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Reminder: Riot Summertime Merch and Free Meep!

In case you missed it, Riot has launched their line of summer merchandise with a new figure, adorable plushies, shirts, and even a cute little Meep clip included for free with every order. The Meep seems to be a while-we-have-them deal so head over to the Summertime promotion page and pick up some wonderfully wallet-draining goods. 

Stars Aligned - Cassiopeia as a Top Lane Champion

By 'CabraMaravilla'

 

At first glance, Cassiopeia is not what would come to mind when thinking of a top laner. Due to her overall squishiness and lack of mobility, ganks can be incredibly punishing for her. Since she is a carry, Cassiopeia is very dependent on gold to be effective, and a couple of early deaths can take her out of the game for several minutes.

Because ganking is usually easier on an elongated lane, where wave manipulation can be extremely punishing, it is much more common to simply use her as a mid laner.

However, the half snake has shown up as a top laner from time to time, most notably in Fnatic’s series against TSM on the very first day of MSI 2015. To this day, the tilting properties of Seung "Huni" Hoon Heo locking in Cassiopeia remain unproven but, regardless of this, the 2017 summer meta has increased the instances where the choice can be justifiable.

With the addition of Rift Herald, her immense 1v1 pressure and lane control are perhaps more valuable than ever before. As teams learn how to play with Herald, top lane control becomes more rewarding, and the priority of the pick rises.

Whether the choice ends up working or not is mostly dependent on her getting out of the laning phase in one piece. Once she has acquired a few items, she offers a great deal of strategical variety. From splitpusher, to baron melter to teamfight kiting machine, few top laners are as scary as a mid-to-late game Cassio.

But getting her out of laning phase is far from an easy task, and teams will need great early macro to be able to pull it off. Comparing Longzhu’s use of the pick with SKT’s will give us a good understanding of how the pick can be punished.

 

Longzhu’s Cassiopeia

 

 

Longzhu’s choice of the Cassiopeia here is very smart, and works brilliantly against SKT’s composition. Because of how easy it is to know when Kennen is engaging onto her, she can reliably use Miasma to kite back and inflict a serious amount of damage onto him.

Pair this with the risk Kennen runs when engaging against Petrifying Gaze and you have a very favorable matchup, as Kennen’s natural range advantage is not as relevant versus the Cassiopeia.

These factors, combined with Gragas’ weak early clear, will make her able to abuse the Kennen early, only to fall back to a more moderate approach once Gragas reaches level 6.

Longzhu’s early execution was practically flawless. Because Gragas revealed himself on an invade, paired with the first blood they managed to get on him, Kim "Khan" Dong-ha was free to push up his lane and ignore the enemy jungler.

Once Gragas reached level 4, Kha’zix would lean towards the top side and invade. Not only did this benefit from the laning strength of Cassiopeia, but it also helped keep tabs on Gragas and made it easier to set up for a counter gank if needed.

But this strategy couldn’t go on for much longer. Knowing that Gragas would soon reach level 6, unlocking his true ganking potential, Cassio roamed mid for a gank onto Faker.

This gank worked on several fronts. The fact that Gragas was level 6, combined with Taliyah’s strong push in the mid lane, would have made it very easy for SKT to set up top lane dives. If Taliyah also joined the play, the chance of SKT getting a kill and first tower would have been huge, as terrain creation punishes Cassiopeia’s lack of mobility heavily.

 

 

By roaming mid and trading her flash for Taliyah’s, she alleviated the pressure derived from mid lane priority. Even though Faker still had pushing advantage over his lane counterpart, he needed to play carefully against Zed, as he was left without tools to avoid a forced all in from the ninja.

Under these circumstances, it became much harder for SKT to secure top side control, and for Taliyah to threaten a roam by walking into the fog of war. Cassiopeia could now simply stay under her tower, as diving her with less vision and without Faker was a much bigger risk for the SKT lineup.

In this manner, Longzhu secured another safe period for Cassiopeia but, as it happened before, this can not last forever. Once Taliyah’s flash came back up, they would be back to square one, and LZ would need a new play to keep her safe.

This is why, as soon as Faker’s flash came back up, Zed and Cassiopeia lane swapped. In a single move, Longzhu managed to protect their medusa; while simultaneously making SKT’s itemization absolutely terrible in the new matchups.

