public beta. However, patch 5.15 has shown some very interesting changes in itself, and in this short article we are going to focus on the physical manifestation of evil itself, Teemo, The Swift Scout.
To start, I’ll just outline the changes that were made to Teemo, and then dive into what those changes mean for the little raid boss.

Passive– Camouflage
ATTACK SPEED BONUS: 40% at all levels ⇒ 20/40/60/80% at levels 1/5/10/15
STEALTH TIMER: 2 seconds ⇒ 1.5 seconds
NEW – SWIFT SETUP: Teemo stealths twice as fast while in brush
NEW – CROUCHING YORDLE HIDDEN TEETO: Moving inside brush while Camouflaged no longer breaks stealth

The changes towards Teemo’s Passive are by far my favourite alterations to his kit. The change to his passive alone will make him better in the laning phase from level five onwards. He now gets an attack speed buff from coming out of stealth, which scales all the way up to 80%. Yes, you heard me correctly, 80%. This doubles what it was before, which is huge. Especially since you now move faster in stealth and can relocate inside the brush without breaking stealth, in order to position better. Teemo lacks any real counters in lane, with the exception of match-ups against caster-type top laners like Fizz and Swain, who can essentially control the pace of the lane.

Ultimate – Noxious Trap

DURATION – 10 minutes ⇒ 5 minutes
NEW – SHRIVELING SHROOMS: Slow now decays over 4 seconds
CAST RANGE200 ⇒ 300/600/900
ARM TIME1 second ⇒ 1.5 seconds
NEW – THANKS ZIGGS: Casting traps on existing Noxious Traps causes them to bounce 3/4/5 Teemos further in the direction they were originally tossed
NEW – FUNGUS FARMING: Mushrooms now die to 3 basic attacks from ranged champions (2 basic attacks from melee)

The changes to Teemo’s ultimate can either be a buff or a nerf, depending on who you ask. I personally see it as quite a mix of both.
Why it is a nerf: First off, the slow now decays, as opposed to before when it was just a flat slow. This will not deter ganks nearly as much. Before, if a jungler hit a shroom on their way into lane, they would usually just skulk back into the jungle, knowing they had been made and wouldn’t have much else to offer, as you could just pop ‘Move Quick’ and zip back to your tower. This is not so much the case anymore, due to the changes. Also, the arm time is slightly increased, which isn’t a huge deal to be honest, but it is a stat worth noting none the less. The biggest nerf of all, however, is the duration of the shrooms being cut in half. Late game Teemo is all about controlling the map and all of its objectives by placing shrooms. Now, once late game rolls around, this can be frustrating to play against, but it is one of the few things Teemo really brings to the table. With this change also comes a difference in the vision the shrooms offer. Previously, the shrooms gave vision in the surrounding area where they exploded, but now on the live servers the shrooms give no vision. Riot has mentioned that this change to the vision was unintentional, as it wasn’t mentioned in patch notes, so we will likely see this come back when the next patch rolls around (it is already being tested on the PBE). Speaking of the Public Beta, they are currently experimenting with the shrooms giving vision of the champion hit by the shrooms, instead of the surrounding area. So it is slightly less vision than before the changes, but still vision none the less.
Now, why is patch 5.15 a buff? First of all, the cast range. Wow. Gone are the days of old where Teemo would have to face check the brush he was going to place a Noxious Trap into, because now at max rank you have up to 900 range, increased from the old 200. Now, that is much larger than some people may think, as it now gives you the ability to place shrooms over walls and into brushes without having to actually be near them. This will lead to significantly less instances of a Teemo getting demolished in the enemy’s jungle, as he is frolicking around littering his goodies everywhere. Another beneficial change is the new mechanic where if Teemo casts one shroom on top of another, the shroom will bounce. This is going to offer him something new in team fights, like the ability to dump some shrooms in the backline without placing himself in immediate danger. Last but not least, the shrooms do take a little more time to be destroyed by an enemy. They have similar health bars to those of wards now, where ranged champions take three autos, and melee champions take two, so they have to work a little harder now if they want to be clearing everything out.

All in all, I’m happy with the changes Riot have made. It makes Teemo a little more fun to play, as well as adds some interesting mechanics to a champion that deeply lacked any before. I do think that there may need to be some form of compensation for the shrooms, however. Perhaps in lower mana costs or duration. But as long as the vision addition comes to fruition, I think Teemo will be in an okay spot, even though he wasn’t in a terrible one to begin with. Regardless of any changes, Teemo will forever be the #1 pick in my heart, coming soon to one-shot a carry near you.

Warmest Regards,
Huge Troll Ponnox

Registration ending soon!

Hey everyone!

Just a friendly reminder that registration will be closing in TWO weeks! On August 16th, 2015 11:59pm, registration will be closed and no more teams will be allowed to register. The qualifier tournament starts August 24th, 2015 and will run until September 4th, 2015.

Teams that are currently signed up will be receiving an email for more information. Captains, please start checking your email.

For more important dates, please visit our about page!

Scroll to top