Analysis Overview on the Flash Wolves: From Puppies to Wolves
Quick Overview: This article is focused entirely on the Flash Wolves. It contains data and analysis I have done on specific areas. The following is covered in this article:
Specific Picks and Bans
Gold Differences, First Tower Taken + Given, First Dragon Taken + Given
SwordArt Recalls, Roams, and Specific Item Timings
Wave Manipulation and Wave Usage
One Particular Strategy FW Could Use Against OG
Before I go over each player’s champion pools, I am excluding Gangplank and Morde. We haven’t had the chance to see NL play Morde at all and Gangplank shouldn’t be allowed any game.
Steak is not a mechanical beast to be reckoned with, but he is capable of playing four very standard top lane picks in the current Meta. Darius allows him to either help peel enemies off of NL or offer additional damage to the overall team without much required set up. Darius can also go toe to toe against Olaf who can give teams headaches with his dueling potential. Gnar is a necessity as a counter towards Darius in the current Meta. Gnar is also a good team fighter if given the correct set up and allows FW to make some of their big mid game pushes off team fight wins.
Lulu is typically a flex pick to mid, but for FW it is essentially a top lane pick instead of a flex. Maple prefers higher impact champions and Lulu is low econ champion, which is always good for Steak to be on so Karsa can focus on Maple or NL more. Finally, Malphite is another relatively low econ top laner who can work against Olaf and Fiora. Malphite brings a strong engaging ultimate and if he gets enough items becomes too hard to kill like we saw in CLG vs FW game 2.
Karsa has taken up more of the responsibility to create pressure in the early game. In the LMS it was SwordArt roaming more aggressively, but FW have toned that down a bit so it’s up to Karsa to provide pressure without SwordArt accompanying him as much. Karsa’s main three champions are Nidalee, Rek’sai, and Lee Sin. His Nidalee spears are on point and he holds onto the aggression of taking his marks. His Rek’sai and Lee Sin can feel underwhelming at times in the early game, more notably his Lee Sin. However, he improves his performance in team fights where we see his Lee Sin kicks for both disengage and engage. The one champion I didn’t mention in his main list is Gragas. Even though he didn’t show his Gragas this champion would offer good disengage for the siege compositions FW create. The main reason I can see FW not playing his as much is due to needing more stronger early game junglers to make up for FW’s weaker early game. Finally, I just want to state that Karsa can play Elise since he plays her in Solo Q, but for some reason FW decide to not have Karsa play Elise in competitive matches.
Besides SwordArt, Maple is the main talk of this team. He holds potential to take over games, but he can’t always achieve this. His best champion is clearly his Leblanc who can dictate the objective control for FW in the mid game. Maple prefers this style of playing on these assassins over control mages since he can achieve higher individual impact. However, Maple is capable of playing Viktor, a control mage. Maple’s particularly champion pool can be seen as scary to some teams who run mostly controlled mages like OG’s xPeke. If xPeke gets caught out, which has happened before in groups then Maple may be able to snowball to impact the game more quickly. The main interest going into these quarterfinals though will be whether FW learned to play with teleport on Maple or did they devise a plan against it. Only three champions can really run teleport effectively in Maple’s pool with Yasuo being much riskier to run mid.
SwordArt is the main face on this FW’s team. He is the roaming support who tries to impact the game when he can while also usually being the main initiator. If you notice his champion pool is wide. He will play what is necessary for the team. The key champions we will want to look for are his Thresh, Tahm Kench, Braum, and Morgana coming into these quarterfinals. Morgana’s black shield grants NL and a diving forward Maple protection while also giving him the capability to catch someone out without putting himself in risk. An example of the diving Maple is when Maple played Leblanc against CLG game 2 and Maple used distortion forward with black shield on to kill Aphromoo.
Thresh provides a strong roaming presence for FW. His lantern is also a fantastic tool to help out the less mobile NL and Steak. Thresh is also a fantastic choice for split push set ups since if he can roam to the split pusher’s lane and lantern that player out like we saw OG do and even heard from Mithy mention the partial reason he picked Thresh in the post-game interview. Tahm Kench provides a similar tool set to Thresh, but instead of throwing a lantern out he is eating them. Tahm can effectively stop damage on a main carry for the team while also providing a global to make catches. Tahm will be seen much more coming into quarterfinals along with hyper scaling ADC’s.
