LMS Lunar New Year Catch-Up

Off the Grid

If you haven’t noticed, (which you probably should have) the LMS has been off the grid since the start of the 2018 season. The broadcast has been taken off Youtube and Twitch in favor of the Garena livestreaming platform. LMS goes LIVE every Thursday and Friday at 4pm GMT+8 and Saturday and Sunday at 7pm GMT+8 .

Alpha Wolves?

Flash Wolves still top the LMS chart as of now but are hardly at the same form as they did last year. They went uncharacteristically 2-1 against Team Afro, a disputably weaker team, in Week 2. Although, the following weeks looked better for FW, it was against teams like HKA and ahq, who are currently at the bottom of the standings. Upon inspecting further, it is apparent that FW are fixing their communication issues as Moojin tries to pull his best Karsa impressions on Rengar, Kha’Zix and Jarvan VI.

Ultimately FW’s execution has become less clean than before, but with Maple popping off on control mages, FW will probably keep their win streak going a few more weeks.

King of Dinosaurs

A new contender is in town. Previously known as Raise Gaming, Toyz has coached a bunch of fine young rookies into top talent in the LMS. Formerly criticized for being one-trick ponies, G-Rex now sports a little more diversity in their lineup and strategies. Only dropping a series to FW, it does seem like G-Rex, with Korean star players Candy and Stitch are on a roll. G-Rex is the only team that seems to have quickly penetrated the language barrier for effective communication.

Promising Teams

J Team, M17 and MAD Team are a little harder to break down. They show signs of promise but at other times, play less than optimally. That said, they definitely have the ability to give the Region’s current top 2 a run for their money. J Team knows how to clean up their act, MAD Team and M17 have already taken down ahq. Although, it does seem like taking down ahq isn’t much of a feat any more.

What happened to ahq?

Ahq e-sports club is having a rough year already. Underestimating teams after a convincing win against HKA was not a good idea. As with Chawy, Wako is having trouble synergizing with Mountain. LBB and Tuna try hard to fill AN and Albis’s shoes and continue to struggle through the laning phase. It is puzzling as there shouldn’t be any communication barriers within the team, but it sure does feel like it. Ahq have lost their ability to win non-scientific teamfights, the only edge they had in the LMS. With that gone, what will ahq do to recover?

Attitude in Peril

It is tough to describe HKA’s performance across the weeks. None of them are in any shape to play in a Premier League right now. Yes, not even Chawy. It seems the Housing issue they encountered affected the team more than anticipated. Players are losing sleep and not practicing well. Add to that communication issues and we have a recipe for disaster. One can only hope to see the team that made Play-Ins at Worlds last year soon.

LMS continues 22 Feb at 4pm GMT+8


SLS announcement sparks concern for Singapore’s esports scene

Earlier this week, Garena Singapore announced that The Legends Circuit Singapore (TLCSG) would be replaced by a newer competition called the Singapore Legends Series (SLS).

The month-long tournament, unlike TLCSG, will feature 2 online qualifiers with minimal restrictions as well as playoffs between the top 8 teams in an offline setting. The prize pool was also reduced from $43,000 to a total of $10,000.

SLS players would not be granted the title of professional player, freeing these players from previous restrictions to lower tier tournaments.

Community Concern
This change came to the local community as a huge blow and we spoke to many concerned members for their opinions.

Teams were initially already puzzled at the fact that TLCSG had not started while all other leagues in the GPL region were already under way.

Members we spoke to expressed concerns over the many underlying implications to this move.

“Garena’s seeming focus on the Singapore Campus League (SGCL) instead of the pro League is concerning. It sends a message that players are penalized for being good at LoL. TLC players played on laptops while SGCL players had desktops complete with curved monitors.”

Just earlier this year, Garena’s SGCL filled the entirety of Scape’s auditorium for both A and B Division Finals. TLCSG’s Finals are speculated to be held at the Gam3.asia Arena at Marina Square.

“Is the significantly lower prize pool because of lack of sponsors? We are afraid that this dip will chase current and aspiring players away.”

SGCL secured sponsors from M1, Canon, lenovo, National Youth Council. SLS has yet to announce any sponsors for their event.

