AskFM Roundup: November 17

I did another round of Q&A recently. Here are my responses to some of the most interesting questions.

Q: Have you seen the misfits jungle post on facebook? There’s gbm, rush, peanut, reignover and spirit. Do you think it’s just bait or they could pick one of those up? If so, who? And don’t you think a rising jungler like Crash or Beyond would be better?

I doubt it’s a simple bait.

Misfits may have money, but it’s very unlikely that they’re suddenly going to pick up Peanut, Reignover, etc. If I were Crash, Beyond, or someone else of that calibre, I’d rather join a team with more likelihood of being a top-tier contender. Not to say that Misfits can’t be one of EU’s better teams, but they have a long way to go to prove that still.

Given the circumstances, a GBM signing seems as plausible as any other speculation, and IMO it’s pretty clear they’re hinting in that direction. Spirit wouldn’t surprise me that much either.

Q: If there was a LoL Olympics, who should the USA send as a team? How about South Korea?

Top: Hauntzer
Jungle: Inori (note: in retrospect, I’d change this to Xmithie)
Mid: Pobelter
ADC: Doublelift
Support: Aphromoo

Top: Ssumday (synergy with Score)
Jungle: Score
Mid: Faker
Bot: Bang+Wolf for synergy, or Deft+Mata for awesomeness

Q: Do you think WT will stay with TSM after IEM? If you think he’s not the best option, who is?

I don’t expect WildTurtle to stick with TSM.

If you look to the import market, you could probably name a lot of names and I don’t want to overly speculate. If you stay local, you have to have the mindset of player development rather than a “win-now” pickup, which is why I brought up Massacre, who played for Dream Team, in my TSM offseason game plan article (

In a perfect world, of course someone like Deft would be awesome, but there’s risk involved in that kind of signing, too. A healthy Freeze might work out, too, but like I said, I don’t want to speculate too hard.

Q: If there is anyone close to Faker in term of all time greatness (aside from bengi), who do you think it is?

No one is close. Individuals have come close to him for periods of time, like Smeb this year, but no one has sustained it as well, or earned anywhere near the same accolades.

You have to step down a tier, then you can talk about Mata maybe.

Q: Do you think like the most people do that ROX was the second best team in the worlds?

Yes. ROX looked more convincing in the bracket stage than SSG did, in my opinion, even though both took two games off SKT. SSG had a much easier path than ROX. No one else deserves to be discussed on the same tier as those three based on what we saw during the overall event.

Q: What’s your favorite teams?

NA: Team Liquid
EU: Fnatic
LCK: KT Rolster
LPL: Snake

Q: Your esport goal during 2017?

My long-term goal is to work in esports full-time in a role that allows me to support my family. That’s a challenge for me since I have kids and I don’t want to move (farther) away from grandparents etc. But what I’m doing now as a freelancer is pretty cool!

Offseason Game Plan Series

This offseason, I’ve been writing about what I think some LCS teams need to do to push themselves forward for 2017. So far I’ve written about three teams:

I’m not sure whether I’ll have any more full-length articles in this series, but I will likely share some briefer thoughts about other teams here on my blog. And of course I’ll be discussing finalized rosters as and when they’re announced!

Going forward, if you want to make sure you’ve seen all my work, you can find all of my articles with theScore esports on my writer page. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed for instant notification.

Whiteboard Note-Taking for my SKT vs SSG Win Conditions Article

While preparing my World Finals win conditions article this week, I took my usual approach of reading through my notes on each game they had played in the past several weeks, combing through their stats, and gathering those observations together while searching for themes.

I usually do this within a Word document, copy/pasting and typing and generating lots of variously-indented bullet points with scraps of sentences and interpretations built in, until an article outline emerges. I then begin to massage the outline, flesh out the sentences and paragraphs, and go digging for more supporting observations and stats to clarify my thoughts and shore up my arguments.

