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Feeding Log: Season 3 End

            So, that’s a wrap on Season 3! Alas, I didn’t make it to silver despite my last ditch effort to make a mad dash for it on the final day of the season, but I still feel pretty good about my personal progress in Ranked throughout the last few months. I made a good try of it and came pretty close, and that’s about as much as I can ask of myself. I’m improving at non-support roles and even managing to carry a few times along the way, and I think my general game awareness and knowledge has increased from writing this feature and looking back at my performances.

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GAME 1 – SUPPORT JANNA

            We got carried preeetty hard here! Vayne and I had a rough lane matchup experience against Varus and Soraka. It wasn’t a lot of kill pressure aside from Varus’s ultimate, but the unlimited mana and nearly unlimited sustain coming from Soraka really made Varus’s harass a problem. Jax, however, went absolutely crazy top lane and dumpstered Swain completely, getting a bunch of early kills and generally snowballing into ludicrous apeshit hypercarry mode. He eventually just became so much of a problem for the enemy team that we overwhelmed them on his back.  Yay!

What I did well: Well, we held on pretty well despite being against a combo of virtually unlimited harass + sustain, and I had a few carefully chosen ultimates that did some miracle work against the Jarvan IV ultimate. I’ve been getting a lot better at carefully using Janna’s ultimate lately; I think before, I was overly concerned with trying to make HUGE PLAYS with it rather than just using it for what it is: a hell of a knockback + heal combo. At any rate, we were able to hold on until Jax snowballed out of control, which is all we needed to do, really.

What I need to improve: I somehow managed to get bullied by a Soraka, which isn’t exactly the greatest thing on Earth. She and Varus make for a pretty nasty combo, as it lets him fire his Piercing Arrow around with reckless abandon while not really worrying about his mana costs thanks to Infuse. Vayne’s also not really equipped to deal with that kind of constant harass, so it was a tough laning environment. In general, I need to get a little bit more responsive with my shields and use them in anticipation of action on the part of either carry, rather than being purely reactive with them.

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GAME 2 – JUNGLE SHYVANA

            I was possessed by the red mist in this game and somehow got incredibly fed and became an unstoppable killing machine. Coupling that with getting Sivir going and the unstoppable inevitability of Nasus meant that this was kind of a stomp. The enemy team started to gain a little bit of traction as the game went on, but by that point the sheer force of gold we’d accumulated from all the kills, towers, and dragons meant that our tactical blunders were smoothed over by a huge amount of cash dollars.

What I did well:  Dragon jump on bad guy make health bar go boom. I used my ult really well here and had some really clutch dive moments with it where I leapt over a bunch of people to eat someone. Shyvana’s cleartimes remain stupidly fast and her ability to shove out a lane quickly makes her a great fit for the type of heavy pushing comp we had going here. Basically, every lane did their thing and it made my job really easy and honestly made my KDA appear much more impressive than it should have. I had some very timely ganks, though, and it helped the lanes to get rolling, especially mid lane.

What I need to improve: I probably spent a little too much time farming and I definitely stole way too many kills. Shyvana does a lot of damage, even with a fairly tanky build like mine, but kills still belong on carries, not on dragons. I don’t think a huge amount of the kills I got were ones that I stole out from under people, but still, I think I got the bloodlust a little too hard and started murdering too many people instead of letting the carries do it. Basically, I was TOO badass. Introspection is important.

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GAME 3 – JINX ADC

            Well, someone made the mistake of letting me carry, and worse yet, I didn’t pick Ezreal. But hey, it all turned out okay in the end! Also: we had a really awful team comp! Thankfully, we somehow managed to be, as my duoqueued support put it, “the most competent bunch of idiots I’ve ever seen,” and so despite our hideously bad picks and less than stellar start, we turned it around and won. I feel kind of bad about that, as I think we beat people who may have actually been intelligent.

What I did well: I was a dirty opportunist who stole kills with my ultimate and I didn’t feel bad because I was the ADC and I deserved this. TREAT YOSELF.

I managed to focus my damage intelligently and stay out of trouble most of the game, and I didn’t get rushed in teamfights despite having virtually no peel whatsoever on my teammates’ kits. I’m not sure if this was a function of my own positioning and awareness or if the enemy team just wasn’t properly focusing me, but either way, I felt pretty good about my ability to stay alive in fights and do cleanup.  I also felt pretty good about my lasthitting in lane, which is something I’m always hesitant about and working on improving. Someday I’ll just go into a game as Nasus and play whack-a-mole for 40 minutes, but for now, I’ll take the CSing practice where I can get it.

