Elements' owner Jacob Toft-Andersen explained the reasoning behind the addition of Dexter in a statement. Toft-Andersen also told theScore eSports that Feldkamp will not be starting this week.
The window for submissions of new players for rest of the season including playoffs closed yesterday, Monday 16th.
We merely added players to ensure that if something should happen, we were prepared. Riot has been encouraging adding and making use of substitutes, wanting to make it a more common approach and natural development of the teams, and Dexter is not the only substitute we have added.
We have all intentions of playing with the current starting lineup.
theScore has reached out for a comment about the other substitutes that have been added but have not obtained a response by publication time.
This post will be updated with the other substitutes when information becomes available.
Erik "Tabzz" van Helvert has been confirmed as the additional substitute by Riot Games.
YellOwStaR's final year
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games
The face cams drifted between Fabien "Febiven" Diepstraten and Lee "Spirit" Dayoon as the Unicorns of Love dismantled Fnatic's final Nexus in Game 3 of the 2016 Regional World Championship qualifier. Febiven’s anger was palpable. Spirit, after his final death, covered his face before sinking into his seat and hanging his arm across his stomach, uncoiling all of the tension he’d kept locked down tight through his year in the EU LCS.
In the EU LCS studio, Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov teased his bangs before he stood from his chair. Unicorns, stunned by their victory, huddled together in quiet celebration, while excited fans in pink jerseys punched the air and cheered.
When Unicorns crossed the divider for the handshake, the cameras hovered on Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek as he met his former teammates. He managed to nod and hug both Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss and Hylissang before the Unicorns moved to the front of the stage to tag the crowd. UoL manager Romain "Khagneur" Bigeard crossed Fnatic’s name off his bare chest in black marker. Febiven lagged behind his team, clearing his peripherals one more time before he slogged backstage.
Not once — from his final death to the followup analysis on the desk — did the production team focus in on Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim, team captain and fixture of Fnatic since the start of the LCS era. The loss to UoL meant YellOwStaR wouldn’t attend a sixth consecutive World Championship. His streak had at last come to an end. Yet there's no footage of YellOwStaR’s reaction to the last professional game he played in the 2016 season — the last, it turns out, that he would ever play.
Fans have an idealized narrative that sports heroes are supposed to follow. The seasoned veteran works excruciatingly long hours to achieve an end, he climbs the ranks and makes a name for himself. When he’s reached his peak, when he’s won it all, he retires gracefully because he can rest well on his laurels.
That ending can also be that of a coward who is afraid to want to achieve more. YellOwStaR was no coward. He didn't quit at his peak; he kept doing what he loved until he became weary of the game. His final year in the LCS was a disappointment, likely not just for his fans but for the widely celebrated support player himself. But no pro should know his limit until he reaches it and the drive to push it vanishes. That sort of heroism is what kept us searching for YellOwStaR's face when the camera panned away from the Nexus to show us the emotions of the players and the crowd.
A year prior to his retirement announcement, at the height of YellOwStaR’s career, he attended the 2015 World Championship with Febiven, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, Heo "Huni" Seunghoon and Kim "Reignover" Yeujin, a squad rebuilt around him. They advanced to a World Championship quarterfinal against EDward Gaming, and though EDG didn’t have the tight form expected of them going into the tournament, Fnatic played clean games their way and closed a 3-0. It was the first best-of-five win by a European team over a Chinese team in the history of League of Legends.
Fnatic had made their definitive mark on the international community. They were the strongest Western team to attend a World Championship since the start of the LCS era. Yet their triumph was punctuated by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of KOO Tigers in the semifinal. Rekkles, commenting on KOO’s unexpected performance and the fact that he personally felt he pushed himself too hard, acknowledged the Tigers were a better team. It left fans with a sense the roster could have achieved more.
By the very nature of competition, those who don’t limit themselves often succeed. That doesn’t mean an individual should set unrealistic goals, nor does it mean he should skip steps along the way and try at something he isn’t ready for. But if he sees something he wants to achieve, he should at least work toward it, insofar as he has the energy to do so.
In his retirement statement, YellOwStaR reflected on the moment he last considered leaving the game: after a disappointing World Championship showing where he failed to escape Group Stage. "Back in 2014 when I was having second thoughts," he said, "I turned to my loved ones for advices and they told me to pursue my dreams as long as I was genuinely happy doing it." Because he chose to continue playing then, YellOwStaR gave LoL fans one of the greatest storylines of 2015, with an 18-0 run in the EU LCS summer regular season and an exciting appearance at the World Championship. I imagine he still felt genuinely happy playing the game then, and he strove to push himself even further.
