Posts by "Mark Mackay"

Top 10 League of Legends Analysts to Follow

If you want to improve your game, adding League of Legends analysts to your Twitter feed and listening to them ply their trade is a good way to score valuable insights and develop your game knowledge.

Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, such as learning a few heroes and the typical game progression, hearing breakdowns from seasoned analytical minds helps. Whether it’s picking apart individual plays or finer details on the current meta.

Try it for yourself. We’ve put together a list of our top 10 LoL analysts to make it easy for you.

1. David “Phreak” Turley

LoL analyst, David "Phreak" Turley

A regular addition to League of Legends tournament analyst desk, David “Phreak” Turley is a popular presenter with clearly explained insights. Also, having made contributions as a community coordinator working for Riot games, he’s kind of a key personality in the League community. Definitely worth a follow on Twitter.

Twitter: @riotphreak
Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/RiotPhreak

2. Tim “Timkiro” Cho

LoL analyst, Tim “Timkiro” Cho

At the time of writing, sources report several analysts working for Cloud 9, so it was tricky to know which one to pick. But, we decided to go with Cho as he was previously support player and captain, but moved to the analyst role after a recent controversy.

Show your support by following this excellent player on Twitter and enjoy the occasional C9 free giveaway like this one, so keep an eye open for more in the future..

Twitter: @timkiro
Twitch:
 twitch.tv/timkiro

3. Jang-sik ‘Lustboy’ Ham

LoL analyst, LoL analyst, Tim “Timkiro” Cho

After failing to make it out of the group stage in the 2015 World Championships, Jang-sik ‘Lustboy’ Ham, moved from the starting support position to the role of analyst for TSM. Ham started gaming at the young age of five with StarCraft: Brood War and is now a prominent personality in the League scene. Although officially retired as a player, he’s TSM’s analyst and has the requisite excellent taste in cat GIFs.

Twitter: @LustLoL
Facebook fanpagefacebook.com/TSMLustboy
Blog: thelust.net

4. Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman

LoL analyst, Mark "MarkZ" Zimmerman

Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman was the head analyst for a Team Liquid’s LoL team and, as such an established eSports brand name, it’s always worth following these vet’s. Their websites and communities are valuable wellspring of strategy and info.

In his Twitter feed, you’ll find life and professional updates in addition to notifications of “The Blame Game” episodes; a video series whereby Zimmerman analyzes Reddit posts to see if the finger-pointing has any real value.

Twitter: @liquidmarkz

5. Fabien “GuySake” Ungerer

LoL analyst, Fabien "GuySake" Ungerer

Earlier this year, Fabien “GuySake” Ungerer was signed up to be Fnatic’s in-house analyst around the same time as Finlay “Quaye” Stewart was recruited as the new manager.

Ungerer studied professional game design and is reportedly a talented coder with a knack for data analysis and presentation. As one of the newest members of this prominent LoL team, he’s definitely one to follow.

Twitter: @guysake

6. Trevor “Quickshot” Henry

LoL analyst, Trevor "Quickshot" Henry

Here’s another presenter with regular spots in LoL tournaments. Hailing from South Africa, Trevor “Quickshot” Henry is an official commentator employed by Riot Games.

Originally involved in eSports with Call of Duty 4, Henry eventually move to League of Legends after making the switch to shoutcasting. There’s some cool stuff posted on his Twitter feed, too.

Twitter: @RiotQuickshot
Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/QuickshotOfficial

7. Micheal “Veteran” Archer

LoL analyst, Micheal “Veteran” Archer

Head analyst of H2K-Gaming,  is also a writer over at The Score eSports, one of our favorite news outlets for League.

In addition to his excellent game write-ups and valuable insights, you’ll also find excellent actionable advice on his Twitter feed.

Twitter: @VeteranEU

8. Joshua “Jatt” Leesman

LoL analyst, Joshua "Jatt" Leesman

For almost 3 years at the time of writing, Joshua “Jatt” Leesman has worked for Riot as an associate game analyst. He’s also a retired professional player, having had stint in teams Rock Solid and Dignitas.

His Twitter feed is great for updates and the kind of team fight breakdown that’s always good for for anyone wanting to improve their LoL game.

Twitter: @RiotJatt
Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/JattLeague

9. Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgaard

LoL analyst, Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgaard

Recently signed on as head analyst for Origen by founder, xPeke, Nicholas ‘NicoThePico’ Korsgaard  Korsgaard has been involved in the eSports scene for many years. He also played professionally in the original StarCraft and has active social feeds worth following.

