Alex Ich & Crumbzz to form Challenger team

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Thumbnail image courtesy of LoLesports

Veteran players Alexey "Alex Ich" Ichetovkin and Alberto "Crumbzz" Rengifo will be joining forces to form a new Challenger team. The team will be owned and financed by Chris Badawi - a former lawyer who was formerly in the running to pick up Curse Academy.

Rengifo and Ichetovkin will be joined by Maria "Yuno" Creveling in the support position. Creveling previously played for Team Roar’s bottom lane alongside Shan "Chaox" Huang.

The AD Carry and Top lane positions have yet to be finalized, but the team is currently scrimming with Ritchie "Intense" Ngo (AD Carry) and Oleksii "RF Legendary" Kuziuta (Top lane). Badawi states that the scrims so far have been going great but that the team is still considering all available options and accepting applications.

The team’s name is still to be determined, but Badawi states that they’re happy to accept name suggestions via this email:  helpusnameourteam@yahoo.com.

The Score had a mini Q&A with Chris Badawi.

Q. Greetings Chris, so first off - what was the inspiration behind forming the challenger team?

I was a lawyer in New York doing patent litigation and one day I got run over by a car and almost died. Facing the end of your life is the best way to see where you want your future to go and I realised that I really didn’t want to do patent law anymore. I’ve always been a gamer at heart - not a very good one - but it has always been in my heart. So when I saw that there was a massive opportunity to create real business in this industry, I figured that I owed it to myself to try.

Q. So how did you get in touch with Crumbzz and Alex?

So initially, I was in the running to purchase Curse Academy from Steve Arhancet. I got outbid but I formed a relationship with Steve and during that process he invited me to work with Liquid for a couple of weeks and see what it is that I wanted to get out of the scene. Steve opened a lot of doors for me and really welcomed me into the scene. I made a lot of great connections and met a lot of good people. After my experience with Liquid, I decided to create my own team and we parted on good terms. Steve was really wonderful throughout the whole process.

I saw Crumbzz left Dignitas, had drinks with him and talked about what we wanted out of the future. We wanted to create something that was really player centric - less of a company and more a family, something like the early Cloud 9 - a bunch of guys doing something that they loved. The scene is so competitive and there is so much money involved that there is a lot of pressure on these guys and a lot of the times their love of the game diminishes. Overall I think it is possible for players to play this game for a living and have fun doing it.

I decided I wanted to create an atmosphere and a team where they felt like they were part of an organization - something they were proud of and were personally invested in the outcome of how the organization does and Crumbzz really liked the philosophy. So he and I together started talking about what kind of team we wanted and what kind of roster we wanted. Crumbzz suggested Alex and I talked with Alex to see if he was contracted to any team. He said he wasn’t and so we ended up getting Alex. Crumbzz and Alex are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. Any team with these two kind, professional and distinguished personalities at its core will be an absolute pleasure for all involved - not to mention Alex is a legend and Crumbzz has been in the scene from the start.

So with this philosophy in mind, I started to search for other players and found Yuno. All three of us agreed that she was a diamond in the rough. We’re now three strong and still looking to solidify the rest of the roster. We have plenty of time until the Challenger Series qualifiers.

Q. What are you looking for in those roles?

Again, with this philosophy in mind, it’s of paramount importance that they’re not just a player who talks - they’re somebody who would be your friend and you’d want to wake up and see everyday. Somebody that creates an atmosphere of joy and not tension.  Obviously, pure mechanical skill and game knowledge is a requisite.

Q. You stated that that you saw an opportunity to create real business but then you stated you wanted to create a family, do these two not clash stylistically? How do you aim to be a family and a real business?

When I was working within the LCS I noticed that there was a lot of pressure and expectations on the players and that personality seemed to be taking a backseat to skill alone. I wanted to create an environment where players felt more a part of the organization and less like an employee. My goal is to create a team where players feel valued and appreciated and I believe that the organization can be profitable with that mentality.

