Time can make money, but money can’t buy time.
With almost eighty games of professional competitive League of Legends being played a week when all the regions are added up, it’s an incredibly demanding thing to ask of the everyday fan to watch all of the games, especially if sifting through the games that ended up disappointing to the spectator. Every week from here on out, Paravine will be selecting up to five games per region that are worthy of watching for those who lack the time to watch all of them– especially for those who want to experience the games without being spoiled by information hubs and social media site such as Reddit and Twitter. At the time this article is posted, not every region is being covered but efforts will be made to reach out to those who can bestow their wisdom with their own selection of top games per week.
This week’s panelists and their regions are the following:
North American LCS Week 1 Games You Should Watch
North American spectators that stuck through the entire broadcast left the studio or computer thinking they had fallen down the rabbit hole. Not all the teams played at their best, but the results of the first week of the North American LCS has started some incredibly interesting storylines to look forward to in the following weeks, where teams will fight the test of perseverance on the road to victory. Games were listed to preserve the chronological progression of the storylines of week one.
The two biggest names in North American League of Legends eSports make the first dive into the LCS week, continuing their year and a half storied rivalry for the title of “Best Team in North America.” Team SoloMid, who held the title for over a year before it was reluctantly stripped from them by newcomers Cloud9 who paved their way into the LCS in the Summer Split of the 2013 Season and took it by storm going nearly undefeated. TSM reclaimed the title of the strongest in NA last year in the Summer Regionals of the 2014 Season from Cloud9 before heading off to the World Championship.
Both teams clashed head to head with frequent team fights and clever flanking. While some plays and rotations were shaky, this isn’t a game that will be forgotten nor will it be ignored for the next weeks to come. Keep an eye on Marcus “Dyrus” Hill’s Irelia, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi’s slippery Sivir and the ever figurehead of TSM, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
Gravity, formerly known as Curse Academy, clawed their way into the LCS through the expansion tournament after falling to beat Counter Logic Gaming for their spot earlier in the year. Gravity Gaming features returning veterans Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco and David “Cop” Roberson, and former China Talk Host Hughbo “Souldra” Shim as their new head coach.
Winterfox, formerly branded as Evil Geniuses, has an uphill battle as their teammates Shin “Avalon” Donghyeon, Shin “Helios” Dongjin and Jang “Imagine” Hyeonsu are unable to participate this week from Visa issues. Instead, subs Coung “Flaresz” Ta, Ryan “ShorterACE” Nget and former TSM support Nicolas “Gleeb” Haddad will step up to the plate and show that they can stand against other LCS players.
This match showcases an excellent roaming support in Gleeb, who was heavily criticized for his play while on TSM and Fusion, as well as rather chaotic movement around the map from both teams trying to inch their way to victory. More importantly, it showcases the leader of these subs, Eugene “Pobelter” Park, has discarded the infamous nickname of “Throwbelter” and is ready to climb to the top.
3.Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Liquid
Curse versus CLG is a tried and true rivalry throughout the LCS. Even though not as exciting sounding as a TSM vs C9 or TSM vs CLG game from the old days, Curse and CLG’s history runs deep in the North American competitive League of Legends. Curse however, has been re-branded as Team Liquid, a famous name from the old days of Starcraft Brood War. CLG is coming back from a drama-filled messy 2014 LCS Summer split, meanwhile Liquid hopes to push through strong after suffering a disappointing fourth place finish in the NA LCS Summer Regionals.
CLG and Liquid both are missing key players in CLG’s Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya and Liquid’s Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, but neither team wants to back down to the other. Look forward to precise teamplay as Liquid AD Carry substitute Yuri “KEITHMCBRIEF” Jew and with veteran support Alex “Xpecial” Chu as his support give Peter “Doublelift” Peng and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black a run for their money.
2. Gravity vs Cloud9
Gravity as the new team in the LCS walked into this match as the heavy underdog to top tier team Cloud9, but Gravity is determined to drop Cloud9 out of orbit and make their mark as they touch the ground of Summoner’s Rift.
The most impressive things about this game are Sneaky’s daring Kogmaw pick into Gravity’s double assassin comp, Cop’s Corki, and the decisive shotcalling on Gravity as they ease themselves around the map as if it were their backyard going blow for blow with Cloud9.