Twitter: @NicoThePico
Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/NicoThePico.LoL

10. Alec “Qwerm” Warren

LoL analyst, Alec "Qwerm" Warren

Finally comes Alec “Qwerm” Warren, an analyst and substitute for NRG eSports. Warren’s first gaming interests went from CounterStrike, to World of Warcraft where he was in a top 10 PVE guild before finally moving to League of Legends. After hitting Challenger in Season 3, he moved on to pro games.

Warren’s Twitter feed has some pretty entertaining shenanigans and valuable LoL strategies, such as how to create human pyramids with your League team.

Twitter: @nrg_qwerm

Who did we miss out?

Got any favoritesLeague of Legend analysts to recommend? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

[Image credit: loleSports]

How to Learn League of Legends from a Martial Arts & Chess Champion

Have you ever wondered not just how you can improve your game, but how you can improve the way you learn League of Legends and other disciplines?

Your approach to learning directly affects the number of games you win, how fast you climb the ranks and how capable you are of executing those super sick plays in the heat of the moment.

One of the best ways to learn how to learn is by studying top-tier performers, whether from League of Legends or any other field.

As a youth, Josh Waitzkin was an international chess champion and the only one to win the National Primary, Elementary, Junior High School, High School, U.S. Cadet, and U.S. Junior Closed and was also the subject of the Hollywood movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Still young around 1998, Waitzkin had grown weary of chess, and it wasn’t long before he found Tai Chi as a new discipline, quickly moving to its martial form, Push Hands. In a few short years, Waitzkin went on to be the World Champion, even beating the notoriously tough Chinese opponents at the international tournament in Taiwan.

the art of learning book

Clearly, this man was on to something. Specifically, something that helped him master two deeply challenging, mentally demanding competitive sports, heavy in fighting, strategy and mind games. Sounds familiar…

Waitzkin’s book, The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance is a bible for those looking to ascend the ranks of any discipline. As a new player still learning the game, I returned to it recently for reminders on how I should practice.

The practical takeaways relevant to League of Legends are as profound as they are numerous. You’re about to have your approach to learning LoL changed for the better.

The two approaches to learning

So how do you learn League of Legends? In the book, Waitzkin cites a study conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck who researched the mentality needed for exceptional performance among children. And broadly speaking, there were two approaches to learning.

1. The entity theory

The entity theory was displayed by children who’d adopted a mentality that they were either good at something, or not so good. They attributed success or struggle to an inherent skill level which was not easily changed; a latent ability level that dictated the quality of the outcome.

2. The incremental theory

The second type of learner attributed their success to the fact they worked hard for it. Difficult tasks or lofty goals were achievable if they knuckled down and worked towards them incrementally. Even if they were novices at the time, through applying themselves, they could achieve mastery.

Anyone who wants to learn league of Legends and work their way up the ranks will recognize the lesson here. But it’s interesting to know these learning approaches are scientifically documented. It’s easy to throw your hands up in exasperation and announce, “well, I suck at this!” when you get punished for being out of position. But the reality is, if you truly commit to incrementally improving your game, you can become a master.

Numbers to leave numbers

You may have heard advice before that watching your own games is a powerful tool for learning. Waitzkin also uses this in his principal, and he calls it “numbers to leave numbers”:

“In the course of a nine-round chess tournament, I’d arrive at around four or five critical positions that I didn’t quite understand or in which I made an error. Immediately after each of my games, I quickly entered the moves into my computer, noting my thought process and how I felt emotionally at various stages of the battle. Then after the tournament, armed with these fresh impressions…When I looked at the critical position from my Tournament game, what had stumped me a few days or hours or weeks before now seemed perfectly apparent.”

Watching a 30-45 minute League replay of a game you just lost might seem like a chore. Surely, queuing another game is a better opportunity to learn LoL? Certainly it will be more fun for most of us. But go back to the replay and pull up the parts where you got rekt and you’re not sure why. Pick apart the situation with questions such as:

  • What was relevant about the match-up here?
  • What advantage did my opponent have that I failed to consider?
  • Were they at a key level breakpoint that opened up a skill that made a difference?
  • What toolkit does this champion have that I’m not so familiar with?
  • Was this player using an item or build I don’t know yet?

Over time, it pays off. And when you next find yourself in similar situations, you’ll be infinitely more likely to succeed.

The downward spiral

Most readers won’t need an explanation of “the downward spiral”. The slightest thing that bothers you is a potential precursor to something that bothers you a little bit more, and before you know it, you’ve spiraled down to full-blown tilt.

It’s important we acknowledge when things bug us, but not to dwell, rage or flame over them. Because our ability to learn League of Legends is seriously hindered when we do. Instead, we should aim to see mistakes as opportunities to get creative and claw back whatever advantage we may have just given away. As Waitzkin puts it:

“Musicians, actors, athletes, philosophers, scientists, writers understand that brilliant creations are often born of small errors. Problems set in if the performer has a brittle dependence on the safety of absolute perfection or duplication. Then an error triggers fear, detachment, uncertainty, or confusion that muddies the decision-making process.”