Finally, the last pick that seems the most effective choice for FW is Braum. Braum holds a particular weakness to FW comp where he can deny several forms of damage with his shield such as Karsa’s Nidalee, NL’s Varus and Jinx, and even Maple’s Ahri. Grabbing Braum for FW means they don’t have to worry this particular weakness.
NL is mostly now known for mostly two champions, Varus and Jinx. Both these champions have long range while Jinx is a higher scaling ADC. Both provide disengage for the team which is a key part of FW’s playstyle. FW like to let the enemy engage first so they can peel back while using their skill shots. Once the enemy takes significant damage FW will reengage to finish them off. If FW run Jinx then this allows NL to quickly snowball with his passive in the team fight to clean up the rest.
The two other picks NL has are Kalista and Sivir. He is not as deadly on these two picks, but he is capable of bringing them out. I doubt we will see much Kalista though since FW will want to ban that against OG’s Niels.
When FW are on red side they always dedicate two bans towards the OP picks Gangplank and Morde. The last ban is a reactionary ban. What I mean by reactionary ban is ban that the team will react towards whatever the enemy team bans last. The reactionary bans FW went with were Ashe, Elise, and Veigar. Veigar was chosen against CLG’s Pobelter. Ashe was against Koo’s Pray and finally Elise for one game against Pain. This type of banning is standard on red side in the current Meta.
Against FW Bans
The bans teams make when FW is on red side are mostly target bans to anyone, but Maple. Karsa’s Nidalee is taken away, NL loses out in his Varus sometimes, Steak’s Malphite, and finally SwordArt receives Morgana and Thresh bans. The Morgana, Varus, and Nidalee bans seem best suited towards FW since Nidalee and Varus are unique and favored picks by Karsa and NL. We don’t see Varus ADC picked up by anyone else and Nidalee isn’t chosen much for jungle in competitive. The Morgana ban is solely focused on the capability to protect NL with black shield. One issue to think about though is how will OG ban FW on blue side? They can ban out Morgana, but Tahm Kench is open who can help protect NL as well.
One last thing I want to bring up is the lack of Maple target bans. Maple did his job in the FW games, but he wasn’t always impacting the game as much as he wanted. His Leblanc however met his goal for high impact. This may be a target ban for OG, especially because xPeke plays a bit more passive in lane. If Maple can show a strong performance on another champion in the series besides Leblanc then this will affect the draft adaptation in the next game.
In only one of their games on blue side did FW ban an OP pick, which was Lulu against CLG game 2. One particular game to note out for the bans is against Koo where FW banned both Ashe and Kalista. FW target banned Pray. We can expect FW to ban Kalista against OG to lighten the work load for NL and SwordArt early on. FW also banned Elise for two of the games on blue side. I already mentioned this in the champion pool, but Karsa prefers Nidalee, Gragas, Rek’sai, and Lee Sin over Elise. Since FW don’t plan on first picking her they decide to ban her. Two other picks that FW decide to ban on blue side are Azir and Twisted Fate. Azir can stall against FW and hurts FW potential poke due to Azir being able to return damage back quickly. Twisted Fate was banned due to his presence across the map. OG doesn’t play Azir, but xPeke does play Twisted Fate. This is pick that we may see OG banning out.
Against FW Bans
The bans teams make when FW is on blue side are all essentially OP picks and jungle picks. There is one anomaly being a Darius ban. Red side bans have the standard set up as I mentioned previously where you ban two OP picks and get one reactionary. In this case, teams are using their reactionary ban on one of Karsa’s jungle picks. Factor in FW banning Elise this could leave the potential to strip away a jungler from the enemy team. Amazing currently works with the 4 main junglers, Gragas, Rek’sai, Elise, and Lee Sin. What would happen if OG bans one of these junglers while FW ban two of them? Amazing did not look good on Evelynn and forcing him on an uneasy pick could be worth the invested two bans. The downfall of this strategy is this kind of draft will only work once and if the enemy team reads this the first time then it leads to two mostly wasted bans.