What I need to improve:  I need to get a better handle on trading in lane as an ADC. It’s especially hard to pull off against Caitlyn and I think I managed to minimize the amount of needless damage I took, but I still don’t really have the concept of lane harass down on autoattackers yet.

Beyond that, I need to generally improve my decision making when it comes to choosing to farm vs. choosing to push as a team on ADC. There’s a lot of temptation to run off to a sidelane and zone out into creepfarming mode for a while, but you also need to maintain presence in teamfights and I sometimes have a hard time balancing the two. Still, it paid off here.

So that’s that for Season Three. No silver yet, but I’m well on the way to getting better at ranked soloqueue and steadily advancing. I’ll be transitioning into writing this about the preseason soon, and as Season Four starts I hope to keep this log going from start to finish. See you then.

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Feeding Log 11-5-2013

BRONZE I, 42 LP

                This is starting to feel like the kind of journal you’d find on a dusty corpse in a game like Mass Effect, chronicling a man’s slow descent into madness before his inevitable demise.  This week was a reminder of why I didn’t play ranked in the past, and my frustration with the player experience of the league system is starting to take away my ability to see the forest for the trees.  At any rate, I at least had some interesting opportunities this time.

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GAME I – SHEN TOP

                Holy shit, someone let me top lane! So, full disclosure, we probably only won this one because the enemy jungler disconnected.  I sort of got dumpstered by Riven top, although I was able to keep up with her in CS pretty effectively despite the amount of pressure she put on. Whatever, a win’s a win, even when it’s a 4v5, so I guess I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, eh?

                What I did well: SHEN PRESS R TO MAKE TEAMFIGHT GO BETTER.  The whole “split push and then teleport into fight” thing is a lot more fun for me than I’d like to admit, and I had a good time pressuring the hell out of top lane only to appear right at the crucial moment in a teamfight and dashingly taunt the entire enemy team.  Shen’s sheer tankiness and resistance to pressure in lane is always impressive, and I felt like I contributed a lot to fights with good taunt accuracy.

                What I need to improve: I need to teleport a lot earlier, in anticipation of heavy damage rather than while it occurs.  I think Shen is great practice for global map awareness in the same way that Karthus or Twisted Fate are, and it’s a good way to make yourself be constantly checking to see if there is somewhere that needs your presence badly at any given time.  I think I had a pretty good sense of that, but there were definitely a few moments where I could have prevented some loss by having better awareness and timing.

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GAME 2 – NAMI SUPPORT

                This kind of sucked a lot. We did pretty well in lane, but boy did the other lanes and the jungle completely buckle and cost the game.  Our matchup against Vayne and Sona actually played out extremely well, and we secured some early kills despite some pressure in the lane.  Lucian and I synced up pretty well and we were able to make plays, but wowzers did the other lanes collapse. Alas, another loss.

                What I did well: I hit some good bubbles and I feel like Lucian and I had some great synergy in lane.  I think I’m getting a lot better at putting Tidecaller’s Blessing on people at the appropriate moments and generally just keeping a better handle on Nami’s abilities.  Her ultimate is on a shorter cooldown than I’ve given it credit for in the past, and I feel like I’m getting beter at being less hesitant to fire it out at an appropriate time. I’m getting a little better at leading the bubbles and compensating for the giant wind up on them, which increases Nami’s usefulness by a huge amount.

                What I need to improve: Being willing to dodge games with a Master Yi on my team, I guess?  I don’t really know that we got to a point of the game where my performance really negatively impacted anything, so I have a hard time feeling bad about how I performed, despite the loss.  Lucian and I kicked ass and then got dunked by the rest of the fed enemy team, so it’s hard for me to get an accurate metric here.  I’m not super pleased with the Twin Shadows in my inventory, I suppose.

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GAME 3  – LEONA SUPPORT

                Ah, the Caitlyn/Sona lane.  We got crapped on pretty hard in lane here because of a general incapability to deal with the insane amount of poke coming from the pair we were against.  Leona wasn’t my first choice, but my carry requested an aggressive support with CC, and no one fits that bill better.  Anyway, this was the tale of the snowballers in the jungle and mid. Katarina and Rengar both got incredibly fed off of mid and the jungle and pretty much steamrolled us. Coupled with getting beaten in lane, this was a lost cause.

                What I did well: Not a whole lot. I had a good kill or two with some clever rolling of my crowd control, but in the end, Leona is an all in and can’t afford to get behind.  Once we got behind, it was pretty much game over for us bot lane, especially once the fed carries from other lanes started to leak into our own.