We’re all guilty of raging, and we all know it doesn’t help us win games. But now, it’s official. The downward spiral is a thing, and we must be weary and build discipline to avoiding it if we want to become truly competent players. In short, we need to enter “The Soft Zone”.

The Soft Zone

The tendency to let a bad start affect the rest of the game is sometimes tough to avoid. Especially if you’re on a rough streak. Maybe you missed your creep score benchmark, or maybe the killing spree announcement for the enemy team’s top laner gives you that distracting pang of loss in your gut.

A good opponent will take advantage of such chinks in your armor. They’ll be spurred on while that disappointment breaks your concentration, puts you slightly out of position, a snare lands, and the downward spiral looms overhead.

Waitzkin’s remedy to this is The Soft Zone. The analogy he uses is that of the blade of grass in a hurricane. No matter how hard the hurricane blows, the blade of grass will bend, but never break. When we let things bother us, we’re more like brittle twigs; easily snapped when pressure is applied.

Building your trigger

What can you do to enter in The Soft Zone at will? To cultivate flow and significantly increase your chances of a good performance each time, even when your ADC is feeding like they’re five cans deep into a six-pack? Waitzkin uses a process he calls “building a trigger”:

“…a problem I have seen in many inconsistent performers. They are frustrated and confused trying to find an inspiring catalyst for peak performance, as if the perfect motivational tool is hovering in the cosmos waiting for discovery. My method is to work backward and create the trigger.”

The steps to build a trigger go like this:

  1. Think back to a time when you were truly in a state of flow. A relaxed presence where you can really focus and enjoy what you’re doing. Maybe it was going skiing, maybe it’s playing catch with your parent or child (an example used in the book), having a particularly killer session where you got a pentakill. Waitzkin says that he’s “…observed that virtually all people have one or two activities that move them in this manner, but they usually dismiss them as “just taking a break.”
  2. Next up, Waitzkin recommends sitting down to eat a light snack before doing a meditative breathing exercise. Regarding the meditation, just sit, calm your mind and focus on your breath for 10 minutes. When your thoughts drift, come back to focus on your breath. It’s meditation 101. As for the snack, if you play 10 games of the League every day, that’s a lot of Doritos and Mountain Dew. Whether that’s your food of choice or you choose something healthier (probably recommended, let’s face it) just move straight on to the meditation if that feels right for you.
  3. Stretch your body out a little. In the case of gamers, stretching out wrists and hands might be a good thing to focus on. I myself used to suffer from pretty serious Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the wrists, and I found that a particular sequence from a specific type of Yoga practiced 10 minutes a day practically healed the problem. I’ll be writing a detailed article and probably making a video in the future
  4. Listen to a little music. There’s something about music that helps build associations faster. Ever heard a track you associate with an earlier time of your life, maybe a great summer, and it instantly brings back all those memories? It’s the same idea for building your trigger. The track you use is up to you, but something calming, focusing, inspiring might be a good idea.
  5. Play League

So, to recap, remember a time in your life when you were in a state of relaxed flow, do a simple meditation exercise, stretch and add a little music to help associate that same calm, focused feeling with League games, and you’re sure to see your play improve.

Just like building the associations with anything, it takes a little time. But, the more we work on it, the more time we spend in an optimal learning state when playing League of Legends. As Waitzkin says:

“The point to this system of creating your own trigger is that a physiological connection is formed between the routine and the activity it precedes.”

Yes, with this routine, you may play a few games less per day or week. But the quality of your games can increase significantly.

Making sandals

When we find ourselves in sticky situations, we need to do what we can with what we’ve got. If you build your trigger and find your The Soft Zone, you’re more likely to avoid the downward spiral and get creative, or “make sandals.”

Top-tier performers work with what they have. They don’t wish things were different and get all salty when Teemo joins their Garen on the top lane in solo queue and no one uses the jungle; they make sandals and make the most of the situation. The concept comes from an Indian proverb which has Waitzkin describes in the book:

“A man wants to walk across the land, but the earth is covered with thorns. He has two options. One is to pave his road, to tame all of nature into compliance. The other is to make sandals. Making sandals is the internal solution. Like the Soft Zone, it does not base success on a submissive world or overpowering force, but on intelligent preparation and cultivated resilience.”

A good example might be if you’re playing a jungler, your top lane is getting zoned out of farm, and is maybe a couple of kills down. If your bot lane has a strong duo against a favorable enemy match-up, focus all your attention on the bottom lane rather than getting salty and flaming at your top laner. That’s working with what you’ve got to ensure success.