Had SKT chosen to match the lane swap, Kennen would have been in a situation where he would not be able to pressure his lane. Due to mid lane’s reduced lane length, his ultimate and constant harass from basic attacks and Q’s simply isn’t as big of a threat, and wave manipulation is much less effective as a denial tool.

In addition, Taliyah’s ultimate would now be unable to influence the bot lane, heavily diminishing the value of Faker’s pick.

Even though Zed’s lack of teleport can be seen as a slight disadvantage for LZ’s map plays, it’s a reasonable price to pay for getting Cassiopeia out of laning phase, as well as giving both solo laners heavy item advantages.


On the other hand, Huni was not as effective with his Cassiopeia.

 

SKT’s Cassiopeia
 

 

This draft suggests that SKT were toying around with Cassiopeia, instead of tryharding for a win.

Against Jarvan IV ‘s gap closing combo and terrain creation ultimate, Cassiopeia is at a much bigger risk of dying. Her lane dominance won’t last long as, once Jarvan hits level 6, he has tremendous gank setup against her, which can easily be abused by Graves.

Despite Graves not being the best ganker in the game, the immense lock down provided by Cataclysm makes his lack of crowd control irrelevant. Furthermore, it makes it very easy for him to land all his AOE damage, punishing further Cassio’s squishiness.

The jungle matchup does little to alleviate this pressure. Gragas doesn’t bring much into a 2v2 scenario, and will either have to rely on Graves not being top to pull off successful ganks or head to other lanes.

This is not the case for MVP. Top lane is by far the best lane for Graves to gank. Faker’s mobility and lane pressure makes it very difficult to land either a shockwave or Graves’ burst on him. 

On bot lane, MVP have the push advantage and, because of Tahm Kench’s Devour, diving Bang and Wolf can be too risky. Since Graves is not the best diver, Cassiopeia becomes even more of a tempting target than she usually is.

In spite of SKT’s best efforts to obscure Peanut’s jungle start, this was not something that MVP concerned themselves with. Graves straight out camped the Cassiopeia as much as possible, almost disregarding Peanut’s early pathing.

 


This camp would ultimately result in two deaths by Huni and a big advantage for MVP. It’s hard to say that Huni is without blame on the lost top lane. Knowing himself to be in an inferior 2v2, there is hardly any justification for him to be as pushed up as MVP would often find him. Because he is traditionally overaggressive, it’s hard to think of this as a planned choice, and looks more like a mistake.

Abusing Cassiopeia’s lane dominance is no doubt very tempting, but the risks far outweigh the rewards. Knowing that MVP would have no tools to deal with his splitpush once he reached a tipping point, it made no sense to risk losing the lane that hard. Especially when Graves has little ganking options elsewhere.

Had Huni hugged the tower, as Khan did, he would very likely not even get camped. Despite MVP’s strong dive, under tower, the risk of a Gragas counter gank becomes all too real.

As it was the case of the previous example, Faker’s dominant mid lane matchup would have easily granted SKT enough vision and river control for Cassiopeia to have a much easier time under tower.

 



Despite their unstoppable split push later on, SKT’s early Cassiopeia display was disappointing. In contrast with their victory over MVP, which banked on their opponents' poor mid game shotcalling, their victory over Longzhu’s forced them to overcome one of the best early displays of Cassiopeia top lane ever.

When not even the best team in the world can pull off a convincing Cassiopeia, it becomes apparent just how difficult the champion is to properly execute. Take notice of how both teams save the pick to the very last moment of the draft, yet are still presented with plenty of issues they need to navigate around.

You won’t see Cassiopeia often in the top lane, and SKT getting outplayed and failing to repeat their opponent’s success is even less common. But if you are lucky enough, and the stars align, you might get to see both.

 


 

Article Written by Manuel 'Cabramaravilla' Martínez

You can check him out on Twitter by clicking here

 

The Psychology of Solo Queue - Priming

By Rilea

 

This week, I’m going to take a look at breaking down some of the psychology of solo queue. League of Legends is an extremely complex game, and your mindset is an important aspect of this. Using psychological knowledge and theories, there are some steps you can take to improve your mindset in game, such as using the priming theory.