                What I need to improve: I need to be more willing to get in people’s faces when I play Leona.  If I’d been more gutsy and willing to get up in Sona or Caitlyn’s business, we probably could have outduelled them and forced them out of lane, but instead, I hesitated and let them get the advantage with their insane amount of harass. Leona should be a counter to poke oriented compositions, but it requires a mindset that’s willing to go a little crazy for kills or pressure, and I’m not great at the all-in engage.  I need to get a little less fight squeamish and a little more willing to go a bit crazy for the sake of a trade.

 

 

                

Feeding Log – 10-15-13

BRONZE I, 44 LP

A positive week, although I think it was a net loss in LP because of the queuedodging I had to do in order to avoid some guaranteed losses.  No amount of LP loss is too great to avoid the psychological torment of a trolling teammate, however.  My winrate on Jarvan isn’t 100% anymore, but still, these were some performances I feel pretty good about.

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GAME 1 – JARVAN IV JUNGLE with QUINN, DIANA, SONA, and JAX vs. LEE SIN, NASUS, VOLIBEAR, FIZZ and JINX

            Jinx is a little bit of a terror, isn’t she?  Our big problem here was Nasus, though; we allowed him to get to the lategame in full form and he became predictably huge and unkillable as a result.  A fed Nasus is a hard thing to overcome in the late game, and we just didn’t have the damage output or the item builds necessary to shut him down once he started becoming an unstoppable split pushing juggernaut.

What I did well: Jarvan hit thing with stick real good!  I had a lot of successful ganks here and I’m starting to feel pretty good about my jungle rotations overall.  I’m getting better at being in the right place at the right time, and I was able to scrounce up some kills for the lanes while getting pretty fed myself along the way.  I’m slowly getting better at easing up on the right clicking and letting the autoattack do its thing more as well.

What I need to improve:  Boy do I need to stop putting myself in situations where I have to fight Lee Sin as Jarvan IV.  My ultimate may as well not even exist against him, as he’ll just zip out of it himself or zip in and kick me of out of it if his teammates get stuck in it.  Fizz is similarly impossible to get ahold of because he’s a slippery little fish and just hops out of the walls every time.

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GAME 2: JARVAN IV JUNGLE with AHRI, LEONA, PANTHEON, and JINX vs. KARTHUS, KAYLE, JAX, EZREAL, and NAMI

            And here I am playing Jarvan against Ezreal.  In this game, though, we were up against the rare and endangered Revive/Teleport Karthus, a strange beast that stalks the mid lanes of Bronze Elo soloqueue.  I admit, I laughed pretty much every single time I saw him alive immediately after he died.   That’s our Karthus! *laughtrack*

Aside from that (and partially because of it) this was something of a stomp.  Without flash, Karthus was an absolute sitting duck for ganks mid lane, and Ahri snowballed incredibly hard against him by straight up 1v1 killing him early on when he lacked a real escape.  No flash means no getting out of Jarvan’s ult, either, and so mid lane was pretty much easy pickings.  Jax also got completely dunked by Pantheon, giving Pantheon the thing Pantheon needs to be good, which is kills.  As a result, Pantheon and Ahri snowballed like crazy and the insane amount of damage they put out was enough to carry the game.

What I did well:  I got a lot of kills by jumping on people, which is always great.  I felt like a bit of an opportunist this game, but I think that was in large part due to the fact that people kept nearly killing their lane opponents as I arrived for the gank.  I ate Karthus a few times mid lane, because when I see a Karthus without Flash, my eyes roll back into my head and turn into great big dollar signs.  Beyond that, my items were good and I had some great ult wombo combo moments with Leona.

What I need to improve: Not going crazy when way ahead.  We actually came somewhat close to throwing this once we were hugely ahead because we all got a little slap happy and started doing some ludicrous stupid crap.  Keeping your head in the game is key in both situations of extreme failure and extreme success.  This time, we all got a little carried away and it could have hurt us worse than it did.  But it didn’t, so I’ll probably just ignore this important life lesson and go for insane tower dives once I’m fed again.

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GAME 3 – SONA SUPPORT with FIZZ, JINX, JAX, and VI vs. AKALI, KASSADIN, JARVAN IV, CAITLYN, and LEONA

            I seem to be running into Jax an awful lot these days.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how we won this, but hey, a win’s a win.  I suppose their assassin heavy comp stopped paying off when Akali and Kassadin didn’t get enough kills to effectively scale well into the late game.  We did a pretty piss-poor job of peeling for Jinx, but she was good enough at positioning to pull off a crazy ace at Baron which secured us the game.   That’s the price you pay for investing heavily in an assassin comp; if you can’t get the carry with your burst, she’s going to blow you up with the sustained damage in the late game.

