Gentleman Gustaf's NA Allstar Picks

With the Summer Split over, and World's on the horizon, I've been thinking a lot about what the most recent season means for League of Legends, and I'm left with a few thoughts on the game. Mostly, I want to talk about who I think really pulled weight this season. So what's my Allstar team look like?

It's all-too tempting for me to just pick Cloud9 as my Allstar team. They played so cohesively that it's hard to imagine them performing as well with any newcomer. Of course, this is always true of Allstar teams; they won't play as well beacuse they haven't been playing together. But Cloud9 has two qualities which make this a bigger deal. First of all, they have a massively different playstyle than a lot of teams. Second, that playstyle is VERY team oriented, sacrificing ADC gold for top/jungle gold. We are used to seeing teams built around carries, but Cloud9 is really built around their front line, with the theory that a protected back line with less gold does more damage than an unprotected back line with more gold. However, I tried to ignore this factor as much as possible. So without further ado, here is my Allstar team.

WARNING: I give 0 flying fracks about spoilers, so read ahead at your peril; information through PAX is to be found in the following article.

Jungle - Meteos

There really is no question about this. All through Season 2, junglers were about ganks. Their job was one of three things:

  1. Gank and snowball lanes
  2. Counter-gank
  3. Invade and counter-jungle a jungler to inhibit their ganking ability.

It's too easy to see invading and counter-jungling as being about getting more gold than the enemy jungle, and to do so highly simplifies the choice. Counter-jungling and invading are particularly effective against ganking junglers is effective for several reasons. Obviously, taking gold and levels away from them hurts them, but it also gives you a keen amount of vision into their jungle, cutting the number of ganks they can enact. It's not so much that counter-jungling stops ganks, but that the set up for counter-jungling (warding in their jungle) or invading (pushing lanes and invading as a group) both make ganks unattractive. In the former case, you can see the ganks coming from miles off. In the latter case, your laners spend less time in lanes (where they are gankable) and the enemy laners spend more time pinned under towers (where they can't respond as well to ganks).

But ward coverage became more and more steady for a few reasons:

  1. Increasing knowledge of the power of wards
  2. Season 3 nerfs to Oracle's Elixir
  3. Season 3 itemization changes allowing more early wards

As such, ganking became less central to the game, and it is here that Meteos' methodical strategy shines. If you watch Cloud 9 (or even watch Meteos solo queue), so much of his time is spent just farming. A lane is getting pushed? Gank it. Regardless of the success of the gank, shove with your laner and get tower damage down. A lane is pushing? Walk into it, shove with your laner and get tower damage down. Both laners just killed each other? Walk into lane, shove alone and get tower damage down. Why is this such a strong strategy? One, it gives you early towers, which snowballs into an early lead in both map vision and gold. Two, much as Moscow 5 abused lane pushing to invade, Cloud9 abuses lane pushing to control dragon. Cloud 9 got among the lowest first bloods of the game, but the most towers by 39 (253 to Vulcun's 214), and the most dragons by 8 (68 to TSM's 60). Meteos is careful and consistent, waiting for a moment to aggress, but otherwise just applying pressure by pushing. No jungler could replace him in this. On top of that, while we often talk about champion versatility as this huge strength, Meteos simply plays what he thinks is best, week in and week out, ending 10-0 with Nasus and 8-0 with Zac, with 18/28 games on those champions, while only (it's hard to say 'only' about Meteos) going 7-3 with his other champions. Finally, his methodically play is clearly evident in his stats, as he racked up the fewest deaths (29 deaths in 28 games, barely more than 1 PER GAME!) and the highest KDA (12.66).

Am I a Meteos fanboy? Most definitely. But I'll be the first to say that I'd hardly heard of Cloud9 when the season started, and while I was happy to see them emulating the Korean scene, and quickly labeled them my favorite team because of the lack of ego that showed, the fact that Meteos was able to make so many fans so quickly, without ever making any seriously spectacular plays, is an indication of his skill.

Now onto the positions that will require me to think at all.

