Category: Articles

SKLAN, Saskatchewan’s Largest LAN Party.

SKL eSports is proud to partner with Airline Hotels to present SKLAN! SKLAN is Saskatchewan’s newest, biggest LAN party which will be held August 25th, 2018 at 12:00PM until August 26th at 12:00PM at the Travelodge Hotel in Saskatoon (106 Circle Drive West) in Galaxy’s A and B! That’s right, 24 hours of gaming in one amazing venue!

Pre-registration for SKLAN will be $30 and signups at the door will be $40. Bring your own computer/equipment will be in effect. This includes power cables for your computer and monitor(s), a power bar, an Ethernet cable (longer the better), and any other equipment needed for your computer. There will be an assortment of door prizes given out throughout the night. What would a LAN event be without some energy drinks? Red Bull was kind enough to provide us with some free Red Bull to SKLAN participants!

Tournaments for various games will be held over the entire 24 hour period, and SKL will be creating a game list to ensure you have everything downloaded, updated and ready to play before the event happens! Tournaments and events at the LAN will include (so far):

League of Legends
Hearthstone
Fortnite
Overwatch
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
Minecraft

Games that we are looking for feedback/interest from the community include:

Rocket League
Heroes of the Storm
DOTA2
Rainbow Six: Siege
Starcraft 2
Warcraft 3
Gary’s Mod
Gang Beasts

If you have a game you want to try and have a tournament/event for, join our Discord channel and add your suggestion to the game-suggestions channel under the SKLAN category.

Don’t want to play in any tournaments? That’s okay! There will be plenty of casual gamers hanging out enjoying the classic LAN atmosphere. Come and just game with other gaming/eSport fans!

On top of the LAN event, SKL will be hosting SKL Smashkatoon 31 from 10AM to 10PM on August 25th, 2018 in the Viscount room. We will also be hosting one of the largest Warhammer 40k events in Western Canada from 10AM to 7PM August 25th, 2018 and August 26th, 2018 in the Delta/Concord room. Registration from these events will be separate from the LAN event.

You can read our FAQ here or click the Get started! button below.

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.

 

/Remake Before It’s Too Late!

Have you ever sat through an entire champion select phase, then waited through the loading screen only to find out that your jungler – who just a few minutes ago was bragging about his mad skills on Rengar – will not actually be joining you? Of course you have. It may have not been (or could have very well been) this exact scenario, but we have all experienced that one guy that decides to go AFK right when the game starts. Seriously, what was he thinking joining the queue in the first place if he is not even able to start the game? Now your team will try their best to win this game, and maybe even start to pull ahead in some cases, but overall this player has just wasted your – and everyone else’s – time. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to stop the game as soon as this issue is noticed by your team by simply typing “/Remake” to start a vote? Oh wait, Riot has just added this feature to the PBE.

Soon, grumbling about those miserable loading screen poopers, cooks, and dog walkers will be a thing of the past and we can finally start a game confident that we will be able to blame the inevitable loss on the lack of ganks instead of the lack of a jungler. In the first three minutes of the game, if someone has been AFK for at least 90 seconds, you may type “/Remake” into your chat bar and a magical voting box will pop up on your screen similar to that of the surrender vote box. Your team may then vote to remake the game and both teams will be sent to the end-game lobby so that you may start a new game with new players that you may force a rage-quit in your toxicity. All players in the previous game face no consequences except for the AFK, who suffers a loss in their match history, and in LP if it is ranked. This is a great new feature, so be sure to double-check if you have a full team before doing anything too rash in the first three minutes, because after first blood, you may no longer remake the game.

s5mpyu2ywhwi0nnp1llv
4v5 games do no happen too often, but we have all experienced them in one way or another and they feel awful when they do. The losing team feels worse than they really are – most of the time causing conflict within themselves — and the winning team either does not feel like they have won fairly, or they start trolling the other team in light of their conflict. Everyone loses (figuratively) in these situations so it is great that even though these games do not happen all the time, Riot is still looking to fix the problem for when the odd AFK does happen in the first three minutes. League of Legends has become a lot more aggressive towards AFKs and Leavers recently, so be sure that both you and your dog have pooped before entering your next queue.

