Rumble Finals!!!

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Rumble Finals!!!

Curious about what happened in the UNSW Rumble finals, but missed out? No worries, because we are here to report on every significant play (or misplay) that the teams have made! With teams “Flexing on Kenzo 2K18” and “Front line adc Desmond 1v9s and throws” ready to duke it out on the Rift - the action is all here.

This series was hosted and casted by DancingMeatloaf, with assistance from Bucklava, Bombolz, kobe lu and Neo Tokyo Floral. And so now, let’s see how it went down.

Link to series:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nBT9_T7YoSmz7KzoBXIZBL-PpGhl8Fw0/view

Game 1

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Analysis of Pick-Bans:

With one-tricks getting banned (like sexymario258’s famous Evelynn), the two teams tried to ban out comfort picks. This would be seen throughout the rest of the series with minor adaptations depending on how the series panned out.

Gameplay:

A disrespect of the Taric level 2 in the bot lane resulted in first blood for the red side. Not many plays were made other than a whiffed Sejuani ultimate and a bot 2v2 fight that only resulted in summoners burnt from both sides. Kills have been picked up while trying to unsuccessfully protect their towers on both sides as well as being picked off randomly. A random team fight in the mid lane results in kills, missed ultimates and more players having really weird pathing resulting in them getting picked off. A bad macro decision by Desmond throws allowed Flexing on Kenzo to use Garen as a splitpusher and take towers of top and mid lanes while their ad carries are clearing waves in the side-lanes. A missed smite by the Sejuani resulted in a Baron steal by the Viktor. This mistake proved to be crucial as Desmond won a team fight to seal the game.  

 An all-round dominant performance from Team Desmond. Team Flexong on Kenzo Cain’t-lyn garentee that victory.

An all-round dominant performance from Team Desmond. Team Flexong on Kenzo Cain’t-lyn garentee that victory.


Game 2

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Analysis of Pick-Bans:

The removal of Graves and Xayah and the overall choice of comfort still remains true with P0RTR1D choosing Yorick that indicated a 1 – 4 splitpush composition.

Gameplay:

A 2v2 fight in the bot lane resulted in a 1 for 2 kill with, Jhin getting first blood with his double kill. This later resulted in tower first blood for Desmond throws. Skirmishes in the Flexing on Kenzo’s jungle resulted in a 5k gold lead for Desmond throws as they picked up several kills in quick succession. However, Flexing on Kenzo tried to make a comeback with three secured kills, but Team Desmond took more towers instead. Good use of the rift herald resulted in an open inhibitor with Yorick attempting a splitpush. A misplay by the Sejuani as she dashes in without her team resulted in her death while Jax killed Yorick in a 1v1. A Baron fight ensued, and while Yorick managed to kill Jax in a 1v1, a 1v4 base race resulted in Desmond throws taking game 2 and putting the series onto match point.

 Insane carry performance from Zedmond’s Jhin. Four real.

Insane carry performance from Zedmond’s Jhin. Four real.


Game 3

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Analysis of Pick-Bans:

With Blue Side sticking to Evelynn, Fizz and Lucian bans as well as holding a 2-0 lead in the series, Flexing on Kenzo needed to change up their plans. They switched from Sejuani to Amumu for jungle and went with Fiora top for a 1 – 4 composition.

Gameplay:

Once again in the 2v2 bot lane, the disrespect of Taric allowed Flexing on Kenzo to get first blood despite a 1 for 1 kill trade. Despite multiple ganks on the bot side by the Amumu which resulted in a kill lead, blue side obtained several outer towers. A three-man ultimate from Amumu looked to have comeback potential, but a good Leona and Vel’Koz ultimate at a chokepoint negated their advantage, resulting in only one kill for Desmond throws. An overextension while using the Rift Herald gave Desmond throws an inhibitor turret, but the resulting team fight ended with a 4 – 1 kill trade for Flexing on Kenzo. A fight for infernal resulted in a 3 for 2 for Flexing on Kenzo with Kassadin and Fiora diving onto the enemy backline. With more random skirmishes around the mid game resulting in kills, it took a Baron attempt which was stolen by Kassadin to bring the game back to even terms. A pick resulted in another triple kill for the Kassadin. However, an overextension resetted the map despite the advantage of a broken inhib. A team-fight for the second elder resulted in 4 kills for Desmond throws, which threatened to end the game but overextensions forced a reset of the map again. The game was at a stalemate until Amumu overextended without the team, and gave Desmond throws a fighting chance with its numerical advantage against the Elder and Baron empowered Flexing on Kenzo. The 5v4 advantage was crucial as Desmond throws won the team-fight to end the game and close out the series.

 The Explosive Taco’s Vel’koz zapped up and wrapped up the series.

The Explosive Taco’s Vel’koz zapped up and wrapped up the series.

Congratulations to both teams for making finals! However, at the end of the day, team '“Front line adc Desmond 1v9s and throws” was a vastly stronger team on the day.
Congratulations to them for being the Rumble Champions!

Written by Daniel “Arvosa” Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex “Aldiko9” Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director] & Kenzo “Neo Tokyo Floral” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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2018 LCK Summer Finals Recap

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2018 LCK Summer Finals Recap

The end of the OGN era in the LCK has been marked by the end of Go “Score” Dong-bin’s 6-year championship drought. The “old man” of KT Rolster as he is affectionately known as to by his fans has finally received the domestic trophy he has sought after for so long.

 The championship-winning team (Credit: Inven Global)

The championship-winning team (Credit: Inven Global)

The finals were a hard-fought affair between the veteran KT and the rookies Griffin in their first finals after qualifying for the LCK this Summer. The finals also marked the first time a Korean domestic final has gone to the 5th game since Summer 2014 between KT Bullets and Samsung Blue during the Champions era of Korean League of Legends. The series was a bitter back-and-forth between the two teams, testing their mentalities and grit down to the bare bone.

Griffin opened up the series with an early victory, surprising KT and everyone else by flexing Urgot into the mid lane for Chovy. An outplay by game MVP Viper in the top lane to counter a KT dive and wipe the team extended Griffin’s lead in the early-mid game which eventually led to a snowball victory.

KT responded in game 2 by taking the Urgot for Smeb and putting Deft on Kai’sa who outdamaged everyone else in that game. Score’s Taliyah was integral to this victory, as the champion had become key component of the veteran’s champion pool. Being known as a pathing jungler, Taliyah opened up more options through her Weaver’s Wall, allowing Score to have greater presence on the map whilst still being able to track the opposing jungler, earning him the MVP for Game 2

In Game 3, Griffin demonstrated their signature control style, snuffing KT out of all objectives save for a turret and winning in 30 minutes with a total of 7 kills and 4 deaths across the team. Tarzan got his hands on the Taliyah and demonstrated his own prowess on the Stone Weaver, going 2/1/2. Sword on Jayce clinched the game in a nail-biting back-door. Whilst the rest of his team distracted KT in a top lane teamfight, Sword knocked down both nexus turrets as KT scrambled back to their base to stop him. Score managed to knock down the Griffin top laner, but it was too little too late as the minions knocked out the last hit points of the nexus.

With their backs against the wall, KT fans felt an all too familiar feeling. The impending doom, the divine punishment for them getting excited, the onset of disappointment that comes with being a KT fan. The beginning of the game would cause a panic attack for many KT fans, as the team poorly executed a top lane fight at 12 minutes, giving up 5 kills including Smeb dying twice after going down to a gank and then teleporting in only to die again. The game would go on as Griffin would slowly acquire and objectives to acquire a 6k gold lead by 31 minutes. However, a poorly executed elder dragon fight by Griffin with Sword miscommunicating with his team on a TP flank led to KT securing the Elder buff followed by a Baron. In control of the game, KT set up the siege on to Griffin’s base. However, the rookies would not go down without a fight, as they managed to ace KT and begin the assault on their base, hoping to win the championship before the opposing team could respawn in time. Unfortunately, Griffin were too overzealous in their approach as the two carries and Tarzan went down inside KT’s base, leaving Sword and Lehends to fend off KT, who struggled to secure the game 4 ticket.

Going into game 5, everyone, inside the booths, in the stadium, and at home knew what was at stake. By the end of this game, the OGN era of the LCK will either end with the first ever royal roaders in Griffin, who went from Challenger to Champion in the course of one split, or the Prince of Summer Score will finally become the King of Summer. To finish the series, Score pulled out a surprise Nocturne pick, whilst KT’s duo lane opted for the lovers’ bot lane Xayah and Rakan. On Griffin’s side, Sword opted for a comfort pick of his Gnar, with which he has won 8 games and only lost one. The tension inside the game could be felt by all. In the longest First Blood of the finals at 18:52, neither team was willing to make a risk, nor give an inch, knowing one mistake would be all it take to lose the championship which was all so close. Over time, KT played the game out slowly, taking small advantages such as vision control and lane priority over Griffin much like that latter has become known for. The game stayed within 3k gold difference until 27 minutes, at which point, KT began forcing fights in the side lanes and baron. Ultimately, Griffin had few options to claw itself into a comeback position with KT’s side lane pressure and global presence through Score’s Nocturne and Ucal’s Galio. Griffin eventually found themselves defending against KT from inside their own base, but with KT pulling too far ahead, the young team was hapless in a clean ace which closed out the series.

 Go “Score” Dong-bin being embraced by his teammates after the win (Credit: Inven Global)

Go “Score” Dong-bin being embraced by his teammates after the win (Credit: Inven Global)

With this victory, Score finally earns himself the domestic title he has so desperately fought for over 6 years. Regarded as the best player in Korea to have never won a domestic title, the Prince of Summer has become its King, and KT now heads into the World Championship as Korea’s 1st seed, where they will look to reclaim Korea’s title as the strongest region.


Written by Benjamin “RedPyroMage” Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex “Aldiko9” Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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LCK Summer 2018 Finals Preview: The Rookie Upstarts vs. The Promised Ones

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LCK Summer 2018 Finals Preview: The Rookie Upstarts vs. The Promised Ones

As the 2018 regular season comes to a conclusion across the globe, and the race to the World Championships heats up, the LCK finds itself in a position it has never found itself before. No longer the favoured region to bring home the Summoner’s Cup, the region has also seen a shakeup in its representatives to the biggest international tournament of the year. KT Rolster, a team that was once thought cursed to never make a world championship after rebuilding its roster in 2016, has automatically qualified by virtue of having the most championship points or winning the Summer Split. Griffin are a team of young upstarts looking to become the first team to win the LCK in their first split after being promoted. KT Rolster are a team filled with veteran talent, looking to validate the last 3 years. In the Samsan Gymnasium in Incheon this weekend, both teams will be looking to write themselves into the history books, as either greatest rookies, or the redeemed ones.