Investment in loss

This idea leads nicely onto the next learning principle which is “investment in loss”. Sometimes, when you go into a game and it becomes clear your ADC is greedy for kills and regularly playing way out of position (like I did for some games when I started playing Ashe), making sandals is easier said than done. The salt is real, and tilt is once again just around the corner.

But, the reality is, you’ll likely lose about 50% of your games anyway. So ensure you invest in those losses rather than let them be things you want to forget as soon as you’ve persuaded the rest of your team to surrender at 20 minutes. For example:

  • Can you have a good team fight elsewhere on the map and practice your positioning?
  • Can you beat your CS score and set new benchmarks?
  • Is there an opportunity to practice a different item build you’d been considering?

You might not win the game. But make it count towards improving your skill level, if not your win-loss ratio.

Making smaller circles

This concept is described by Waitzkin with the analogy of a straight jab; a fundamental of many martial arts.

If you want to make a big impact on the punch bag (the kind of impact that makes it fly back with force) the temptation is to wind your arm up far and then haul it at the target. That’s a problem because it’s easy for your opponent to spot the punch coming from miles away, and dodge it.

But really, the desired effect of the bag flying back comes from solid technique, not how far you can swing your arm back. So, after focused practice to get force flowing through your body, arm and eventually fist, it’s possible to see the same effect of the bag flying back without all of the unnecessary swinging back. A short, quick jab.

That’s how you make smaller circles. The same external result with the minimum effort expelled.

A good example of this in League (or any other MOBA) might be positioning your screen over a team fight with the mouse, otherwise known as camera control.

New players often don’t realize it, but the tendency in team fights is to spend too much time positioning and re-positioning the camera over the fight. Just watch yourself in a replay.

Every time you move your mouse to the edge of the screen to get a little more vision around the area, you move the cursor away from clicking a skill onto a target at a crucial moment and you’re much more likely to miss.

That means you waste valuable split seconds that can mean the difference between winning and losing a team fight, and ultimately the game. Although I do my best to make smaller circles with my camera positioning, and use the minimap for periphery vision, it’s definitely a process…

What else are you doing in League where you could achieve the same result with less effort?

Cultivating presence

Towards the end of the book, Waitzkin talks about cultivating presence. For example, if you’re:

  • Stressed out about losing
  • Overly excited about winning
  • Want to get this “bad” game over so you can hit the queue for a fresh start
  • Are hungry and want to finish the game so you can grab more Doritos

All of these things come at the expense of the moment. You’re there at your keyboard, but you’re not really present.

When we’re not present, we simply can’t perform to our greatest potential. Our minds are distracted and we’re unfocused.

A good example of this for me is when I see a precious opportunity to gank an enemy solo farming their lane, hoping no one will notice their plans for a sneaky backdoor push. I ping excitedly, head over there all amped up, and get so focused on the gank that my map awareness goes down the toilet.

Next thing I know, I’m getting unceremoniously destroyed by the enemy team who were watching me travel there the whole time, my backup was too far away for me to have engaged the gank in the first place and, after I’m deleted, my team mate’s next in line for an asswhooping.

By letting the excitement of something that might happen in the future (in this example, the seemingly imminent gank) whatever presence I may have had evaporated and my attention was not focused where it needs to be; in the moment. As Waitzkin says:

“If you get into a frenzy anticipating the moment that will decide your destiny, then when it arrives you will be overwrought with excitement and tension.”

Conclusion

It’s an amazing book and it’s great to see the parallels drawn between competitive eSports like League of Legends and other battle-heavy psychological games such as chess or martial arts. So let’s have a quick recap on how to use these principles to learn League of Legends faster and more effectively than you are right now.

Let’s do a quick recap:

  • First, remember that learning takes time and an incremental approach. You don’t suck; you just need focused, intentional practice.
  • Watch your old games at stages when you were stumped so you know what to do for next time instead of repeating the same mistake
  • Don’t get tilted, and be mindful of the things that start the downward spiral that leads you there.
  • Work on building your trigger to enter The Soft Zone at will
  • Invest in loss by learning and improving what you can while you’ve got a game loaded up anyway.
  • Keep cultivating presence, even when things get super exciting or downright spirit-crushing

If you do these things, you’ll be in Diamond V or higher before you know it, or at least much quicker than if you didn’t.

Bonus

New information is easy to forget if you don’t review it. Our article on how to learn is very in-depth, so we’ve created this separate bullet point list of the concepts discussed to help them sink in and make it easier to apply the wisdom from Josh Waitzkin’s book.