Be Different this One For All

First introduced in November of 2013, One for All is a game mode in which every member of a team plays the same champion after a vote in champion select. Champions like Zilean, who with all the other Zileans around him achieves immortality, like Garen, who simply spins to win, and Blitzcrank who if successful may chain pull the enemies are very popular in this game mode and are seen very often. This can get very boring however, always seeing the same champions over and over, so I am here to encourage you to try new things and recommend some champions that you must try at least once this time around.

Heimerdinger
Heimerdinger and his three turrets are already an annoying combination to play against anywhere on Summoner’s Rift, but imagine playing bottom lane with two Heimerdinger and six of his turrets. Now imagine past laning phase, facing five Heimerdinger and 15 of his turrets. No one is going to get near him, nevermind his Nexus. The key to playing Heimerdinger is patience – Don’t go for the kills, let the kills come to you. If your team does happen to get caught out and into a team fight, don’t fear. Be sure to buy a Zhonya’s, charge up all of your ultimates, place all five of your empowered turrets down at the same time, pop your Zhonya’s, and watch the enemy team drop in helplessness.

Zyra
We just got a Mage Update, so why not try some of the updated mages? Zyra is the first updated mage that comes to mind because of her new passive, which now randomly spawns seeds around her. These seeds may be used by both you and all ally Zyra, so there will never be a shortage of deadly plants. Once laning phase is over, the enemy team will have a hell of a time navigating through your plants, similar to Heimerdinger’s turrets. Zyra is also full of CC, so you should never fear being chased down or your enemy getting away, and if you find yourself in a teamfight, simply root the enemy team and place all of your ultimates down, over their whole team. Now watch your enemies fly into the air; if they’re not dead already, just root them again and unleash your beautifully living Hell once more.

Akali
I chose Akali mostly out of imagining creating a line Twilight Shrouds so that your enemies have no idea which one you are inside. Each Akali may use their teammate’s Shroud and walk among them, so that they may all come out of one Shroud at once, assassinating their terrified victim. With some Akali building straight AP, and some building a bit tankier, your enemies will never know who to focus (as long as you don’t do something silly like wear a skin to make you stand out), which gives you another advantage. Akali is very hit and miss, as she is easily countered, but is definitely worth trying at least once, so use careful strategy when choosing this team.

attachment
Anivia
The list so far has consisted of only middle lane characters, but I promise this is the last one. The main reason for Anivia being a must try on One for All is because of her Flash Frost (Q) + Frostbite (E) combination – Once hit with Flash Frost, Anivia’s enemy is chilled, and if Frostbite hits this chilled target, its damage is doubled. This effect counts towards any Anivia’s E on your team, so you may cast Frostbite on a target chilled by one of your teammates and still get the bonus damage. This allows your team to drop enemies rapidly and effectively. Though this combo is the main reason you should try out Anivia in One For All, that doesn’t mean it’s the only reason you should try her. Her Crystallize ability also offers great advantage, as at least one Anivia is bound to have it up when you need it to either escape, or chase an enemy down; Additionally, your ultimates may now cover a much larger area, slowing and damaging your enemies until they can either finally manage to escape it or die before they have a chance.

Pantheon
Do not get caught out against a Pantheon team. Do not even let the enemy Pantheon team have sight of you when you are alone, because the moment you let this happen, you will find yourself having five of them diving from the sky and landing right on top of you. Once this happens, there is no escape. If the initial slow from Grand Skyfall isn’t great enough for the team of Pantheon to kill you, then the chain of stuns will be. Stunning you for one second each, not many champions are able to survive this five seconds of helplessness. Pantheon is also difficult to manage in team fights, as he can be built both tank and full damage. Not knowing which Pantheon to attack, your team is sure to be overwhelmed before you have time to figure out. You better try Pantheon in One For All, because it is much more fun being on the giving side rather than the receiving in this situation.

