HotshotGG at PAX: Day 2

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The morning before the Curse match the team was in a rather despondent mood if we’re being honest. Everyone worked so hard to beat TSM and get to World Finals and in the end, they weren’t able to beat TSM when it really mattered. While the team had to play for their future’s in LCS that day, I don’t think the team felt nearly as much pressure headed into that match as they had going into the match against Curse. Frankly the entire vibe around the 5th/6th place match was pretty down, even in the room. I noticed the live audience during the match barely got loud. There were no “CLG” or “Curse” chants, despite both teams having lots of loud fans the day before. This is probably because there’s nothing to cheer for. Sure, the winner of the match gets to stay in LCS, but their tournament is over. There is no chance of going to worlds. Curse and CLG are at a BARE minimum expected to stay in LCS, so there is no upside for the winner of the match, there is only a downside. This knowledge left a very melancholy atmosphere in the room. Honestly, I would feel like a bit of a dick cheering “CLG, CLG, CLG” during the matches as we beat Curse. What am I cheering for? Yay, we are sending Curse to relegation again, and we…now have four full months, an entire third of the year, upcoming with nothing scheduled? I’m sure Riot will plan something for the offseason, but right now, there’s not a lot to cheer for.

Backstage preparing for the first match, the team spent a little time going over picks and bans, but they had done really well against Curse in scrims preparing for PAX, so they weren’t too concerned to be honest. The aim of the team’s picks and bans was just to take away any of the unconventional stuff Curse had already shown that could potentially throw CLG off.

I’m not going to break down these games specifically because I think there are two main themes that help to explain why both games went the way they did.

Mid Matchup

Many would argue that the most important lane in League of Legends is mid. This is because mid has the greatest likliness for the results of the mid lane battle to spill over into the other areas of the game. Jungle invades, dragons, and roaming ganks are largely dictated and controlled by whichever team’s mid is winning their matchup. Pressuring the other mid into their tower and keeping them there allows for your team to take control and dictate the pace of the game. Jacky is just a better matchup for Link. Jacky tends to favor farm heavy champions such as Ori and Karthus, while Regi tends to favor more aggressive champions like Zed. Jacky’s passivity allows Link to have more impact in the early game, which helps remedy many of CLG’s early pressure issues as we saw. This was especially evident in game 1 when CLG was able to get 3 of the 4 first dragons of the game.

Being Proactive as Opposed to Reactive

What was, in my opinion, the biggest difference between the Curse games and the TSM games was CLG’s effort to be proactive as opposed to being reactive. This is actually something Monte has harped on the team about constantly, and is how we had been playing in scrims pretty much all of the week. In a game of strategy, especially a game of limited information like League of Legends, those who are proactive often receive a first mover’s advantage in exchanges. Forcing the other team to constantly react allows you to dictate the game on your own terms, and naturally puts you at an advantage in conflict, so long as your choices were sound educated guesses. This was seen best by jiji + Nien’s dive of Voyboy at level 3 in game 1, Nien’s constant Shen ganks to bot lane in game 1, and CLG’s constant pressure on towers and the map in game 2. Curse actually had better splitting comps in both games. Splitting however is a strategy which (should) only be effective for teams who have at least partial control of the map. CLG’s initiative allowed them to keep Curse reacting to their pressure, and kept them from splitting CLG to death in both matches.

After the Curse Games

After the matches, the team was relieved to have won and moved onto Season 4, but they were actually pretty disappointed with their play that day. They actually felt like they played worse than they did yesterday (not something I particularly agree with), but they mostly cited some confusing and frustrating communication issues that happened in both games. Individually however, I feel it would be tough to argue most of the didn’t play better against Curse than TSM (cough Chauster Nami bubbles vs Sona ults cough) 😉

Right after the games, Nien had an interview on stage, and we went down to the League of Legends overflow area a floor down to do some signings for fans. Doublelift did his weekly installment with Travis, and the team took some photos with Redbull for their coverage of the event. Afterwords, we went out to get some boba (a particular cosplay girl may or may not have come with us), then some of us caught a ride back to the hotel while others stayed at PAX for the rest of the day.

The rest of PAX

Today, CLG will be doing a Q&A panel entitled “Beat the Pros” with GameSpot at the Serpent Theater in the Sheraton Hotel from noon – 2pm. Tomorrow, we will be doing a signing with iBUYPOWER at their setup on the PAX floor at 1pm. Be sure to find us at both of these events. We’ll be more than happy to hang out, take pics, and sign stuff. Hope to see you around! Thanks for being awesome and continuing to support CLG <3

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by george georgallidis, on September 1, 2013