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All-Star sends off 2019!

Maybe the real All-Stars were the friends we made along the way? Nah, it was Bwipo. In a weekend that brought together the biggest stars from both the competitive side and the streaming side of League of Legends, All-Star was filled with fun festivities. It was a party fit to close out another year of LoL, and if you happened to miss it, here are a few of the biggest highlights from Las Vegas!

Everyone had their predictions for who would take the 1v1 — Caps, Uzi, TheShy, Faker, etc. Those are, of course, all good predictions. They are also, of course, all incorrect. Rotating through a circus of champions that included Ornn, Hecarim, and Lee Sin, Bwipo overcame both TheShy and Uzi in the Semifinal and Finals respectively to take home the 1v1 title. This was in addition to him winning the TFT match and also literally everything he did. 

We saw five Team Fight Tactics matches this week that featured both pro-caliber Challenger players and a lower elo game. It was the first chance for many League of Legends fans to see the hit game mode that’s drawn so many people to it since it launched earlier this year. The dominant comps were Predator-centric comps revolving around Kog’Maw carries, which was also the comp that ultimately took the final TFT Legends match (the highest level one this weekend).

But we also saw strong showings from Singed/Zed comps, Ocean/Mages, Shadow/Summoner, Woodland Hyper Roll, and Blademaster Nocturne. For those of you in-the-know with TFT, this is an extremely diverse list of comps that are all viable at the highest level of play and is a breath of fresh air from some metas that were centered around just one or two viable comps. It’s a good sign of what’s to come for TFT in 2020. The tournament highlighted some of the potential for what TFT has to offer as an esport, where skill and luck collide to create a very surprising spectating experience for fans. 

In addition to the individual champions from the two marquee events, we saw Europe defeat North America in the regional showmatch. This, too, felt fitting given how the year went for the two regions. The other major regional showmatch was between the LCK and the LPL, where the Korean contingent dominated China (including this gem from Faker and Madlife) to prove that despite all the other results this year, they are actually the best. The All-Star Event is, of course, the highest level of play. It doesn’t mean anything to win a game with four really good teammates — you need to be able to win a Solo Queue simulation, which is LoL in its purest form.

The games were played on a special patch that hasn’t been released yet and included previews of Aphelios, the newest emo boy-band marksman to grace the bot lane. The thing that makes him stand out the most is his ability to rotate between five weapons, which lets him quickly go from the likes of a shotgun to a sniper rifle. The versatility allows him to not do what everyone else is doing so he can keep his cool (and very important) emo hipster identity.

It was also our first glimpse at how the new alcoves on the bot and top side of the map might affect the game. So far, they haven’t really done much, and when I asked pros their opinion of it, they also weren’t really sure what uses it might have yet. It’s still too early to tell what its effectiveness might be like in the long run, but perhaps an alcove buff is in order (my idea is to build a jail cell there so that I can throw my ADC into it when they start whining). 

The Elemental Dragon changes are also in effect, but it’s also difficult to gauge just how much they’ll affect professional games just yet. CoreJJ told me that he feels like it’s a win condition that’s on par with literally killing the Nexus, so I feel like it’ll be something to keep an eye out throughout the offseason in your own games. It’s also a neat reminder that ASE is both a party to close out one year and a tiny preview of what’s to come in the next. 

And with that, so wraps another year of League of Legends esports. I hope you all have a wonderful offseason — may it be filled with good luck for your TFT rolls and good teammates for your League of Legends grind. 

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Why We Watch ASE 2019