I once said that RFLX Gaming was unfairly mocked going into MLG Providence. What I meant by this is that there was this whole attitude that they would be free wins to whoever they got seeded against. RFLX lost four times without winning a game; however none of those games were simple wins for the opponent.
This attitude persists: that if you’re not one of the top elite teams in North America you’re not going to stand a chance. This kind of thinking has its roots in what the tournament scene has been, but I doubt it will be relevant to where the tournament scene is going.
A long period of time passed in LoL’s infancy where Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid were unquestionably on top and had little legitimate competition. This wall between the a-tier teams and the b-tier teams had been nearly impassable.
But what has been happening is that the gap in skill between the a-tier teams and the b-tier teams has been closing. First it was Dignitas and Epik breaking into the elite teams. Now more and more of the b-tier teams are finding that they can win on any given day. In the first IEM Kiev pre-qualifier v8 beat Dignitas and CLG. Today was even bigger for upsets: CLG lost to Curse, CLG lost to v8, and Epik lost to Goose and these were all in best of three matches.
There’s a particular type of fanboy who calls every team that isn’t CLG, Dignitas, TSM, or Epik bad, as if the fifth or seventh ranked North American team could ever be considered bad. This is just another manifestation of that attitude that the top teams are SO MUCH better than the almost top teams. As the skill gap shrinks and these b-tier teams are able to further compete I hope these people see how foolish calling teams like A Picture of a Goose or v8 e-sports actually was.
– Final game of CLG vs. v8
CLG: Ezreal, Kassadin, Shaco, Udyr, Alistar
v8: Skarner, Rammus, Sion, Graves, Sona
CLG’s team-comp here is about damage that flits in and out. Kassadin, Ezreal, and Shaco are all hit and run, hit and run champions backed up by Udyr and Alistar for protection. v8 runs an interesting team-comp to counter this, mainly based off of picking off one of your opponents with hard crowd control from Rammus and Skarner and then using the heavy burst of Sion and Graves.
It certainly seemed to work really well, because afterward all CLG could do is blame people who got picked off as the reason they lost.
– “Oh, Akali really having it rough there against MAN BALLS.” Kararawr makes this too easy. Balls wisely added MAN infront of his name to make everything the shoutcasters say about him hilarious.
– Surprise pick: Shaco, by crumbzz, saintvicious, and Atlanta (twice, and banned once against him). Shaco’s always been one of the stronger early game gankers in the game. Goose combined the extreme strength of Shaco’s early game to feed primarily late game champions in lane, which seemed to work out really well.
– Surprise pick: Jungle Pantheon, by Atlanta (multiple times). This tournament was still on the old jungle too. All Pantheon has is damage mitigation with his passive and no innate sustainability, so I didn’t think he would be a good camp clearer, and he wasn’t. But I think Atlanta likes Pantheon because he is an excellent champion in the late-game with his long jump ultimate, but he doesn’t fare very well in the lane against a lot of champions. If you throw him in the jungle he’s guaranteed some farm. He also has Nocturne-level ganks which make him a real threat from the fog of war.
– If rambo ever does a shoutcast with scarra as a co-caster it will be confusing and probably awesome.
– This tournament was played on the Fizz patch, which saw big nerfs to Akali and Graves. Westrice doesn’t care and still plays Akali. Loses early game, carries anyway (classic Westrice). Aphromoo and many others still play Graves. Sometimes they carried, sometimes they didn’t. But the mere fact that he was picked often tells us that teams still value him highly.
– v8 was trying to take Baron against CLG when HotShotGG’s Cho’Gath teleported onto a ward. What followed is the kind of coordination you can never get in solo queue. Everyone but the support stopped attacking Baron so it wouldn’t be in HotShotGG’s feast range. They waited for the port to finish and killed HotShot and only then actually finished the Baron.
– Congratulations to Team SoloMid, Dignitas, and A Picture of a Goose, who will all be going to Kiev in the North American slots. Goose has been on the outside of the top teams for a while and finally found a way to strike today.