Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6 Spring Finale

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SpringStandingsSo the final week of the spring split has come and gone, and just as I suspected, I ended the split in second place. I managed to beat out Tacktix by a considerable margin, despite having a couple of low scoring members on my team. Over the course of the split, I ended up losing to Tyvokka all three times I faced him, and once to each of the other teams. That was good enough for a 4/5 standing by the end, which saw me finish in second. It was clear earlier in the season that no one was going to surpass Tyvokka mainly because he owned most of the Immortals team, and they only dropped a single game, causing him to only drop a single game. He dominated the rest of us, and it was a struggle to even get second place. Surprisingly, after a 1/5 start or something to that effect, Tacktix managed to snag third place due to having earned more points than Judentus. Either way, not a lot of surprises in this post. Let’s take a look at the final matchup:

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As you can see, Jensen super under performed, but he just didn’t get many points in Cloud 9’s trouncing of Echo Fox, and then C9 lost to Team Liquid in the second game of the weekend. Odoamne and Rush both had low totals as well, but my support, team, mid and ADC more than made up for things. Thankfully Tack had low numbers across the board, so it was easy pickings to finish out the split. I’m looking forward to watching the playoffs, but for now fantasy is over. I’m hoping to convince these guys to go ahead and play again during the Summer split.

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Here’s the recap of the whole split, where you can get a snapshot of what happened throughout. I still love that .01 win from week one, and apparently this past weekend was my biggest win of the split. No surprise that Pobelter was my best player, he was very consistent except for that one game that IMT lost. Let’s take a final look at the top players for Spring:

week9top springtop9

Once again, week 9 saw several members of IMT in the top 5. That was a given, but it was surprising to see Piglet get back to the top. He was inconsistent for me and I stopped starting him a couple of weeks back. He also snuck back into the Spring top 5, but the ADC I replaced him with is there too. I guess it would have been better to start Piglet as my flex pick last weekend instead of Jensen, but no one saw that coming with how well C9 has been going, and then it didn’t really matter since I won anyway. But I still managed to make good picks if 3 of the top 5 scorers were under my command.

Anyway, that’s it for this split. We’ll be back for the Summer split provided I can round these guys up to draft again. Until then.

One Door Closes, Another Opens

This is another one of those catch-all posts, as I feel like I have much to talk about, but only little snippets about various things. I don’t feel like I have a full on post ready to go for any of these topics, so I’m just going to jot down some thoughts.

My Projects

I’m officially going to shutter The Digital Backwoods. It was a fun idea that started well and I was getting submissions from the community which was my initial aim – to make it a landscape picture blog for the masses. I gave up on making my own posts a couple of months back, and the community submissions stopped coming in as well. It was great while it lasted but I just don’t see myself having the time or inclination to keep it going. I’ll be deleting it soon, so head over there if you want to download any of the screenshots.

I’m also going to officially call Couch Podtatoes a bi-weekly show. Coming up with new material has been somewhat difficult, and coordinating my schedule with Eri’s along with trying to get guests on a semi-regular basis has also been inefficient. We’ve been toying around with potential format changes as well. It will remain a gaming podcast first a foremost, but I’m not sure if we’re going to keep with the sweeping general topics, or go back to our original format with Idiots on the Internet and Community Spotlights. Either way, expect new shows every other week for the time being. It’s likely that we’ll come back around to weekly shows, but between work, school and my other projects, I still need to have some time to myself to recharge my batteries, and for the past month or so I’ve felt like I don’t have the time to do everything I want to do. So yeah, we might sneak in some extra episodes from time to time, but for now I’m calling it bi-weekly.

As far as this blog goes, I’ve been doing okay with posting, but sometimes feel like I should post more often. I’ll keep plugging away, putting out posts when I have things to say but I’m not adhering to any sort of schedule. Same goes for my YouTube channel — I have videos that I’d like to post, but often times don’t feel like it. I’m not setting a schedule for that either. If you like my content, and have followed me over the years, you’ll know I go in waves and sometimes I post less. Bear with me while I adjust and perhaps there will be great things to come.

Gaming

I’ve been managing more gaming due to less time spent on content creation. I’ve been playing at least a game of League of Legends per day, maintaining practice, but it seems that the group of guys I had been playing with are rarely on at the same time. I might start doing some ranked play by myself just to get the season started, but I’m hoping to get with my partners sometime soon.

I’ve been playing PS4 games pretty regularly, because a couple of my friends already had the system, and me and my best friend’s brother went in halves to get my best friend his own PS4 for his birthday at the beginning of March. He got the Black Ops 3 bundle, and has already picked up Battlefront as well, so we’ve all been playing those multiplayer shooters. I also got into the Smite PS4 beta and invited him as well, as he’s been an Awesomenauts player almost as long as I, so I thought he’d be interested in a new MOBA to play, and we both seem to like it well enough. I’m surprised because I didn’t really care for Smite when I played it on the PC, but it seems to lend itself to a controller really well, enough that I’m really enjoying it. It also seems really well optimized and there are several different modes I didn’t know existed, or were added since the last time I tried it. To be fair, the last time I did try it was on my shitty old laptop, so that could have had something to do with my distaste. However, I’m enjoying it now, and am tempted to pay the $30 to unlock all the gods. We’ll see.

