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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    This is true, but at the same time picking a burst champion against a team like Lulu, Shyvana, Irelia, Graves (all decently tanky) is not that smartest idea. With True Grit Graves is easily the hardest ADC to burst down until the time other ADC's start building defense (QSS or GA). throw in a Lulu Help Pix! and Wild Growth and it just becomes an ill-advised strategy. Irelia and Shyvana are then going to automatically build tanky because of their roles and that leaves you with just TF who again can be shielded and given extra HP. He was just kind of countered from the beginning :( I think he picked him because TF has a difficult lane vs Gragas but this seems to not have mattered as TF had Dcap and Abyssal while Gragas only had RoA and Blasting Wand. He could have played something like Kennen or Morg who probably have decent lanes against TF. I would also argue those 2 champs have better team fight presence as they both threaten to stun the entire enemy team :)

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    I am not an authority on Nunu so it is not my place to say if he is fast or not, I apologize. The main point I was trying to get across is that Maokai is more useful than Nunu to a team because he provides 20% reduced damage to EVERYONE, a long range snare, an aoe knockback and he doesnt fall off late game like Nunu. Nunu provides an AS/MS steroid for 1 person, AS/MS debuff for 1 person, and a channeled aoe ult that does dmg + slows (but Maokai has a knockback that can interrupt this) Consume is also a dead spell in team fights and I tend to favor champs that have 4 active spells throughout the game (sappling can at least do some damage or give vision over walls).

    I said they had an overpowered team that could maximize capitalizing in the early game and pushing towers (what I should have said instead of pushing was being aggressive and forcing engagements. In this case it happened to be forcing engagements at towers). My belief behind this was that they were forcing a lot of fights and had champions with "team steroids" which means that if they were ahead of the enemy team in terms of power, they were really ahead, and if they were behind the enemy team in power they were that much less behind. This allowed them to capitalize on being aggressive and being able to take towers because they could outscale TSM's combined efforts early game. Lets say Corki had a BF sword (+45) and Graves has a pickaxe (+25), but when Taric uses lvl 6 R he gets +15 AD (now +40) and with Vlads 12% damage increase (+44.8) which puts him .2 less damage than Corki. On top of that he takes 20% less damage from Corki cuz Maokai (+36 now) and also is getting +20 armor from Taric which reduces damage by 17% (now +30). So you see that by having those 3 champions on his team Graves does 14.8 more damage than Corki with worse items and takes 15 less damage. That is pretty incredible. Now I wanted to bring this to people's attention because I don't recall anyone doing the math and making this exact distinction. I think this is honestly a "perfect" comp although I have not tried to theorize a comp that matches it, so if you would like to do that and present it to me be my guest. Ahri and Graves are obviously interchangeable but I like Ahri because she has CC and is mobile which allows her to safely get items without HP stats like Abyssal scepter which also increases her teams power and still be safe because she is slippery. I also like Graves because he does not need to auto attack to do damage early game because he functions like a mage meaning he can hit 2 buttons and get out of harms way while they are on cd, he can then provide his team cover from range with smokescreen and even if he gets into a fight, which is likely because their forcing aggression, his passive provides him with free defensive stats. Honestly the comp was just perfect and I am still mesmerized by its beauty :) this is subjective however, and as I said I challenge you to come up with a different comp that is superior :)

    I say he is a top late game carry because of how often pro players have been picking them. If he truly sucked late game I would be interested in hearing pro players opinions on why they pick him when the current meta has games that easily go into 40 minute territory. If you check the stats Corki, Graves, and Ezreal were picked the most in the past few tournaments. I am not sure the exact numbers of tournaments other than this one, but Kog and Trist were both picks 1nce (Ap Trist btw) and Vayne was picked 0 times. This is not to say they are bad or that their late game is bad, but in terms of pro player usage and viability I think you could easily say without much opposition that Corki is in top 3. You are actually the only person I have seen so far that disagrees with this assertion which I think is firmly believed within the community. His passive gives him free 10% true damage which is amazing, his gattling gun gets 1.6AD scaling through the whole duration and shreds armor, his W has a 12s cd which is 1 more than Ezreals Arcane Shift (11s) and his R gets .2 and .3(big one) AD scaling and is magic damage on a 1.2s cooldown which means he is hard to itemize against. At the end of the day all AD carries come down to being "right click to death" champs, I just noticed Corki is picked very often which is why I assumed his top 3 position.