 

What is Priming?

 

Priming is the theory of making somebody think in a certain way, which subconsciously affects their behaviour. For example, one study found participants took longer to walk to an elevator after listing either words associated with the elderly (such as “lonely” and “slow”) compared to listing neutral words. The participants had been primed to think like an elderly person, and this unconsciously affected their behaviour to walk slowly (Bargh, Chen & Burrows, 1996).

 

 

Another study found participants who were primed to think like a professor answered more general knowledge questions correctly compared to participants who had been primed to think like a secretary (Dijkssterhuis & van Knippenberg, 1998)

 

How is priming used in League of Legends?

 

One of the most frustrating instances of priming I experience in solo queue is when somebody has been searching up our opponents, and types in chat about the insane win rate an enemy has on the champion they are playing. Not only does it instantly put people in a negative state of mind if they know they are against a very strong opponent, it primes teammates into having a losing mentality, and this subconsciously affects their play.


My advice is to simply not look up the information, and more importantly, not share it with your team. Conversely, you can also prime you team into a positive mindset, by typing how confident you’re feeling about the game or how certain your team will win the game; it may seem silly, but subconsciously, it can greatly benefit your team’s play!

A redditor investigated a similar experience after priming a teammate to believe x player is bad, causing the teammate to flame x player, before revealing x player was in fact the redditor - read more about it here

 

Final thoughts


Psychology plays a huge, yet undervalued, role in League of Legends, and the priming effect is one such example. Remember to avoid negatively priming your teammates, and instead, positively prime them into a winning mentality!

 

 

Rilea is a Diamond Support Player and a Psychology student, you can follow him on twitter by clicking here

Patch 7.12 Rundown: Doran Item Nerfs

Patch 7.12 changes brings us a ton of focus on Support Itemization and some champion rebalancing. Enchanter Supports are now rewarded for building their usual items, while Tank Supports will prefer going for items such as Locket and Knight's Vow. This Patch should reduce the prevelance of Redemption and Locket on every support as an almost mandatory two core item build.

 

Check out the full changes below and in our other post to get ready for the patch to hit live:

Items

 

Locket of the Iron Solari

 
  • Shield changed from 70-665 (at levels 1-18) to 65-434 (+2%~36% of your bonus health) (at levels 1-18)

Redemption

 
  • Health reduced from 300 to 200
  • Health regen decreased from 75% to 50%
  • Mana regen increased from 125% to 150%
  • Heal decreased from 65-490 (level 1-18) to 30-370 (level 1-18)
  • NEW: Redemption’s heal amount is affected three times as much by heal and shield power amplifiers
 

Zeke's Convergence

 
  • Name change Zeke's Harbinger ⇒ Zeke's Convergence
  • Total Cost increased from 2250 gold to 2400 gold
  • Ability Power decreased from 50 to 0
  • Armor increased from 30 to 60
  • Magic Resist increased from 0 to 30
  • Passive: Casting your ultimate near your ally surrounds you with a frost storm and ignites your ally’s basic attacks for 10 seconds (45 second cooldown). Enemies inside your frost storm are slowed by 20% and your ally’s attacks burn their target for 50% bonus magic damage over 2 seconds.
  • Passive Frostfire Covenant: Basic attacking a burning enemy ignites your frost storm to deal 40 magic damage per second and slow by 40% for 3 seconds.

Athene's Unholy Grail

 
  • Ability Power decreased from 40 to 30
  • Mana Regen increased from 75% to 100%
  • Cooldown Reduction decreased from 20% to 10%
  • Blood Earn Rate increased from 20% of premitigation damage dealt to champions to 25% of premitigation damage dealt to champions
  • NEW: Grants 5 ability power for every +25% base mana regen
  • No longer grants +25% base health regen for every +25% base mana regen

Banner of Command

 
  • Now Grants 125% Health Regen
  • No longer grants 400 Mana
  • Passive - Point Runner: Builds up to 20% bonus movement speed over 2 seconds while near turrets, fallen turrets, and Void Gates.