I picked up Mordheim: City of the Damned a couple of weeks ago because it was a mid-week madness sale on Steam. It is definitely worth the sale price, and now that it’s out of early access it’s even more worth it. I picked up the DLC bundle too, as it was cheap and added a few characters to the game for you to put into your warband. I played through the tutorials and created my warband (skaven, of course) last night, but haven’t gone beyond that. I really liked what I saw, and this is a game that is screaming for console support. I didn’t play it with my PC controller, but I think it would work well.

I also picked up the reinforcements pack for X-COM 2 also, as it provided a DLC now, and a couple more in the future. The DLC added now is supposed to have a bunch of customization options for your soldiers, so I’m thinking it will be better to just start over so I can really customize my squad. I only made it through a couple of missions anyway, so it’s likely I’ll do that. I need to play the game more in general.

There are a handful of games I’ve been playing off and on, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s easier to stop worrying about my huge backlog and just play what I feel like playing. If that means I go through a week and only play LoL and nothing else, so be it. Why stress out over games? It’s not worth it. I’m going to play what I like, and if that means I have less to write about, less to talk about, or less video to share, so be it. I’ll still manage to find things to write/talk about anyway, so instead of stressing, I’m just going to enjoy life. Hopefully that doesn’t alienate anyone, but I gotta do me first.

Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6, Week 8

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week8standingsI didn’t forget to post about my fantasy league standings last week — there weren’t LCS matches that weekend, IEM took place instead. I only caught one game of the final, and of course SKT bring home another tournament trophy despite having a shaky split at times. The following weekend, we were back to the normal schedule, so of course this week I have more to talk about, although it’s going to be more of the same. Immortals continue to carry Tyvokka to victory, and that means I lost another game, putting me in a three way tie with both Judentus and Tacktix, but I maintain possession of 2nd place by virtue of the most points between the three of us. It’s funny, that Tacktix was on the bottom of the pile for so long and has now managed to tie for 2nd place, and it’s also surprising that I’m only shy 200 points of Tyvokka’s total despite having lost 4 more games. Tacktix is still the only one who has been able to take him down, but that happened to be the one week were Immortals dropped a single game. His fate has been directly tied to theirs, but rest assured this won’t happen again in the summer split. We’ll keep more of those players away from him next time. Lesson learned. So as we already knew, I’m not going to every get away from second place, though this final week of the split will determine who actually claims it, because a loss to Tacktix would mean I could potentially drop all the way to fourth. We’ll see how it turns out.

week7results

I was fortunate for the bad game CLG had on Saturday, because it kept Ty from totally crushing me. Aphromoo did nothing for me despite trusting him and putting him back in. Jensen pulled his weight as did Pobelter and Emperor, but Rush and Odoamne under performed, But when all five members of Immortals are putting up 50+ points it’s nearly impossible to top. I did make one small change going into next week:

week9matchup

I’m putting Kasing back in due to favorable matchups, and the fact that he did well for me before and Aphro has done shit all split. My projections look strong, and I’ve only lost to Tack once, so I think I’ll be able to hold onto second place. I don’t see Judentus beating Tyvokka, but even if he did I think I will still win the point total tie breaker battle. If so, I’ll have retained my rank from the split prior, and under similar circumstances too, though that time Judentus took 1st place only because he beat me on a point total tie breaker. It will be interesting to see if it comes down to that. With 1st place out of reach, it’s the only thing I have left keeping me interested. That and being able to rub in that Tacktix sucked wind.

week8top springtop8

It’s very surprising to see Shiphtur at the top of the points list for the past week, but he did it once before and that’s why I picked him up briefly, but never started him. I also owned Hjarnan and played him once, wish he would have had those numbers when I did. It’s rounded out by Immortals players (no surprise there) of which I still own Pobelter. On the top players for the spring list, I own three, but that still isn’t enough to content with weekly top players. Having those more consistently gets you wins I’ve come to learn. Ah well. Here’s to 2nd place next week!

Thoughts on Hextech Crafting

Hextech Crafting went live on the League of Legends NA servers earlier today, along with a new “club” system that essentially allows you to have a clan/guild tag that displays in game. These seem to be the last bits promised for season six, outside of the other rotational game mode queue on weekends which is still in the works. But what is Hextech Crafting you might ask?

Well, to be quite frank, it’s just a lockbox system.

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When I logged in this evening, there was a brief introduction to the system, that I foolishly forgot to screenshot. If you play the game you’ve likely already seen it. After clicking through that and then opening a free chest provided for demonstration purposes, I had the gist of it. I’ve always been the type of person who avoids lockboxes. If there is some sort of way to earn an in-game currency to open lockboxes, I’ll go for it when I can. I’ve done so in games like Call of Duty, where you eventually get enough cash shop currency to open a lockbox once in a while. I’ve not bought any in MMOs, but I’ve heard the complaints from communities, and it usually has to do with lockboxes containing pay to win items, such as gear and other benefits that actually affect gameplay. I’ve praised League of Legends for its cash shop implementation many times before, because they have an in-game currency and a paid currency, and the only thing you absolutely needed to spend real money on was skins. That has changed over the years, where Summoner’s Icons (like the monkey face one I have above), ward skins and bundles have been added for RP, but IP will buy the things that are necessary to play the game, like champions and runes. There is no pay to win scenario in League of Legend’s cash shop, and that hasn’t changed with Hextech Crafting.