What I did well: I changed my build a bit and leveled W first after resigning to the fact that Caitlyn was going to out-harass us, and I think it let us have a comfortable laning situation.  Jinx was a duoqueue partner with me, and I had a lot of faith in his ability to outfarm Caitlyn, so we were able to eliminate the kill pressure Leona brought and farm in our side of the lane on our terms.

What I need to improve: I went in at some dumb times with the Flash+Crescendo and screwed up some good initiate opportunities in the process.  I tend to go in too fast when the jungler indicates they’re coming, and I need to look at the minimap and be more deliberate about when I decide to go in.

Feeding Log 10-9-2013

BRONZE I, 49 LP

                Well, it’s a slight advancement, but it is an advancement.  This week I’m back in Summoner’s Rift, and by squeezing out a couple of wins I’ve managed to make a little headway towards the dream of that promotion series to Silver V.  This week was a largely jungle oriented affair with mixed results, although I don’t feel particularly bad about my own performance in any of them except maybe the second.

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GAME 1 – JARVAN IV JUNGLE WITH CAITLYN, ASHE, VIKTOR, AND AATROX vs. LEE SIN, KAYLE, VAYNE, JAX, AND SORAKA

This one was pretty much shot in the foot from the get go by the fact that we had two AD Carries, one of whom spent the entire first ten minutes of the game AFK.  Mind you, there are compositions that can use a double AD comp well; in Korea it’s not uncommon to see an extra Ezreal go mid lane and then produce a large amount of split push pressure as the game progresses.  This situation, though, was of the “I didn’t get what I wanted in the pick order but I’ll pick it anyway” variety, and so we were hamstrung from the start.  Still, we almost managed to turn it around, but the hypercarry potential of Vayne is too much to overcome in a scenario like that.

What I did well: I actually managed to get the ball rolling for Viktor early on by jumping Kayle a few times in lane before she had her ult.   I think when I wind up jungling a 4v5 I often overcompensate by just ganking desperately over and over again in an attempt to snowball people and salvage it, so that’s what happened here.  Viktor managed to get a bit fed, but I wasn’t able to deliver the same results top or bot lane.

What I need to improve: I missed a few clutch E-Q combos that could’ve made some ganks go a lot better with the knockup from the combo.  Beyond that, this kind of game isn’t really a great barometer for improvement, as I spent most of the game frantically trying to keep the walls of the dam from exploding into our inevitable defeat.  So it goes!

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GAME 2 – JARVAN IV JUNGLE WITH GRAGAS, VAYNE, UDYR, AND THRESH vs. ZAC, CAITLYN, FIZZ, JANNA, AND JAX

                I had fun with this game, even though I got way behind Zac in XP and spent a lot of the game trying to farm my way back up to match him. In my defense, Zac got a lot of farm, which prompts what I call the Meteos Rule: farm jungling only works when all or most of your lanes win, giving you freedom from having to gank as much.  If your lanes are behind, you can’t afford to neglect them for your own farm’s sake.

And Zac sort of neglected them here; Vayne nabbed a couple of kills early on and Udyr was able to just straight up murder Jax in lane in duels several times because of Udyr’s extremely strong 1v1.  I spent a lot of time and effort trying to catch that slippery bastard Fizz in a gank and fell behind as a result, but it turned out fine in the end because our carry got way ahead of Caitlyn and we were in a good position to shut down Jax.

  What I did well: I ganked a lot here, and had some really good timing on a few occasions when I showed up top and bot.  The enemy laners got pretty greedy quite a few times and I did a good job of getting where I needed to be to punish them for their hubris with ganks.

What I need to improve:   The farm, oh god the farm.   I know Zac was spending too much time farming, but I was waaay behind him on CS and really should’ve spent a LITTLE more time in the jungle getting experience. I managed to catch up later in the game via being around for a lot of assists, but the lack of experience I had was really killing me in the mid game.

My other problem was that I messed up a ton of ultimates and generally just didn’t pick Jarvan intelligently.  Nearly every member of their team had a way to escape my ult; Fizz could hop, Zac could leap, Caitlyn could net out of it and Jax had his jump.  Even Janna is poised to use her ultimate to free other people from the thing, or boot me out of it.  Simply put: I should’ve picked Vi.  Picking Vi is always the right choice.  Regardless of how slippery their team was, though, we managed to pull the win out on Vayne and Udyr’s shoulders.