1st Rotation Picks
The first rotation picks by FW were primarily ADC, jungle, and support picks with the one exception being Lulu. FW taking Jinx first rotation red shows the importance of that pick to them in the 2nd week. The Rek’sai pick is a very high valued pick for FW as well. When Rek’sai was open FW took it with the last game differing because FW could take both Lulu and Jinx. This is a hint to OG on how to play around FW if they are going to put high importance on both Jinx and Rek’sai. The first game will tell what both teams have prepared.
There are only three picks on this side since blue side gets first pick. FW spend their first picks on Gangplank, Lulu, and Rek’sai. Rek’sai continues to show high importance with the other two picks being OP picks. There isn’t much to divulge here.
Last Rotation Picks
The very last pick FW dedicate towards Maple and in one occurrence to Steak. The last pick Gnar against CLG was done due to the Ekko pick in the second rotation. CLG assumed this was a flex, but I am confident Steak doesn’t play Ekko or Yasuo in the top lane. Maple is a key factor to controlling the mid game for FW and if he doesn’t get a favorable early game then FW have difficulty keeping their heads above water.
Last rotation blue side picks are again mostly Maple and then a mix for the second pick. FW chose to save Steak, SwordArt, NL, and even Karsa’s pick till third rotation. Morgana and Lee Sin aren’t terrible to second rotation, but waiting on taking Varus and Malphite is smart by them since both of them can have severe counters if picked early.
Gold Differences, 1st Turret Taken/Given, 1st Dragon Taken/Given
For those who don’t know, gold differences is . It tells us if the observed team is ahead, behind, or even with the opposition.
When FW play on the red side they are consistently behind in gold at 10 and 20 minutes. However, when they hit the 30 minute mark they suddenly are ahead. This trend continues for 40 minutes and to the end of the game. FW play a simple early game without taking too many risks. They don’t press early game as other teams will so they typically fall behind. When they hit the 30 minute mark FW are contesting objectives more often. It so happens they are winning these fights which turns the once deficit to a lead. Once the FW take hold of the game they will start breathing down the enemy necks by pressuring with their long range and extensive wards for picks.
When it comes to their average timings FW will take their 1st dragon faster than they give one up. Meanwhile, they are giving up their first turret quicker than they are taking one. Both the timers for 1st dragon and 1st tower are very close together. This usually indicates that FW get a pick or push down a turret and then immediately go onto dragon next. FW are expected to give up their first turret in the beginning on red side.
On blue side FW still have similar difficulties early on like red side, but not as severe. Their 30 minute gold differences spikes very high compared to red side, but then they drop down again at 40 minutes only to rise even higher at the end. This kind of fluctuating values indicates FW are somehow throwing their lead by 40 minutes. The overall data will give a better indication here since it will contain 6 games total.
As for the timings, FW delay their first dragon more heavily compared to red side while giving up their 1st turret around the same time still. What this tells us is FW are putting more emphasis on farm and towers over dragon on blue side. They take their 1st turret a minute quicker as well to help their overall gold. If we compare the two time differences between 1st dragon and 1st dragon given it is almost 12 minutes. In other words, it seems that FW make their move for dragon on the 3rd dragon appearance on blue side.
The overall data will give us the best indication and most accurate values. Looking at the 10 and 20 minute gold differences we see FW are still behind. This is no surprise since they were behind at 10 and 20 for both red and blue side. For those curious on why FW are getting behind early the first reason is because they don’t have strong mechanical players to win out lanes against opponents. FW will also be seen typically letting waves get shoved into them so there is a form of safety from ganks. Yes, tower dives can still happen, but that is where Karsa will try to roam so he is protecting those individuals. FW also typically trade 1st dragon for taking a tower. That’s why when we look at the timings we see 1st dragon given and 1st tower so close together. FW are trying to recover the gold deficit that is built up by farming and trying to take a tower while giving up that dragon. The more gold they can recover early on so they aren’t massively behind the better their chances are going into the mid game.
