SELFIE to start for H2k-Gaming in Week 5

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Marcin "SELFIE" Wolski will start at Mid lane for H2k-Gaming in their Week 5 European LCS games, according to a tweet from H2K's support, Oskar "VandeR" Bogdan, on Wednesday.

The team's jungler, Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski, later confirmed the news to theScore eSports.

SELFIE has been H2K's starting mid laner since Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook's visa issues prevented him from playing in Week 3. Across the four games he's played, SELFIE has picked up a 4.40 KDA, with a perfect win rate. SELFIE is on loan from Echo Fox, a team in the North American LCS.

H2K is currently 7-1 in the EU LCS, tied for first place with G2 Esports. They are set to play against G2 Esports and Unicorns of Love in Week 5.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore eSports. He needs some points from Odoamne this week. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Freeze says wrist injury is tendonitis

by 1d ago

Alez "Freeze" Kenzinek says that he has been diagnosed with tendonitis in one of his forearm muscles.

It is not yet clear whether Freeze will play with H2k-Gaming in Week 9 of the EU LCS Summer Split, or whether he will be replaced by H2K's sub AD carry Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou. When asked on Twitter about whether FORG1VEN would play, Freeze tweeted it was a "difficult situation."

In an interview with theScore esports in Week 7 of the split, Freeze stated that he was feeling pain in his finger, but was unsure of what the issue was.

H2K is set to play against Unicorns of Love and Origen in Week 9 of the EU LCS.

H2K recently re-signed Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou as a substitute AD carry, though FORG1VEN has yet to play any games for the team since leaving Origen. When FORG1VEN left Origen, he stated that we retiring from League of Legends, but later re-joined H2K regardless. It is unclear if FORG1VEN can play if Freeze is unable to.

H2K has been in a slump over the last few weeks, and are currently in fifth place with a 5-6-5 record. H2K started the split with nothing but wins or ties, but started to lose matches in Week 4, pushing them lower and lower in the standings after losses to lower-ranked teams like Giants Gaming and FC Schalke 04.

Freeze has picked up a 3.24 KDA across the last eight weeks of the EU LCS, primarily playing Caitlyn and Ashe. He’s also been named player of the game twice.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Sugar, Splyce and everything nice: EU LCS Week 8 staff picks

theScore esports Staff

theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the eighth week of the European LCS Summer Split and offer up predictions for each of the games.

2016 EU LCS Summer Season Records: Emily Rand (25-45), Kelsey Moser (27-42) Tim Sevenhuysen (26-44).

THURSDAY RAND MOSER SEVENHUYSEN
 FNC vs. SPY Split Split FNC
H2K vs. VIT  H2K H2K H2K
OG vs. GIA GIA GIA Split
G2 vs. UOL G2 G2 G2
S04 vs. ROC S04 Split S04
FRIDAY RAND MOSER SEVENHUYSEN
H2K vs. SPY SPY SPY Split
GIA vs. VIT GIA GIA Split
G2 vs. S04 G2 G2 G2
UOL vs. ROC ROC Split UOL
OG vs. FNC FNC FNC FNC

Fnatic vs. Splyce

Rand: I picked this as a split set since I find it impossible to ever truly count Fnatic out, but if it goes with one team over the other, Splyce will likely take it. Since their first meeting in Week 3 — a 2-0 victory for Fnatic — Splyce have been one of Europe's more consistent teams, gelling in time to make a strong playoff push, and have yet to be swept since that Fnatic set.

Moser: Fnatic have managed to exert a great deal more pressure in the early game since adding Kikis to the roster. This happens, allegedly, due to increased communication flow creating more opportunities for the team to make plays through Teleports or other moves, avoiding a stagnant early game. This is important given the tight ability to close on a lead Splyce have demonstrated. The previous Fnatic roster, unable to exert early pressure and get a lead, would not fare well against Splyce, but in this scenario, I think Splyce make enough mistakes setting up their mid game lane assignments that Fnatic can get the lead in at least one game.

Sevenhuysen: Splyce is on a tear, only dropping a single game in their last five series. Their schedule has been relatively soft, though, aside from their 1-1 split with G2 Esports. Fnatic is their next real challenge, and to have a chance in the series, Trashy will need to bottle up Spirit, no small challenge. Fnatic takes 54.3 percent of the jungle CS in their games, on average, best in Europe, and Splyce is just fifth at 50.5 percent. The jungle should be a key area of advantage for Fnatic, which is why I’m calling for them to win 2-0.