    I just felt that Graves was best for their composition (not best in the game) like I explained above. Free tank stats help with all the early aggression (comparatively with the same items he will ALWAYS take less damage than other AD's), his blind/slow help his team engage and zone enemies and disengage when they need to. His Q and R have good AD ratios which means he can have poor items (such as pickaxe as opposed to BF) and still do a formidable amount of damage. His ability to play like a mage also allows him to do damage and then fall back and stay out of danger. Now Ezreal could also be argued to fit this position cuz he has great poke range, similar escape, similar damage on his ult, and a buff/debuff to his team and enemies, however, I think that blind/slow and zoning is better than an AS steroid/debuff on a skill shot because it depends on where people are to maximize it, plus if you get someone in the center of smokescreen they have to "move' which means they are doing no damage, where if their AS is reduced they just do damage at a slower rate.

    Cass was definitely feared back in Kiev, but that was late January/early Feb (6 months ago) and a lot has changed and she has been phased out. Back then I would have easily argued that she was the best AP in the game at the time but tons of champs have been released since then and now she has fallen from glory. The casters even quoted Ocelote saying she needs buffs to be viable again. The meta has changed and I think junglers are a bit more aggressive now which makes life tough for Cassi who likes to be aggressive (not to say this is the only way to play her but she excels over other heroes early which means she can be aggressive and zone effectively). Also yes Blaze handled her perfectly and I would not downplay their efforts, but I believe they would have handled any AP just the same wouldn't you? If its a main damage dealer they seemed to have an effective way of dealing with them. My argument though was if TSM had been running Karthus/Kayle (which was open) or even just Karthus that he would have just went deathdefied which means he couldnt have been silenced and still done a lot of damage because of this. Since Cassiopeia can not do this I argue that Karthus is better (I straight up believe Karthus is just op as hell and that will never change because his passive is an integral part of his design so they will not touch it). Its just when you are playing for money you want to maximize your strengths as well as be able to reduce the effects of your weaknesses/enemies strengths. Blaze had amazing CC for a caster with Soraka and Skarner and TSM knew this, so why not go with someone who can avoid that like Karthus? That's why I think it was a bad pick. It may not have 100% contributed to their loss but it is definitely a factor why TSM is $10,000 poorer right now.

    Now I never saw the M5 vs CLG games where Gragas was a superstar, but I know somewhere in this thread I said that Gragas is a hero where you have to capitalize on the first ~25 mins of the game. My question to you is did M5 make a lot of big plays in the first 25 mins in the game they had Gragas? If they did then this comes as no surprise to me. My argument for him being bad though is that you can not always count on being able to dominate early game (in addition to all the things I believe about him being unreliable/not liking his 2.5 damaging skill set). Since NA/EU meta like to play late game and play safe there is a big chance that Gragas will eventually be outshined. Again it comes down to money being on the line and minimizing failure and maximizing success. I think Gragas is a risky pick which is why we don't see him often, sometimes he gets picked and he works. If I was on a team though I probably would not risky my team's success and just pick something safer though. That is just how I view things though.

    Your TF argument is based on a lot of hypothetical theorizations. You are presuming that pro players in the bot lane always fall prey to TF ganks (is mid not warding?) and that also TF is never KSing his ADC, now that is asking a lot. Your other hypothetic about people getting caught out is a bit far fetched as well. What makes pro players "pro" is that they know how to position themselves. It is not very common we see pro AD players out of position and getting instgibbed, especially late game. They have become very proficient at positioning and are often found behind their team during pushes safely in the back lines (most of them also have escapes Quickdraw, Essence Flux, Valkyrie, and Flash or Cleanse available as summoner spells, and QSS available as an item to correct mistakes). Secondly if someone is out of position it is very easy to instagib them (TANK AP or AD). Do you remember when CLG was split pushing with Chogath and M5 caught him with an Ashe arrow and killed him (3k HP + resistances and all) before his team could respond. Now if the ad carry is just out by himself than that team deserves to lose, but to assert this happens a lot and that having TF on your team to capitalize on this, as opposed to having Karthus who can not, is pushing faith a little. Talking soloqueue though I think TF is a tier 1 champion and an invaluable pick if you can play him well because normal players tend to not ward or have good map awareness. Now asking me to compare TF to a similar champ is hard cuz not many have targeted stuns and aoe nukes, but lets take Ahri for example. She has a hard CC with similar range (its a skill shot so aim is required and it can be blocked), she has a medium range nuke but it deals true damage, she has a small range aoe spell (it also applies full 35% slow if you have rylais), and her ult gives her mobility and does massive damage (if you have 300AP her ult does 2300+ damage at 16 because it hits 3 targets x 3 if she gets all the uses off 165dmg +.35AP x 9). She can also go multiple build paths: rush abyssal, rush rylais, rush wota, rush dcap, where TF is more or less forced to get as much AP as possible meaning he needs Dcap cuz he has to capitalize on 2 spells for damage, even after this he has few routes as he normally gets Lichbane or DFG. Now when you compare those raw numbers to TF and build variability it is hard to ignore, especially how much damage that ult can put out. So you have to weigh out how much you value reliable damage compared to increase map presence etc. Personally I like champs with 4 active spells (like I have said many times) but at the same time if I wanted to provide a champion to my team that had global presence again I would choose Karthus. This, again, is not to say TF is useless but I believe he is inferior to Karthus (personal opinion).

