Monday, September 23, 2013

Solo Queue Smurfing & Reddit AMA

With the end of season 3 coming to a close, there are many individuals out there who are trying to make it past the Gold V border to get the victorious Elise skin. As I have already secured my Diamond rewards, I have been, errr.... (awkward, riot pls), smurfing to get gold rewards. I have always been very adamant about denying ELO hell, as with many popular bloggers, however, I think it's safe to say that in the short-term there are just some games that are absolutely un-winnable. This is especially relevant when players get to the DivisionX 1 -> DivisionY 5 border where many of the DivisionY 5 players don't really care about solo queue anymore. In addition, currently there is an influx of DivisionX 1 players who really don't belong in DivisionY 5 but still play a ton to get it; also, an influx of smurfs in this border. Regardless, I still hold to the fact that players who deserve to rise will eventually rise.

LolKing Statistics of my Bronze I to Gold V climb
As a player who struggled his way up from Bronze (1100 ELO) to Diamond V, I thought it would be a little more difficult than it actually was to bring accounts from Bronze / Silver to Gold V. Instead, I find it very easily climbing the ladder, even skipping divisions in between because my MMR was so high. Ironically, when I was playing solo queue I did not play jungle, my best role. Instead, I found it incredibly easy to carry from mid lane. Games would usually be over at the twenty to thirty minute marks when I would be incredibly fed and all the other lanes would be snowballed to all hell. Generally, I played Kayle because I found that her kit lets you presure lanes, clear waves, do consistent DPS, roam swiftly, and help your teammates who get caught out of position. I found it a little more difficult to carry from the jungle because players don't really know how to accommodate ganks and you don't necessarily get the same amount of farm as a mid laner. I remember one game specifically where I was laning as Kayle against an enemy Veigar. I was able to secure first blood within thirty seconds of laning just because of the raw mechanical skill disparity between the laners, then able to turn two versus one jungle ganks into one for nothing trades multiple times. At the end of the game, I feel like I violated the Veigar's confidence as a player (the Canadian me says sorry). Unfortunately, that is the true skill disparity between a diamond player and a silver player regardless of me being an absolute terrible laner. Albeit, even with the skill disparity in many games I did manage to lose 3 games on a specific climb from Bronze I to Gold V. Furthermore, I did not have a veil of invulnerability that I might be giving off as I did manage to lose lane or die to ganks several times; however, my superior mechanics, decision-making, and game flow knowledge managed to turn a losing game around frequently.

A closer look at the lolking graph shows my progress of two days in solo queue
Anyways, those are just my adventures and general thoughts on solo queue for silver players. Seriously, a good player would never be stuck in low ELO for long. It's only for those who are only a little better than their current division that would be stuck for a bit longer than usual. With that said, I managed to get approved for an AMA on r/summonerschool. I will be answering questions on jungling, arranged 5s, and solo queue which will be posted on Thursday, Friday, or the weekend. I will provide the link when available.  

Also, here is a shameless plug to my friend's stream. He is a Diamond 1 support main who constantly appears on popular streams. I also played 5s with him from back when we were bronzers to when we became diamonds. He is a great guy and teaches proper supporting  (not the solo queue shit) and has a great attitude. Check him out here.

Reddit AMA: Click here 

Update: I had a great time answering a lot of the questions on my AMA! A lot of players were very responsive with my answers and took the time to really try to get to the core of their issues instead of focusing on circumstantial issues. I actually had a lot of people encourage me to keep doing things like this. Most surprisingly, some people offered to donate to me and ask me for lessons. I do not take donations, nor do I charge for my advice. My only hope at the moment is that I am able to help others with their jungle journey!  Check out some of the cool responses I got from some friendly people, below!

Sorry! I'm here to help you not take your money; knowledge should be free
Glad to hear from the same person that my advice actually helped!

Nope. Not going to take your money. I'd be glad to help when I have time though!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Season 3 World Championship Thoughts - Fall of the Olympians, Birth of the Titans

This article is going to quickly highlight my thoughts on the 2013 Season 3 World Championship Tournament where there has never been so many new teams playing and old teams disappearing. While I am aware at the time of this post there has already been two days of play, I feel like it is irrelevant to my post as I will be, most importantly, going over the reasons for my thoughts and not just calling it as it is. With that said, click the jump to see what I think of the S3 LoL WCs.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Site Over-haul & Update

One of the best League of Legends videos I have ever seen

This is yet another small update post as I finally get settled and decided on what I want to do with this blog in the future. If you have visited my blog before you will recognize that it has been changed, hopefully, to something more visually pleasing. I finally got rid of the disgusting title at the top of the blog after a couple hours of working on the banner, and the HTML. I hope my readers find my blog more pleasing to look at now.