That isn’t to say that we won’t bench people for underperforming, but we won’t ignore their feelings either. It’s rather a place where players feel heard and have a personal stake in the success of their business. I’m planning to implement a profit sharing model.

Q. You mentioned in your previous answer that you were planning to implement a profit sharing model - could you elaborate a bit more on this and how do you plan to avoid the pitfalls that ex-Alternate had in 2013?

Its tentative and a work in progress. But ultimately I can envision a system where the players compensation grows as the organization grows.  What I believe that perhaps some in the scene do not, is that the players essentially are the organization.  I just think they should be treated as such.

In terms of avoiding pitfalls, the profit share would belong to the spot, not the player. For example. each player on the active roster is entitled to a base salary + X percent of org profits (however we decide to calculate that). So a player would have to be on the active roster to obtain a profit share

Q. Lets move on to infrastructure. What infrastructure do you plan on implementing?

Regarding staff - we’re looking at a number of different coaches. We’ve been working with different people and seeing who we work the best with. There is still a lot of time left and we believe that there are a lot of great people out there - many who are committed to other things that may become available, so we haven’t committed to any staff at the present.

In terms of facilities, we’ll get a gaming house near the Los Angeles area once we get into the Challenger Series.

Q. What is the team’s name?

We haven’t decided on a team name yet. It’s important to me that the members feel that the team is theirs - as well as the staff. Once the roster is finalized, we’ll see what the community has come up with and decide together. Alex was particularly excited about NA 5.

Q. Thanks for answering all these questions - is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to express my gratitude to Steve Arhancet for opening all these doors for me and that I couldn’t be happier to work with the people I’m working with. These are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. It’s exciting and all very fun.

Patch 6.24 released; Ranked Reset accompanies it

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Riot has released their latest patch, 6.24, which harbors a whole host of changes as League carries over to the new season. The last patch of Season 6, 6.24 has fairly substantial changes to items, champions, and the map that shift the meta away from what was predominantly picked across 2016.

On champions, over 10 have been altered in some way, including notable buffs onto the following champions:

  • Akali (Passive works on towers)
  • Azir (Soldiers come up more often; enemies get less gold from your passive, and the tower does more damage)
  • Fiddlesticks (W damage increased, E cooldown reduced)
  • Garen (You shred armor as you spin to win with E)
  • Varus (Passive now gives you bonus attack speed on unit kill)
  • Katarina (Dagger passive damage slightly increased)

The notable nerf bat recipients this time around were:

  • Twitch (Venom Cask mana increased, passive now does less true damage per stack)
  • Vayne (Tumble AD Ratio reduced)
  • Ivern (Triggerseed costs more mana, and slows way less at early levels)
  • Rengar (Bonetooth Necklace bonus damage reduced, and a bugfix to change it from total AD to bonus AD)
  • LeBlanc (Waveclear and health regeneration reduced substantially, but given a small q buff to compensate)
  • Kog'Maw (AP ratio and damage on E reduced by a large amount, however a small W damage buff to compensate and shift Kog'Maw towards AD)

Outside of champions, Rylai's has been changed to be less likely to be taken by bursty mages and more likely to be taken by true control mages, with its ability power and health reduced to make it less appealing as a damage and survivability option.

Jungle camps have changed substantially as well. Red and Blue buffs don't provide their on-hit burn/slow and percentage AP respectively, but have slightly increased duration to compensate. Krugs has also lost a major amount of experience on the first clear, making the Red-Krugs-Early gank route much less appealing because junglers are unable to hit level three before three minutes when doing that now. Whereas 6.23 shifted experience from Raptors to Krugs, now the experience lost on Krugs is not moved anywhere, making the jungle have less experience on first clear overall.

As well as all this, Riot has made a fair few changes outside of the game, adding functionality to their client through a better spectator mode, a low-spec mode for struggling computers, and in-client keybinding changes. Finally, as with every season, Riot is doing a soft ranked reset so that we can all climb to Challenger, where we deserve to be.

