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.


The Luigi Queen

I’ve got a tradition of writing blog posts for those close to me when they die to get married. They’re usually filled with dumb jokes that one right there that compare marriage to death. It’s a dumb bit to stick to but its kind of my thing so I stick with it. This blog post won’t be different from those that came before it, but it is a little bit different.

You see I’m writing this post to acknowledge the death marriage of my youngest sibling, Erin. She has the honour of being the first of my siblings that gets one of these write-ups, even though she is the third of my siblings to get married. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do write-ups for my other sisters when they got married, but I didn’t. Maybe I’ll write one for them retroactively later, but probably more likely is that I’ll forget about that until someone else gets married.

I’m not here to talk about that stuff though, today is about Erin and her unfortunate dea… marriage that requires some celebration of her.

I’ll begin by pointing out to Erin that I’m listening to Mulan’s “Honor To Us All” as I write this. So like make of that what you will.

In a lot of ways, I actually think that Erin is the sibling I’m most like. Again, make of that what you will. She’s definitely the sibling I most enjoy talking to about movies, not because she likes the same movies I do (I would say her taste is the closest to mine amongst my family though) but more because I always get more from our conversations about movies. It’s very rarely just a surface level conversation along the lines of, “did you like it? No? Let me point out why you should’ve.” When I talk to her about movies it is much more like a free exchange of thoughts and ideas. That sounds really pretentious I know, but it’s the truth. So if I ever make some sort of movie podcast kind of thing just know that you’re always welcome to come on. Also, I wanted to bring up the movie thing because Erin’s ability to listen to me about movies actually extends to just about any topic, she’s just a good listener.

I’d regret it if I didn’t bring up Smash. Erin is the one sibling of mine that I really got to believe in Melee. She never really dove into it, but she clearly understood what made Melee special and I think that’s really great. Also now in the future whenever she comes across a normie who wants to play Brawl she knows exactly what to complain about. (It’s tripping. Always tripping.) Also, her Luigi is actually pretty decent. She makes some silly mistakes but there is a solid level of decision making that can’t be ignored.

Then there are the memes. Everyone in the Tollestrup clan is funny and Erin’s specialty is memory. (not sure that is a word but who cares.) That is something I’m really appreciative of. I’m a little worried how out of control her meme game is going to get post-nuptials with her fiance’s intense love of prequel memes but whatever the result of that is, I’m sure it’ll be hilarious.

Right, guess I should do a little more sentimental. I’ve always been impressed by some other things about Erin. She is fiercely intelligent, and that intelligence is combined with an even more impressive work ethic and a willingness to jump right in to solve problems. These three qualities combined make me feel like she’ll end up as like a mayor or something so she can crack down on as many problems as possible. Remind me in 20 years if I’m a genius or just totally insane.

Erin is also impossibly comfortable in her own skin, and while I’ve gotten better at that myself over that past couple of years I’m still pretty envious of people that make it look so effortless. I’m intensely proud of her for it as well though.

That’s pretty much all I got for now. I don’t feel like I hit my quota for marrige=death jokes though.

Hey Erin, congrats on your marriage! Say hi to Hades for me!

Hey Erin, have you ever heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise? It’s not a tale the Jedi would tell you because not even he could bring you back from this.

Ok, now I’ve nailed it. I do really want to congratulate you on your marriage. Sean’s a cool fellow and I’m sure you’ll have a good ole time being married to him. Later.

Bad Smashers

I love to Smash.

I mean that I love to play Nintendo’s classic beat-em-up Super Smash Brothers of course. I’m also absolutely fascinated with people who are exceptionally bad at Smash Bros. Like the only played it a handful of times in their entire lives, don’t know how their characters work or even what all the buttons on the controller do bad. Watching people like that play this game that I’ve dumped a sizable number of hours into is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.

The heart-wrenching part is easy enough to understand for anyone who is good at something and had to endure those who are embarrassingly bad at whatever it is. You’re just watching them do things that you know deep down are totally wrong, but you’ve told them how wrong it is too many times so now they won’t listen to you anymore. Nah, wait that’s just me when I try to explain Smash Bros to my siblings. You get the sentiment though, watching people make bad decisions when you know the correct choice was just in front of them is a difficult experience, but you gotta let them make those choices sometimes. I’m sure I’ll make a great parent one day.