Download this sheet to your phone, browse through it on the way to school or work, before you start a game or any other time when you see few minutes. By embedding this information in your mind, you’re much more likely to use it.

The Art of Learning Cheat Sheet

The Art of Learning Cheat Sheet.

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Top 10 “How to Play League of Legends” Videos

If you’re wondering how to play League of Legends in a way that’ll see you climb the rankings and get out of “low elo hell”, you’ve landed on the right page. We’ve scoured YouTube to find and collect the most insightful and well-presented videos on the topic.

 1. 5 Key Mistakes That Low Elo Players Make

Channel: Foxdrop
Views: 2.2 million+
Likes: 23,500+

We’ll get things started with FoxdropLoL, a guy with an-elo raising League of Legends channel boasting some half a million subscribers.

The video in question covers common crimes made by low elo players such as item build mistakes, objective prioritization, and why you’re doing the dragon wrong. Get perspective on how to view farming and other important points on climbing the ranks.

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2. How to get to Challenger Division in League of Legends

Channel: gbay99
Views: ~1.8 million
Likes:
~10,500

Gbay99 is a highly competent player who pushed a 2,100 elo rating back in Season 2, and this video is dedicated to people stuck at whatever level. Getting good it isn’t about gimmicks, tips or tricks (although they can be useful if used properly).

As Gbay99 lays down the line in this video, it’s largely about your mindset, mentality, psychology; whatever you want to call it. Listen to the story of his friend who approached LoL in a very different way to him.

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3. 15 Tips To Getting Higher ELO – Preparing For Season 6 – League of Legends

Channel: Redmercy
Views: 465,000+
Likes: 8.300+

Redmercy has a great YouTube channel with over ¾ million subscribers at the time of writing. In this video, he spoke to Diamond, Challenger, and Master LoL players to discover what they felt were the top tips for blasting through those rank ceilings and then put them together into a very concise ~10 minutes.

Some of the tips are staring you in the face but are easily overlooked, and some are completely unexpected.

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4. Best Fake Flash Jukes Tips and Tricks Compilation, League of Legends

Channel: Dinisvale
Views: 2.5 million+
Likes: 6,800+

This video is from someone who only has about 4,000 subscribers, but it’s amassed around 2.5 million views. Clearly people have flocked to check out the best dukes.

There’s no voice over or instruction, but if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to use the brush in LoL to full effect, here it is. When you’re learning how to play League of Legends, it’s easy to miss this strategy in the lower elo rankings. So this should give you an edge.

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5. League of Legends: Zoning Tutorial

Channel: Shurelia
Views: 2.2 million+
Likes: ~7,400

Even though it was made back in 2009, this vid’ on zoning is still relevant today. By understanding this concept, you’re much more likely to get out of low elo’s and become a better League player. Her voice is also kinda awesome…

Learn where the zones are so your attention and positioning are both in the right place at the right time.

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6. Stutter Step, Attack Move, and Awesome Keybinding Trick

Channel: Ciderhelm
Views: 1.6 million+
Likes: 13,400+

After you’ve got down League of Legends fundamentals, here’s an intermediate-to-advanced trick that can help drag you kicking and screaming from the lower elo levels.

Using “attack move” and “stutter stepping”can make the difference to your kill/death ratio so you win more games. Join the 1.6 million people who’ve watched this video so you’re not left behind.

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7. League of Legends Troll spotlight: Teemo

Channel: JimbowuahooMB
Views: ~1.6 million
Likes: 15,200+

So far, we’ve done a lot of work. While researching this article, we stumbled across this excellent slightly trolly video for Teemo, so before the last two videos, take a break and watch away.

It also does raise an important point for learning LoL. If you want to get good at this game, every time you decide to learn how to play League of Legends champions, always watch a guide that shows how to play the specifics of that champion in greater detail. Here’s an excellent and entertaining example.

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8. 10 Things Challenger Players Do That You Don’t

Channel: Foxdrop
Views: 980,000+
Likes: ~14,000

The cool thing about MOBAs is that everyone starts with the same resources in the same positions. And, whether you’re a pro or just starting out, you’ve got the same opportunities available to you in each and every match. So what’s the difference between your play and those in the Challenger teir? Find out with another excellent video from FoxdropLoL.

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9. The Difference Between You and Pro League of Legends Players

Channelgbay99
Views: 990,000+
Likes: 9,900+

In Gbay99’s previous video, he laid down some hard truths and he’s up again for more of the same.