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GAME 3: SONA SUPPORT WITH TRISTANA, VOLIBEAR, RIVEN, AND MORDEKAISER vs. VI, NASUS, KASSADIN, CAITLYN, AND KARMA

                Wow, we won this one!  We also really didn’t deserve to, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.  We had some really nice kills early on that snowballed Riven, Morde, and Volibear into an early lead, but Volibear was hell bent on throwing that away by sprinting off into the unwarded enemy jungle alone or engaging in fights 1v4.  This game was a grand cycle of people getting caught out needlessly while chasing someone way too far, but we still managed to pull it into the landing and salvage the win in the end.  One of these days I’m going to make some kind of macro that I can put in chat that just says “ROCKET JUMP IS NOT AN INITIATION TOOL”.

What I did well: It’s a Sona game, and like all of my Sona games I felt pretty good about the amount of pressure I was able to dump on Caitlyn in the laning phase.  We were able to hold onto our lane despite the absurd amount of poke coming out of the Caitlyn/Karma combo, and after a gank or two we were able to turn things around and pressure the lane pretty well.  Also, the W power chord is my new favorite toy for dealing with assassins like Kassadin, and I was able to stop some sticky situations by tossing out that and then Exhausting him to remove a ton of his burst capability.  All in all, a pretty solid performance.

What I need to improve: I need to get in the habit of healing people more frequently.  Also, I need to start trying to communicate with the team more to get people to stop running off into the jungle randomly at the drop of a hat and start actually pushing objectives on the map to win.  I spend too much time either silent or just shooting the shit with people in chat, and I should probably try to focus on actually trying to direct people to objectives more often, especially when I’m support and I have the time to be spending a bit more effort on strategy.

Feeding Log: 10-2-2013 – Twisted Treeline Edition Part One

This week I’m going to be taking a bit of a different angle on the Feeding Log, as I’ll be including three games from my ranked 3v3 team on Twisted Treeline.  TT is a lot less structured in terms of meta, but my analysis will still largely be focused on my own performance, with some insight about general team strategies as well since we’re a complete arranged set.

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GAME 1 – LEONA, KASSADIN, AND TRUNDLE vs. ZAC, NOCTURNE, AND FIZZ

                This one suffered from severe lack of damage disease.  We’re a really tanky composition here, that relies on Kassadin to get fed and carry with his damage, but the problem was that we didn’t manage to snowball Kassadin enough, and so Fizz outscaled him.  Zac’s revive passive is even more annoying on this gametype due to having fewer people to pop the blobs, so in the end, the combination of Fizz and Nocturne’s damage with the power of Zac’s tankiness and revivals made it hard to gain traction here.

What I did well: My ultimates were right on the money here, and I locked up multiple people in the stunning epicenter in several different fights.  Leona remains a stupidly powerful asset on this map due to the heavy amount of crowd control and the lockup gap closer, and she did bring some damage to the table with the detonation of W.

What I need to improve: I had NO money this game because I don’t really have the farming rhythm of Twisted Treeline down well enough yet to be able to know when the right times to duck into the jungle and get extra CS are.  Given that normally I don’t take ANY CS when I play Leona, it’s hard to get into the right mindset to farm some on her, and her abilities can make lasthitting things quickly really difficult.  On top of that, I’m not sure about rushing the Locket first; I feel like against their team a quick Spirit Visage or even a Banshee’s Veil may have been a better option.

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GAME 2 – JAYCE, ZYRA, AND ELISE vs. WUKONG, DARIUS, AND SINGED

                The enemy team here is pretty much entirely made up of the token Twisted Treeline champions, many of which are normally banned.  We went in this still smarting from the lack of damage in the last game, so I think we overcompensated here and picked a team that was way too squishy.  Elise was our tankiest member, but compared to Singed and Darius, we were evaporating in fights.

What I did well: I put on a ton of pressure at the beginning of the game and helped contribute to a lot of map control even though we got behind on kills.  My farm was really high and I was able to zone the hell out of Darius whenever he showed his face, and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at aiming the shock combos where they need to be.  My items are a fun set too; Phage is a stupidly good item on this map, and I always love having Last Whisper on Jayce.

What I need to improve: My positioning in fights was crap, and I tended to go in way too early with the melee mode.  Instead, I should’ve stayed back and focused on pretending I was an ADC, hoping for the CC from Elize and Zyra to peel people before they got to me.  Sadly, I went HAM and paid for it by getting obliterated almost instantly every fight.  Cannon form is good!  Use cannon form a lot.  As a side note, I did a Normal 3v3 game after this with Jayce, and it’s pretty silly how good your autoattacks are when you have W on at max rank.  Jayce has a lot of damage and a lot of it is safe, so I need to stop going all in on the dangerous abilities.