Knight's Vow

 
  • No longer grants +100% base health regen
  • Now Grants 10% Cooldown Reduction

Righteous Glory

 
  • Now Grants 30 Armor
  • Now Grants 10% Cooldown Reduction
  • No longer grants Catalyst of Aeon’s Eternity passive
  • Slow nova now automatically triggers if an enemy champion is within close proximity
  • Slow nova can no longer be manually triggered early

Glacial Shroud

 
  • Combine cost decreased from 350 to 250
  • Total cost decreased from 1000 to 900
  • Armor decreased from 25 to 20
 

Raptor Cloak

 
  • Total cost decreased from 1200 to 900
  • Armor decreased from 40 to 30

Talisman of Ascension

 
  • Total cost decreased from 2400 to 2200
  • Combine cost increased from 350 to 450

Doran's Ring

 
  • Mana return when killing minions is now UNIQUE

Doran's Shield

 
  • Cost increased from 400 to 450

 

If you'd like to check the full changes, make sure to click here for the official Patch Notes

 

Patch 7.12 Rundown: Champion Changes

Continuing our Patch 7.12 changes, listed below are the numerous changes to champions for the upcoming Patch.

 

Check out the full changes below and in our other post to get ready for the patch to hit live:

 

Champion Changes:
 

Camille


Passive cooldown reduced. Q2 damage increased.

What's New:

Adaptive Defenses (Passive)

  • Cooldown decreased from 20/15/10 seconds to 16/13/10 seconds

Precision Protocol (Q)

  • Delayed Second Hit Damage increased from 180% to 200%

Corki


Attack speed slightly up. Base AD slightly up. Autos do more magic damage rather than physical.

What's New:

Base Stats

  • Base Attack Speed increased from 0.625 to 0.638
  • Base Attack Damage increased from 56 to 58

Hextech Munitions (Passive)

  • Basic Attack Damage changed from 50% physical, 50% magic to 20% physical, 80% magic

Valkyrie (W)

  • Phosphorous Bomb and Missile Barrage can now be buffered during Valkyrie's travel time

Ivern

E damage decreased.

What's New:

Triggerseed (E)
  • Damage decreased from 60/90/120/150/180 to 50/70/90/110/130

Jax


W now grants bonus range.

 

What's New:

Empowered Strike (W)

  • If Jax uses Empowered Strike to empower a basic attack, it gains 50 extra range

Jhin
 

Q base damage down but scaling up. R base damage up.

What's New:

Dancing Grenade (Q)

  • Base damage decreased from 50/75/100/125/150 to 45/70/95/120/145.
  • Ratio increased from 30/35/40/45/50% Total AD to 40/45/50/55/60% Total AD

Curtain Call (R)

  • Base damage per shot increased from 40/100/160 to 50/115/180

Karma

 

E shield decreased. Mantra’d E shield on secondary targets decreased.

What's New:

Inspire (E)

  • Shield Decreased from 70/100/130/160/190 to 70/95/120/145/170

Defiance (R+E)

  • Shield on secondary targets reduced from 50% primary target’s shield to 30% primary target’s shield

Kindred
 

Base attack damage up. E mana cost down.

What's New:

Base Stats

  • Base Attack Damage increased from 54 to 57

Wolf's Frenzy (W)

  • Wolf Dash Speed increased from 1200 to 1400.
  • Zone duration now waits to begin counting down until Wolf reaches the cast location. Casting Dance of Arrows during Wolf’s travel time will still grant the reduced cooldown

Mounting Dread (E)

  • Mana Cost reduced from 70 to 50 Mana

Malzahar

 

Q and R damage reduced at later ranks.

What's New:

Call of the Void (Q)

  • Damage reduced from 70/110/150/190/230 to 70/105/140/175/210

Nether Grasp (R)

  • Beam Damage reduced from 125/250/375 to 125/225/325
  • Beam Ratio reduced from 115% AP to 110% AP
  • Quicksilver Sash and Mercurial Scimitar now properly purge only the suppression portion of Nether Grasp. Beam damage will continue to tick as long as Malzahar’s target stays in range (1250 distance)

Rakan
 

Passive shield now properly interacts with shield amplifying effects.

What's New:

Fey Feathers (Passive)

  • Now properly benefits from effects that modify heal and shield values (ex. Forbidden Idol line, Windspeaker’s Blessing)

Rek'Sai

 

Base AD up. Armor per level up. W unburrow damage up. R more reliably hits targets.

