It was a quiet Sunday afternoon at the shop and I decided to settle down and play some League of Legends. I don't normally play on the clock as there is too much stuff to do, but in winding down my 80-hour work week I needed some time to relax and burn off some steam, and there was only one customer in the shop. I won my first normal game and felt pretty good, so I decided to jump into my ranked games for the first time ever.

My gameplan was simple - solo-queue Sona until I get my 10 games in. I ran a poll recently on our LAN Mob League of Legends Facebook group and was met with some lofty expectations. Congrats to Kindrid Skylar for being the only person to guess correctly where I would be placed!


Vote early, vote often!
Game 1 - Loss - 1/6/7 (1.33 KDA)

I felt we had a good laning phase bottom, but the other lanes got rolled, which is one of those situations that's sort of out of our control. The enemy jungler and top were fed early and ended in a 19/4/4 Master Yi and a 12/1/0 Riven.

Game 2 - Loss - 0/3/1 (0.33 KDA)

This was totally winnable but I just played awful. Some customers rolled into the shop as I was about to ding level 6, and they were regulars enough to seat themselves, but in my distraction I completely forgot to take my ultimate at level 6, and didn't grab my "E" until level 8. We forfeited at 20 and this could have been a "W", and stats show we were climbing ahead at the 9 minute mark, but I feel like it was one of my worst matches personally in a while. Also unfortunate as the way I understand the ranking system, early games in your placements can make a big impact on MMR ceiling and potential difficulty of later matches. So dropping this one feels like it's going to set me back some. This is the risk you take when trying to multi-task!

Game 3 - Loss - 3/3/1 (1.33 KDA)

Better play on my part, but our carry Jinx was absolutely toxic and had the jungler rage-quitting at 10 minutes. The remaining four players forfeited at 20 - SIGH. Off to an 0-3 start - Bronze V here I come!

Game 4 - Win - 4/3/19 (7.67 KDA)

That's more like it! Jarvan/Graves/Annie/Lucian/Sona comp for a S- score.

Game 5 - Loss - 2/9/15 (1.89 KDA)

I'm terrible at this game. Got caught out way too much, took on some 1v1s I had no chance of winning. Absolute garbage.

Game 6 - Win - 10/4/31 (10.25 KDA)

I'm amazing at this game! Poppy/Hecarim/Cassiopeia/Vayne/Sona comp. A plat & gold were both on my team this game, and I ended with a full build with Frozen Heart, and scored my first S+ for the Mastery 7 Sona.

Game 7 - Win 5/13/25 (2.31 KDA)

Such an ugly, insane, satisfying 55 minute match! Ekko/Lee Sin/Lux/Jhin/Sona comp. We fed bot lane early and the enemy Ezreal got off to huge start, but we pulled it together late game by running a full base turtle, snagging a Lux Baron steal followed immediately by a Lee Sin Elder Dragon steal, and a bunch of insane late-game team fights (likely the enemy team was on full tilt by this point) to overcome a 12k gold deficit. This was one of those games that reinforces the "never give up" way of thinking. Roughly half of my death count was getting picked off trying to initiate or ward ahead, and I made the adjustment late game to play more behind my team which really helped turn down my level of suckness. Gold graph below to illustrate the comeback.

To hell and back again.

Game 8 - QUEUE DODGE

You can dodge once with just a 1-minute penalty, followed by a 60-minute penalty with 2+ dodges. There is also an LP penalty for ranked, but this doesn't count as a loss for your 10 placements and I believe is not factored in at all really towards your placement, or if it is very minimally.

Game 8 - Win - 2/5/13 (3 KDA)

Awww yeh. Rumble/Graves/Zed/Ezreal/Sona comp and we were at enemy Nexus at 27 minutes. Still getting picked off a lot mid-game wandering the jungle but again made the adjustment to play more cautiously and it worked out. It's a weird balance between the need for deep jungle vision and the likelihood I'm going to get picked off and melted into Sona mush.

Game 9 - Loss - 1/7/5 (.86 KDA)

Enemy Riven was super fed and finished 21/4/3 in a 36 minute game. We were able to turn some team fights but failed on most every objective, spending way too much time in our base defending.

Game 10 - Win - 2/2/12 (7 KDA)

I had another platinum (!) on team and we were at the Nexus at 36 minutes. LAN Mob's own hype god Kindrid sat and coached me through the match which was great, because after playing League all day my eyes were dead and I was missing SO MUCH. Our unranked Jayce did work finishing 15/4/7 and we crushed the map objectives.



Narrowly escaping the Bronze Hell....FOR NOW!!

Whew that was a lot of work. I started around 2 pm in the afternoon, and in between helping customers managed to fit all 10 games in by around 1 am for a 5-5 record. I was using lolking.net after some matches to gauge what kind of players I was going against, finding a lot of Silvers and Golds (the Game 9 loss specifically was against 3 golds and 2 silvers).

I've read your placement is lower than your MMR in order to quickly gain levels post-placement, so I'm going to use the last week of Season 6 to get some matches in until the LP gains start to diminish. I'll likely just continue to solo-queue with this account, but I do have a level 10 smurf account I started with my brothers some years back that I plan to get ranked by next season for multi-queuing.

I was able to avoid a lot of the horror stories I hear from many players - no outright/obvious trolling, and only one rage quit disconnect in Game 3.  I had a lot of boneheaded plays and see a ton of room for improvement in my play (Game 2 specifically I feel could have been won if I had played better, and Game 5 was also a dumpster fire for me), but I had some nice plays and nice games too including the S+ in Game 6, and Game 7 was the hardest fought of the series and a very satisfying victory.

I still consider my League game a work in progress, but there are a few things I do differently in solo-queue from what I've seen around the shop, so here are my three rules for solo-queue:



