How to Resurrect Tank Junglers

#1 – Tanks vs Bruisers

In Season 2, there was a healthy conflict between tanks and bruisers: tanks had inevitable scaling into teamfights regardless of gold levels, while bruisers could secure gank, farm, and objective advantages in the early-mid game.

At the risk of diving overly into what differentiates a tank from a bruiser, I shall define a tank jungler as a jungler who brings a high amount of CC, has less resilience in the jungle, and typically is the enabler in ganks, not an equal party. To an extent, this lies tangential to the “herbivore” jungle distinction, and it should be noted that – with exception of Clearlove in Season 4, the last herbivore jungler was Season 3 Meteos, who played almost entirely Nasus and Zac. While the tank/herbivore mapping is not 100%, it should be noted, as it is relevant to the problems facing tank junglers.

Ultimately, this puts bruisers and tanks in healthy conflict. If allowed to freely farm or gank, tanks will outscale bruisers in teamfights. However, bruisers can use their early game strength to bully tank junglers, either by countering their ganks or invading their jungle. Either way, bruisers can deny tank junglers gold while still securing their own, allowing them to outscale through gameplay rather than innate kits.

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New Year’s Resolutions – 2015 Edition

2014 was a tumultuous year for me, with some of my lowest lows and most stressful workloads, but also my greatest achievements. Going into 2015, the most important lesson I can learn is not to put too much on my plate, and to choose a handful things to excel at, rather than try and do everything.

I started the year at a point of frustration: my writing at Reign of Gaming had stagnated, my personal relationships were struggling from my obsessive workload, and my ranked 5s team (Funk Overload) had just fallen apart after having beaten challenger teams – including the now LCS team Curse Academy. At the beginning of the year, I refocused my work from theorycrafting to esports analysis, and quickly found myself working for the Riot-owned lolesports. While I started off doing team profiles and recaps, I quickly leveraged my in-game skills to write a series of articles on the nature of various champions in competitive play. This started with posts on Morgana support and the bruiser meta of top lane. However, as my writing acumen increased, I was entrusted with a brief series of speculative articles called “Breaking the Meta”, in which I covered off-meta picks ranging from the reasonable (Jarvan Top) to the outrageous (Sejuani Mid). I ended the year combining the two with a speculative article about the competitive power of Rek’Sai.

In the world of League of Legends, I developed my jungling skills as one of the most unique junglers in the North American amateur scene, specializing in the completely unplayed Skarner and Hecarim, and yet peaking in mid-D1. Funk Overload reformed and managed to take ladder and tournament matches off of challenger teams despite heavy bans to my unusual champion pool, and the experience taught me even more about competitive jungling. As a result of my experience both in game and as an analyst, teams in the EU and NA scenes offered me a coaching spots on their teams.

I struggled with my imminent departure from Portland, and after a number of severe miscommunications in my personal life, dove fully into work. I entered one of my most productive periods, publishing 21 articles in a 3-month period. My productivity and quality did not go unnoticed, and in July, I accepted a position with Riot as the Live Web Content Coordinator, a position which put me at the center of communications among the esports departments, working with Web Content and Tournament Operations alike. As Worlds came around, I found myself responsible for the majority of live operations on lolesports. However, these responsibilities ate at my ability to produce content, and by the end of Worlds, I had burned out.

As a result, I bused to Portland for a vacation. However, my time off was short-lived, as I was still responsible for lolesports’ hosting of the ESL run Expansion and IEM tournaments. I arrived in Portland during a period of social unrest, and soon found myself at the forefront of Portland protests in ways both supportive and critical. I’d found myself wordless at the death of Trayvon Martin, and with each new reported death of an unarmed black man, my frustration grew. As the Ferguson decision came down, I was on a bus. I could have chosen to stay on the bus, but instead, I got off and joined the protest, a road I’m glad to have gone down.

