Well, it’s been a while – this quarter’s commentary is a couple of weeks late, but last quarter’s commentary was a couple of weeks early, so…….it all works out in the end?
Unfortunately tect has decided that he does not want to continue with the goals I set for him or contribute to the blog, but I will still be posting updates every quarter. And if you ever want to know what his thoughts are or how he’s doing, he’s doing solo streams every Saturday for the rest of the summer (in addition to our regular ones) so he’s pretty accessible. And I got him a coach for his birthday last week, so he is still working hard to improve and hopefully finally reach Diamond.
So that’s the bad news, but the good news is….actually there is no good news, just more bad news. Which is that I did basically no work on any of my goals at all this quarter!
I do still have lots to talk about, but I guess calling this a “Q2 Resolutions Update” is a bit misleading. #clickbait…I know you were all just drawn here by that extremely enticing title.
The second part of the title is really more accurate. If you’re still playing League, I’m sure you’ve all noticed what a shit-show “meta” games, and specifically bot lanes, have been.
Pyke came out, and as I’m sure literally everyone expected, I fucking hate him. I hate him with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. This is kind of unjustified because I’ve only had to play against him outside of ARAMs like, twice, but still. Gameplay-wise, to be honest, I don’t hate him as a top laner or a jungler, but I do hate him as a support. Character-wise, I wish even the thought of him had never existed in anyone’s mind. HE’S TERRIFYING. Just like, aesthetically and thematically. Like, just……..uggghhh *shudders* I like that his ultimate promotes a more aggressive playstyle for supports and helps to eradicate the concept of “kill stealing”. I’ve long been frustrated by the idea that I can be doing bad things by trying to make sure that an enemy is killed as quickly as possible. Luckily, that has more or less stopped being an issue now – my teammates have become more chill, and I’ve become better at not doing it – but it’s still a mindset that I think doesn’t belong in a team game. But that’s literally the only thing I like about him as a support.
What I don’t like is that his playstyle isn’t just being added as yet another option, which I’m totally here for (even if it’s one that I personally dislike) – rather, it’s being shoved down our throats as the only viable playstyle for supports.
It really feels like Riot is trying to shove out enchanter supports and wants everyone to play aggressive champions. It would be one thing if they were giving enchanters new ways to combat champions like Pyke, but so far, they’re not. If anything, so far they’ve just been nerfed more. Heal/shield items and shields themselves have just been nerfed, despite the fact that I for one never felt that shields were that impactful (I know many people disagree with me though so maybe that changes the more effectively you’re able to time your shields), and Pyke and the newly reworked Aatrox both have ways to reduce shields.
I am predicting that we will see buffs to enchanter supports’ damage to compensate for the item/shield nerfs and the introduction of so many aggressive champions, but who knows. The more time passes, the more unsure of this I am, because as of now, nothing has even showed up in PBE notes (except for a Karma “buff” which tbh sounds more like a nerf). And even if that does hapen, that still feels kind of bad, because it feels like Riot is trying to force aggressive gameplay upon everyone whether they like it or not. Lately I’ve been playing a little more aggressively regardless, but one of the things I love about League is that there are so many different ways to play, including ways that actually allow me to participate and not feel anxious like in other games (see: our June 2 stream of Majora’s Mask, in which I started crying because tect was making me kill an Octorok and if I got hit one or two more times I would have died).
tect was saying that Riot tends to go through phases every year where they try really hard to make one thing a “thing”, whether players want it or not, and whether it’s actually good for the game or not. He says that this year, they are focusing on making the game faster paced and more exciting, with less down-time. This makes sense from a “keeping things fresh!” perspective, but I guess I’m a little surprised and disappointed because until recently, I felt like Riot was doing a really good job of keeping the game interesting and changing things while also actually improving things. I never felt like they did anything just for the sake of it.
I’m also not even sure that they’re succeeding at their goal – in pro play and high ranked games, we’ve seen games essentially being played with 4 supports and 1 champion that is supposed to be designated to get as many of the kills and CS as possible, via the gold funnelling strategy. This definitely makes games fast and snowbally, and I imagine fun as hell for that one person, but how fun and “action-packed” can that possibly feel for the other 4 players on the team? And how does a playstyle like that belong in a team game? tect again rightly points out that a scenario like that actually does require a lot of teamwork and coordination, and as such that does make it a fair team strategy and also means we probably won’t see it much in our games. I think he’s right about that, but I still don’t think that Riot should be encouraging it, which right now they are by doing things like removing team gold for shutdown kills. The game should feel fun and fair for everyone and should feel like everyone is an equally valuable member of the team, in my opinion. Of course each team member contributes, but the focus is very clearly onone person – after a pro game we watched won by a Master Yi-carry team, the announcer literally said, “the rest of the team doesn’t matter”. Of course he was kidding and just saying any random thing to be what he probably thinks is entertaining, but in any joke, there is always a grain of truth.
As a side note, Master Yi is now my new least favourite champion. Seriously considering banning him instead of my usual Blitzcrank perma-ban.
The TL;DR of this is that I just want League to feel like a safe, challenging and fun place and game for everyone. New players, old players, aggressive players, defensive players, supports, ADCs, junglers…everyone. I don’t want any one playstyle, role or demographic to be prioritized over anyone else. I can’t claim to say how I think that should be done, but I can say that I think the game was in a much better place at the beginning of the season, and if the current changes are here to stay, many more additional changes will need to be made to restore balance.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped having fun. These changes are still pretty new, so they haven’t trickled down to Bronze too much just yet, and who knows if they ever will. I actually think I’m having more fun than I ever have at least in ranked games.