 

Rising Stars: Griffin

 From left to right: Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Son “Lehends” Si-Woo, Park “Viper” Do-Hyeon, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-Hoon, Shin “Rather” Hyeong-Seop, Choi “Sword” Sung-won (credit: Yong Wood “Kenzi” Kim, fomos.kr)

From left to right: Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Son “Lehends” Si-Woo, Park “Viper” Do-Hyeon, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-Hoon, Shin “Rather” Hyeong-Seop, Choi “Sword” Sung-won (credit: Yong Wood “Kenzi” Kim, fomos.kr)

Griffin’s rise to the top of the LCK has been nothing short of historical. A newly promoted challenger team who went 8-1 in the first round robin and finished the regular season in 2nd place is unheard of the in the post-Champions era of Korean League of Legends. The team rides off not only the raw talent of their young players, who from top to bottom reveal no obvious weak links in the roster, but also their controlled playstyle reminiscent of SKT in their glory days. All 5 starters on Griffin are top 3 in their positions in their league, and you could make an argument for 4 of them to be the best in their position. They take small advantages incrementally over time before their opponents realise it, they have a 5000 gold lead at 30 minutes with less than 3 kills. This slow style can make watching Griffin dull for viewers yet is odd as similar rookie teams in the past oft relied on heavy aggression only to be bested by more experienced teams. If you take away the nameplates you would be forgiven for believing that this team of youngsters were all veterans playing at the highest level. Griffin have defied all expectations by reaching the LCK Finals, and they look to defy even more by becoming the 1st newly promoted team to qualify for worlds since Origen.

Player to watch: Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon  

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The 17-year old wonder kid has forged a name for himself as the successor to great Korean mid-laners. The last time a 17-year old made an impact like this, he became a world champion within 6 months of his debut in the Staples Centre in Los Angeles almost 5 years ago. On a team of superstar rookies it is hard to isolate one individual player. However, Chovy has stood out in a region notorious for her strong mid laners including Ucal, his opponent this weekend, Fly, Kuro, Bdd, and the Unkillable Demon King himself, Faker. He’s most noted for a his high preference for Zoe, despite the champion being much different after her nerfs, but his mastery of her has made a force to be reckoned with, and thus should be a pick to look out for on Saturday.

 

The Promised Ones: KT Rolster

 From left to right: Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, Go “Score” Dong-bin, Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kul, Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae (Credit: Ashley Kang, korizon)

From left to right: Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, Go “Score” Dong-bin, Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kul, Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae (Credit: Ashley Kang, korizon)

This. Is. It. For the last two and a half years, KT Rolster has always played the role of the bridesmaid; always standing next to the brides who go off to worlds, but never being able to go themselves. Despite being stacked with talent after their rebuilding in 2016, the team faltered in the final round of the regional qualifiers each time (coincidentally, to the same opponent, Samsung Galaxy, now Gen.G Esports). This year, things have changed. KT have locked themselves into either the 1st or 2nd seed going into the 2018 World Championships by either winning the Summer Split Finals, or by having the most championship points by the post-season. So, having locked themselves into automatic qualification, can KT afford to kick back and take it easy against Griffin. You’d be wrong if you said. For anyone who has followed the LCK in the last 3 years, they would know worlds is not the only goal of KT, they want to win. They want 1st place. Not just in the regular season, they want a title, and for jungler and captain Go “Score” Dong-Bin, it would mean the validation of one of the longest careers in League of Legends esports. Over the course of the regular season only KT has maintained a consistent winning record against Griffin, being the only team to drop a series against them. KT’s early game aggressive style has been the kryptonite of Griffin’s slower, more controlled style, and the strength of its laners have prevented Griffin from simply brute forcing their way through dominant laning as well.

Player to Watch: Go “Score” Dong-bin

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In one of the longest careers in League of Legends, Score has never been able to capture the elusive title of domestic champion. The last time he reached the finals of an LCK split was in Summer 2018 against SKT in a final he’d rather forget, going down 3-0 to the eventual world champions. The captain of KT has another shot at glory this Saturday to finally achieve validation for his long tenure as a player. Playing through his strong lanes, Score will want to maintain early game aggression against Griffin to prevent them from the reaching the late-game teamfights and objective control they are known for. Controlling Tarzan will also be essential, as the 17-year old jungler has been one of the best jungle talents to emerge this split.

Going into the Saturday matchup, two teams will write themselves into the history of League of Legends. A rookie team who rose from the amateur scene to conquer one of the most competitive regions in the world. The other, a glory-starved team having already secured themselves a place at worlds, looking to head into the international tournament with a trophy. KT are the favoured team this weekend having already beaten Griffin twice this Summer. However, one should not count out the rookies just yet, for if anything, they are just as hungry as their veteran opponents to secure their first piece of LCK silverware.

Written by Benjamin "RedPyroMage" Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

 

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UNSW at the International College Cup

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UNSW at the International College Cup

Disclaimer: Not all of UNSW’s games for this tournament could be written on. This is because the tournament was split into two groups (Group A and Group B). The two viewing platforms (Douyu and a Japanese Twitch stream) had to alternate between games, and a result skip some on UNSW’s games...

 

It's finally the time we've all been waiting for! After conquering Oceania, our very own UNSW League of Legends team had their eyes set on the world stage! No matter how the journey would turn out, to privilege of playing such a high level of League and to play with such amazing players would be the greatest lesson for them.

 

GAME 1

Unfortunately there were no VODs on Game 1, so it's not possible to write at length on it. However, from memory, UNSW's performance in Game 1 was very fluctuating. The boys seized the earlygame and midgame with many good ganks from Minhcam and strong laning efforts. A highlight of this period was Xternal's clean 2v1 doublekill as Ahri on a roaming Pyke and Swain towerdive.

However, the team wasn't able to keep the pedal on the metal due to a few macro errors in the later phases of midgame. This allowed their opponents to seize Baron control, and eventually take it. It was only time where the superior opposing macro overpowered UNSW's nexus for a comeback victory. 

 

GAME 2

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Right from the get-go of Game 2, both UNSW and UCI were met with surprises. Many older or more experienced players may recognise the names of ‘YoungBin and ‘Bloodwater’ as ones of players etched in the history books of the LCS. YoungBin is most famously known for his time in Team Liquid as both starting and substitute ADC, while Bloodwater was a vital member of the once-legendary Team Vulcan.

However, UNSW was not intimidated by these star players. In fact, they responded to this challenge with their own bag of tricks; coach ozo1329 was subbed in for midlaner Xternal, with him roleswapping to toplane and Glup in midlane.

With the game underway, only time could tell how the decision pay off. UNSW’s earlygame consisted of high-action and high-risk plays in order for the snowball-oriented laners of Jax and Ahri to have a comfortable position in the midgame. However, some mechanical missteps and unlucky plays put UNSW behind.

However, UNSW was comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, with playing from behind. This step back did not phase them, and they continued to fight hard and grab at every advantage which appeared.

UNSW’s fighting spirit and attitude was fiercely displayed. For them, this game was not only a win in the ICC, but a message to the Australian fans at home and to all the teams which they defeated in Uni Games to not give up on them.
Sometimes the things which you see in anime start to merge with reality; even if they are 13k and 10 kills down and at the back of an excellent Weaver’s Wall from UCL’s veteran jungler YoungBin, UNSW seemed to start clawing back from what seemed like inevitable defeat in a heart-clenching teamfight victory.  

However, in the end the experience gap between both teams showed in a deciding 3v5 fight for UCL after catching out two UNSW players.

 

GAME 3

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In the final game of the day, UNSW looked to put a win on the board against Vietnam’s HCMUS after playing two competitive games against Portugal’s FEUP and the US’ UC Irvine. The first round of picks and bans saw UNSW go for the trio of high priority red side bans in Braum, Aatrox and Rakan whilst HCMUS banned Ahri, Miss Fortune and Kayn, comfort picks for Johnny “Xternal” Xiao, Felix “BADDiE” Addermann and Michael “Minhcam” Cam.

After running Kog’Maw in their first game of the day against FEUP, UNSW double downed on a composition centered around the pick with protective picks in Galio and Nami (though this was forced due to Janna and Lulu bans in the second round). Heading into the game, UNSW sought to scale up and teamfight around the damage of Kog’Maw protected by a big frontline of Ornn, Trundle and Galio whilst buffed up by Nami. This more methodical strategy contrasted HCMUS who directed themselves towards a proactive early game led by Lee Sin looking to force the issue in the strong Cassiopeia and Xayah/Morgana lanes.

The early game was full of action, with Andy “Glup” Liu’s solo kill in the top lane being one of many highlights. Both teams focused on getting their bot lanes ahead, whether it was through skirmishing or ganking. Many of these skirmishes turned into all-ins that went either way, with HCMUS eventually gaining first tower in the bot lane through Luong “AnhVan” Cong Van being in the right place at the right time with his Lee Sin.

The action did not let up from there, with teamfights proper beginning to occur, as HCMUS leveraged leads in the mid and bot lane into won teamfights. Nonetheless, UNSW continued to be tenacious, with Ben “BenSong” Song catching a vulnerable AnhVan at Dragon with a Flash/Ignite.

Ultimately, HCMUS navigated teamfights well to target BADDiE and shut down UNSW’s main source of damage, taking the game at 35 minutes. Whilst Day 1 was not what UNSW were looking for to make their impact in the tournament, their play indicated that they were willing to be competitive and dogged against strong opposition and should be commended.

 

GAME 4 & 5

Unfortunately, there weren't any VODs either on the last two games of UNSW's run at the International College Cup. However, we do at least know the results. 

Heading into the last two games of the group stage, the UNSW team knew that they had to prove themselves or die; they couldn't afford to lose any more game or they wouldn't earn the right to move on to the knockout stage. However, this didn't break their will to fight.

UNSW confidently won Game 4, but however, were unable to pull through in their final game. It's as they say; the closer you are to your dream, the more it hurts if you fail. However, one can look at that and say to themselves that in the end, they tried their best and made it far. 

In the end, our UNSW team is the region's finest, and played tooth and nail against the world's best university League players. Our boys literally played a close series against LCS-level players, while also needing to learn, adapt, and evolve against a smorgasbord of foreign region playstyles. They've seen it all, and played their hearts out - and if that isn't just amazing, then I honestly don't know what is. 

 

For more League, check out our socials.

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Written by Kenzo “Neo Tokyo Floral” Jeanson and Iain "Arkk003" Lew [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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The Meteoric Rise of Griffin

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The Meteoric Rise of Griffin

Since the sister team merger and the replacement of the 16-team format with the league format in the LCK, only a handful of names have dominated the top of the league’s standings; SK Telecom, KT Rolster, Samsung Galaxy (now Gen.G Esports), and more recently Kingzone DragonX. Yet in the Summer Split of 2018 a new team, made up of players who have never played in any major league or tournament burst onto the scene to claim the top spot in Korea after the first round robin, a feat that has never been achieved since the inception of League esports.

  From left to right: Park “Viper” Do-Hyeon, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-Hoon, Shin “Rather” Hyeong-Seop, Son “Lehends” Si-Woo, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Choi “Sword” Sung-won (Credit: Inven Global)

From left to right: Park “Viper” Do-Hyeon, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-Hoon, Shin “Rather” Hyeong-Seop, Son “Lehends” Si-Woo, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, Choi “Sword” Sung-won (Credit: Inven Global)

Griffin Esports is made up of 6 rookies, all of whom have never played a professional match in the top leagues prior to their rookie season this split. The team first came to the attention of the world as the opponents to SK Telecom in the 2017 KeSPA Cup in the quarterfinals. Having already taken down the Afreeca Freecs to qualify for the Cup, there were many whispers about the challenger team who could be potentially as good as the LCK teams. Although the team would go down 1-2 to the Worlds runner-up, the team left an impression on OGN commentator and former pro, Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-woo, who noted, “We’ll being seeing Griffin more often from now on.”

In Spring 2018, Griffin would go on to have an undefeated Challenger series, finishing 16-0, then going on to sweep both of their matches in the Summer Promotion tournament against Kongdoo and MVP. Their success would continue into the LCK Summer Split, going 8-1 in the first round robin to secure first place, a feat that has not been achieved by a newly promoted challenger team since 2015 in Korea.