All of these things contributed to where I am, but they have taught me one crucial truth. I can’t do everything. As such, my New Year’s Resolutions are about focusing on my passions, while eliminating the chaff. As a recent grad, it has been all too easy for me to fall into the (lazy) mindset that I’ll just do the best work possible, and people will recognize it. I want to spend 2015 (and every following year) completing fewer projects, but doing more work to promote them, to supervisors, magazines, and readers.

#1 – Increase Project Depth at Riot

What this means at Riot is simple: pitch projects more selectively, but put more individual attention into talking with my supervisors and peers about how to make those projects palatable. By doing so, I can make sure that more of my pitched projects are deemed valuable and produced to completion. Ultimately, I would like to have two running series that I publish monthly and one that I publish biweekly.

#2 – External Publication

Ferguson has turned me back onto addressing societal struggles after a several year hiatus, and my personal blog has started to see better traffic. However, I should also be seeking external publication. I want to submit monthly pitches to several online publications, not limited to but including The Huffington Post, The Slate, The Root, and The Good Men Project, all websites I read a lot from.

#3 – Return to Fiction

1000 Words a day while I’m working is simply too much. However, 10k words per month – a short story, a memoir, or a chapter of a novel – should not be hard to manage.

#4 – Listen Better

The above three points are all about getting my voice more recognized. However, I want to improve upon my listening skills. I’m not sure about a precise way to do this, but when I see work I appreciate, I want to do better about promoting it. In the case of new writers, I would like to host or promote their work, so that they have the chances I do. The easiest way for me to do this is through FantasyRift, where I will be working primarily as a Content Coordinator and Editor, rather than a Content Creator.

#5 – Expect Communication

I am a voracious communicator. However, I need to be better about expecting and demanding communication and investment from those close around me. When people do not return communication or investment, I need to learn to de-escalate, rather than trying to solve the problem by increasing my own investment and effort. People who do not function at my level of communication are not good for me, and I should stop forcing myself to soldier on in situations I know I am unhappy in.

#6 – Sleep More

Bed by 1 AM unless I’m working on a project that is due the next morning. I lose more in productivity over the next few days than I gain from pushing myself.

#7 – Stop Living in the Past

There’s nothing I can do to change it or bring it back.

Cloud9 and the Power of Win Conditions

Since their dominant Season 1 run, I have consistently rated Cloud9 as not just a Western team but the top Western team, even when they were down a game to both LMQ and CLG, and many insisted they had lost their magic amidst a growing and improving scene. Many have seen this as misplaced fanboying, so I may as well get it out of the way. I am a huge Cloud9 fan. Why? Because as an esports analyst, I care most for teams that revolutionize the game. In many ways, having a traditional fan-team relationship requires *not* knowing who will win; my closeness to the scene and relevant data takes much of the uncertainty out of fandom, rendering it pointless. And greatness has been apparent in Cloud9 from their beginnings.

MeteosFor one, I’ve been a fan of Meteos ever since he was a Skarner main in Season 2 – not because Skarner is my favorite champion, but because his unique style convinced me he had what it took to control the jungle scene in the same way as the Diamondprox of Seasons 2 and 3. But the whole team has had more than just a hint of uniqueness about them. What makes them so unique, and why do I see them as the best team in the west?

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Burnout and the Future

The 2014 World Championship was an amazing event. For months leading up to and during the event, I ate, breathed, and lived League of Legends. And then Worlds ended, and I found myself in a completely new situation (for me at least): burned out. I’m an obsessive person, and it’s safe to say doing the same thing again and again doesn’t bother me. I recently fired up Warriors for the first time in a month, only to find out that I’d reached my 1000th listen at some point during Worlds.

Worlds, however, was simply exhausting for me. During the night, I was managing the stream and operational side of lolesports. During the day, I was contributing to analysis projects and writing articles. During the evening, I was playing in Diamond/Challenger 5s and tournaments. During the…wait, there are no other times. I was literally involved with League of Legends 16-20 hours a day. My sleeping schedule suffered, reduced to odd naps and occasional involuntary crashes. My diet consisted of highly caffeinated tea, chocolate, oranges, and beef jerky. Halfway through the World Championship, I considered giving LoL up forever.