    Final Thoughts: I was not trying to say press R and win is OP like SV meant because he was mainly talking about chaining globals or direct damage/aoe ults to instant kill someone late game (Requiem, Soul Shackles, Depth Charge, Unstoppable Force, Equalizer, Shockwave, Paranoia). I am talking about using R spells to exponentially increase your power compared to your opponents. I have just never realized how potent this was so I decided to put it on paper for others to see.

    My stats on Cass/Grag are mainly based on tournaments as far back as IPL 4 (the farthest "recent" event which TSM took 1st place). To use stats from tournaments further back really predates this meta. You have to remember a lot of champions have been released and changes have beeen made (buffs/nerfs) so even though the meta has remained the same (brusier top/ap mid/ad support bot) the champions and picks/bans change. If you used overall tournament statistics it would not explain current phenomenon like, why are Shen/Urgot banned so often and why is Mundo used so often. 6 months ago things like this may have not existed.

    I hope this helps :)

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    "he is trying his best" is an overstatement. It is clear that the community disagreed with the way I proposed my points of argument and I understand this. I was sort of ranting on the 2 champions (cass and grag) because I like TSM and I was frustrated they decided to gamble so hard against, what is currently considered, one of the most feared teams in the world.

    I was trying to be optimistic about Blaze's comp in the first section of the article but my frustration towards TSM seeped into the later portions and for this I apologize. I realize for readers trying to gain something from an article, unnecessary bias slanting an already decently established point is asinine because it skews people's emotions towards one side or the other, rather than having them reflect on the evidence presented before them and trying to apply it to every day scenarios.

    I also know that I have a small following on this site and it was my understanding that they would recognize my personality in the article an be fine with it. If you have ever watched any of my Game of Throwns episodes or stream I give a lot of controversial opinions on highly regarded champions (in other words I harshly bash them), but I always stand by what I say and provide examples because I have strong opinions. I was just trying to retain that mindset even through text. Imagine if you read a Hashinshin article and he stopped being overly sarcastic and cynical, you might think, "wtf where is the stuff I normally enjoy reading so much" and so I was trying to not disappoint my fans (as you can see through some of the comments they enjoyed what I had to say because it fits my normal "against the grain" style).

    I do not normally like to apologize for actions I have taken because everything I do is deliberate, but it seems a lot of people disagreed with me and disliked what I tried to convey and the way in which I conveyed it. For that I am sorry and if I am allowed to write anything again in the future I will take everything you have told me to heart and present to you something truly of high quality and deserving of comments that actually question the content of the article instead of the author's intent. Thank you for reading and trying to help me improve.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    I think TSM is largely considered the best NA team right now due to their taking 1st in the last 4 LAN events. They also took 2nd in this tournament.

    1. You are right, I may have been hastey in calling Nunu a fast clearer. But if you look at Stonewall's tierlist he gives Nunu a B in speed which puts him higher than most other junglers on his list.

