The English vs Singlish debate

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There has been a lot of backlash regarding a Forum writer who wishes to discourage Singlish on public signs. In fact, some fellow countrymen are outraged at said writer, calling him atas or act upper class.

Now, people who know me should know my stand on this debate. And that is, Singaporeans need to see the world a instead of always hiding in the hole that is the little red dot.

Really cannot meh?
Singlish is a unique and meaningful way of life for the locals here. This cannot be denied. Being able to shorten long sentences into 2 words is an insane trait that Singaporeans should cherish. Without it, how can we truly be Uniquely Singapore?

However, one has to realize how small our country is compared to the rest of the world. And one should understand that the rest of the world is going to have a hard time understanding our unique language. In this case, instead of saving time, we end up wasting more time trying to convey a message that would have been perfectly understood in proper sentences.

I can Switch what.
The argument that Singaporeans are perfectly able to switch between Singlish and English is folly. From my experience, not many Singaporeans are truly able to distinguish themselves between the two, mixing up accents and allowing old habits to influence sentence structures.

If you thought understanding Indian accents was hard, you really haven’t put yourself in an angmoh’s shoes. Just because you think you’re speaking English doesn’t mean that you are understood. And if we are unwilling to change up our accents to be more understood, we are essentially putting up barriers between us. As Trump would say, Build a Wall.

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But it’s Cute mah
To further iterate my point, let me provide an example. Here we have a preschool with a name that is purposely misspelled for marketing reasons. Sure, it is meant to represent the cute little mistakes children make when they are learning. However, these are also going to be the first few words preschoolers see.

I pity the teachers who have to try and explain to their students when they point out that their spelling of SKOOL is wrong. Students are going to require twice the time correcting their first impression when they could have simply learned the correct spelling in the first place. Unnecessary time and effort wasted.

So unless Singaporeans are fully capable of distinguishing the difference and are able to switch languages AND accents at whim, is it not more efficient to just learn English properly?

Diam lah, Kaopeh
Once again, I’m not saying Singlish is bad. So don’t get all butthurt accusing me of being an elitist prick attacking country identity. Singlish is a wonderful dialect of the English language, one that can only exist in one or two countries at best. So unless you think it a good idea to stay stuck in the country for eternity, you may want to rethink your stance.

LMS Week 7 Preview

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Last week, we saw a very underwhelming FW vs AHQ. It was evident that AHQ was still making the same mistakes they have been making all split long, except FW was the only team in the region who could punish them so definitively. Other than M17 taking a BO3 against JT, nothing much stood out in particular.

Week 7, however, will see some teams shake up their rosters. After the end of the first Round Robin, teams are trading players left and right in an attempt to salvage their current situation. Most notably, Wako and Rins’ transition to Wayi Spider. Wako most recently moved back to the mid lane and he made his presence known by playing well in XG. Wako will continue to play Mid in WS.

We did also catch a glimpse of Rins in the top lane as he subbed in for a sickly MMD. His performance, while decent, did throw Flash Wolves’ tempo a little off from what they were used to, almost allowing Fireball to pick up Game 1 in the series. In that game alone, Rins contributed to 50% of FW’s deaths. And while he was able to recover the next game, it does show that Rins does have a whole lot to be desired, even if he was a former Flash Wolf.

HKES vs WS
With these roster swaps plus an acquisition of unknown jungler Epic, Wayi seems to have upgraded their innate potential. However, will the new team gel together quick enough for HKES?

WS are currently 0-8 on the board and are still looking for their first win of the season. Things don’t look good for the team as they can probably only aim to retain their spot in the LMS.

HKES on the other hand have been rolling Snake Eyes on their tower dives so far this split. These mistakes are less than acceptable and have been a reason for their losses so far. While I still have faith in their macro-level understanding, if they do not have the ability to execute the plan, then even the best plans will go for naught.

M17 vs AHQ
After watching M17 beat up HKES and JT last week, I have a little more faith in the M17 squad. It seems that M17 always pulls up their socks in the 2nd half of the split. And while they still rely primarily on their team-fighting prowess to muscle their way into a win, they have also shown good understanding in playing the map properly.

