Waiting For Cooldowns 5: Fnatic, Counter-Logic Gaming and New Items
What’s up Summoners, welcome to the first Waiting For Cooldowns of post-Season 3! We’re not technically in Pre-Season 4 yet (I know, it’s all very confusing) but we’ll get there soon. In one weeks time, we’ll get to see a handful of great European and American teams duke it out at IEM Cologne, the first official LoL tournament since the World Championships. I’m going to be taking an in-depth look at two of the teams attending the event; Counter-Logic Gaming and Fnatic. But first, the ABCs of LoL!
D is for…Dive! In League of Legends “diving” is a term used when a player goes all-in on their enemy, risking life and limb to ensure the kill. The most common use of diving is Tower Diving, when you ignore the damage you’re taking from the tower, and focus on just killing your opponent. In most situations, a player will retreat to the tower when attacked if they can’t win; The tower keeps them safe, as it’ll attack the enemy when they’re within range. Some champions, like Aatrox, Tryndamere and Zac excel at tower diving, as they have abilities built in that allow them to avoid death.
There are very, very few names in professional League of Legends bigger than Fnatic and Counter-Logic Gaming. CLG are the oldest operating Pro team in League of Legends at the moment, having been formed in April, 2010. They’ve had some awesome names move through their rosters throughout the years; Chauster, Saintvicious, Voyboy and Dan Dinh to name just a few. Their current team is just as impressive, though. Two members of the Season 3 World Championship Analyst Desk, OGN shoutcaster Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng are both part of Counter-Logic. Doublelift is the team’s long-term AD-Carry, while Montecristo has recently signed on with CLG as their coach. Montecristo makes an exciting addition to the team, as he’s one of the best analysts in the world. His experience with the Korean League of Legends scene gives him information and perspective that most American and European players don’t have; After all, Montecristo was the only member of the Worlds Analyst Desk that predicted SK Telecoms victory over China’s Royal Club. Riding “The Korean Hype Train” all the way through the Championships paid off for Montecristo, as the team went on to defeat their opponents 3-0 in the finals, taking the Championships.
Throughout 2013, CLG were confined to the middle of the pack in the North American LCS. They’ve been plagued by players swapping roles, stepping down due to lack of confidence, and simply leaving the team. Indeed, for IEM Cologne, two of the teams five players (Namely Amphromoo in the Support role and TrickZ in the jungle) will have been part of Counter-Logic for less than a month. I’m fairly confident that the over-all experience of the team itself and their long lasting knowledge of the game, enhanced of course by Montecristo, will help them to remain relevant, and even contenders for the top spot during IEM.
Fnatic haven’t had the same issues as CLG when it comes to their roster. They’ve had a strong, consistent team for a while now, and no individual player stands out as a superstar because they’re honestly all really good at their jobs. From the Spanish xPeke in mid lane, to their Finnish team Captain CyanideFI in the jungle, Fnatic are one of the most multinational, experienced teams in the League of Legends right now.
Put out of the World Championships by the team that took second place, Fnatic are a great team to watch playing League of Legends. These teams that have been together for a long time seem able to read each others minds, capable of making huge plays with incredible synergy. They won the Play-offs for both Spring and Summer in Season 3, and won the regular Spring Season with an impressive 22 Wins and 6 loses, and came in second in the Summer Season. Their third place finish at Worlds, having taken down the seemingly unstoppable Cloud9 HyperX after an intense series of back and forth games, showed that the team has the ability to keep going strong. It’s unsurprising, really, considering that xPeke and Cyanide have been running the show since early 2011. I’m really looking forward to potentially seeing Fnatic and Cloud9 going head to head once again, considering how close their games were at Worlds.
Let’s move away from IEM Cologne and look at some of my favourite new items that will be hitting the League during Pre-Season 4. One of them, like the new Kage’s Pick, seems designed specifically for supports, while the Executioners Emblem could be really useful in an incredible aggressive lane with two AD Carries, sustaining each other through the items’ passive. As the new Kage’s Pick, Executioner’s Calling and Philosopher’s Pebble will all be able to be purchased at the start of the game, but you can only have one of them, they’ll help to really shape the laning phase, especially for Bot lane, as they’re being labelled “Support Items.” Let’s look at these new items!