Following Fnatic’s semifinal appearance at Worlds 2015, it would be ridiculous to think YellOwStaR was satisfied, that his goals had been met and that he didn’t want to achieve something else before he hung up his mouse. Of course he didn’t want to retire before 2016. He wanted a serious run at Worlds with teammates boasting pedigrees of experience that matched his own.
His determination led him to Los Angeles, where he played for League of Legends’ most iconic squad, Team SoloMid, alongside North America’s most renowned AD carry, Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng. He failed spectacularly. It would be dishonest to YellOwStaR’s reputation to call his time on TSM anything other than disaster, even though the team managed to place second in the spring playoffs. Doublelift would later refer to him as "one of the worst supports [he’d] ever played with," going on to criticize both his mechanics and his decision-making.
When YellOwStaR did return to the EU LCS for Fnatic, the expectation was he would replicate Rekkles' triumphant return the previous year. Fnatic’s famed bottom lane, though hardly ever regarded as lane-dominant outside early spring 2014, had a long familiarity that made them reliable and safe, that allowed them to prep the rest of the team and control vision.
Somehow, YellOwStaR managed an even worse performance returning to his old organization. He and Rekkles looked for a way to exert early pressure with the jungler and mid lane farming more passively, but they often misplayed trades and simply fell further behind. Fnatic were aided by the lane swap meta when the team could dictate the pace of the game after turret trades, but the 2v2 emphasis in summer playoffs and regionals proved debilitating.
Much of the blame fell on YellOwStaR. He doesn’t deserve of all of it, not by a large margin; Johan "Klaj" Olsson, Fnatic’s spring support, wouldn’t have been a noticeable improvement, and Fnatic had problems with unity and early pressure in more than just bottom lane. But YellOwStaR didn’t feel as stable on Fnatic anymore.
In their heartfelt farewells, commentators and former teammates of YellOwStaR have often ignored the disappointments of his final year, as if they have been minor black marks on an otherwise steady and stable part of his career. I’ve personally gone into detail to track him from 2011through 2014, an as-yet incomplete account which leaves off just before his peak in 2015. But I don't want to ignore 2016, his most disappointing year — not now, as I watch one of League of Legends’ most iconic players transition to a new role in 2017. It isn’t a part of his story to be ashamed of.
If YellOwStaR had retired at the end of 2015, I would always wonder what he could have achieved in 2016. Romantic notions are one thing, but the reality of watching him confront difficulty this year, of accepting that he had struggled and failed to replicate results, was almost more fulfilling. I will always remember that in his final year of professional play, YellOwStaR wanted to keep playing and challenged himself until he came to a realization he felt too exhausted to continue.
Bringing up YellOwStaR’s failures in his final year isn’t a disservice to what he achieved. It would also be unfair to say he held his teammates back, based on the struggles Fnatic had and the way TSM bounced back in the spring playoffs and then again in the summer split with a new support.
YellOwStaR simply dared to dream. It would do us well to remember that, sometimes, to fail is also heroic.
Sandbox mode on the horizon: Riot Games begins work on "single-player training mode"
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Riot Games
Riot Games have begun work on the much requested in-game practice tools, or sandbox mode, for League of Legends, starting with a "single-player training mode," according to a joint blog post from Andrew “Riot Aeon” Brownell and Rowan “L4T3NCY” Parker posted on Friday.
Riot's proposed practice tool will allow players to have infinite gold, reset their cooldowns, lock their level and freeze minion spawns. A full feature list is still in the works, but they have stated that they're "currently not looking to develop a multiplayer training tool for organized team drills or pro-play specifically.
"Once we get the first version out, we’ll pay close attention to see if we missed anything in terms of how to become better by yourself," Aeon and L4T3NCY said in their blog post.
The news comes a year after Riot's blog post where they stated, "we never want to see a day when a player wants to improve at League and their first obligation is to hop into a Sandbox." In Riot's recent blog post, they admit that their initial thoughts were not in line with the rest of the community.
"A year ago, we shot ourselves in the foot with our first attempt at Riot Pls," Riot Aeon and L4T3NCY said in their blog post. "Back then we said that a practice tool — an environment where you could train solo, without restraints — wasn’t something we wanted to do. You disagreed, and we heard you."
No timeline is stated for the release of Riot's Practice Tool, but further updates are promised throughout the 2017 pre-season.
Here are some initial community reactions:
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking AbaddonSlardarClinkzMedusaOracleaP90 my Souvenir Negev. You can follow him on Twitter.