G2 Esports vs. Unicorns of Love

Rand: Again, my Unicorns of Love curse will probably rear its ugly head here — when I pick them to win, they lose, and when I pick them to lose, they win — but I'm still going with Europe's top team, G2, over UOL.

Moser: Unicorns of Love reacted extremely well to some of Giants' weaknesses last week, but G2 don't have the same problems. They aren't easily set back by reckless and proactive moves, and could instead punish a lot of what the Unicorns like to do. I still get the sense that G2 are taking a more relaxed approach to their Game 1s, so Unicorns getting a first win isn't out of the question, but I must predict based on my assessment of the teams overall, and I see a 2-0 for G2.

Sevenhuysen: The Unicorns deserve credit for being 6-2 over their last four best-of- twos, but the only really noteworthy win was the one game they took off Fnatic, and that was before Kikis arrived. G2 is a different beast, and I don’t see the Unicorns standing up to the challenge. I’ve been impressed by Hylissang’s play, but Zven and mithy are the best duo lane in Europe. For G2, I want to see continued improvement from Perkz as we approach the playoffs. He still hasn’t gotten back to the form he displayed in the spring split.

H2K-Gaming vs. Splyce

Rand: For me, this series is a question of momentum. I don't doubt that H2K have the talent and wherewithal not only to split this set but to win it outright, yet their continued struggles and lack of coordination hint at internal confidence issues. Meanwhile, Splyce is on the rise, and even if they lose outright to Fnatic on Day 1, I think they'll be able to overcome H2K.

Moser: H2K-Gaming have lost pep in their step. Splyce have managed to take their 1-3-1 to another level that relies less on the jungle to work independently and have up and down agency. Splyce feel more like a unit when they play, and though their drafts may be less conventional than H2K's, I believe this will be the most important factor.

Sevenhuysen: It’s worth noting that H2K’s 2-0 losses last week came against G2 and Fnatic, the two best teams in the league. There are some signs of frustration showing through, possibly because they’ve shown minimal progress in fixing their long-standing teamfighting issues. That said, H2K still has enough going to take a game off Splyce, if they can keep their discipline and punish Splyce’s relatively weak early game.

theScore esports compiles staff picks for different leagues weekly. Let us know what you think by tagging our Twitter or liking us on Facebook.

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Picking With Purpose: The most popular and most effective bot lane champion pairings

Tim "Magic" Sevenhuysen 7h ago

There’s no “action,” no bloodshed, no flashy outplays, but even so, the champion draft at the start of each game of League of Legends can be one of the most exciting parts. Fans cheer for the out-of-left-field choices, the Yasuo, the Urgot, the accidental Teemo. Analysts get excited by clever use of flex picks and the thrust and parry of choosing which OPs or “overpowered champions,” to ban, and which to pick early at the risk of being countered.

At the end of it all, both teams land five champions, including an AD carry and support pairing. In the 2016 summer regular season, those pairings have featured certain faces far more often than others. The mid lane and jungle have demanded more attention in the ban phase, often leaving the AD carry and support pools relatively untouched. As a result, the duo lane has seen heavy play from certain champion pairings.

But are the most popular AD carry + support pairings actually the most effective? Not necessarily. Just because each champion is perceived as individually strong does not mean that they will work well together and produce good results, as a look at the numbers will show.

Note: All of the statistics that follow are based on the 2016 summer regular season across the NA LCS, EU LCS, LCK, LPL, and LMS, and include matches completed as of July 24 To explore the data yourself, visit Oracle’s Elixir’s ADC/Support Champion Duos page.

The Cool Kids

This split, the AD carry popularity contest has been led by Sivir, Lucian and Ashe, with Karma, Braum and Bard leading the way from support. Here are the 10 duo lane pairings played the most this season in the five major pro leagues, as of July 24.

Pairing  Games Played  Win Rate
Sivir + Braum  87  52%
Sivir + Karma  84  60%
Lucian + Braum  79  43%
Ashe + Braum  72  49%
Lucian + Karma  62  36%
Ezreal + Braum  60  47%
Ezreal + Karma  55  49%
Sivir + Bard  55  46%
Jhin + Braum  51  55%
Sivir + Alistar  44  52%

Despite their popularity, it’s interesting to note that only four of the top ten pairings have a win rate over 50 percent, and three of those winning duos feature Sivir (much to Kelsey Moser’s delight).

There are good reasons for the repetition we see across the AD carry and support sides of the pairings. Certain champions individually rise to the top of the tier lists, and deservedly so.

