Friday, October 5, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, League of Legends Bonus #4: Day 2 of the World Championships

So far, the Season 2 World Championships for League of Legends have been all about break-out stars. From the resurgence of Irelia, to the overpowering Stand United ultimate wielder Shen, to Ezrael's ubiquitous role in literally every game so far, certain stars have shone brighter than others. Perhaps none brighter than the international presence that has completely taken over the tournament. With Team Solo Mid's shocking ouster by upstarts Azubu Frost, there are no American teams left competing for the $1,000,000 first prize.

There's a lot to cover, so let's get right to it:

A Full Mug of Mead, League of Legends Bonus #3: Three Things to Take Away from the World Championship Play-offs

The excitement of Day One of the 2012 Season Two League of Legends World Championships is over, but the tournament rolls on. Before the quarterfinal matches begin today, I wanted to look at three trends/metagame considerations that emerged from the first twelve matches of the competition.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Single Shot, No Chaser -- 10/3/2012

What is this? A post on WTMCF that doesn't involve League of Legends at all except for the fact that I just mentioned it? What could this mean? Is the writer ever going to stop asking rhetorical questions? Just how stupid does he think I am? When did this become a post-existential referendum on the nature of reality? Just now? Or then?

How much fun was that to read? I'm doing it again, aren't I? But the point remains. Creative, original, derivative or boring, experimental introductions and experimental novels run through the gamut of literary practice, and few ever succeed. Yet people keep on writing them and if the resulting work is well-publicized and wins a few awards through nepotism, shilling, and shameless bribery, it could even be honored with a Genius Grant or some other ridiculous distinction of merit that "My Immortal" will never achieve.

More than likely the end result will end up never being part of high school students subjected to the most horrifying experience any nefarious teacher could inflict on his or her unsuspecting wards: reading good books.

You would expect that after two hundred words I would have managed to put together some sort of coherent thesis, but this post was inspired by something I read over at Cracked, and I'm still somewhat shell-shocked by the depth of ignorance one of my favorite Cracked writers displayed. In fact, before you continue reading, you should go check it out. I'll still be here when you get done. Unless you get caught in the evil Cracked trap of clicking the related links at the bottom of the page. I did that once and it took every ounce of my being and the assistance of Chuck Norris riding a dinosaur to escape from that never-ending morass of comedy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Bonus #2: An Aside on the Honor System

I assure you, I'm not putting off publishing the beginning guide to jungle because it's freaking long and impossible to put together. That just makes it seem even more obvious, huh? Oh well. But it is coming, and in the meantime, I had to say something about the new Honor system that Riot has put into place in League of Legends, because it is that freaking awesome.

Yes. Awesome enough to warrant NPH.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #10: How to Win Friends and Influence Victory

Sometimes doing the same thing over and over again just isn't the best way to spend those precious moments of freedom you earn from the demands of parents, significant others, and police officers. Or maybe you are one of those people who genuinely enjoys helping someone else do better and feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction whenever you leave an extra dollar in a tip jar or reach the top shelf for a little old lady. It could be you just really love gold-generating items. Whatever the reason, trying out support is an entertaining way to put yourself on the line for someone else, without having to actually, you know, do anything in real life.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Bonus #1: Serol Silvertongue

As with any game, it's a popular pastime for fans and players of League of Legends to create their own new mechanics and Champions that would be fun to engage on the Fields of Justice. I am no exception, so occasionally, you'll get a glimpse of my favorite designs. Serol Silvertongue just happens to be the first I've decided to share.

Serol Silvertongue, The Guild Merchant --

A ranged support, Serol utilitizes a unique mechanic that has never been seen before on the battlefield. Instead of mana, energy, ferocity, or any other secondary source of power, Serol's potency comes from the simplest currency possible: gold.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #9: Tibbers in the Tallgrass -- A Beginning Guide to AP Mid

If you find yourself enjoying farming away in top lane, but yearn for just a little bit more action and maybe even the ability to do quite a chunk of damage once the game shifts later, your next best bet is going to be slinging spells in the mid lane as your team's AP carry.

AP Mid -- 

No list of the Champions I feel play this role better than any other they can be forced into, means it's past time that I do that. I've divided the AP Mid Champs into A, B, and C groups, based on three factors. First, can they sustain themselves in lane without help from the Jungler? Second, how easy are they to play? And third, how likely, in blind pick, are you to get hard countered by the enemy teams' composition?

A Champion in Group A is always a safe pick, and I strongly recommend becoming good with at least one of them to start. As you begin to play draft games and ranked matches, you will need to add a few more Champions to your repertoire, and at that point, I recommend picking up a few of the hard counters to make your options as flexible as possible. Namely, you'll have your main Champion, if the opposing team doesn't pick a Champion which counters you, you can just go with that, and you'll have a stable of counterpicks to work with if they do find someone randomly that hoses your strategy or playstyle.

AP Mid Group A -- Ahri, Annie, Anivia, Brand, Cassiopeia, Gragas, Karthus, Morgana, Mordekaiser, Orianna, Twisted Fate, Veigar.

AP Mid Group B -- Fiddlesticks, Fizz, Kassadin, Katarina, Kennen, Lux, Malzahar, Pantheon, Sion, Talon, Xerath, Vladimir

AP Mid Group C -- Akali, Cho'gath, Galio, Heimerdinger, Janna, Karma, Kog'maw, Leblanc, Syndra, Zilean.

Also, with this list, keep in mind that some of the Champions appear in a lower tier than you might expect, and your mileage may vary. In general, Galio, Heimerdinger, and Leblanc are better as counterpicks, and Zilean, Janna, and Karma typically play better as support champions. Both Kog'maw and Akali will perform better outside of mid lane.

AP Mid Objectives -- 

1) Farm (Early Game) -- As with any solo lane, farming is your most important objective. You should be aiming to complete your bigger items faster than any other lane period. From Level 1 to 10, shoot to have 60 CS by 10:00. If you are level 11-20, you need to be closer to 70 or 75, and from 21-30 you need to perfect earning at least 85 by 10:00 consistently.

Farming mid lane is all about harassment and knowing where you are on the map. Crossing the river is extraordinarily dangerous, as most guides to jungling involve the words "after you finish your jungle, gank mid." Giving them a free roll to smash your face in is going to make it impossible to hit your farm targets. Having said that, your opponent is just as scared of crossing the river as you are, so the early game as an AP Mid will not usually involve a ton of aggression from your opponent, unless they have a clear advantage over you in damage trades. This is why it is so critical to harass your enemy whenever he or she gets within the range of your widest ability. Staying ahead of them, whether that means having more health, not using all of your pots, or simply overpowering them with damage, will allow you to easily win your lane.

2) Push and Roam (Mid Game) -- Many AP Mid Champions lack a ton of mobility, so their farming phase lasts a bit longer, and will involve your jungler giving you blue buff to keep up in CS and stay on top of your item build. However, you are free to roam if your lane is pushed too far to be farmed safely and you have the opportunity to secure a kill or counterjungle the opposing jungler. Although the mid turrets are probably the most important turrets to bring down, unlike top or bot lanes, you do not usually want to destroy the mid turret early, because doing so will allow the opposing mid to freeze their lane by the Inner Turret, and have plenty of gank support if you attempt to continue to farm. Weakening the turret is fine, so that you can bring it down at your leisure when you need to, but actually taking it down should wait until your team is ready or you've finished your item build.

3) Dominate the Team Fight (Late Game) -- As the ranged mage, you will be responsible for inflicting heavy amounts of damage and keeping the opposing team controlled with your deadly Area of Effect CC. What is that? How about a definition?