Here’s a look at the important perspectives on the psychological aspects of League of Legends. If ever you watch pro games and think there’s not much difference between what you’re doing and what they do, this is what’s going on…

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10. ADC Guide – How to lane as ADC

Channel: ScrapComputer
Views: ~970,000
Likes: ~10,200

Finally comes a detailed 30-minutes guide. The role of AD Carry seems to be the most popular,  so it’s appropriate to finish up with a more in-depth guide to the role. With 150,000 subscribers and a video with around 1 million views, it’s a pretty solid overview for anyone who takes seriously the responsibility of hauling your team’s sorry collective ass to victory.

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Got a favorite “how to play LoL” video?

If you have a favorite how to play League of Legends video, share it in the comments below and, if it’s awesome, we’ll add it to the list.

Why eSports Research & The State of The Market

There was a time when I just didn’t get the sports scene.

Growing up in England and attending school with a bunch of kids as obsessed with football (or “soccer”…) as I was with video games, it was tough not to join the hype. Even if it was only for fear of being the odd one out…

At around 9 years old and something of an outsider with my then-Scottish accent and wanting to fit in, the peer pressure was real. But, the truth was, I didn’t really get it. I liked to play football and had the scuffed school shoes to prove it.

But sitting in a room and shouting at a television screen, expressing such feverish passion about teams from parts of the country most of the kids didn’t have any affiliation with, and spending valuable gaming time learning nitty-gritty details about players all seemed like massive chores.

I spent my early life in an uneasy, dishonest relationship with the sports scene.

Some years later, and I discovered MOBA’s. And suddenly, it all made perfect sense.

The eSports scene has gone supernova

The pro gaming scene has exploded in the past few years. Let’s look at some eSports research numbers to see just how big an explosion it’s been.

One market data company specializing in the gaming industry, NewZoo, released a report recently stating that the eSports market will be worth $463 million in 2016.

Another market research firm, SuperData, estimates the market to be worth more like $747.5 million. And it predicts a $1.9 billion industry valuation by 2018.

Either way, it’s not a bad contribution to the global economy for a bunch of nerds sitting on our butts doing what we love, not what we’re told.

The years leading up to 2016 produced equally impressive eSports research stats. For example, between 2010 and 2014, eSports prize pool money increased by 350%, a data point that reflects the fact that online eSports watchers doubled, jumping from 14.9 million unique viewers right up to 32 million by 2013.

Incidentally, that was around the time of the Season 3 League of Legends World Championships and its $2,000,000 prize pool.

At the time, that seemed like quite a lot of zeros for playing video games. But, as it turned out, there was still plenty of room for improvement in the eSports prize pool department.

The International, Valve’s annual Dota 2 tournament, hit a prize pool just shy of $18,500,000 last year. That means the teams placed 2n and 3rd positions in the 2015 Dota tourney got more money than the entire prize pool of the 2013 LoL World Championship. And it was almost double the previous year’s $10 million prize pool.

image shows a diagram to compare sports tournament prize pool money with eSports and pro gaming

Images credit: Valve & BanterChat.com

So yeah, that happened.

And, while Gabe “Nice Guy” Newall’s pretty ingenious crowdfunding system for The International’s prize cash is good for Dota, LoL’s World Championship is also seeing some pretty amazing numbers. In 2015, 36 million people tuned into the World Championship streams, an impressive 33% increase from just one year before.

Such has been the rate of growth, the US government was practically forced to grant professional gamers with visas that allow them to travel and “work” officially as “proper” athletes, such as those who play Premier League soccer. That was around the same time Twitch.tv posted a record 45 million unique viewers, just two years after it was founded.

Truly, it’s been an explosion. And it all happened practically overnight.

Now there are businesses…

Businesses catering to your every eSports need and desire are springing up all over the web and beyond. Entrepreneurs, software developers and industry leaders the world over are jumping at the opportunity to create products and services that cater to the eSports fans and the competitive gaming scene.

There are so many in fact, it’s easier to put together a visual aid to help digest all the different products and companies. Have a scroll around below.

We’ve organized the list into sections so, if you’re looking for something in particular right now, it should be easy to find.

There’s an app for just about everything in eSports. You can place bets on videogames, predicting the outcome of events or even put money on the table and pit your skills against other gaming sharks. It’s fun to add a little extra adrenaline to those glorious team fights we all get so hooked on, but there’s a lot of salt involved in the losses.

Not all of these sites will stick around, but clearly, there’s an explosion here, too.

So, where’s eSports research headed?

With so much investment capital, prize pool cash and microtransaction money sloshing around the industry, things are becoming increasingly competitive among services and professional teams alike.

The sheer level of dedication and time investment required is heading off the charts. So what’s next?

In the infamous words of Mark Watney in The Martian, it’s likely we’ve arrived at the time to “science the shit out of this thing”.