There’s Something About Sivir

As has so often been the case in recent seasons, Sivir has taken the lead as the most contested AD carry pick in the game, appearing as a pick or ban in more than two-thirds (67%) of major-region matches. Her combination of utility and damage is unmatched, from her wave clear and tower-taking speed to her initiation-boosting ultimate and late-game teamfighting. Sivir is more threatening than Ashe, more useful than Lucian, more flexible than Jhin.

Sivir can’t necessarily claim that she’s the best AD carry of summer, though: Ashe has been picked or banned in just 40 perecent of games, but has a much higher win rate, at 58 percent compared to Sivir’s 53 percent. Even so, Sivir seems to have found a role in a wider range of team compositions, playing alongside a broader spread of support champions.

All Aboard the Karma Train

From the support side of the equation, Karma has been a steady presence, featuring alongside Sivir in the Gotta Go Fast lane, where their speed boosts synergize so smoothly, but also putting in 40 or more games alongside Lucian, Ezreal and Ashe. Karma’s wide spread of win rates in different pairings is evidence, though, that even professional teams don’t always think through the synergy of their compositions. Three of Karma’s frequent duo lane partners have produced sub-40 percent win rates.

ADC + Support Pairing  Games Played  Win Rate
Sivir + Karma  84  60%
Ashe + Karma  42  60%
Ezreal + Karma  55  49%
Jhin + Karma  27  37%
Lucian + Karma  62  36%
Caitlyn + Karma  27  33%

Karma’s low win rates while playing with Jhin, Lucian, and Caitlyn suggest that teams sometimes put more thought into Karma’s value as a top-tier flex pick, rather than the role they intend her to play in their team composition. It can seem appealing to first-pick Karma, giving yourself the option to put her into mid or support depending on how the rest of the draft goes, but if the rest of the draft leads to an AD carry pick that matches poorly with Karma, then it doesn’t matter where she is flexed to: the team comp will still be ill-constructed.

In fact, when Karma is flexed to mid lane, her strongest pairings have been much weaker, and her weak pairings have still failed to consistently win.

ADC + Mid Pairing  Games Played  Win Rate
Sivir + Karma 19  32%
Ashe + Karma  10  30%
Ezreal + Karma  11  55%
Jhin + Karma  19  47%
Lucian + Karma  19  37%

Stand Behind Braum

Next to Karma, there’s Braum. His 64 percent pick/ban rate is marginally lower than Karma’s 68 percent, but that gap is easily narrowed by the fact that Karma is a flex pick. Braum has paired up with all of the popular AD carries, and has helped most of them to good win rates. One surprising standout, though, is the weak results of the Lucian/Braum combo, which has been played 79 times but only achieved a 43 percent win rate.

Lucian and Braum have been best friends for a long time, perhaps because Braum’s kind, protective heart soothes Lucian’s vengeance-fueled, caustic spirit. Or maybe it’s because Lucian’s double-tap passive synergizes so well with Braum’s Concussive Blows. Who can say? The summer split has not been kind to this pairing, though, perhaps because there have been fewer opportunities to get into 2v2 matchups and secure stuns and kills. Change is coming, and Lucian and Braum may find back some of their former glory, but for now they’re near the bottom of the list for effectiveness.

The Real Winners

Popular champions and popular pairings are at the top of the pick/ban lists for a reason, but as win rates suggest, it’s not always optimal to simply draft to the meta, picking from a tier list and expecting the “best champions” to give you the best chance of winning. The real winners are found in the harmonious marriage of their strengths and weaknesses, choosing for the strength of the pairing rather than the strength of the individuals.

Where the “most popular pairings” list was all about meta picks, the list of duo lanes with the highest win rates screams “synergy!”

Pairing  Games Played  Win Rate
Ashe + Thresh  16  81%
Sivir + Taric  13  77%
Kalista + Braum  12  67%
Sivir + Thresh  12  67%
Lucian + Bard  31  65%
Jhin + Trundle  19  63%
Ashe + Alistar  32  63%
Ashe + Nami  15  60%
Caitlyn + Alistar  10  60%
Sivir + Karma  84  60%

Unlike some of the more popular but less successful pairings, each of these duos has a clear role within a defined game plan. Ashe/Thresh is all about landing overlapping crowd control, the backbone of an incredibly powerful pick comp, and Ashe/Alistar and Ashe/Nami fill a similar niche. Sivir/Taric, a more recent development, is a terrifying deathball in team fights. Kalista/Braum, a throwback to earlier in the split, has amazing utility and control because of their area-of-effect knock-ups and how quickly they can proc Concussive Blows on multiple targets. Trundle can use his Pillar of Ice to set up Jhin’s long-range skill shots. Caitlyn and Alistar can siege down turrets with range, disengage and dive threat. The synergy between Sivir and Karma is obvious.