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GAME 3 – ANNIE, JARVAN IV, and ZAC vs.  VIKTOR, AMUMU, and NASUS

                Is…is that a victory I see?  We won one finally, even if we did have to sort of embrace the dark side a little bit to pull it off.  Jarvan and Zac are pretty much unmitigated BS at this point, and Zac’s revive passive is incredibly hard to destroy on this game mode.  I liked the Annie pick a lot and was able to put out a huge amount of damage while still providing incredible stun opportunities and a fair bit of tankiness myself.  Zac was our star, though; the damage graphs at the end of this one were frankly embarrassing, as Zac did enough damage to equal all the rest of us combined.  The enemy team also didn’t really do themselves any favors; Amumu built very very squishy and so they were lacking the front line Viktor needed to put out the hurt.

What I did well:  TIBBERS.  Tibbers is such a good way to punish people who all crowd onto an altar to take it.  I jumped on any excuse I had to drop a stun bear on somebody, and the bear itself was a pretty huge asset as well, saving several people with his general tankiness and his AoE damage aura.  Annie’s damage output gets crazy as she scales, and the fact that every four casts produces a 1.75s stun is just enormously helpful in winning teamfights.  I liked my build order here too; normally I’d rush a Rod of Ages on Annie, but on Twisted Treeline I think the Wooglet’s Witchcap is such a shockingly good and necessary item that I beelined for it.  It paid off, as the Zhonya’s style active on it is so important when it comes to surviving fights.

What I need to improve: The laning here was pretty weak.  Jarvan spent the first part of the game jungling, which means I should’ve been able to get a good solid bit of experience and farm on my own, but I let Amumu and Viktor zone me pretty hard and didn’t really start to rack up CS until late game where my waveclear scaled into absurdity.   Also, I was late to a lot of fights, but we won them anyway because Zac’s passive is stupid.

3v3 is interesting and people who have the group should give it a shot sometime.  It’s very fast paced and fight-heavy, so if you find the sort of slow escalation of Summoner’s Rift 5v5s to be a bit frustrating, Twisted Treeline can be a fun way to break up the formula.  I’ll probably be doing some more features in here on it as our team progresses, but next week, it’ll be back to 5v5 soloqueue.

Feeding Log 9-24-13

WEEK 4: BRONZE I, 37 LP

                Thanks to the mercy of the League system, I did poorly this week but managed to only lose a small amount of LP from where I was previously after regaining much of it from a win in my last game.  Overall, this week was a sort of frustrating series of throws, with games that could’ve easily been winnable that were lost due to either lack of coordination or game knowledge.  Still, there were some good moments here, and I think I’m pretty aware of what I did that I could’ve improved to make winning more possible.

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GAME 1 – EZREAL ADC WITH SONA, MORGANA, TEEMO, AND ZAC vs. CORKI, THRESH, AHRI, JAYCE, AND UDYR

                My laning here was terrrrible.  While I managed to keep pretty ahead on CS thanks to our poke, we got caught out really badly by ganks several times, and died several times through misguided attempts to roam upward to help others in ganks inside our own jungle.  I wound up getting pretty far behind as a result and spent most of the early game trying to play catchup on CS.

The rest of the game was pretty heartbreaking.  We came back from our early deficit and got a pretty good lead going with a lot of momentum, but ultimately threw it away by not grouping to push an objective and getting aced while split up as a result.  It’s tough, but once again, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to group up.  Those wolves in the jungle will still be there when you get back.

What I did well: I turned things around pretty well in teamfights and got a lot of clutch kills with my ultimate.  It’s crazy how much damage you can put out with an Ezreal Q and the right items, and I managed to sneak quite a few of them through the back line towards priority targets.  Also, I had a completely accidental Dragon steal when I shot a blind Q over the wall to see if it hit anybody.  We’ll just say it was all perfectly planned and calculated, and that I really am a god at Ezreal.

What I need to improve: A lot.  First of all, I need to switch around that item build a bunch.  The second Sheen there is mostly due to the desperate badgering of my teammates for an Iceborn Gauntlet, despite already getting Sheen procs from the Triforce that won’t stack with it.  Instead, I should’ve gotten a Last Whisper.  I think it’s also definitely worth considering dropping the Manamune at this point and getting a Blade of the Ruined King or even an Infinity Edge for the extra straight up damage; Manamune takes too long to get going now that I’m not rushing it.  In addition, I really need to work on keeping my farm up in the late game.  I have a support player’s mindset at heart, which means I am very rarely thinking about farming, and it hurts on AD Carry when I need to be getting as much farm as possible.  Besides that, not getting caught so much early would be great (thanks, Arcane Shift!).