Area of Effect Crowd Control -- In order to win a team fight, it is necessary to impede the enemy Champions ability to use their spells and skills effectively. An AoE CC is exponentially more powerful than individual CC because it can hit multiple targets. The CC effects in League of Legends include Displacement Effects such as Walls, Knock-ups, Knock-backs, Fear, Slow, Stun, Silence, Snare, Charm, and Taunt. Fear makes your targets lose focus and become bewildered. Charm and Taunt cause the target to pursue or attack the caster without regard for what is happening around them. Slow inflicts a movement speed debuff and can affect attack speed or damage. Stun freezes your opponents in place and renders them incapable of fighting. Some Champions with AoE CC include: Fiddlesticks, Veigar, Anivia, Galio, or Morgana.

Once your crowd control is on, start pouring in the damage. Using items that increase Ability Power or Magic Penetration will make your spells more effective, and some Champions can come close to one-hitting an enemy if they have a full build and a powered up damage source.

AP Mid is a challenging and engaging role to play on a League of Legends team, and this guide should help solidify your understanding of how to get started. If you have any further questions or would like to see this topic revisited in an Advanced Guide sooner rather than later, e-mail, and tell me why or just head to the comments. Odds are, you can even be first!

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your games with "Victory."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #8: Playing by Yourself -- A Beginning Guide to Top Lane

Now that I've gotten a lot of the basics of League of Legends explained and neatly filed away in the Introduction and Glossary (don't forget, you can always check the "Full Mug of Mead" tab for any articles you may have missed), it's time to turn our attention towards how to actually play different roles in lane. There isn't any particular order to these, save for  the fact that they are written in the order that I personally learned the roles, and feel most comfortable explaining them. Which is a particular order, I suppose. Eh, blame my editor.

Solo Top -- 

I have not yet made a list of the Champions I feel play this role better than any other they can be forced into, so it's about time that I go ahead and do that. I've divided the Top Lane Champs into A, B, and C groups, based on three factors. First, can they sustain themselves in lane without help from the Jungler? Second, how easy are they to play? And third, how likely, in blind pick, are you to get hard countered by the enemy teams' composition?

Counter -- In Champion selection, a counter is any Champion whose playstyle, abilities, or base statistics work in such a way as to make playing your Champion against them very difficult. Skill is still important. However,a player with less skill than you might still be able to defeat you if they select a counter to your Champion. This is especially true of a hard counter, which identifies a counterpick that is completely unbeatable without support from other lanes or items.

A Champion in Group A is always a safe pick, and I strongly recommend becoming good with at least one of them to start. As you begin to play draft games and ranked matches, you will need to add a few more Champions to your repertoire, and at that point, I recommend picking up a few of the hard counters to make your options as flexible as possible. Namely, you'll have your main Champion, if the opposing team doesn't pick a Champion which counters you, you can just go with that, and you'll have a stable of counterpicks to work with if they do find someone randomly that hoses your strategy or playstyle.

Solo Top Group A -- Akali, Irelia, Jarvan IV, Jax, Kayle, Malphite, Nasus, Olaf, Rumble, Singed, Yorick.

Solo Top Group B -- Cho'Gath, Fiora, Dr. Mundo, Gangplank, Garen, Lee Sin, Pantheon, Riven, Renekton, Sion.

Solo Top Group C -- Cassiopeia, Galio, Katarina, Kennen, Mordekaiser, Nidalee, Poppy, Rengar.

Also, with this list, keep in mind that some of the Champions appear in a lower tier than you might expect, and your mileage may vary. Still, of the Group C options, only Poppy plays primarily in Top Lane, the others are all in Group C because, honestly, you should be playing them somewhere other than Solo Top, but they are options, and they do occasionally work as counterpicks.

Solo Top Objectives -- 

1) Farm (Early Game) -- As with any solo lane, farming is your most important objective. You should be aiming to complete your bigger items faster than any other lane aside from the AP Mid. From Level 1 to 10, shoot to have 55 CS (meaning, 55 last-hits on creep minions, earning you gold) by 10:00. 11-20, you need to be closer to 60 or 65, and from 21-30 you need to perfect earning 70-85 by 10:00 consistently.

Farming top lane is all about positioning. If you have vision on your opponent, staying above the creep, towards the top of the map, will make it much more difficult for the opposing jungler to gank you and chase you out of lane. Equally so, if you control the top side of the creep, then your jungler can come in for ganks much more effectively. If you can trade damage effectively with your enemy, zoning him out by standing between him and your allied minions will make it hard for him to hit his farm targets.

2) Push and Roam (Mid Game) -- Many top lane Champions will use the Summoner Spell Teleport to help out other lanes. The best way to do this is through lane ganks. To execute this strategy, if you can push your lane up (after chasing away or killing the enemy top lane champion) and return to the Fountain then you can purchase your items and head into mid or bot lanes along the same path your allies travel. Once there, you can hide in the brush and gank quickly, scoring a kill or a chase, and retreat to the brush to teleport back to the top lane. Done effectively, you will lose almost no gold, and barely any experience, and greatly contribute to your team's overall success.

I recommend attempting this every time you return to base and have Teleport off cooldown and available to get you back into lane.

3) Dominate the Team Fight (Late Game) -- Once you have broken a turret or even two in your lane, it's time to start grouping up. Most Solo Top Champions are either tanks (Singed, Cho'Gath, Garen, Malphite) or assassins (Akali, Fiora, Jarvan IV, Poppy) or both (Irelia, Jax, Olaf, Lee Sin). In Team Fights, then, your goal is to either keep the opposition away from your carries using your Crowd Control and bulky body, or keep your carries alive by slaying the enemy Champions that can threaten them. Each Solo Top Champion plays slightly differently, especially compared to the similarities between, say, Graves, Caitlyn, Ashe, and Vayne, so it is important to learn your Champions strengths.

For example, unless she is focused, Irelia can more or less wade into a team fight, using her Hiten Style ability to gain minor health back, and stun her target with Equilibrium Strike, and chase them down with Bladesurge if they try and retreat behind their tanks. Singed, instead, is going to prefer to circle and poison, attempting to chase and flip the enemy carry right into the thick of his team and poison stream while slowing the others with his super glue.

Solo Top is one of the most entertaining and rewarding roles to play on a League of Legends team, and this guide should help solidify your understanding of how to get into the role. If you have any further questions or would like to see this topic revisited in an Advanced Guide sooner rather than later, e-mail, and tell me why or just head to the comments. Odds are, you can even be first!

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your games with "Victory."

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #7: Laying Down the Law

I poke fun on this website at the fact that during at least one game of League of Legends during your time playing it you are most likely going to be cursed at by what appears to be a drunken sailor on shore leave but is most likely a thirteen year old kid or a twenty-seven year old, well, kid.

What I've left out, so far, however, is the fact that Riot Games has created an intricate and awesome system designed to slowly weed out and improve the quality of the play experience by punishing players who engage in behaviors that are negative for the growth of the game.

The Tribunal -- A interactive voting system that allows LoL players to view incidents of negative behavior and punish or pardon accused parties based on the reports generated by allies and enemies during play. Anyone who is level 20 or higher can participate, and to get started, you can head to the Tribunal webpage to help make the game more fun and accessible for everyone.

Now that the definition is out of the way, I wanted to go through why you should join in and also why I think it is such a fantastic use of the community.

1) Everyone gets upset sometimes, especially playing a highly competitive game with strangers through the anonymity of the internet. Of course, that circumstance also gives rise to that ridiculously annoying ability to tell absolutely everyone just how upset you are and how it's the lag or hackers or bad teammates and never, ever, ever anything that you did wrong. And occasionally, people take that anonymity and vent their frustration in the game chat, bellowing slurs and insults that would make the most hardened racist blush. When that happens, its no good for anyone, not even the person exorcising their demons through verbal diarrhea. Having the Tribunal in place means that if you do it repeatedly, Riot will find out, and you will suffer the consequences of your immaturity.