Which brings us to yet another team that loves to brawl. AHQ looked relatively like a Gold-Level team against FW last week. They made bad calls using limited information which were naturally punished by FW. When behind, they made solo hero plays that failed in the face of impeccable teamwork. What made things more frustrating was their livestream after the match, where they were rendered speechless for “How could we have played around this better?” other than saying FW played well.

How do you beat your opponent when you don’t know how you can? It is clear that team-fighting while behind is not an option especially against the Flash Wolves, so what else is there for AHQ? I’m pretty sure assigning blame and making the team do push-ups isn’t the solution.

But I digress. This match is a fight for 2nd place and it is up to both teams to shore up their weaknesses in map-play and communication in order to clinch that spot tightly until the playoffs.

LMS continues this week on March 17 at 1600 TST

Post-Pirate Nerf Hearthstone still goes face

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It should come as no surprise at this point that Hearthstone always reverts to the same problem it always had. Aggressive decks take top tier.

No More STB
I held out some hope for the nerfs to hit the previously obnoxious aggro decks so that the game would allow room for Midrange decks to exist. Even when my brain was telling me the exact opposite.

“WevHez, are you crazy? Patches still exists!”

And exist it did. Even with Small-Time Buccaneer nerfed to oblivion, this did not stop Aggressive players from coming up with new ways to lay smackdown on my face.

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In fact, Finja Rogue was spawned almost immediately after the nerf. The deck relies on the stealthy murloc to summon way more. And with Flamecannon long gone, one can only hope they possess one of the rare board clears available to regain control.

The Elephants will Destroy you
Once again, Shamans have way too many options available to stay relevant. With Taunts, Hex, Heals, Burn Spells and Overpowered Minions at their disposal, taking away Spirit Claws meant nothing.

You Can’t Lose Stars at This Rank
The introduction of Rank Floors have helped in injecting diversity at the specific levels. However, as the season draws closer to it’s end, you can trust that Warriors, Shamans and Rogues are going to start crawling out of the woodwork. One can only stand looking at a star-less Rank for so long before succumbing to the dark side.

Fix the DAMNED Ladder
One point that I will not cease beating to death is the fact that the ladder system is the main problem. The Time vs Reward curve is severely imbalanced. With aggressive decks so powerful that even the best control decks struggle with them, one can only endure so much before tossing a middle finger at the opponent upon every loss.

To the Arena
One glimpse of hope for Hearthstone, however, is the Arena mode. The Arena experience has improved leaps and bounds after its transition to standard and its change in drafting. With more Epics and Legendaries in the fray, Arena games are more exciting than ever. It makes that elusive 12 wins even more rewarding to achieve.

Time Moves Quickly
I am very close to losing hope about Un’Goro given the current state of affairs. I sincerely hope Un’Goro introduces more AoE spells and Control cards that can compare with the aggressive cards in play. While I understand the neccessity of aggro cards, I wish Blizzard would slow the game down a tad more than 5 turns.

I hope even more that the Hearthstone ranking system be revamped to reward players who play longer games. Seriously, 1 star for 20 minutes is ridiculous.

April cannot arrive soon enough.

LMS Week 6 Preview

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I’m guilty as charged. I haven’t been putting these out in a while and for good reason. The LMS has been characteristically uninteresting over the past few weeks. While I did get a few good laughs in at how Fireball keeps getting burnt, LMS did not impress. Which is also evident as the LMS did not get any spots in The Penta barring a Baron steal from Fireball’s Heimerdinger Top.

As we near the completion of the Split’s first Round Robin, we can draw a few conclusions about the strength of each team.

My Current Rankings would be:

  1. Flash Wolves
  2. ahq e-Sports club
  3. JTeam
  4. Hong Kong Esports
  5. Machi E-Sports
  6. XGamers
  7. Fireball
  8. Wayi Spider

I know @Obscurica would be so mad if I pointed out that in the LMS alone, there are 3 different spellings of “esports” in the team names.