When we look at the 30 minute gold difference you will notice FW spike from 20 minutes. I mentioned this in the blue side, FW are typically grabbing baron before 30 minutes. The cause of this is due to winning a team fight between 20 and 30 minutes. FW then set up their vision around baron and look to pick or chunk someone on the opposite team. Once this is all accomplished then they go for baron. If the fight they won was convincing enough then they may try baron then. Baron leads to FW taking more objectives, but they over step their lead at times. This is why we see them drop hard from 30 to 40 minutes. The good thing about FW is they set up their vision again and hold control over the neutral objectives. It is hard engaging certain compositions that can spring traps or kite back easily while still hitting you from long range. The last thing to note is 1st tower given stays the same. FW usually will give up a turret without much resistance. The idea is to lower the chance of gifting kills and a turret in return for a lower deficit. This passive play can be punished hard by the right teams, but the FW can still surprise teams if their opponents over reach.
Against Double Teleports
This is a very specific situation that I will briefly go over because OG ran double teleports every game. Both occurrences were against Pain. FW fell behind in both games facing Pain’s fast turret pushing strategy. FW are used to falling behind and even trading turrets early is something they won’t mind. However, what they do mind is what happens when the outer turrets are gone against double teleports. The map is more open so teleport flanks can be easier to achieve successfully. Taking teleport in the mid lane also gives a stronger summoner for the later parts of the game. FW can’t just group up and prep for a fight. They need to answer constant split push pressure and in the end might be forced to engage a fight. FW could be walking too far up to set up an easier flank teleport by the enemy. These are all things FW have to keep in mind when facing such a troublesome composition. The end result is FW losing that advantageous gold difference at 30 minutes and even finishing their game behind. How FW adapt towards double teleport will give us a good indication towards the series outcome.
Teleport Usage by Steak
The teleport usage by Steak is going to affect the play of both teams coming into these quarter finals. We still don’t know if FW have picked up using double teleport against OG so if FW are going to run one teleport then they have to make it count.
Average Timing: 6:56
Priority: Fight > Farm
The first teleport done by Steak consisted of mostly fights. He canceled two of these teleports and accomplished nothing with two of them as well. This isn’t a good start for FW when looking at their only global in play. OG will be able to easily match one of these teleports and still have one to spare. If FW’s teleports do poorly without even facing a 2nd teleport it can essentially give OG a free chance to heavily punish one area. The other main issue for FW is using teleport for Farm early on. Yes, sometimes it can't be avoided in certain situations. However, FW need to do their best to save that teleport to match one of OG's possible early teleports. The more damage control that can be done the better off FW are.
Median Timing: 19:58
Priority: Fight > Wave = Objective
One quick thing to go over, for the next three teleports I will be using the median for the timing instead of the average. If an outlier exists it can greatly affect the average timing and even if I take the average timing without that particular teleport timing it may still seem off. Median is better for data with outliers and I found the teleport timing more agreeable.
The trend continues where Steak is prioritizing teleports for fights over any other. What is most interesting is what we aren’t seeing, flank teleports. It is common to not see them in the first teleport, but top laners start using teleports to flank when they get past the 15 minute mark. One reason we might be seeing Steak not flanking is because FW don’t trust Steak on making such a play. The second reason may be based on how we saw FW play out fights by letting the enemy team engage first. This makes flank teleports less appealing since you want even numbers when facing the enemy head on.
Now, the actual success for the second teleports is still not that good. Steak canceled three of his teleports. That is 5 total so far including the first teleports. Only one of these teleports actually led to an even trade and we can argue if one of his teleports was worth it to just blow Zionspartan’s flash. Not flanking with your teleport can notify the enemy team that they can be more aggressive in their positioning while not full on committing. It can also make the enemy team draft around this knowledge like picking more low mobility champions who don’t need to worry about flanks.