So severe was my burnout that, while I had wanted this article to be with burnout and dealing with it, I honestly just stressed myself out trying. When Worlds ended, I hopped on a Greyhound across the country to Portland to visit college friends.

Since then, my stress has decreased, and I am returning to writing. However, I had to set some limits for myself. Initially, when Riot hired me as their Live Web Content Coordinator, I went hard in the opposite direction that I should have, trying to continue content here while writing for This was a fundamental failure on my part to understand Riot’s intent. I will not be going in-depth into this, but essentially, I was trying to prove myself to a company that already believed in my talents.

Trying to write consistently for both sites on the same topics was a fundamentally flawed practice, which left me out of ideas, forcing words onto paper, and generally exhausting my interest in League of Legends. In the future, I will be splitting my efforts.

Whenever I develop an esports writing topic, I ask myself “is this truly a great article?” In the past, a yes has meant that I put hours and hours into perfecting the article for lolesports. A no, on the other hand, has meant that I put more hours into making the article viable to publish here. This is a fundamental mistake. In the future, I will be putting my reject ideas onto a backburner.

Instead, the question I will be asking is “can this article reflect Riot Games”. In this way, my posts here will be more opinion-oriented editorials, while my posts on lolesports will continue to be the analytical posts you are used to from me.

As well, I am starting as the Web Content Coordinator for a new Fantasy LCS website. Details will be unveiled soon, but a number of articles on fantasy will be going up there. It should be noted that I am not going to be a primary for this website. While I shall be doing featured articles, the bulk of my work shall be as an editor and manager for other writers. By gaining experience in a more management oriented role, I hope to be able to bring more value and experience to my work at Riot.

As you may have guessed, this doesn’t leave much room for writing here. While I am no stranger to op-ed style pieces, I have no intent to attempt to challenge such legends as Richard Lewis, Thoorin, or Monte. As a result, while I will still be writing here about League of Legends, I will be interspersing my writing with more of the sociopolitical writing on race and gender that has peppered my work in the past, and eventually beginning to publish fiction.

For some of you, this will be the end of your interest in me. To those people, stay tuned here for direct links to my Fantasy LCS and lolesports work, as well as my editorial writing and thoughts on game balance and design. However, I hope to broaden my horizons as a writer.

CopMost notably, our culture has been violently torn apart by two prominent issues over the past few months: Ferguson and GamerGate. My own recent presence at a rally and close encounters with the police have taught me that my words can be used for so much more. As such, I will be devoting some of my time to social issues facing people of our age.

As well, I am toying with the idea of a general life advice column, ranging from how to cook to tips on dressing like a gentleman. It will be a rocky start as I acclimate, but I hope to broaden my pedigree as a writer in the long run.




Group Stage Infographic

Missed out on the Group Stages?

Check out statistics and awards from the Group Stages!

While you’re at it, read about the stellar positioning of the best AD Carries in the world, as modeled mathematically by Riot Jayway!

Finally, follow the jump for a list of Games to Watch from the Group Stages!

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TSM’s Evolving Draft Phase Secures Quarterfinals Berth

I think my newest article on lolesports may be one of my best yet, culminating the work of my previous four posts here!

The Power of Champion Select: TSM vs SHRC

If anything is to be learned from the success of Western pros on the Korean ladder, it is that mechanics are not what separate the very best teams in the world from the merely great ones. There is one realm where the best teams stand head and shoulders above the rest – rotations aside – and it is Champion Select. What can we learn about champion select from the Group Stage? It may be all-too-easy to simply reject the losing teams as possessing weaker mechanics or game knowledge. However, given displays of skill like NaMei’s team fight ability vs Samsung Galaxy White or TPA’s early game vs SHRC, we can simply see one thing that the very best teams excel at: picking a team composition and playing to its strengths.

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