League of Lessons: Thresh Prince of Dark Star

This week, I played in a game that was a perfect microcosm of my experience in LoL so far, rampaged through the bottom lane as Rakan, and traveled to Hook City, USA, in the Dark Star Singularity mode.

Why can’t I hold all these insults

It is as I feared: the tank rework has meant that my teams have routinely fielded a tanky champion in the top lane or jungle, throwing a wrench in my plan to play Kench.

Instead of everyone’s favorite bayou boss, I’ve tried out Sona this week. I really enjoy the character’s kit and the musical cascade created by rolling my face across my keyboard. I’ve also played a hero in another MOBA (Smite, no flame pls) that has an eerily similar kit, including musical cues.

Before this week, I had played Sona exactly once, when I was still learning the essentials of the game. It didn’t go well, but even then I could see the potential in her simple but effective kit.

So — playing Sona for the second time, I load into a game where I was flamed from the get-go.

“Why didn’t you heal,” our mid Lucian asked, moments after facechecking a bush and getting absolutely destroyed.

“I did,” I replied.

“No you didn’t,” he countered.

“Why is it on cooldown then?”

Checkmate.

Later, I was called “retarded” for missing an ult, and “autistic” for not having an ult available. But I realized something pretty quickly: these guys only flamed when we were behind. Once we started winning, it was complete silence.

Once we finished, my team decided — despite the early-game problems, and the fact that the game had been competitive until the mid-way point — to flame the other team.

I was honestly pretty shocked, because it hadn’t been a dominant win worthy of bragging about. But I guess these guys were just habitually toxic.

Then, something strange happened.

I stuck around in the chat, talking to the other team. I talked about how my own team had flamed me during the game and that these guys were seemingly just jerks for no reason. We got to talking, I told them about this series and why I’m even doing this, and at the end of it all, I had two new additions to my friend list: the first two that weren’t people I personally knew.

Shoutouts to Jackedup316 and Kilo Xeo for losing gracefully and staying optimistic in the face of this garbage.

Senpai noticed me

I wrote a couple weeks ago that I was trying to get a Xayah/Rakan duo game in with Gabriel Zoltan-Johan, our resident LoL analyst. It finally happened, and I learned just how much I have left to learn.

Firstly, the synergy between Xayah and Rakan seems a lot stronger than I had previously thought. The extra range on Rakan’s dash, specifically, was enough to get me out of situations that I had no business surviving.

Secondly, when you play with an ADC who understands their own limits and those of their opponents, you feel like your assistance means a lot more. Knowing my own limits is similarly important, but when the person creating the majority of the damage knows when to stand their ground and destroy the opponent… well, this happens.

I ended that game at 5/0/18, and Gabe was 12/3/8. I rarely stomp an enemy this hard, so it was a satisfying way to knock out a game at work.

Yeah, I played a game at work — I get to do that!

Thresh Prince of Dark Star

Finally, though I don’t typically talk about custom modes, Dark Star Singularity has been an incredible amount of fun this week. In the Cosmic Ruins, I’ve seen amazing plays of all descriptions.

We need more modes like this! Huge hooks, clutch saves… it snared me right from the get-go. Plus you get to throw people into a black hole. I played enough to level to 22, and logged fewer normal games than I probably should have.

The Road So Far

Stats to-date: 49-56 (46.6%) in normal modes

Top champions so far: Soraka (11-7), Zyra (7-3), Braum (6-5), Alistar (4-3)

Longest solo ever: Sona, 4/7/27

Squawk and roll: Rakan, 5/0/18

Account Level: 22

Josh “Gauntlet” Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

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