“The removal of Pro Player status strips players of their status but doesn’t guarantee that 3rd party tournaments don’t add a clause to prevent them from playing.”

There has been a recent spike in 3rd party tournaments organized by Gam3.asia, allowing players to hone their competitive skills in their downtime. These tournaments have yet to place many restrictions on pro-players.

“I question the decision to allow almost anyone to apply for the tournament. How will this ensure our competitiveness in the GPL? The motivation for teams to win is gone.”

SLS no longer requires players to qualify via smaller tournaments such as Novice Cup or Teemo Cup.

Some members of the community were ultimately sympathetic to Garena’s decision. Citing that they understood the rationale behind their decision to switch the tournament formats.

“While the Prize Pool has been reduced, it is still quite a fairly large sum compared to many others that choose to give away gaming peripherals as compared to cash. Perhaps we have been too reliant on Garena’s prize pools for sustainability instead of looking for it on our own.”

The new SLS is nearly half the period of committment required of players than that of TLCSG.

“We respect what Garena has been doing for us over the years and we just wish that Garena would be more transparent with us about their decisions instead of just informing us with little negotiation room.”

“A disheartening yet understandable move by Garena. With viewership continuing to dwindle it comes as no surprise that changes needed to be made. With a heavy grassroot focused esports model, the shift in attention, pro players are tossed out with campus players now reveling in the spot light. The question has been made, is the continued expense of a pro Singapore league truly a rewarding investment? In all honesty, despite my avid love for all things LoL esports, an objective point of view from me totally understands the direction”

When we spoke to Garena, they expressed that they understand the concerns of the community and are glad that people are coming forth as it shows how deeply the local scene still cares about esports. Thus they are still optimistic and are willing to try new ideas that will improve the scene in the future.

The SLS Qualifier 1 starts 14 July 2017, four days after initial announcement of the tournament.

Rift Rivals 2017: LMS has tough climb ahead

It is difficult to describe the teams representing LMS at Rift Rivals without the context of first half of the LMS Summer Split. The standings as of now have baffled even veteran LMS analysts.

LMS first Round Robin

None of the teams at Rift Rivals are at the top of the table.

Raising the hopes of LMS?
Newly promoted Raise Gaming sits at the top at the table at 6-1, only losing a BO3 series to their promotion tournament nemesis, Wayi Spider. Their unorthodox strategy of pushing side lanes before collapsing into the mid lane has caught many teams off guard from the traditional Mid-to-Side formula. Failing which, RG would turtle up to a point where they could capitalize and punish mistakes from their opponents.

However, the mechanical level at which Raise Gaming’s players have is disproportionate to their success. Analysts still believe that RG will not do well internationally as they are currently banking in on a single play style that has already started to show cracks.

A troubled Flash Wolves
Flash Wolves have had a rough start to the Summer Split. Losing their first 2 BO3s to RG and WS due to Betty and MMD’s suspension. Even then, Karsa looked extremely uncomfortable in tank-meta picks like Zac, eventually leading to him rage-quitting and suffering a week-long suspension.

Since then though, FW seem to have found their form. Taking out the competition one after the other. They have seemingly expanded their Champion Pools, but not by much. We have yet to see Betty and SwordArt touch Xayah and Rakan even once; insisting on their Kalista-Thresh combo wherever possible.

The biggest concern about FW is that they are risk-averse and are highly unwilling to try new things for breakthroughs; they are slow to pick up on new metas. They may throw out a sudden Morgana support pick once in a while, but this courage only comes with hubris against weaker teams. As stakes get higher, FW shrink back to their comfort picks and struggle against players who can do better using meta picks.

Flash Wolves’ vision control is usually immaculate, which is sometimes their downfall as well. They struggle when opponents play around it by simply not entering the jungle or making mistakes. Against SKT and WE, this won’t do at all as all they need to do is use their superior lanes to crush FW.

FW vision

Naturally, FW are still considered the strongest team in the LMS. However, FW need to ensure that their lanes can go even in order for Karsa to make plays across the map. If any lane falters, the FW ecosystem starts crumbling down fast.

J Team’s misleading scoreline
Do not be mistaken by J Team’s current position of 2nd place. J Team is far from a good team.