2) As a result of that, the Tribunal has the potential to, over time, influence League of Legends players in a way that is tremendously positive, especially once it was revealed that Riot plans to implement a honor system that would reward teaching, mentoring, compliments, skilled play, teamwork, and all of the best aspects of an entertaining League game. You can read more about that by clicking on this hyperlinked sentence that you are still reading for some reason.

3) By creating a system where it is the players themselves who mete out punishment against offenders, Riot has ingeniously incorporated public shaming into their enforcement policies. It seems likely that occasionally Riot bypasses the Tribunal system, and just as likely that the Tribunal makes mistakes from time to time, but overall, the communal aspect of the policing duties makes it hard for someone who is aware of the activity of the Tribunal to blindly ignore it.

There are other games that use similar systems, but I genuinely feel as though Riot is extremely proactive in dealing with community issues, especially given the fact that the game is free to download and thus fosters an environment that could be flush with trolls and trollish behavior. The fact that there is not a surfeit of troublesome players can be linked directly to the success of the Tribunal, and the continual presence of assertive policing by the community that enjoys playing the game so much.

For more information about the Tribunal, or if you have any additional questions about how it works, check out the official FAQ here:

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your games with "Victory."

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #6: When Base Stats Just Aren't Enough

League of Legends is an amazing game even if you just plug and play, but as you level up, it becomes even better. Every Champion in the game starts with certain ratios and statistics that help them fit the roles they are designed for, yet ultimately, each is able to adapt based on your play-style using the fantastic Mastery system augmented by the Rune pages.

While complex, both features are intuitive to incorporate into your LoL experience. Like most guides, however, I will recommend not using Runes until you reach Level 21, because you do not have access to the Tier 3 Runes that give the best buffs.

First, let's make sure we define the terms more thoroughly.

Masteries: At every level, a player receive a point to use in their Mastery Page(s) that unlocks a special bonus to starting statistics and abilities. There are three Mastery sections: Offense, Defense, and Utility. Offense improves damage output, armor reduction, magic penetration, and similar base statistics, as well as offering bonus abilities like Life Steal or Cooldown Reduction. Defense takes care of your armor, magic resistance, regeneration, and similar base statistics, as well as offering bonus abilities such as extra gold for kills or lowering damage from Area of Effect sources. Utility runs the gamut, from movement speed steroids to cooldown reduction, or adding free gold to your starting stash. There are 49 Masteries to select from, and a later tip will examine each of them in detail. Masteries for individual Champions or role set-ups are expressed using a */*/* notation. In the example, the Champion is supporting bot lane using 0/9/21 Masteries.

Runes: A Rune is a special item available for purchase from the Riot Store that increases your starting statistics based on what type of Rune you select. There are Marks, Seals, Glyphs, and Quintessences. Marks, Seals, and Glyphs all work the same way, and at Level 30 you can have up to 9 of each. Quintessences are more powerful, and typically more expensive to purchase, and at Level 30, you will have access to 3 Quintessence slots (with one becoming available at Level 10, and another opening up when you hit 20). There are hundreds of Runes, and a later tip will record each of them, but for now, this is designed as an overview of the Rune and Mastery systems. The example shows a blank rune page where Red slots are for Marks, Gold slots are for Seals, and Azure slots are for Glyphs. The three runic scripts are where your Quintessences will be placed.

Setting Up Runes and Masteries: Designed to increase customization, there is no wrong way to use your Masteries as you increase in level and become more exposed to the game. Later on, proper set up will be key to competing in lane during the beginning of your matches, and less experimentation is recommended. For example, as adorable as it is, actually taking a point in Demolitionist will be actively interpreted as trolling, as the Mastery simply does not offer enough to be worthwhile. (Your basic attacks deal 10 bonus damage to turrets, which is such a small increase that it literally has no effect on the game)

As a general rule, although there are many, many exceptions, carries, junglers, and mid lane champions will be set up 21/9/0. Support will almost always appear 0/9/21. Top lane bruisers or tanky champions will frequently be seen 9/21/0. When it doubt, using these suggestions as a benchmark will help you build appropriately for your role. (Again, there are dozens of exceptions, such as a Champion like Irelia usually playing 9/12/9 or a carry like Sivir who is probably best set up as 21/2/7)

With Runes, the most popular Marks are Attack Damage, Armor Penetration, or Attack Speed for damage dealing carries, or Magic Penetration and Ability Power boosts for AP Champions like Morgana or Diana. Seals are frequently seen buffing Armor, or adding similar Mana boosts. If you plan on playing support, it is absolutely critical to pick up Greater Seals of Avarice (+0.25 Gold per 10 seconds) as soon as you have access to them at level 21. Glyphs tend to be defensive in nature, often adding Magic Resistence, bonus Health, or cooldown reductions.

When setting up your Runes, keep in mind that more is definitely better. Having a single Greater Mark of Desolation adding 1.66 armor penetration is far less useful than having 9 of them giving you +15. This is especially true of the Runes that buff in percentages, so you won't want to mix and match very often.

Using the Runes and Masteries in Game: So you get all of these neat buffs or at least have the potential to have them, but what is the point? I'm glad you asked, anonymous internet person, because if you hadn't, I would just be talking to myself and I wouldn't have a good introduction to this paragraph.

Except for this totally awesome, although irrelevant GIF

Your main goal with Runes and Masteries can be split into two parts. Either you are attempting to enhance something your Champion does well, or you are attempting to improve some aspect of the Champion that they is normally lacking.

This is how you end up with ADCs packing tons of extra attack damage runes and running 21 Mastery points in Offense and supports that use the Utility section of their Masteries to increase their movement speed or gold production.

If you are fortunate enough to have multiple Rune Pages and have taken advantage of the 20 free Mastery Pages you are provided with, then you can even adopt certain set-ups based on your lane match-up. This happens most often in Draft games, where you can more or less determine who you are going to be laning against based on the picks the opposing team makes. Going up against someone with a ton of Magic Damage? Why not select some Magic Resistance Runes to give yourself a leg up. Fighting a squishy top lane? Equip extra damage and smash them with potent harassing attacks.

The possibilities are nearly infinite, and strategy websites that include Champion builds such as LOLPRO or MOBAFire can give you some suggestions on where to start with your bonus stats. Or you could even stick around WTMCF for the eventual reveal of our own build guides, which should happen sooner than you think (unless you think it is happening next week, in which case it won't happen until long after you apparently assume it will).

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your matches with "Victory."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #5: The Short Kid Gets Picked Last, The Metagame and League of Legends

At the lowest levels, most Summoners just pick their favorite Champions or select someone from the free options that appeals to them and head into lane. It will happen fairly organically, although occasionally you might hear some fighting from three players who all want Mid.

Since few, if any players, will be dead set on playing in the Jungle or as a support Champion who doesn't kill any creep, those roles are typically left unfilled, as everyone tries to play to their particular style. As they might say on a never-forgotten 90's sitcom, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Except that what works when you are level five is not going to pass muster once you start playing against other 30's with full Runes and Masteries.

The lanes are set up in the traditional metagame as Solo Top, AP Mid, ADC, Support, and Jungle, for a reason, and it isn't because someone randomly decided that order looked pretty.

Solo top and AP Mid get lanes to themselves in order to maximize the number of minions they can slay. This, in turn, leads to quicker acquisition of powerful items, and access to higher levels faster than they would earn if they were splitting experience. The Champions that play in those lanes tend to be reliant on their item builds and need to have high levels in order to chain their abilities together effectively.

Solo Top bruisers are designed to play by themselves, able to hold their own even in 2 on 1 gank situations. The squishy AP Mid, on the other hand, gets help from either Top or Bot Lane without too much stress caused by roaming through the river or jungle areas.