What's New:

Base Stats

  • Base Attack Damage increased from 55.628 to 57.5
  • Armor Growth Stat increased from 3.4 to 3.75

Un-burrow (W)

  • Ratio increased from 40% Bonus AD to 80% Bonus AD

Void Rush (R)

  • Void Rush is now much harder to dodge. Rek’Sai’s target should no longer be able to walk out of damage range without exceptional amounts of movement speed (or a dash/flash).

Rumble



Heat drains more slowly. Q cooldown higher early, damage increased, now does decreased damage to minions. W shield amount up, duration down. E slow and damage up.

What's New:

Junkyard Titan (Passive)

 

  • Heat Decay Start decreased from 3 seconds (4 if Flamespitter was used) to 4 seconds
  • Heat Decay Rate increased from 0.5 seconds to 1 second
  • Heat Decay Amount increased from 5 per tick for 5 ticks, then 10 per tick to 10 per tick

Flamspitter (Q)

  • Damage to Minions reduced from 100% to 75%
  • Cooldown increased from 6 seconds at all ranks to 10/9/8/7/6 seconds
  • Base Damage increased from 75/135/195/255/315 to 135/180/225/270/315
  • Ratio increased from 100% AP to 110% AP

Scrap Shield (W)

  • Shield Duration decreased from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds
  • Shield increased from 50/80/110/140/170 to 80/110/140/170/200

Electro Harpoon (E)

  • Base Damage increased from 45/70/95/120/145 to 60/85/110/135/160
  • Slow increased from 30/40/50/60/66% to 30/40/50/60/70%

Xayah

 

Can’t attack while casting Q, W cooldown increased.

What's New:

Double Daggers (Q)

  • Xayah can no longer basic attack while Double Daggers is firing

Deadly Plumage (W)

  • Cooldown increased from 16/15/14/13/12 seconds to 20/19/18/17/16 seconds

Zac



W and E damage reduced

What's New:

Unstable Matter (W)

  • Damage decreased from 40/55/70/85/100 to 30/45/60/75/90

Elasting Slingshot (E)

  • Damage decreased from 480/130/180/230/280 to 60/110/160/210/260
 

 

 

If you'd like to check the full changes, make sure to click here for the official Patch Notes

 

 

What Does a League of Legends Analyst do?

By Cody 'Avin' Gerard

 

What on Earth Does a Professional Analyst do?

 

Analysts, they’ve become commonplace everywhere from the highest levels of competitive League of Legends such as LCK and LCS, to the national leagues of regions like Europe and Latin America South. Yet, despite the now almost total prevalence of this position across all high-level League of Legends, the role remains somewhat poorly defined in the public eye.

So, what does an analyst do? Most fans probably have an image of someone burying their head in massive amounts of numbers, and spitting out almost their conclusions in something that hardly sounds like English, or maybe they have an idea of someone who shouts buzzwords at a team like “rotations,” “wave control,” or “macro play.” While these are undoubtedly part of the most basic frame work of League of Legends analysis, the reality is much more complicated.  I’m going to try to paint the picture of it for you today.
 

Quantitative Analysis
 

To start with, there are two different styles of analyst. In my own work, I lean heavily towards these types one of analysis, so I talked with my friend, Samuel “Arrowhead” Moreno, former Head Analyst of KIYF esports in the Spanish LVP and current Head Analyst of Vega Squadron in the LCL who uses a very different style.

He described his job as “[working] with large amounts of numbers and data and [then having] to give [data] that a useful meaning that can be useful both for players and coach/coaches.”  He continued on to say that, “my basis are numbers and what I do is…make conclusions and recognize patterns in these in game numbers.”

Arrowhead is what I would call a Quantitative Analyst. Quantitative analysis focuses more on the raw numbers. These sorts analysts prefer to cultivate large sets of data and statistics and use the stories and trends found within those numbers to draw their conclusions.

They often collect this data using Riot’s API, which Arrowhead says can yield a remarkable wealth of data,



“When I work with the API I use [it] to pull out individual stats such as Gold and XP minute by minute, total damage to champions and the percentage of every player, [I] also [do] this for the gold. We can make comparatives [sic] between players and the EU/KR average and also [each] player’s role, [as well as] players position on the map. it's usually used for jungle proximity. Also to control support that have roaming tendencies in the early game.”