  1. I'm a one-trick pony. I've dabbled in other supports including Thresh, Annie, Braum, and Janna, but likely 80%+ of my game time has been with Sona. This means I'm pretty awful at most every other role, but I know the support role pretty well. This is made ok by the fact that supports are in short supply, giving me short queue times and almost guaranteed role. As a support I believe Sona just fits well with so many teams, and is less reliant on your teammates to make plays off you, but more of a versatile support than can do a lot of things offensively and defensively. Apparently she's currently God-tier support, although I played her years back when she was average to below-average, but the fact that she's performing well in the current patch/meta definitely helped me with my wins. Anyhow there is a common belief that mastery of anything in life takes 10,000 hours, and while Sona is a relatively low-skill champion, she's the one champion that I have the most raw hours in and best mastery over. I do feel like playing other champions helps keep your game sharp, but it's possible to spread yourself too thin with too many champions.
  2. I keep "all chat" off. I really don't care what's being discussed, and I don't want to open up any avenue for my opponents to say something that may tilt me or alter my game play in any way, because that's only helping my opponents. It's just another distraction when focus is super important. All that matters is the "W", and what five strangers who you'll probably never play against again have to say just doesn't matter towards getting that "W". I have a hard enough time pressing the buttons that I need to without introducing a whole other level of psychological warfare. Riot gives out some nice ear plugs that anybody can use and I'm happy to plug them in.
  3. I rarely chat with my team, and when I do I keep it positive. It's crazy seeing how toxic and self-destructive some teams are. The war is out there *points in the distance*, but some teams can't stop arguing among themselves. I sometimes see teammates dying from standing still while they're cussing out teammates via keyboard, and I shake my head. For me, outside of pinging the map or communicating things like out of mana (ctrl+click is an awesome feature!), I keep quiet. If random teammates are getting into it I just stay out of the conversation because they're total strangers and I'd likely just make it worse. When the toxicity is aimed at me I try to turn it around in a humorous way. I've silenced more than one toxic ADC by offering free hugs.
It was nice to get these matches out of the way after so many years of wondering how I'd rank. In all ten matches I never felt grossly outranked, and most of the losses gave me some takeaways of things I was doing wrong or could do better. The matches really felt similar to many Normal matches I've done before. If you haven't tried ranked yet I'd encourage you to give it a go before Season 6 ends (next Friday November 11th!).


League of Legends is a part of our every day life here at LAN Mob. It is incredibly rare for a day to pass without the Riot Games' MOBA launching on a multitude of our set-ups, more so lately than ever. Between Worlds, the ranked season concluding, the Halloween event and pre-season coming up, I watch more people load into Summoner's Rift day after day. This has been a very positive thing for our center, giving almost all of our regulars a gaming experience in common. However, as much as I love League of Legends, this phenomenon has created a very interesting role at the shop for Slooze and myself, League of Legends mentors. League of Legends is a very competitive game with a decently high skill cap, and while the game is loads of fun, if you are truly invested the competitive itch will get to you, as it has with our regulars. Due to introducing the game to them and having a plethora of the game knowledge it seems the role of mentor was tailor made for us. 



I started playing League of Legends during the summer of 2012. I don't remember specifically why I decided to download the free to play MOBA, but once I did and played for a bit I was hooked. Eventually the majority of my close friends were playing and we were learning and improving together. Ultimately, I settled into the jungle role, Slooze became an ADC and our friend Scarskull was our solo laner and we continued to play through out the years with very few extended breaks. Over time we played with all sorts of different players, learning and growing, expanding our champ pools and, being modest yet honest, we got pretty good.

So if you are a seasoned League of Legends player, I'm sure one of the first questions you'd ask yourself about a mentor is "What rank are they?". Unfortunately, this is where I fall short. Regrettably I have never been willing to apply myself aggressively to the ranked ladder, content to do my placement matches and decay every season. Every season I play my 10 matches, and every season I manage to place Silver 1, only to allow myself to decay back to mid to low Silver, playing only a handful of matches throughout the entire year. I'm happy to say I am more motivated to climb the ladder in Season 7, as I've been a bit annoyed with myself for allowing such decay. (I kinda want that Victorious Maokai and I was so close!). However, I believe the main reason I have found newly sparked motivation to climb the ranked ladder is for the regulars, as I am motivated to become a better teacher. As personal a reason as it may be, I believe a better ranking is like a medal in the military and with it I can directly mentor our community of new players as they will be more inclined to listen to my advice. There have have been multiple instances of giving one of our regular newer players a piece of advice but until they watched a video from some Platinum player or even higher ranked players visiting the shop, that advice did not hit home. This phenomenon may be subconscious and unintended but it is certainly present, and I believe being a higher rank myself will make my words carry more weight. After years and thousands of hours of games I know I carry helpful knowledge!




      




Identifying Bad Habits


It's been a challenge to help cultivate the newer/climbing League of Legends players but we have some incredibly strong talent come in to play every day, with very prominent strengths. When the shop is busy I'm less able to guide and support players, but sometimes, on a slow day, I'm able to sit behind players and point out mistakes and focuses for them to work on, if they wish. However, nothing beats being able to play with them and help in game which isn't always possible. I've found some very distinct poor habits throughout the year or so I've been doing this, and here are some examples. 

1) Miyamoto Musashi once said, "Do nothing that is of no use." and quite frankly this concept can apply to absolutely anything, including League of Legends. I see a lot of unseasoned players meandering around the map quite frequently, and I've tried to make the point clear that it is a waste of time and resources. Sometimes players tend to walk around the enemy jungle with no goal in mind (and ultimately get picked off), roam around the map hoping for a random pick or even sit in a bush when all 5 members of the team are accounted for. These actions have little use and are simply getting the player behind. Goal oriented gameplay is important, especially for new players, and it is something I have focused on.

2) Map awareness is something people tend to say a lot as the map in League of Legends is your number one source of information, which is the most powerful asset in winning a game. Information is priceless in a game like League, so it's important to absorb what you can. Players tend to tunnel on an enemy or even a task as simple as CSing and completely miss that massive amount of information being spoon fed to them by the map such as jungler location, lane pressure, MIAs and even what is warded and what is not.

3) CS. Creep Score may seem like an issue our rookie players would have but honestly poor CS plagues even some of our better players. Some of this is mechanical error but I think a huge majority of the issue is not understanding how insanely important good CS is. There's a multitude of information sources including pro players saying that in low elo the absolute number 1 skill you need to carry games is CSing, even more so then pressure. At low elo there is very little pressure since most players play for themselves, so the next best thing you can do is get ahead by picking up the free gold on the ground and push advantages. 




Identifying Strengths

I think the first step in being able to help players is knowing where they are suffering, and using tools to help players focus on those issues. However scouting out these bad habits has also made good habits very obvious! 

- Kindrid "The Hype God" Skylar can be seen around the shop almost every single day, grinding and improving. Out of almost all the players I've ever played with in League of Legends I have to say he may have the most positive mindset of them all. Endlessly optimistic and never raging, Kindrid's mindset is something people should emulate, at least to an extent. He can make even the most disheartening of losses a learning experience and not get tilted in matches. 

- After some role identity issues Taggles found a home in the mid lane and has been improving his game since. His biggest strength lies in his relatively consistent lane dominance with a plethora of champion picks. Taggles is capable of dueling his lane partner with force, especially in the early parts of the game. 