For Duo Bot Champions, they work well with a teammate. The support often uses devastating Crowd Control effects (known hereafter as "cc") to Stun, Slow, Silence, or Fear opposing Champions and help their ADC escape from sticky encounters. With a Support around, protecting them, the Carry is free to farm and focus on harassing the enemy, splitting the experience but not the gold.

The Jungler likes having a lane to him or herself, and can farm through the Neutral Minion camps fast enough to mimic playing against waves of minions. Without a successful kill early, the Jungler will normally be behind on levels, gold, and experience, but makes up for it with powerful presence during ganks.

When your team composition does not fit this traditional mold, it can have a negative effect on the laning phase of the game. Champions may become underleveled or be unable to purchase the items they need at the times that they need them. If you don't have a Jungler, the opposing team's Jungler can roam your side of the map. All while stealing buffs and ganking from unexpected positions; wreaking havoc seemingly at will.

Remember what I said about Solo Top Champions being able to handle 2 on 1s with relative comfort? If you try and go against a top lane champion like Singed or Irelia with more than one person, all you are doing is letting them farm under turret while slowly out-leveling and earning more money than you.

Keeping all of that in mind, there are unconventional strategies that some teams will adopt to attempt to beat the metagame. This is a brief list of less common set-ups and what they do. More in-depth treatment of each strategy will come later, when each is covered individually. Also, please note that some teams will experiment with the traditional five roles playing in different lanes; this is a legitimate common strategy that will appear with some frequency at higher levels, and therefore does not fall into this section.

2/1/2 -- The most common non-metagame set-up that you will encounter, usually because no one on the team feels comfortable in the Jungle. When run as an actual strategy, 2/1/2 requires either a Support player in both Top and Bot lanes so that the team is not attempting to have two Champions farming the minion waves, or a lane designed to demolish opposing Champions, earning gold through kills rather than creep (see Kill Lane).

Kill Lane -- From time to time, you will fight against or with a team that insists on having two high damage carries play alongside each other. This is known as a kill lane, as one of the carries will farm and the other will harass constantly, hoping to catch either the support or the enemy ADC out of position for an easy kill (earning them the gold and experience they are otherwise losing from not farming).

Double or Duo Jungle -- In this set-up, each lane plays solo, generally requiring a tankier ADC like Warwick or two traditionally Solo Top Champions, with one playing in bot lane. Two roaming Champions will score experience from the Jungle, frequently heading into the opposing Jungle to steal buffs and Neutral Monster camps. Ganks from a Duo Jungle are particularly frightening, as they can turn a 1 on 1 into a 3 on 1 slaughter without warning. Usually, in a Duo Jungle strategy, one of the junglers will have a teleport ability such as Pantheon's, Twisted Fate's, or Shen's, in order to provide even more presence anywhere on the map.

Double or Duo AP -- With two competent AP Mid players, this 1/2/2 strategy can be overpowering very quickly, resulting in a broken turret in the middle lane as early as the 3:00 or 4:00 minute mark. Once the tower is down, one of the mid Champions will start roaming, if not both, creating a rush environment that greatly speeds up the game. When done well, this is hard to counter, as the Jungler will frequently be underleveled and the opposing AP Mid will have been cut off from farming, starved by the power of the Duo AP lane.

Tri-Lane -- A very uncommon strategy that works like the Duo AP method. Designed to break a turret as fast as possible, this 3/1/1 arrangement preys on unprepared teams that send their Solo Top unwittingly to his or her doom. The three Champions that lane together usually start in the Jungle, biding their time to let the opposing Solo Top push the lane far enough that they can score a fast kill and clear the minion wave before the other Jungler can react.

ARAM --  Not so much a strategy as it is a kind of sub-game for LoL players, ARAM stands for All Random All Middle, and plays out exactly as you would expect. Random Champion picks for both teams that smash together in the mid lane until one team loses the game.

In Conclusion --

Finding strategies to beat the metagame is an entertaining exercise in itself, and while I take a fairly aggressive stance against tricky play, I do so only because when you are starting out, even once you hit 30, you open yourself up to crushing defeats as long as the other team is able to react fast enough to your chosen course of action. When I address each strat individually, I will expand on the counter play options that each is susceptible to, but for now, be confident that knowing your role and playing the traditional team is your easiest route to success and skillful play.

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your games with "Victory."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #4: Zen and the Art of Last-Hitting

Would you rather have a crisp $100 in your wallet, or forty bucks in crumpled bills? If you were given two weeks to save up for a new car, would you rather be making $8 an hour and get a junky Plymouth van or $100 an hour and ride off in a tricked out new Humvee?

Or a Volt, if that's more your thing, you sneaky hipster you.
The answer should be obvious, and improving your skill with Last-Hitting in LoL is the gaming equivalent to having extra cash put in your wallet by cash-granting faeries that live in the solar panels you're too cheap to put on your roof (or maybe you're just scared of blinding someone or causing airplanes to fall from the sky like in the new J.J. Abrams disasterpiece, Revolution.)

Either way, last-hitting is a skill you absolutely must master if you want to continue to improve your game in League.

At this point, I should probably explain what last-hitting is. (As with any new term, as soon as we define it in an article, you'll be able to find it in the updated list from Tip #1)

Last-Hitting -- The last attack against an enemy minion, Neutral Monster, or opposing Champion is credited with the kill, and assigned bonus gold and experience. When your attack is the one that kills the enemy, you are the one who benefits. Therefore, it is in your best interest to strike the killing blow against every minion in a wave, an action that results in extra money going in your pocket, and a fatter wallet means more gold to spend when you head back to the Fountain.

Of course, it isn't quite as simple as I make it sound, there are nuances to last-hitting that separate the higher levels from those just starting out, and the pros take it to another plane entirely.

Because the gold tallies increase as the game progresses, it is equally as important to deny your opponents the ability to last hit as well, or they will have a chance to catch back up to you incrementally. For that reason, holding off the final hit until the last, tiny shred of life clings to the creep insures that they have dealt as much damage as possible to your own minions, making it much more likely that your allied creep will die before the enemy Champion has a chance to claim the gold.

The difference may not seem like much, but finishing off even a single creep more than your opponent from each wave can mean the difference between buying a Ruby Crystal and a Long Sword, and actually picking up a Phage when you get back to base.

With League of Legends, those incremental gains pay off in huge bonuses when fighting enemy Champions, and can definitely turn the tide in a situation where you are otherwise evenly matched.

For a more detailed look at last-hitting, check out Curse Gaming's LOLPRO website guide that includes more statistics than could possibly be relevant, and a handy spreadsheet so that you can see exactly how much gold you are giving up if you don't practice your last-hitting.

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills, and all your games with "Victory."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #3: Five Behaviors that Will Get You Yelled at in Solo Queue

Entering the random PvP matches in League of Legends can be a daunting experience for a beginning player. Even bot game queues, where you engage a team of AI opponents to better learn the basics of the game, can be intimidating when you are just starting out.

But WTMCF has you covered. Avoid doing these five things and you should come out of every game with four new friends. At least, you won't have four random strangers yelling harsher insults than you would expect to hear on the mildest Real Housewives episode.

"R******* noob idiot."
1) Don't Feed -- This seems obvious as soon as you have played a few games, but stressing the importance of not dying is never a bad thing. A fed enemy champion snowballs very quickly into a major problem, at which point it isn't just you who has to contend with the overpowered demon creature that is constantly demolishing you in lane, your entire team is going to start being picked off.

Erring on the side of caution does not hurt in LoL, especially in solo lanes like Top, Mid, or Jungle.

2) Don't Chase -- It is remarkably easy to get tunnel vision when pursuing an enemy Champion that you've already spent time weakening. Even good players will suddenly start ignoring minions, other allies, and loud multiple pings in order to doggedly hunt down an opponent with low health.