1. Team Solomid vs Team 8
In the last game of LCS week one, TSM look to finish strong by taking a win off of Team8, who want to prove that they deserve to stay in the LCS. Historical precedent isn’t on their side as many teams who have entered through the relegation tournament have weak showings for the following season. However, Team8 was denied a chance last year to compete for the LCS Summer Split relegation tournament by LMQ who dominated the LCS by storm; an opponent that Team8 was able to take several games off of last year.
In this game, be on the watch for key roams from Team8, fancy Orianna ults from Andrew “Slooshi” Pham and flashy plays by TSM’s Bjergsen as they both aim to put their teams on their backs and take the final victory of the LCS.
European LCS Week 1 Games You Should Watch
The European League Championship Series returned in full force on the NA server this weekend, with all the upsets, underdog overcomings and balls-to-the-wall ‘did they really just do that’ stupid picks we’ve come to expect! Earlier that week on the EU server, a much different, more controlled beast emerged, executing the innovation of the old with a consistency indicative of a changed region, a region that was no longer content with being eight islands unleashed every week, but rather one that didn’t want it’s talent to go to waste anymore. More organized. More focused.
The European League Championship Series is bouncing back like the most durable of HTC phones. If you missed it, you should really re-think certain areas of your life, but in the meantime here is a reverse-hierarchy spoiler-free selection of the best of the land of Socialism, Welfare and free healthcare.
Just to completely throw you off I’ve decided to refer to H2K by the oft-unmentioned full un-acronymed title. Hard 2 Kill claimed an undefeated victory in the Expansion Tournament having lost twice in standard Promotions, once to the Copenhagen Wolves in a 3-0 sweep under the guise of Cloud 9 Eclipse. This surely would be a chance for revenge. A shame, perhaps, that fabled Mid prodigy Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, Drawer of Bans, Mainer of Riven and Heir to the ‘fucking EU mids man…’ meme moved to what he perceives as greener pastures in Fnatic. Fielding a new lineup with Korean import Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, the four remaining members of Hard 2 Kill are still out for blood.
New Copenhagen Wolves ADC Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek is also no stranger to his opponents, having competed in the Challenger Scene with NiP and facing C9E in many CS finals. OK maybe one. But still, they know each other, so that makes this more dramatic, right? Right guys?
This is a game that keeps you guessing until the end, reveals some of that patented EU innovation (stay mad haters), and swings side to side from start to finish. Is this what passes for WAR!?
Prior to IEM San Jose there was one team I was silently rooting for, alone, in my bedroom, in between sessions of solitary masturbation to memories of the old loved ones that abandoned me. Unicorns of Love. Having actually watched Challenger Scene like the socially-challenged nerd that I am, I was aware that Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás was the potential heir to a gaping hole in the EU Top Lane scene that was left by the departure of Paul “sOAZ” Boyer. I knew that with two of his champion picks Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage could go from a ‘good’ Mid to a ‘world class’ one in an instant – Syndra or LeBlanc. Most importantly, I had watched and marveled at the manner in which UoL recognized their champion pool issues in the Promotion game and gamed Pick/Ban accordingly to make a comeback 3-2 victory of outgoing Millenium.
I was expecting and hyping Visiscasci to hold his own against the very best of North America, and if PowerofEvil got his hands on one of these champions I had my popcorn ready. Seriously. Check my Twitter. Really guys I did!
Post-IEM I instantly regretted my decision.
Now I do like UoL guys, but they are not the new M5. Nor, indeed, are the current Gambit Gaming roster who go into this game seemingly under the impression that they embody the spirit of their former comrades. As much as the manner in which PoE’s blood vessels might platelet in a manner reminiscent of Alex Ich in the old Moscow 5 days, him and his team do not come to fulfill the prophecy of their return. However, you can treat this game as an arena battle to claim the throne of the Old Gods if you want. You know, if that’s your thing.
Still a good game though.
Warning: I strongly recommend you do not watch this game to introduce yourself to the new SK Gaming. There is another on this list, later on, that is a MUCH better introduction to this team and should be watched first.
If SK stands for something, I don’t know what it is. MYM on the other hand really wanted to live up to their namesake and gave one of the supposed Top 2 teams a strong run for their money. What should have been a one sided stomp stretched into seeming infinity as both sides met each other blow for blow. I don’t want to give too much away on this one, but this is one of EU’s great underdog matches against a true powerhouse in SK.
A millenia ago (about half a year) the elder ones (some pros) whispered of an oncoming storm (new team). Samsung, the dominant Korean organisation in League of Legends was said to be making moves into the west, starting with a European team Samsung Red that would fight through as LMQ did in China. I mean EUKR. I mean NA.