What is peculiar about Griffin is not the absence of a single star player on their roster, but the presence of 5 outstanding rookies. No single member of the team stands out more than the other, as each member steps up when needed of him. This is best exemplified in each of Griffin’s 5 starters topping the KDA standings in their respective position for the entire first round of the Summer split.

Moreover, Griffin do not bring the scrappy, solo queue style of strategy that is typical of many challenger promoted teams across the world. Instead, Griffin’s victories come through exceptional late-game objective play and team fighting. In an interview with Inven Global, Griffin’s coach Dae-ho “cvMax” Kim, cited a “Five as one” mentality that guides the team’s gameplay, as well as a low risk, low reward style of play, allowing the team to obtain small incremental advantages over time, until finally culminating in an overwhelming advantage in late game teamfights.

Griffin’s success so far has not been without shock, and with the team currently at 12-5 with a game score of +13 (they sit on top of the LCK standings as of writing). Having already qualified for playoffs, they are looking to secure the first seed into the playoffs, becoming the first newly promoted team since the Unicorns of Love in EU to reach the finals of major region’s finals.

 

Written by Benjamin "RedPyroMage" Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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The C9 Experiment

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The C9 Experiment

It all started three mysterious tweets with one key word: “benched”. Cloud9, one of North America’s most storied and time-enduring franchises kicked off the Summer Split by benching 3 of the Spring Split starters: Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Zachery “Sneaky” Scuderi, and Andy “Smoothie” Ta. The trio were replaced by members of C9’s Academy team; Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, Yuri “Keith” Jew, and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam. None of the three academy players had any proven track record of success, leaving many to scratch their heads as to why C9 would bench 3 of their star players for 3 players who, on paper, were all downgrades. Possible explanations and conspiracy theories followed the bizarre roster move. Meta changes moving away from marksman and motivation issues were among the most prevalent, as fans took to Twitter and reddit to express their dismay.

  From Left to Right: Team owner Jack Etienne, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Zach “Sneaky” Scuderi”, Andy “Smoothie” Ta

From Left to Right: Team owner Jack Etienne, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Zach “Sneaky” Scuderi”, Andy “Smoothie” Ta

This dismay quickly turned to anger as C9 proceeded to have one of their worst openings to a split, as the team would open 1-5 after the 3rd week. These losses were compounded by the fact that in 5 of these losses, C9 had a lead at 15 minutes in 4 of them, only to lose it due to poor late game decision making. Head coach Bok “Reapeared” Han-gyu, and team owner Jack Etienne, bore the brunt of the criticism for the absurd decision to bench their star players.

In week 3, bot laner Keith would be subbed out for Jensen, in hopes that the mid laner’s champion pool would better suit the bruiser/mage bot lane meta. However, it was not until week 4, when Jensen was moved back into the mid lane and Sneaky would be reinstated back into the C9 bot lane did the team pick up the second victory.

 One of the new players promoted to the LCS team, rookie jungler Robert “blaber” Huang

One of the new players promoted to the LCS team, rookie jungler Robert “blaber” Huang

However, the roster was not yet done shuffling. In Week 5, veteran jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen was benched and was replaced by rookie jungler Robert “blaber” Huang, who had graduated from high school in the Summer and made his debut for the team. blaber is best known for bringing a strong leadership voice, which he demonstrated during the 2017 Scouting Grounds and was picked up by C9 as the 9th overall draft pick. Since adding blaber to the lineup C9 have had a 5-1 record, putting them at 7-7 for the split and tied for 4th place with Flyquest and Optic Gaming.

Throughout all of C9’s struggles this split, one player has seen play in all of their matches. Eric “Licorice” Ritchie is the only player from the Spring starting lineup to have played all of their matches this Summer, and his MVP-worthy performances has been a constant shining point for the team despite their lacklustre start.

For C9, this revamped roster of adding blaber and Zeyzal to the starting lineup is paying dividends, with the team seeing a reversal of fortunes in the second half of the split. To have achieved 4th place after being last 3 weeks ago is no small feat, and should C9 make playoffs and make a deep run, Reapeared and Jack will be exonerated for their ‘crimes’.

 

Written by Benjamin "RedPyroMage" Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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UNSW at Unigames Finals!!!

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UNSW at Unigames Finals!!!

Synonymous with success, Monash University is the final obstacle blocking UNSW from the title of Unigames Champions and the opportunity to play against the rest of the world in the first-ever International College Cup in Xian, China.

Both teams knew that they were strong, and clearly respected each other – neither team has any weak links. The sentiment was echoed throughout the LoLSoc discord, with plenty of keen UNSW fans both excited and anxious for the series. Everyone knew that it was anyone’s series to win. With both teams entering champ select for game 1, a battle for the ages was about to commence.

 

Game 1

UNSW [Ornn/Trundle/Swain/MF/Sona]
MON [Mundo/Kindred/Lulu/Kai’sa/Braum]

Sitting down at McDonalds, and for reasons which neither myself nor science could ever answer, munching on a KFC Zinger Burger, Minhcam told me that he believed that there is nothing more important in a series than the result of Game 1. For a young team like UNSW, the first game in a series is like the handshake at the start of a job interview. A firm and self-assured handshake results in much confidence and a smoother interview, while an awkward and janky one spells its end.

With that being said, UNSW didn’t even awkwardly shake Monash University’s hand. They straight up missed it and tripped over. At 23 minutes, UNSW found themselves being two towers down and at a 7.3k gold deficit, with every lane down in CS and baddie’s staple Miss Fortune on the road to being flame horizoned.

However, while UNSW was being out-rotated and cracked open in every facet of the rift, small rays of light still shone. Even if behind the opposing hypercarry Kai’sa, baddie held the majority of UNSW’s kills, even having 100% kill participation in the midgame. UNSW’s also had a very teamfight-centric teamcomp with strong synergy from the CC behemoth Ornn, Sona’s ult, and Swain’s potential of teamfight disruption to complement Miss Fortune’s potentially-devastating ult.

At in the middle of the 35-minute mark, with Monash posturing menacingly towards UNSW’s Tier 2 Turret, UNSW knew that this was their final chance until they completely cost control of the game. However, a stellar ult by Ben Song’s Sona on a mispositioned Kai’sa allowed Xternal’s Swain to pull her deep into UNSW territory for an easy teamfight. In that teamfight, Lulu was late to peel for Kai’sa as she had been forced to burn flash due to an earlier excellently-positioned pillar from Minhcam (at the back of a strategic Nevermove from Swain).

With baron buff by their side, UNSW was able to claw back from almost-guaranteed defeat with a very clean teamfight. Fun fact, UNSW won that game and still had a gold deficit at the end.

 

Game 2

UNSW [Cho’gath/Kayn/Swain/MF/Morg]
MON [Aatrox/Kindred/Asol/Thresh/Vlad]

After a death-defying comeback from UNSW in Game 1, the fellas were feeling primed for Game 2. Not only would a win here put the series at Match Point, but the psychological wave which UNSW was riding would become a tsunami.

Game 2 started off well, with Minhcam executing a smartly-pathed gank in the toplane allowing Glup to hold steady in the inherently losing Cho’gath vs Aatrox lane.

However, a well-reacted Monash countergank killed UNSW’s momentum and allowed Vladimir to start snowballing.

Unfortunately the Crimson Reaper eventually went out of control, allowing him to dominate the botlane and prevent another performance like in Game 1. Seeing the way which baddie contributed to the damage charts last game, it was ultimately an intelligent call by Monash to focus on suppressing the UNSW botlane in Game 2. It was only a matter of time until Monash ended the game.

Game 3

UNSW [Ornn/Taliyah/Cass/MF/Nami]
MON [Singed/Trundle/Asol/Ezreal/Morg]

As the lads loaded into Game 3, there was unrest amongst the UNSW LoLSoc Discord Viewing Party. Many questioned UNSW’s teamcomp due to a lack of sustained damage and not enough AD. The casters put it best, describing the teamcomp as “great in lane, but not in skirmishes”.  

Monash knew this, and so around the 9-minute mark prepared to force a teamfight at dragon. UNSW lost the fight, as expected, and began to trail behind Monash’s pace.

However, a grand showcase of resilience from UNSW allowed them chances to stage a comeback. Like in Game 1, baddie’s Miss Fortune was slowly starting to ramp up, and was able to pop off in a well-fought teamfight in the topside river.

With UNSW clawing themselves back in the game, it was do or die. Posturing in the Monash base with Baron buff, and with a quick zoning Weaver’s Wall on the Monash Trundle (who… had flash), Glup was given the opportunity to force an engage and UNSW made quick work of Monash.

 

Game 4

UNSW [Ornn/Trundle/Galio/Kog/Morg]
MON [Renek/Camille/Yasuo/D0nger/Thresh]

In Pick/the Ban phase of Game 4, UNSW was thrown a curveball as Monash banned baddie’s famously reliable Miss Fortune. However, the team’s trust in their botlaner did not waver as they, by surprise, picked a juggermaw composition with Galio and Morgana as primary peel units. However, Monash hadn’t revealed all their cards as they retaliated with a surprise Heimerdinger pick in the botlane.

UNSW only had one job this game – to help Koggers reach Poggers. The decisive moment came at the 10-minute mark in a botlane skirmish after Monash secured an Infernal Dragon.

With UNSW’s botlane on the path to snowball, Monash was forced to focus on shutting them down. However, UNSW was able to see this botlane focus as an opportunity to break the topside Inhibitor Tower at 14 minutes.

With toplane open so early, the UNSW botlane was given more freedom to move around the map, which eventually lead to UNSW achieving their Pog’Maw win condition. Not much could be done on Monash’s end when the Kog’maw had a Molten Edge, Runaan's Hurricane, Guinsoo's Rageblade, and a hefty wall of tanks surrounding him.

Talking to Xternal after the decisive game, he shed light on the way he felt playing it. He elaborated that both himself and Glup had to be unselfish to play the comp, but the temporary feelsbad was ultimately overshadowed by the win. The understanding which these two players had to sacrifice everything to their carry is not only testament to their discipline as players, but also to the strong teamwork which the boys have displayed throughout all the tournament.

GG Monash! GG UNSW!

While both teams played well, it was ultimately UNSW who came up on top.
The being said, the resilience which UNSW showed this series was incredible. If there was one way to describe it, it would be that there were no weak links – every player belonged in the game and had purpose. This extends to the surrounding team – ozo1329’s intelligent drafting enabled the team to play with their best champions in the best team comps and the LoLSoc Exec team should also be recognised for their efforts in helping the Unigames team.

 

If you’re keen on improving your League skills like our Unigames Champion Team, or just finding a bunch of friends to play with, you should consider following our socials!

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/UNSWLoLSociety/

DISCORD:

http://www.unswlolsoc.com/discord/

 

Written by Kenzo “Neo Tokyo Floral” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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UNSW Unigames

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UNSW Unigames

Every year, Australian universities are given the opportunity to prove themselves as the nation’s best at Unigames. From first-years who have achieved Challenger 1000lp to graduating fourth-years, UNSW’s line-up coming into Unigames once again had attitude and a desire to come out on top. In order to attain victory, teams must push through the prestigious collegiate tournament’s regional and national stages.

The squad were quick to prove their regional dominance through smashing the Regional Group Stage and securing first seed (for playoffs) by winning all games but one. In the Regional Playoffs 3-0’d UTS to punch their ticket to Nationals alongside their rivals WSU.

