The Value of Pro EventsThu 14th Jun 2012 - 9:25pm Category: League of Legends
This video is meant to be paired with the text down below, but the two don't depend on each other. ´╗┐
With MLG just behind us and GESL around the corner, a lot of focus has shifted onto the professional scene of League of Legends. Players can suddenly find hours of some of the highest caliber play in the world at their fingertips. While tournaments may seem to be all about the pros, what about those watching the live event, or the fans tuning in at home? Something that is almost never addressed about tournament streams is how to watch them. Of course, it seems pretty straightforward, but to truly get the most out of the experience, a player looking to improve his or her own gameplay should follow these tips:
While you might not keep a very close eye on pro players, those casting the event do. Learning more about specific players and their strategies can help you to better understand how and why they build a champion the way they do, make certain decisions, and impact their team. The casters, if doing their jobs well, can also give you a great amount of analytical insight to lane matchups and team fights that may not have occurred to you. Furthermore, the casters will keep you up to speed on the action when the spells start flying at the first baron skirmish.
The casters will criticize and compliment major actions of a team or individual to help you learn and understand as well. Pro players aren’t perfect either; they are just the closest we’ve got. Seeing how even they slip up can help prevent you from making the same mistakes.
Although the camera controls aren’t in your hands, you do choose what to focus on in the frame they provide. As a carry farms in lane, don’t focus so much on the last hitting as the positioning of both carry and support. While last hitting takes more practice to perfect, positioning benefits greatly from observation. Something similar can be said about team fights. Every champion will use their abilities, but try to pay attention to the positioning again, the order in which they use the spells, and the way they initiate and focus. The subtleties that may not be the most eye-catching are often the most valuable pieces of knowledge.
The first two tips are great for determining what you should be paying attention to, but what you do with what you see is the most important aspect of watching tournaments overall. Don’t spend your time trying to memorize builds to replicate later; anyone can look up a build. Instead, try to understand (the casters can often help with this) why each player built his items for the specific situation. This can help you get better at building for the game at hand instead of sticking to a fixed one every game. If a player is struggling, you may see him alter his build with some more defense than he would if he were fed, or he might buy a stacking item like bloodthirster or warmog’s if he is dominating.
Understanding the rationale behind builds, champion picks, counterpicks, bans, and each decision made on Summoner’s Rift helps to make you a better decision maker yourself, and a better player at that. While mechanics can’t be diffused through a computer screen, general knowledge of the game and strategies can.
In short, don’t expect to come out of a tournament weekend and discover that you are suddenly a last hitting god, or that you hit every one of your skill shots. Instead, hope to come out with better game logic and strategy. This knowledge will also help you understand changes to the meta-game and team play in future tournaments, and how the game evolves over time. Tournaments are a great opportunity to bring your play to the next level, if you know what you’re looking for.