Thoughts on the LCS Playoffs

So the Spring Split has come and gone, and with the end of the regular season I didn’t have fantasy LCS to play anymore, which meant that I didn’t talk much about the professional side of the game. Over the past few weeks however, there was plenty of playoff action, which means I have something to talk about once again. It’s been an interesting half of a season so far, which brings us up to the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) and then the Summer Split shortly thereafter. There’s also a big ass patch for the mid-season, with a bunch of new features that will likely shake up the summer split for all of us, not just the pros. I’ll get to that bit in another post though. For now, let’s talk about the playoffs.

During the first weekend in April, the Quarterfinals went down. I didn’t watch much of the European LCS, but during the course of that weekend Fnatic beat out Vitality, and that was surprising considering the shaky season Fnatic seemed to have (again, I didn’t watch much of the EULCS), and Vitality seemed to be the superior team prior to playoffs. The same goes for the other matchup between Unicorns of Love and Origen. Though I called Origen as one of the powerhouses for Europe at the beginning of the split, but they didn’t deliver on that as much as I thought. They were no Immortals, let’s put it that way (more on them later).

In NA, more surprises were abound. TSM looked to be a powerhouse for North America, but they struggled throughout the split. Cloud 9 had a shaky start to the season but finished strong and were the clear favorites in this matchup. They managed to take a game in the series, but TSM dismantled them. It was surprising. Where was this TSM all spring? Less surprising was Team Liquid taking down NRG, particularly with how well Matt and Dardoch performed as rookies. NRG never really stood a chance this split. They need to find better talent in a couple of roles.

The following weekend the semi-final matches were played, and in Europe we saw G2 take down Fnatic (expected) along with Origen continuing it’s streak to defeat H2K. The latter team seemed pretty consistent during the split but didn’t have it when it counted. Origen moves on to the finals against G2, but there is a clear expectation there.

In NA, I was rooting for Liquid to take down CLG. Honestly I don’t think CLG is that good of a team, despite winning the summer split last year. Darshan pulls off some pretty amazing stuff, and Aphromoo has his moments, but I’m not too big on their other players. I think CLG of last year was a better team. Liquid felt like the new hotness. I wanted the rookies to win and for Piglet/Fenix to get some real recognition for their efforts. I think a different top-laner might make up all the difference. Why don’t they pick up Impact? Imagine that team? But it was not meant to be, as CLG took the series 3-2, and moved onto the finals.

The most shocking part of the entire playoffs happened in the other semi-final game. Immortals, the team that only lost one game the entire split, though looking a little weaker towards the end, was expected to completely dismantle TSM. But this wasn’t the TSM from the split, nope that part of their lives was already done. They put together a monster series, and swept Immortals right under the rug 3-0. It was incredible to watch. The tilt was real. I’m really beginning to love esports!

The finals were less exciting, and more exciting at the same time. CLG vs TSM, the dream. The rematch. The same result. Meh. Again, less impressed with this year’s CLG as opposed to last year’s. More impressed with TSM stepping up when it mattered, but they still lost overall. In Europe, G2 triumphed over Origen, as I expected. A new crown over there, the same crown for NA. Either way, it was a fun split, and I look forward to watching all summer long. MSI soon, I may have more thoughts.

League of Legends: March Highlights

Despite the fact that I have a lot less free time on my hands the past couple of months, I’ve still managed to play League in between other games and tasks. For a while there I was playing almost daily, and multiple games per day. But as is pretty normal for me, I tapered off to about one game per night, and for the past couple of weeks it’s only been a game here and there. I still love League, I’m not sure when/if that is going to change. My play time with the game didn’t start to taper off until the latter part of March, so I still had enough videos to cut down and splice into a highlight reel for the month. This was something I had considered doing for a long time, and since I started recording all of my games back in January, it’s not only good for my YouTube channel, but it’s something else to write blog posts about as well. However, I feel like playing Normals for three months straight is getting kind of stagnant. I think it’s time that I finally get started with my Ranked placement matches, and see how far I can climb up the latter. We’re nearing mid-season, and that means that time is running out to get the ball rolling.

This season feels more tumultuous than previous ones. The pre-season changes really mixed things up, and we’ve been seeing champions that were designed to be played as a certain role excelling in multiple roles. It’s been great for the game in my opinion, but one thing that was bothering me was the fact that the games felt so much shorter and less forgiving. Bouncing back when the death timers are high was becoming nearly impossible. It seems that Riot has noticed the same thing and there have been changes to death timers at certain points in the game. It also feels like each knew patch has had more flavors of the month, rather than just one or two. What I mean by that is, in past seasons it seemed like each new patch would buff one or two champions who would be played nearly every game until the next patch, and then a new “flavor” would take over. This season, it feels like there are several “new meta” picks each patch, and as a result I’ve been playing champions I hadn’t played in a long time due to their new found power. Champions like Poppy, Pantheon and Quinn, not to mention old favorites of mine like Nocturne and Twitch have all seemed to spike in power and popularity. The constant reworks of champions (like Shen and Poppy, and the upcoming Taric rework) has brought the older ones up to speed and it feels like most of them are viable picks now. There are very few champions that have been completely neglected anymore, and I love seeing weird picks that work.