What became of that team after the 3/5ths rule? Legends speak that the Five were broken (it disbanded) and retreated into the depths (played some solo queue probably) until their time was to come again. That time may well be now. Fnatic picked up Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, hot off the back of possibly Samsung Red. All we know is Huni was sighted in scrims with Samsung White, occasionally replacing their Top Looper. Whatever performance he generated struck deep in the heart of one Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim, and thus an eternal bond w-oh fuck it, he did good and they picked him up later. And Kim “ReignOver” Yeu-jin too, he’s Korean. Rode a bench at IM and threw that CJ game IM were 1 building away from winning. That guy.
Elements on the other hand is part of the old guard, the Froggen-centric team that picked up Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. No more waiting around for victory – until they get into the rift of course. The first game of the season is often a repeat of the finals, but with such dramatic roster changes of nearly the entirety of Fnatic and the star ADC of the west, with a potential grudge-match as former ADC takes on former Support, this game has a lot of story in it and the match itself doesn’t even slightly disappoint.
1. SK Gaming vs. ROCCAT
It’s bloody on now, chaps!
These two teams enter with a lot of hype. Whether you are with camp Thoorin (ROCCAT won the off season/Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is the best jungler in Europe) or in MY camp (Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen is the best jungler in the west/SK has the best roster in the west) – almost 800 Twitter followers lads – this game brought with it the promise of the two competing top teams in Europe duking it out for number one.
Svenskeren takes on Jankos. The two most pre-eminent junglers, arguably held down by lacklustre rosters last season, unleashed in their final forms. Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou returns. The man who would be king had he stuck out after his phenomenal debut split with the Copenhagen Wolves. Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm. The former Mid that dominated Season 3 Europe finally makes his way back into the LCS, to take on Fox, SK’s SK Prime transfer coming in the huge underdog.
This is the game to watch. This is the game to put so many rumours and assertions to rest. The final exam. Let’s roll. It’s SK vs. ROCCAT.
Korean LCK/OGN Week 3 Games You Should Watch
Teams continue to jockey for the number one slot in Korea, with fans’ pre-season hopes, dreams, and anticipated disappointment all thoroughly proven wrong at this point. The headliner for the week looked to be Saturday, Jan. 24, when CJ Entus and the GE Tigers met to battle for the first-place position. However, it was the set between NaJin e-mFire and the Jin Air Green Wings that stole the show.
You might want to clear your schedule for this one. Ensure that you are relaxed, have gone to the bathroom, grabbed some food, perhaps a cup of tea, and have a seat.
Most matches clocking in at over an hour are the result of multiple failures from both teams to capitalize on each others’ mistakes. This, and the fact that one must pay attention to something for over an hour, make longer matches difficult to recommend. However, this match between the Jin Air Green Wings and NaJin e-mFire is a beautiful hour-long dance of precision. If you enjoy watching a team play out their composition nearly perfectly, then put this match at the top of your must-watch list.
Najin e-mFire vs Jin Air Green Wings Game 2
In the second game of this series the powerhouse duo of Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min and Jang “Cain” Nu-ri return to the bot lane, while Yu “Ggoong” Byeong-jun and GBM continue their duel for mid lane dominance. Lee “Duke” Ho-seong shows off some gnarly plays, Chaser kicks it up a notch and Cho “watch” Jae-geol lives up to his name. Look for early invades, smart engages and intelligent itemization in this thrilling confrontation. Will the power of Sivir allow NaJin to fight on their terms? Or will Jin Air beat speed with smarts in this battle of teamfight titans?
Li “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon once again starts for SK Telecom T1 in this best of three. While audiences prepare for another night of Xerath or Lulu, Incredible Miracle seems eager excite with a controversial support Veigar for Bak “TuSin” Jong-ik, while Easyhoon ups the ante with Cassiopeia. While controversial picks define this game, keep an eye out for aggressive dives, impressive engages, clever ults and some mechanical mastery. Will SKT use Cassiopeia to power through their opponents? or will IM find Veigar is the panacea to SKT’s poison?