Kage’s Lucky Pick has been reformed into Kage’s Pick, which now builds into Kage’s Lucky Pick. They’ve changed what the items does, though. Kage’s Pick grants 2 gold every ten seconds, as well as 3 Mana Regen per 10 seconds. Additionally, it has a unique passive called Pickpocket, which is essentially a copy & pasted version of the mastery of the same name. When you auto-attack an enemy champion, you gain 4 gold. This effect can only trigger once every ten seconds, per enemy. Killing a minion, however, disables this passive for ten seconds. I can see myself really enjoying this item on support like Annie, Zyra, Lulu and Nami, who all excel at poking their opponents while remaining safely behind their own minions. Additionally, the Lucky Pick can be turned into a Shard of True Ice. While in Season 3 there was no real need to every own a Shard because of it’s build path(Nobody liked Mana Manipulator, and as a result they’ve removed it from the game entirely) I can see it being reliably built in S4. The Shard grants 4 GP/10, 10 MP/5 and a reworked version of the Frost Nova active. Frost Nova reads “Slows target enemy and all nearby enemies’ Movement Speed by 50% for 2 seconds (60 sec CD)”. Champions like Annie and Nami have fantastic engages, using their abilities to lay Crowd Control onto large portions of the enemy team, and then the Frost Nova active stops the team from escaping.
Philosopher’s Pebble builds into Philosopher’s Stone, and they have a passive which encourages a safer playstyle that revolves a round protecting your carry. The only champion that has a need for these items is the Support. The Philospher’s items have the unique passive Harvest, which reads “Grants 2 Gold every time a nearby enemy minion dies that you didn’t kill.” This gold increases to 4 when the Pebble is turned into the Stone. Both levels of the item grant HP and Mana regeneration, with the Stone granting a boost to Gold generated every ten seconds. The Philosopher’s Stone can be built into the fan-favourite Support item, Shurelia’s Reverie. The new Reverie retains the old active, where you and all nearby allied champions gain a massive movement speed bonus, helping you to reposition your entire team when needed. In addition, it grants extra gold every ten seconds, and retains the Harvest passive from Philosphers stone.
And finally, we have the Executioner’s Emblem. This is, to me, the most concerning of these three items, as it has an incredibly strong build path as well as an abusable passive in a duo-ADC lane. The Emblem has two Passives. The first is called Execute, and reads “Basic attacks execute minions below 200 Health if an allied champion is nearby. This effect can occur up to twice per minute”. The second passive is called Soul Tithe and says “Minions killed by Execute restore 2% of your maximum HP to the nearest allied champion and grant them gold equal to the kill plus 5.” It also grants 50 health, and 6 HP Regeneration every 5 seconds. Now, two ADCs with Executioner’s Emblems have an immensely high level of sustain, as well as the ability to push the lane faster than their opponent. They run the risk of getting ganked by being push so hard, but if they can win the lane in a matter of minutes, and gain extra gold to boot, then it might be worth it. Executioner’s Emblem can be built into Reaper’s Emblem, which increases the Health, HP regeneration and gold from Execute to 10. Reaper’s Emblem then builds into Martyr’s Call, which retains the passives of the previous items, gives a large chunk of Health, and adds the Healthbomb active (I get the feeling that name might just be a place holder; who knows what all of these things might actually be called?). Healthbomb lets you consume 20% of your current Health to shield a target allied champion for 10% of your Maximum health for 4 seconds. At the end of this duration, the shield explodes, dealing 10% of your maximum health as magic damage in an Area of Effect.
I’d like to mention that these items are all currently in beta, so any of this could change. Their names, activated abilities and exact figures could be totally different by the time this article goes live, or the Pre-Season rolls in.
Thanks again for reading Waiting For Cooldowns! I’ve never had more fun than when I’m writing this column for you all. As always, feel free to add me on League of Legends, where I play on the EUWest servers under the name of Hutch the Clutch. You can also add me on Twitter @Hu7chTh3Clu7ch or follow the column on @CDTWFC
I’ll see you guys next week!