- One of the best strengths you can have as a competitive League of Legends players is a strong mindset for adaptation and MattBGames is a great and unique example of this. MattBGames plays League a lot around the shop and at home and one of his greatest strengths is his willingness to take advice and tips. I can think of multiple instances of attempting to correct Matt in a habit or error and pleasantly surprised when he took my advice to heart and made a change, at least in the short term. This clearly means MattBGames mindset is on improving and being a better player, which is a great way to look at the game.




The Challenges





Teaching is difficult and I have a lot of respect for past professors and educators that did their job incredibly well. I feel like I'm constantly getting better at being able to share the information I have but I certainly have things to work on myself as well.

- Consistently keeping up with League of Legends from patch to patch and understanding the current meta on top of simple game knowledge is very important to be able to help teach the game. Luckily there's a ton of media out in the world so we can stay educated and help keep the community up to date as well. Our LAN Mob League Community Page is a hub for discussion and patch information and we work diligently at it!

-  Having a knowledge of outlets for our community to learn and grow on their own time is also valuable. While players need to have a sense of personable responsibility to getting better, I tend to direct players to Summoner School  (a sub-reddit dedicated to improving in League of Legends) and Pro Builds, a site dedicated to checking build paths of some of the best players in the world.

- A personal challenge I've come across is getting a lot better at communicating the way I think about League of Legends. In multiple conversations I have given input on my own view of League of Legends strategy and applied and reapplied it to the way I play the game as well. It's made for interesting insight into my own play and after some time I believe it has made me a lot better, despite communication being difficult sometimes.

- Lastly, and probably the biggest challenge I've had with our community is dealing with rage and tilting. Slooze wrote a great post in the past regarding Rage in Competitive Gaming, and while I believe his post has incredible insight and people should give it a read, dealing with rage as a teacher has it's own new issues. Slooze and I have discussed how to stamp out insta-tilting and rage and negative attitudes in length, but it is certainly a challenging task. It's very obvious that rage is distinctly bad for everyone involved. It causes you to tilt and play poorly, it demoralizes your team, and just makes everyone have less fun. (which is the whole point right?). I struggle deeply with these types of players. I feel I've directly talked to multiple regulars about why rage and flaming is extremely negative and yet it seems to stick around like a bad virus in bad games. Everyone feels anger especially when you feel you're playing at your best but League is a team game. It'd be like working in a group on a project at work and flaming all of your team members. I need to continue to work hard and find ways to discuss rage and tilting and make our community even better than it currently is.

Ultimately, I love League of Legends. That's why I feel so passionate about our community and strengthen all of us as players. We have a lot of fun playing and growing but I can't help but feel responsible for helping our players in the areas they are suffering. While our community is full of high level players they aren't around the shop as much as us employees, so it's up to us to take on the challenge! I'm certainly not a professional League player, not even close, but I definitely feel I have knowledge to share for the newer players and I will continue to work harder at being a decent mentor, however if you're a veteran to League and have some tips and tricks for our greener players by all means help our community grow! We will all appreciate it!
Recently I've been playing a good amount of Gears of War 4 since 
it's early release on Oct. 8th(if you bought the Ultimate Edition). Putting the story off while I wait to duo through it with a buddy,I've spent most of my time in Horde Mode 3.0 Since jumping in on Gears of War 2,I found Horde Mode to be one of my favorite modes,with this iteration being no exception.Through my next few posts,I hope to explain the basics of Gears of War 4's Horde Mode as well as offer some tips on what I've observed these past few weeks.








Basically,Horde Mode:
New to Gears 4 and/or Horde Mode 3.0? I'll try to catch you up to speed. Horde mode is a survival game type with a class-based system where you and 4 other people fight to reach wave 50. Every 10 waves there will be a boss wave,spawning at least 1 of 4 bosses: Swarmak, Kestrel, Snatcher & Carrier. Multiple bosses will spawn the closer you are to wave 50*. Randomly,a bonus objective will appear. Completion of the bonus objective can reward weapon caches. Should you partially complete the bonus objective,you'll be awarded bonus score. After completion of a boss wave,you will gain rank experience,class experience and credit based on wave completion and your performance. Should you fail a wave you are able to restart at the beginning of that wave and try again. With that,we'll get a bit more in depth to what Horde Mode 3.0 brings to the table.
*I'm not sure if it's difficulty based but I recall fighting multiple bosses on wave 40 & wave 50 on Casual.Basically,The Classes:You have your choice of 5 classes to play as: Soldier, Sniper, Heavy, Scout & Engineer. Each class has a unique starting loadout and class specific skill cards that define how each class is to be played. Each class starts at level 1 with one skill card slot unlocked.You gain additional skill slots upon reaching level 3,5,7&10 as that class. As previously mentioned,you gain class XP for finishing the boss wave. You acquire skill cards buy purchasing either the Horde Booster pack or the Operations Pack pack in the store,both of which can be purchased with in-game credits. Please note that Horde Boosters only offer horde bounties and skills while Operation Packs are a mix between,skills,versus bounties,horde bounties and customizations(weapon skins,character skins and emblems). Skill cards are acquired at level 1 and can be leveled up through the use of duplicate skill cards to increase their effectiveness. Skill cards max out at level 5 and come in both generic skills and class specific skills.Through the use of the Gears Of War 4's crafting system,you are able to craft skill cards but only those you have already found.So you cannot craft brand new skills*
*Looks like I'll be relying on my luck to get that sweet "Hammer of Dawn Strike" skill for the Soldier.


Basically,The Fabricator:
Horde Mode 3.0 revolves around the fabricator and proper spending of "power",a resource dropped by enemies used to fuel your fabricator.The fabricator is a portable crafting station capable of producing fortifications & weapons with the proper amount of power and even the ability to revive dead teammates should you be carrying their dog tags.With the right class skills equipped,you can activate additional functions such as mass enemy spotting or even calling a Hammer of Dawn strike. The fabricator starts at level 1 and levels by making purchases through the fabricator,capping out at level 4. At level 1,you can only build the repair tool,which takes up your pistol slot and the only way to repair fortifications.Past level two you are able to build more weapons, such as a gnasher or lancer in case you need the ammo. As far as fortifications go,you have access to all of them at fabricator level 1 and come in the form of turrets,manned sentries,barricades,decoys and weapon lockers. Unlike weapons,the effectiveness of the fortifications will scale with the fabricator's level along with the cost. Fortifications deployed prior to the leveling up the fabricator can be upgraded by picking up the buildable and selecting the upgrade option. Last but not least,you can revive a fallen with the use of the fabricator. To do so,you must recover their dog tag and run back to the fabricator. Please note,you can only hold one dog tag at a time.The cost to revive an ally increases by 2,500 power for each revive of that wave*
*I've noticed while playing on Casual,the first revive of the wave is free.I'll have to pay better attention during normal and up to confirm this is the case for all difficulties.