Click here for the full Patch Notes

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

The Precision Protocol: A Camille guide

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Riot's latest champion, Camille, is set to be released along with patch 6.24. As she stylishly struts onto Summoner's Rift, allies and enemies alike won't just be asking what she does, but what she's actually good at. By now, maybe you've seen a few popular YouTube VODs of this champion on the Public Beta Environment. You've also seen 90 percent of them have no actual clue what is optimal with her in many aspects, including runes, masteries, itemization and most egregiously, her skill order.

Fear not, for here's your go-to starting guide for all the incoming solo queue Day 1 Camille mains.

Playstyle

Camille was designed as a top lane champion first and foremost. Her role there is as a scaling splitpusher, able to put a lot of pressure on the side lanes of the map, and then either roam to other parts of Summoner’s Rift and carve out advantages with her team or in open spaces. In teamfights, she thrives in being able to enter the fray after big game-changing abilities have already been used, allowing her to be uninhibited in cleaning up and chasing down targets with deadly accuracy.

Runes Explanation

  • Attack Damage Reds
  • Armor Yellows
  • Magic Resistance Blues
  • Attack Speed Quintessences

Your fairly standard fighter/splitpusher page should suffice for Camille. The armor and magic resistance runes are even more necessary given the shield at your disposal are further amplified by more defensive stats.

Masteries Explanation

The newly buffed Fervor allows Camille to build up stacks extremely quickly. Her great bonus AD scalings are impacted by the addition of bonus AD from Fervor of Battle, and her high attack speed through her E, items, runes and masteries allows her to constantly be keeping stacks up as she stays in a fight or wades in and out of a fight. This keystone is of the highest priority after the 6.24 buffs. An argument can be made for Grasp of the Undying for tougher lane matchups or even Courage of the Colossus, which works on the knockback of your ultimate as well as your E. The issue is that you lose out on the percentage armor penetration from the ferocity tree with which Camille thrives.

The resolve tree gives Camille the most added benefit to her early phases of the game, and helps her survive and be able to stay healthy enough to threaten support during a gank. The health regeneration helps her against poke and harass, Siegemaster helps her while she is pushed in (a likely scenario because of her lack of waveclear and focus on true damage Qs on opponents) and is the most gold efficient mastery with that in mind. Runic armor affects her passive shield, giving her a shield worth 1.6 percent more of her maximum health versus the 10 extra value on her shield that Veteran Scars would give and Runic armor’s contribution to the shield outscales Veteran Scars after Level 6. As well, Runic armor gives extra regeneration from the healing portion of W, and helps with the shield from Sterak’s Gage (more on that in the itemization section).

Fearless/Insight and Bounty Hunter/Double-Edged Sword are interchangeable masteries based on your playstyle. If you’re willing to sacrifice your summoner spell cooldowns a small amount, the stats that Fearless gives you are absolutely crucial on initial engages and fights that you participate in, because the additional resistances apply onto your shields, making you a sturdier threat in the first parts of a fight and giving you the upper hand as you continue to press for individual advantages. The downside is the potential small window of opportunity to exploit a lack of flash or teleport compared to the opponent, which could have deeper macro effects. Both Bounty Hunter and Double Edged Sword affect your damage to all targets, not just champions, and so are worth taking accordingly; if you feel the need to snowball your lane moreso, Double-Edged Sword is more worth it.

Skill Order Explanation

First 6 levels: QEWEER.

Gabriel, E max? Are you insane? That’s not the Q at all! I know, but hear me out. Think about what you actually get with the level up of Q. You increase your movement speed from it nominally, there is no base damage increase (only a percentage of total AD), and the cooldown is already naturally very low because of the wait time between the first and second Q. It’s also single target, making your ability to deal with large waves very difficult. But here’s the kicker (pun very intended): The true damage conversion on Q isn’t based on the level of Camille’s Q at all, but rather the level that Camille is! In that sense, there’s almost no point to leveling it up first.

Instead, maxing your E provides Camille with everything she needs immediately. It’s a fairly reliable way to immediately trigger your shield passive, gives you insane attack speed when hitting a champion, and gives you an AoE wave clear option if used on minions. The high reduced cooldown also allows her to zip around like the map is your oyster, making her roams more potent in the early stages as well.