JT’s insistence on playing Alex over REFRA1N has been baffling. REFRA1N’s performance during his brief substitution for FW has been great compared to what Alex can dish out. Alex exhibits moments of brilliance followed by huge blunders that almost costs JT games. To be able to exceed Mountain in terms of deaths is a huge feat in itself.


JT’s formula has yet to change since their TPA days. They rely on Bebe and FoFo to carry the team to victory. Morning may stay even in lane against CuVee or Mouse but will need more from his team in order to win games against SSG and EDG.

JT seems to still suffer from an identity crisis since the departure of their Korean coach in favour of their own style. Old habits kick in sometimes and cause problems within the team in terms of communication. J Team has the best WPM among all 4 Rift Rival teams, but their ability to play around that vision is lacking.

teams vision

JT have delayed their indecisive mid game from after 20 minutes last year to around 30 minutes this year; expect JT to dance around Baron for a good 10 minutes before realizing that they could have killed off Baron in that time.

AHQ’s Mid-lane crisis
Despite Flash Wolves’ early split woes, AHQ’s woes are much more troubling. Their indecision between Chawy and Westdoor saps the team of their consistency. From a spectator standpoint, it is obvious that Chawy is the better choice for the team. But the underlying motivations from AHQ to play Westdoor are unknown.

chawy westdoor.png

In game, AHQ’s tendency to take too many risks spells their downfall. Despite a PENTA-worthy Baron steal from FW, AHQ have been a very blood thirsty team; often skipping vision control over risky jungle skirmishes. In fact, all of their losses have been a result of colossal errors in judgement, funneling one after another into a lost teamfight trying to recoup losses, only to lose even more.

Barring a few outlying games, AHQ usually starts out ahead until the bottom lane or Mountain overextends and costs them the mid game. From then on, AHQ relies once again on their teamfight prowess to win games.

Ziv and Chawy are the pillars of AHQ. They make a decent duo when it comes to teamfights. They position well and work well together to turn fights around. Unfortunately, AHQ plays Westdoor, who is still more concerned with making plays on his own instead of working alongside his team.

AHQ’s bottom lane has been a problem for the team as well. AN has been playing poorly since Spring and continues to do so, with stats rivaling that of M17’s Dee.


AHQ may have added a substitute ADC of LBB to try and boost AN’s performance, but it does not seem to have worked thus far. LBB is not registered as a Sub for AHQ at Rift Rivals and will not be playing.

M17 in 2017
Unlike their Spring Split performance, M17 has had a whole lot of trouble trying to stay afloat in the Summer.

top laneTheir star Top laner 3z has been tumbling down the Korean ladder for quite a while. Bot lanes Dee and Dreamer are still struggling hard in the bottom half.

The largest issue from M17 stems from their lack of shotcalling. Their Baron dances with JT have been painful for spectators and analysts alike.

M17 often wanders the map aimlessly in the mid to late game, much akin to JT. Except M17 has less mechanically skilled players and thus fall far down the rankings.

It is, however, tradition for M17 to suddenly find their form in the latter half of the split. If that is the case, Rift Rivals will be a prime opportunity to learn from and do so.

Tough times ahead
An honest opinion of the current state of LMS is less than optimistic. All participating teams are bogged down by their own issues, some more dire than others. The best case scenario for LMS in Rift Rivals is to learn the harsh lessons of defeat in order to stand a chance at Worlds 2017 in China later this year.

The Rift Rivals 2017: LPL/LCK/LMS begin 2:00pm Taiwan Standard Time

Credits to oracleselixir.com for the statistics.

Riot announces Reforged Runes and New Honor system


In a video posted yesterday, Riot announced a whole bunch of upcoming updates for its League of Legends title. We have summarized the video for you below, but feel free to check out the video if you have the time.