Because I'm FORG1VEN
Thumbnail image courtesy of Worlds / lolesports flickr
Albus NoX Luna had already picked Caitlyn. It was H2K-Gaming’s final champion rotation of the first game of the 2016 World Championship quarterfinal, and Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou-Napoleon’s stare was locked on his screen. He spoke quickly with his coach, and then he took Sivir.
As the casters reminded the audience that Sivir's range disadvantage against Caitlyn makes for a poor matchup, those familiar with the mythos of FORG1VEN heard the lines they left out. FORG1VEN is too stubborn to give up a laning advantage for his teammates — he refuses to play a matchup that doesn't crush lane.
But his approach to the game is more nuanced than the popular narrative would have us believe. He is stubborn. He knows what he wants and how he wants to play. The rest is up for interpretation.
Since his entry into the LCS, FORG1VEN hasn't lasted more than a split on a single team, but his return to H2K for the final week of the EU LCS Summer Split delivered hints that this time would be different. He is the same AD carry he always has been, but H2K have begun to identify that his ability to dominate the lane is his own way of being a team player. They have learned how they can use him to find advantages, not just in his lane, but everywhere on the map.
"I was always kind of a flexible player," he told me after the match. "I mean maybe not many people see it, but the reason that I'm dominant as a player in laning phase doesn't mean that my team has always played around it."
Sometimes FORG1VEN does take up a large share of his team's resources, as he often did in the spring season with H2K. Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski would, at times, spend a great deal of his time sitting in brush around bottom lane or hesitate to head to the top lane and give up pressure.
That didn’t necessarily mean FORG1VEN was demanding attention from Jankos. FORG1VEN is the kind of player who believes he can still succeed when he's at a disadvantage, and whether or not the team decides to support him, he will play to win his lane. In the Albus NoX series, the fact that Caitlyn out-ranged Sivir hardly factored into his decision. "I'm obviously better than my counterpart, so I got to do what I want to do regardless," he told me. "I kind of dictated the way that bot lane or bottom side of map would go."
Whenever he explains a decision he makes, "because I’m FORG1VEN" is inevitably part of his reasoning. It's something he’s aware of and something he wants to use, but not in a one-dimensional way.
"I like Sivir a lot as a pick in general," he said, though he admitted it took him a long time to come around to the champion last year. "Obviously it's not as lane dominant as it should be, but as a player, I can get away with this because it's like what Tristana was in the previous split, where it was very bad in lane, but because of how bad players were against me, I was able to get away with it by taking Tristana. So Sivir is basically the same thing. It helps my team, it basically helps me to play my style still."
True to his prognosis, FORG1VEN broke even in CS for the early part of the first match. With his shorter-range pick he was able to push out creeps, and by 10 minutes he was leading in itemization and CS over his opponent.
H2K’s first-pick Jayce signaled that they were going to invest more resources in the top lane. In fact, they gave up Caitlyn early in all three games in the series, and FORG1VEN chose picks that were more off-meta. Though Lucian and Sivir haven’t been favorite choices for pro carries lately, aspects of their kit will always appeal to FORG1VEN. Sivir’s innate control of the lane's flow, Lucian’s mobility and his ability to get an easy lead and remain relevant — FORG1VEN looks at all of these things independent of whether or not he will have jungle pressure on his side.
Most of H2K’s successful games so far at the World Championship and in the 2016 EU LCS Summer Playoffs have relied more on Jankos coordinating with his solo lanes. The opportunity that FORG1VEN has in these kinds of games is not more jungle pressure in his lane, but everywhere else. The team is able to take advantages across the map at the same time he is building up his own bot.
FORG1VEN will find a way to take a lead, regardless of H2K's game plan. For example, since the lane swap patch, he has started to buy a Cull, an item that allows its owner to stack an extra unit of gold with each minion kill up to 100, at which point it's cashed in for an additional 350. In the lane swap meta, FORG1VEN shied away from this item — with his consistent farm, he felt he could do one better, buying a B.F. Sword by the time the first tier tower trades ended while competitors went with Cull plus Long Sword. With a B.F., he recalls, "I have 40 or whatever more damage on him, so I wish him good luck if he wants to contest or if he wants to be faster in the lane swap."
More recently, FORG1VEN has altered his build to take Cull more often. In the post-swap meta, he can buy it at nearly any point in the game and be sure to cash it in thanks to his farming efficiency. In H2K's Group Stage Week 2 match against ahq e-Sports, for example, he bought a Cull after already farming 105 creeps, meaning he would have to extend the laning phase and farm even longer to make the item worth it. Where that might cause other players to hesitate, for FORG1VEN the choice was trivial. Whether facing a 2v3 scenario, poor matchup, fast push or extended laning phase, he still believes he can play the way he wants, far forward in lane and in control. He doesn’t put limits on himself, and he pushes the advantages he has as far as they can go.