Tahm Kench
Since his release, Tahm has grown to be one of my favourite champions and I also believe he would do great in One For All. With a combination of all of the Tahm Kench passives, your enemies will be stunned and devoured in no time since every Tahm Kench will add stacks of Acquired Taste to the others. Additionally, Tahm Kench may eat his allies. This means that Tahm Kench may eat another Tahm Kench that has already eaten another Tahm Kench that has already eaten ANOTHER Tahm Kench, eventually creating League of Legends’ version of a Matryoshka Doll (I would love to see Riot actually release this as merchandise). With Tahm Kench’s ultimate, the team will always have control of the map. If one lane needs help, an ally Tahm Kench may teleport in and help, and then the other Tahm Kench that has not used his ultimate yet may teleport back either with or without the other. This team sounds like a lot of fun and is definitely in need of some testing!

battleboost
Udyr
Udyr is the master of all elements. He is versatile and may be built in any way your team needs. If you need a tank, he may be build tanky. Full damage? He’s got you covered. Need more ability power? Even that will work. With Udyr, you may play in various different ways. Have a designated split pusher that pushes the whole game; run as a group, chase down, and perma stun any lone wanderers; or team up and fight their team with yours. The versatility may be used in multiple ways and I recommend trying him not once, not twice, but as many times as you can without playing the same type of Udyr twice

Illaoi
Illaoi is another newbie to One For All, and another great one at that. Just imagine every Illaoi ultimating simultaneously: Chaos and destruction, especially if you can hit the entire enemy team at once and find a nice place in the jungle with lots of walls around you… I have already lost count of the tentacles. With Illaoi’s E, Test of Spirit, there will be even more tentacles everywhere and with every ally Illaoi having a different target, this depletes the enemy’s ability to team fight effectively, giving you a great chance to push as a team and win.

I encourage you to try out all of these teams (and other unpopular teams) and not be limited to the popular few. This way, your games will not get boring and repetitive and you will overall have more fun. With all of the updates and new champions since the last One For All, you should have lots of new variations to try. You don’t have to be the same as everyone else: Be different this One For All.

Join the Client Alpha!

Earlier in the season, Riot announced that they would be updating the League of Legends client by re-building it from the ground up. The client has been updated various times in the past, but the team was very limited. With this brand new client, Riot will now be able to build exactly what they want without any limitations of the past; what’s more is that they will now be able to deliver future features to the client much easier, thus giving us updates much faster than before.
It has been a while since announcing this feature, and we finally have an update: we have all been invited to sign up for the alpha. Riot has never opened up a feature to us this early ever before, so the purpose of the alpha is for us to break the new client in as many ways as we can to ensure that it is flawless when the time comes to bring it to live. But you better hurry: there are only a limited number of spots available in the alpha, so if you want to help test it, you should sign up right away. But what exactly is new to the client? Well, let’s find out!

New Champion Select
The new champion select beautifully matches the new style of the client – which has a Hextech inspiration. Though the new champion select has already been implemented into the current client through ranked queues, it is now being added to every game mode and is worth noting to give you a feel of what the new client will look like throughout. It has a clean design, and is much more user friendly than the old client, which was due for some change. But not only is the last screen you see before entering a game being completely re-hauled, but also the first screen you see when coming out of your game: The game overview screen. Now with a much more eye friendly design, the game’s statistics are laid out as beautifully as the rest of the client.

en_US_friends

Pop Out Chat Window
The pop out chat window being implemented into the new client is a great idea. Riot had recently created a chat app for smart phones, but they definitely needed one for desktop as well. Now without even having the full League of Legends client open, you may talk to your friends and see what they are doing in the game. If while talking to a friend you decide to start playing the game, it is as easy as clicking a button inside of this chat window and you are now in queue for a game without even having the full client open. This was a great move from Riot, as I always have my client open even while not playing in case a friend messages me. Now if only there were a way to merge this with Battle.net and other standalone game chats so that we only need one program open to talk to all of our friends, but I guess Curse Voice will do in that respect for now.

Overall, League of Legends was definitely in need of this brand new client. Now with a much cleaner design, as well as a lot of flexibility for future updates, both we and the Riot team will have a greater time and experience.
Are you interested in joining the Alpha to try out these new features, as well as any other features that you will find out about ahead of anyone else? Go sign up now before Riot runs out of room!