Just remember that the goal of the game is to win, not rack up tons of kills. Forcing your opponent out of lane is nearly as good as killing them because they miss out on gold and experience. When you chase, you open yourself up to being caught out--trapped on your own with no teammates in sight.

So, unless you are 100% certain that you can secure the kill and escape afterwards, then be content to farm and win the long game. (If every other enemy is on the other side of the map from where you are, and none of them have teleport, and you won't get stuck chasing your opponent around a turret, then maybe you can consider chasing.)

3) Don't KS -- This one is almost as hard for me to type as it would be for me to pass a kidney stone. With a competent team it will never be an issue, but while solo queuing, Do not steal kills. For whatever reason, players get inordinately angry if you come in on a fight and end up with the kill if you weren't there in the beginning. With some people, you will be verbally assaulted on a level that will leave you wondering if somehow you strangled their dog, kicked their little brother, and slept with their parents in the seven seconds of combat where you just tried to help them.

Only jump in if your ally is getting beat. Of course, if you are too late engaging, they will equally be upset, so it is kind've a losing situation. It is frustrating and makes absolutely no sense from a game theory perspective, but it is the law of the land. Nothing will turn an ally into a complaining mess faster than a couple of stolen kills.

Except, perhaps, watching this film.
4) Know Your Role -- As I said before, we will be getting into each lane and strategy later on, but to go over the basics again quickly:

Solo Top: Farm, farm, farm. Your job is to make tons of money and become extremely scary in the mid and late game.

AP Mid: Very similar, but if you are winning your lane, be prepared to steal the opposing team's Wraiths or head to the bottom lane to turn an aggressive 2v2 into a 3v2 rout.

Support: Keep your carry alive and harass the enemy carry whenever possible. Don't kill the minions the carry needs to farm in order to build his or her items, and don't let your lane get surprised by ganks. Buy and set up wards frequently and communicate with the team. Later, you'll be expected to pick up an Oracle's Elixir (an item that allows you to see invisible wards, or stealth Champions like Evelynn or Teemo) and make it impossible for the enemy to see.

ADC (Attack Damage Carry): Like the Top and Mid lanes, you need to farm. Kill the minions using Last Hits (see tomorrow's Tip #5) and don't get too aggressive unless your support gives you the green light. Focus on building items that increase your damage and practice targeting the right champions during Team Fights.

Jungler: Going back to why playing in the Jungle is so difficult, the Jungler has the most responsibilities on the team. You'll be expected to be everywhere at once, helping with ganks and initiating fights over map objectives like the Neutral Minion camps and most especially Baron/Dragon. You must be able to prioritize properly and keep in mind that, of everything you'll be asked to do, you have to keep up with the enemy Jungler. Clear the Neutral Minion camps on your side and poach from the other side whenever you can. Second most important, however, is ganking. Scare the enemy team with your presence, and make them nervous about cross the river.

These are, again, just the basics. Knowing your role and performing it means that your team will do better, and will greatly improve your chances of winning the game.

5) Don't Disconnect -- Not only does disconnecting open you up to punishment from the Tribunal (more information later) but even leaving for five minutes can make it impossible for your team to win the game.

Do you have a spotty internet connection? Wait until it gets better or find a new place to play.

Are there crying babies in your house? Make sure someone is there who can take care of them for the next hour.

Homework to finish? Get it done before you start.

The list goes on and on, but it comes down to this: if you start a game, do it with the knowledge that the next hour of your life has been blocked off by the kind of critically important appointment you hear bosses on television always saying they can't miss.

Do you think Don Draper leaves a game before it's finished?
Only if he is.
As a bonus, remember to not act like an asshole either. It's a game, and if someone messes up, give them the benefit of the doubt. They probably aren't purposefully trying to ruin your life. If one person starts in on a player that is having a difficult time, pretty soon the whole team will be yelling at them for feeding and being worthless. Unless they are actually feeding (trust me, you'll know the difference), just smile and remember the  first time you tried to hit a baseball. That's them, flailing away like a newborn calf, looking more adorable than deplorable. Of course, after thirty levels, if they still can't hit a baseball, feel free to butcher them and pack the meat off to China or wherever it is beef ends up going nowadays.

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills, and all your games with "Victory".

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead: LoL Tip #2

In honor of League of Legends 105th Champion, Syndra, WTMCF is embarking on an epic quest to share 105 Tips for Getting Started with the game. Actually, it's more like 105 posts about LoL, but as most of them are geared towards beginning players, it works out to the same thing. Check back each day for new content, and don't forget to submit anything you'd love to see on the front page.

League of Legends: Tip #2, The Most Important Thing to Learn

League of Legends is a complex game with thousands of variables and dozens of moving parts that combine to create a complicated play environment. In order to be successful in the game, having goals for each match becomes much more important than simply "winning."

What many new players fail to understand about LoL is that the ultimate goal of each match is not to kill as many opposing Champions as possible.

You need to focus on not dying. Not dying is roughly equivalent to winning the lottery or becoming the mayor of your own island. If you can not die enough times, you will always defeat the player you are Laning against, purely because of accumulated experience and gold if for no other reason.

Of course, killing the enemy Champion is awesome and, if you do it enough times, you'll have a similar level of success. Still, the reason I emphasize staying alive is that "not dying" is more important than securing a kill.

This applies mostly to the early phases of the game, and, as with anything, there are exceptions. But if you are looking for one easy tip to drastically improve your LoL play, which will make your experience more rewarding in turn, try not dying. Just listen to these testimonies:

It may seem as though I'm being very tongue-in-cheek, suggesting "not dying" as the end-all strategy for League of Legends. If you could categorically avoid dying, more than a few people would be doing it already. As a strategy, however, the suggestion is to change your focus so that instead of needlessly taking risks in order to tack on one more kill or take down one more turret, you sit back and play with reasonable caution.

If you give that concept a try, I guarantee you'll see immediate results.  Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your matches with victory.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead: League of Legends and the New WTMCF

A Full Mug of Mead: The League of Legends Content You've All Been Expecting

In these posts, I will be exploring various aspects of League of Legends, starting with a new player's guide to the game, escalating to a weekly round-up of information presented in the unique WTMCF style, and eventually profiles of LoL players and advanced strategies.

With the release of Syndra, the Dark Sovereign, the Internet's favorite acronym will have 105 playable champions, and A Full Mug of Mead will celebrate with 105 Tips and Tricks for new players looking to get into the game.  If you are one of the millions who already have a Level 30 account, don't despair, there will be plenty of content for you as well. (If you are one of the few with multiple 30s and a 2000+ ELO, well, more than likely, you won't be reading this blog anyway, but if you are, I can assure you that I will do my best to make you laugh, and hopefully it won't come as a reaction to any of my advice.)

If you are wondering where the Magic: The Gathering content has gone, don't fret, I'm not giving up the card-slinging anytime soon, and I do have a few spicy RtR-inspired decklists for you to add to your arsenal. But the last month and a half of my free time has been spent hurtling head first into the world of MOBAs and specifically League, which I've determined scientifically to be nearly the most fun you can have in your pajamas staring at a computer screen while frantically clicking your mouse and having teenage boys scream at you for not knowing what you are doing.

I don't want to keep you from the action, so download League of Legends now and get started, but first, here is the first tip to put you ahead of your Level 1 competition.

1) Know Your Terms: 

If you venture out into the wilds of the Interwebs, you will be assaulted by dozens if not hundreds of sites dedicated to improving your LoL play.  Most, if not all of them, assume you already know more about the game than I know about drinking bottled water.

Needless to say, I've forgotten more than you'll ever know.