Median Timing: 29:44
Priority: Objective = Fight > Flank
For the third teleport Steak focuses a bit more on objectives while still maintaining his fight teleports. Again, FW prefer to have Steak come straight into the fight or before the fight. This gives them time to position their long range damage dealers in the back with their tanks in front. The actual success of Steak’s teleports increased for this particular teleport. The first reason I can think of is FW start turning it up around the 30 minute mark. They win a fight, get baron, and start pushing their composition farther ahead. In return, fight teleports become easier since your team is already ahead forcing fights is easier. The one time deal for a flank teleport doesn’t mean much other than FW will sometimes go for a flank, but still very unlikely.
Median Timing: 36:36
Priority: Fight = Flank = Objective
Final teleport I will go over is the fourth teleport. Steak used at least four teleports in 3 of his games, each used for a different reason. There isn’t much to take from this teleport. There isn’t enough data for me to infer much other than Steak helped kill the Nexus and lost a late trade against Koo game 1.
As I stated previously, Steak rarely used his teleport in group stage for flanks. This telling sign means OG can play farther ahead while not worrying about their flanks. The less mobile control mages xPeke play won’t get exposed in a fight as easily either. What this also does is give OG the chance to make the flank play first. Koo did it against FW in game 1 where they consistently went for flanks. In other words, Koo was proactive in their set up and not waiting to let FW do their standard play where they rotate NL mid when on Varus after 1st turret falls. OG also runs double teleport consistently which offers more flanking opportunities compared to Koo game 1. If FW don’t have double teleport prepared then they will need to be very careful on how they use Steak.
Finally, the other main concern I have from Steak is the timing of his teleports. He had to cancel 5 out of 22 teleports, 22.72%. That is roughly a quarter of his teleports and out of these 5 that were canceled 4 resulted in nothing or a poor trade, which is 80%. Steak’s team will get engaged on before his teleports which can be seen as either him teleporting late or his team not respecting the enemy team’s engage. Also, a failed teleport against a double teleport composition will be very rough. A way to get around just one teleport would be if FW run Shen or Tahm Kench support and Rek’sai. Rek’sai is already a high priority for FW, but the additional global from her would also go a long ways for FW’s one teleport compositions.
SwordArt Roams, Recalls, and Specific Item Timings
The first thing I want to briefly go over is why I decided to track SwordArt’s recalls. Recalls are very important aspect on supports. Supports move around the map quite often to roam, deep ward, and even swap lanes to help their top laner. Keeping track of when they are leaving that lane can give some interesting insight.
Overall + Standard
I decided to group up overall and standard in the same section. My main reason is because 4 out of 6 of the games played in groups involved standard starts. The information I will discuss reflects both essentially.
Looking at the 1st recall you will notice SwordArt delaying it past 5 minutes. The first reason SwordArt is delaying his recall is because he is waiting till he has accumulated enough gold to buy sightstone in one go. He did this for half of the games. FW want additional wards early on to stick with their safe early game play style. This will be important as well when they face OG since OG will be most likely running double teleport. The more wards they have to identify a teleport flank the quicker they can react to retreat. The second reason why SwordArt’s recall is delayed in standard play is due to being busy trading in lane and creating pressure in the bot lane with NL. Even though SwordArt and NL don’t form the strongest duo, they usually run champions that have long range skill shots to harass the enemy. If they chunk the enemy long enough they will stay in the lane to keep constant pressure so Karsa can look to help Steak in the top lane. We notice this in Koo game 1 where FW’s duo is actually performing well against Pray and Gorilla. Karsa takes this chance to focus top lane to help out Steak versus Smeb. The downfall is he puts a bit too much attention here and give up mid t1 early on.
The actions SwordArt takes after he recalls is warding. His primary focus is to get wards out to keep his team safe. On red side he will try to ward blue raptors brush while on blue side he will try to ward farther into the enemy blue jungle near red gromp. Now keep in mind, he needs NL to not be getting pressured or having the enemy duo shoving in the lane. If they do then SwordArt will most likely return straight to lane.
