Elements adds dexter as a substitute, owner says that he will not be playing this week

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European LCS team Elements have confirmed to theScore eSports that they will be adding Marcel "Dexter" Feldkamp as a substitute player to their League of Legends roster. 

The move was first reported by the website summoners-inn.de. 

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. 

Update: 

Erik "Tabzz" van Helvert has been confirmed as the additional substitute by Riot Games.

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Highlight: Vitality pull off the miracle hold, twice

by 1d ago

This was insane.

Team Vitality felt plenty of pressure in their second game against G2 Esports, when G2 decided to push deep and end the game. But as Vitality's towers fell, they managed to pull it together and save their Nexus with a fraction of its health remaining.

But Vitality couldn't capitalize on their defense, as G2 came back with their entire team not even three minutes later. As all of G2 converged on the Nexus, Vitality pulled off the impossible to wipe G2 and hold a second time.

Vitality would go on to win the game, in what is easily the greatest hold in the EU LCS in the 2016 Summer Split.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Police to start for Vitality against Giants Gaming

by 4d ago

Park "Police" Hyeong-gi will start for Team Vitality in their first match of Week 4 against Giants Gaming over Victor "Reje" Etlar Eriksen, according to a tweet from Reje.

Police has started in eight games for Vitality in the Summer Split, securing a 5.33 KDA, including an impressive 6.67 KDA on Ezrael in three games. It is not known if he will start in Vitality's match against G2 Esports on Friday.

Reje was originally picked up by Vitality on June 4, starting in four games. In those four games, he has earned a 2.69 KDA on champions such as Ezreal, Vayne and Ashe.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Live or die by Jankos

by 4d ago

During the 2016 European League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split's third place match, H2k-Gaming locked in Kindred as their first pick in two games which resulted in losses. Pundits quickly criticized Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski for his untimely ultimates that cost his team in skirmishes. In Game 3 specifically, commentators hesitated to outright condemn the pick, but the notion that the series could end in a sweep for Fnatic grew more pronounced.

Yet within four minutes and 30 seconds of Game 3, Jankos had secured first blood by countering Fnatic’s invade and finally managed to unlock the pick's early game power. Jankos immediately transitioned to the Rift Herald, and his continued proactive play compensated for lackluster team fighting that started H2K on what could have ended in a reverse sweep.

During H2K’s playoffs run, a lot of criticism flocked to jungle and support duo Jankos and Oskar "VandeR" Bogdan and their poor execution in teamfights. Yet at the conclusion of the spring split, both remained on the team while AD carry Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou-Napoleon found himself replaced.

Over the course of last spring's regular season, Jankos averaged similar gank rates, fewer camp clears, and less average wards in the first 10 minutes of every game than his opponents and a lot of this came down to him camping lanes and looking for ganks over exerting pressure on the map. He also put a great deal more emphasis on clearing wards, picking up sweeping lens and buying pink wards earlier than his opposition on more frequent backs.

During the time when Marcin “Selfie” Wolski played mid lane for H2K, Jankos spent most of his time in the mid lane applying pressure. When mid laner Yoo "Ryu" Sangook returned to the team, pressure shifted drastically to the duo lane. Jankos looked for gank opportunities he didn’t execute in FORG1VEN’s lane and hoped that that focus would help FORG1VEN get ahead and threaten side waves in tower push strategies.

This is no longer H2K, and this is no longer the Jankos we once knew.

The mantra “live or die by Jankos” has become a humorous one-liner in the EU LCS, based on the fact that Jankos, for better or worse, has been involved in multiple First Bloods — he either secures first blood for his team or dies trying. At the moment, Jankos has the highest kill participation of any jungler in the EU LCS at 81.2 percent and is among the top three junglers for percentage of team damage dealt (above the likes of Lee “Spirit” Dayoon and Kim “Trick” Gangyun who typically prioritize damage dealing picks), but also has the highest percentage of his team’s deaths at 24 percent.

Statistics support the adage “Live and die by Jankos,” but ultimately that’s a surface level basis to say that H2K's success or failure hinges on Jankos’ play. Jankos constantly looks for opportunities in H2K’s early game, as he has in the past, to snowball their game in their favor based on a catch. As H2K have gravitated more and more to a pick-oriented style, some of the champions most famously associated with Jankos (like Lee Sin and Elise) have become favorite choices in draft.