In just about every other sporting profession (and remember, most of them don’t even have the same kind of money at stake as top eSports tournaments, and they’re certainly not growing as quickly), analyzing physiological responses and other biometric data is standard practice. Sports science has been an important part of professional athletics for years.

But, not because it’s not effective. For example, when Mobalytics team member, Amine Issa (who has a PhD is sports science) made this eSports research video in conjunction with Alienware, it proved pretty insightful:

And so, this a very the logical next step for professional gaming. In fact, as you can see above, it’s already started. Pro eSports team are starting to look at:

  • Eye tracking technology that generate heat maps showing where pro’s have their attention throughout the course of the game
  • Heart rate monitoring to discover what could be reasonable benchmarks for optimal gaming performance in the heat of the moment
  • Performance psychology studies to (among other things) help avoid becoming “tilted”, whereby emotional state affects gameplay negatively

Gamers seek edges in all kinds of ways. And with such a rich field of academic study to draw inspiration from, it’s only natural that sports science is to become eSports science. Tools like those mentioned above have already begun to give professional gamers advantages previously unavailable. And they’re on the way for us, too.

While eye tracking technology used to produce heat maps has been available even in free software such as Razer’s Synapse since 2014, it didn’t really pick up. We suspect that’s about to change.

Image shows Razer's Synapse software and it's heatmap tracking tool, important for eSports research

By analyzing where you spend most of your attention and where pro’s spend most their attention, you can gain insights on how to improve your game.

Big data analysis and is another defining aspect of the current era. Modern software and hardware affording us the kind of number crunching and insights that are beyond even the power of supercomputers just a few short years ago.

It’s time for the next step…

Where’s all this going? It will likely be the creation of some very interesting and informative tools designed from the ground up to give professional gamers and even amateur competitive gamers an edge. It’s all pretty exciting.

It’s the kind of exciting that gets me ready to shout at screens while my favorite teams are fighting it out, unfolding what looks like pure magic in the heat of competitive play. Learning the details no longer seems like a chore, and while I couldn’t care less about soccer if you paid me, at least I now understand the fans for which my home country is so famous.

I travel a whole lot these days, and people always say to me “oh, you’re from England! what soccer team do you support?” I never know what to say, so I’m all like… “Uhhmm, Fnatic. No? Never mind…”

We love eSports. We love improving our game using the power of data and witnessing inspiring plays from the pro’s. That’s why we’re working on Mobalytics.

[Image credit: artubr]

Top 10 EU League of Legends Coaches to Follow

There are plenty of reasons to follow the League of Legends coaches of your favorite pro teams.

Often with backgrounds in pro-level play and analysis, they have deep insight into both gameplay and team dynamics. You can learn a lot about LoL from these industry figureheads.

And that’s why we’ve made you a list with 11 of our favorite coaches. We’ve even provided you with their Twitter feeds, YouTube or Twitch channels and other places where you’ll find entertaining and informative LoL updates and insights.

Enjoy, and let us know your favorites in the comment section below.

1. Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdiimage shows Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi, coach of LoL team, Splyce

Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi is a Swedish coach with a long history of high-level gaming in titles including World of Warcraft, Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2. Originally the AD carry for Team Solomid, Mebdi’s original team parted ways after three were banned from the LoL scene by Riot for “exceptionally toxic” behavior.

In spite of the controversy, Mebdi was a guest analyst in the 2015 World Championship and his Twitter feed regularly gets updated with inspiring team fights and more.

Team: Splyce
Twitter: @yamatomebdi
Twitch: twitch.tv/yamatocannon

2. Fabian “Sheepy” Mallantimage shows 2. Fabian "Sheepy" Mallant, coach of LoL team, Unicorns of love

Fabian “Sheepy” Mallant, in addition to being one of the League Legends coaches most worth following, is the founder of Unicorns of Love. After founding the team in 2014, Unicorns of Love went on to win several Go4LoL tournaments on the Western European server and also took third position in the Summer Black Monster Cup. Last year they finished 2nd in their first LCS split, losing a tight match to Fnatic.

It’s always good to see teams choose non-meta champions and, while Mallant and the team seem to have had a quiet start to the year, their non-standard picks and play style definitely make them worth following.

Team: Unicorns of Love
Twitter: @sheepylol
Team Subreddit: reddit.com/r/UnicornsOfLove

3. Patrick “Nyph” Funkeimage shows Patrick "Nyph" Funke, coach of LoL team, Elements

A German entry up next, Patrick “Nyph” Funke is currently the coach for team Elements. He was a Top 500 LoL player before ranked games were installed in the title and made a name for himself as a strong support originally playing Janna.