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.

URF 2016: Please NURF

Since the introduction of the rotating queue, many of us have been waiting for Ultra Rapid Fire’s return. Without its traditional April Fool’s Day start this year, we sat and waited until it finally came and quickly left the live servers over the weekend. Since its introduction in 2014, U.R.F. has changed quite a bit. With no idea it would become so popular, Riot unleashed its creation into the world without any restrictions. Lawnmower Hecarim quickly took over the Rift but was quickly disabled once his power was proven to be too great, along with other champions like Sona, Soraka, and Skarner (my favourite three to play in this game mode in 2014). Players simply revived and teleported around the map as they pleased until Revive was also disabled from this game mode (and soon after removed from the game in general). But with all of the nerfs and adjustments Riot has made since its original introduction, who were the best champions to play in Ultra Rapid Fire this year?

Fizz
Similar to Vladmir, Fizz is able to be un-targetable to enemies for a short time while also being mobile. The difference that brings Fizz onto this list and not Vladmir is that Fizz has much more mobility and damage with his Playful/Trickster combined with his Urchin Strike. There is no getting away from a Fizz in URF; once he spots you, you – and all of your teammates – are as good as dead.

Blitzcrank
If you thought Blitzcrank was annoying in a normal game, just wait until you see him in an Ultra Rapid Fire game. With his brief cooldowns he will constantly be spamming his Q, so avoiding his pulls will be your top priority. If you do happen to get hit by his Rocket Grab, there’s not much you can do unless you have very good mobility. As soon as you reach him, Blitzcrank will be knocking you up with his E, and then pulling you in again with his Q, repeating this until he gets his kill. If you happen to get away from him, you better run because Blitzcrank is able to constantly spam his W, giving him a permanent speed boost. Once Blitzcrank hits level 6, his combo, which now will include Static Field, will kill you faster than you even have time to think about reacting.

Teemo
By far one of the most hated champions of League of Legends, Teemo just gets worse in Ultra Rapid Fire. If you thought his mushrooms were annoying in a normal game, then do not lane with Teemo in URF. You may think you’re winning to begin with, but as soon as Teemo hits level 6, you can guarantee that his lane is going to be covered in mushrooms. Thought you were going to gank him? Just kidding, you’re dead before he even notices you’re there.
Teemo’s shrooms aren’t the only annoying thing about him in URF either. If you’re playing a champion dependent on auto attacks, then you better stay clear away from Teemo, who can spam his Blind so that you can never hit him. You better be sure of yourself before going all in on a Teemo, because once you’re in, there is no turning back. There is a reason why Teemo was disabled in URF right from the start in 2014, and he hasn’t gotten much better.

Evelynn
Where’s Evelynn? Probably behind your team ready to assassinate your squishies just like in a normal game. The difference with Evelynn in URF however, is that her Q, Dark Frenzy can be spammed much faster, and without the worry of running out of mana. With one Dark Frenzy after the other and with her ultimate slowing her enemies while she spams her W to keep up and run away if need be, Evelynn is a must try in Ultra Rapid Fire. With her passive invisibility, Shadow Walk, there is no fight in which Evelynn does not choose to participate.

Karthus
Of course Karthus is going to be overpowered as soon as you take away the only two things holding him back: mana and the cooldown on his ultimate, Requiem. Spamming Karthus’ Q is already done normally, and that spam just gets worse in U.R.F. With no need to worry about mana, Karthus may activate his E without ever having to turn it off, so team fights with Karthus are a mess.
The most crucial part of why Karthus is so huge in Ultra Rapid Fire is his ultimate ability, Requiem. With 80% cooldown reduction, you will not want to be hanging around the map for too long with low health without either a lot of magic resist or a Zhonya’s Hourglass. Making this a must buy for all of Karthus’ opponents, this sets them back while they take time to build it. And if they decide not to build a Zhonya’s, all the more free kills for you.