    2. The point of my team comp analysis was that Azubu plays for the early game. Being aggressive very early and taking towers at 10 minutes, 12 minutes, and 13 minutes is nothing to ignore and also at the time at which most champions are level 6 or higher. The point was that their team between level 6 and level 10 is better than most other teams because all their champs provide team-wide steroids in both offensive and defensive categories. I wasnt trying to be obvious and say "well at lvl 6 Vlad gets his ult which makes him stronger," no. I was saying that Vlad Maokai and Taric all hitting 6 make their team stronger than the enemy team, especially when they are going to be pushing. Even if they are behind in items their ultimates still make them formidable and TSM's comp had no such ultimates to compete especially while Blaze was being aggressive. They also had an advantage in that Graves scales better early game even with meager items such as 2x Dorans and a Pickaxe because he functions like a mage early game and doesn't rely so much on his autoattacks like Corki would.

    3. Your point is very subjective because of the 3 carries you listed (vayne, trist, kog) they all suffer from a lot of early-mid game problems where Corki does not. They are much more of a gamble and require superb play from your team to make it to late game where they really shine. Both Vayne and Kog have very fragile early games and are bullied by most other AD's in lane. Trist has a fantastic early game but has a sluggish mid game as most of her damage is magic from buster shot and Explosive shot and they do not scale with AD, she does excell late game and become very scary. In terms of my assessment of him being a top 3 carry it is not based off raw power alone but rather his "overall" game which includes early mid and late. If I had to compile a list of the top 3 carries, which I think would also be back by the tournament numbers of them being picked, it would be Ezreal Corki and Graves in no particular order. I would also include Urgot but he functions more in terms of being an anti-carry rather than a straight up AD-carry. I hope this helps clarify my position. I think Vayne was picked 0 times in this tournament, Kogmaw 1 time, and the rest of the tournament was all Ezreal, Corki, Graves, Ashe, and Urgot.

    4. Merry actually answered this quite effectively. To my knowledge Graves has the most AoE burst of any AD carry with his Q and R. Ezreal's Essence Flux and Trueshot barrage only scale off AP which means they will only benefit from the ~25 AP from trinity force and eventually be outscaled by a Graves with similar farm. The "safer" portion is again subjective but I believe having 2 abilities, one that repositions you and one that slows and blinds your enemy, is a decent argument for it. Quickdraw does have a higher cooldown (14s) compared to Arcane Shift (11s) but it gets lowered by 1s each time you attack which is something to consider.

    5. My analysis is not perfect and I was trying to focus on mainly their composition in game 1. This is a criticism I can understand and I will look into providing better analysis in the future so thank you.

    6. The Cassio and Gragas comments are very opinionated and my words are very harsh, it is pretty necessary to take them with a grain of salt. I understand a lot of people take things literally so I will try and be more constructive the next time I write something and say something like "inferior pick" or "outclassed in the current meta". But to address your points I will use a champion such as Karthus for the basis of my arguments. Karthus has one of the highest sustained dps in the game with Defile and Lay waste. He also has (arguably) the best ult in the game as it is global and can never miss, even be cast while dead. Karthus takes some skill and Reginald has also proved he has this skill. Karthus has some lane counters but they rarely succeed in stopping him from farming because he has such a large range on his lay waste (many teams try and counter with Kassadin but it has a low success rate, CLG comes to mind). Reginals is aggressive yes, but to utilize Cassio you almost always have to play aggressive which makes her arguably risky. Karthus on the other hand can play very safe and all in a champion when the jungler comes to gank and even affect other lanes without leaving middle. These are all things I consider when I am labeling a champion as a top competitive pick, or in this case as "sucking." Again it was a poor choice of words but its also my opinion that she sucks and I think when you compare her to Karthus like I just did, or even Ahri, morgana, Anivia, Orianna, you will find that she is rather outclassed in a lot of aspects.

    7. If TSM had ran Karthus Kayle they could have used Kayle's ultimate on Karthus to prevent a lot of damage, waste the cc of Blaze, and potentially save him. Karthus' passive, unlike Yoricks ultimate, is not effected by silence. Furthermore TSM could have ran Karthus Yorick and utilized Yorick's ultimate on their AD carry to bolster their forces. Yes Azubu did have incredible team play and I am in no way trying to downplay that even though I may have unintentionally, but I believe that with the examples given it is easy to see that Cassiopeia can be considered an inferior pick in a lot of ways. Karthus would have also synergized better with their Nocturne pick for the threat of global ganks.