For the first few months of the season, I felt like Bronze III was where I belonged – my games felt fair, my teams were way more positive than they were in Bronze II, and I wasn’t filled with anxiety.
Just before I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling like I was ready for Bronze II, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was cursed by nearly getting into promos many times but then suddenly going on a losing streak at like 80 LP.
The reason why I felt that way is because in games that I lose, I almost always feel like I still played well, and I’m not staring at the screen blankly thinking, …..how???, or feeling like the enemy team was straight up just way better than me. When I autopilot, which definitely does still happen when I’m tired/hungry/anxious about something else, I don’t feel like the results are as terrible as they used to be. I am more easily able to see when my teammates do things well and when they do things poorly. I never use that to point fingers….except maybe in my head…or, you know, on stream….but it is useful in adapting your playstyle around your teammates which is extremely important as a support for obvious reasons. In games that I win, I consistently get at least an A- on Soraka, which hasn’t always been the case. That means that I’m holding my own and actively contributing to the team, not just getting carried. And even in games that I lose, I can’t remember the last time I got lower than a C-, so I guess that’s good?
And then last week, I finally actually got into Bronze II! I’m not sure if I will be able tostay here because so far I’ve been losing the majority of my games, but it has only been a week so we’ll see. Fingers crossed! (It is true though that my teams are still way more toxic, so that definitely makes things less fun.)
As for my goals – well, I already said I’ve barely worked on them, but I guess I’ll tell you what I have done.
I’ve barely practiced jungling or ADCing, and I haven’t touched mid (RIP my Lissandra/Anivia related goals) or top at all. When I don’t play well it frustrates tect and we just end up yelling at each other, so I’m trying to limit the numbers of games that I try new champions/roles in. Except, I’m only comfortable doing those things in normal games with a full pre-made team of 5, which only occurs on stream, and we have to lane together otherwise no one will be able to watch me because of our setup, and *takes deep breath* A maybe-solution we’ve talked about is switching computers for these games, so that I’m on the streaming computer and he’s the one who’s not visible. That way I could still practice and people could watch me learn without us having to lane together. But that would involve burdening someone else with my presence, and tect would have to play on my computer, which he also hates, so I don’t know how great of a solution that really is.
New ADCs for me this quarter are Miss Fortune, Varus, Caitlyn and Kog’Maw. I’ve found the most success overall with Miss Fortune – it helps that I own her Star Guardian skin and looking at it just makes me really happy. But like I said I haven’t played much, and there have been a whole bunch of changes in bot lane lately, so who even knows. Next time I try, I could have completely different results. I feel I’ve gotten a bit better at CSing and tect agrees, but the only ADC I feel good about CSing with at the beginning of the game (before buying a bunch of items) is Miss Fortune. Her passive is helpful for target selection and I think helps me avoid falling into the trap of just basic attacking each minion one by one until they die (usually not by my hand).
I bought Ekko, which is the first step on the path to playing Ekko. The champions on the list of goals tect wrote for me that I still need are: Ornn, Kennen, Vladimir, Talon & Jhin. Let’s see if I can acquire all of those within the next quarter! With the bot lane changes, the ADC goals that tect set for me may very well change (for example, he specified that he wanted me to learn a hyper-carry ADC and perhaps some champions will not be classified as hyper-carries anymore).
I’ve made progress in using summoner spells offensively thanks to the fact that Ignite was buffed and is now the standard spell aside from flash on a huge number of champions, including support. On Soraka I still feel I do best with Exhaust, but Ignite is also great. One thing I got confused about is that I thought that igniting someone weakened their healing power. I guess I probably thought that because I always heard that taking Ignite AGAINST Soraka was great. So sometimes I would find myself igniting a healing support such as Sona or Nami, when really I should have been igniting the ADC because what ignite really does is weaken heals RECEIVED.
tect has often remarked that I should be taking better advantage of Soraka’s level 1 power and for a while I think I got a lot better about Q’ing more (and actually landing more of them) and weaving auto attacks into fights. But now there are a bunch of mages in the bot lane half the time and this progress feels like it may have been lost. They’re just so scary due to the fact that I’m really bad at dodging their abilities unless I hang back – too far back to possibly land any Qs or auto attack. I’m hoping that either the mages go away or they buff Soraka (like I was saying earlier about enchanter supports in general). As much as I hate playing against mages, I would probably rather the latter, because like I was saying earlier I think that more opportunities is a good thing – so long as it doesn’t shove out others, i.e. ADCs and enchanters.
E max Soraka was all the rage for a brief time this quarter, and while I never brought this strategy to ranked, I did enjoy playing it in bot and normal games. I thought it was funny the way that it became popular – at the time, nothing had really changed, just some influential people suddenly realized that it was good I guess and everyone followed suit (I think that like me in my early days, a lot of people just straight up forget that Soraka’s E deals damage in addition to silencing). I do think it’s a good strategy if your ADC can hold their own (meaning not get hit by every single thing ever), but because many of the ADCs I play with can’t, I didn’t feel it was a good call for ranked. One game though, I accidentally took Domination because I forgot to change runes, and it actually went super well. I tried to repeat that performance in subsequent games that day, but I wasn’t able to, so clearly it was a fluke. I don’t recommend it.
0 progress has been made on the locked camera front. I honestly think I will never be able to unlock it. I’m just stuck like this forever.
Death snack of the quarter: Werther’s chewy caramels (tect: “It’s actually gross how many of those you eat”)