  • Regarding the new League Client, more bugfixes and implementation of Item sets are on the way
  • New Rune system will combine Masteries and Runes
  • All Runes will be FREE
  • More Keystone Runes are available and are intended to grant a lot more power to than current Keystone Masteries
  • Compensation for current rune owners will be announced at a later date
  • New Honor system to be released in the next patch and is already in PTR
  • Players with higher Honor levels will get better drops from loot
  • Honoring is more integrated into the system to encourage use
  • Riot is looking into Voice Chat
  • Voice Chat is a polarizing issue that will be dealt with carefully

Wonder Woman sticks the Superhero Landing

I caught one of the first screenings of Wonder Woman today and it was a blast. As the latest addition to the DCEU, Wonder Woman smashes all expectations and leave little room for criticism.

We follow the life of Diana, who is born in Themyscira and brought up with an overprotective mother. All Diana strives to be while growing up is to be a Warrior like all before her, but after meeting a Man named Steve Trevor, she realizes that she wants to do more.

The film portrays an accurate depiction on the Amazons and pulls no punches when it comes to the amount of badass these warriors can dish out. Compared to men who hide behind their guns, the Amazons are courageous and honorable.

Director Patty Jenkins is unafraid to show the true potential of women, especially when they are unburdened by the need to care for issues such as make-up or fashion.

Given the time period the film is set in, it is inspiring to all women out there as Gal Godot walks into an office full of men and doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Chris Pine is an excellent Steve Trevor. He portrays an awkward yet believable Spy capable of infiltrating the German ranks to obtain valuable information. His chemistry with Gal Gadot is impressive as we watch a grounded man try to help her fit into the world of men. This is amplified by Etta Candy, played by Lucy Davis, who is comical in her own right while also showing some backbone of her own.

The cinematography is amazing and captures even the messy fight scenes cleanly. Compared to many other Action movies that feature lazy camera shaking to hide bad choreography and stunt doubles, Wonder Woman does an amazing job in ensuring that viewers get to see the whole shebang.

Speaking of which, fight choregraphy is magnificent. They did a good job of juxtaposing Martial Arts and Gunfighting into a fluid sequence. Along with the impeccable use of CG and slow-motion, viewers will be delighted to keep their eyes glued to the screen.

Wonder Woman keeps you rooting for Diana and her beliefs as she continues to challenge ideals and the status quo without any semblance of fear. Patty’s ability to make viewers root for an overpowered demigod is impressive as we eventually realize that her powers are the least of our concerns.

Take my word for it: Watch Wonder Woman. This movie defies all expectation and is empowering for both men and women. You’ll leave the cinema wanting more, instead of being grateful that it ended.

If you have no time to practice, don’t play the game

The following text may be a tough pill to swallow. But if you’re willing, read on. If your thirst for winning and attending international tournaments is there, this shouldn’t faze you. The time for niceties is over. What Singapore players need is a hard punch in the face.

I don’t claim to be an expert in the local scene. I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to knowing the players in the scene. But what I’ve come across doesn’t spell good news.

Local players, stop making excuses.

No Time
This is the worst offender of them all. While it is fair that the local community is burdened by School and NS commitments, it only means that the remaining available time should be spent more wisely than playing a Solo-Queue smurf in the local server.

Circumstances have already put local players at the back foot. But players make it even worse by thinking they’re doing enough by simply playing the game. This is made worse by coaching staff that think the same thing.

If you have no time to practice, don’t play the game. I’m not asking you to quit. I’m asking you to be smart.

  • A new patch is coming? Read it!
  • Drastic Champion changes? Test it!
  • Changes in Meta? Study it!
  • WTF is Macro game? Watch it!
  • Lacking Champion Pool? Learn it!
  • Watching a Pro game? Take notes!

Local players don’t even bother reading statistics other than Damage Dealt. If you wanted that, you should be playing HotS. Learn and understand that Stats such as CSD@15 doesn’t mean that you should CS better but is more of an indicator of how you played your first 15 minutes.

If your coach hasn’t planned lessons and points to work on for scrims, fire him. If you’re looking for scrims, it means you already have a game-plan you want to try; not jump into a random game and expect to improve.

I do not doubt that the local scene is full of mechanically gifted players. That would have worked in Season 2, but not anymore. It’s been 5 years since Season 2 and we’re still making that mistaken assumption. Stop working on Mechanics and start working on Communication.

To play well isn’t to be flashy and take Pentakills. To play well is to communicate cooldowns with the team. Buddy up to push vision control and play to win conditions.