 The UNSW team was out for blood as they fought their way through the entire tournament with the desire to be the champions of Australia.

The UNSW team was out for blood as they fought their way through the entire tournament with the desire to be the champions of Australia.

However, not everything was rose-tinted for the boys. The Nationals Group Stage was vastly more difficult than expected, with notably heavy 0-2 losses to Monash University (last year’s champions) and Queensland University of Technology (agreed to be the strongest team). UNSW found themselves nearing the bottom seed for playoffs.

In quarterfinals, UNSW were up against the University of Auckland. Losing the first game, it felt like the wolfpack’s Unigames run was just never meant to be. However, a surprise pocket-pick Karma from Xternal switched up the tempo of the series and granted them the reverse sweep. Speaking to Xternal after the game, he described the Karma pick as him going back to what he plays best in order to let his teammates play with the highest level of confidence.

However, there was no time for celebration as UNSW had to then face the behemoth of the Queensland University of Technology. Not only did they aforementioned 2-0 the boys in yellow in groups, but they were also undefeated with all their players competing together in the same OCS (Oceanic Challenger Series) team. UNSW had to produce OCS-level gameplay in order to win the series.

And they did. Not only that, but also in a hyper-dominant 2-0 blaze with spectacular carry performances from baddie’s dextrous Kai’sa (13/5/9 in Game 1) and Glup’s reliable Cho’gath (10/0/6 in Game 2).

They’ve beaten their rivals, they’ve beaten the top teams, and now it was eventually time for them to fight against the champions. With a week to prepare, UNSW had to find a way to overthrow Monash University in a bo5. Not only would a win here make them the Unigames champions, but it would also book them a ticket to Xian, China to play in the 2018 International College Cup.

For UNSW’s finest, this final series would finally give them to opportunity to show that they are the greatest university team. They will be fighting it out live in Riot HQ, the poetically perfect battlefield for these young warriors. However, it is not only glory which is at stake; not only would a win here make them the Unigames champions, but it would also punch them a ticket to Xian, China to play in the 2018 International College Cup. This is especially important as this is OCE's first time being invited to the prestigious tournament - a sign that the League of Legends scene is finally recognising Oceania's talent. The opportunity to play world-class as a world-class player is dangling in front of UNSW, and they are in position to pounce.

If you’re keen on improving your League skills like our Unigames Champion Team, or just finding a bunch of friends to play with, you should consider following our socials!

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/UNSWLoLSociety/

DISCORD:

http://www.unswlolsoc.com/discord/

 

Written by Kenzo “Neo Tokyo Floral” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

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A Look Back on Rift Rivals (SEA/LJL/OPL)

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A Look Back on Rift Rivals (SEA/LJL/OPL)

Every year, Rift Rivals have given the best Oceanic teams the opportunity to prove themselves internationally as they represent their region in a grand war against their rival regions of Southeast Asian and Japan. Oceania, Southeast Asia, and Japan are often categorised as ‘emerging regions’ due to a smaller scale of competition infrastructure and fanbase, but it is exactly the goal of breaking out of these chains which have injected these three regions with the burning passion and drive to do only one thing – win. Here, a dominant international win is not only just a crown to wear, but a statement to other major servers to keep an eye of for what’s behind them.

  The regions’ best teams are ready to fight for honour, glory, and to make their name known.

The regions’ best teams are ready to fight for honour, glory, and to make their name known.

This year, Southeast Asia presented an intimidating line-up. Ascension Gaming is heralded as Thailand’s most dominant team, and Kuala Lumpur Hunters have continued their domestic streak by winning eight back-to-back major tournaments. Older league players may remember the prestige of Mineski’s name as participants in the Season 3 Worlds Championship.

Bringing the trophy from last year’s Rift Rivals is none other than Japan. PENTAGRAM may be an unfamiliar name, but are actually a rebranded Rampage (who participated in last year’s Rift Rivals). DetonatioN is an old guard of the Japanese League scene as its first full-time professional League team, and have continued to stay dominant.

And finally comes the boys. The homies. The squad. OCE’s finest. While Oceania may have come third in last year’s Rift Rivals, this year has seen the region have a tremendous growth. The Dire Wolves are bloodthirsty, and are ready to pounce any teams which fail to show respect. Even if they did closely miss out on MSI, the oldguard Chiefs have concisely proven that they are far from fading away. Legacy have proved their true grit and resilience as an organisation over and over again. Having to start in the first round of Split 1 playoffs, Legacy managed to win two series 3-2 to have a valiant semi-final run.

 

Day One of the group stage saw favourable results for OCE, with The Chiefs taking the first win of the tournament against DetonatioN. However, albeit a dominant early and mid-game, The Chiefs lost their second game of the day against Kuala Lumpur Hunters as they were unable to close the 45-minute game and rushed themselves to a poorly executed final teamfight. Fortunately, the Dire Wolves were able to regain OCE’s momentum with a clean and dominant 30 minute cleave against the Kuala Lumpur Hunters.

If there was to be a day where OCE was to be tested to it’s limit, then it would be Day Two of groups. OCE had to play four out of the 5 games of the day against unique teams. However, the boys made us proud and proved themselves as the frontrunners of the regional rivalry with a hard fought and well-deserved combined 4-0 result.

While OCE was unable to fully carry their unstoppable momentum in Day Three, they still had a strong showing and represented their region with pride. While The Chiefs and Dire Wolves took the win against Ascension Gaming and PENTAGRAM, Legacy was unable to push back against Mineski’s impressive earlygame (Mineski also finished with a perfect record in group stage).  

In all, OCE displayed dominance in all aspects, with The Chiefs and Legacy only losing one game and Dire Wolves being undefeated. With OCE and SEA having respectively 8-2 and 4-6 records, these two regions advanced to the finals.

However, now came the real challenge – a best of five series against Southeast Asia. Would OCE finally win their first international tournament and make a statement as a region, or will they once again fall short from the glory?

With both teams looking to hit the ground running, OCE played the undefeated Dire Wolves against SEA’s also undefeated Mineski. With OCE’s first seed against Southeast Asia’s third seed, an easy Oceanic victory was expected. However, not all went to plan, with Mineski styling on Dire Wolves with vastly superior laning.

Game Two, Legacy vs Ascension, was a vital opportunity for OCE to regain momentum and establish control over the series. Legacy was able to dominate early and midgame with an unexpected Aatrox pick from Mimic in the toplane and a well-rounded from Claire’s Zoe in the midlane. However, as Aatrox started to fall off in the lategame, Legacy started to find difficulty in winning teamfights.

However, while it may have seemed that Legacy had finally lost control of the game, Claire’s ability to stay cool under pressure serves as testament to Legacy’s resilience as they bring to series to a relieving 1-1.  

With the series being tied up 1-1, Game Three was a reset point for both regions. A well-executed Chiefs gank toplane allowed SwpierR to secure lane dominance on his Kled pocket-pick, which further allowed Big Swips to flex his global pressure to allow The Chiefs to have initiative throughout the whole game. It was only about time for Chiefs to win the final teamfight off a spicy flank from ry0ma coupled with a strong engage from SwpierR.

By the time Game Four arrived, it already felt too late Southeast Asia. The compelling win by the oldguard Chiefs against Mineski swayed the Oceanic crowd into waves of triumphant cheers.

GG! This marks the first time that Oceania has won an international tournament! OCE has been known deliver strong international performances albeit always falling just short, but this Rift Rivals may prove that the tides are starting to change direction…

 The moment of history when OCE lifts their first ever international trophy.

The moment of history when OCE lifts their first ever international trophy.

UNSW LoLSoc has many passionate league players who also watched Rift Rivals!
Be sure to check us out on social media and out discord for more League of Legends action!

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/UNSWLoLSociety/

Discord:     
http://www.unswlolsoc.com/discord/

 

Written by Kenzo “Macint0sh Plus” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

All game footage taken from League of Legends Oceania YouTube Channel
(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ6EyrObjc396m3MToJhblQ)

All statistics taken from Leauguepedia
(https://lol.gamepedia.com/League_of_Legends_Esports_Wiki)

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2018 Mid-Season Invitational: Three Interesting Developments with the Meta

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2018 Mid-Season Invitational: Three Interesting Developments with the Meta

Disclaimer: Do not try this at home without duo supervision and/or significant experience/skill, side effects may include: nausea, being flamed in SoloQ, confusion, loss of LP and MMR, blurry vision, demotion to Bronze V, moderate to severe amnesia and tilt.

With the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational almost done, several developments to the meta on Patch 8.8 have occurred. The meta at the beginning and end of the tournament will always look very different as seen with previous international competitions (Miss Fortune Support in 2016 Worlds, Fervor Leona in 2017 Worlds). These changes tend to occur as a response to other power picks in the meta and can make significant impact within the draft stage of a series, potentially resulting in bans or denial picks. Whilst not all players at the tournament are as capable on these picks as others, practice and scrimmage time can lead to the addition of these picks into their champion pools for further use.

1. Blind Pick Yasuo Mid

With MSI being held in Europe, what better way to represent the character of the region than the ultimate SoloQ champion in Yasuo? Once thought of as a counter-pick seen exclusively in the top lane to match up against Gnar, Mr. Hasaki himself has risen to blind pick status in the mid lane as a comfort pick for Rasmus “Caps” Winther. The Fnatic mid-laner may only have a 1-2 record on the champion during the Group Stage in Berlin, but has drawn numerous bans against it and in all three games, blind picked it.

 Though popular amongst many League of Legends casual players, Yasuo did not feature often on the international stage until this year's MSI.

Though popular amongst many League of Legends casual players, Yasuo did not feature often on the international stage until this year's MSI.

Early in Season 8, Yasuo mid was seldom considered in professional play due to the ease in itemising against him, a side effect from Runes Reforged not providing a satisfactory replacement for Fervor of Battle. With the debut of the Conqueror Keystone in professional play at MSI, Yasuo is now able to punch through the defences of an early Seeker’s Armguard. Other power picks of Karma, Ryze, Swain etc. may deny a few CS from Yasuo in the laning phase, but the combination of Bone Plating and Second Wind in the Resolve tree prevents him from being pushed out of the lane or outright dying. In the mid-game, these champions are simply not able to match Yasuo’s split-pushing pressure and can expect to give a solo kill over without significant caution being taken. Though not as successful as Caps, Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Gwak “Bdd” Bo-Seong of Team Liquid and Kingzone DragonX respectively have played Yasuo mid at MSI.

 

Expect to see more of Yasuo later this season in Rift Rivals, Summer Split and potentially Worlds, bar some drastic nerfs in later patches. As for SoloQ, it’s Yasuo; even if this development did not occur, he will still be seen going 0/8/0 flashing that Mastery 7 emote.

 Be prepared for the influx of aspiring Yasuo wannabes in SoloQ. As the saying goes, "you win some, you lose some."

Be prepared for the influx of aspiring Yasuo wannabes in SoloQ. As the saying goes, "you win some, you lose some."

2. Teleport Ezreal

Though Heal is the Summoner Spell of choice for all ADCs alongside Flash for the sake of survivability, Kim “PraY” Jong-in demonstrated the power of Teleport Ezreal in Kingzone DragonX’s Day 1 game against Team Liquid. Initially thought to be the consequence of Kang “GorillA” Beom-Hyeon running Heal on Soraka (the Summoner Spell of choice on her other than Barrier since it allows her to survive to heal up her teammates, rather than the more aggressive Ignite or Exhaust), PraY then ran the same Summoner Spell setup with GorillA’s Tahm Kench who ran Ignite in Kingzone’s games against Royal Never Give Up and EVOS Espots.