The fact that some of these high-win-rate duos are on the edge of the meta game, made up of second- or third-tier picks like Thresh and Caitlyn, shows how much value there is in drafting with purpose, rather than just drafting from a tier list. Purposeful drafts are more difficult to pull off, because they require clear recognition of what the enemy is drafting, and some disguise of your own game plan, so that the enemy team doesn’t see your win condition too early and counter-pick it — grabbing a Tahm Kench or a Zilean to neutralize your Ashe/Thresh pick comp, for example — but the rewards for straying slightly outside the lines can be significant.

Because of the greater challenge in drafting outside the lines, there is a balance to be found. Fnatic is an example of a team that is willing to draft from the fringe-meta, finding some success with picks like Kalista and Kha’zix but also finding failure by straying a bit too far off the beaten path (hi there, Zac and Jarvan IV), or staying too long in the fringes and losing the element of surprise. That can allow opponents to predict and counter, either by drafting specific tools or using in-game tactics that deny the sometimes predictable win conditions of the fringe picks or pairings.

As is always the case, the teams that put the most work and creative thinking into their drafts will reap the greatest rewards, by having a better understanding of when and where to stick to the defined meta game, and when and where to diverge from it, pulling out a Tahm Kench or a Tristana in the perfect time and place.

Visions of the Future

Every patch brings about some shifts in popularity. Recent trends have seen Alistar re-ascending the tier lists, and the situational emergence of Tahm Kench and Taric. Patch 6.14 has brought Sona into the fold, as well, though her record of 3-5 in NA and EU hasn’t exactly cemented her status as a rising star, and the live server has already seen hotfixed nerfs that could prevent her from seeing too much more play. Among AD carries, Lucian went through a mid-split lull but is threatening to overtake Ashe and Jhin as the go-to picks when Sivir is not available, although the LCK and LPL haven’t yet played on 6.14, and their preferences may bring some shifts to those numbers.

The real specter on the horizon is Patch 6.15, which promises to curtail the popularity of lane swaps by removing the early bonus defenses on bot lane towers and offering bonus gold to the team that kills the game’s first tower. If standard 2v2 matchups take over, we’ll likely see a spike in popularity among strong laning picks like Caitlyn and Lucian, or even Kalista. AD carries who can shove waves quickly and take down the first tower will still have their place, so Sivir probably won’t go anywhere, and Tristana may find a wider niche. Among supports, Karma should remain popular with her poke in lane and her ability to shove the wave and chip the tower. Ranged supports in general should take hold, because of their ability to harass and sustain in 2v2s. Then again, in some cases, teams will pick melee supports like Braum, Alistar, and Taric because of their ability to receive ganks with crowd control, providing more kill threat.

The cycle of picks and counter-picks will continue. Tier lists will be made and remade. Pick/ban rates will fluctuate as everyone tries to identify the new OPs.

And some teams, the smart ones, will find creative ways to subvert those tier lists, drafting not for popularity, but for synergy, applying more intention and design to their team compositions. The winners, as always, will be the teams that pick with purpose.

Tim "Magic" Sevenhuysen runs OraclesElixir.com, the premier source for League of Legends esports statistics. You can find him on Twitter, unless he’s busy giving one of his three sons a shoulder ride.

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Krepo says he feels fans are afraid because of his resting 'Mitch' face: 'Just ask me for a picture'

by 7h ago

Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels should be a familiar name to any League of Legends fan in either North America or his native Europe. Once one of the game's top competitors for teams such as Evil Geniuses, Elements and the legendary Counter Logic Gaming EU, Krepo now applies his craft as one of the voices of the EU LCS.

William "scarra" Li caught up with Krepo during his visit to the NA LCS studios to discuss the pros and cons of the best-of-two format after nearly a full split, why he wants to improve his diction and scaring away fans because of his resting "Mitch" face.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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Exileh on UoL's Week 8 matches: 'I'm very looking forward to play G2 and give them their first loss'

Karina Ziminaite

The Unicorns of Love split their Week 7 match against Team Vitality. Following the series, theScore esports met up with mid laner Fabian "Exileh" Schubert to find out which out-of-meta champion he enjoys playing the most, how he feels about the boisterous UoL fans that come to cheer at the LCS studios and what he's thinking ahead of facing ROCCAT and G2 Esports in Week 8.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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