While collecting this data takes effort, the real skill comes in interpreting it. Anyone can learn to use Riot’s API to collect data, but knowing how parse through and interpret it, then in turn coming to correct and useful conclusions is the hard part. Not only is it does it take lot of work and skill with numbers to sort through this mass of numbers, but it takes a deep and strong knowledge the game to know which numbers mean what, and more importantly what patterns they reveal and what strengths and weaknesses they show.



An example of spreadsheet work from Arrowhead, which tracks the champion by champion solo queue statistics of a professional midlaner.

 

Gameplay Analysis
 

While Arrowhead’s approach is effective, I’ve largely preferred to use a different approach in my time as an analyst for Baskonia Esports, also of the Spanish LVP. I’m what I would describe as a qualitative or gameplay focused analyst. I prefer to watch VoDs, scrims, and even solo queue matches, to draw my conclusions then use numbers to either prove or disprove my conclusions. If the numbers do not line up, I then go back to the VoDs to see what I missed or got wrong.
 

While gameplay focused analysis is often not as easy to prove or backup as quantitative analysis, it does have the benefit of having its results based directly in what can be observed through gameplay. This means that the data is not only more relatable to what the players and coaches are actually seeing, but it is also more flexible. It can be not only be easier to identify patterns within slight deviations, but it can also be easier to view the game from a macro strategy perspective.

Instead of seeing the numbers, which often only show the end result, you get to see the push and the pull, the rotations, the warding, the plays, the mistakes, all the things that might lead to a massive team fight win, or a sneaky baron, or even something as small as a lane advantage or blue buff steal.
 

As well, gameplay focused analysis allows you to focus on certain numbers when you reference them. Now, this can be risky as it can sometimes cause you to overlook at certain stat that might help you or even occasionally contradict what you think you’ve seen, but mostly it allows you to focus on the numbers and statistics that you know can either prove or disprove your conclusions. The latter case is usually very frustrating, but often leads to you learning more than you thought you would have found in the first place.  
 

The biggest key to being a good gameplay analyst, much like a quantitative analyst is a strong knowledge of the game. This is necessary to spot the “rights” and “wrongs” of gameplay when you are reviewing competitive VoDs or scrims. That being said, the supplementary skills are much different. Instead of a strong understanding of statistics and numbers, you need to have the ability to quickly and confidently identify patterns, then figure out ways to exploit or play around those patterns. Additionally, you need an eye for detail in order to recognize the more subtle flaws in team’s game play as, when playing vs high level competition, the exploitation of these little flaws can be the difference between winning and losing.
 

What Analysts can do for a Team
 

Both sets of analysis have their merits, and actually complement each other quite well when done in conjunction with each other. When both are applied right, the data and conclusions they yield can be invaluable to a team. Analysts can do a variety of things. One of the most common things I have done is construct scouting reports about opposing teams. These reports contain information about the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of an opposing team, as well as strategies, synthesized from the data, which should give a team an upper hand.
 


"Tracking Jungle Pathing is one of the many things an analyst can do to scout the opposing team"


Another major part of just about any analyst’s job is understanding the meta, particularly how it shifts with each patch. This can mean doing a bunch of math to understand how a change to an item or champion will affect their damage, tankiness, utility etc. It can mean breaking down the overall changes and predicting resulting meta shift, per say from a control mage meta in the mid lane to an assassin meta, or simply reordering tier lists around the myriad buffs and nerfs that happen in any given patch.

Lastly of course, analysts can help a team itself improve. The massive troves of data analysts collect, can help teams identify weaknesses that are not immediately obvious to the naked eye. As well, when sitting in on scrims or watching real matches, an analyst with a detail oriented mind can pick out mistakes or bad decisions, point them out to the players or coaches and let them know what needs to be done to fix them and/or what should have been done instead.

This variety of things that an analyst can do, as well as the raw value of any data or observations they may make, turn them of various kinds into critical assets for any League of Legends team hoping to compete at all levels of professional play.

 


Written by Cody 'Avin' Gerard

You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here

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