 Though the lack of the sustain should be a sign of trouble for all ADCs, including Ezreal, his safe laning through the range of Mystic Shot and the self-peel of Arcane Shift enables him to get through most match ups.

Though the lack of the sustain should be a sign of trouble for all ADCs, including Ezreal, his safe laning through the range of Mystic Shot and the self-peel of Arcane Shift enables him to get through most match ups.

It is optimal for Ezreal to buy his Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible so that he can begin stacking it. With Teleport, Ezreal can Recall to base as soon as he earns 750 gold (850 gold for us amateur plebs on Patch 8.10) and immediately come back to lane without missing CS.  This is not the case with Heal, where the window for back timings is tighter, thus delaying the building and subsequent stacking of Tear. Other Ezreal games at MSI have suggested that this may be the norm for this champion in future professional games, with Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Lu “Betty” Yu-Hang picking up wins for Royal Never Give Up and Flash Wolves using the same set up respectively.

 Could we see Doublelift take Teleport on Ezreal later this season?

Could we see Doublelift take Teleport on Ezreal later this season?

As for SoloQ, the more volatile nature of bot lane presents Heal as the better option. However, do consider Teleport for Ezreal if duoing with a support that understands the limits of safety in a matchup and can provide a strong force in lane such as a constantly-healing Soraka or a Tahm Kench with global presence; other ADCs simply do not have as safe a laning phase, nor benefit as strongly from the more generous back timings to take Teleport.

3. Marksmen Junglers

 Time for the marksman junglers to dominate the jungle, that is if there is still a jungle left after the most recent jungle changes.

Time for the marksman junglers to dominate the jungle, that is if there is still a jungle left after the most recent jungle changes.

Whilst there have been metas where Graves and Kindred are extremely powerful, it is nonetheless surprising to see their presence in professional play here at MSI, as Olaf, Sejuani and Zac have dominated the meta for most of Season 8. With a focus towards bot lane in Patch 8.8, tank and bruisers are typically chosen to peel for the ADC in late game team-fights. As a response to these tanks and bruisers, Trundle has emerged as a major power pick, being able to clear quickly, countergank effectively and absolutely shred their defences with the use of Subjugate.

 

To counter Trundle, Graves and Kindred have emerged. Trundle is both Graves and Kindred’s best matchup; they can dash through his Pillar of Ice, and since they don’t have much armor or magic resistance, Subjugate is useless against them. Though Graves has a greater priority over Kindred due to his considerably healthier clear, both serve a similar purpose; both have strong counterjungling ability through kiting and their burst damage lends itself to counterganking. Unlike Kindred, Graves can be blind picked due to his more favourable matchups against the other meta junglers, though the assassins of Kha’Zix and Nocturne remain tough matchups. Kindred’s Marks allow for their pathing to be read easily, but the damage and scaling given by earning Marks is a worthwhile reward.

 

With the recent jungle changes on Patch 8.10, Graves and Kindred are especially strong as their existing pathing options did not experience many changes and are largely unaffected by nerfs to jungle items. Though the bonus attack speed has been removed from Hunter’s Machete, Graves and Kindred already use the Precision tree, so this impact is minimal. Should these jungle changes stick, Graves and Kindred should be considered as two top tier jungle picks for both professional and SoloQ play.

 

Written by Iain "Arkk003" Lew [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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MSI Team Analysis: Royal Never Give Up (RNG)

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MSI Team Analysis: Royal Never Give Up (RNG)

As this year’s Mid-Season Invitationals play-in knockouts come to a spectacular end, let’s take a look at one team on our radar that the wildcard winners might find themselves challenging in the much anticipated group stage.

With the notable absence of SK Telecom, many teams have gathered to lay claim to the MSI crown. Besides the usual  Korean hype train, Royal Never Give Up (RNG) is the team to watch as their incredibly gifted ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao arrives on a high after his first LPL championship victory. Following an incredible 3-1 sweep over their rivals EDward Gaming in the finals of their spring split, this star-studded roster may very well be the next MSI champions.

 

Since captivating the world with his heroic performance in season 3 edition of Worlds, Uzi’s mechanically perfect plays have taken him to places from domestic finals to Worlds finals on multiple occasions. Along the way, he has continued to take pentakills wherever he sees them and never misses a double shot. Famed for being one of the best Vayne and Lucian players in the world, there are few supports that can reach his high expectations as a lane partner. Being the player that claimed the most kills at both the 2014 and 2017 world championships, Uzi could bring a bloodbath with him this year as he joins MSI for the first time. But despite his legendary career, Uzi has had a seemingly empty trophy room in the past. At multiple Worlds tournaments Uzi has always finished just shy of absolute victory, a serious contender yet never able to seal the deal. However, with his recent wins in the 2017 All Stars event and the 2018 LPL spring split, could Uzi’s new-found momentum be enough to break his notorious ‘runner up’ curse?

 

 

Besides Uzi, RNG’s world-class midlaner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao will be another massive drawcard given his previous track record with aggressive Azir and Leblanc plays. Xiaohu’s proactive yet controlled playstyle has been incredibly vital to RNG’s splits, and his noteworthy performance at Worlds 2017 scored him a KDA of 7.6; nearly leading RNG to an upset against SKT in the semi-finals. Time and time again Xiaohu has proven with dominating fashion to be one of the world’s best midlaners, going toe-to-toe with players such as SKT’s “Faker” and “Crown” from Generation Gaming. In the current Korean-dominated scene, Xiaohu’s consistent performance has made him a legitimate threat. His presence will challenge the Korean dynasty.

 

Although Uzi and Xiaohu are the headliners of RNG, their recent success was still a team effort. Forming the backbone of this all Chinese roster is Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu - his undeniable chemistry with the rest of RNG was demonstrated during the spring split semi-finals when he surprised Invictus Gaming with early ganks in lieu of clearing camps. Sharing the role of jungler with Mlxg is Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan, who despite his limited appearances for RNG, has shown some promising synergy. RNG’s top-lane will be handled by Yan “Letme” Jun-Ze, whose more consistent playstyle will need to be tweaked depending on which jungler starts. Finally, the man that will bear the duty of supporting RNG’s powerhouse AD carry is Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming. Ming was mentored by Uzi himself during the rookie’s first few splits, and his experiences will hopefully come to fruition in this years MSI.

 RNG's support, Ming, will be a vital cog in ensuring Uzi has all the support he needs to succeed - starting from the basics of laning phase.

RNG's support, Ming, will be a vital cog in ensuring Uzi has all the support he needs to succeed - starting from the basics of laning phase.

There is no doubt Royal Never Give Up will be determined to be crowned victors of an international tournament after their previous failures at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds championships. However, there are still many obstacles to their success as teams like Kingzone Dragonx and Team Liquid are on the prowl. This year’s line-up is unprecedented, as each region’s best AD carries will be competing for the MSI crown. Legendary figures Yiliang Peter “Doublelift” Peng from North America’s Team Liquid and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson from the European Unions’ Fnatic will also be duking it out in the botlane.

 

 KZ AD Carry, PraY, will be the biggest rival Uzi will encounter at MSI. PraY's legendary status in Korea and worldwide will make any match ups between the two a mouth watering clash.

KZ AD Carry, PraY, will be the biggest rival Uzi will encounter at MSI. PraY's legendary status in Korea and worldwide will make any match ups between the two a mouth watering clash.

However, the biggest challenge RNG will have to face is from none other than the LCK. The 2018 MSI marks the first time in the events’ history that South Korea is not represented by SK Telecom T1. Fortunately, their reputation for dominance is in the excellent hands of Kingzone DragonX. The core of Kingzone is in its bot-lane duo of AD carry Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon. Able to play a huge range of different styles depending on the meta, the versatility and stability of this fearsome duo will truly be a force to behold. RNG’s victory is clearly far from a done deal; can their time-honoured tradition of aggressive playstyles finally take them to the top?

 

 

Written by Colby "kobe lu" Lu [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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2018 MSI Play-Ins Stage Recap

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2018 MSI Play-Ins Stage Recap

Group A

Gambit Esports 5-1 (LCL)

Group A saw the unexpected rise of the LCL represented by Gambit Esports, who had represented the region at the last world championship. Expectations were not high for this team given their poor performance last year, going 0-4 in the Play-In stage. However, the addition of Stanislav “Lodik” Kornelyuk to the roster has paid dividends, especially considering how he just joined the starting lineup in the final weeks of LCL regular season. Lodik’s greater carry potential over long-time starter Daniel “Blasting” Kudrin has proved to be the tipping point the team needed to qualify for the knockout round of the play-ins by dropping only a single game to the GPL champions, Ascension Gaming.

 Gambit defied expectation to top Group A in a performance that revoked the memories of the old Moscow 5 and Albus Nox Luna. This result will be a vital confidence boost for the team heading into the second half of the season.

Gambit defied expectation to top Group A in a performance that revoked the memories of the old Moscow 5 and Albus Nox Luna. This result will be a vital confidence boost for the team heading into the second half of the season.

 

Rainbow7 3-3 (LLN)

With the return of their star ADC Matias “WhiteLotus” Musso froms suspension, many expected Rainbow7 (formerly Lyon Gaming) to top the group, especially given the team’s excellent performance at the last world championships. Yet, R7 only managed a single win against ASC on day 1. Whilst R7 improved to go 2-1 on day 3 by picking up a win against KLG and ASC, it was not enough to avoid elimination from the tournament. Heading home, the team will look towards preparing for the Summer split, and a possible 12th domestic title.

 

Kaos Latin Gamers 2-4 (CLS)

Coming into MSI with a new top laner in Damián "Nate" Rea, KLG performed beyond expectations on day 1 by winning 2 games against ASC and R7 in a Latin America grudge match. Stand out performances from Sebastián "Tierwulf" Andrés Mateluna Cibrario onOlaf during the match against R7 in controlling the jungle matchup, was a major factor in the team’s victory, as well as Joaquín "Plugo" José Pérez 5/0/10 performance on Anivia. Despite their strong initial performances, KLG would go on to lose all 3 of their remaining matches to tie with ASC for last place in Group A.

 

Ascension Gaming 2-4 (GPL)

Following Vietnam’s split from the GPL, Ascension Gaming finally secure their first international appearance, after being edged out by Vietnam’s Young Generation in the 2017 GPL Summer Playoffs for the region’s 2nd seed at the 2017 World Championships. Looking to prove the region’s strength in the post-Vietnam era, their tournament run did not begin well. They dropped all 3 of their opening matches on day 1, including an extremely close and bloody match against R7 that ended with 37 kills between both teams. However, the team bounced back on day 3, picking up matches against KLG and GMB with cleaner macro play to end their MSI run on a high note.

 

Group B

BAU Supermassive 5-1 (TCL)

Turkish champions BAU Supermassive once again showed why they are considered one of the strongest emerging region by dropping only one game against Brazilian champions Kabum e-Sports. Turkey’s dominance in the group was exemplified by their Korean duo of GBM and Snowflower, relying on the former’s carry performances and the latter’s playmaking on champions such as Thresh, going 1/0/17 in a 22-minute victory against Kabum on day 2, the fastest game of the tournament so far.

 Supermassive's performance cements Turkey's claim as one of the most consistent emerging regions in the last couple of years. This performance shows that Turkey will continue to be a region to watch in international tournaments in the future.