Top - Balls/Dyrus

I had an incredibly hard time making this decision, and I'll need to preface it. I am not a TSM fanboy. In fact, I despise TSM. I pulled for Fnatic at Dreamhack Season 1 because I hated the egos on TSM and CLG (but especially the bro culture on TSM). I wasn't even a Fnatic fan, I just didn't want to see TSM or CLG win. When Curse sprung up, I was an immediate fan. Why? They weren't TSM or CLG. I have consistently thought of TSM as everything that is wrong with American eSports, too much ego, too much personality, too much talk and not enough walk. This narrative was finally starting to come true in the LCS, with TSM having steady competition in both the Spring and the Summer. My excitement was palpable; maybe this circus sideshow was coming to an end. And yet here we are, with TSM around another Season, going to World's once again, and even beating one of my favorite teams, Vulcun.

Why is this? I think this is largely to do with Dyrus. The TSM squad has always been hotheaded and impulsive, and replacing TheRainMan with Dyrus has been an extreme boon to them. He has become extremely relaxed over the last year, acting as a stabilizer for an otherwise mercurial team, and has even been complimented by Shy, who played against him at the last Allstars.

And even with all of that, it's hard to leave out Balls. On a team known for spamming out 2 or 3 champions, Balls has 5 champions with 4 or more games (Meteos has 2, LemonNation has 2, Sneaky has 3, Hai has 4, and Balls has 5). With exception of Shen, however, they are all tanky AP Carries. He is extremely instrumental to their strategy, and one could even argue that the strength of each of his champions at level 6 (the only champ he plays who has no game-changing ult is Elise). Despite sharing two of his champions with his teammates (Elise with Meteos and Kennen with Hai), it is the champion only he plays, Rumble, which draws the most bans against C9.

Runners-Up - Nientosoh/Sycho Sid

Nientosoh is a strong top laner, but suffers from playing just too many champions. On champions he has played more than 2 games with, he is 11-8. On the remaining champions, he is 2-8. I think this is, in part, due to his change from ADC on Team MRN. I hope to see him adjust to CLG and find his champ pool better next season.

Sycho Sid is probably even stronger a top laner than Nientosoh, but suffers from the same problem; he is 15-5 with champions he has played more than 2 games with, and 5-3 with his remaining champions.

This is actually a common problem for top laners (Dyrus is 14-10 with champs with 2+ games, and 0-4 on the rest). Of course, Balls does not have this problem, but there are only 2 such champions, and he is 1-0 with both of them.

Mid - Mandatorycloud

It's hard to argue with a record-breaking 167 kills. Mancloud is the backbone of Vulcun, and is comfortable on a number of champions. He also makes the most GPM of any player, at 397.5. He is known for making extremely aggressive and intelligent plays, and always having an impact, regardless of the champion or the start. Remember than 'more than 4 games' number I trotted around about Cloud9? Well Mancloud has exactly one champion he has picked 4 times or more, Zed. He has played 12 champions, and there appears to be little correlation between the number of games he has played with a champion and how well he does with them (in fact, with Zed aside, he appears to play slightly better on the rarer champions, but that's probably just noise in the data):

4 games played: 3-1
3 games played: 10-5
2 games played: 4-2
1 game played: 3-0

Honorable Mention - Hai

Do I really need to ramble about how another Cloud9 player is really good? Hai's Zed is stupidly good and stuff. I dunno, Cloud9 OP?

I originally had a confused train of thought. I meant to comment on players who had disappointing seasons, but I scrapped that, except somehow, just subsumed it under 'Honorable Mention'. i guess I'll leave it in, but this note here will explain why the section doesn't exist for other positions.

Disappointing - Nyjacky/Scarra

Scarra has great game knowledge, but his play has not improved as much as other players', and as a result, Dignitas has maintained mediocre showings.

Nyjacky showed great promise as an AP Carry last season, and came across as an AP Carry saddled with a number of team problems (the least of which were the adjustment period to a new bot lane synergy). But Curse finds itself once again in a somewhat disappointing position. Who will they blame this time? It can't be Elementz :p. Nyjacky has underperformed, not to mention sticking to rather old-school champions.

ADC - Sneaky/Zuna

While everybody else was playing Ezreal (41), Caitlyn (30), Draven (30), Twitch (26), Vayne (23), Sneaky played 11 of the 18 Ashe games. And while the other Ashe players went a combined 3-4, he went 11-0. He also demonstrated versatility by playing Jayce ADC once, and seemed to stutter only when playing Ezreal and Vayne.