Sona_5
Sona
Sona is one of my favourite champions in the game, so I immediately started playing her from my first game of U.R.F in 2014. I would choose Sona, while my friend would choose Soraka (back before her rework) who was arguably even more annoying than Sona. Though she can get boring very quickly in U.R.F, Sona is a definite win in U.R.F as long as the other team does not have one too. Personally, I do not like to play her because of the unfair advantage she has, but I WILL play her if she is not banned just so we do not get dominated by the other team’s Sona.
Not even having to aim your heal or damage ability (much like Evelynn’s Q), Sona is one of the easiest champions to play in Ultra Rapid Fire. As long as you know how to continuously spam your Q and W you are good to go. If you find yourself in a tight spot, quicky ult your opponents and start spamming your E. You are sure to escape if you don’t kill them with your unlimited Q spam first.

Shaco
Defintely one of URF’s most dominant champions, Shaco was no different this year. Going full ability power, Shaco is able to quickly kill you before you have any time to react. Shaco’s Q, Deceive quickly gets him around the map without being seen, and once he pops out, a dagger will accompany him, most of the time dealing more than half of your health (depending who you are playing) with a single shot, and if there are no teammates around to assist you, you can guarantee that he will be back with another dagger a split second later.
Shaco’s Deceive and Two-Shiv Poison (E) aren’t the only things you have to worry about either. Shaco is able to place down his Jack In the Boxes one right after the other, so watch where you step, or you will quickly be dead without the need of Shaco being there at all.

Zed
Taking the title of Lawnmower from Hecarim, who was rarely seen in U.R.F this year, Zed is one of the most terrifying champions to play against in this game mode. With his low cooldowns, all of his abilities may be spammed easily and will kill you at alarming speeds. Zed’s W gives him crazy mobility, allowing him to pop under a turret, take you (and perhaps a couple of your teammates) out, and be out of there before you even notice. Zed’s poke alone is enough to make you change lanes in frustration, as he is able to constantly poke you down easily with only his clone’s attacks. Zed is definitely a must ban or play in Ultra Rapid Fire. Choose which of the two you do wisely.

These are the champions that I found to be best in Ultra Rapid Fire this year. Though you will probably agree with me that these champions are among the best, are there others that you would add, or even put above these characters on an annoyance and overpower scale? We know that there are way too many of these to list in just one article and would love to hear some of your U.R.F. horror tales.

The Overwatch Overview

Blizzard seems to be popping out games into every genre lately. With their MOBA, Heroes of the Storm; TCG, Hearthstone; MMORPG, World of Warcraft; RTS, Starcraft; and their ARPG, Diablo, the company reaches out to audiences of almost every type of game. And as you probably already know, Blizzard Entertainment is not too far off from releasing their very first FPS, Overwatch. But what is Overwatch? Is it worth buying, or is it just like any other shooter? Is Blizzard just trying too hard to reach into all of these different genres? I decided to try the beta this past weekend to find out.

Game Modes
Overwatch is an online First Person Shooter game with four team based objective games: Escort, Assault, Hybrid, and Control. In all of these games except Control, your team is placed on either the defender or attacker side of the map, but all of these game modes have quite a different feel to them.
-Escort: In this game mode, you are either preventing a payload from reaching its delivery point, or you are trying your best to move the payload to said point. You and your four teammates must continuously alter your strategies throughout the game as the payload passes through different strategic points throughout the map. The game ends when either the attackers reach their target location, or the defenders prevent the payload from reaching its target for the game’s set time.
-Assault: In Assault, depending on the side of the map your team has been placed, your goal is to either defend specified areas on the map until the time runs out, or to capture those point on the map within that time. To capture objectives, you must clear the defenders of the objective areas as the objective timer fills.
Hybrid: Hybrid does not need much of an explanation. So far, the only hybrid game released has been a combination of Escort and Assault, in which the game starts with an Assault and ends with an Escort.
Control: In control, your team is not placed on an attacking or defending side of the map. Instead, both teams fight over control over an objective in the centre of the map. While in control of the map’s objective, your team makes progress towards capturing it. Whichever team reaches 100% on the objective first wins the round. This game mode consists of a maximum of three rounds, with a different map and objective each time, the best team out of three games wins.
BONUS: Blizzard has also recently taken an idea from their Trading Card Game, Hearthstone, in which each week there is different featured game mode in their Weekly Brawl. Like Hearthstone’s Tavern Brawl, the Weekly Brawl will consist of completely different rules each week. In one week’s Brawl, you may only be able to play as McCree (one of the game’s offense characters) and the next, you may be able to play any character, but that character may be randomly selected for you every time you respawn. This past week’s Weekly Brawl that I was able to play in the beta was very similar to League of Legends’ Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) game mode, in which the games were very fast paced due to cooldowns being reduced drastically. As a first time Overwatch player, I played this game for the first time not even knowing what I was getting into, and halfway through the match when I finally realized what was happening, I was both embarrassed and overjoyed!