For this article, I decided to put the first part of this process on the whiteboard in my home office, instead. Here’s what that looked like:

SKT vs SSG Win Conditions Whiteboard

This approach was nice because it got me away from the computer screen a bit (I was reading through my OneNote notebooks on my phone), had me standing and pacing my office a bit instead of just sitting all day, and slowed down my note-taking since I can type much faster than I write by hand. The slower pace gave me time to refine my thoughts while I was writing, instead of just spewing the words into the document at my usual breakneck pace.

I’ll probably take this approach a bit more often in the future. If I do, I’ll try to share!

RitoTY: An Appreciation Post

One of the LoL community’s favourite pastimes is posting “Ritopls” requests or complaints on Reddit, forums, blogs, or elsewhere. This is not a bad thing; high-visibility negative feedback is an important way to send messages to Riot Games about issues with the game’s user experience, balance, competitive format, and so on. It’s especially valuable when alternatives are proposed.

I have concerns of my own (I think the new “plants” concept that Riot is testing looks like a big, scary downgrade compared to the current state of the jungle), but I also like to look on the bright side of life. To that end, here are a few “RitoTY” statements from 2016.

Instating Bo2 and Bo3 in LCS

The competitive community had been complaining about the “best-of-one” format the NA and EU LCS were using for a long time, and this year, Riot finally took the plunge and moved Europe to a best-of-two format and North America to best-of-three, based on the decisions of each region’s league administration. This was an awesome change, and I appreciate the investment Riot made in hiring the staff and building the facilities to make it happen.

In my opinion, we’ve already seen benefits in the level of play in both NA and EU, with more parity in both regions. With a full year of BoX LCS play in 2017, I’m hopeful that the growth will keep rolling along.

Listening to the Community on Solo Queue, Replays, Training Mode, Worlds Prize Pool, and more

Riot had a lot of PR stumbles this year, but they also proved their willingness to back down from their stance on certain controversial issues when the playerbase was clearly unhappy. Riot gave their “dynamic queue” a lot of time to succeed, but it didn’t live up to their goals, so they reverted. Despite claiming that replays and a training mode were not in the cards, they’ve finally announced that they’re working on both features, at least in some form (though maybe not with the full feature set that the competitive community would truly want). They’ve also boosted the World Championships prize pool with a conservative move towards crowdfunding and opened up some new revenue streams by bringing on some Worlds sponsorship and offering teams some more income via in-game purchases.

These responses are all very encouraging, and while the results haven’t all been perfect, the general movement should give the players and fans confidence that their voices are being heard, even if Riot doesn’t always capitulate. In other words: keep the “Ritopls” posts flowing! (Maybe we’ll get that “plants” idea nixed!)

Bringing the LCS to Canada

Hosting the NA LCS Finals in Toronto this summer was an awesome move, not only opening up the LCS experience to Torontonians but giving a broader group of Canadian fans a chance to attend a live LCS event without having to cross the border.

I was able to attend through my work with theScore esports, and it was an amazing experience. The crowd was super hyped, the atmosphere was amazing, and I’m sure Riot is already thinking about their next Canadian opportunity.

Keeping the Rate of Champion Releases Reasonable

One of my biggest concerns about LoL‘s longevity is the uncapped growth of the champion pool, which continually adds complexity and challenge to new players who want to pick up the game. It’s already hard enough to learn what all of the different champions do, and every time a new champion comes out, a new player has that much more of a barrier to overcome.

This year, Riot released only 5 new champions, the same as in 2015. In 2014, there were 6 new champions, with 8 in 2013.

I think a release rate of 4 or 5 new champions per year is relatively sustainable, and meanwhile Riot has been killing it with (mostly) awesome champion reworks that allow them to boost the pool of relevant champions without actually increasing the number of total champions available.

Eventually, I still think that the number of champions will become a problem for developing new players to feed the pro scene, but for now I’m just glad that Riot has been taking things slow.

What about you?

What are some of the things you’ve appreciated most about how Riot has handled LoL this year?

What do you hope they’ll do in 2017 to improve the game and the pro scene even more?