Zuna, on the other hand, took to long-ranged carries, relying less on peel, and more on the sheer terror that Mancloud induced in teams. His Tristana play (7-2) stands in stark contrast to the rest of NA LCS (3-6), his Caitlyn was incredibly strong (6-1), and he even managed to borrow some pages out of Sneaky's book with a 2-1 Ashe showing. It's hard to say how well his style would work without the strong lead of Mancloud, but I think it's safe to say he would continue to play reasonably well.

Honorable Mention - Wild Turtle

Wild Turtle did great for TSM, but I can't help but bemoan his lack of versatility. After all, after he left Cloud9, they took off, and I can't help but wonder if picking up a more versatile ADC (like Sneaky) contributed to that. There's a reputation to each role; ADCs overvalue themselves, APCs play too aggressively, top laners are alone too often, and so on. Cloud9's strategy forces the ADC to sit second fiddle, and perhaps that simply isn't possible for Wild Turtle?

Support - LemonNation/Bloodwater

Is it any wonder that I picked supports from the same teams as my ADC picks? It's so hard to separate a bot lane simply because each of their actions are so interdependent. Would Sneaky's Ashe be so strong without the strong poke and disengage LemonNation's Zyra brings? It's hard to say, but all 3 of Cloud9's losses have LemonNation on a champion who isn't Zyra or Thresh. Would Zuna survive the laning phase without Bloodwater's heavy lane-strength supports? It's again hard to say, but the one game BloodWater picked a weaker laning support (Janna), his team lost.

LemonNation played Thresh largely with Draven, for aggressive plays, and the Draven pick was largely abandoned after his changes, so let's focus on Zyra for now. Zyra is the glue of the Ashe Zyra lane. Without Zyra, Ashe is a low mobility champion who brings basically an ult. With Zyra, Ashe is protected in the early game by extremely strong CC (a multi-target root and an AoE slow). Zyra also synergizes with Ashe's long-range poke, setting her up for easy distance volleys. Finally, Zyra/Ashe have a devastating level 6 combo that can allow a ganking mid or jungle to make their way past wards while the enemy bot lane is chain-CC'd (or they can simply pick a squishy target off on their own).

Bloodwater, on the other hand, played SO much Sona (going 10-2 when the rest of NA LCS went 17-20), and essentially buffered the transition of Zuna's ADCs into the late game, nullifying their early weaknesses. Zyra can act similarly, allowing for a high level of disengage. He also blanketed the map in vision, allowing his ADC to farm safely, and allowing Mancloud to freely make plays in the laning phase.


So it looks like I'd be running Cloud 9 plus ManCloud, given a choice, or perhaps Vulcun plus Meteos and either Balls or Dyrus. Maybe I am a fanboy.

What do you think? Who really pulled their weight this year and how/why?

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  • #90 holiclol

    Zuna is horrid

  • #87 Zergie

    QTPie should have got a mention as ADC.

    He has truely filled the role of carry in a few games this season. Definitely the cream of the crop in NA, doesn't overfarm or get picked like DL, but almost as good mechanically, and just lightyears ahead of Zuna positionally.

  • #82 TheOverRater

    wait.... you hate douches (which I will admit freely that TSM can come off that way... esp reginald, fuck that guy) but you like Vulcun?

  • #80 commanderchobo

    i was on board with the article until you got to the adc section. theres no doubt in my mind that sneaky is a good ad, and i think qtpie is great as well, since he was the reason for dig doing well in a lot of their wins.

    but zuna? that guy has awful positioning even on long rangers like cait and trist, he cant cs like the other ads can and he was instrumental in their losses against tsm. this guy gets carried so hard by mancloud and xsmithie that i cant believe someone would EVER consider him as their adc allstar pick. zuna is also bad mannered when interviewed and shows cockiness that cant be backed up by mechanical skill

    Last edited by commanderchobo: 9/5/2013 10:05:39 AM
  • #78 Ebp90

    What is wrong with qtpie?

  • #79 NightOfWallachia

    Quote from Ebp90 »

    What is wrong with qtpie?

    He doesn't play Vayne.

  • #77 Oytunes

    Sad to see Zuna for ADC allstar pick...

    Imaqtpie and even Doublelift would have been better.

