NA LCS Summer Split Kickoff

The NA LCS picks up again this weekend with the opening of the 2017 Summer Split so it’s an exciting time for League of Legends.

This is the Split that actually determines which teams will represent North America at worlds this year. And with the rather expected/boring ending of the spring split, I hope this split hold more excitement and typically the summer split does as temperatures rise since there is much more at stake this split. Continue reading “NA LCS Summer Split Kickoff”

Player Spotlight: Kevin Love

Kevin Love has been working behind the scenes.

Once a franchise player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Love has taken on a lesser role with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, last night in Game 1 against Boston, Love stole the show; recording a playoff career-high and was dropping bombs from behind the arc.

A look at the most underrated big man’s season with the Cleveland Cavaliers:

Continue reading “Player Spotlight: Kevin Love”

Halftime Hot Take: Gerald Green!

Prior to the start of Game 4 , we learned Gerald Green was set to return to the starting lineup after his 8-point performance in Game 3. No one was ready (especially not the Bulls) for what would come next.

Continue reading “Halftime Hot Take: Gerald Green!”

NA LCS Finals: Thoughts and Predictions

With this weekend being Finals, the North American LCS 2017 Spring Split will soon come to a conclusion with the 3rd place match between Phoenix 1 and FlyQuest and the 1st place match between Team Solo Mid and Cloud 9.

Meaning that the split will come to an upsetting and predictable end. Upsetting not because I dislike the teams in the finals (this shows that they are the best in the region and thus deserved the spot), but rather because I feel that we all wanted something different, given that this year’s finals is simply a mirror of the 2016 Summer Split.

The regular split and finals thus far were full of excitement and upsets only to end on the same terms as last time. It does however give these two teams (which let’s be honest are the best hope this region has to win internationally) a chance to gain momentum going into summer spit and possibly worlds.

The winners will also earn a spot in the 2017 MSI where they will test the waters against the international teams they will most likely see at worlds. As far as which team I think will win, I have to go with TSM.

 

Though they had a rough beginning this split, TSM has shown significant progress as a team. They came in with a new ADC and it really seemed to mess them up at first. But since TSM WildTurtle has settled in to his past home the team is functioning as well as ever.

Whereas C9 synergized from the start with their new top lane they steadily lost their lead towards the end. And though they seem to have fixed their problems (judging from their 3-0 victory against P1) I still feel as though TSM is stronger at this point.

Given that TSM Hauntzer has shown time and time again he can survive (and mostly win) against anything a team can throw (It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a top lane 2v1 so well) and with TSM Bjergsen being able to stomp anyone in the region who is put in his lane, I see little room for C9 outside of bot lane (where TSM should be able to hold the line as well).

But seeing that TSM likes to throw the first games in these matches then sweep the next 3 I suspect the series will end 3-1 TSM (maybe 3-2 if things don’t go as planned one game).

After Finals the team that wins will compete at MSI where they face off against the winner of the splits around the world and where the season gets truly exciting.

NA LCS Promotional Tournament Wrap-Up

The last few weeks have been stressful for every team in the North American professional scene as they prepare for playoffs. But the teams with the hardest week were those competing in the promotional tournament this past weekend.

The winners of which are given a spot in the North American LCS Summer Split and a chance to compete for a spot at the World Champions. Team Liquid of course, competed in the LCS this past spring split, and though they fixed many problems with the movement of Piglet to Mid lane and the addition of DoubleLift as ADC, they still fell short due to their poor performance in the beginning of the spit.

Team Envy on the other habitually showed poor macroplay that allowed teams with less individual talent to out scale the typically strong individual players in Envy. These teams competed against the first and second place of the Challenger Series Spring Split.

Team Liquid played against first place eUnited and Team Envy faced off against the second place Gold Coin United.

Going into this series I wasn’t sure what to expect. Both LCS teams had the potential to win but could have easily fallen short had they not showed up to play. The first matches saw a Team Liquid win (with DoubleLift and Piglet winning at this level isn’t surprising) and a Gold Coin United win (also not surprising).

These teams then faced off against each other. But Team Liquid was able to pull the win (3-2) leaving Gold Coin United to play against Team Envy who were able to eliminate eUnited. Envy Tried to throw the games but were able to pull out a win, keep their spot and return to the LCS along with Team liquid.

I can’t say these games weren’t close and the challenger teams played well but they fell just short, but the promotional was just the beginning of the playoff season.

This weekend is the beginning of the NA LCS spring playoffs, where Counter Logic Gamming will play against FlyQuest and Phoenix 1 will play against Team Dignitas. So I’m sure many surprises are in store in the coming weeks.

League of Legends: NA LCS Playoff Preview

After 18 games best of 3 games for each team the North American LCS spring split regular season has come to an end. With Team Solo Mid (15-3) in first place with Cloud 9 (14-4) following closely behind in second.

These teams will not play again until the semifinals. Their opponents will be decided by best of 5s between third –sixth places in the quarterfinals.

In third we have Phoenix 1(11-7) who will face fifth place Team Dignitas (9-9). The winner of which will play against Cloud 9.