overwatch___tracer_wallpaper_by_mikoyanx-d8t8ofg
Characters and Roles
Overwatch currently has a total of 21 different heroes to choose from – that’s right “heroes”, not “classes” – and these heroes are divided into four categories: Tank, Defense, Offense, and Support. Each of these roles helps your team differently in winning your game and every hero feels completely different. No sniper feels like the other and no damage dealer deals their damage in the same way. Each and every different playstyle is being accounted for! When first starting up the game, I recommend you try each and every character out before you stick to maining just one of them. I, for instance, immediately started playing McCree after having a couple of good games with him. I had lots of fun, and felt very powerful so he was my go-to-guy. But upon exploring other characters like Soldier: 76, Roadhog, and Bastion and loving them, I found that exploring each and every character was the best way to go. You should at least find one hero per role so that you can fill in different roles as needed – and the game does a great job at telling your team which roles still need to be filled. Keep in mind that you can change characters throughout the game when you respawn, so you don’t have to stick to one character the whole time if you don’t like them!

Cosmetic Items

Ah, cosmetic items: the completionist’s worst enemy. Overwatch is full of cosmetic items for you to collect – for a price. There are tons of victory poses, player icons, highlight intros, emotes, sprays, voice lines, and yes, skins All of these cosmetics are available for a set price, but are luckily also available through loot boxes: a box of four random cosmetic items that you obtain for leveling up. These are very exciting and I usually leave the lobby as soon as I level up just to see what I got. If you not sure exactly what each of the cosmetic items listed is, here is an explanation:
Victory Poses: When you win a game in Overwatch, your team is gathered in one picture and when you unlock a victory pose for a hero, this is the pose they will be in, in this picture.
Player Icons: In the main menu, you are recognizable by not only your Battletag ID, but a small portrait beside your name. Player icons range from Warcraft, Starcraft, and other Blizzard game themed to Tracer, Reaper, and other Overwatch character themes.
Highlight Intros: At the end of every game, there is a play of the game. If your play makes the play of the game, whichever Highlight Intro you have chosen, it will play before the play of the game plays.
Emotes: Emotes are short animations your character can play in game to taunt your opponent, or show off to your friends.
Sprays: I found sprays to be especially interesting. Sprays allow you to tag a picture onto walls, and not much else. Other players see these tags and can also cover them up with their own sprays. It’s just a cool and unique cosmetic that I wasn’t expecting.
Voice Lines: In the game, you may press the ‘C’ key to bring up a list of in game commands you can use to quickly tell your opponents what’s up. You may use this to say hello, or ask for assistance, but you can also choose the ‘voice line’ option, and you will say a line unique to that hero.
Skins: Skins are exactly what you would expect. They can change the colour of your hero’s clothes, or they can change what your hero looks like completely. The more expensive or rare the skin is, the more it will change your character.

When I first started playing Overwatch, I noticed I was losing quite a few matches. But then I realized that I was probably playing with people that had been playing the beta for much longer than me, and I eventually caught on and started winning more. The game is very fast paced and learning each individual hero and role takes a little bit of time, but once you do you fit right in and start having tons of fun. The controls are great and consistent throughout each hero, making each new character you try easy to learn. Blizzard has done a great job with their games of other genres, and they are doing just as well with their first FPS, Overwatch. It feels WAY different than any other FPS I have played and is not trying too hard at all. Blizzard is definitely just as serious about this game as any of their other type of game, and I’m sure this one will be just as big. This will definitely be one of the main games I start to play and I hope that the competitive scene catches on as well.

