Hot Takes: Esports Edition

It’s april fool’s so nothing I say is going to be taken seriously so why not go over some thoughts I have about various Esports because it’s not like anyone cares especially today.

Cinderhulk Jarvan is actually like the stupidest build in the world. The entire point of picking Jarvan is using his strong early game ganks to create and subsequently snowball a lead into enough map control to capture Baron and push towards a victory. Nothing kills your effort to snowball a game like building 0 damage and trying to smack your wet noodle of a champion around. For the love of all that is good, play into Jarvan’s strengths and build Warrior.

I really liked the GOATS meta of competitive Overwatch. I know some people don’t like seeing the same 6 heroes over and over again, but GOATS required a lot of critical thinking from the people that played it in order to properly manage your ult economy and be aware of exactly what your opponents were capable of. It rewarded the smartest of players rather than those who were just skilled mechanically. As an added plus it curved the excessive use of Mercy in competitive and that’s just lovely.

Sidenote, Mercy’s resurrection mechanic is just bad competitive design. It allows teams to make enormous mistakes and have a hero come by and erase the fact that you screwed everything up. I think it’s not too bad now that it has such a long cooldown and Mercy ult doesn’t give another free rez but I’d still prefer it just gone from any competitive version of the game. Thematically it’s pretty dope though.

On the other hand I’m generally OK with resurrection mechanics in League of Legends, except Zilean. Zilean ult needs like twice the cooldown it has, at least from level 16 onwards.

Hungrybox might just be one of the greatest smash players to ever pick up a controller, but Puff is still the most horrendously boring to watch character in the game. I’d rather watch 100 wobbles than a single puff versus a campy fox match. I respect Hungrybox’s skill a lot, but good lord make it stop.

Fortnite could’ve been the biggest esport ever but Epic squandered it with game changes that knee-capped the competitive players in order to keep very casual players from feeling like they sucked too much.

This isn’t really that much of a hot take at this point, but league of legends champions hit their power spikes way way too early. I remember the good ole days where there were actual late game champions that didn’t become strong until they got 4 items or so and you needed to actually work with your team to enable them. Now everyone is crazy strong after 2 items and some champs just become useless later so no one even bothers to pick them. I get Riot’s desire to keep game times a little shorter, but this desire has made a lot of their champions useless and left to collect dust on a figurative shelf

A North American team will never win the League of Legends world championship. Ever. Also since I’m using Faker in the picture I should have a hot take about him. Faker is the weak link of the current SKT T1 line-up, and while part of that is due to how the team plays he’s still not doing his best and it’s showing.



How does one follow up yesterday’s post?

A good question and I don’t have an answer so I simply won’t. Instead, we’re gonna veer off into some random topic completely and totally unrelated.

How about competitive Fortnite? Yeah, that sounds good.

If you haven’t heard, there’s this little game called Fortnite that’s starting to make a splash in the world of esports. Something about the developer, Epic Games, planning to drop a cool 100 million in prize money over the course of 2018 and 2019.

That is a large sum of money. Combine that with the absurd popularity of the game itself (according to Epic Games there are 125 million Fortnite players with 40 million playing at least once a month) and you’ve got a recipe for the next big thing in esports. Now if only they could find a competitive format that wasn’t so awful.

Currently, the most popular tournament in Fortnite is Friday Fortnite with UMG. Its format is this: two teams of two queue together into a random matchmade game of Fortnite with the only goal being to get more kills than the other team, then they queue up and do it again. Whichever team has the most kills after the two games wins the match and advances with the loser being dropped into a lower bracket and if they lose again they are eliminated from the tourney.

Two big ole problems with that. One is that by using random matchmade games in a competitive format you make the game not about outplaying your opponent, but rather about finding as many bad players as you can and obliterating them. Imagine if NBA games were decided by how many times Lebron could dunk on high-schoolers. Secondly, by using kills as the only metric to determine the winner you remove a critical aspect of the game, survival. In an ordinary game of Fortnite, the winner isn’t decided by who got the most kills, it’s the last man standing. Competitive Fortnite should reflect that to at least some extent, and I say some because if competitive Fortnite determined winners based solely on who lived the longest you’d have a game of glorified hide and seek where viewers sat silently whilst the random placement of the circle determined who won and lost.

So for an ideal competitive format you need something that pits the best players against each other and not random nobodies, encourages players to be aggressive and make plays, and also rewards players for surviving till the end. What you need is a point system where players earn points for getting kills and also for being one of the last few alive. Like you get 1 point for each kill, and 5 for being the last team alive, 4 for second last, 3 for third, etc you get the point. Something like this would allow a team that pops off and gets a 20+ kill game but doesn’t make it till the end a good reward for outplaying so many opponents but also reward players for designing strategies that allowed them to live longer. Obviously, the actual point values can be tinkered with, but that seems to be the best way to ensure that Fortnite is an esport that has depth as well as excitement. What do I know though, I’ve only been watching various esports for 8 or so years now. Not like I would know what would be any good. Just some thoughts for how things should look going forward for this new and if I’m being totally honest really cool game/esport. Later.