"No One Man Should Have All That Power":The last topic of this post is covering "power". Power is dropped by fallen enemies and is used to repair& restock your fortifications,upgrade existing fortifications,revive dead teammates and purchase items through the fabricator. Like fallen weapons and grenades,any power left on the ground will despawn at the start of the next wave. Any power collected in the field is held in a personal stash and will be deducted first should you be trying to upgrade or repair fortifications. Once you touch the fabricator,it will be deposited for team use.Should an ally die,any power that they held will fall on top of their dog tags. Elite variants and boss enemies will drop more power than weaker enemies. The dropped power will be noticeably larger in size while laying on the ground. Prioritize these drops if you cannot collect all of the fallen power.

For the next post I'll be taking a look at look at each character's starting loadout and skills to give a better understanding of what their roles are.Until then,I'll leave some tips here.


BONUS TIPS:
 

  1. Try to enter a Horde Mode match with at least one engineer and scout on the team.The Engineer starts off with a repair tool & The Scout has a passive ability where you collect double power dropped by enemies during a wave.Between waves any power you collect is not doubled nor is the power you collect from fallen allies. 
  2. THE SCOUT DEPOSIT BONUS SKILL DOES NOT MATTER HOW POWER YOU DEPOSIT AT ONCE. For example,say your deposit bonus skill card gives you+50%.If you deposit 100 power,you will get 50 bonus power.If you deposit 200 power,you will get 100 bonus power.If I were to make two deposits of 100 power(200 total),I would get 50 bonus power for each deposit(100 total). 
  3. You can view how much health&ammo fortifications have and how much power each teammate is carrying by using your "Tac-Comm"/holding left bumper(going by the default controls). 
  4. Each boss has a glowing weakpoint ,hinting where to shoot to deal extra damage:

  • -Swarmak has glowing sores all over its body
  • -Carrier's exposed chest.Only will expose during&after attacks
  • -Snatcher's glowing underbelly
  • -Kestrel's have exhaust fans/engines near its blades.These have an orange-ish glow.

The New Year is often a chance to create resolutions for a new us - improvements, challenges and personal milestones. We get to raise the bar in our personal lives and give us something to strive for. Often resolutions fall by the wayside and are only recognized at the start of the new year when the cycle repeats itself. With only 10 weeks left in 2016 I thought it would be a great time to set some late-year resolutions for LAN Mob and use the New Year as a hard date to report back and hold myself accountable for the progress!



So here is my list of 7 changes I want to help make happen at LAN Mob before 2017 rolls in:

#1 - Getting Organized Internally

I've done a lot of design work on our internal dashboards using Oracle database and Application Express. It's nice to be able to customize everything to suit our needs, but lately we've been requiring more robust software to stay organized and on track as a team. I feel like I can design anything with APEX, but my time is short and stretched thin. We recently started evaluating Basecamp 3 for keeping internal projects on our radar, maintaining the store daily and communicating day to day.

#2 - Launching our LoL League

This idea hatched not even a month ago and it's something I'm very excited about - a Central/Upstate NY LoL League. The kind of league where ANYONE can find/form a team, compete at their own level and feel like they have a level playing field. The demand is overwhelming and I think we have the right system in mind for managing this. What's left is a lot of design work, followed by a heavy "boots on the ground" approach to get the word out there. I'm very excited to launch this and can't wait to bring more details to you all!

#3 - Planning Draxsel's Second Major

We recently completed our year-long sponsorship search and are preparing to send Draxsel off to UGC Smash Open December 2nd-4th in Illinois! We need to get him measured and fitted for a fresh jersey, and we'll have a viewing party planned the same as Pound 2016 where you can come hang out and watch Draxsel attack his second major event. We think this young man is a couple knees away from breaking into top-16 territory and hope you're around to witness it with us!

#4 - Deciding the Future of LML Smash

Our weekly tournaments have continued on Saturday with some regular faces, although we haven't technically taken to calling this Season 5. We love the community that's formed around LML-Smash and wish to continue with this, but have a couple roadblocks in our way.

The first roadblock is the loss of Slooze to other commitments for the foreseeable future. He was a constant presence in friendlies, tournament play, and casting and will be sorely missed. Spydude43 has offered to step up in a volunteer role which may allow us to pick up casting again on Saturdays, something I know everyone enjoys on tournament day and re-watching later. We first met Spydude43 as a volunteer caster almost a year ago and I believe he's the hero LAN Mob needs to help keep the stream chugging along.

Our second roadblock is growth of the community. Being in Rome we have certain geographic limits - there are only so many local players to pull from. We've faced strong resistance trying to promote our community locally, in particular with the Syracuse Smash managing group. I don't understand why a group with an interest in growing the Upstate NY smash community would seek to squash out local growing communities, which do a great job introducing the game to newcomers and promoting the concept of fighting game communities. Still our requests to get added to the Upstate New York Smashboard thread go ignored, our posts on the Syracuse Smash facebook group deleted, and our staff threatened with banning. It really could have been a beneficial relationship between both LAN Mob and Syracuse Smash, but we were met with so much hostility that we have zero desire to seek out or work with anyone in the current management group.

Outside of that, I'm particularly interested in how we can grow the community organically by introducing the game to new players and growing them into contenders. We accomplish some of this through our weekly friendlies event, but I believe we need a more robust approach that requires a completely different way of thinking. It's something we've argued over internally a great deal - how to incubate growth while keeping that edge as a fighting game community - and I'm sad to say we still don't have the answer, but I hope we find it over the next 10 weeks.

#5 - Increasing PC Capacity to 15

Our tiny little prototype LAN center is seeing a resurgence in PC gaming, possibly due to the present consoles reaching their end of life. While the LAN PCs being fully occupied is great for the business, we've had to turn some people away on the weekends and at lock-ins.  Adding a few more PCs should help us better support our customer base through the next few months. We're also excited to be rolling out some new software on the PCs that we believe everyone is going to LOVE - more details on that in the weeks ahead!

#6 - Staffing Up

With Slooze off wandering the east cost we're short on staff. I'm personally facing an insane 78-hour, 7-day workweek to fill the gap and there isn't enough caffeine to carry me through that. So we need to staff up and quickly! We recently held some interviews and are looking for the right balance of candidates. There are a lot of skills we need, gaming being the most basic of these, but PC repair, computer networking, social media marketing, business management, event organizing are all in shortage. I realize a person with solid skills in all of those areas just doesn't exist, but if you're strong on at least two of those, are reading this, and are interested, I very much want to speak with you. Please contact us and we'll talk!