SKT isn’t flashy. They just understand the game better. So stop playing the game. Start studying it. AND START NOW!


MSI 2017 Group Stage Delivers Rollercoaster Ride


The Mid Season Invitational 2017 Group Stage has finally come to an end. After a grueling 5 days worth of League of Legends, we are finally down to 4 teams.

However, the journey that brought us these 4 teams was not without strife. Usually the tournament’s top 4 teams would have been decided way before the last few games of a Group Stage. This time, the outcome was not certain up to the very last game. That was parity between the teams.

Still at the top
The only constant was that SKT T1, who dominated the Group Stage with 8-2, only dropping games to their Kryponite “Flash Wolves” and LPL’s World Elite. SKT’s immaculate control and understanding of the meta as well as the game showed as they dominated team after team. Teams that could take games off them had to throw curve balls at their defenses in order to get them to crack. This, however, proves that in a BO5, teams had better prepare up to 5 different ways to curve or face utter defeat.

Every other Major Region
Apart from the LPL, no other major region could have been proud of their performance in this Group Stage. Many games that were in their grasp were simply tossed away in a late game teamfight. G2 vs TSM was one that was hard to stomach for a G2 fan as they tried so hard to knock on that back door. In fact, we were treated to a museum of mistakes ranging from Pick/Ban to late game Macro errors. FW played too passive. TSM had WildTurtle. G2 relied solely on Zven. It was a nightmare to watch for any region as teams struggled uncharacteristically to secure wins.

A Breath of Fresh Air
The Gigabyte Marines, however, were a breath of fresh air. For an emerging region, they played their hearts out and secured an eventual 3-7 record in the Group Stage; a better result than G2 last year. The scoreline is surprisingly deceptive as many of their losses could easily have been wins had things gone slightly differently. GAM’s aggressive play pushed teams like WE, TSM and G2 off balance and left FW teetering at the edge. While this is the end of their long journey at MSI 2017, one can safely say that GAM are the most impressive Minor Region team thus far and have at least gained a bunch of fans on the way out.

The top 4 teams have been determined and now have 5 days to prepare and shore up weaknesses. Finally, Flash Wolves get a Best of 5 series against an LCK team. While LPL’s aggression takes on G2’s late game style. Either way, all 4 teams deserve their Worlds Pool 1 seed for getting this far. Unfortunately for TSM, they were simply not up to par.

SKT and FW take the stage on Friday 11:00am PDT (Saturday 2AM SGT)

MSI 2017: Day 1 Matches to Watch

scheduleAfter an arduous 2 weeks on Play-Ins, we are finally on to the Main Event at the Mid Season Invitational 2017. A total of 36 games will be played over 5 days starting May 10 and naturally, all of them are worth watching. However, if you are strapped for time, here are some of the games that should pique your interest more than others. (Chronologically)

Game 2: WE vs FW
Flash Wolves came into the tournament demolishing Supermassive in a convincing 3-0. But as they have not truly been tested against stronger teams, we do not know if they can execute their clean play against the likes of WE.

Similarly, Team WE represents a huge enigma. If the LPL finals were of any indication, as with LPL tradition, WE thrives in chaotic teamfights. 957 is an excellent top laner, one that MMD might want to keep his eyes on.

Game 3: GAM vs TSM
Fans from NA will be watching this game with bated breath as GAM has already taken 2 convincing games off the North American squad. TSM will definitely be more prepared than before, now knowing to ban away the Ziggs and exploit the Top lane weakness that is Stark.

However, knowing GAM, they already have a new strategy lined up; especially in a BO1. Will it be a Red Wedding, or will GAM trigger some flashbacks to Play-Ins?

Game 4: FW vs G2
Yet another rematch, this time a repeat of IEM Katowice. Although Flash Wolves did take a total of 3 convincing games against G2, it is clear now that G2 are not the same squad that had a disappointing showing at IEM, with the entire region of EU adapting their play to be more competitive globally.

But, Flash Wolves have also evolved since their World Championship win. Recognition from the top LCK teams means more scrims for the Flash Wolves, giving them ample opportunity to empower themselves. Assuming a very likely loss to SKT from Game 1, G2 will require at least a win against FW or lose all momentum for the rest of the tournament.