Supermassive's performance cements Turkey's claim as one of the most consistent emerging regions in the last couple of years. This performance shows that Turkey will continue to be a region to watch in international tournaments in the future.

 

Kabum e-Sports 3-3 (CBLOL)

Kabum had been through hell and back to return to the international stage after being knocked out in the group stage at the 2014 World Championships and suffering relegation subsequently. Having rebuilt their roster completely, the team looked to uphold Brazil’s reputation for being one of the stronger emerging regions. They had a rough start to the tournament, going 1-2 on day 2 of the play-ins. A mid-stage turnaround, saw the team improve on day 4 to pick up two wins against Dire Wolves and Pentagram. However, it was too little too late, as Supermassive’s victory over Rampage and Dire Wolves secured their spot in the second round, knocking Kabum out of the tournament.

 

Dire Wolves 2-4 (OPL)

The Dire Wolves came into this tournament hungry for international success. Having represented Oceania at both MSI and Worlds in 2017, the Wolves have a combined international record of 3-8 coming into MSI this year. Day 2 of the Play-Ins showed promising signs for the Wolves where they came back from a game 1 defeat at the hands of Supermassive to defeat Kabum and Pentagram off the back of excellent carry performances from top laner Ryan ‘Chippys’ Short. Coming into day 4, the Dire Wolves were confident in finally being able to show the world why OCE should be in the discussion for one of the strongest emerging regions. However, this was not meant to be, as the team would drop all 3 games on the 4th day of competition, heading home with the same record they had last year.

 Dire Wolves failed to perform to the lofty standards they have set themselves. Whilst the result may have been evident from the start, it is still disappointing to see such result.

Dire Wolves failed to perform to the lofty standards they have set themselves. Whilst the result may have been evident from the start, it is still disappointing to see such result.

 

Pentagram 1-5 (LJL)

The 4-time domestic champions formerly known as Rampage was back at MSI. Although not considered one of the strongest regions, Japan has become adept at causing upsets and throwing groups into chaos at international tournaments. Yuta "YutoriMoyasi" Noguchi (ADC) is the star player of this team and was the bright spot on team even in their losses, building a +18 CS Lead at 15 in a loss against Dire Wolves on Day 2 and maintaining a 12 CSPM against Kabum on the same day. The team looked greatly improved on day 4 by holding even against Supermassive in the early to mid-game, and scoring a win against the Dire Wolves; a (hopeful) sign for the future?

 

Knockout Match 1: EVOS Esports (VCS) vs. BAU Supermassive (TUR)

Match Score: EVS 3 – SUP 1

 EVOS showed that the attractive and exciting aggression of the Gigabyte Marines is still well and alive. They will be a team to watch in the main group stage of the tournament.

EVOS showed that the attractive and exciting aggression of the Gigabyte Marines is still well and alive. They will be a team to watch in the main group stage of the tournament.

Hungry to prove that Turkey deserves a spot at the main event with the major regions, Supermassive were in red hot forming coming into the series. EVOS, on the other hand, are a young team; having just recently qualified for the VCS in the promotion tournament last year. EVOS were able to dominate Supermassive through a fast-tempo playstyle reminiscent of the Gigabyte Marines. EVOS jungler Nguyen "YiJin" Le Hai Dang stood out as Graves in games 3 and 4, dictating the pace of the game as well as outfarming his opposing counterpart Furkan “Stormaged” Güngör. Supermassive were able to score a single victory in game 2 by slowing down the pace of the early game and dictating the game tempo to allow Berkay “Zeitnot” Aşıkuzun to scale up on his Kai’Sa to carry the late game. Despite this, EVOS ran away with the series with their aggression to move on to the main event.

 

Knockout Match 2: Flash Wolves (LMS) vs. Gambit Esports (RU)

Match Score: FW 3 – GMB 0

 Swordart has always been a stalwart in the Flash Wolves. After losing Karsa to RNG in China, Swordart must now lead the young Flash Wolves alongside Maple to show that the LMS is still competitive on the world stage.

Swordart has always been a stalwart in the Flash Wolves. After losing Karsa to RNG in China, Swordart must now lead the young Flash Wolves alongside Maple to show that the LMS is still competitive on the world stage.

Coming into 2018, many had doubts about the Flash Wolves as the team lost star jungler, Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan, who was a key part to the team’s success over the last 2 years. Going into this match, many pundits had predicted Gambit to be competitive against the LMS champions. Not even close. In reality, the Flash Wolves dismantled any attempt by Gambit to gain an advantage. On the back of captain Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh’s incredible play-making ability through early roams on Alistar, the Flash Wolves demonstrated more disciplined gameplay in contrast to the more chaotic style of EVOS. As the team heads towards the main event, the question remains as to whether or not the LMS can still contend with the best in the world, a question that will be answered during the course of the MSI group stage.

 

The Play-In Stage of MSI 2018 has given us a taste for what the main event will look like, as teams from the emerging regions play on this new patch for the first time. Although for many of these teams their journey ends here, they will look towards the future, especially with the World Championship coming up in less than 5 months.

 

Written by Benjamin "RedPyroMage" Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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MSI Group Stage: The AD Carries of MSI

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MSI Group Stage: The AD Carries of MSI

With play-ins group stage drawing to a close, it is time to focus on the main drawcard of the tournament, the teams from Korea, China, Europe and North America. The teams from these regions are already guaranteed with their spot in the group stage and all have the goal of bringing their region pride and honour. This year, the AD Carry talent pool is perhaps the strongest it has ever been in the entire history of MSI. Hosting names such as Doublelift, Rekkles, Pray and Uzi, who will all be eventually be remembered as legends of their role and their respective regions once they retire, this year’s MSI is sure to bring fireworks. Despite being household names, none of them have ever been to MSI before and all are ready to fight for the chance to be crowned the world’s best AD Carry with the much coveted MSI title.

 

Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng (Team Liquid)

With Team Liquid winning the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split in a 3-0 clean sweep over 100 Thieves, Doublelift became the first player in NA LCS to win titles on three different teams. For this tournament, Doublelift is here to prove that all other teams are trash. With a KDA of 35.3 after dying only three times in the playoffs, Doublelift is ready to show that he is not just the best AD Carry in NA since his debut, but also across all regions.

 

Martin “Rekkles” Larsson (Fnatic)

After ending G2’s dynasty and reclaiming the throne for Fnatic with a 3-0 sweep, Rekkles is here to make his home region proud. An ADC well known for his aggressiveness and still boasting an insane KDA of 31.5 where he died only twice in the entire playoffs, he’s here to dominate on the MSI stage.

 

Kim “Pray” Jong-in (KingZone DragonX)

With SKT T1 not representing Korea in MSI for the first time, KingZone DragonX will be looking to take the throne with 3/5ths of the mercurial 2016 ROX Tigers. With an all-star team, Pray’s ability to play whatever is required from him enables his team to truly shine on the international stage.

 

Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao (Royal Never Give Up)

With a domestic title finally under his belt, no AD carry is more well known than Uzi in the history of the game following his heroic performances in Seasons 3 & 4 Worlds. This year, he comes to MSI with one goal in mind; to prove he is the best and win his first international trophy. And with star AD carries from all the regions, there is no better competition as the “Mad Dog” will prove why even an all-star RNG roster like to play around him.

Stats and highlights are taken from Riot Games/Twitch.

Written by Daniel “Arvosa” Wong and Kenzo “Macint0sh Plus” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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LMS: A Region past its Relevance?

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LMS: A Region past its Relevance?

The League of Legends Master Series (LMS), is the professional league for teams based in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Over the years, the LMS has produced teams of significant renown such as ahq e-Sports Club, Flash Wolves in recent times as well as perhaps the most famous of them all, Taipei Assassins, who were Worlds champions in Season 2 and is now known as J Team. The LMS had provided us with many wonderful memories in international tournaments. Yet, its dismal performances in recent international tournaments beg the question; is the era of the LMS being classified as one of the big regions over?

 The Taipei Assassins victory at Season 2 Worlds remains the pinnacle of the region's achievements on the international stage. The victory was also the last time the Worlds tournament was won by a non-Korean based team.

The Taipei Assassins victory at Season 2 Worlds remains the pinnacle of the region's achievements on the international stage. The victory was also the last time the Worlds tournament was won by a non-Korean based team.

The LMS has always been a league which punched above its own weight as a region compared to the other big regions of Korea, China, Europe and North America. Despite the smaller server size which limits the available talent pool, the LMS had always produced teams which wowed the world on the international stage. From the glorious triumph of Taipei Assassins who overcame its underdog status to shock the heavy favourites, Moscow Five in the semi-finals and later the Korean representatives, Azubu Frost, in the finals to the Flash Wolves tag as the “Korean Killers” from 2015 to 2017, LMS teams have been respected for their ability to go toe to toe with the biggest teams around the world.

 

 For many LMS fans, especially Flash Wolves supporters, the sight of Karsa in RNG colours represents the loss of mercurial homegrown talent to overseas regions.

For many LMS fans, especially Flash Wolves supporters, the sight of Karsa in RNG colours represents the loss of mercurial homegrown talent to overseas regions.

However, this region has also suffered greatly from the lack of investment that many of the other major regions have seen since its inception. Compared to China, Korea, Europe and North America, the LMS is hosted by Garena which meant that it has lagged behind the other major regions in terms of Riot investment into the scene. This is significant as this has resulted in many eligible players in the region leaving to join the much more lucrative Chinese LPL, such as Karsa in Royal Never Give Up, Amazing J who is a Hong Kong player that used to play for EDward Gaming and IMay to name a few. Thus, the drain on talent alongside its inherent limitation as a small region has led to a slide in the competitiveness of the region as a whole, culminating in the failure of any LMS teams qualifying for the knockout stages of Worlds 2018, the first since Season 4.

 

Even more worryingly, the direness of the LMS does not stop there, the decreasing talent pool has led to a distortion of the competitiveness of the league. Ever since 2016, the Flash Wolves has emerged as the premier team in the league, dominating the regular splits and regularly featuring in the finals. In 2018 Spring Split, the distortion has become worse as traditional powerhouses such as ahq e-Sports, J Team and Hong Kong Attitude struggled to remain competitive due to the loss of key personnel in their roster. Whilst teams such as MAD Team and G-Rex have surged to fill in the gap, their lack of experience is telling given their performances in the playoffs where MAD Team lost to G-Rex 0-3 and G-Rex to Flash Wolves by the same score line in the finals.

 With the departure of legendary veterans such as Westdoor, the LMS is now at a crossroad with a lack of talent that can fill the void left by these pioneers.

With the departure of legendary veterans such as Westdoor, the LMS is now at a crossroad with a lack of talent that can fill the void left by these pioneers.

As the Flash Wolves prepare to fight for their chance to participate in the knockout stages of MSI, the fact that they would have to compete against the winners of play-in groups should ring alarm bells for the league as a whole. Unless key changes are made to the structure of the competition and the fostering of local talents, other regions will continue to catch up through better utilisation of their resources. If the LMS wants to remain relevant against the backdrop of the giants of Chinese LPL or Korean LCK in Asia, it must reinvent itself to find its lost identity as a region that continues to defy expectation by playing with trademark tenacity and resolve.