He’s undefeated on both picks, with losses on every other champion except Kindred, which he has only played once heading into Week 4.

Both this style of play and the shift of H2K’s focus give Jankos considerably more agency. In H2K’s first series, the team chose Nidalee, a pick that at the time seemed to be an unrivaled jungle choice. Despite this, Jankos had relatively low early pressure and focused on farming while Swain took over the game for Team ROCCAT.

In response, rather than banning Swain, H2K both gave up him and Nidalee in Game 2, responding with a much more early game focused composition with a first rotation Ekko and Lucian. Lee Sin came out in their next rotation, as a very proactive jungle choice. Game 2 became a race against ROCCAT with Jankos as the main conductor.

Jankos visited all three of his lanes by the 10 minute mark, resulting in kills for him and assists for each of his teammates. He ended the 35 minute game with a 6/1/15 scoreline.

Immediately the difference between H2K when Jankos felt comfortable and H2K when Jankos seemed more out of his element became apparent. The rest of the season so far has followed Jankos’ ups and downs as H2K’s center of attention.

Previously Jankos has referred to Ryu as the brains of the team. Whether Ryu, Jankos, or someone else makes the call on which lanes the team should apply pressure to early, the addition of Aleš "Freeze" Kněžínek has created a more free-flowing H2K with less obvious decision-making that attempts to vary its style and main carry game-to-game. Jankos’ numbers support him as the only constant for the team, to both their benefit and detriment.

What some have referred to as H2K’s new experimental phase has a tinge of forcing to it. Jankos, desperate to make something happen on the map at times, occasionally makes himself easy to read. In H2K’s second game against G2 Esports last week, after G2 secured first blood against Freeze, Jankos traded by invading their blue buff. G2 had vision of this move, and Jankos then went to his own red buff to secure the team’s first double buffs.

During this game, Trick played Rek’Sai, who benefits less from the blue buff. Perhaps Jankos believed that Trick would rotate to H2K’s blue buff so he could get both buffs, but Trick instead rotated top to clear out wolves in his own blue buff quadrant. G2, as evidenced by the river ward they placed on the top side, also predicted Jankos would head to the top lane rather than rotating to his own blue buff as a result, especially since G2’s top laner, then on the bottom side of the map, had a level advantage on Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu. If G2 did initiate a contest on blue buff, it wouldn’t be worth it for Jankos either, as he already secured Trick’s blue buff.

It was easy to guess Jankos would head top, as G2’s Ezreal pick still needed time to scale against H2K’s Sivir. Despite Freeze dying early, H2K had an obvious window to get their duo lane back into the game, and Jankos took it. As Olaf, however, he walked over the ward placed by Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez in river, and Trick responded easily to the skirmish on the top side, setting H2K even further behind.

Since the 2015 EU LCS Spring Split, Jankos’ pressure has been tied to a specific lane to some degree. Remigiusz "Overpow" Pusch’s stint as a top laner meant he over-extended and required near constant pressure from Jankos to avoid dying frequently. Following ROCCAT’s shift to a more stable top laner, Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik Holm received the lion’s share of jungle pressure from Jankos as the most impactful lane. 2016 H2K saw Jankos focus on Selfie or FORG1VEN.

When the top teams in the EU LCS playoffs used jungle and mid lane synergy to control the map, Ryu became an obvious target for ganks and H2K failed to adapt. More than their teamfighting, this created obvious disadvantages for them. As both Fnatic and G2 continue to grow based on their junglers farming heavily, invading, and searching for their opponent jungler, H2K seek a compromise based on Jankos’ own style.

H2K have started to evolve in a way that appears as if they’re playing around Jankos only because Jankos’ pathing shifts from game to game. He remains a heavy ganker with H2K, taking a much lower percentage of jungle farm (48.3 percent) than Fnatic (58 percent) or G2 (56.2 percent) and a slightly lower percentage of team gold (mostly secured through kills).

Finally given more freedom in his jungle, Jankos still props up his lanes, but the lane he focuses on changes from game to game. In some ways, this is a more challenging style to execute than having the team follow his initiative in jungle invades and play around him the same way Fnatic or G2 tend to play around their junglers. Every player on H2K needs to feel comfortable playing both a low farm and a carry role. Communication structure will also fluctuate from game-to-game, as both VandeR and Freeze have mentioned that Freeze becomes more vocal in calls when he’s ahead in particular.

