HotshotGG at PAX: Day 3
After grabbing breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory across from the venue. The team went and did a Q&A panel with GameSpot where fans were able to come, ask questions, get autographs, and photos with the team. I was unable to attend due to a business meeting, but I heard from the team that several of you asked about me. The most common question I’ve received about what I’ve been up to since stepping down from the roster full time is: “What is going on with the challenger team?”
Many conjecture that since CLG does not have a challenger team, I simply never pursued it, which is not the case at all. Many of you know that I have been spamming solo queue about ~15 per day, every day, over the past month or so. Aside from attempting to bringing my Leblanc skills up to near Faker levels, the real aim in doing this is an attempt to scout out potential recruits for the challenger team. In my opinion, “known” players are not the best resource to turn to in building a challenger team. Many “known” players, even amateurs, already feel a great deal of entitlement within the scene due to their popularity, and are not as grateful for the opportunities they are given. This is certainly not to be said of everyone, but I am specifically looking for people who are willing to commit everything to the opportunity which they are given. I want the no ego, pure drive, only care about results mentality. I think there is a lot of undiscovered talent still out there in the NA scene, and I intend to find it.
The other thing people fail to realize is that it’s not as easy as randomly selecting 5 good players, putting them on a team, and pressing the “go” button. I am not looking to commit the organization and my resources to anything less than a team I feel supremely confident about. There have been several players I have approached about doing a challenger team with me, but I have yet to find a complete roster of those who I think will work.
As far as my participation on the challenger team is concerned, that is still completely undecided. I would either be coaching the team or playing on it myself, but it really just depends on if I’m able to find enough players where I don’t feel I need to play on the team myself. As a coach who isn’t also a player on the team and an unbiased third party, I am more able to objectively give feedback on the guys performance and help dictate to them the areas in which they need to improve.
I hope that explains that situation to everyone though, now let’s talk about the results from the NA Playoffs and how I think things will pan out at World’s.
PAX RESULTS and NA PERFORMANCE AT WORLD’S
The third place match went pretty much exactly as I expected yesterday. While Dignitas is a good team, based on the team’s scrims this week, everyone on CLG expected Vulcun would have little issue in claiming their spot at World’s. Now, the Finals were arguable more interesting (purely from a results perspective, because the actual finals themselves were quite boring). C9 had been telling us that TSM had been beating them in 80% of their scrims in prepping for PAX. Yet, yesterday, C9 completely dismantled TSM who had looked so strong against CLG and Vulcun earlier in the tournament. So what does this all mean?
In the end, I think the three teams going to World’s are the ones who deserve it most, and that they will do a very good job representing NA at World’s. If you still don’t see it after the finals yesterday against TSM, I am telling you now, Cloud 9 is fucking good at League of Legends. In fact, I think people still underrate them. Cloud 9 is, in my opinion, on the level of top Korean teams. When watching OGN, there are many top level Korean games between the likes of Blaze, Frost, Ozone, SKT T1, KT B, and the like where I don’t feel that they rotate, prioritize objectives, apply pressure, or choose lane matchups as well as Cloud 9. So how will Cloud 9 match up against the Korean team’s that go to World’s?
I think Cloud 9’s greatest fear against the Korean teams at World’s will be in laning phase. Mechanically, and in regards to individual outplays, I think there is a high possibility that Cloud 9 could get bullied in lane so badly by the Koreans, especially with Meteos’ tendency to farm over gank, that they will never get an opportunity to play the kind of game that C9 likes. However, if C9 is able to make it past laning phase in the same position that they are able to against NA teams, I don’t think Koreans will know how to deal with a jungler that is so much more farmed than their own. Cloud 9’s performance at World’s will depend largely on how seriously the Koreans take them and how they are able to fare in lane against the best players in the World. I would not favor ANY team over Cloud 9 except for the Korean team’s at Worlds however. They could easily have a very easy route to the semi finals and potentially even the finals depending on the draws coming out of groups.
TSM and Vulcun are a much greater unknown. TSM is looking very strong right now, but has still never beaten a Korean team. Vulcun has the potential to play better than any team in NA, but are far more inconsistent than Cloud 9 and consistently give opportunities for other teams to come back into the game, which top international teams will punish to a great degree. I expect one of these teams to make it past groups to the quarter finals. Beyond that is unknown. Anyone who draws the SouthEast Asian team which has a bye, in the quarter finals has a potentially very easy route to the semi finals.
The rest of the day
After the matches I toured around PAX some and then went to a wonderful dinner + play session Riot hosted for players/managers/owners at GameWorks across the street from the venue. I am a huge gamer, so in my final blog from PAX (tomorrow), I will write about what games I saw at PAX that excited me most and people should check out. We are also hosting a signing with iBUYPOWER at the NVIDIA booth today at PAX at 1pm. Be sure to come by and get your stuff signed and hang out!