In case you don't, here is a brief rundown of terms you should be familiar with. This list, as you can well imagine, is not exhaustive, but should help you out when you start in queue. Also, this is not in any particular order, unless you want to imagine that there is a nefarious plot behind my list-making that involves the Illuminati and the Freemasons working in concert to overthrow the power structure behind American politics. In which case there is still no order, but your life certainly sounds more exciting than mine.

Pots-- Items you can purchase from the wagon next to the Fountain where you begin each game.  Pots are Health Potions, Mana Potions, and generally useful items that help you survive in Lane. Health and Mana pots cost 35 gold, which make them valuable and cheap during the early stages of the battle.

Lane/Laning-- There are four Lanes in traditional, five on five League of Legends gameplay.  Top lane passes North of the Fountain for the Blue Team and West of the Fountain for the Purple Team.  Mid lane connects the two Fountains, bisecting the middle of the map. Bottom lane (or bot lane) is East for the Blue Team or South for the Purple Team.  Each of these three Lanes is dotted with towers/turrets: An Outer Turret, an Inner Turret, and an Inhibitor Turret that protects that lane's entrance to the base. The Jungle is the fourth Lane and comprises the forested area formed between each of the other lanes, cut in half by the river that runs across the map from Northwest to Southeast.  Laning refers to the earliest stage of the game, where the players attempt to harvest gold and experience from the waves of minions that spawn at each base.  In both low and high level play, Laning begins around the 2:00 mark, although it can start later if either team is attempting an Invade/Invasion strategy.

Jungle-- The Jungle is the fourth Lane and comprises the forested area formed between each of the other lanes, cut in half by the river that runs across the map from Northwest to Southeast.  In the Jungle you will find five Neutral Minion camps: Wolves, Wraiths, Mini-Golems, Ancient Golem, and Lizard Elder.  Certain Champions (the avatars assumed by the players, who are known in game as Summoners) play best in the Jungle lane, and use the Neutral Minions as the primary source of their gold and experience.

Push/Pushing-- When Pushing a lane, players kill opposing minions at a faster rate than normal, enabling their own minions to move up along the lane, making it so that enemy Champions must fight under their turret. While engaged in a Push, you will usually attempt to take down the enemy turret in order to improve map awareness for your team, by making it harder for your opponents to maintain vision in the turretless space.

Buff/Debuff-- A Buff is a positive enhancement on your Champion. Most Buffs come from the Jungle. The Lizard Elder bestows a Red Buff which adds a slow to your attacks and the Ancient Golem gives you a Blue Buff that lowers your cooldowns (how fast you use your abilities) and increases mana regeneration.

Dragon/Baron-- Two epic monsters that dwell in the Jungle.  The Dragon earns 190 gold for each team member, plus a 25 gold bonus for the Champion that slays him. Baron Nashor generates a Purple Buff, plus awards gold to the team.

Solo Top-- Refers to the role played by a single Champion who spends the Laning phase in the Top Lane.  Typical Solo Top Champions will be bruisers, melee fighters that can dish it out and take it. Champions like Garen or Master Yi are great for starting out and practicing Solo Top. Later, Tanks such as Cho'gath, Singed, or Irelia all make excellent Solo Top Champions. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about playing Solo Top.

AP Mid-- Refers to the role played by a single Champion who spends the Laning phase in the Middle Lane. This is almost always a mage-style Champion, who can be Squishy, but who will do massive amounts of magic damage later on. Annie is a great Champion to start with if you want to be smashing foes with a giant stuffed magic teddy bear, and she scales well even into higher leveled game play. Other AP Mids include new characters like Syndra or Zyra, or everyone's favorite black mage, Veigar. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about playing AP Mid.

Jungler-- Refers to the role played by a single Champion who spends the Laning phase in the Jungle. Almost every Champion can Jungle, but the role is very difficult at low levels, and should probably be avoided until you are equipped with Runes and Masteries.  Master Yi makes for a solid Jungle, if you just can't wait to try it out. Better still is Warwick, who is one of the strongest Junglers in higher leveled play and who makes practicing the role much easier than it might be otherwise. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about playing as the Jungler.

ADC-- ADC stands for Attack Damage Carry, and the role is self-explanatory.  As the ADC, it's your job to build damage boosting items and pierce the hearts of the enemy team. Ashe is one of the best Champions to learn the game with, and ADC is the role she plays. The ADC spends the Laning phase in the Bottom Lane, earning experience and gold with the support of a second Champion, whose job is to keep the Carry alive. There are many ADC Champions in League of Legends, and finding the one that fits your style of play best can seem daunting, but Sivir is an inexpensive option who can teach you new tricks if you don't enjoy playing Ashe. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about playing as the Attack Damage Carry.

Support-- The Support is the fifth Champion. Like the Jungler, Support is difficult to play at low levels, because you will not have the Runes or Masteries that boost your gold production. As a Support, you heal and Buff the ADC, while letting them Farm the minions that crawl through the Bot Lane. Most Support Champions, later in the game, will be the biggest, baddest Tank on the battlefield, soaking up damage for your team, and keeping them mowing down the opposition. If you want to start off playing Support, try a Champion like Soraka or Nunu, who come equipped with abilities the naturally Buff or heal the ADC, and can assist in kills to earn gold. Later, Champions like Blitzcrank, Alistar, or Taric are available to help dominate the Bot Lane. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about playing Support.

Summoner/Champion-- In League of Legends, you are a Summoner, and the avatar that represents you on the battlefield is a Champion. There are 105 Champions to choose from, and that number continues to grow.

Leash-- To begin the Laning phase, the Jungler needs a little bit of help to get past his first few Neutral Monster camps. When someone asks for a Leash, they are requesting that the Champions in the Lane closest to where they are starting engage the Neutral camp and begin attacking the monsters that dwell there. It is very important that a Leash does not kill the monster, because the Jungler needs the gold and experience in order to level up and build their items quick enough to be effective when Ganking.

Gank/Ganking-- A gank occurs whenever a Champion leaves their lane to assist in attacking the enemy team in another lane. This will usually be the Jungler, although midlanes like Katarina or Twisted Fate, and top lanes like Shen can also aid in successful ganks. If an opposing Champion leaves the lane you are responsible for, you should report mia and ping the lane that they appeared to be heading for to let your ally know about the possible impending gank.

Mia-- During the Laning phase, occasionally Champions will leave the Lane. This can happen because they've taken too much damage and have to return to their base to heal, or because they have a ton of gold and want to start buying items, but more often than not, it will signal a gank. In order to prevent your allies from overextending and getting caught by the enemy team, you need to signal their departure by typing "mia" in the chat box. It should be preceded by the lane you are in, so if the other Solo Top goes missing, write "top mia" as soon as it happens. When they come back, tell your team by typing "re".

Ping/Pinging-- League of Legends action comes fast and furious, like Jason Statham beating up a room full of shirtless goons. Sometimes you can't type "I need help right here by the Dragon pit but a little closer to their Ancient Golem camp" fast enough. Whenever urgent communication is needed, you can Ping your minimap with two different colors of signals. Yellow is great for telling your teammates that they need to retreat because a whole bunch of bad guys are heading their way, and red can tell everyone you've been forced out of lane and someone needs to protect your turret.

Farm/Farming-- Farming refers to the action of killing minion waves to generate gold and experience. This normally happens during the first 15 minutes or so of the game, but it's important to remember to keep farming as the game progresses, or you risk being underleveled and as broke as a Kardashian sister as soon as our world gets its priorities straight.

In all fairness, one of these girls will never be poor. She has her own, erhm, assets.

Tank-- A Tank is a Champion with tons of natural or item built HP and a lot of armor/magic resistance. Typical tanks include Blitzcrank, Alistar, Singed, Rammus, Amumu, or late-game Nunu. The Tank is an extremely important role in the late game because they will be able to wade into the enemy formations and turrets and absorb damage while the rest of the team crushes dreams and breaks down defenses.