Really bad Smash games to be inspiring in a way. I think it’s really cool because usually at least once every game you’ll see someone figure out a concept, combo, or technique that elevate their gameplay. Smash is one of those things where you can watch people move along the learning curve in real time. At least at first you can, once you get good (I’m not saying I am btw) it becomes less obvious, everything you do just looks a bit cleaner rather than you’re gameplay dramatically changing. Early on though the changes are like night and day and they happen all the time.

Like for example, most Saturday nights I head over to Five Sushi Brothers here in Provo for their “happy hour”. Basically, they just sell all their sushi for 5 bucks a roll, it’s a pretty good deal and while you are waiting for your order they have a Smash setup that you and whoever else that’s in line can play. It’s a Smash 4 setup which isn’t ideal version, but I’ve been playing some version of Smash for like almost two decades now, (The first one came out in 1999. Yes, we’re all getting very old, that’s how time works) I have a solid understanding of what’s supposed to happen in any version of the game. Now some nights I sit down and play/wipe the floor with the aforementioned bad players, and some nights I just sit back and watch. Me watching vs playing is usually dependant on if I saw a cute girl in line that doesn’t have a ring on her finger or not. Not relevant to the rest of this post, but I thought you should know. Anyways the last time I was there I was watching a game being played and I saw a guy figure out shield grabbing all on his own. (For those of you unaware when you have your shield up in Smash and press the grab button, your character will drop their shield and instantly begin a grab, it’s an essential component to playing safe and will level up your game instantly if you start doing it.) I couldn’t see his face myself, but you could tell just through his gameplay that he had realized something big. Mostly because he proceeded to do it constantly for the rest of the game and came away with a clean victory, I think I even heard one of his opponents mutter something like, “that’s so cheap”.

I was so proud of that guy at that moment though. I couldn’t let him know though because I was also trying to chat up a girl at the same time. Turns out she has a boyfriend though, so I should’ve just lectured her on the intricacies of the shield in Smash, would’ve been a better way to spend my time. Later.

Genesis 3: The Salty Suite

This weekend there will be a huge Super Smash Brothers tournament with the third installment in the Genesis series. The Melee portion of the event will feature over eighteen hundred participants including all but four of the top thirty-two currently ranked melee players. (Amsa, Hax, Fly, and Leffen are not in attendance.) The tournament is going to be massive and there are a hundred million stories going into the competition. Rather then try to break down all of these separate story lines I’m going to focus on a side event; The Salty Suite.

For those unfamiliar with fighting games, salty suite is a term used to describe an event where people set up a live stream in a hotel room and a few show matches are played. These typically feature players who have recent history, (almost exclusively bad) rivals who haven’t met in tournament in a long time, or legacy matches with old-school players. Salty Suites in most fighting games feature small crowds, alcohol and lots of hype. The Smash community has taken a slightly different spin on the idea. Instead of the small hotel room setting, the Salty Suites in smash are typically held at the main venue and as such feature much larger crowds. They also don’t feature alcohol almost at all, but the beef, rivalries and hype are all still there.


The Salty Suite at Genesis currently has two confirmed matches, the first being S2J vs Abate. The story behind this match is simple, at another large tournament (The Big House 5) S2J and Abate played a best of five set in Winner’s round of sixteen. The set was relatively back and forth with Abate taking games one and two and S2J bringing it back with wins in games three and four, the fifth game wound up in a final stock situation (Both players reduced to one life) and in a moment it seemed that S2J had gotten the upper hand when he knocked Abate offstage and hit a down air attack which in many circumstances would have ended the game. It didn’t. Instead of being sent downwards to his doom, Luigi (the character Abate was playing) something known as the Invisible ceiling glitch occurred which basically caused Luigi to not move at all instead of being sent downward. You can understand why people would want to see a rematch of this, a player seemingly robbed of a victory by only a glitch in the game, that isn’t how Abate sees it though.  Honestly this match doesn’t promise the best in terms of raw skill on display, but it will be an incredibly entertaining set regardless.