I forgot to post the video for last month here on the blog, so I’ll do so now:

Here’s the new one that I just finished editing, for March. It’s a bit shorter due to less games played but I think that’s good for people with short attention spans anyway. If you guys can do me a favor and like, share and subscribe that would also be great. I seem to have hit a subscriber wall and would like to continue to grow!

So as I said, my plan for April is to at least get my 10 placement matches in to see where I’ll start this season. It will likely be Bronze I just like last season, but hopefully I’ll promote into Silver more easily this time around. See you then.

Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6 Spring Finale

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SpringStandingsSo the final week of the spring split has come and gone, and just as I suspected, I ended the split in second place. I managed to beat out Tacktix by a considerable margin, despite having a couple of low scoring members on my team. Over the course of the split, I ended up losing to Tyvokka all three times I faced him, and once to each of the other teams. That was good enough for a 4/5 standing by the end, which saw me finish in second. It was clear earlier in the season that no one was going to surpass Tyvokka mainly because he owned most of the Immortals team, and they only dropped a single game, causing him to only drop a single game. He dominated the rest of us, and it was a struggle to even get second place. Surprisingly, after a 1/5 start or something to that effect, Tacktix managed to snag third place due to having earned more points than Judentus. Either way, not a lot of surprises in this post. Let’s take a look at the final matchup:

week9results

As you can see, Jensen super under performed, but he just didn’t get many points in Cloud 9’s trouncing of Echo Fox, and then C9 lost to Team Liquid in the second game of the weekend. Odoamne and Rush both had low totals as well, but my support, team, mid and ADC more than made up for things. Thankfully Tack had low numbers across the board, so it was easy pickings to finish out the split. I’m looking forward to watching the playoffs, but for now fantasy is over. I’m hoping to convince these guys to go ahead and play again during the Summer split.

springrecap

Here’s the recap of the whole split, where you can get a snapshot of what happened throughout. I still love that .01 win from week one, and apparently this past weekend was my biggest win of the split. No surprise that Pobelter was my best player, he was very consistent except for that one game that IMT lost. Let’s take a final look at the top players for Spring:

week9top springtop9

Once again, week 9 saw several members of IMT in the top 5. That was a given, but it was surprising to see Piglet get back to the top. He was inconsistent for me and I stopped starting him a couple of weeks back. He also snuck back into the Spring top 5, but the ADC I replaced him with is there too. I guess it would have been better to start Piglet as my flex pick last weekend instead of Jensen, but no one saw that coming with how well C9 has been going, and then it didn’t really matter since I won anyway. But I still managed to make good picks if 3 of the top 5 scorers were under my command.

Anyway, that’s it for this split. We’ll be back for the Summer split provided I can round these guys up to draft again. Until then.

One Door Closes, Another Opens

This is another one of those catch-all posts, as I feel like I have much to talk about, but only little snippets about various things. I don’t feel like I have a full on post ready to go for any of these topics, so I’m just going to jot down some thoughts.

My Projects

I’m officially going to shutter The Digital Backwoods. It was a fun idea that started well and I was getting submissions from the community which was my initial aim – to make it a landscape picture blog for the masses. I gave up on making my own posts a couple of months back, and the community submissions stopped coming in as well. It was great while it lasted but I just don’t see myself having the time or inclination to keep it going. I’ll be deleting it soon, so head over there if you want to download any of the screenshots.

I’m also going to officially call Couch Podtatoes a bi-weekly show. Coming up with new material has been somewhat difficult, and coordinating my schedule with Eri’s along with trying to get guests on a semi-regular basis has also been inefficient. We’ve been toying around with potential format changes as well. It will remain a gaming podcast first a foremost, but I’m not sure if we’re going to keep with the sweeping general topics, or go back to our original format with Idiots on the Internet and Community Spotlights. Either way, expect new shows every other week for the time being. It’s likely that we’ll come back around to weekly shows, but between work, school and my other projects, I still need to have some time to myself to recharge my batteries, and for the past month or so I’ve felt like I don’t have the time to do everything I want to do. So yeah, we might sneak in some extra episodes from time to time, but for now I’m calling it bi-weekly.

As far as this blog goes, I’ve been doing okay with posting, but sometimes feel like I should post more often. I’ll keep plugging away, putting out posts when I have things to say but I’m not adhering to any sort of schedule. Same goes for my YouTube channel — I have videos that I’d like to post, but often times don’t feel like it. I’m not setting a schedule for that either. If you like my content, and have followed me over the years, you’ll know I go in waves and sometimes I post less. Bear with me while I adjust and perhaps there will be great things to come.

Gaming

I’ve been managing more gaming due to less time spent on content creation. I’ve been playing at least a game of League of Legends per day, maintaining practice, but it seems that the group of guys I had been playing with are rarely on at the same time. I might start doing some ranked play by myself just to get the season started, but I’m hoping to get with my partners sometime soon.