    8. Gragas is not a bad champion, sure, most champions are not bad when you stand them alone. Obviously his kit is designed decently well, he scales well, and has a place on SOME teams. But when you compare him to other AP champions he again gets outclassed and in MY OPINION is bad. TSM had vlad on their team already and could have went with a better double AP like Kennen or Morgana. Fights become chaotic when you apply a 12% damage increase to the team and then follow up with Explosive Cask and knock a lot of them away. Sure there is a chance that you knock one into you or even straight up kill one, but there is also a chance that you knocked them away and provided them with a retreat, or in this case knocked one back into your carry. It is just safer to have a champion that can double initiate and help keep the fight going like Morg and Kennen stunning everyone so you can continue to use the precious seconds of increased damage. He does provide decent poke but if you look at tsm's comp they dont really have the poking type. Yes they have Corki and Mao in addition to Gragas but when I think poke these are hardly the champions that come to mind (think what CLG used to use, Sona, Kogmaw, Nidalee, Kennen, Galio). I know he has 3 damage skills, I mentioned this, but my point is that 1 of them becomes incredibly risky to use in large engagements because you put yourself in harms way to close distance with the enemy, which makes his bodyslam function a lot like a repositioner than a damage dealing spell, so mayb it is more fair to say he has 2.5 damaging spells? Twisted Fate is a good AP carry late game but like I said, in my opinion, I like champions that have 4 functional spells throughout the game. Ahri, Karthus, Orianna, all have 4 spells that do something incredibly potent when used. TF has a passive that effects his auto attack and it does a decent amount of damage but I cant see it coming up a lot in fights because he is more of a "stun champion, use wild cards, back off and reposition" kind of champion. He hardly gets to autoattack in fights. Also gate is potentially useless if the enemy team is grouped as 5 and pushing on your base. If you counter engage and get the enemy team to scatter it becomes fantastic because you can track their vision and teleport in to pick off straglers but it will never have the same power as Requiem or Command Shockwave during a large scale 5v5 engagement. I criticize champions a lot by how well their kits age through out an entire game. Yes TF retains a lot of his power and utility in the late game but which would you be more scared of initiating a fight, A karthus charging into your base after laying down a wall of pain who is not afraid to die, or Twisted fate chargin in with gold card and wild cards off cooldown (remember I am talking about late game), even with lichbane I think Karthus is still more powerful considering even after he dies he has 8 more seconds to terrorize you and his ultimate will probably hit everyone guaranteed for ~700-800 damage late game.

    I apologize if you think my article is plagued with misinformation I hope my responses help you understand my point of view. I agree it has bias but its my opinion that is the basis for the article so bias is going to be included. I notice far less games won with Cassiopeia (nowadays) or Gragas then I do with other champions and so when I notice low numbers I think "this champion is bad." Not bad as in unplayable but just when a lot of money is on the line it is not something I would want to risk my team's success on. The point of the article is to get you, the reader, to think about things. It is clear that my brash and unrelenting bashing of these particular champions is not the most productive way to go about this and as always I will take all criticisms into consideration when writing future articles.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    Thank you for being constructive and insightful even while disagreeing with me in some parts. I enjoyed the read.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    Point taken. I have received a lot of complaints about the title and that is something I will work on in the future.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    I think Anivia is only risky when people who are inexperienced try and play her. When Froggen plays her he is obviously a monster. She has one of the best kits in the game but I think proper knowledge of how to build a comp that synergizes well with her is also important. She is not for the faint of heart lets put it that way.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    Cassiopeia excels at early game aggression which makes her incredibly vulnerable to jungle ganks. She gave firstblood at about 2 minutes to Skarner. She should beat Vlad in lane but she failed to do so in that game. She suffers from mana problems despite her passive. Unless you spend a lot of time maticulously managing her Deadly Caedance stacks and maintaining aggression you will run out of mana before you kill your lane partner. Vlad was able to roam much more than Cass and net his team much more kills. Cassiopeia succeeded in pushing out her lane only after Vlad had started roaming and was able to come in at the end of fights and mop up which gave her 6 early kills. In the end game her damage was lower than Vlad and her build is also much less versatile than Vlads.

    Sorry for not highlighting these I thought they were very apparent.

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    The vods are provided by MLG but you have to pay $10 to get access to them. So I do not have a free link for you, sorry :(

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  • posted a message on Azubu Blaze - Return of the "Early Game" Meta, Cassiopeia still Sucks, and Why I HATE Gragas.

    Yes I did overlook some of his added benefits, quickly dismissing the damage reduction of his W and completely omitting the AS slow on his Q and I appologize. It still does not really change my opinion of his overall place in the meta when compared to other AP champions.

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