Matches to Watch

  1. HKES vs M17
  2. AHQ vs FW

HKES vs M17
There is a definite toss-up between HKES and Machi as both teams took Ls from the top 3 teams AND haven’t faced each other. Both teams also had a close shave against a newly invigorated XG last week. And while HKES did drop a game against XG, courtesy of jetlag from IEM, they did pull through in the end using better macro play to best XG.

If HKES is to win this BO3, it has to rely on its superior solo lanes to snowball into a Macro-level advantage. MapleSnow should have no problems dealing with 3z, even if his explosive casks miss 50% of the time.

M17 will try to fight HKES head-on. 3z, Apex and Taizan thrive in the chaos they create and it is up to HKES to run them around the map and keep them as separate as possible. In any case, I do not wish to see yet another 65 minute game from M17.

AHQ vs FW
After watching AHQ fumble their early game 2 games in a row last week, there is no question that Flash Wolves are the definitive first place in the LMS as of this post.

AHQ almost lost Game 2 against JT last week as we saw Chawy, Mountain and Albis get dismantled cleanly via JT’s superior early game vision control. JTeam’s new mid-jungle combo in FoFo and Breaker were able to predict and counteract Chawy and Mountain cleanly.

This is particularly worrisome for AHQ’s mid-jungle duo as both are considered the best players in the team. And yet, both players have yet to achieve the desired level of synergy that is Maple-Karsa.

A brief peek into AHQ’s comms feels disjointed; information reported doesn’t seem to be fully utilized properly or acted upon. That said, there is a whole lot of unspoken synergy within the team when it comes to team fights.

AHQ seems to always get away from bad situations with impeccable team-fighting. Give them a 4v5 with a gold deficit and they’ll take all 5 lives and the Baron in classic AHQ fashion. However, this “hail-mary” play-style was exactly what we wanted to avoid ever since the acquisition of Chawy away from westdoor.

If AHQ wants to beat the IEM World Champions, they had better start cleaning up their early game communication and play the map cleanly instead of relying of high-risk maneuvers from Mountain to wipe team fights.

The LMS continues March 10th at 1600 TST

Logan claws its way to your heart

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Much unlike the rest of the X-Men movie franchise, Logan focuses more of the emotional side. There are no suspension bridges or giant metallic objects for Magnus to bend and break now.

Fan favorite Hugh Jackman’s final outing as The Wolverine was a gruesome, gory mess in the best possible way. In 2029, most mutants have been killed off and only few remain. A grayish Logan is hiding out near the Mexican border alongside a demented Charles Xavier and Caliban. After being shot and called “pendejo” by some cholos while resting in between his “Uber” job, Logan has to fight his way through them much to his dismay.

It is apparent that Logan’s regenerative powers have weakened with age and is slowly unable to resist the Adamantium poisoning his body. While he continues trying to survive instead of live as a lone wolf (with a couple of friends), he is eventually called upon by a nurse. One he is resistant to help. He’s had enough of all the heroic crap and the emotional baggage that comes alongside it.

However, things quickly spin out of his control as the forgettable villains start targeting him for unintentionally harboring X23 aka Laura. He realizes how similar she is to him after she is forced to reveal her mutant abilities and can’t help but, well, help.

I feel like the feature film reeked of “The Last of Us”. With the distant badass of an old man paired up with a not-so-helpless teenage girl. Only I feel that the video game did the storyline a little better.

The movie could have used a little less Español as it only served as a divide between Laura and Logan. The lack of dialogue from Laura for over half the film did her no favors. While I understand what Director James Mangold was going for, it did not land as well as I had hoped.

Mangold made sure to put as much time as he could between Logan and Laura, so much so that it felt like Charles was the third wheel in the movie. (Or all 4 wheels from his chair.) And as much as I loved the performance from Patrick Stewart as Charles, it felt like he was absolutely unnecessary to the plot. Even if it was to provide context on how the X-Men got wiped out.

The final act, however, amidst all the action and gore, gave a sense of closure for both Logan as well as his fans. A fitting end to the legacy that is The Wolverine. The sense of loss as Laura called for her Daddy did bring me to tears.