For the 2016 season, Funke stepped down from the support role to remain Elements’ coach. Below, you’ll find a link to his excellent Twitter feed with team updates as well as general thug life shenanigans.

Team: Elements
Twitter: @nyphlol
Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/nyph.LoL

4. Tadayoshi “Hermit” Littletonimage shows Tadayoshi "Hermit" Littleton, coach of LoL team, NRG eSports

Tadayoshi “Hermit” Littleton became an analyst for Origen around this time last year, taking on the role of head coach for the 2015 World Cup Championships before moving to NRG eSports shortly afterward.

We’ve enjoyed watching Littleton step up from the role of analyst to coach and do great things with this team. His Twitter feed is full of LoL insights, updates, and important philosophical questions.

Team: NRG eSports
Twitter: @mtnhrmt

5. Karim “ImSoFresh” Bbahlaimage shows Karim "ImSoFresh" Bbahla, coach of a League of Legends team TBC

Karim “ImSoFresh” Bbahla has just left as the coach for team Roccat. After a somewhat illustrious career starting with team Sypher back in 2012, it will be interesting to see what this League of Legends coach does next.

Hailing from Belgium, Bbahla’s Twitter feed is regularly updated in French, and he has an informative YouTube channel offering tips and tricks like how to be a better jungler.

Team: TBC
Twitter: @imsofresh_k
Youtube: youtube.com/user/FreshTubeOfficiel

6. Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpoolimage shows Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool, coach of LoL team G2 eSports

Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool’s gaming days started at the young age of 11 years old with the classic Command and Conquer: Red Alert. Later in life, Steltenpool went on to play the third version of the game at a high level before becoming a League of Legends pro.

This is another coach who’s been on the scene for the best part of four years, having contributed to teams including Mouse eSports and Curse Gaming before becoming the head coach of G2 eSports. Steltenpool’s Twitter feed shares enthusiastic perspectives and insights on LoL games as they’re going down.

Team: G2 eSports
Twitter: @JoeyYoungBuck
Youtube: youtube.com/channel/UCs

7. David “LoZarK” Alonso Vicenteimage shows David "LoZarK" Alonso Vicente, coach of LoL team, Giants Gaming

If you’re a Spanish speaker, David “LoZarK” Alonso Vicente is especially worth following. It’s cool to learn LoL (or any complex topic) in your native language. He’s currently the coach of Giants Gaming and you can gain updates from his pro LoL team by adding Vicente’s Twitter account below.

He has a very stoic and solution-oriented approach to coaching his team and it’s great to listen to interviews (provided you can get the subtitles or translations where necessary).

You’ll find some very cool video content on his YouTube account, too.

Team: Giants Gaming
Twitter: @Lozarklol
YouTube: youtube.com/user/LozaRk1

8. Luis “Deilor” Sevillaimage shows Luis "Deilor" Sevilla, coach of LoL team, Fnatic

This list of League of Legends coaches simply wouldn’t be complete without Luis “Deilor” Sevilla, the coach of Fnatic who also hails from Spain. In the past 12 months since Sevilla took on the role of Fnatic’s coach, he’s already done great things including leading the team to win the EU League Championship Series Play-offs.

Sevilla is a real character with an excellent Twitter feed to match. We’re excited to see what he brings to this field in the future.

Team: Fnatic
Twitter: @FnaticDeilor

9. Neil “PR0LLY” Hammadimage shows Neil "PR0LLY" Hammad, coach of LoL team, H2k-Gaming

Neil “PR0LLY” Hammad began his professional gaming career in semi-pro Halo tournaments as a teenageer and was finally introduced to League of Legends by his brother around Season 1. After a brief hiatus, he’s once again coaching LoL’s H2k-Gaming team.

It’s especially worth following Hammad if you’re into front-line insights from current League of Legends games as they unfold.

Team: H2k-Gaming
Twitter: @pr0llyLOL
Twitch: twitch.tv/pr0lly

10. Kévin “Shaunz” Ghanbarzadehimage shows Kévin "Shaunz" Ghanbarzadeh, coach of LoL team, Vitality

Kévin “Shaunz” Ghanbarzadeh is currently the head coach of team Vitality and has been in professional gaming since mid-2013 when he began with team Millennium. Born in Paris, France, and with a long history of competitive gaming, Ghanbarzadeh first became diamond with an ELO rating of 2,350 back in 2012.

Ghanbarzadeh is a Riot-featured streamer on Twitch and, like many of the coaches featured above, has an excellent and entertaining Twitter feed worth following.

Team: Vitality
Twitter: @shaunzpro
Twitch: twitch.tv/shaunzpro

Who did we miss out?

Got your own favorite League of Legends coaches you follow? Disagree with some of our choices? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.