The other salty suite match has much more to do with things happening out of game than in. HugS and Nintendude have been at each other over Twitter for a little while now. A fair portion of the beef can be traced to HugS distaste for Wobbling, a tactic that Ice Climber players can employ to indefinitely hold their opponent in a grab and basically guarantees the one of your opponents lives. I wasn’t really that excited for this match, but the hype trailer made for it was so hilarious and amazing as Nintendude delivers this dead-pan trash talk with Ave Maria playing in the background is so great in my mind. This won’t as exciting a set to me, but the twitter posts and rants following it will be majestic with the overflowing of salt from whoever loses, doubly so if HugS gets “Bibbidty-bopped” as he once said.

If you have never watched a Smash Bros. tournament before I’m telling you that the Salty Suite at Genesis 3 is a fantastic place to start. The crowd will be loud, the commentary will be hype and by golly the salt is going to flow. Catch it live on Saturday Jan. 16th at Peace out folks.

Real Life vs In Game: Behavior

Do you ever find yourself in certain situations or scenarios where you behave totally differently than you normally would? The classic example in my mind would be the person who is normally very calm, confident, and smart but turns into a trembling puddle of sweat and anxiety the moment an exam is put in front of them. You can also have the very kind, innocent seeming people that become more crooked than the average mafia don the moment a game of Uno begins. Sometimes you even have the most incredibly relaxed people losing their minds behind the wheel over just about nothing. I personally think everyone has these small areas of their life where they seem to shift into this alternate personality of sorts.

For myself this shift occurs when I play games, specifically video games. Normally I would consider myself to be a pretty relaxed guy. I tend to let others decide activities and such and then just go with the flow or just react to things around me rather than taking the initiative to act first. In fact I don’t really like going first in almost any situation, second works quite well for me, third is also ok, fourth has its benefits as well… You get the point. Taking the initiative is not something I’d really say I excel at.

That’s just normally for me though. Throw a controller, keyboard, mouse, or whatever into my hands and you can witness a the dynamic shift in my behavior instantly. Mr. Go with the flow is suddenly diving headfirst into the action with little regard for what will happen next. If you’ve ever played Super Smash Brothers with me you know firsthand what I mean. Even if I’m getting absolutely destroyed I just can’t help myself from just continuing to think and act aggressively towards my opponents. If I see what I think is an opening, I really don’t need to know anything else since I’m already trying to exploit it. I’m also quite aware that this is happening, if you ask my roommates they will confirm that when I lose I will almost always remark that I ” Just need to stop just mindlessly attacking.” Now that’s probably just me Johning but there is certainly some truth behind it since this phenomenon is not exclusive to smash games. In RPG’s I almost always look favorably toiwards the warrior/bruiser classes since they are the ones that jump in and make things actually happen. In games like Call of Duty I’m almost always that annoying punk running as fast as he can around the map with my knife drawn. Because who plays shooters to actually use the guns? Lame. In every game I play my behaviors can be almost always summed up as, “Too aggressive for his own good.”

The eternal struggle of Smash. Credit to /u/WooLong742 for coloured version

You know what other word could be used to describe my in game behavior though? Decisive. Remember when I said that normally I don’t like to take the initiative? Well in game that attitude reverses, as I always take the initiative. So on one hand there is the version of me that would rather hum and ha over every decision to be made, who prefers to think of endless alternatives rather than make an actual decision, which if you didn’t know makes certain aspects of life (Like dating, curse the social constructs that demand the male make the first move!) more difficult than they already are. On the other hand there is my alter ego who jumps on the first opportunity seen and doesn’t look back for more than a second.  He is doomed to forever miss great opportunities since the first opportunity is not always the best decision.

Hmm…. Neither one of these is actually all that good in practice. My real life passivity allows great opportunities to pass by without even an attempt to capitalize on them. Welp I guess I’m screwed for life. Eternally caught between indecision and overzealous aggression. What a shame.

I mean, I could like try to learn how to balance these two behaviors into a beautiful mix where I take initiative but after a reasonable amount of consideration for potential alternatives… nah that’s what to smart for someone like me. Make good choice everyone, except don’t make them too fast… or too slow… man I don’t know. I just wanted to make a post where I compared the way I play Smash to how I behave.