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Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:59:17

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, it's competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out an unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didn't skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camera work could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter I've seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

 

 

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesn't have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds' worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuu's Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesn't rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents don't seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, there's someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results aren't as spectacular, I don't  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when they're in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ can escape their dire situation.

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games aren't boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they haven't mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the North American server situation, I don't believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, there's still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at the LJL YouTube channel. There's also an English cast over at Azubu. For more information on the league, simply go to their Official LJL hub at e-sports square.

Image sources: e-sports square and LJL's Facebook page. Make sure to follow the author on Twitter for more content at @Moveslikejuaber.

Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:59:09

 

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, its competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

 

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out a unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

 

 

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didnt skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camerawork could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter Ive seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesnt have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuus Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesnt rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents dont seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, theres someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results arent as spectacular, I dont  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when theyre in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ are able to snatch a victory given the shaky situation the team is experiencing.

 

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games arent boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they havent mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the NAmerican server situation, I dont believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, theres still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at (link to ljl youtube). Theres also an English cast at (link to ljlen). For more information on the league, simply go to their (ljl website).

Image sources: e-sports square and LJLs Facebook page

Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:57:38

 

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, its competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

 

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out a unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

 

 

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didnt skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camerawork could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter Ive seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesnt have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuus Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesnt rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents dont seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, theres someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results arent as spectacular, I dont  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when theyre in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ are able to snatch a victory given the shaky situation the team is experiencing.

 

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games arent boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they havent mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the NAmerican server situation, I dont believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, theres still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at (link to ljl youtube). Theres also an English cast at (link to ljlen). For more information on the league, simply go to their (ljl website).

Image sources: e-sports square and LJLs Facebook page

Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:51:24

 

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, its competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

 

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out a unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

 

 

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didnt skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camerawork could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter Ive seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesnt have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuus Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesnt rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents dont seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, theres someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results arent as spectacular, I dont  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when theyre in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ are able to snatch a victory given the shaky situation the team is experiencing.

 

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games arent boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they havent mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the NAmerican server situation, I dont believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, theres still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at (link to ljl youtube). Theres also an English cast at (link to ljlen). For more information on the league, simply go to their (ljl website).

 

Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:51:00

 

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, its competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

 

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out a unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

 

 

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didnt skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camerawork could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter Ive seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesnt have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuus Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesnt rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents dont seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, theres someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results arent as spectacular, I dont  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when theyre in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ are able to snatch a victory given the shaky situation the team is experiencing.

 

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games arent boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they havent mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the NAmerican server situation, I dont believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, theres still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at (link to ljl youtube). Theres also an English cast at (link to ljlen). For more information on the league, simply go to their (ljl website).

 

Rising Stars at the Rising Sun: An Introduction and Five-Week Summary of LJL

moveslikejuaber 2015-02-25 01:41:10

 

 

Japan is one of the newest competitive scenes in League of Legends. While it has been the origin of many video games since the beginning, its competitive side is usually more focused towards fighting games such as Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and the "Air Dasher" sub genre (Guilty Gear, Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue). Now that The Land of the Rising Sun has a slot in the International Wild Card Invitational for LoL, we will soon get a chance to see if their playing skills transcend into their well-known genre.

But, what does the Japanese League scene look like? Who are the teams? Who are the players to look out for? Do they have weird picks/bans & strategies? Why does it have a redundant name (League of Legends Japan League)? We can’t answer the last question for the life of us, but we can provide a part-guide, part-summary of what the LJL has showed so far. With the first half of the regular season done, we can now paint a good enough picture of what the Japanese scene and whether or not they have what it takes to step up to the well-tested, veteran regions.

 

FORMAT

Like the LCS, the regular season is a double round robin, Best of One format. Each team plays every other team once on each side of the map, for a total of two all together. After ten weeks, the top three teams will play a ladder tournament, with the second and third seed fighting a Best of Three. The winner would face the first seed in a Best of Five.

I am not a fan of the Best of One format, as it can promote cheesy tactics, which, while exciting to watch, can turn out a unpredicted win. I would rather have a Best of Two single robin, so that teams could prepare better and showcase a higher level of play. However, I do appreciate the ladder style of holding the playoffs. It feels more apt, as it gives greater value in clinching the top seed of the regular season.

 

(image of arena)

 

PRODUCTION

I always loved how Japan can make a spectacle out of anything. League of Legends is no exception. Hosting the tournament in Akihabara, the mecca of nerdom, the teams play at a well-made arena, complete with closed team booths and fantastic lighting. The event didnt skimp out on production value, both in its stage and its broadcast. Taking notes from Korea, it trumps most Western regions in terms of showcasing head-to-head matchups and game display. While camerawork could be shoddy sometimes, Japan has the best dragon counter Ive seen. I mean, look at this beautiful simplicity:

(image of dr counter)

No fancy drawings or spelling out the word "DRAKE" necessary.

As for the casters, while I don’t understand much of what they say, I can easily understand their words with how they express themselves. After all, gaming is a universal language. They also have a decent sense of flow, sounding calm and relaxed; casual even, during down times; then suddenly explode in team fights.