Second recall for SwordArt comes up around the same time FW lose their 1st turret. FW will rotate their duo lane out if they find the match up turning unfavorably like in Koo game 2 where FW decided to give up bot t1 in order to take top t1 uncontested. FW also will prioritize farm onto NL when that turret falls and let Steak deal with the problem of laning without an outer turret to protect him. At the same time FW will gift a bounce wave to Steak to help him out as well so Steak isn’t always left out.
When SwordArt recalls here he again prioritizes warding. All supports will do this if they have the chance since it can create pressure of not knowing where the support player is. On red side he favors warding the bottom side river and brushes like bot tri and the side bush in the river by bot lane. When dragon starts becoming more and more of a priority teams will look for picks bot lane. FW need those wards to keep them safe. On blue side SwordArt will follow suite with the exception of warding near red gromp because it gives deep vision.
For this final recall that I tracked SwordArt typically is buying mobility boots. He now can get to the enemy’s jungle more quickly, but the actions don’t reflect that. He is either warding in his own jungle or has to travel to a lane to answer pressure. One partial reason is due to FW preferring to have waves pushed into them to prevent early ganks. If you are getting pressured it makes warding more difficult, even if you have mobility boots to move around faster.
I just want to address when I say roams I am talking about when SwordArt deviates from lane to do something else.
First roam done by SwordArt is typically to get a trinket near enemy jungle. An early trinket in the jungle can give very valuable information on the jungler’s 1st clear. Getting an approximation of where they might go or even recall leaves up the chance for counter play. SwordArt will also typically look mid if he is placing a trinket in the enemy jungle. The roam is a bit delayed so it is harder for the enemy mid laner to accurately predict it.
Second roam by SwordArt is mostly spent on warding again with the same pretext of looking mid. The roam timing is usually after first dragon taken and once one turret is gone. The enemy support can roam a bit more freely so SwordArt must match this or do additional warding to prevent it.
Final roam with enough credible data for SwordArt is dedicated towards throwing down pink wards. Both pink wards placed on red side are in the red jungle near blue raptor bush and near the bush below this one. Looking at all three roams we notice that SwordArt didn’t prioritize gank roams as often. He will ward first then look for an opportunity versus looking for a gank and then warding. The wards ensure some safety in the attempt while giving off that unknown pressure to the enemy team.
First notice how the timing is quicker for lane swap compared to overall and standard. Both games FW faced Pain they had to match the fast push. The end result is taking a quick turret and recalling to swap to the other side. Another key factor to know is if both teams are swapping sides again then that gives each support player the opportunity to get deep wards down after recalling. This is precisely what SwordArt does in the game where they beat Pain. SwordArt deep wards in the enemy red jungle. The one thing to take note is buying wards early on in lane swaps results in slower item progression. SwordArt was never able to buy a sightstone or mobility boots before 15 minutes. This kind of delay against double teleports can cause some serious punishment, which Pain didn’t capitalize on enough.
SwordArt’s second recall is motioned towards warding the bottom side of the map. He wants to do something similar towards the overall and standard 2nd recalls. Keep his team safe while outer turrets are gone. Remember, FW want to get to the mid game with as little of a deficit as they can. If they are ahead then that is extremely good for them.
Final recall for SwordArt is placed into bottom side once again. SwordArt doesn’t appear to roam towards mid coming from base. He did this often in the LMS, but now instead of trying to force more plays he is playing around the enemy team.
Due to FW trying to match both fast pushes by Pain SwordArt is dedicating his time to damaging the enemy tower. This delays him to trinket the enemy jungle. The one thing I wish he was doing is checking the enemy jungle to see if they started weak side and possibly even harass them. A 10 second delay on the double jungle’s clear can mean a lot since your team can then take the tower faster and bounce it into a freeze.
SwordArt wards on the top side of the map when on red side. On blue side he wards on bot river. There isn’t much to infer from this since neither of results matched up other than SwordArt continuing to look for warding opportunities. Looking at the overall timings in the lane swap scenario SwordArt didn’t go for plays even with the map being more open. The double teleports keep FW more scared to make plays since Pain can answer with a teleport.