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GAME 2 – SONA SUPPORT WITH EZREAL, EVELYNN, GRAGAS, AND JAYCE vs. LUX, VAYNE, NOCTURNE, JAX, AND KASSADIN

                The tale of this throw is the tale of not properly understanding one’s own team composition.  What we have, by and large, is what you might call a “poke/disengage” composition; a team designed to hang back and throw out a lot of damage from poke and harass, and then go in and take objectives while the enemy team is too hurt from the harass to properly contest them.  Ezreal, Jayce, and Sona all have fairly reliable long range harass, and Gragas has long range damage in addition to a strong disengage knockback ultimate for the situations where you get engaged upon (i.e., Nocturne ultimate.)

However, we didn’t play our cards right here and it cost us the game.  We tried to play a poke comp like a pick comp, roaming the map looking for kills on people who were caught out.  What you may realize about this strategy is that their team is much better suited for this style of play than ours, so despite the early lead we acquired through superior laning, we got squashed when we tried to out-assassin the assassin team.  Still, it was very close, and really could’ve gone either way.

What I did well: My early game burst harass on Sona is getting to be elevated to an artform.  Sona was my “main” and my favorite champion for a long time, so my laning play on her tends to still be noticeably stronger than other supports at times.  When paired with Ezreal, we managed to almost completely zone Vayne out of the first several waves of farm and kept her and Lux very damaged to the point of having difficulty responding to pushes.  And hey, I didn’t steal that many kills this game!  I sort of do that a lot on Sona, and I’m trying to work on not being quite such an unstoppable killing machine.  It’s hard being this great.

What I need to improve: The late game didn’t go so hot, and my vision probably could’ve been better, which would have helped enormously against not getting jumped on by Jax or Kassadin.  I tried to use my W Power Chord to head off the burst damage from the assassins, but in the end it wasn’t enough and we got caught out too much.  I didn’t have any particularly great Crescendos either; I need to start saving that for times where I can get at least two people with it.

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GAME 3 – LEONA SUPPORT WITH VAYNE, RENEKTON, NASUS, AND KARTHUS vs. BLITZCRANK, DRAVEN, KENNEN, VOLIBEAR, AND ANNIE

                These are some scary friggin’ teams, now that I look at them like this.  First thing to notice: Leona pick!  I don’t normally play Leona in soloqueue because I tend to think she’s very communication reliant and all-in, which is a bad combination if your laning partner isn’t necessarily on the same page as you.  If I pop all my abilities and dive in with E and my carry doesn’t follow up, it can easily mean death for me.  Against Blitzcrank, though, there’s not much you can do better than a Leona pick; we Leona players tend to refer to Rocket Grab as “That move that gives me a free gapcloser.”  Thanks to a well-timed gank from Nasus we were able to snowball early, and the global pressure from Karthus’s ult really turned some clutch fights in our favor with the extra damage.  We had sort of a scary dive-oriented composition, but it paid off in the end and we were able to snowball along to the win.

What I did well: Those engages!  I hit some really good E’s and managed to zap to people just in time for the team to close in on them and finish them off.  I had some really good saves with judicious use of the Shurelya’s Reverie active as well, and I think my choice to go with Boots of Mobility is something I really need to consider doing much more often on supports – I think in pro play it’s actually the Boots item of choice on supports at the moment because of the sheer amount of map presence increase it gives you.  On Leona, it’s a no-brainer, because of the ability to close in on people and then lock them up with your stupid amount of crowd control.  Once Leona gets going with an aggressive ADC like Vayne, it’s a very tough train to stop, and we got Vayne the momentum she needed to push us into the late game win.

What I need to improve: I stole sort of a lot of kills here, although a lot of them were just as a result of my W blowing up and killing someone next to me as we fought.  While I did his most of my stuff, I’m having a recurring problem of trying to anticipate people’s dodges and then being surprised when they don’t even try to dodge.  Maybe I’m giving my opponents too much credit?  Either way, I shouldn’t be so scared to decisively place a skillshot in a way that isn’t completely predictive.  Beyond that, I could’ve again benefited from placing more vision on the map, but I think this game was better than the previous one in that regard.