#7 - The Future

The business has short-term and long-term needs to address. We've started to outgrow our space at peak times, and it's about time we start to make that transition to a larger center. We have a lot of ideas what direction that space could take, but now it's time to really drill down what the design looks like and what our timeframe is. I would like to have those plans in place by the end of this year so that we'll be prepared to make that next step in 2017.

Reading the list after writing it I have a lot of work cut out for the rest of the year! Check back after the 1st of January for an update on my progress.
We're down to the wire with another League of Legends World Championship on the verge of finals.  We've seen some memorable upsets in group stage but Quarterfinals went about as expected.  The 3 Korean teams that qualified for Worlds were able to make it to the top 4.  The only non-Korean team is H2K, the 2nd seed from Europe.  Here's how I expect next weeks' series to pan out!




ROX Tigers vs. SK Telecom T1    (10/21 - 6 PM)

Prediction: ROX 2-3 SKT

What way does this one go?  ROX comes into the tournament as the first seed from Korea, but many think that this has to do with the fact that ROX did not have to face SKT in the LCK Summer Finals.  SKT have been the Season 3 and 5 world champions and, since they did not qualify for worlds 2014, they have not lost a world championship that they have attended.  

As for performance at worlds this year, both groups are playing clean League of Legends.  Both groups won their quarterfinals against elite Chinese teams, each of which have two notable Korean talents (EDG- Pawn & Deft, RNG - Looper & Mata.)

As far as individual talent, both rosters are stacked from top to bottom (heh...) Every player has a formidable counterpart and will have to be handled very delicately.  These are the games that will be won in pick/ban phase, so it's a big responsibility for coaches to help their team get a draft that has the edge. 


At the end of the day I give the series to SKT in 5 games.  This is mostly due to my inability to see a Worlds Finals where SKT is not the first there.  

Despite this, I do see ROX's Smeb having an edge in the top lane against Duke.  Smeb holds a 4.3 KDA to Duke's 2.7 in the knockout stage.  The ROX top laner has also had a bigger presence for his team with 64.2% kill participation.  Duke, surprisingly, only had a 38.7% kill participation.  If these numbers hold up, ROX may have some wiggle room, but regardless will be an extremely hard fought set.  



Samsung Galaxy vs. H2K    (10/22 - 6 PM)

Predictions: SSG 3-1 H2K

I'm fairly certain that this will be a showing of who is the better team.  I'm also fairly certain that if H2K actually does take a game, it will be the first game.  From that point, the cool and collected Korean squad will make the necessary adjustments to win pick/ban and snowball their win conditions.  

H2K hasn't had the hardest journey this worlds, sharing a group with INTZ, ahq and EDG, while winning their important matches against EDG.  There is undeniably some great chemistry going on among these 5.  At many points, they were simply doing the right things at the right time.  

My concern for H2K is that they will let FORG1VEN take too many unfavorable matchups in the bot lane for the sake of the team, while SSG with the stronger 2v2 are known to perform better when they snowball out of laning phase.  

SSG also have an incredible wrap around the macro game post 20 minutes, where as the 2nd seed of Europe will not be able to push the same advantages into the mid game.  

I'm imagining that H2K will be prioritizing Lucian after game 2, putting their eggs in the FORG1VEN basket.  If there were a series for H2K to win against the other top 3 teams, it would be this one!  These are the 'Top 4' teams in the world so there is absolutely no room for error.
Overcooked!, the small co-op indie title released by Ghost Town Games, is easily one of the top contenders for my favorite game of the year. Not only is it an extraordinary game, it shines as an incredible Couch Co-Op title, earning a spot on our Couch Co-Op Top 10 list. If you haven't heard of Overcooked! or are interested in more detailed thoughts on the game, check out my Overcooked! review! As much as I'd like to continue praising the hilarious party game, let's get on to the main dish.


On October 14th Team17 uploaded the Announce Trailer for Gourmet Edition!



Already available in Europe, Gourmet Edition is a retail physical copy of the originally download only title. Adding "The Lost Morsel" DLC pack, Europeans get to enjoy a plethora of content a bit early. I'm trying not to be jealous.


Overcooked! Gourmet Edition
Available now in Europe
Available November 15th in US for $19.99

Before I touch on "The Lost Morsel", I want to touch on why I think Gourmet Edition is such a great thing. Gourmet Edition is essentially bundling the original title with a DLC package for a really good deal, which is obviously great for new players. Physical copies lining the shelves of shops like Gamestop sitting next to the latest AAA titles is a sure fire way for a smaller indie title to get some recognition. Personally, I prefer a physical copy (especially when it's a game I LOVE) and I'm sure a lot of Overcooked fans will be ecstatic to support the title further. It's important to note that Ghost town Games is not forcing players to go out and purchase the retail copy to acquire the new content, "The Lost Morsel" will also be available as downloadable content. Plus now I get to bring the game everywhere I go and force people to help me make soup!


The Lost Morsel
Available in Gourmet Edition Retail Box
Available as DLC November 15th for $4.99



"The Lost Morsel" is something I was really hoping for after completing the base game. While there's a good amount of replay value in Overcooked!, I couldn't help but wonder what other crazy kitchens Ghost Town Games was capable of concocting. I'm overjoyed and slightly terrified to bite into the 6 new campaign levels following the new jungle theme. The trailer gave us a taste of the new map, which was a uniquely pleasant experience in the base game. (And an excellent atmosphere to develop a plan for kitchens and choke slam each other). There are also 6 new chefs to work towards unlocking - Dinosaur, Robot, French Bulldog, Panda, Bear and of course Pig.

The end of every year is usually a tempest of AAA game releases, with some of the biggest releases hitting right before Christmas. This time of year has people scrambling to play the latest massive game releases, and this year is no different with titles like "Dishonored 2", "Final Fantasy 15" and "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" right around the corner. It's a fun time of year with a ton to play, but sometimes it's important to stop and smell the roses...err...tacos, and play some of the lesser known shorter titles, like Overcooked!. My list of games I've loved and look forward to this year is long with "Final Fantasy 15" and "The Last Guardian" coming soon, but as far as I'm concerned Ghost Town Games' charming title and the expansion belong on the same list. 

I'll start this post off by saying I don't hate Mafia 3, which is a currently common trend. Newly formed "Hangar 13" and 2K Games are getting a ton of flak for the newest open world crime game, due to uninspired game play and a plethora of bugs.  I've been pumping a good amount of hours into the title and being 100% honest, I have encountered almost no bugs, but maybe I'm just extremely lucky. (I'm playing on PlayStation 4). I do believe there are some issues with gameplay and pacing but Mafia 3's impressive narrative, unique setting and characters are worth the trip to the fictional Gulf Coast city, New Bordeaux.