Do you plan to play Overwatch? Have you already? What are your thoughts?
Be sure to enter our contest to win your own copy of Overwatch when it releases!

ARAM: A Guide to Mastering the Abyss

Introduced as an official supported game mode by Riot in 2012, ARAM has always been a player favourite. Even before its official introduction, ARAM was played in Summoner’s Rift as a custom game mode with player made rules. For players that don’t like the laning phase of normals, or just simply don’t have time for the longer games, the Howling Abyss has been the perfect getaway to just simply go All Random All Mid.
If you didn’t already know, SK League is holding an ARAM tournament this weekend (click here for more details). So in light of this, we should probably give you a few pointers before throwing you out onto the Abyss. Keep in mind that some of the tips will not apply to the tournament however, since there is no rerolling or trading in custom games.

Team Comp

We should probably start from the very beginning, and the most integral part of the game: Champion Select. This two minutes before your game starts can greatly alter the game and its outcome. Which champions should you keep? Which champions should you reroll on sight?
Well first of all, if your random team ends up being either all AD or AP, you should probably do some rerolling. Who should you reroll? Well that depends on a couple of things:

  • Are you good at the champion? The champion may be great in ARAM, but you not the greatest at playing that specific character. If this is the case, see if anyone else wants the champion. If not, go ahead and reroll.
  • Is the champion viable in ARAM? While the champion may be just fine in normal games, this does not mean they will do well in ARAM. A great example of this is Evelynn. Evelynn is great on the Rift because of the fear she could be anywhere. On Howling Abyss, you know exactly where Evelynn is: somewhere in front of you. I would recommend rerolling Evelynn, unless of course you feel confident that ARAM will not change how good you are with her.

    Team Comps
    In champion select, you should aim for a versatile team comp for the best results. I recommend trying for two casters (preferably long range), an AD carry, a healer of some kind, and tank or brusier. Of course, your healer will also either be a caster or tank/brusier.

  • Casters: Your casters will be your main source of damage at the beginning of the game. With them poking down your enemies, this allows your tanks to eventually initiate for your team.
  • AD Carry: Just like in normal games, this guy will be your main source of damage in team fights, as long as he can stay alive. Be sure to build lifesteal for sustain since you can’t go back to base!
    Healer: Healers are great in ARAM since you are not able to heal at base. The sustain a healer provides for your team can ultimately win the game. Sona, Soraka and Janna are three great sources of healing in ARAM if you are lucky enough to get them.
  • Tank/Brusier: You NEED tanks if you want to win in ARAM. If you don’t have a tank, either reroll or hope that the other team does not have a tank either. If you do not have a tank, then you better win quickly before the other team’s tank has their core items. Tanks may not play a huge role early game, but in late game they are a necessity. An ideal tank for ARAM would be one with good CC, such as Malphite, Blitzcrank, Alistar, or Amumu.
  • Assassins: Though not in my number one ideal team, the point of ARAM is that you cannot pick your team. And in the event you get an assassin, that’s great. Assassins can do just as good as other champions, and better if you get the right one. Waiting for the ideal time to strike, assassins excel at assassinating (who knew?) enemies once they can quickly take them down and escape easily.

Fat_Poro

ARAM Only Items
In order to keep order and balance to ARAM, there are a few items you will find in the shop that are not available in any other game mode. It is important to know what these items are, what they do, and when the right time to buy them is.

  • Guardian’s Horn: This item is good on any tank or bruiser champion (I especially like it on Rammus and Hecarim) but can be useful on others as well. Giving you a short burst of speed on a low cooldown, the Guardian’s Horn is great for charging in to initiate fights.
  • Orb of Winter: Another tank/brusier item, this item was added to ARAM for a counter against ranged poke champions. Buy this item if the other team has heavy poke. Even if you’re not a tank, this item can be very helpful for sustain.
  • Poro-Snax: This item is given to every player as a trinket at the start of every game to feed the little poros scattered throughout the map. While it may at first seem funny and useless to your team’s strategy, it actually has a real use that may come in handy. If you notice, the poros are scared of you and every other champion in the game and when you come close to them they run away. If you are in a bush and a poro comes along, he will immediately turn and run in the other direction, giving away your position to the other team. In order to avoid this, just give the approaching poro your Poro-Snax, and he will love you forever and not give away your position. If you do want to have a little fun with Poro-Snax, try and get all ten players to feed the same poro. The poro will explode, and out will come several more poro in a shower of cuteness!