    Qutiepie did excellent and was the only one doing good in Dignitas while Doublelift always needs to be mentioned. His all around playstyle where he wants to be the main threat in team comps wouldnt fit into C9/Vulcun but just his presence as an AD Carry and decisionmaking/mechanics makes him waaaaay more better than Zuna in my opinion. I guess DL is flexibel enough to play a bit more teamfriendly


    Gustav are you going to do one with EU too ? Would be awesome to hear your opinion

    Last edited by Oytunes: 9/5/2013 8:09:47 AM
  • #84 GentlemanGustaf

    yes. I probably should have titled this 'NA Allstar picks'

  • #76 siegebot

    >Not 5 Korean players
    >NA deserving an Allstar team at all

    Waiting till worlds to see 2 Korean overlords teams in finals.

  • #74 Pelikins

    LOL! Love how you left Doublelift completely out of the ADC nominations, I'm guessing because of his ego which  you repeatedly say you hate.

    But if you hate ego, why nominate Zuna, that guy is a thug and frankly an asshole on top of an egomaniac.

    As stated, Mancloud is the back bone of Vulcan, doesn't stop Zuna from spouting off and doing gangster poses EVERY TIME the camera looks his way.

    I'd like to roll his fat ass out a van door in southwest Detroit... see how gangsta he is then...

  • #75 t0ku

    As a team comp DL would be the worst of the lot.  He is used to playing a game where a good portion of the gold is funneled to him.  That is not a style most other teams play with.  On top of that he has positional issues similar to Zuna which cause him to get caught out constantly,  not something you want out of someone who SHOULD be your back line.

    Remember spring allstars?  It was 3 people playing solo and Dyrus trying to be as helpful in team fights as possible.  How many times was Saint caught out?  How many times did the team have to collapse on Doublelift because he was out solo and the enemy team was closing on him for a pick?  Sure it took a bit to kill him but the fact was that once he was down a good portion of the teams gold was suddenly not there for fights.  C9 does not function that way and if 3 people were going to be from that team you'd want the other 2 to mesh well with their playstyle.

    Zuna gets caught out probably half the time,  that leaves the other half where he sits back and lets his team do it's thing while he picks off from the sidelines.  I find it funny that a lot of the Zuna hate seems to stem from his weight.  Are people mad that someone overweight is doing well?  I would say Zuna is a contributing factor to Vulcan's score,  wins and losses.  If he could be a bit more reserved and respect structured combat his team would be much better off.

  • #83 Benegesserit

    Damn, nice post.

  • #85 ichigo2979

    I agree. It doesn't seem like Doublelift would do very well considering C9's style (which is really different from Korea, I don't know why people are saying they "emulate" them).

    And personally I don't like/hate Zuna, I just find his personality off-putting. Loud and brash. People are just trying to be arseholes when they bring his weight into it. It's like middle school all over again... oh wait :) 

  • #88 Pelikins

    I don't dislike him because of his weight. If he wasn't a thug who spouts off all the time then I'd have no problem with him. I still wouldn't nominate him for all stars though... He's mechanically just not that good and the stats reflect that.

    I just hate that he's ALWAYS talking trash. He's got no tact and no professionalism.

    DL is the way he is because people cater to him. CLG is never going to be a top notch team again until they shift away from "protect the ADC". DL is still an extremely mechanically gifted player. Likely the most talented ADC in NA. Could he perform on a team using a C9 strat? Yes! I'm sure he would IF he could work through his own ego.

    Last edited by Pelikins: 9/6/2013 7:00:59 AM
  • #73 boorboor

    Assuming you're using the actual all Star rules, and only 3 of a given team is allowed, I'd have to go with Meteos, Lemonation/sneaky, and then Dyrus and Mancloud, basically for the reasons given.

    Keeping the bot lane intact is of obvious advantage, and retains that whole non farm reliant ADC, as well as a bot lane that works well with meteos, and already knows how the 3 man push plays out, something cloud nine still employs even after the turret changes. And, when meteos is starved, its usually the bot lane he will leach off. Sneaky's farm_lite style seems to have come about due to this ( or vice versa perhaps). Either way, thats a strong core.