Mafia 3 released October 7, 2016
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC



Mafia 3 follows the tale of Lincoln Clay, a young resident of New Bordeaux, a fictional New Orleans inspired city in Louisiana. Just like Vito Scaletta from Mafia 2, Clay's story starts for us upon his return from war, coming back a highly decorated 5th SFG member operating in Vietnam. Lincoln was orphaned as a boy and found a home among the black mob of New Bordeaux, looking up to their leader, Sammy Robinson, as a father figure. I do not want to spoil Lincoln's motivations, but due to a series of events Clay sets Sal Marcano, New Bordeaux's crime boss, in his cross hairs.

Lincoln Clay is a very intriguing "protagonist", asking multiple philosophical questions to the player about Clay's perspective. 1968 Louisiana was not a pleasant place for a black man, war hero or not. Hangar 13 also does a great job of presenting the sad issue of the state of war veterans upon their arrival home, touching on PTSD and finding work. Clay is a very strong point for Mafia 3, and forcing players into his shoes creates some very emotional points in the narrative. Sometimes I was unsettled by what NPCs would shout at me as I innocently walked into a business, grabbing my TV remote to lower my volume like I was doing something taboo. This was a real and true problem in our country at one point, and I love Mafia 3's willingness to represent these issues.


New Bordeeaux, Louisiana

So with the stage set, you begin your plot to take down Marcano by systematically targeting and overthrowing his various criminal rackets throughout the city. This is unfortunately one of the blaring weaknesses Hangar 13's open world game is plagued with. These tasks are 80% missions that become incredibly repetitive. The unoriginal gameplay mechanics do their job well enough and I want to stress that the gameplay mechanics here are not particularly bad, just not very unique and there isn't enough variety to pull too much from these sections. Guns feel alright and dropping goons feels as good as it should, but there's nothing extraordinary to discover as you drive (driving also feels good) to point A, shoot that guy and drive to point B and tell somebody that you did it. These missions serve a purpose but there's far too many of them filling in the time spent between the game's best moments. Once you have done enough damage to said rackets their boss is flushed out, which tasks the player with a more involved and unique mission. This formula continues essentially throughout the entire game, with an incredibly strong ending, that almost makes the entire process completely worth it. While the repetitive filler missions serve as Mafia 3's biggest weakness, the biggest strength here lies in it's incredible narrative.


I touched on the setting above, but I cannot praise Hangar 13's writing enough, and I believe it is Mafia 3's saving grace in the grand scheme of things. The prologue of the title sets the stage for a crime drama unlike anything I've played in a video game. Characters are interesting and emotionally realistic and I found myself invested with almost every character represented to me in a cut scene. These characters are perfectly melded into the atmosphere of New Bordeaux to create a story being told with a wealthy amount of depth. The story is told via playing Lincoln Clay in 1968, a documentary-esque cinematic series set place during modern times and a congressional hearing relating to Lincoln's crimes somewhere in between. These 3 narrative scenarios blend together seamlessly to really reach a level of narrative immersion unlike anything I've ever seen in a game like this. On top of Mafia 3's immersive 1960's setting, it feels like this game had all the tools to succeed on this alone, but chose to run up the game time clock instead.

John Donovon, ex-CIA, is interviewed at a congressional hearing regarding Lincoln's crimes.
These hearings are splashed through out the narrative and make for interesting insight.

I'm not a huge "open world crime" game player, I never really have been. GTA, being the obvious go-to for this specific genre, is something I never really cared for outside of San Andreas. Throughout the years the only games of this genre I really loved were Sleeping Dogs and Saints Row 2. I certainly understand the allure to these titles, exploring an open world engaging in an abundance of side missions and activities. Mafia 2 was along these lines but a lot less of an open world and I honestly believe Mafia 3 would fare better without the open-world formula. Sometimes this formula just leads to a bloat and keeping a title on rails or somewhat open world (Mafia 2) makes for a better experience.

The Mafia 3 world map is massive, and while the setting is gorgeous and driving around listening to 1960's Radio and various hits (Johnny Cash, Otis Spann, The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and Sam Cooke to name a few) is very cool, a vast majority of this map is entirely unused.     

Overall, if 1960's southern crime drama is something you're interested in, definitely give Mafia 3 some time. Despite the mind numbing lows, the emotional highs and unnerving/equally beautiful settings make for an experience worth the effort. The absorbing storyline and gripping characters have so much strength and while the mission formula wears very thin over time, Mafia manages to touch on bold and compelling narrative themes. I wish the meat of the gameplay was a bit more remarkable but Hangar 13 needs to be acknowledged for the captivating tale they weaved in their debut title. 
Quest For a Console

Bossman screeched through the intersection, car tilting on two wheels, as he glanced at the car radio. 9:59.  Best Buy would be open in one minute! "I'll never make it in time!" he thought to himself. The thought entered his mind of watching a grandmother pushing her walker across the parking lot, with the last PSVR tucked neatly in her carrying basket for her grandson Billy's birthday party this weekend. "I'm going to have to mug a grandmother, it's the only way. Billy will understand. This is for the best."

The store was in sight now, that big blue and yellow sign growing closer. The clock ticked 10:01 as his car came to a rolling stop on the sidewalk in front of the store, Bossman jumping out and crashing into the store, pushing over a toddler and sprinting for the gaming section. He would have ordered on Amazon if not for the four-day anticipated back-order.  That just wouldn't do.  LAN Mobbers need this technology today!

As he approached the gaming section he noticed there was no crowd gathered, no punches being thrown or ankles bitten.  In fact no people at all. "I missed it. They must have opened early. Gone! All gone!"

He rounded the corner and there it was, a single PSVR bundle box sitting on the shelf at the edge of the gaming aisle. One left! And nobody in sight!

"Are you looking for the PSVR?" asked a voice in the distance.

"NO IT'S MINE YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!" Bossman exclaimed as he dove on the last box, rolling behind an Amiibo display for cover.

"Here take one of these," the voice called back as Bossman looked up at the Best Buy employee on a ladder, with a stack of 10 more PSVR boxes behind him.

"Uhhh, right." He stood up, dusting himself off and placing the PSVR back neatly on the shelf. "Have you had many sold this morning?" he asked.

"Nope, you're the first one. We'll probably sell more around lunch though. Good thing you got here early!"

You're lucky, Billy. Enjoy your PSVR and give your grandmother a hug.