Feeding Log: 9-15-2013

WEEK 3 – BRONZE I, 43 LP

This week was jungletastic, and turned up positive in the end to boot.  I went 2-1 over three games, and those 2 victories were the first two times I’d ever played Jarvan IV in ranked games.  As a side note, this means my win rate with Jarvan IV is now 100%.  DEMACIA.

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GAME 1 – JARVAN IV JUNGLE WITH GRAGAS, LEONA, RIVEN, AND CAITLYN vs. SKARNER, DIANA, THRESH, IRELIA AND VARUS

This one was a classic example of when your team does their job so well that jungling almost becomes vestigial.  Gragas absolutely sat on Diana mid and top and bot lane outlaned their opponents as well, which meant my ganks were basically a shooting gallery.  To top it all off, Skarner is pretty hopelessly outmatched pre-teamfights by Jarvan in the current meta so there wasn’t much he could do to stop the train once it got going.

What I did well: My map presence was pretty on point here, and it helped my lanes get going even faster than they would have normally (although they really didn’t need my help).  I don’t think I had a gank the whole game where I didn’t at least squeeze a Flash out of someone, and as a result of my lanes getting so ahead I was able to take more time out to farm the jungle than I’d normally be capable of.  Once I hit 6, the ganks were rolling and were inescapable thanks to Cataclysm, so it was gravy from there.

What I need to improve: I did get a lot of kills that could have gone to the laners.  4-0-2 is a great score, but ideally as a jungler I want to give those kills to the laners when I can.  All of those 4 kills were acquired during ganks, and while it’s great to have extra money, it would’ve been better used on Caitlyn and Riven.  I tend to be very cagey about securing kills, and I need to learn to trust my laners to lock things up a bit more and not slam on everything myself to get the kill locked up as fast as possible.  Still, I guess I shouldn’t complain about getting fed.

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GAME 2 – JANNA SUPPORT WITH SINGED, XIN ZHAO, VAYNE, AND KASSADIN vs. LEONA, LISSANDRA, CAITLYN, UDYR, AND JAX

                A battle of attrition that we ultimately lost, although we put up a good fight of it in the end.  We got outlaned pretty hard in the early parts of the game, but we were able to win a few clutch teamfights in our base near the end which could have turned the game around if we’d been able to capitalize on them fast enough.  Alas, we were not, and it led to the slow death by a thousand cuts of losing all of our inhibitors and watching the creeps pour into the base.

What I did well: I went crazy near the end of this bailing people out of stuff, and a lot of people were able to turn fights around once I’d pulled them out of the fire a little bit.  In a game where the team died an overwhelming amount of times I was able to keep my own deaths low and play protector for the rest of the team, which really turned the tide in some fights in a significant way.  I think if we had been a little less reckless with chasing people we could have turned it around, and I think my peel and protect abilities made the difference in a lot of teamfights.

What I need to improve: I need to react to Leona faster in lane, as I allowed her to get ahead and start bullying us.  On top of that, my low death count relative to my team suggests that I may not have been getting as involved in fights as I needed to be, which is a problem.  I’m never quite sure if a low comparative death count means I was just good at avoiding deaths, or if I was being cowardly.  Either way, I probably should’ve gotten a little more into the fray.

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GAME 3 – JARVAN IV JUNGLE WITH LEONA, DIANA, ZAC, AND VARUS vs. VI, ALISTAR, FIZZ, JAX, AND ASHE

                I had a lot of fun with this game, even though it was really stressful early.  We had a great tanky teamfight composition, and all I wanted to do was pull us into late game where we’d be unstoppable as a group of five.  The laning phase was a kind of curious thing where I felt like I needed to constantly be running around everywhere on the map at once, but then I’d look at the scoreboard and realize we were really ahead.  Despite the craziness of the early game causing me to fall behind Vi in levels, we were able to turn it around because of our superior team composition and early game lead.

What I did well: I responded well to being called around the map and was able to pull the solo laners out of some rough situations early on.  I also managed to steal a dragon at the last second by hitting it with my E, a frankly ridiculous accident that I will never be able to replicate again in a thousand years.  I’m still taking credit for it though.  Beyond that, I transitioned well into late game and was able to deliver kills to teammates rather than taking them for myself as I did in the previous Jarvan game.

What I need to improve: We came nerve-wrackingly close to throwing this one a couple times near the end.  I need to work on not letting a huge lead get to my head; there were a few times when the three tankier people on the team went waaay deep into the enemy team without the damage behind us to back it up, and we paid for it.  Still, we got our heads on straight by the end and were able to stop ourselves from throwing the game completely, and we were able to lock the game up pretty neatly once we stopped being so dive crazy.

Credit for the data on the images goes, as always, to lolking.net.