 

Written by Alex Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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2018 Sydney Battlegrounds: UNSW vs WSU Finals Breakdown

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2018 Sydney Battlegrounds: UNSW vs WSU Finals Breakdown

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and what better way to spend it then huddled inside your room, watching the highest level of League of Legends gameplay available. The Sydney Battlegrounds Grand Final pitted UNSW, represented by “Add Ozo if you’re an e-girl” against cross-town rivals Western Sydney University, represented by WSU 1. A rematch of last year’s Unigames finals, UNSW looked to redeem itself against a team that had yet to drop a single game the entire tournament. Although they had qualified for the finals, UNSW looked shaky in the semi-finals matchup against Macquarie University where they conceded early game advantages and made late game blunders which cost them game 2 of the series before Macquarie was disqualified. On the other hand, their opponents were heading into the finals in red-hot form and had yet to be challenged by a single team seriously until then.

 

Game 1

UNSW opened up the series in dominating fashion, crushing WSU with a strong early game and forcing consecutive teamfights, eventually building a solid 2k gold lead by 10min. With David “Ozo1329” Li leading from the front on his first Irelia pick of the tournament, UNSW were able to end the game with a 6k gold lead, a lead that proved insurmountable for WSU, whom despite finding key engagements from NL Pompom’s Rakan and K1LD3Rn3S5’s Zac, could not capitalise on these opportunities, resulting in WSU’s nexus collapsing in 36min.

 

Game 2

WSU bounced back in Game 2 by targeting Ozo’s Irelia, and Richard “kantos17” Chen’s Alistar in the first ban phase, the latter being a catalyst for success in their first game and one of kantos’s comfort picks. UNSW on blue side opted for first picking Kai’Sa for Stealthix, one of his more preferred picks, but in return gave WSU Xayah and Rakan, the game’s strongest bot lane in the current meta. UNSW would round out the composition with strong initiation between Galio and Camille. However WSU pulled out the surprise mid FIora for nL Beats which was pivotal in the game. UNSW started with signature early game aggression with Adrian “Morale’ Guo ganking early for ozo in the top lane in an attempt to snowball the Camille early. Whilst they were successful in doing so, UNSW neglected the rest of the map, especially the bottom lane where WSU abused the power of Xayah and Rakan to secure early drakes. With a losing bot lane, and Johnny “XternalRageX” Xiao’s Galio being pushed around in the mid lane by nL Beats’s Fiora. UNSW were unable to push their early advantages and eventually lost to the scaling of the Fiora to leave the series even at 1-1.

 

 The fateful moment when WSU1 locks in Fiora mid.

The fateful moment when WSU1 locks in Fiora mid.

Game 3

After having been shaken in a close game 2, UNSW adapted their strategy and changed gears. Picking red side, the team secured Rakan to deny the lovers bot lane from WSU, as well as banning nL Beats’s Fiora after his monstrous performance in the previous game. WSU opted for a blind Renekton pick in the hopes that their top laner would be able to at least go even against ozo during the laning phase after disastrous performances in the previous 2 matches. UNSW responded by last-picking Jax for ozo, a champion he had been known to carry with previously in the tournament. WSU doubled down on their bot side oriented strategy by diving Stealthix and kantos17 under the oppressive pushing power of their Xayah-Karma lane.  However, this was offset by ozo1329 in the top lane, who despite his on-paper laning disadvantage, was able to score 2 solo kills on the Renekton. WSU demonstrated better macro play by taking first tower and securing the outer mid tower in an early game snowball. UNSW kept themselves in the game by keeping the gold lead within 300 off ozo1329’s top lane performance. Eventually, UNSW swung the game back into their favour with 2 for 0 trade onto Renekton and K1LD3Rn3S5’s Warwick. Through this lucky break, UNSW was able to create pressure across the map with ozo’s split push in the bot lane, whilst the rest of the team forced WSU to commit mistakes around baron. A key engage from kantos17 gifted UNSW four kills for nothing and baron to close out the game.

 

Game 4

Game 4 saw a return to the blue side for UNSW. UNSW began with a first pick Kai’Sa for Stealthix, as well as comfort picks for both solo laners, Cho’gath for ozo1329 and XternalrageX’s Ahri. WSU opted to exploit UNSW’s weak link in the mid lane with Yasuo for nL Beats as XternalRageX had looked shaky in the previous 3 games, going down by as much as 12 CS at 10 minutes. The Yasuo paid dividends for WSU almost immediately, with nL Beats up 40 CS by 10 minutes with two solo kills to one. UNSW’s bot lane did not fare any better as Stealthix and kantos17 gave 2v2 kills to WSU. The bleeding continued when K1LD3Rn3S5 focused his attention onto the UNSW bot lane. Through two winning lanes, WSU was able to snowball their dominant early game into the mid and late game off the scaling of a fed Yasuo, securing two ocean drakes and baron before finishing the fastest game of the series at 22:42.

 

Game 5

With the series on the line, UNSW decided to shift their approach in the pick and ban phase to try revive their fortunes. UNSW decided to prioritise Sejuani for Morale and Jax for ozo in an attempt to strengthen their top side play. WSU responded with the Xayah-Rakan bot lane duo and Malphite, hoping that despite the mismatch, the tank will still be relevant in late game teamfights. UNSW also put their faith on XternalRageX to perform on Swain, one of his more preferred champions against nL Beats’ Viktor. The game had a quieter laning phase, perhaps due to the stakes of a game 5 weighing on their minds. However, ozo1329 was able to play with his usual confidence with an exceptional outplay that surely was a contender for play of the series. 

UNSW’s mid and bot lane also played their parts admirably as Stealthix and kantos17 opened up a bot lane lead against the traditionally strong Xayah-Rakan lane and XternalRageX held his own against nL Beats. Stability across the map gave Sejuani the room to move around to pull off successful ganks in the bot lane. The game completely turned in UNSW’s favour when XternalRageX sparked life into UNSW’s teamfights on the Swain, enabling the team to abuse the top lane mismatch in a 0-4-1 push. With the help of kantos17’s play making abilities on the Thresh, UNSW secured vital mid game objectives to slowly suffocate the WSU1 defence, eventuating in their victory off a strong baron push for the nexus.

 

Overall, this series was a battle between the early-tempo, mechanically gifted style embodied by UNSW, and the more patient macro, mid-game orientated WSU. Both teams played to their strengths but when push came to shove, UNSW pulled ahead on the day, earning redemption for their Unigames defeat last year. MVP of the Match goes to David “ozo1329” Li for providing UNSW the necessary foundation to win the series with his dominant top lane performances. Special mention must also go to the team’s analyst Kathy “sexymario258” Xu, who helped to steady the team after their crushing losses in games 2 and 4 and guide them to victory.

 

Written by Benjamin "RedPyroMage" Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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2018 Sydney Battlegrounds: Interview with the Champions - UNSW

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2018 Sydney Battlegrounds: Interview with the Champions - UNSW

This interview was conducted and edited by Kenzo "MEME REVIEW" Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee] with the 2018 Sydney Battlegrounds Champions from UNSW: "Add ozo if u r e-girl" after their thrilling 3-2 victory over WSU1.

Photography by Stephen "PHANSCENETH" Chan [2018 Marketing (Media) Subcommittee].

 

How did you guys feel before the series, and how did the series go to your expectations?

XternalRageX: We felt confident of course. Anyone should before a game - once you play without confidence you're just playing to lose. Everyone expects themselves to win, and we're no different. To be honest, we thought this series would only go to 4 games, but definitely can't complain about the final result!

 

 

How did you guys prepare for this series?

XternalRageX: We put quite a bit of time into preparing for this. From scrimming Dire Cubs, talking to our analyst Kathy (shoutout again to Kathy for being a great analyst) and scrimming other OOL/OCS teams, we were able to significantly improve our early game. We were all good friends before the tournament, so it was really easy to just play together. When the practice environment is good, it's a lot more motivating to play and improve!

 XternalRageX showing us his normal practice routine on one of his signature champions, Ahri.

XternalRageX showing us his normal practice routine on one of his signature champions, Ahri.

 

After a crushing defeat in game 4, tying up the series to a painstaking 2-2, how was the team mentality affected? Did you feel like you were able to recover?

XternalRageX: We always knew we had the better early game. It was about resetting our minds and not letting the past games affect us. For the people who watched the game, you can see that we used our 15 minute break to its fullest. During those crucial 15 minutes, we discussed what went wrong, what they did well and identified their main reasons for winning game 4. Then it was simply incorporating it into our picks and bans, and you could see that we changed our strategy by first picking Sejuani in game 5!

 

 

So Ozo, you convincingly won every matchup in each of the 5 games. In a series with boring matchups like game 5’s Jax vs Malphite, you still managed to make toplane very exciting to watch. Many of the discord spectators were voting you as series MVP! What do you feel contributed best to your success?

 Ozo1329 was quietly confident in his team's ability to get him into winning positions where he can display superior mechanics on carry champions such as Jax and Camille.

Ozo1329 was quietly confident in his team's ability to get him into winning positions where he can display superior mechanics on carry champions such as Jax and Camille.

Ozo1329: As a former top lane main back the in days of season 3 when bruiser/assassin meta was around, my forte is definitely knowing how to play volatile 1v1 matchups and how to split-push effectively. My team allowed me to play to my strengths by consistently applying pressure mid to bot side during the laning phase, and extending this to heavy baron/top-mid side pressure during the mid to late game. Moreover, effective wave control during the laning phase allowed me to accrue a large minion and experience advantage in most games, which made the split-push strategy more effective in the mid-late game. Lastly, our mid-laner's confidence in blind-picking his champion during the draft phase often meant that I was able to last pick a champion that not only counters my lane opponent, but also against the rest of WSU' line-up. This allowed me to have an easier time at all stages of the game against their team. Flash is also indeed, a great summoner spell.

 

 

Morale, as the jungler, you are the creator and facilitator of team plays. How did you feel the internal communications between your team was?

Morale: I felt that at first our internal communications was a bit lacking as some people did not speak up when they needed to. However, through scrims and team discussions, we managed to improve our team communication as each member would speak up and make calls when needed. In the end, I believe our team was strong in internal communications as every decision and opinion was clear and ensured everyone was in sync with every move.

 

 

As team captain and shotcaller, it could be said that you had to have an eye on the whole game- your team and the enemy team. Were there any situations where you feel like you had to make a game-changing call?

XternalRageX: One thing that differentiates our team from others is that we started off being really good friends. We don't have a main shotcaller but we do assign roles. For example, Kantos does our rotations and I primarily call teamfights. In a typical game, we are all feeding information to each other and then decide on the best play together. Hence no specific game-changing call was needed. It's a team effort!

 

 

Stealthix, you seem to be a big Kai’sa fan, having played her in 4 of the 5 games. What was the team’s justification for the pick?

Stealthix: Kai'sa was a strong pick for us as it was very well suited to our team play style in skirmishes and forced engages. She was a comfortable pick for me despite her nerfs to the laning phase and I was confident I could carry alongside my brethrens.

 

 

Kantos, regardless of Victory or Defeat, which game in the series did you, as a support, find the most challenging and why? Were there any games where UWS focused more on vision control/denial or an unfavourable botlane matchup?

Kantos17: Well, game 4 was the most challenging game of the series as WSU drafted stronger lanes and managed to snowball their lead which made the game very difficult for me as Braum, having to be in the front lines against the fed members of the WSU line-up. Game 2 WSU also drafted Rakan/Xayah against our Kai’sa/Tahm Kench which is quite an unfavourable lane matchup for us as it is hard for Tahm to display much aggression in lane against the mobile Rakan. Hence we had to focus on just farming in lane and making plays with Abyssal Voyage mid lane to counter their aggressive Fiora pick.