Relics
Since healing at your base is not permitted in ARAM, there are four health relics along the Howling Abyss – two on each side. At 3:00 (Recently updated from 3:10) these health relics will spawn and heal you as well as give you mana upon walking over them and respawn every 40 seconds. Since these relics are one of the only sources of healing in this game mode it is very important to zone your team in way that the other team cannot steal the ones by your turrets, while at the same not foolishly suiciding just to save your relics. It is also important for your casters to get the relics since they will most likely be doing the most damage early on, and will need to replenish their mana often. Coordinate with your team and decide who needs the relics the most at the time.
Once you are in late game, your team may be pushed up to their inhibitor but need to fall back for whatever reason. If this is the case, even if your team is full health be sure to grab the relics just so the other team cannot benefit from them.

Suicide
Suicide is very common in ARAM due to the (recurring) fact that you cannot go to base to heal or buy items. Though you should try to stay alive as long as possible, there are instances where suiciding is acceptable. The obvious acceptable way of suicide is by execution. If you have aced their team, then you have two options: push as hard as you can or kill yourself under the enemy turret in order to buy your items while not giving the other team a kill. Just don’t throw away a perfect moment to destroy an enemy turret.
Another form of suicide should not be used very often, but is still acceptable at times. If you REALLY need to die because you are brimming with gold and have no items, then you may die to the enemy team. Just be sure to tell your team what you are doing, and that it is not at a bad time. A bad suicide can sometimes give the enemy team the chance they need to push for a turret, or even victory. Use strong judgement when choosing to suicide.
Suiciding in late game is usually used to prepare for team fights. If you or one of your team members is low health before a battle, and their team is freshly spawned and ready to fight, your team might be better off choosing to wait to until you suicide and come back in order to stand a chance in the upcoming team fight.

Summoner Spells
Who would have known that a completely different game mode had different standards for choosing your summoner spells? While the standard flash is still used by most players, there are a couple of decisions to make while choosing your second spell.

  • Mark/Dash: Riot’s featured game mode, Legend of the Poro King introduced an ability to launch a poro at your enemy, and then dash to them if you hit them with it. Seeing that many champions did much better than before with a better engagement tool, it was decided to add Mark/Dash to ARAM as a permanent summoner spell, now throwing snowballs instead of poros. This spell is great for engaging and diving. It is excellent for assassins, bruisers, and champions who are already great at engaging. Mark/Dash is an overall safe pick for many champions.
  • Ignite: This spell is occasionally used for assassins and melee fighters, but for the most part it has been replaced by Mark/Dash.
  • Heal: Good for ranged, poke champions for mobility and sustain to survive diving.
  • Exhaust: Great for countering assassins looking to kill your back line. This summoner spell is a pretty safe pick, especially if your team lacks CC.
  • Clarity: Poke champions are usually very reliant on their mana. If you know you are playing a champion that often runs out of mana, clarity is a good pick. This way, you are not taking the health relics just because your mana is low, and your team will greatly appreciate this.
  • Cleanse: Probably the least used summoner spell, cleanse is good for low mobility champions with no escape. This way, if they are CC’d, they still have a fighting chance of surviving. Even if your champion has great mobility, this spell is still a good pick against teams with heavy CC.ARAM is great for casual players looking for short games, but don’t let that fool you: This game mode has tons of strategy. From using champion select to the best of your advantage, to knowing all of the unique items and spells there are to choose from, to feeding the cute little poros, knowing these strategies could be the difference you need to come out on top.Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with anything? Be sure to tell us in the comments, or on our Facebook.

 

 

Scroll to top