Specific Item Timings
I wanted to go over the three main items that support players aim towards pre-15 minutes. First we will look at the sightstone timing. Around 8 minutes is when buffs are coming back up. It is also still earlier than the average first tower given and dragon given which is good. The prioritization of sightstone over boots is also a clear indication to the importance of wards for FW. I have repeated myself over and over again that the FW require wards more so than other teams since they get pushed in the early game. The boots timing is a bit later. Boots are extremely important in the sense that it allows for SwordArt to quickly get wards down while not leaving NL alone for too long. SwordArt will get boots before sightstone if he doesn’t have the gold. In some sense, targeting SwordArt early on could be useful since the less wards FW have the more scared they need to play. Mobility boots are finally last on SwordArt’s item prioritization. The old SwordArt would have taken this route, but FW adapted to play slower in the early game. Since FW are making less plays mobility boots are not needed. I am curious to see how FW will adapt their play when possibly put in more lane swap scenarios against OG. Roaming opportunities are more prevalent in lane swaps. OG won’t shy away from such chances, which may require SwordArt to take more action.
Wave Manipulation and Wave Usage
This is a certain area I want to talk about when it comes to FW. If you watch all their games FW showed a lack of good wave manipulation and wave usage. You can find multiple examples where prior to setting up a neutral objective like dragon or baron the waves are pushing against FW and yet they still contest them. For baron it can be more of a mandatory contest, but dragons don’t always need to be contested. There are additional choices FW could have made that led to safer answers, but fortunately for them the enemy team ends up making the mistakes. Here are three examples to demonstrate FW’s neutral objective wave control.
Pain Game 2: Pain is on Red Side
The first example is against Pain game 2. Baron was up while FW had a wave slowly pushing bot lane. It would eventually build if given time to hit Pain’s bot t2. The key problem here is FW have no map pressure because that wave bottom hasn’t even reached the half way marker yet. FW still opt to press baron while all Pain members are up regardless of this fact. The reason FW end up getting away with this baron and even taking two kills off Pain is due to Pain not having Mylon teleport in. Mylon could have built some rage and push the wave bot lane instead of rushing to bot inhibitor, then teleport to baron, and Pain forces FW off. Now FW have a timer pressed against them where bot wave will crash on their open inhibitor, but if they send someone back Pain will start baron. Even if Mylon didn’t get the bot wave to push in they still delay the baron while FW have nothing to do except clear and push waves. Pain then can set up for another play while still keeping their other teleport.
CLG Game 2: CLG is on Red Side
When FW faced CLG the second time Aphromoo got chunked out and FW decided to take mid t1 at 24:00. FW then decided they wanted dragon next. At this time FW had top wave and bot wave pushing against them like the picture above shows. After taking dragon all three waves were pushing towards FW’s base at 24:22. FW decided to take dragon first before dealing with any of these waves.
If CLG made the immediate decision to shove mid with Zion teleporting right away CLG could zone FW off mid using parallel convergence and gravity field on the choke point near blue raptors entrance and take FW’s mid t2. Top wave would then be approaching FW’s top t2 so CLG could rotate their next. What instead happens is CLG doesn’t properly zone FW off and Zion teleports late. FW end up acing CLG due to CLG splitting up.
CLG also had a secondary option to have Zion teleport bot lane while his team attempts mid. Once FW approach mid lane CLG just has to disengage and head towards top while Zion is dealing with bot t2. Notice the opportunities to retaliate by CLG and CLG ends up making none of them work. Denying CLG’s 3rd dragon isn’t horrible, but losing tier 2 towers means CLG’s split push potential becomes even stronger.
Koo Game 2: Koo is on Blue Side
The second time FW faced Koo, Koo sent Smeb top to intercept the wave near top t2 at 21:45. Smeb cleared the wave and started a slow push on the wave. He now has set up the top wave to crash on FW’s top t2 approximately when dragon is up. During this time frame FW push out bot lane, but never did anything to the top wave. FW decide to poster around the dragon bush to look for a pick. Koo realizes this and just pushes up mid. This forces FW out of their position and Koo trade places. I would like to mention that even though FW have a wave pushing towards Koo’s bot t2 this wave won’t be as big as the top wave for Koo and Koo are closer to respond to FW’s wave.