The dust has begun to settle in Champions Spring 2015, with the GE Tigers and CJ Entus emerging as the current top two teams in Korea. One of the storylines for GE was the resurgence of former Incredible Miracle top-laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, and his prowess on Gnar. Prior to this match, CJ Entus top-laner, Park “Shy” Sang-myeon, had expressed a small amount of disdain for Gnar, saying that his team would be able to deal with Smeb and his prehistoric yordle. Lo and behold, Smeb was allowed the privilege to play his best champion, while CJ and Shy were tasked with stopping him. Who would emerge victorious? Watch the match to find out.
China’s LPL Week 2 Games You Should Watch
Competition in China is ramping up again as the LoL Pro-League is back to determine who’s the best team, and who’ll represent China in international competitions. The spring split started on the 16th so we’re already on the 2nd week of games for these teams with the most surprising twist being Snake’s week 1 success. Here are the highlight games for the 2nd week of LPL for those without time to spend watching every game:
Vici Gaming vs. Invictus Gaming Game 1
If there were any questions on who Invictus Gaming would start on their line-up, this game would be a pretty decisive answer to those questions. Baek “Save” Young-jin and Liu “Zzitai” Zhi-Hao would start this match hoping to make an impression off the backs of a struggling Vici Gaming, but would find themselves struggling to match Song “Rookie” Eui-jin’s synergy with Lee “Kakao” Byung-kwon.
Usually iG would hit fast, but they’d find themselves reeling early to Choi “Dandy” In-kyu‘s early pressure which netted Vici a first blood and a snowball to Wang “Hetong” Bin’s Kassadin. Vici would make full use of that advantage to strangle away map control. Even at a disadvantage Zzitai and Save were farmed, with Save craving to prove himself in the LPL. Tune into the LPL vods to find out if he was able to successfully overturn Vici’s piling pressure!
Although both teams going into this set were yet to be defeated, it felt obvious who the victors would be. Snake qualifying as the 2nd place LSPL team, were seen as a bottom 4 team in terms of skill, but had a light schedule for week 1. They were to face the two time LPL champions in EDG and arguably the best team in the world.
This wouldn’t perturb Snake, as Lu “Baka” Fan and Yang “Krystal” Fan would find themselves on new picks. Krystal on Draven and most notably Baka on Lissandra as a counter to Heo “Pawn” Won-seok‘s first pick Azir. The lock-down combined with the overwhelming pressure from Kim “Beast” Joo-hyun would prove too much since the camp would set Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu too far behind and Azir unable to position in team fights.
EDG would regroup to slowly close out the hard-earned Snake lead, but the events that occurred afterwards would stamp Snake’s ticket as an attraction to watch going forwards.
Snake vs. EDG Game 2
EDG thought a Lissandra ban would be sufficient in giving Pawn more breathing room, unfortunately that wasn’t the case for them. The ban would mean Rek’sai was free for Beast, and the early Azir pick from Pawn also meant Li “Flandre” Xuan-jun was clear to play Kassadin to assassinate him in teamfights, and assassinate he did.
The game was a close one, but Beast’s use of Rek’sai gave Snake an early advantage while effectively putting a stop to Ming “ClearLove” Kai‘s attempt at counter jungling. It would all take a definitive turn as EDG were caught out taking dragon while Baron was spawning, unwarded and surrounded by Snake. So by the time EDG got there to contest, Baron had already been rushed down and Snake was in position to engage in a favourable team fight, a fight EDG weren’t ready to take. How this game would conclude and it’s implications on the standings sets this game apart from the rest.
Brazilian CBLoL Week 2 Games You Should Watch
Brazil has previously been a land of best and rest, with a distinct lack of parity. Week two of the Brazilian regular season featured a series of matches that provided a bit more insight into where Brazil is as a whole, rather than focusing on the known best teams of paiN Gaming and Vivo Fibra Keyd Stars.
In a landscape with an increasing amount of parity from last year’s regular season, this set acted as a litmus test for INTZ e-Sports and CNB e-Sports, with each team eager to prove themselves. Both teams were fresh off of 2-0 victories in the first week of Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) 2015, and vying for first place in the standings to secure a comfortable position for weeks to come.
Their first match of the set showcases quick early movement from both teams, with CNB swapping their top and bottom lanes. INTZ counters this by donating their blue buff top-laner Felipe “Yang” Zhao’s Cassiopeia, allowing the team to take a quick three-minute dragon.
Look forward to increasingly precise map movement, along with an impressive Draven performance from Micael “micaO” Rodrigues and strong teamfights. This match just may convince you that Brazil isn’t as far behind North America and Europe as one would think.
(Featured Image Credit to Lolesports)