Sage's First Impressions



One of the greatest advantages to working at LAN Mob is we get to try a lot of technology early and consistently. Whether it be breakout tech like the HTC Vive or simply games I normally wouldn't have access to (League of Legends with NO LAG!) we're very up to date here in the center. Thanks to Bossman's intense quest yesterday, we were given a new toy to mess around with and prepare for the Mobbers. PSVR!




Unboxing AND Setup


Enrique and I were charged with getting the PSVR open and hooked up in the shop, a feat we were more then happy to accomplish so we could get it up and running for Mobbers to try (and take it for a spin ourselves). We were both very surprised to see that there is A LOT that goes into setting this thing up. The PSVR comes with the actual headset, 2 PlayStation Move Wands, a PlayStation Camera, and something Sony has titled the "processor unit". All of these components come with a plethora of wires and instructions, and while this much content was a bit daunting at first, with team work and patience Enrique and I managed to hook up the PSVR in a good spot, avoiding creating a spaghetti monster of wires.  I really have to give it to Sony, creating a VR headset of these caliber while keeping wires and requirements to a minimum is very impressive.


Getting Ready to Play


Once the PSVR was physically ready to go, I started to orient myself with it. If I had to say ONE great thing about the virtual reality apparatus is the headset is amazing. Not only is the headset visually pleasing, it's incredibly comfortable. Honestly, I would have to say it is more comfortable than the HTC Vive. The headset has a multitude of buttons and customization to make sure the headset is comfortable for the user with minimal effort. This is great for a LAN Center as it allows us to readjust quickly and effortlessly. Unlike the HTC Vive the PSVR does not include a general tutorial mode, so orienting myself took a few minutes, but nothing unrealistic. One of my favorite aspects of the HTC Vive is that you can see your remotes in your headset, but this is not the case while browsing menus in the PSVR, so that also took a bit of getting used to. Ultimately, with our help, getting accustomed to the PSVR and navigating the menus and various content is easy and the Mobbers should have an easy time adjusting the the virtual world on PS4.



PlayStation VR Worlds Impressions


Unfortunately, I spent a grand total of 15 minutes actually playing games in the VR, but what I did play was a lot of fun. The PSVR Bundle came with a game showcasing the abilities of the PSVR titled, "PlayStation VR Worlds". There are a multitude of different arcade style games wrapped up in the showcasing package, two of which were "Street Luge" and "Danger Ball", which were what I got to play. Street Luge is exactly as it sounds, extreme luging...in VR! Danger Ball is sort of like a very futuristic game of Pong. Both of these titles utilize the PSVR's headset tracking to create an arcade style title focused on showing exactly what the PSVR is capable of, forcing me to contemplate the future possibilities. 


Available Now at LAN Mob


We're presently offering the following PSVR titles:


PlayStation VR Worlds - As described above, PSVR Worlds boasts a plethora of short arcade style titles showcasing the strength of PSVR.

Batman: Arkham VR - Batman in virtual reality. It really doesn't get better than that.

Battlezone VR - Experience first person VR tank combat across neon scarred sci-fi landscapes in an explosive 1-4 player campaign. Built from the ground up exclusively for PSVR.

SuperHyperCube VR - A "incredibly hard game to describe", SuperHyperCube is a colorful and challenging puzzle game in the world of VR

Thumper VR - Being reviewed as one of the strongest PSVR applications currently, Thumper is being described as a "rhythm violence" title. Thumper not only managed to create itself a brand new genre, it does it very well. Molding the expected rhythm formula with fast paced immersive action. Check out the trailer below.





PSVR time can be purchased at double our normal hourly rate - $8/hour or $20 for 3 hours.  Come give it a try and experience the future of gaming here first!
I've played (almost) exclusively Ivern since his release on October 5th. After 7 days and roughly 25 games I feel I've got a decent grasp on The Green Father. I wrote some very early impressions and a kit explanation here, check it out if you're interested in Riot's newest jungler.





















IMPRESSIONS

My ultimate summary for Ivern is...well he's unfortunately under performing. Reaching an all time low of a 32.7% win-rate in the 6.20 patch, players are left with a feeling of disappointment. There are two major sides the community is taking in the discussion of Ivern, with the major one being he is simply too weak. In fact, this issue has even gained the attention of Riot themselves, as they employed a hot fix 2 days ago. The hot fix included increases to his health growth, magic resist, attack speed and attack speed growth, in an attempt to help the jungler catch up in the meta. The second side of the Ivern discussion, is he is simply a high mastery champion, requiring time for the community to play him to his potential. This discussion holds a huge weight thanks to the Diamond 3 player, "i make bush". With a 60% win rate in diamond with Ivern, this player is showing there's at least some potential for The Green Father. This thought process also falls in line perfectly with Bard, The Wandering Caretaker's original release. People preemptively decided the character was very bad, when in reality players just needed to take the time to master the champion.

Personally, I love Ivern. He's an absolute blast to play and is somewhat devastating in my elo, where players seem to lack map awareness and do not play around summoner spells. I like to start Gromp and blue buff, then steal away the enemy red and gank mid, which usually results in a first blood. He has a lot of potential when it comes to abusing weak lanes and his W makes for some very interesting objective control. Last but not least, Ivern's ultimate "Daisy!" is extremely underrated, causing absolute chaos in team fights and securing kills in duels I normally would have lost.  This is not to say Ivern has no weaknesses, as he has some very blaring ones. There was one specific play in top lane, against a Riven and a Nidalee with less then 100 hp, and I was unable to secure the kill on either champion, and died. I was annoyed, as almost any other jungler could have did the damage needed. I also think Ivern is incredibly weak to invasion, as he has almost no chance of winning a duel. While playing Ivern, I shudder in pick and ban stage when I see Evelyn, Kha'Zix and especially Lee Sin. Ultimately, the League of Legends community will learn how to play with Ivern and against him, then I'm sure his place in the meta will be a bit more clear.

RUNES & MASTERIES

I've messed around with different rune sets and masteries every single game, varying from Strength of the Ages and even Deathfire Touch, full tank rune pages and full AP. I will say, I think a Strength of the Ages tank build on Ivern is probably best, but I've found the most success with -





















These pages have allowed me to win some fights I otherwise would not have, and do a surprising amount of damage early in the game.


ITEM BUILD

Due to the way I've been playing Ivern, I prefer Skirmisher's Sabre with Runic Echoes. I then quickly go into Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Hextech Protobelt - 01. These items allow you to support your team while doing some damage. I think Rod of Ages isn't a bad buy if you manage to get it very early, due to it taking some time to go online. After this I build tanky, based off of my opponents.