FW have a choice now to either go mid or bot, answer the wave top, or contest dragon. If they answer the wave top they just lose dragon and Koo will take the wave bot lane. The wave in the mid lane will meet in the middle and Koo will most likely be able to respond after taking dragon. This would be relatively the same if FW try to rush to bot lane. The worst choice of these three is to just dance around dragon. No pressure if being generated and if Koo decides to just leave FW are stuck sitting there with a giant wave crashing on their top t2 while Koo goes to deal with the bot wave. Azir also plays the role of being able to zone FW off towers if FW tried to rotate quickly.
The main reason FW actually benefit from this poor situation is because Koo randomly engaged FW. FW can easily kite them and SwordArt ends up catching Kuro to set NL’s passive off. A better team would punish FW appropriately. It’s worth mentioning that this play snowballed FW thanks to the additional gold and map pressure from destroying Koo’s bot towers.
In all three examples FW prioritized the neutral objective without proper set up. The opposition could not correctly utilize their own waves which were in advantageous positions against FW. It may seem a bit harsh to judge FW on this area when the teams they faced couldn’t properly utilize their own waves, but if an enemy team does catch on here FW may not be able to capitalize on the enemy mistakes.
Finally, I would like to add that FW aren’t always bad at wave manipulation and using their waves. They will set it up correctly at times, but it isn’t consistent enough to say they have good wave manipulation.
How will FW turn the tables against OG?
This is a hard question looking at the stats and data since FW didn’t perform well against the double teleports and if they can’t manipulate the waves correctly double teleport punishes this harshly. In the early game I believe FW should be focusing on a lane swap. Niels and Mithy can most likely bully FW’s duo out. Giving up a lead just due to player skill is not worth it. A lane swap scenario would work better for FW, but instead of fast pushing they should take the freeze approach. What the freeze approach offers is safety for NL, gives SwordArt the chance to roam around the map, and it delays the destruction of multiple outer turrets that would open the map up better for double teleports. The main objective for SwordArt would be to pressure xPeke while letting their hyper carry ADC scale since I presume they will take Jinx.
If OG decides to match the freeze then FW can happily move towards the mid game without any big hiccups. If OG decides to fast push then FW can set up a trap similar to the one KT did in the first game against OG where they warded red side’s top jungle, waited for the movement by OG, and then spring the trap to attack OG’s duo. It would also be advisable for FW to have Maple shoving in mid so he can rotate top in case xPeke wishes to teleport to aid their duo. The downfall of this play is Steak will get behind due to Soaz most likely getting the bounced wave and FW get spotted which ruins the opportunity for the play. However, Steak is typically a bit behind and if OG used both their teleports then FW just got rid of two very annoying global summoners. FW’s duo will still hold an experience lead which leaves for an easier tower dive set up since teleports will be down. Remember, the whole plan here is to get to the mid game as unscathed as possible.
Once FW hit the mid game they need to utilize Steak’s teleport for flanking purposes. FW want to be the first team to pull the trigger instead of waiting on OG. They can’t depend on luck to wait for OG to make a mistake on a play that they set up correctly. Jinx can snowball quickly in team fights from passive. All that is required is to burst someone down presuming Maple is on more of an assassin type champion like Leblanc. We saw Maple use Leblanc combos on enemy players followed up by a Jinx rocket to finish them off. Include a flank and it may be enough for FW to burst down an OG member, take dragon, and move towards towers. As long as FW have better wave manipulation doing this they should have one lane to approach afterwards.
This is one of the game plans I envision could work against a double teleport when not running double teleport yourself. However, there are different paths that can be taken from the freeze strategy by both teams. The team would discuss on what could happen and factor in typical ward coverage as well for the dive set ups. The easiest solution though is to just run double teleport or run a support that has a global built in. This would allow for more standard play. Either way, FW will have their work cut for them against OG.
Credits to the pictures taken from Riot’s flickr, the lolesports VODS that took some close ups on, and thanks towards Goomihooo who I discussed with about the FW champion pools.