Afterwards, you should put points into W when you can, because of the additional waveclear option, the increasing percent health damage, and the reduced cooldown also being incredibly good for early skirmishes and the ability to chase or escape. Her ultimate should be leveled at 6, 11 and 16 and should be used early and often as a way to influence other lanes or create a perfect gank either on your lane or on a lane you roam or teleport into.

Itemization Explanation

Triforce is absolutely core on Camille, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the spellblade passive applies to both parts of her Q, and the cooldown before the second Q is able to do true damage at the exact same time as the cooldown for the spellblade passive on Trinity Force. It’s literally... tons of (true) damage.

In addition to Trinity Force, Sterak’s Gage is another necessary item for Camille, as it gives her everything she needs in order to threaten enemy champions in a 1v1. Not only does the shield help her survive bursty all-ins (In the late game, Camille will get a 1000 health shield at least), the base damage increase from both the item and the additional increase from its passive allows for even more powerful Qs and true damage Qs through the base damage increase affecting the spellblade passive’s damage (which only applies based on the base damage of a champion).

Items like an early Tiamat may seem a useful investment for waveclear, but are just as easily a trap item that delays your Trinity Force. Recall that your E and W are potent AoE tools that can clear caster minions in the early stages, and her attack speed should help her do the same in later stages. Her second Q does not add the on-hit effect as true damage (aside from spellblade), so be aware of that when purchasing an item like Titanic or Ravenous Hydra.

Guardian Angel is a bundle of resists with an incredibly useful revive passive that helps when split pushing and jumping into small skirmishes. Further, It’s a set of resistances that gives you greater effective health on your shields (Camille passive and Sterak’s passive) and health gained from your core items of Trinity Force and Sterak’s Gage.

Core Build: Mercury Treads - Trinity Force - Sterak's Gage - Guardian Angel

Level 1 6 11 16 18
Base AD 62 79.5 97 114.5 121.5
AD with Core Build - - - 143.135 Base + 60 Bonus 151.875 Base + 60 Bonus
Armor/MR 26/32.1 45/38.35 64/44.6 83/50.85 90.6/53.35
Armor/MR with Core Build - 45/63.35 64/69.6 143/95.85 150.6/98.35
HP 575.6 1050.6 1525.6 2005.6 2190.6
HP - - - 3155.6 3340.6
Passive shield  115.12  210.12  305.12  401.12  438.12
Passive shield with Core Build - - -  631.12  668.12

Final Build: Mercury Treads - Trinity Force - Sterak’s Gage - Guardian Angel - Death’s Dance - Flexible Slot (based on whether enemy composition is heavy AD, heavy AP or you need more damage and cooldown reduction)

Laning

A good rule of thumb when laning with Camille is to use your first Q on minions, and your true damage Q on your lane opponent if they go in for harass or their own CS. Just sustain versus ranged matchups, trying to cull down the wave with your AoE spells and use the added resistances from Fearless and Siegemaster to come out on top when your minions harass them in response. Consider Corrupting Potion for those matchups, though a Long Sword with three health potions is pretty reasonable as well if you feel you won’t be spending too much mana. Going for Doran’s Blade in a ranged matchup is not ideal because you’re unlikely to get auto attacks off to lifesteal back the harass.

Camille... in the jungle?

It’s not out of the question by any means: Camille can jungle, and she definitely has the mobility and ultimate to be a deadly gank threat to all lanes. The same runes and masteries are worth taking in the jungle, with Siegemaster replaced by Explorer.

With the removal of the ability to get Level 3 after Red and Krugs, it’s worth starting on the blue side of the map as Camille in almost all instances now because of her high single-target damage being more appropriate for the Blue buff side. My previous article on jungle routes can get you started on the best paths given the inability to cheese your opponents with the aforementioned Red-Krugs-early gank path.