That doesn’t mean he's immune to misjudging his limits from time to time. For example, in Game 3 against Albus NoX Luna, FORG1VEN and Oskar "VandeR" Bogdan were forward in lane while Jankos and mid laner Yoo "Ryu" Sangook took dragon. Albus’ jungler and support planned a Bard Magical Journey gank and eliminated both of them.
Yet nothing seems to shake FORG1VEN's confidence. Even when H2K play to the top side of the map, or Jankos isn’t in a convenient position to provide a counter-gank, he will play like his jungler is nearby or like he knows where the enemy jungler is — not always, but often enough to notice. He believes he is smart enough to respond to threats as they arise.
Though lane matchups often dictate the flow of the game, FORG1VEN talks like they don’t apply to him and VandeR. "We basically absorb pressure or we play matchups that we should lose, but we don't," he said after the ANX match. "Junglers going to gank from wherever, so I have to be really smart, and I was really smart, I think."
This is a high-risk way of looking at the game, but it has worked out for H2K more and more often since FORG1VEN's return. The team feels more unified than it did in the spring. Improving bottom lane vision helps to facilitate this style, and at the EU LCS playoffs and Worlds a lot of H2K’s wards have ended up on the bottom side of the map. This time around, no one has tried to make FORG1VEN play in a way he wouldn’t normally.
This trend extends to the draft. In our interview, FORG1VEN said he hasn't been forced to play a specific champ, but largely has control of his own picks. "I obviously decide as a player," he said. "I advise my coach what I think is the best, then he thinks of it because we had discussion previously, and we go into a decision."
FORG1VEN can be a restriction on his team as much as a degree of freedom. But since the start of the past split, H2K seem to have learned how to play within his parameters. He is a known quantity, but when his play works, it opens up a great deal of opportunities on the rest of the map. Perhaps understanding that has made the synergy between Jankos and his solo lanes more effective as well. Jankos no longer camps lane idly — instead, his laners are good at prepping waves for him to gank as soon as he approaches, and he’s able to control much more of the farm in the jungle with pushes from his teammates. He falls behind less in CS than he did in either spring or summer’s regular splits.
It’s well-documented that FORG1VEN can be difficult to work with, but H2K seems to have learned to work around it. "I know if I do poorly in lane, he'll be really mad at me," VandeR jested after H2K's tiebreaker win in the Group Stage. Then he sobered up a bit and added: "I have to always consider this and always have to — I have to help the team a bit more, right? I am a support player, I carry wards and pink wards, so sometimes I have to go to enemy camp and ward it, or pink for mid lane — but I also have this in the back of my mind, that I have FORG1VEN in bot lane, so if I make him unhappy by roaming too much... you know? I have to be a bit careful for that."
Whenever FORG1VEN plays with a team, it seems as if they eventually reach a turning point, where they can choose to stick it out through the growing pressure and find ways to work around whatever obstacles FORG1VEN presents in-game or out-of-game, or they can part ways and go a different direction. Given this trend, and H2K's other difficulties this year, it’s almost miraculous that they made it to semifinals. Their opponents weren’t as challenging as they could have been — H2K’s run so far can be likened to Star Horn Royal Club’s in 2014, in that they didn't encounter a Korean team until there were no other options left — but the achievement is nonetheless commendable, because it seems like FORG1VEN has finally found a roster that fits him. After seasons of restlessness, he has found one that at least makes some effort to exploit the freedom he provides, while making concessions for what he takes away.
"The fact that we are in Top 4 is actually a huge success if you remember or if you remind yourself how H2K went through the last split," FORG1VEN said. "Personally, it isn't that I want to make our achievement a big deal, like wow or holy shit they are so good, but we have to come to a realization."
FORG1VEN's teammates have said that their success since he returned at the end of the summer hasn’t just been a result of their own sacrifices; they’ve noticed a change in him as well. “Now he's more respectful of where we're playing and on what side we're playing," Odoamne said before the group stage began. "He's accepted that in some situations he might not be our strong side.”
Arguably, this tentative sweet spot has always been there, but it required FORG1VEN and his team to carve out a mutual understanding to find it. It’s not that he doesn’t want to play a balanced team game, but he wants to be able to contribute to it with his own strengths, not force himself to focus on another style that doesn't suit him.
"You can either be an all around player and never be truly good at anything, or you can be a very good player with flaws that you can always cover. There are very specific and few parts of the game that you can actually be truly good at and shine in comparison to your position or to your competition," he said.