There are three main things I want to clarify here:  

1. I will be continuing with my 'understanding series' which will now all be clumped together as jungle guides along with champion guides. I will, hopefully, release my ganking guides that I had incompleted for several weeks now in the near future.

2. I will be continuing my State of the Jungle series with the latest one covering the current competitive state of the jungle as we enter Season 3 Worlds.

3. I will be working on two new series. First, a jungle tier list which, for some odd reason, many viewers find to be fascinating. Second, a new video series named 'Mind of a Jungler' which follows different game modes of Summoner's Rift from Solo Queue, to Duo Queue, to Arranged 5s where I explain my mindset and thought-process of a jungle game.   

With that said, I hope anyone who sees my blog will be happy to know that I will be getting back into the groove of things starting next week! Until next time, summoners!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome to the Diamond Club!

Obsession is nothing but a precursor to success. Those who succeed, brilliant; those who fail, insane. 
Welcome to the Diamond club, North America's best. Home to those insane enough to play solo queue till they hate themselves and home to those who skilled to win enough games to be the top 1% of League of Legends. Where players have beat through the likes of ELO hell and risen to the glory of ELO heaven. You may be reading this post and think that I have had an easy path to diamond, let me assure you that I have had a very rocky path. While I can't speak for every diamond player out there, for me it has been a very long road. When many people see those who are "at the top" they simply see the result but not effort and sacrifice they put in. If you've seen my very first post you'll know that I have not always had such success in solo queue.

Yep. 8,800 hours is 366 days. I was kind of obsessed. 
I am willing to admit something very personal that even many of my close, personal friends are not aware of. I have a very serious history of obsession. I immerse myself obsessively in games almost religiously to a point where it takes priority over everything else in my life. To put it into context I have over a year's worth of game time on Guild Wars, one whole year of game time over 3 years. I have been like this for a very long time such that even on my 21st birthday I thought of nothing but solo queuing to diamond. I think it boils down to the feeling of control games give me that other activities don't. Regardless, my obsession obviously transferred over to League of Legends where it consumed my everyday life. I did not casually play League of Legends to get to diamond, I casually went through life to live League of Legends. Even when I wasn't playing, I was looking at guides, watching streams, watching pro games, analysing games, reading r/leagueoflegends, theory-crafting, etc. I guess the point of this confession is that I want people to know that just because you may have the ability to play in a higher tier, it's something that is earned not given; especially to those who are not gifted at this game. 

I feel like this post wouldn't be complete without my story the past two to three years in League of Legends. I began at the bottom; upon hitting level 30 I went into ranked and started at 1100 ELO. I'm not going to lie and say I have always had the attitude I have today, when I was at 1100 ELO I blamed trolls, bad players, afks, the whole nine yards. My friends can surely attest to my 'solo queue mentality' of the past (sorry, David). Eventually, I became better at the game and made my way through to silver. I think it was that moment where I realized I had the potential to become decent at this game. Upon watching streams of professional players, I realized that I could do very similar things to them and they were not some out-of-reach play style. As such, I slowly progressed my way to gold. When I reached gold, I hit a huge mentality spike. I was suddenly, as labelled by the community, not absolutely terrible at the game. I grew an incredibly large ego at the game and became a serious rager. I still don't understand how I haven't been banned to this date. I would purposely throw games when anyone on the team made a mistake and tell them they didn't deserve to gain any ELO whatsoever. In my mind, I was the greatest and I could win back ELO at any moment. It was at that moment when I had a serious sense of frustration when I failed to hit platinum because of my rage. For a huge period of time, I stopped playing solo queue entirely and focused on playing arranged 5s. My teammate, who is probably one of the nicest guys ever, managed to hit platinum before me. At the end of Season 2, I was the worst kind of rager in solo queue; I was the kind of guy everyone dreads to have on their team. Albeit I raged, I still believed, and believe to this day, I was good and deserved to rise at that time. Finally as Season 3 started, I duo queued with a friends who inevitably carried me to platinum by telling me to plainly "shut the fuck up."However, being obsessed as I was, platinum was not enough. I wanted to join the famous Diamond club and play with my jungle idol since bronze, TheOddOne. As such, I obsessively played solo queue again. It was around my climb to Plat II when I played around 30 games in that division before finally dropping back to Plat III. I couldn't sleep at night because I had reoccurring nightmares of failing to achieve Diamond like I failed to achieve Platinum last season. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't concentrate at anything outside of League of Legends, I didn't eat properly, and I hand constant pains in my hand from playing more hours in a day than i'm willing to admit. In hindsight, I think it's safe to say I lost many of those games because of my poor attitude over anything. That was when I looked at my friend who was now in Diamond 1 and thought to myself, why am I not there. What does he do that I don't. I as mechanically strong and strategically stronger player than him. It was also around this time where I got my chat limited for 5 games because of my verbal abuse. Finally, I decided that I would try to be an overly nice person in solo queue even though I firmly believed that it doesn't help solo queue. I would NOT type anything when I see mistakes and I would only type positive comments. I basically became a cheerleader for the team. To my surprise, it worked. I previously believed that no matter what you typed it would not effect the game because the outcome was decided by play. However, you can't deny results and 15 game win streaks to get me to plat I and 10 game win streaks to get me to my Diamond series are results. To be honest, a lot of people told me I have had an attitude problem but I didn't believe it. Rationality has a funny way of losing to anger; passion has a funny way of trumping logic. If anyone I have ever played with were subject to my rage, I am truly sorry and I apologize. 