Here’s hoping the producers of Deadpool 2 can strike a deal with Jackman for him to reprise his role as Wolverine, even if it’s a non-action, non-topless role.

I give Logan a 7/10. The bond between Laura and Logan could have been explored a little further, especially in the presence of an all-too-forgettable villain. (and X24)

SAO: Ordinal Scale slashes past expectations

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Ever since its anime premiere, gamers and anime-lovers alike have been drawn into the story and universe of Sword Art Online. While some viewers stopped watching after an abrupt and unsatisfying end to the series, most continued to watch as Kirito and Asuna tried to return their life to normalcy.

SAO: Ordinal Scale is the latest addition to the franchise after Sword Art Online II, one that managed to surprise even novel readers such as myself.

We are reintroduced to the world of SAO. In 2026, after the disastrous effects of the NerveGear that resulted in the Death Game: Sword Art Online, people have diverted their attention from VR to AR.

The latest fad in Japan is the Augma, where Augmented Reality is deemed a safer choice as it does not require a Full-Dive which disconnects the mind with the body. With the Augma, comes the most popular AR game: Ordinal Scale. Which features bosses from Aincrad.

Needless to say, Kirito and gang are fully immersed in this new fad. Well, except Kirito, who still prefers VR, since he doesn’t like exercise.

From then on, the story spirals into a roller-coaster ride as we’re taken on a journey through the possibilities of AR technology in the future but also the possible repercussions of over-reliance on technology. The graphics are gorgeous and in combination with the audio, draw you into the ARMMORPG.

While I did have some complaints about some of the slower parts of the film, I believe those were also necessary to build up to some of the more impactful moments in the movie. Even if some moments were simply plot-device no jutsu.

Ordinal Scale makes you laugh, cry and grab the edge of your seat all within the span of 2 hours. There is no lack of action while weaving in the narrative, something I wish Digimon Tri would do more of. And the final payoff was something all SAO fans had been waiting for since day 1.

If you are an SAO fan, you will definitely want to check this movie out. This was assuredly much better than that of Sword Art Online I’s latter half.

Ordinal Scale gets a solid 8.5/10

Hearthstone expands into Un’Goro

It comes as no surprise that the upcoming expansion for Hearthstone would be the Journey to Un’Goro. After a leak almost a month prior, we’re only ready to take a sneak peek at the expansion that releases early April.

An Elemental Jungle
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The introduction of Elementals can only mean the introduction of new cards that have synergy with said Tribe. This could mean that previously unusable cards like Magma Rager and Ice Rager might finally be able to see play in future.

One suspects a “1 mana 1/2 with +2 Attack when a friendly Elemental is in play” is lurking somewhere in the 135-card expansion.

This is also an indirect buff to Shaman, who has access to the most number of Elementals, not like he needs any more buffs, even after Standard Rotation. While I’m excited for this new archetype, I’m also cautious when it comes to Tribes.

Pirate synergy broke half the game within the span of a few weeks and is still wreaking havoc in the ladder until nerfs hit tomorrow.

Adaptation within Vegetation
To me, it feels like the new Adapt mechanic is not balanced properly.
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Looking at the list, it would seem that each choice is not of the same value as the other. Comparing this to the Spare Part mechanic introduced in GvG, you quickly realize that +3 Attack is definitely better than Taunt.

While I like that players can now choose an attribute to suit their needs, it seems a little too much of an dice-roll for this to be fun. I would have much preferred that each printed card has 3 fixed Adapt options that players can utilize, similar to what Druids have, which allows for more strategy than RNG.

Quest Accepted
Another mechanic unique to Un’Goro is the Quest mechanic. Each hero can embark on a quest in order to receive an outstanding reward upon completion.
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In this case, the Priest quest seems absurd as of now considering the amount of Deathrattle options that remain after rotation. I surmise that Priests are going to get some control-based Deathrattle cards in order to make this quest more do-able. Otherwise, the risk of both losing tempo Turn 1 and placing multiple Deathrattle cards in your deck does not seem to justify the reward. Especially in an environment where Patches still exists.