Also, keep in mind that they are playing in the North American server, meaning they all do this with 100 or so ping. While Japan doesnt have its own server yet, this is what the League has to deal with.

 

THE TEAMS

With five weeks and six rounds (Week Five had two rounds worth of games) in the bag, it is still a tight race to the top, with only one team of the the six experiencing a slump.

The DetonatioN teams were expected to come out on top, and so far they have delivered. FocusMe is the more hype amongst the two, as the team fields star ADC Yuta "Yutapongo" Sugiura. While he was able to showcase his skill on a variety of champions, his current go-to champion is Ezreal. He has even showed a few new tricks for The Prodigal Explorer. In a match versus Ozone Rampage, Yutapongo bought an Essence Reaver, a rare item, not often seen in professional build paths. This strange mid-game purchase, combined with his burst and auto-attack power from Youmuus Ghostblade and an Infinity Edge, made him a strong duelist who doesnt rely on poking with Sheen procs before going for the kill. The mana and life restoration also helped him sustain in fights longer than most Ezreals.

Also sponsored by DetonatioN, RabbitFive is a team with a powerful ADC, Shotaro "Zerost" Ikeda. Playing all  six current games with Tristana, he is the type who likes to jump in and fight. Favoring Phantom Dancer over Statikk Shiv, Zerost prefers standing down and blasting away champions over having stronger pushing power. Opponents dont seem to ban her away or even steal the pick, which might suggest confidence in dealing with Zerost. His 4-2 record on the champion shows just how much people have underestimated his prowess. Since he has only used one champion in the past matches, it will be interesting if he can retain the same level of play when forced to pick something else.

Tied for second, some might say that for 7th heaven should showcase either Kento "Mueki" Ojima or Kazuhiro "Clockday" Suzuki. After all, Mueki showed good champion variety and landed the first Pentakill for the season. His teammateClockday is a prolific streamer. However, theres someone worth the spotlight more - sub player Junya "Thinton" Matsuoka. Having played three out of the six current matches, he has shown incredible versatility and strong mechanics in the top, surpassing starter Yuuki "Yunn" Doi. He made a strong first impression by picking up Vladimir in his first game and he proceeded to apply persistent map pressure. While Yunn is back and the results arent as spectacular, I dont  think this will be the last we see of ThintoN.

CROOZ Rascal Jester was thought of as the team that would beat top contender FocusMe, but after their dismal opening matches, only now do we see why. The lineup is solid, with jungler and captain Ryo "apaMEN" Odagiri trying to make plays around the map, particularly helping out midlaner Yasuhiro "scotty" Konaka and toplaner Ryohei "cogcog1" Matsuda. While their scores during their defeats may suggest a stomp, watching them reveals that most of their games are in their favor early game. The problem lies with their transition to the mid and late game, as they have sub-par map movements. This is currently being worked on though, as shown in their win of the rematch versus FocusMe. A little more consistency and they would be able to become that hyped threat they have once been.

OZONE RAMPAGE is the Jekyll and Hyde of the league. At times, they are slow and meticulous, particularly when behind. So far, they are the team to watch when it comes to bouncing back from a deficit, using a mix of diversions and splitpushing to slowly gain superior map control. Their other mode is one of a wild snowball. If their solo laners or jungler, such as Yoshikazu "envy" Tanaka, get an early lead, they will use it to run amuck around the map enabling their teammates. Inconsistency is their bane however; there are a lot of moments of hesitation even when theyre in the lead, which cost them a game or three.

Lastly, we have Savage Javelin. One could almost feel bad for these guys; losing all of their games so far, one can only see the team getting worse every match. Their best showing, however, is when they utilized a Sivir/Rengar chase comp - wherein they caught their opponents out of position from afar, but even there, they ultimately lost. A role swap for Shiro "Intension" Sasaki from jungler to mid will not help as well, as shown during their latest match. We shall see if SJ are able to snatch a victory given the shaky situation the team is experiencing.

 

PLAYSTYLE

Overall, the Japanese League players are very patient in their play. It could be due to the ping issues, or maybe they have yet to figure out their optimal style; games tend to stretch, averaging at 40 minutes or so. The games arent boring to watch however, as they are constantly trying to wrestle vision and lane pressure. It is just that they havent mastered those skills as of yet.

Speaking of vision, they love map control. So much in fact, that big teamfights can happen just over a ward. They know the value of information in League and that’s good for a developing esport scene to realize early on. Their rotations though, leave a lot to be desired. While it was not expected for them to have Korean-level rotations, there are moments where they simply out-position themselves.

As for the teamfights, there has barely been anything one-sided about them. Even on a back foot, losing teams will still try to make something happen in their favor. This creates a wonderful tug-of-war sometimes, building up all the way until the final, climactic teamfight.

 

LOOKING FORWARD

Due to the NAmerican server situation, I dont believe this is the Japanese teams in their strongest form . I think of the ping issues as weights, slowing down their game until they get their own server, thus finally revealing their final form. While there has yet to be anything unique about their in-game meta, Japan never fails to bring something new and interesting into any game; given enough time.

With four rounds remaining, theres still enough time for anybody interested to catch up on the games over at (link to ljl youtube). Theres also an English cast at (link to ljlen). For more information on the league, simply go to their (ljl website).

 

 

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