The Mid Season Invitational 2017 Opening Ceremony starts 10 May 11:00 PDT

Gigabyte Marines win more than just Pride

It has been an explosive weekend at the MSI 2017 Play-Ins. What was regarded as a glorified Wildcard Tournament defied all expectations.

After a disappointing Week 1, Week 2 proved to be an amusing experience. We saw Team Solo Mid sweat buckets as Gigabyte Marines took them to all 5 games in a BO5, then saw Flash Wolves vaporize Supermassive in 3 consecutive pre-30-minute games. Eventually GAM took out SUP in a convincing 3-1; the only loss in Game 2 where Ivern was picked by SUP.

This is the first time since the first Mid Season Invitational that the GPL has qualified into the Main Event. MSI’s new seeding arrangements has also bought GPL a second seed in the 2017 World Championship, this is a big deal for the SEA region. (GPL’s #1 is at least seeded in Pool 2 while #2 will be seeded in Play-Ins)

Ever since LMS broke away from GPL, GPL was relegated to having to fight with other Wildcard regions for a single seed in Worlds. With BKT demonstrating a disappointing 0-6 in a group of SKT and EDG in Worlds 2015 and SAJ going 0-7 in IWCI 2016, it was absurd to pay any heed to the GPL region.

However, the Gigabyte Marines came out swinging. Scrimming low tier LMS teams and studying Flash Wolves’ success, they utilized their own Mid-Jungle combo of Optimus-Levi to skirmish in the jungle in aggressive fashion, throwing both SUP and TSM off balance for 2 games each.

Having qualified for the Main Event, GAM now has less than a week to travel to Rio, then shore up their weaknesses against some of the best teams in the world. They have already proven they can take TSM. However, it’s going to take a lot more than Guerrilla Tactics to beat the other teams. Stark, in particular, requires at least a band-aid fix before teams exploit him to the fullest.

GAM’s first game in the Main Event is a rematch against TSM at around 1:30pm PDT 10 May 2017.

GotG vol.2 packs in some new tunes

The first rendition of Guardians of the Galaxy took the world by storm, sweeping cynics off their feet with nostalgic 80’s tunes and quirky heroes. It was an amusing band of misfits that, well, banded together against the common threat of Ronan and the Power Stone.

A Familiar Melody
None of the magic that made the first film special was lost in this one. In fact, it made this sequel so much better. GotG 2 met expectations in that regard and more. Director Gunn stuck to his formula of juxtaposing the oldies with advanced technology to weave a seamless narrative.

Not missing a Beat
There were some slight nuances to some of the jokes that kept repeating itself over and over until it became more of an annoyance. But apart from that, the story had little kinks that required fixing. Acts 1, 2 and 3 did not feel detached from one another and made more sense than its predecessor. Clearly, not having a McGuffin that was tied to the other films allowed more breathing room for James Gunn to play around with.

More backstory
GotG offered valuable insight to our heroes and even some other characters we saw in the previous movie. Character development was shown across the board, even in characters that we didn’t care much for previously. In this case, Rocket, Yondu and Drax stole the show. Especially on the Yondu front; Michael Rooker plays an amazing Yondu, I never expected to feel so much for a Southern-accented space-pirate.

Although, I felt like writers could use a little less ‘telling” and more ‘showing’ in the film.
The part where we literally took a museum tour was quite dissatisfying. It was almost as if they couldn’t find any other way to narrate that wouldn’t take extra screen time.

I didn’t care much for the addition of Mantis into the group. For the most part, she was quite forgettable as Dave Bautista stole much of the scenes from her. While I appreciate some sort of budding romance between the two, I would not expect this to bloom into anything special.

A little bit of both
Overall, GotG 2 is a light-hearted and fun adventure that also tugs on your heart-strings every once in a while. It is a feel-good movie, something that many of us could use right now in these tumultuous times. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll definitely enjoy this one too.

Be sure to stay all the way to the end as Marvel teases some of the most exciting theories on the internet. It turns out that they are watching, and listening. Something I wish I could say for the DCEU, which I am holding up so much hope for later this year.