Deathrattle Priest may finally make a comeback, depending on the quality of Deathrattle cards printed in the set. The Deathrattle effect from Adapt is not giving me hope.

Reveal the secrets of the Jungle
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That said, there have only been 4 out of 135 cards revealed to us so far. So it would be unfair to place a rating on the expansion just yet. Here’s hoping more impressive cards lay hidden under those greenish elusive packs.

Card reveals continue March 17th.

Pre-order is available at $49.99 USD for 50 packs and a special card back.
Once again, Journey to Un’Goro releases Early April

 

Flash Wolves devour “lukewarm competition”

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I pulled an all-nighter last night catching the Intel Extreme Masters Season 11 League of Legends World Championship.

I knew it was a tournament for mid-tier teams. After the fiasco of C9 pulling out, EDG’s visa issues and HKES nearly unable to replace them, there wasn’t really much to expect from this tournament.

However, 2 participating teams, top of their region, were participating in this side-tournament. The Flash Wolves and G2 were there.

As a long time supporter of the Flash Wolves ever since their Gamania Bears run (That’s right, I picked them to win against Taipei Snipers back in Season 3), I simply could not pass up the opportunity to watch their only reasonable shot at a championship title in a long while.

The Semi-Final Scare
After witnessing Flash Wolves dismantle G2 in Day 1, and then destroying UOL in Day 2. It would only be fitting that FW continued destroying EU teams in the competition. However, H2K said otherwise.

Kudos to pr0lly for studying and preparing for FW so well, choreographing H2K’s movements in such a curve ball that took FW off guard. And it nearly worked too, as H2K took Game 1 convincingly and even threatened to take Game 2. Unfortunately for H2K, FW turtled until the right moment, struck a critical blow to H2K and destroyed them both in-game and mentally. If a composition of 4 tanks couldn’t beat the Flash Wolves, what else could?

H2K looked broken in Game 3 as Karsa found his footing once again against the EU squad and there was nothing H2K could do to regain any ground.

And the MVP goes to…
Any player from the Flash Wolves roster could have easily taken the title of MVP.
MMD’s brave save in Game 2 vs H2K.
Betty’s QuadraKill after MMD’s heroic play.
Maple’s consistent domination of the mid lane.
Karsa’s play-making ability in Game 3. 
SwordArt’s consistent Vision Control and harassment in lane.

However, it was given to a highly debatable choice of Perkz. One suspects this choice was influenced heavily by sponsors. But we will never know. And perhaps this is why Riot’s a little apprehensive about sponsors.

The Grand Finale
It was apparent that both G2 and FW were at their limit going into this match. Both teams had to suffer from the grueling schedule of IEM.

In the end, Flash Wolves weathered the storm each game and came back swinging. G2 could only watch as Flash Wolves tore down turret after turret within the span of a Baron buff, losing complete control of the game and the series.

Taiwan No. 1
It goes without saying how happy I am that the Flash Wolves finally, FINALLY, got out of their rut and started winning consistently. While this Pseudo-EULCS was less than competitive, it was more than enough to prove a few things.

  • LMS > EU
  • Betty > NL
  • FW’s getting more scrim partners
  • I’m never watching ROX Tigers as long as Mickey’s playing

Looking forward to MSI already. And we don’t even know if AHQ will usurp FW’s reign in the LMS.

As for those who are just jumping in the FW bandwagon, welcome.
Though, it is quite insulting to claim that FW were the favorites. They were not. G2 was.

Special mentions: Nelson and Jordan did a great job with HKES, keep improving.
Jenny, thanks for grabbing autographs from FW for me.

Use Caution: Mammoth Crossing

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In an extensive article posted earlier today, Blizzard has announced the arrival of the “Year of the Mammoth” coming later this year.

Setting a new Standard
This new year marks the second set rotation for the Standard format, with Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers cards becoming exclusive to Wild.

So while we wave goodbye to some of the most iconic cards these expansions had to offer, we also look forward to the new as there will be 3 Full Expansions coming out in 2017 instead of the usual 2 + 1 adventure set. Along with some single-player shenanigans that does not seem to promise any reward.