When FORG1VEN left the team, Coach Neil "PR0LLY" Hammad said, "There’s a lot of new things we can try now with Freeze, so we spent the last week and a half kind of experimenting with things that we weren’t able to do with our last roster."

At the moment, H2K look as if they’re still trying to decide on a style of play. Their compositions vary, and they rotate their main carry from game-to-game. Jankos grasps at straws, trying to force things to happen across the map, resulting in H2K’s quick success or failure, giving them the second shortest game time in the league at 34.5 minutes.

Except that this is H2K’s style now. They aren’t trying to decide on a new one, they’re hammering out the edges and trying to make this one work. Jankos is their main carry in that his pathing dictates H2K’s carry each game. Where he and VandeR choose to place wards determines the team’s objective priority.

Moving in this direction is risky. Because of the challenge it poses, H2K could spend the entire season looking awkward and appearing to force things that may or may not work. A lot will depend on the team's ability to maximize their creativity and coordination to remain unpredictable, even if the composition and the flow of the game dictates a very obvious course of action, H2K need to find ways to keep ganking bottom lane (or top, or mid, or invading) feeling polished without ganking bottom lane every game.

A lot of this new style depends not just on H2K's ability to function as a team, but Jankos' own peculiarities, which haven't always been reliable. Yet Jankos has risen to the occasion under high pressure situations in the past.

In the end, H2K may decide it’s not worth it. They may eventually fall into a pattern of playing to a particular side of the map or working around Jankos to invade the enemy jungle more often, as has become the trend for Europe’s other two top teams at the moment. Until then, “live or die by Jankos” isn’t just something they’re doing to get by, it isn’t just a joke thrown around on the broadcast to pass the time.

This is H2k-Gaming. Welcome to the summer split.

Statistics from OraclesElixir.com and lol.EsportsWikis.com.

Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter for occasional EU LCS rants.

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Glimpsing the Void: The statistical value of the Rift Herald in pro play

Tim "Magic" Sevenhuysen 4d ago

How valuable is the Rift Herald in the 2016 summer meta?

In some pro leagues, teams place high priority on Rift Herald, including in North America, where many players feel that in the right situation, the Herald is worth as much as a dragon or tower. Other regions, however, still seem unconvinced, or have needed time to warm up to the idea of the Herald’s value.

For anyone who remains unconvinced about the Rift Herald — I’m looking at you, LoL Master Series teams — it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Statistical analysis, including multivariate modelling, conclusively shows just how big the Rift Herald’s impact really is. A close observer will recognize, too, the influence the Herald has had over the entire LoL meta game.

The Rift Herald’s New Face

Heading into summer 2016, Riot gave the Rift Herald a complete redesign, making it nearly impossible to kill solo and replacing its temporary minion aura buff with a 20-minute persistent buff called “Glimpse of the Void” that provides damage reduction and bonus on-hit damage when no allied champions are nearby. Securing the new Herald takes a significant investment of time and resources, requiring multiple team members and the same kind of minion wave management and protective vision that is usually committed to setting up dragons.

As with any sizeable change to the game, it has taken pro teams a little bit of time to figure out the actual value of the new Rift Herald, and how much to prioritize it. On patch 6.10, the Rift Herald was killed in 55 percent of LCS/LCK/LMS games. That includes a kill rate of just 20 percent in Week 1 of the EU LCS.

It only took a week or two, though, for most teams to bump the Herald up a notch on their priority list. The EU LCS jumped on board, killing the Herald in 50 percent of games in Week 2 and 80 percent of games in Week 3. On patch 6.11, the Herald kill rate has climbed to 66 percent.

Rift Herald Kill Rates by League

League  Rift Herald Kill Rate (by either team)
NA LCS  76%
EU LCS  50%
LCK  69%
LMS  17%

Curiously, the LMS is lagging far behind the rest of the world: in the second week of the LMS, not a single Herald was killed in 12 games. Given what’s happening in the other major regions, it’s likely the LMS will pick up on the trend soon.

What’s the Big Deal?

Why are Rift Herald rates rising? Just check the numbers:

Across the NA LCS, EU LCS, LCK, and LMS, the team that takes the Rift Herald has won 72 percent of the time.