"It's what the game allows me to do. I'm not going to play the second best in one way. Yes, I'm very good at lane phase … It’s just a strength that I have, so shouldn't I play my strength sometimes?"
Success means being stubborn sometimes. It means pushing the boundaries of what you’re good at, demanding sacrifices of others around you. But it also means sacrificing things yourself. In subtle ways, it's something FORG1VEN is slowly learning. But on the other hand, it's something that's always been part of his identity as a player, he's just struggled to communicate it to his teammates. Like a 2v3, it's just another boundary for him to push. Maybe this extra time with H2K has helped him begin.
Perkz on his performance at Worlds and his motivation for the next split
Thumbnail image courtesy of Worlds / lolesports flickr
With the 2016 World Championship now behind him, Luka "Perkz" Perković took to Twitlonger to express his disappointment in his performance following G2's elimination.
"After Worlds I was pretty down, both because we played poorly and mostly because I played poorly...," Perkz said. "I was feeling sad that I disappointed my fans, friends and people who believed in me, but I was mostly sad that I disappointed myself because I had a lot higher expectations of myself after the whole Korean bootcamp where I felt like I had reached very high level and consistent performance in scrims and not being able to translate that on stage hit me really hard and made me change the way I think about the game and the way I approach everything else."
G2 entered Worlds as the first European seed, and were regarded as one of the top Western teams at the tournament. Yet hopes were dashed after the team finished Week One of the group stage with a disappointing 0-3 record, setting the stage for their elimination from Worlds in the second week.
Despite the loss, Perkz was happy with how his LoL career started, and said wants to use the loss at Worlds as motivation for the future.
"Nevertheless, this year has been a great experience and learning process for me and I will take so much from it for next year which will not only make me a better player, but a better competitor and there is yet so much more to learn," Perkz said.
"I'm very happy with how my [career] has started (winning both Regular and playoffs LCS splits) and this World's loss will only motivate me to work even harder in future, my biggest wish and motivation right now is to actually perform internationally and win a tournament. (Seeing SKT being so good for so long really motivates you to take the throne one day.)"
PSG AMA: YellOwStaR hopes to fill out Challenger team with fresh talent and two Koreans
Thumbnail image courtesy of Lee Smith / Action Images via Reuters
French football club Paris Saint-Germain may have just announced their entry into esports last week, but head of esports Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim is already hard at work planning what kinds of players he wants on the team in 2017.
In a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread, YellOwStaR said that although Europe has a strong base of talented players, the team believe they will need a few South Korean veterans to round out the squad. PSG are planning on bringing on younger rookies from Europe, he said, and they hope they will be able to find some more experienced Koreans to guide them.
"When it comes down to players — to be original, I would like to work with 2 Korean players that would 'lead by example' and young players that are willing to prove themselves and make their own name on the scene," he explained.
"Having a lot of discipline is necessary to constantly improve — work ethics, respect and being humble in any circumstances. Korea is still dominating the scene in these matters even though we have an extreme amount of talented players [in Europe]. We are living in a world where it is easy to get distracted, temptation is always here and the hardest opponent is probably [ourselves]."
He said that he didn't think that being an EU Challenger team, rather than an LCS steam, will prevent PSG from being able to find Korean candidates.
PSG announced their purchase of Team Huma's spot in the 2017 EU Challenger Series Spring Split on Friday, naming YellOwStaR their head of esports at the press conference. The former Fnatic player will also be in charge of scouting members for their LoL roster, though he says that his hopes for the season are relatively simple: he wants to make it to the LCS by 2018.
"Our main goal is to qualify in LCS this season," he said. "It's not an easy task, so we will try to build a team with some experienced players that could help the youngest to grow and prove themselves along enabling their full potential."
A spokesperson for PSG said the organization has been looking into esports for three years, and investigated LoL for a year before making their move.
"For a big organization like us it always take a bit of time to have everybody on the boat, but we are now very thrilled to be part of it," the spokesperson said.
For now, PSG's esports division only has a spot in the EU CS with no signed players, plus two FIFA pros, August "Agge" Rosenmeier and Lucas "Daxe" Cuillerier. The organization said that they've discussed entering other esports, but they want to understand the market before pushing in any further. One comment hinted that they were considering Overwatch as an avenue for expansion.
Throughout the AMA, PSG reiterated that no matter what happens next LCS season, they are dedicated to esports and here to stay. "We have some experience with sport disappointment, so don't expect us to surrender if things don't go immediately in the good direction," the org wrote.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. He's here to talk about Joyce and chew bubblegum, and he's all out of bubblegum. You can follow him on Twitter.