Blizzard is giving us what we want; more content. With that, comes the price of buying more packs to obtain said content. It’s time to start saving up for those expansions as it is obviously going to take a lot of Gold/Cash to get the cards you need to stay relevant.

For Fame and Glory
Blizzard also introduced the Hall of Fame, noting that some cards in the Classic set were counter-intuitive to what their goals for Standard was going for. Instead, the balance team wishes for decklists to include more of the newer expansions to help keep each iteration of Standard fresh.

Cards inducted to the Hall of Fame are: Azure Drake, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, Power Overwhelming, Ice Lance and Conceal.

All of which, are arguably some of the most seen cards in Hearthstone and it will be sad to see them go. However, Blizzard WILL be giving us free dust to compensate for any of the cards you may own. This is to ensure players are not given the incentive to ignore Wild altogether.

Noteworthy: The new expansion may have to include extra cards for Mage, Warlock and Rogue to replace the HoF cards. That is, if Blizzard wishes to stick to its balance policy

Let’s get Wild?
They want to make sure they’re not discouraging “Wild” play. In fact, they’re even entertaining the thought of working with third party tournament organizers for the Wild format. I’m not sold, and neither should you be.

Wild may sound interesting in theory, but is, in fact, bad news. To prove my point, we will have to witness the mayhem that ensues in the Wild Heroic Tavern Brawl later this year.

Problems Underlying
All said and done, there is a whole lot more in store this year than in the last. Blizzard is definitely making strides towards a better game. However, I am cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Mammoth year.

The amount of cards to be expanded may have increased, but the number of expansions remain the same. It is safe to assume that the Un’Goro cards have already been fully designed and follow the traditional Blizzard philosophy. Thus, we can expect a whole lot of filler cards, useless Legendaries and Forced Archetypes that limit player creativity.

We do not need another Piranha Cannon, nor another Small-Time Buccaneer. We need more cards like Mana Wraith, Dirty Rat and Loatheb. Cards that allow players to tech and play around. Introduce more playable AoE to prevent a repeat of Curvestone.

The prospect of players experiencing the same old 4 month content drought is off-putting. C’thun-forbid, we end up with another era of Shamanstone. One can only hope that Blizzard has plans to fill these gaping holes in the timeline that will help alleviate our thirst for an ever-changing meta.

Once again, the issues that plague the ranked ladder has yet to be resolved. But maybe, just maybe, things will look up while the Mammoth stomps by 2017.

Practice Tool arrives in time for Valentine’s

In all its Sandboxy glory, Practice Tool has arrived. Summoners and Coaches alike are scrambling to familiarize with the options available in the Practice Tool. I can already picture Kkoma pulling an all-nighter trying to utilize this tool to its full potential.

Esports just got more Competitive
After all, it is going to be a race to the top once again as esports teams have now gained an additional device in their arsenal that they can use to their advantage. The faster a team knows how to use this, the better it is for Summoners and Teams to better themselves.

For a game that has Matches last around an hour or so, this was a long time coming. Now players can experiment and practice multiple strategies in a shorter span of time. Which means more innovation and definitely more clutch mechanical plays.

I’m already looking forward to IEM Katowice and it’s not because G2 just took C9’s place. Though the prospect of an international competition without NA does intrigue me.

Goofing Around
As with practicing other sports such as Soccer. Sometimes it’s fun just to fool around with the Sandbox. Buy ridiculous items. Set off fireworks. Play URF. Propose to someone. You name it, it is now more possible than ever to do all these things. As Trump would say: “It’s Great.”

Limitations Abound
Having tried the Practice Tool myself, I must say that while the Tool is well-designed and extremely useful for player mechanics, perhaps I was expecting a little more from this mode, even if it is targeted only at the professional level.

The ability to rewind scrims and set actual gold and experience levels would be helpful to teams training together. That said, I’m sure that these features will be implemented in the future, depending on feasibility and difficulty of implementation.

Even so, I know what I’ll be doing for today. Gotta practice those jungle routes and get those gank patterns down. (Also, punching Teemo dummies if I’m stressed)