Tanking-- You don't have to be a Tank to be asked to tank something as a verb. In some cases, your allied minions will be far behind the group of teammates who are ready to take down a turret or map objective like Dragon or Baron Nashor. One team member will be tasked with initiating and absorbing the brunt of the assault from the Baron or the turret while everyone else stands around looking pretty and taking it out.

Squishy-- A Squishy Champion is one that doesn't have a lot of built-in sustain or health. The more squishy a Champion is, the less damage they can take and the more damage they are dealt by opposing attacks. Squishy Champions tend to be ranged, and they need to hang back a bit behind a tank or at least a stronger ally in order to avoid being targeted and killed too fast to get their own damage in. Most mages are squishy, along with several of the assassin type Champions like Nocturne or Evelynn. Similarly, ranged ADC's like Ashe, Vayne, Varus, or Graves do not have a lot of armor or magic resist and can go down quickly in a fight if their support isn't on top of the situation. For this reason, when team fighting, you want to be targeting the squishy/high damage enemy team members first, before turning your attention to the bulky/low damage output tanks.

Invade/Invasion-- Invading is a strategy that occurs in the beginning of the game, wherein a group of Champions will attempt to seize control of and slay opposing forces near one of the Neutral Monster camps in the Jungle on the other side of the river. A successful invasion that kills or disables the enemy Jungler, as well as anyone providing a leash, will put the opposing team at a massive disadvantage, and a huge 5 on 4 victory can even end the game before it really starts. Invasions rarely happen at the lower levels of play, but it's worth being aware that it can, and protecting your Jungler and teammates from it happening is extremely important as you level up to 30. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about invading/counter invading.

Runes/Masteries-- These are enhancements that you build before the game even starts that give your Champion better starting stats and base abilities. Both the Jungle and Support roles all but require competent Rune/Mastery set ups in order to most successfully play their positions. You can purchase Runes from the League of Legends store, and you earn points to use in your Mastery pages by leveling up (you get one point per level). This aspect of character building is part of what makes the Champions so versatile, and is one of the main reasons why two players using the same Champion could have drastically different skill sets and roles. For more information, look for a later tip that goes into detail about setting up your Runes and Masteries.

Last-Hitting -- The last attack against an enemy minion, Neutral Monster, or opposing Champion is credited with the kill, and assigned bonus gold and experience. When your attack is the one that kills the enemy, you are the one who benefits. Therefore, it is in your best interest to strike the killing blow against every minion in a wave, an action that results in extra money going in your pocket, and a fatter wallet means more gold to spend when you head back to the Fountain.

Area of Effect Crowd Control -- In order to win a team fight, it is necessary to impede the enemy Champions ability to use their spells and skills effectively. An AoE CC is exponentially more powerful than individual CC because it can hit multiple targets. The CC effects in League of Legends include Fear, Slow, Stun, Charm, and Taunt. Fear makes your targets lose focus and become bewildered. Charm and Taunt cause the target to pursue or attack the caster without regard for what is happening around them. Slow inflicts a movement speed debuff and can affect attack speed or damage. Stun freezes your opponents in place and renders them incapable of fighting. Some Champions with AoE CC include: Fiddlesticks, Veigar, Anivia, Galio, or Morgana.

I said before, this list of terms is not exhaustive, and if you feel as though I missed something that threw you off when you started, or if there is a term you want defined and added to the list, please e-mail me and I will make sure it is updated and included for the future.

As always, comments and questions are welcome, and because LoL is such an awesome game, I'm opening up the site to submissions again. Do you have a build guide? A unique strategy? A Champion combination that breaks open your favorite lane? Maybe you just have some fan fiction you'd love to see published somewhere other than your Facebook page. 

My goal is to build a strong content base for League of Legends, and make it so that when it comes to the fantastic sandwich that is LoL, this is Where the Meat Comes From.

Send Submissions to Always include either your Summoner tag, Twitter handle, or actual, honest-to-Mitt, name.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Decklist 8/19/2012

How excited do you think I was to see a number of new U/G Delver decklists pop up over the last week?  If your answer was anything but "finding out that Peter Jackson is doing 'The Hobbit' or "Lucas' estate turned VII over to Nolan" than you were way off.  Considering that I posted my Potting Soil decklist almost a month ago, I am ecstatic that the community is finally coming around to it.

Even better, it seems that people are still building it wrong.  I mean, seriously, the deck can consistently kill on turn 4 and has a reasonable turn 3, and you are adding more lands and Talrand?  Why?  If you can't aggro kill early, you already have enough control, and more lands plus a "late game" is the worst plan here since 'Jack and Jill' was green lighted.

Roughly comparable to Todd Anderson's U/G Delver list.

So, to help the embattled masses, who live in fear of needing 2/2 flying Drakes when you can have a 7/7 ground-pounding super plant on turn 3 instead, here is the updated version of "Potting Soil".

4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Quirion Dryad

12 Creatures

4 Vapor Snag
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Gut Shot
3 Mutagenic Growth
4 Mental Misstep
4 Mana Leak
3 Apostle's Blessing
4 Ponder

29 Spells

4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Cavern of Souls
7 Island
3 Forest

18 Land

And for those of you wondering, there are several thousand combinations of hands/draw phases that get you a turn 4 kill, but here is an example of the turn 3 for the non-believers:

Example 1:
Dryad, Delver, Gut Shot, Probe, Gut Shot, Harbor, Island.

Turn 1: Island, Delver. Pass.
Turn 2: Reveal Ponder. Attack for 3. Play Harbor, cast Dryad. (Opponent 17). Probe twice, drawing Snapcaster and Island. (3/3 Dryad)
Turn 3: Draw Mutagenic Growth. Play Island and cast Ponder (4/4). Ponder finds Probe.  Probe into land. (5/5) Snapcaster Probe and draw Mutagenic Growth. (7/7) Gut Shot the opponent twice (15 life, Dryad is 9/9). Mutagenic Growth the Dryad twice.  Dryad is 13/13 and Delver is 3/2, attack for 16. 

I threw in a blank to make sure it doesn't seem like the ridiculous run-goods all-day/every day, but there are other ways to get to turn 3 with a dead opponent.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this look at the deck, and don't stop believing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Double, Neat -- 8/8/2012

* Mitt Romney has come under fire from left-wing bloggers for viciously attacking Obama with ads that are literally not true.  Which is strange, since his camp clearly believed that the American public would stay much more focused on his missing tax returns, off-shore accounts, and general unprofessional behavior.  Still, while galvanizing the Democratic base may not be the best strategy the Romneyites have engaged in this far, it seems far more likely to work than his strategy of being the worst possible opposition candidate since Sarah Palin.
"For the last time, the resemblance to Belichick is entirely coincidental, I am not now, nor have I have been a cheater."
-- Something Mitt Romney did not say.

* The United States Men's Volleyball team was unceremoniously knocked out of the Olympic competition by Italy.  Millions around the world shook their head in fear and awe over the power of the, wait.  No.  That was when Spain lost in football.  No one watches Men's Indoor Volleyball.

Not even the players.

* Film critic Zach Baron ruffled some feathers by claiming that the producers behind the Bourne movies accomplished something great "even if they were working from source material that people remained embarrassed to be seen reading in public."  Admittedly, the feathers ruffled belong to me, because as long as women unabashedly break out paperback versions of terrible S&M porn in subways and coffee shops, not to mention knitting circles and garden clubs, clearly no one is embarrassed to be seen reading anything.  Except Mother Jones, people hide that 'zine like it's contraband snuff photography.

Obviously not giving a fuck.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Clone Wars: A Standard Magic the Gathering Decklist

Who doesn't love playing with Relentless Rats?  Only the Spikiest of Spikes can deny the allure of enormous sized Grizzly Bears, made better with merely the presence of a critical mass of their similarly named friends.