This number doesn’t tell the whole story, though. A simple win rate doesn’t reveal how much of a role the Herald itself played in securing the victory. It’s important to bear in mind that the team that takes the Herald is often already in the lead.

Game Time  Gold Lead of Team That Took Rift Herald
10 Minutes  +437
15 Minutes  +1184
20 Minutes  +1637

While the Rift Herald is clearly contributing to that 72 percent win rate, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Breaking down the specific value of the Herald, in context with gold and dragons, requires a more sophisticated approach.

The Model

To mathematically determine the value of the Rift Herald, I produced a logistic regression (or “logit”) model.

You can read about the logistic regression model in detail here, along with some other interesting numbers about which top lane champions have received Rift Herald the most.

But, if you’re not a statistician, there’s no need to worry about all of those numbers. Boiled down, what they’re revealing is that the overall model and the individual components are statistically significant, and that the model explains a good, though not exceptional, amount of the variance in win rates. The remaining variance will mostly be due to things like team/player skill and performance, or champion selections.

Here’s the takeaway:

All else being equal, if your team holds the Rift Herald buff at the 20 minute mark, your probability of winning is 61.7 percent.

Of course, since the team that gets the Rift Herald often already has a lead, the numbers get even better. Combine your Rift Herald buff with a lead of 1,000 gold and one dragon, and you’re looking at an 82.2 percent win probability. Bump it up to having Rift Herald, +2,000 gold, and +1 dragon, and you’re a 90.2 percent favorite.

Looking from a different angle, what is the Rift Herald worth trading for? Based on the statistical model, the win probability of holding the Herald buff at 20 minutes is equivalent to roughly a 700 gold lead,which is nearly as much as the 800 gold granted by killing a tower.

If you trade a Rift Herald for a dragon, you’re mathematically coming out ahead: Rift Herald increases your win probability to 61.7 percent at the 20-minute mark, while being up by one dragon only increases it to 59.0 percent. Bear in mind, though, that this model doesn’t account for the varying usefulness of the different Elemental Dragon types, so you may want to think twice about which dragon you’re about to trade that Herald for.

Shaping the Meta

Mathematically, there is no question: securing the Rift Herald has clear, measurable value in helping professional teams win games. As with any valuable objective, though, the Rift Herald isn’t given away for free. In spring, it was incredibly rare to see fights in the upper half of the river during the first 20 minutes, but the more teams have come to prioritize the buff, the more common it has become to see skirmishes, or even full-on team fights, break out in the Rift Herald area. Here are a few examples.

As teams have become much more intentional about defending that part of the map, it has become important to learn new ways of setting up a safe zone of control to take the Herald. That means a new type of map awareness, including high mobility from both AD carries and supports, who have to be ready to quickly respond to emerging fights. Cross-map response used to be squarely in the realm of top and mid laners, who have the luxury of using Teleport, but since ADCs and supports can’t afford to bring TP, we’ve seen frequent appearances from champions like Ashe, Ezreal and Sivir, who can affect cross-map plays with either global-range ultimates or speed boosts, and supports like Bard and Karma, who can also facilitate their team’s mobility.

Obviously, the Rift Herald’s power has helped shape the top lane meta as well, and is part of the reason — along with itemization changes and other factors — why the top lane is heavily skewed towards split pushing and duelist champions like Trundle and Irelia.

From map movements to champion choices, the Rift Herald is stamping itself onto the meta game, and continuing to rise in value and priority, making it one of this season’s most influential elements of Summoner’s Rift.

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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2016 League of Legends All-Star event to take place in Barcelona

by 2d ago

The 2016 League of Legends All-Star event will take place in Barcelona at the Palau Sant Jordi between Dec. 8-11, Riot Games announced Friday.

The format of invites to this year’s All-Star event will be similar to last year’s, with teams from each region eligible to be voted into the event by fans, then separated into two teams, Team Fire or Team Ice, depending on how they performed at either the 2016 World Championships or 2016 MSI.

Last year’s All-Star event took place between Dec.r 10-13 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Shockingly, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok lost to Henrik “Froggen” Hansen in the first round of the 1v1 bracket. Froggen only made it to the event after Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martinez dropped out in late November. The overall winners of the 2015 event were Team Fire, who were made up of All-Stars from the LCK, LMS and NA LCS regions.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

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