The fourth place Counter Logic Gaming (10-8) will play against fifth place FlyQuest (9-9), and the winner of this series will play again TSM. I could go on about what I expect to happen in these matches but honestly with the trend this split has presented thus far most bets are off.

I will say Phoenix 1 should be able to beat Team Dignitas and CLG should be able to beat FlyQuest based off base statistics and team experience but if this split has taught us anything about professional league of legends it’s that predictions can mean very little just look at last week I mean who could have predicted that Team Liquid(5-13) would have been able to beat TSM 2-1?

However coming up this week isn’t the quarterfinals, it’s the promotional/relegation matches Team Liquid and Team Envy( 3-15) will face off against eUnited and Gold Coin United from the North American Challenger Series.

The winners of these matches will be promoted/remain in the LCS the losers will be demoted/remain in the Challenger Series. For Envy anything could happen but with Liquid besting TSM in the last week of the regular split they showed that they can perform well for the important games. So without any massive mistakes, they should be able to secure their spot for the summer split.

I am sure that both the promotional and playoff matches will hold plenty of excitement. We will just have to see who will come out on top and secure a lead and potential momentum heading into the summer split where the teams in the NA LCS will compete for their spots in the 2017 World Championship.

Does Samurai Jack Season 5 live up to its hype?

Samurai Jack Season 5 aired on March 11, 2017. Cale breaks down whether it lives up to the hype or not.

Thanks to Adult Swim having the foresight that this would be a big night for them, I watched the premiere of Samurai Jack Season 5 online along with upwards of 30,000 other people.

As I said in my previous article on the subject, the fourth season of Samurai Jack finished airing on September 25, 2004 before being cancelled. This left fans distraught and worried that they would never truly see the Samurai from the past accomplish his goals.

After series creator Genndy Tartakovsky announced the fifth and final season would air on Adult Swim in 2016, pushed back into 2017 after production slowed, fans rejoiced and began hyping the series up.

Many people looked at the outcry of joy, support and hope with a critical eye and said that even with many of the same people working on it, 13-years of hiatus will deteriorate the product.

Well I am here to say that the revival of Samurai Jack blew my expectations away. Other than the budget getting a boost, which shows in how beautiful the episode looked, and the show now airing on an adult network, so the creators no longer need to censor violence, the show is as strong as ever.

I watched the episode two times, back to back, and time seemed to fly because I was so enamored with it. It took me back to when I was a little kid, staying up late to watch it with my little brother and dad.

The art style looks more polished and less constricted by both the technology at the time and the vision of the creator. 13-years has given some of the characters a reimagining, but the feel of the show as a whole is identical to previous seasons.

The signature backgrounds and stylized characters are back and look better than ever. The cuts during action still draw you in and odd framing choices point you to areas that might have gone unnoticed to the average eyes.

On the note of drawing attention to something, Jack is seriously messed up after those 50-years have passed. I won’t delve into spoilers since this is an experience I want everyone to have for themselves, but let’s just say there is a large case of PTSD in store for the near future.

There are things shown, talked about and foreshadowed that I cannot wait to see more of in the future. As soon as I turned off the stream I was already anxious for the second episode.

The blood is minimal, but shows that coupled with the already darker tone, this season might get really personal for our favorite time-traveler.

Starting with next week’s episode I will break down each new one, but for the first week I hope you go and enjoy the final chapter of a cartoon classic.

Samurai Jack is back!

On March 11th, 2017 the final season of Samurai Jack will air 13-years after Season 4 ended.

After years of leaving fans in suspense, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim finally gave creator Genndy Tartakovsky the green light to bring back his most successful series, Samurai Jack, after it has been off the air for 13-years.

Saturday, March, 11th will see the release of Samurai Jack Season 5, episode 1 on Adult Swim at 11 p.m. EST (10 p.m. CST) and start the 10-episode conclusion to the cult classic.

The last episode of Samurai Jack before this new season was season 4, episode 13 “Jack and the Baby”, which aired Saturday, September 25, 2004. Now over a decade late, myself and many other fans are anxiously waiting for more of the time traveling samurai’s adventures.

In the trailer that was released earlier this year, it was revealed that Jack’s original voice actor, Phil LaMarr, would be reprising his famous role and Greg Baldwin will continue his long line of roles that were originally held by deceased Japanese voice actor Makoto “Mako” Iwamatsu. Baldwin has voiced Aku multiple times for other projects since Mako’s passing.

The visuals for the final season of the fan favorite cartoon received a huge upgrade and look stunning in nearly every facet. While it is true that the show has been upgraded, it is still clear as day that the same style and expertise used in the original that we all remember so fondly.

Speaking of the familiar style, one major difference that can be gleamed form the small amount of the show we have been given is the much darker tone this iteration seems to be leaning towards. Now the original seasons were never completely lighthearted, season 5 seems to be heading for a dark conclusion that might take fans by surprise.

I am sure the ending will be satisfying to no end, but I can’t help the feeling that our favorite swordsman might not get the happy ending people think he deserves.

With updated visuals and a large portion of the cast and creative team from the original project having worked tirelessly to get this done for countless years, the hype will finally be put to the test when Toonami starts up on Saturday.