To be honest I think I get away with a lot I shouldn't due to my elo/mmr, and I'm somewhat capable of baiting out bad fights thanks to Triggerseed and Daisy while my team collapses. I tend to gravitate towards characters for no reason, and Ivern has caught my attention 100%, and I'm going to continue to play him for even more insight. I think he fits team comps as a roaming support, and while that makes him a little less capable of things other junglers can do with ease, it opens up team comps to be set up to succeed. If you have any questions, comments or opinions on The Green Father, drop em in the comments below! Thanks for reading!





Ah, yes, it's that time of the year again.  With group stage throwing every person for a loop, we've reached the next phase of the League of Legends World Championship.  Let's dip into what the quarterfinals are looking like and what we expect to see.  We'll start in order of which series will be played first.





Samsung Galaxy vs. Cloud9  (10/13 - 6 PM)

Prediction: SSG 3-1 C9

Many people will give this series to Samsung Galaxy (SSG) which is entirely fair.  Cloud9 are living in the meme of being carried by SKT out of groups, due to SKT halting the Flash Wolves hopes of forcing a tiebreaker between themselves and C9 for the 2nd seed.  Samsung Galaxy came into the group stages as a bit of a question mark for many.  Being the 3rd seed from Korea, many questioned whether or not they would step up.  

After week 1 it still seemed a bit murky.  Losing to TSM but absolutely destroying RNG left fans' heads spinning.  Though seeming inconsistent, they still played as an elite team and took a 2-1 week one into week two, finishing with a 5-1 record. This roster suddenly looks terrifying.  Cuvee was the rock that carried SSG to worlds and, although having shaky performances, has done what his team needed when it mattered most.  Crown is a monster in the midlane, destroying the enemy team with Viktor and Ryze.  With Ambition in the Jungle hungry to win, and the duo of Ruler and CoreJJ in the botlane, this lineup will not crack under pressure.  

Cloud9 on the other hand have their share of issues.  There's no denying that Impact was a force to be reckoned with during the NA LCS, especially during the finals. Up against world class talent, C9 can't so easily depend on Impact to dominate his opponent and draw the necessary pressure to his side of the map.  The C9 bottom lane has received it's fair share of flack as well, specifically the support, Smoothie.  Looking all out of sorts on meta picks such as Alistar, its going to take some level of nerve to bring together the level of play that superstar players like Mata and Wolf can provide on the same meta champions.  

Overall, this C9 roster has been very shaky against the foreign teams.  I believe in their ability to string together coordinated victories and at least have a winning strategy for one game, or simply get Jensen ahead early on in the midlane, but they need to make the right moves to get to that place if they're going to have a chance in this top 8.


SK Telecom T1 vs. Royal Never Give Up  (10/14 - 6 PM)

Prediction: SKT 3-2 RNG

Man, this whole side of the bracket looks too hard to predict.  SKT is coming into the tournament as the 2nd seed from Korea, but I don't believe that any of that really matters anymore.  All of the team's cards are out on the table.  

The key here is figuring out which team is more likely to adapt.  I give that star to SKT.  RNG were on the brink of getting knocked out at group stage, having very poor performances against SSG and Splyce. These performances may represent some signs of in-game tilt.  

SKT have a rock-solid lineup and support staff behind them.  They've won 2 of the last 3 world championships and they are hungry for more.  RNG are in a similar boat, having Looper and Mata as Season 4 World Champions from SSW, and Uzi, the legendary ADC who has always seemed to fall short in two different World Championship finals.  It's unfortunate to see these two have to face so soon in the tournament, but it's inevitable with the way that groups panned out.

Since these two are so evenly matched, I expect a game 5 as long as RNG stop the tilting bleeding early.  They have to expect the most competitive games at this point.  

As far as strategy, I expect SKT to focus RNG's bottom lane in attempt to get Uzi behind/off his game. This is a historical strat so it should be one that RNG expects. In this case, I would expect Looper, Mlxg and Xiaohu to press advantages elsewhere.

As for RNG, I think they may be best off exploiting SKT's jungle.  Bouncing between Blank and Bengi could be risky business.  Bengi seems to be reliable if the plan is to get Faker snowballing, where as Blank has had remarkable Lee Sin play, but has been questionable during his Olaf games.  


ROX Tigers vs. Edward Gaming   (10/15 - 6 PM)

Prediction: ROX 3-1 EDG

This matchup will be an interesting one, similar to SKT vs. RNG in the sense that it will be a Korean team versus a Chinese team with two Korean players.  

Both of these teams are extremely strong but have had moments of weakness. I give the edge to ROX here because they have proven that they can bounce back and perform under pressure, stealing back the 1st seed of their group.  

The only notable loss in week 1 for ROX was their game against CLG where Huhi went off on Aurelion Sol. They also lost a 66 minute game in week 2 to ANX, a team who is breaking through as one of the strongest Wildcard teams to date. Later on, ROX won the tiebreaker between the two in a dominating, sub 30 minute fashion. I believe that ROX has gotten their flow back. Smeb has become the monster in the top lane that we expected, Peanut is cool under pressure with the Baron steals, Kuro carries positive scores, Pray is arguably the best Ezreal at the tournament and Gorilla is, well, Gorilla.  

Edward gaming is so capable on the other end. Deft, Pawn and Clearlove are big names and are all very strong players in their respective roles. I do see a weakness in Mouse's inability to find success on tanks. He had an Irelia performance that really made people think twice, but then was exposed in their first game of week 2 against H2K where he was stuck on Poppy again.  This is worrying for EDG when their weakest player is going up against the best in the world.  


H2K vs. Albus NoX Luna  (10/16 - 6 PM)

Prediction: H2K 3-0 ANX

Albus NoX Luna have blown peoples' minds this tournament.  Having taken creative team comps and upset the likes of CLG, G2 and ROX Tigers is no easy feat.  They're here to excite and make the run of their lives, but I'm afraid that that run stops at H2K.  

This prediction isn't supposed to take away anything from ANX, as they have gone above and beyond expectations. This is only to praise H2K's dominant performance in week 2.  They went 4-0 during the run on October 7th, including a tiebreaker between EDG, where Forg1ven didn't even die once.  

I credit this 3-0 prediction to the fact that these two face off last in the Quarterfinals, giving both sides the advantage of seeing any strats played before their set on the 16th.  

Forg1ven wants this worlds run to go far because of how confident he is in his own abilities.  You can feel his impact on the team through his play.  One game he was down 30 CS on Deft, only later to be up 100 CS on Deft.  That's the determination that this H2K lineup is being carried by.

I do believe that ANX will put up a fight and pull any tricks up their sleeves that they still have.  If they lose game 1 and start game 2 off on the wrong foot, I don't know if they'll have enough juice in the tank to ward off this fired up H2K.  



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