I’ve been playing PS4 games pretty regularly, because a couple of my friends already had the system, and me and my best friend’s brother went in halves to get my best friend his own PS4 for his birthday at the beginning of March. He got the Black Ops 3 bundle, and has already picked up Battlefront as well, so we’ve all been playing those multiplayer shooters. I also got into the Smite PS4 beta and invited him as well, as he’s been an Awesomenauts player almost as long as I, so I thought he’d be interested in a new MOBA to play, and we both seem to like it well enough. I’m surprised because I didn’t really care for Smite when I played it on the PC, but it seems to lend itself to a controller really well, enough that I’m really enjoying it. It also seems really well optimized and there are several different modes I didn’t know existed, or were added since the last time I tried it. To be fair, the last time I did try it was on my shitty old laptop, so that could have had something to do with my distaste. However, I’m enjoying it now, and am tempted to pay the $30 to unlock all the gods. We’ll see.

I picked up Mordheim: City of the Damned a couple of weeks ago because it was a mid-week madness sale on Steam. It is definitely worth the sale price, and now that it’s out of early access it’s even more worth it. I picked up the DLC bundle too, as it was cheap and added a few characters to the game for you to put into your warband. I played through the tutorials and created my warband (skaven, of course) last night, but haven’t gone beyond that. I really liked what I saw, and this is a game that is screaming for console support. I didn’t play it with my PC controller, but I think it would work well.

I also picked up the reinforcements pack for X-COM 2 also, as it provided a DLC now, and a couple more in the future. The DLC added now is supposed to have a bunch of customization options for your soldiers, so I’m thinking it will be better to just start over so I can really customize my squad. I only made it through a couple of missions anyway, so it’s likely I’ll do that. I need to play the game more in general.

There are a handful of games I’ve been playing off and on, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s easier to stop worrying about my huge backlog and just play what I feel like playing. If that means I go through a week and only play LoL and nothing else, so be it. Why stress out over games? It’s not worth it. I’m going to play what I like, and if that means I have less to write about, less to talk about, or less video to share, so be it. I’ll still manage to find things to write/talk about anyway, so instead of stressing, I’m just going to enjoy life. Hopefully that doesn’t alienate anyone, but I gotta do me first.

Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6, Week 8

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week8standingsI didn’t forget to post about my fantasy league standings last week — there weren’t LCS matches that weekend, IEM took place instead. I only caught one game of the final, and of course SKT bring home another tournament trophy despite having a shaky split at times. The following weekend, we were back to the normal schedule, so of course this week I have more to talk about, although it’s going to be more of the same. Immortals continue to carry Tyvokka to victory, and that means I lost another game, putting me in a three way tie with both Judentus and Tacktix, but I maintain possession of 2nd place by virtue of the most points between the three of us. It’s funny, that Tacktix was on the bottom of the pile for so long and has now managed to tie for 2nd place, and it’s also surprising that I’m only shy 200 points of Tyvokka’s total despite having lost 4 more games. Tacktix is still the only one who has been able to take him down, but that happened to be the one week were Immortals dropped a single game. His fate has been directly tied to theirs, but rest assured this won’t happen again in the summer split. We’ll keep more of those players away from him next time. Lesson learned. So as we already knew, I’m not going to every get away from second place, though this final week of the split will determine who actually claims it, because a loss to Tacktix would mean I could potentially drop all the way to fourth. We’ll see how it turns out.

week7results

I was fortunate for the bad game CLG had on Saturday, because it kept Ty from totally crushing me. Aphromoo did nothing for me despite trusting him and putting him back in. Jensen pulled his weight as did Pobelter and Emperor, but Rush and Odoamne under performed, But when all five members of Immortals are putting up 50+ points it’s nearly impossible to top. I did make one small change going into next week:

week9matchup

I’m putting Kasing back in due to favorable matchups, and the fact that he did well for me before and Aphro has done shit all split. My projections look strong, and I’ve only lost to Tack once, so I think I’ll be able to hold onto second place. I don’t see Judentus beating Tyvokka, but even if he did I think I will still win the point total tie breaker battle. If so, I’ll have retained my rank from the split prior, and under similar circumstances too, though that time Judentus took 1st place only because he beat me on a point total tie breaker. It will be interesting to see if it comes down to that. With 1st place out of reach, it’s the only thing I have left keeping me interested. That and being able to rub in that Tacktix sucked wind.

week8top springtop8

It’s very surprising to see Shiphtur at the top of the points list for the past week, but he did it once before and that’s why I picked him up briefly, but never started him. I also owned Hjarnan and played him once, wish he would have had those numbers when I did. It’s rounded out by Immortals players (no surprise there) of which I still own Pobelter. On the top players for the spring list, I own three, but that still isn’t enough to content with weekly top players. Having those more consistently gets you wins I’ve come to learn. Ah well. Here’s to 2nd place next week!