In a tragic oversight, Wizards declined to add the "A deck may contain any number of ~these~" text to my new favorite two-drop, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun with what we do have.  Namely, lots and lots of clones.  

What are we cloning?  Wolves.  Of course.  Tony Stark would be proud.

There must always be a Stark...ah, this joke is getting old, eh?

Clone Wars:

4 Timberpack Wolf
4 Phantasmal Image
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
3 Cryptoplasm
2 Clone

17 Creatures

3 Cackling Counterpart
4 Mental Misstep
4 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
3 Revenge of the Hunted
1 Gut Shot

19 Spells

4 Hinterland Harbor
3 Evolving Wilds
2 Alchemist's Refuge
10 Island
5 Forest

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Brief Update

The two new posts, "A Double, Neat" and "A Single Shot, No Chaser" have been well-received, so expect to see considerably more of the same in the future.  Things have been a bit quiet for the moment as I embark on an epic quest to level up in League of Legends to level 30 in less than a week. But plan on seeing a new Decklist post tomorrow, as well as a round-up of the Olympic action in the way only Where the Meat Comes From can deliver.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Double, Neat -- 7/29/2012

* As a long time Twins fan and an even longer-suffering Cubs fan I woke up dismayed to learn that Francisco Liriano has been traded to the hated South Siders.  Ever since his sterling rookie performance that had him at 12-3 with a sub 3.00 ERA to start the season, Frisco has been one of my favorite pitchers to watch.  His slider is a brutal, in-your-face roundhouse that makes the greatest hitters of a generation look like Little Leaguers.  Sadly, throwing it is apparently the equivalent to thrusting your arm in a garbage disposal, for all the havoc it has wreaked on his elbow.  So he heads to the White Sox, where, undoubtedly, he will immediately transform into the top-of-the-rotation ace he was always supposed to be, thus burying my hopes and dreams in one silky, sinking motion.
This isn't so much a pitch as it is a giant f-you to whoever the victim standing in the box may be.
* Kevin Durant demonstrated why, in a game of 5 on 5, he is the best player in the NBA right now, by demolishing France to the tune of 22 points while sitting most of the fourth quarter.  When asked how the reigning NBA champions could have beaten the Dynamic Duo of Westbrook and Durant, the star French player, Tony Parker could only shake his head.  "Well, sometimes you are in a club hanging with Drizzy and bottles start flying, and sometimes David Stern gets pissed off at Cleveland, it's just how it goes," he didn't explain.

* As far as the Magic world is concerned, M13 is shaping up to be a ridiculously competitive, even, and entertaining format.  In fact, the winner of Grand Prix: Shanghai played only two rares in his Top 8 dominating build of red/black aggro.  Of course, he did have two Arms Dealers..

If you have two of these, Krenko, and two Krenko's Command, and you lose?  Richard Garfield appears to take your Magic playing privileges away.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Single Shot, No Chaser -- 7/28/2012

The very first version of this website, which I am fairly certain no one ever read--you owe it to yourselves to check out the archives, I left them there--included short little essays about writing, characterization, plot, and all of that.  Now I'm going to do more.

When a famous, even not so famous, writer talks about style, they tend to focus on crafting a natural sounding tone and method of expression that grows organically from the writer's deep rooted literary sensibility.  Basically, if you ever find yourself in one of those seminars, you get handed a copy of Strunk & White, maybe a Manual of Style or two, and told to figure it out for yourself.  While this is useful in its own way, it doesn't actually help someone trying to transform their flaccid prose into query-slaying priapic textual genius.  There does need to be a starting point, though, so for this first post, I'm going to share a few of my rules for writing, and later on, I plan on making fun of them mercilessly for your amusement.

* "You have to know what the rules are before you can break them."

* "Avoid conjoining conjunctions."

* "Present tense, active voice."

* "God hates serial commas, and so should you."

* "There is nothing that can be said in a thousand words that can't be said in a hundred."

* "If it doesn't make you laugh, cry, poop, or scream, and it's supposed to be entertaining, get rid of it."

* "Thought-provoking digressions are fantastic if you are sitting around a campfire high as a kite or if you are hanging out in a coffee shop looking to get laid, but otherwise, keep that shit to yourself and away from your manuscript."

* "The deus ex machina was invented in the days before Michael Bay started blowing things up and a kid in a garage could design decent sfx.  This is important: it was used because it was awesome, and you don't need it to be awesome anymore, all you need is more NPH."

* "Cliches are cliche for a reason, but that doesn't mean you should use them.  In fact, just don't.  Except in dialogue, if the character would."

* "By the same token, if a character would do something, don't stop them just because it doesn't make for good writing.  Being honest with yourself means letting someone drop a few more f-bombs than you would prefer, because the motherfucker fucking loves swearing."

And, I figured out that my list is longer than a single blog post, so we'll make it fun for next time.  More rules, and more commentary, and maybe even a few more pictures with funny captions.  I know the Internet loves humorous captions.  It told me so once.

A Double, Neat -- 7/28/2012

In honor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, I am currently operating on a twelve hour tape delay.  Or not, really I may have just lost Internet service and couldn't upload yesterday.  Or I forgot.

* Milwaukee Brewers' starting pitcher Zack Greinke has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels.  At first, many among Zack's closest friends were nervous about the prospect of a guy who lost multiple years of million dollar plus earning potential due to social anxiety moving to one of the most crowded cities on the planet.  When they found out that the Los Angeles Angels are not actually from Los Angeles, however, they were relieved.  Just like Zack after the seventh inning of most games, right?
Fortunately, Zack's wife seems, uh, prepared, to live on the West Coast.
* The largest online retailer for Magic: the Gathering has a complete set of dual lands waiting for you.  At the time of this posting all four sets are still available, although the Unlimited package either didn't actually exist, or someone took time from speculating in real estate to pay the price of a decent used car on forty pieces of cardboard.  Don't fret, you can still spend the cost of a brand new car to ensure that every Legacy deck you ever play will not be lacking in duals, just click "add to cart" and check with your credit card company to make sure they will accept a $10,000 charge.

* The 2012 Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame class was revealed on Friday, with renowned deckbuilder Patrick Chapin taking the last slot with 44.91% of the vote.  William "Baby Huey" Jensen missed by essentially one ballot, causing him to immediately pick up the phone.

Best scene ever, or bestest scene?
While the Hall of Fame remains a rather impressive murderer's row of Magic's greatest competitors, it does not exist without controversy.  The most curious thing from this year, which I will only allude to because I imagine there has to be some sort of legal reason why it goes unmentioned, is the treatment of Chapin by Wizards of the Coast.  Brian David Marshall wrote over a thousand words about him (more than any other entrant) without touching on a rather major element of Chapin's back story.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Double, Neat -- 7/26/2012

* Google unveiled Google Fiber today, a revolutionary new breakfast cereal that promises to dethrone long-standing favorites like Fiber-One and Wheaties among the 55+ crowd and those women who appear in Activia commercials.

She's so happy she can't even...nevermind.
* Actually, Google Fiber is the United States' introduction to the kind of Internet the rest of the world has been enjoying for years.  There isn't even a way to make a joke about how fantastic it is going to be for gamers in Kansas City to be sniped by "god-damned camping assclowns" and no longer be able to blame it on lag.

In my day, all we had was a nuclear powered Pistol that could
 kill anyone at anytime from anywhere on the map.  It was the starting weapon.

* In fact, within hours of the announcement, home values in Missouri jumped almost a thousand percent (citation needed) and neighbors started complaining about the tech crowd that jumped down from their flying cars and immediately started buying everything in sight.  They relaxed, however, when it was revealed that Warren Buffet was the one financing the purchases, and he never screws people over, ever.

Artist's rendition of Kansas City real estate value.