On ganks, you operate similarly to Vi: get to your target to lock them down with your ultimate. Landing the Hookshot (E) helps, but if it’s even just used to close the gap for your ultimate, it’s still worth it if your teammates can follow up. It will almost always guarantee a kill on enemies just due to the ability to keep them within a zone and away from safety, generally.

Her item build remains fairly similar to her top lane build, with only the addition of a Skirmisher's Sabre with the Warrior Enchantment, which is worth picking up before your Trinity Force. The smite active on champions is incredibly powerful in tandem with your dueling potential, the damage reduction working on your shield, and the damage over time synergizing with your ultimate damage and providing extra true damage along with your second Q.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

LoL Worlds Finals got 43 million unique viewers, 14.7 million peak concurrent

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games / Riot Games Flickr

Viewership for the League of Legends World Championship has gone up once again, with 43 million unique viewers for the Grand Finals series between SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy.

In an infographic published by Riot on Tuesday, Riot claimed that this year's event say fans watch 370 million hours of the tournament, up from 360 last year, and hit 43 million unique viewers during the Grand Finals, up from 36 million in 2015. Additionally, peak concurrent viewership for the tournament was 14.7 million, up from 14 million last year.

However, this jump is not nearly as large as the gap between 2014 and 2015's numbers. In 2014, the grand finals reached 27 million unique viewers, with 194 million total hours watched.

Another interesting stat from Riot's infographic is that the final prize pool reached 6.7 million dollars, up from 2.1 million thanks to fan contribution and team icon purchases.

Also, don't feel bad if you got your pick'em wrong. Literally only one person had a perfect pick'em. One out of 1,969,087. Hope he enjoys his skins.

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

WildTurtle leaves Immortals

by 3d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games/lolesports / NA LCS Spring 2016 / Riot Games

The Immortals clear-out has continued as the team announced Monday that their starting AD Carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran will not be re-signing with the organization.

The announcement follows the departure of other starters in the Immortals lineup, with Adrian "Adrian" Ma heading to Phoenix1, Heo "Huni" Seong-hoon joining SKT and Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin singing with Team Liquid. All players were eligible to field offers from other teams as of September, when Immortals' CEO Noah Winston released a video about the team pre-Worlds. Coach Dylan Falco also departed, with the void being filled by David "Hermes" Tu.

WildTurtle was last seen at IEM Oakland, as a substitute for Peng "Doublelift" Yilang on Team SoloMid. The team lost in semifinals to eventual champions the Unicorns of Love.

Eugene "Pobelter" Park is the last member of the team's summer roster who has not announced his departure.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

NA LCS sister teams cannot play in promotion tournaments

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

NA LCS sister teams competing in the Challenger Series will not be allowed to compete in promotion tournaments to secure a spot in the LCS, Riot Games senior esports coordinator J.T. Vandenbree announced on Twitter Thursday. Vandenbree also added that, at the moment, he could only confirm that the policy will be in place for the NA LCS as "EU makes their own choice on this."

In the past, sister teams such as Cloud9 Challenger and Dignitas EU won LCS slots through promotion tournaments, but because LCS rules restrict organizations from running more than one team in a league, the orgs had to sell the LCS seeds for hefty profits.

Vandenbree specifically says the policy change is to prevent orgs from intentionally "farming" LCS slots for the express intention of selling them. He also says that if a sister team qualifies for a promotion tournament, they will be passed over in favor of the next placed Challenger Series team.

In November, Counter Logic Gaming acquired several members of Team Cloud to form a roster to compete in the NA Challenger Series Open Qualifier. According CLG's head coach, Tony "Zikz" Grey, the team knew about the policy change when they signed the players and they are "dedicated to helping players improve."

"We created our challenger team knowing that the team would not be able to qualify for the LCS promotion tournament even if they won the Challenger Series. Our players signed with us knowing the same thing," Counter Logic Gaming said in a statement on Reddit. "We picked up our players, and they joined us because there was a mutual understanding that the primary goal was player development. They are a part of the CLG organization as much as our LCS players are. We want them to become the best players they can be."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

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