    Of the remaining non C9 top laners, i feel that Dyrus is the most autonomous. Perhaps because he;s had to deal with TSMs mood swings, but Dyrus never seems to give up, and often shows up unexpectedly to turn the tide of a team fight. People always comment on Dyrus's reliability, regardless of how the rest of the team is doing, and with good reason. The fact that he likes rumble is an additional bonus, Meteos, Lemon and Sneaky know how to play with rumble.

    and then Mancloud. He's aggressive and he has a huge champ pool, and he isn't afraid to make plays. His kill record speaks for itself, and he will make it his business to go and find those kills. And like Dyrus, he is consistent, and will make the moves when they're the right moves to take.


  • #89 Pelikins

    This is almost undoubtedly the best NA All Star team possible.

    Not necessarily based on individual skill levels... more based on player to player synergy and familiarity in the bottom lane.

    Sneaky/Lemon/Meteos set the team's tone. We're going for C9 style play.ManCloud is the obvious choice in Mid since you can't have Hai who would be the only other option really.

    In top you either go for VoyBoy or Dyrus since you can't have Balls. Voy actually has a lot of overlap with Balls in champion pool, but Dyrus, I feel, is that more seasoned returning All Star that you'd want.

    Last edited by Pelikins: 9/6/2013 6:54:44 AM
  • #71 SqueektheWeek

    I find it odd you mention sneaky being versatile just after mentioning is massive amount of ashe.

    I like zuna but I like turtle too. he is the best player in a vacuum he just doesnt mesh well.

    I am going to go with QTpie from Dig as well. He is probably the only reason that team matters right now as they throw everything. I've watched several peoples stream and he just yoloQs like a baus.

    I wish dyrus wasnt being put on champions that seem to be there to snowball regi. regi seems to be forcing oddone (who I think is weak) in to just constantly trying to snowball him. He is not the kobe of that team and dyrus needs to be given more range. worst part is I feel other teams know dyrus is good as many of them focus him early.

    Last edited by SqueektheWeek: 9/5/2013 3:08:11 AM
  • #86 Twist

    I actually agree rather strongly with the last paragraph of this.  Even though I don't really care for TSM, I still love Dyrus, it's hard not to.  The guy is always smiling, always seems to be enjoying what he's doing, no matter the situation.  And that's what I want to see, someone working their dream job and having fun at it.  It doesn't hurt that he's got the mechanical skills to keep his job.  

    I too, would like to see Dyrus put on champions that would let him snowball, instead of apparently picking champions to support Regi.  Regi did amazing in the Spring split, but I found his performance at All-Stars to be severely lacking, and I don't feel like he's ever gotten out of that funk for the Summer Split.  The man still makes plays, and he's obviously a top-tier talent, but I feel like he's been trying TOO hard lately to make plays where there really isn't any to be had.  

    I'd enjoy watching TSM more if they treated Dyrus like Voyboy.  Let him be a little more aggressive when he can get away with it, and snowball his own lane.

    On topic, Gustaf, I'm quite looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the EU scene as well (which I've regrettably not been able to follow as closely as the NA this split).

  • #69 thecrays

    Vulcun + Meteos would be so amazing...but unfortunately it will never happen ,(

  • #68 NGAF

    I strongly disagree about Zuna.

    I feel like he is the weakest player in Vulcun. His champion pool consist only of 600+ range champions, anything less isn't safe enough in Zuna's hands.

    My ad carry all-star would be Doublelift, as his decision-making and champion pool are better than Zuna's. Not even taking mechanics into account.

    I don't agree with the top laner(s) as well, but I can understand your choices. Dyrus' consistency is impressive and Balls' Rumble alone makes him worthy of being an all-star.

    1 on 1 duels were what defined top lane for so long, and being the best top laner was originally about who could win these 1 on 1 and have the biggest impact when they join the teamfights. It is no longer the case, top laners often end up in a 1v2 lane, underfarmed and underleveled. They are all weak. They all rely on their teams to catch up. They play champions with utility to have an impact on teamfights.

    I feel like Voyboy is the top laner who has the most impact on his games. He is the hardest to shut down as he is the best at catching up when behind. Despite not laning 1 on 1 very often, he has shown he is not just a good duelist. He is the last top lane carry in North America.

    My choices would be Voyboy, Meteos, Mancloud, Doublelift and BloodWater. Scary team.

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