 The team watching AD Carry, Stealthix, in one of his matches. The friendship and trust between all the members were the key to their ability to handle the emotional roller coaster of a 5 match finals.

The team watching AD Carry, Stealthix, in one of his matches. The friendship and trust between all the members were the key to their ability to handle the emotional roller coaster of a 5 match finals.

 

Do you guys have anything to say to UNSW LoLSoc?

XternalRageX: I've heard a lot of praise about ozo1329 and Kantos17 from the community. I agree, they played amazing but I would like to quickly shoutout both Morale and Stealthix for their performance too. We won as a team and everybody contributed in their own way. Respect to the people who watched all 5 games, it made us winning feel even better. Look forward to us at Unigames this year!
 

 

 

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2018 MSI Play-Ins Power Ranking: Dire Times for Dire Wolves (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love KaBuM!)

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2018 MSI Play-Ins Power Ranking: Dire Times for Dire Wolves (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love KaBuM!)

The 2018 Mid-Season Invitational is getting close, with the first group stage draw having been done for the Play-In teams.

 The Play-In Groups

The Play-In Groups

The Play-In stage is where the smaller regions will compete for the chance to participate in the main MSI tournament. The group winners will be randomly paired against either Flash Wolves (LMS) or EVOS Esports (VCS), who received group stage byes due to their regions’ previous performances in international competitions.

Though wildcard teams are hard to gauge, all teams stand out in their own right, for good and bad reasons.

 

The power ranking is as follows:

1.  SuperMassive eSports (TCL)

Though the addition of Korean imports to every team has raised the level of competition throughout the TCL, SuperMassive has emerged as the clear powerhouse in Turkey, going 26-2 in the regular season. Bolstered by the performances of mid laner GBM and support SnowFlower who seem to be a step above their fellow Korean imports, SuperMassive should be looked upon as favourites to enter the main event.

2.  Flash Wolves (LMS)

Player movement in and out of the LMS has made Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau harder to evaluate than before. The Wolves’ primary competition in the LMS have all appeared to regress, with ahq e-Sports Club and Hong Kong Attitude both missing the playoffs. Though jungler Karsa departed for China, mid laner Maple, AD carry Betty and support SwordArt returned to the team after 2017 Worlds. Whilst not as competitive as before, the LMS is still a premier region in comparison to other wildcards and should be contending to compete in the main event.

 The Flash Wolves have been consistently the most dominant team in the ever weakening LMS. They will be out to show that the LMS is still a formidable region which can compete with the big boys in the major regions.

The Flash Wolves have been consistently the most dominant team in the ever weakening LMS. They will be out to show that the LMS is still a formidable region which can compete with the big boys in the major regions.

3.  Rainbow7 (LLN)

Despite a tumultuous preseason, with a legal battle surrounding the team’s branding and star AD carry WhiteLotus being suspended for the entire split due to toxicity in SoloQ, the team formerly known as Lyon Gaming won their tenth championship in a row. The organisation has confirmed that WhiteLotus will return for MSI, but this change opens up questions of roster synergy and competitive readiness, questions that cannot be answered until matchday. However, WhiteLotus may simply return to the form he had during 2017 Worlds and help Latin America North to get into the main event for the first time in the region’s history.


4.  KaBuM! e-Sports (CBLOL)

The original giant slayers, Europe’s nightmare and North America’s hero, return to international competition for the first time since their famous performance at 2014 Worlds. None of the current roster has international experience (goodnight LEP sweet 0/16/2 prince), though what they lack in quality, they make up for in sheer tenacity, particularly their star AD carry TitaN. Close games up to and including their championship suggest that KaBuM! may not be able to replicate the same magic they once were able to conjure. However, Brazil is a more competitive region than ever before and KaBuM! were able to create their own luck against considerably more-experienced opposition throughout the 2018 CBLOL Summer Season. Though lightning may not strike the same place twice, it seems to strike wherever KaBuM! goes! Perhaps it will create a path to the main event and the chance to make history once again.

 Will Kabum! capture our hearts with another daring run at a major international tournament? Only time will tell.

Will Kabum! capture our hearts with another daring run at a major international tournament? Only time will tell.

5.  EVOS Esports (VCS)

EVOS Esports represent the VCS in Vietnam’s first ever international event as a separate region after being grouped with the rest of Southeast Asia in the GPL in previous years. Though the region may now have the prestige of a group stage bye, showings by teams other than the Gigabyte Marines in previous international events such as Young Generation at 2017 Worlds suggest that the region as a whole is still weak. The team is experienced, with former Gigabyte Marine Stark holding the top lane, but look unlikely to make it into the main event.


6.  Gambit Esports (LCL)

The fusion of Gambit Gaming and Albus NoX Luna returns to the international scene once more after disappointing at 2017 Worlds. The team has substituted 2017 Worlds weak-link Blasting with the younger AD carry in Lodik alongside legends such as jungler Diamondprox and support Edward. Though the nostalgia of Moscow Five, Gambit Gaming and Albus NoX Luna seems to fuel hope that this team can bring the CIS back to the forefront of competitive League, the reality of a weak region and dismal recent international performances should check the expectations for this team, though that should not stop fans from being eager to support behind this team (cyka blyat).

 

7.  Dire Wolves (OPL)

The second quintet of Wolves during the Play-In stage, Sydney’s very own Dire Wolves seek to finally pass the test of an international event. Chippys (pls stop), Shernfire and k1ng return from the 2017 Worlds roster with Triple replacing Phantiks in the mid lane and Cupcake replacing Destiny as support. Whilst Triple is certainly an upgrade over Phantiks, Cupcake seems to be on the same level as Destiny. Though the team dominated the regular season, going 20-4, they needed five games to take down Chiefs Esports Club for the championship. Unfortunately, as some of our international students may know through comparison back on their home servers, Oceania is a rather weak region, even compared to other minor servers. Prepare for a repeat of 2017 Worlds; disappointment despite having no expectations.

 The Direwolves were dominant in Oceania, but Oceania is one of the smaller regions in the professional League of Legends scene. It will take a miracle to see the Direwovles make it into the main event.

The Direwolves were dominant in Oceania, but Oceania is one of the smaller regions in the professional League of Legends scene. It will take a miracle to see the Direwovles make it into the main event.

8.  PENTAGRAM (LJL)

The team formerly known as Rampage sports a much different roster than 2017 Worlds. Though AD carry YutoriMoyasi and mid laner Ramune remain, visa issues with previous Korean imports Dara and Tussle saw them bring in new imports in the form of jungler Once and support Gaeng. These new imports lack competitive experience, with the former being a sub for Hong Kong Assassins and the latter having not played at the competitive level since 2016. The aforementioned visa issues saw the team penalised for the first five weeks of the split by being down one game every series, having to sweep their way to victory. Do not take this as a positive indicator of their competitiveness, Japan is still very much a developing region and PENTAGRAM will struggle on the big stage.

 

9.  Kaos Latin Gamers (CLS)

Though four out of five members are back from their 2017 Worlds squad, Kaos Latin Gamers did not show much promise then and not much should change at MSI. Much more than synergy is required to place first, especially in a group as tough as the one Latin America South’s very own find themselves in. The region has historically struggled against fellow wildcards, dating back to Season 4 where none other than KaBuM! e-Sports swept PEX Team to qualify for 2014 Worlds.

 This will be Ascension Gaming's first venture into a major international tournament. Their inexperience means that it will be unlikely for them to advance far into the tournament.

This will be Ascension Gaming's first venture into a major international tournament. Their inexperience means that it will be unlikely for them to advance far into the tournament.

10.  Ascension Gaming (GPL)

The GPL, having just lost Vietnam, are even weaker than before, with Thailand’s Ascension Gaming finally making an international event after having fallen countless times to Vietnam in the GPL tournament. Some familiar faces are present on this team, with mid laner G4 and AD carry Lloyd’s last international showing being at 2015 Worlds on Bangkok Titans (Lloyd you kicked over the grill). However, most of the roster have recently undergone role swaps, hampering their synergy. If Ascension Gaming can pick up a single win, they will leave Berlin happy.

 

 

- Written by Iain "Arkk003" Lew [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

- Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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Sydney Battlegrounds Finals Preview

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Sydney Battlegrounds Finals Preview

finals Preview

The Sydney Battlegrounds finals is shaping to be an incredible hyped best-of-5 between WSU and our home representatives from UNSW. Both teams are defined by their love to fight, promising an exciting and bloody matchup. The UNSW team, in particular, ended the round robin with a whooping 52 team KDA. For comparison, the next highest was 17.8 by team WSU 1. The team also have a preference for a high-tempo, snowball playstyle, with all their match victories coming under 30 minutes. Notably, two victories came before 20 minutes in the round robin stage.

The team has dropped only one game so far, to a Macquarie University team which was later disqualified for account sharing in the semi-finals.  In a preview of this match-up, we’ll be looking at the starting line-up from UNSW, as well as pointing out what to watch out for in this thrilling series.


Top: David “Ozo1329” Li

Champions played: Vlad, Cho’gath, Jax

Elo: Diamond 1

The star player for this UNSW line-up, watch for “Ozo” to be carrying his team through the finals. Showing an exceptional carry performance on Jax in game 2 of the semi-finals by picking up multiple solo kills against Macquarie in the semi-finals, and dominating performances on Cho’gath and Vladimir throughout the round robin, look to Ozo to smash his lane opponents and exert pressure in the split-push and team fights. He has put up impressive numbers, averaging 30% of team damage in the round robin, and looks to carry this performance into the grand finals

 

Jungle: Adrian “Morale” Guo

Champions played: Sejuani, Jax, Skarner, Olaf

Elo: Platinum II

The Jungler for UNSW, Morale, has proven an indomitable force in the early game, especially on the likes of Olaf and Sejuani, ganking early for his laners and securing early elemental drakes. Look for him to snowball his lanes in order to close out games early.

 

Mid: Johnny “XternalRageX” Xiao

Champions played: Galio, Swain, Ahri

Elo: Diamond I

The stalwart in the mid lane, XternalRageX anchors the team as he holds his own in the lane, able to play passively and not give up on any advantages. Whilst not as exciting as watching say Faker or Bjergsen, XternalRageX performs the role his team needs him to, providing a solid base from which the team can play around.

 

ADC: Nicholas “Stealthix” Tian

Champions played: Kai’sa, Ezreal, Caitlyn

Elo: Diamond V

The janitor of the team, Steathix comes alive in the team-fight stages of the game, picking up kill after kill on his Ezreal and Kai’sa. Putting up staggering KDA numbers such as 12, 14, and 17, Stealthix manages to navigate the team-fights, outputting the damage that help put UNSW into the finals.

 

Support: Richard “kantos17” Chen

Champions played: Karma, Taric, Janna, Tahm Kench

Elo: Diamond IV

In a meta that has favoured tank supports, kantos17 has bucked the trend with his preference for lane-dominant, mage supports such as Karma, using the lane pressure to help Morale secure early objectives. He has also shown strong performances on the Tahm Kench, giving his teammates and escape option as well as using the extra mobility to close out games quickly through faster rotations.


Watch for the team to play their finals at 12PM 22/04/18 at https://mixer.com/OverheadBat7925. Given their play-style throughout the tournament, the UNSW boys are guaranteed to give you an entertaining match that will leave you blown away by their speed.

 

Written by Benjamin “RedPyroMage” Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]

Edited by Alex "Aldiko9" Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]

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