I ride motorcycles and, while this may be unrelated to League, this really helped pump me up and motivate me when I was doing my series. Just thought i'd share an amazing video!

So, that's my story. From Bronze to Diamond: a rager's story. To be honest, I have played with many diamonds during my Plat 1 Streak (many times pure diamond games) and I honestly don't see a difference in play. I can only say that Diamonds are just more consistent, level headed Platinum players. I hope anyone who sees this post and is trying to ladder takes away two things. One, believe in yourself. You are the only one who is going to help you win. You are the one consistent factor in every game you play. If you don't do well every game, chances are you are the reason why you are stuck in your league. Sure there are odd games here or there, but in the long run (i've played almost 600 games of solo queue) it's just you versus the world, you versus probability, you versus no, you versus can't, you versus afkers, you versus ragers, you versus them. Two, have a positive attitude. Seriously, a positive attitude goes a long way in terms of both in game moral and learning how to play better. Don't ever sit on a high horse and always take personal responsibility even if its something uncontrollable. 

I wasn't even aware Nocturne was my highest performance champion
Hopefully, In season 4 I will be able to retain my Diamond and hit Diamond I. I won't be trying to climb any more in the ladder, outside of some odd entertaining games, as I am actually sick of solo queue in high ELO. I always try to convince people that high ELO is actually ELO hell and low ELO is actually ELO heaven. As such, I will probably be smurfing a bit (silvers beware!) Eventually, I will try to hit the legendary Diamond I and play with TheOddOne. Keep a lookout for future promised posts, updates on World Championships, and a jungle tier list!   

On that note, I'd like to end with a really great sound cloud that really got me in the mood to play League of Legends! Thanks TwoFriends <3 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Skill Caps & Update

I have finally beaten the 50 ELO / LP barrier that has plagued me in the past!
This is just another short update post. If anyone has been wondering why I have not posted anything in a while, it's because I have been desperately laddering to diamond. It has been a rough path, but I feel like I can finally do it. The past week I have played ~80 solo queue games with almost 60 of them irrelevant. I felt that I reached a skill cap that I couldn't overcome at Plat II ~0-40 LP. Eventually, I dropped down to plat III after several losses in a row after playing on tilt.

I was completely devastated, I felt like I was in the same situation as last season where I tried to get into platinum and was 14 ELO away. However, after taking a small break and discussing mentalities with a close friend, I managed to pull myself together. I told myself that I might be stuck at a certain tier like last season, but I wasn't going to give up until the very end.

Today has been incredibly motivational for me. I feel like I have defeated the skill cap that I hit at plat II. After watching several of Cloud 9's games, I paid close attention to what Meteos did and followed his more 'farm' heavy jungle mentality to some degree of success. Although I tried Meteos' style of jungling, I still played very aggressively and managed to snowball several of my games. Mostly all my games today have given me incredible KDAs as I made sure to prioritize avoiding death over anything else.

This is more of an update than anything. I will resume my regular posts probably after I hit diamond or the season ends. However, with this break in skill cap I feel like I have a real fighting chance at hitting the diamond club. What joy it would bring me if I could overcome two tiers in one season!

Edit: I am now plat I! Yay! Time for elo clamping and the final road to diamond!