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One “premium” chest was given to everyone for free, and it contained multiple items. The normal chests pictured above only contain one item, but I assume there will be expansions upon the system as time goes on. Still, buying a chest with a key is next to nothing, and you have the possibility of getting some cool stuff that in some cases doesn’t seem to be on the store (I could be wrong there, or perhaps they’re legacy items from the vault). Again, this is still just for fluff items, and in the end you could just spend the 975 RP on one skin, or perhaps manage more by buying chests.

Of course there are the ethical issues plagued by all cash shops, in that there are whales out there and this will cater to their inner gambler. However, the prices seem fair and the idea that you can earn chests through game play (along with key fragments that will combine into keys to open said chests) means that you can still avoid paying real money, and now potentially earn skins in the process. Basically Riot just programmed a way to avoid purchasing RP into the game, so really it’s cash shopping done right, in this writer’s opinion.

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I had an odd number of RP lying around from the last time I splurged on it, so I picked up two chests/keys. With that, I ended up with a couple of skin shards, a champion, and a ward skin shard. I also earned a key shard from getting a win this evening, which apparently can be combined to make a key if you have three of them.

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Shards have a number of options to play with, but the obvious goal is to either use essence to permanently unlock that skin or champion, re-roll for a random skin, or disenchant so that you have essence to unlock something in the future. Riot was kind enough to give us 800 essence to start out with, so you can permanently unlock something right off the bat. Unfortunately I ended up with a Nocturne skin but already have one for him, and a Tahm Kench skin that I don’t really care for. I also ended up with Bard whom I already own and a ward skin I wasn’t thrilled with. So my first instinct was to try and reroll something.

reroll

However, you need 3 matching shards to reroll something. This means 3 skin shards, 3 champion shards or 3 ward skin shards. I didn’t have 3 in any of the categories, so at this point I’m stuck waiting for more chests, or buying more the next time I have a tiny bit of RP that I can’t spend on something else. Still, it seems like a fair system considering one more skin shard will get me a free skin. I can’t complain about that!

My overall verdict is that Riot is continuing to do free to play right, in a sea of games that have done nothing but make most of us hate the free to play model.

Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6, Week 7

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week7standingsFinally, after a three week skid, things turned around. It’s fortunate that they did as well, because this means that I’m back in second place! After taking down Judentus in week 7, I entered a 3-4 tie with his team, but I inched ahead in overall points for the split, so I own second. However, with only two weeks of games left before the end of the split, It is currently impossible to beat out our current first place team. If I was to win out, I only have 5 wins, and he’d still have 6 even if he lost out. So it is what it is, but I’m still determined to finish second (again). Summer split will be different. Tacktix was able to pull off another win this week as well, finally defeating Tyvokka, who has been undefeated along with his team Immortals until this weekend. Yeah, Immortals finally dropped a game, and then looked like they might drop a second on Sunday, but still managed to win. They’re still arguably the best team in North America, but they got kicked down a notch. It’s likely that’s the only game they lose, and the same goes for our league member. Either way, things look like they may have turned around and my tinkering with the lineup on a weekly basis has paid off. Let’s see why:

week7results

My European players performed decently enough. Considering there were weeks when I had teams give me 5 points, 31 points from G2 is pretty good. Steeelback and Odoamne delivered decent amounts, and Kasing got me a little better than Aphromoo had been, though I still have Aphro waiting in the wings if needbe. Rush had a stellar weekend. Piglet had a better showing that the past couple of weeks. Really the only disappointment was Pobelter, and that’s odd because he’s been consistent the whole time, but makes complete sense given their loss on Saturday. Either way, I still did some tinkering for next week. I either need great performances from these players, or for Immortals to drop another game (not likely given their schedule).

week8matchup

I’m back up against Tyvokka, so basically I’m betting against Immortals, which hasn’t done much of anything for me each time I’ve faced this guy. Still, I have a higher projected total, so maybe I’ll get lucky. I’m not holding my breath. I did pick up Emperor from G2 and Jensen from C9, along with throwing Aphromoo back into the mix just because of his schedule being easier than Kasing’s. I don’t like taking Piglet out (because he’ll probably have a 60 point weekend now that I didn’t start him), but historically Emperor has had more points more often. Team Liquid had a great weekend, but they have had other great weekends this season and they were usually followed by stinkers. I just don’t trust them and want to try for as many wins as I can get before this whole thing is over. We’ll see how it goes.

week7top springtop7

Ironically, the only player up here that is owned and was actually played last week was Sneaky. I own Jensen and Emperor now, and Tyvokka has owned Fenix the whole time but never once played him. When looking at the season top 5, I still own three of the players, but Pobelter was the only one I’ve played (and every week too). Perhaps some of them will stay up there. That’s all the observations I have for this week. See you soon.