Image sourced from Epic Games


I’m talking about League of Legends today, and I know that pretty much everyone that reads this has already tuned out but it’s still something that I really want to take a stab at so buckle up.

In the North America League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS or LCS for short) there is one team that stands tall above the rest. Team SoloMid. (TSM) They’ve made it to the finals of the LCS 10 times, coincidentally that’s the number of finals there have been in the history of the LCS. Out of those 10 final appearances, they’ve walked away with the trophy 6 times. TSM has been the unopposed kings of North America since the inception of the LCS in 2013. Despite this dominance at home, TSM has always struggled at international competitions. Since 2013 the team has never placed above 7th at the World Championships and holds a dismal record of 14 wins and 23 losses. Hardly a satisfactory result for the undisputed kings of NA.

So coming into the 2018 season owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh decided radical changes to the team were needed to help solve the international problem. Dinh removed 3 of the 5 starting players from TSM including support player Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, Jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, and AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. In their place, Andy brought in young local talent Mike “MikeYeung” Yeung (a real creative name I know) to the jungle position and imported Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Rodríguez from Europe to play AD carry and support in an attempt to beef up the roster. Andy made it clear that the changes to the team were made in an effort to give TSM a better chance on the international stage. It was assumed that TSM’s changes wouldn’t affect their domestic performance and the team would continue to find success at home.

This past Sunday TSM lost their quarter-final match against Clutch Gaming. The streak of never missing an LCS final was broken. The kings were toppled by a team in their debut season. For Dinh, this is the worst case scenario. This loss casts enormous doubts on whether the team will be able to make a dent at the World Championships this year. It even casts doubt on the team’s ability to qualify for Worlds. Perhaps TSM will prove their doubters wrong and come back during the summer split swinging for the fences, the team will come together and perhaps they’ll once again dominate their domestic competition and perhaps they’ll even make a deep run at the World Championships. They could even win, but there can be no question. For the first time in the team’s history, their legacy of domestic dominance has been tarnished.


Worlds Day 1

Rejoice League of Legends fans for the World Championships has finally begun it’s month long journey and since I don’t have much going on in my life I might as well be here to sum up the whole thing as it happens! If you’re new to league of legends fret not, there is a short quiz you can take that will tell you what team you aught to cheer for and it can be found here. It’s like those personality tests in magazines but for video games! Credit to @Fionnonfire for creating the quiz in the first place. Go ahead and take it, I’m sure you’re curious about the results.

Now that you have taken the Teamdr quiz (that is what its called) you are ready to hear about how your new favorite team did today. However if you recently found out you’ve actually been a lifelong fan of TSM, Origen, LGD or KT rolster your team did not actually play today, but you should still read this so you can keep tabs on what the competition is doing.

Fnatic fans had good reason to get excited as the European champions took down Invictus Gaming of china with some clever drafting and great early game preparations. Fans of Invictus Gaming (IG for short) shouldn’t become too worried though since the team is known for their inconsistency so even though they kinda sucked today they’ll probably dominate tomorrow and then flip coins to determine how good they are the rest of the tournament.

Big shock for new fans of Taiwanese team AHQ as they dropped their game against heavy underdogs Cloud 9 in another short and decisive game that featured a couple of creative champion picks from both sides with AHQ opting for the very aggressive assassin like Rengar in the jungle and Cloud 9 opting for a Veigar pick in the mid lane. Unfortunately only one of these picks seemed to work out as AHQ’s jungler Mountain looked more lost in the jungle than deadly while Incarnation of Cloud 9 used Veigars powerful zoning spells to help his team keep the American Dream alive.

Group C would provide no surprising endings as both group favorites Edward Gaming (EDG) and SK Telecom T1 (SKT) won their games against the Bangkok Titans and H2K respectively. Anyone who happened to find out about their love for H2K today, I’m sorry. Your team is good, but stands no chance to advance out of their group. You can at least take solace in the warm and comforting smile of your mighty mid-laner Ryu.

Yes this is as happy as he gets

If you had the even worse luck of finding out you love the Bangkok Titans, well… I have nothing to say really your team is going to get crapped on pretty much every single game.

Group A played their games last today since Riot are still figuring out what the world alphabetical means. The Faithful were tested as everyone favorite source of League of Legends memes Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) squeezed out a win against the Flash Wolves. If you are like me and a fan of CLG, get ready for a bumpy ride and some savage memes. Fans of the KOO tigers can rest somewhat easy knowing that their team hasn’t changed a bit with a slump in the early game against Brazil’s Pain Gaming, but a quick readjustment in the mid game led them to another decisive and short victory. (It was a common theme today. Pain Gaming fans can at least enjoy typing random Portuguese phrases of Twitch chat.

That was Day one of worlds folks, don’t worry though there are at least 7 seven more days of  group stage games and I’ll be with you every step of the way! Have a stellar day.