NA LCS W1D2 Pick/Ban Recap
Finally we come to NA, before we get to the recaps here as always are my Tier 1's at each position for ease of reference (Patch 6.1)
Top Tier 1 Ryze, Gangplank, Lulu, Fiora, Lissandra
Mid Tier 1 Lulu, Ryze, Gangplank, Viktor, Zed
Jungle Tier 1 Kindred, Rek'Sai, Lee Sin, Elise, Nidalee
ADC Tier 1 Lucian, Corki, Kalista, Tristana, Miss Fortune
Support Tier 1 Bard, Alistar, Thresh, Janna, Trundle, Braum
REN vs NRG
REN (Blue): Twisted Fate, Gangplank, Tahm Kench
NRG (Red): Thresh, Alistar, Lulu
REN (Blue): Mundo; Rek'Sai, Ryze, Lucian, Morgana
NRG (Red): Kalista, Elise; Ahri, Fiora; Trundle
REN first pick Mundo for the second straight day. This is silly to me with the likes of Ryze/Fiora/Lucian/Lissandra up but perhaps it is simply by far RF Legendary's most comfortable champion. Ryze is the easy pick here based on both pure power and flex consideration.
NRG first rotations Kalista/Elise. It's regular at this point for some teams to just love Kalista, and Freeze is known as an excellent Kalista player so this is a fine denial. Elise is always a safe pick to hide your composition, but again Ryze is available here and should be snatched up instead.
REN grab Rek'Sai/Ryze next. These are excellent power picks and the only downside at all is that by picking both solo lanes this early they are allowing NRG to counterpick both rather then only getting to counter one with the last pick. It's worth this to grab Ryze however, and is a direct result of the questionable Mundo pick.
NRG takes Ahri/Fiora next, love these picks overall. Ahri's matchup against Ryze is just even but she certainly has more kill pressure when Junglers are taken into account post 6. Ultimately I would have preferred they not allow Ryze to be drafted but given the situation this is a solid pick. Fiora is a power pick with a favorable matchup against Mundo with huge snowball potential and is one of the few champions who don't get outscaled by him.
REN last rotations Lucian/Morgana. These are great picks as Lucian is simply the stronget ADC this patch and Morgana has huge value in both protecting Ryze from CC, and specifically against Elise and Ahri. While I don't love the Mundo prioritization REN has a powerful composition overall with insane scaling, though they are quite lacking in engage and as such will need to rely on vision control to create fights.
NRG last picks Trundle, and excellent pick that is strong at controlling both Mundo and Ryze in fights, even through Black Shield. His ultimate also has huge value against a hypertank like Mundo, really an excellent pick here and nice use of last pick by NRG despite it not being a carry role. NRG's composition doesn't scale quite as hard as REN's but they are certainly no slouches in the late game and don't just auto lose should the game go late. They have high snowball potential in every lane with favorable lane matchups in the solo lanes to pair with an early pressure Jungler. Add high pick potential and Kalista's objective control and they have an extremely well rounded and powerful composition.
Strong compositions from both teams here that are very close in pure power, but I give the slight edge to NRG here for the snowball potential and more versatile win conditions.
DIG vs CLG
DIG (Blue): Lulu, Ryze, Rek'Sai
CLG (Red): Gangplank, Tahm Kench, Twisted Fate
DIG (Blue): Fiora; Elise, Ezreal; Ahri, Trundle
CLG (Red): Lissandra, Poppy; Braum, Lucian; Jax
DIG first picks Fiora, a fine pick with the three OP solo laners banned out. I would slightly prefer Lissandra due to flex possibilities but Fiora is perfectly fine.
CLG first rotations Lissandra/Poppy. Poppy is obviously a new champion with flex potential, so it's possible picking her this high is correct but I am not sold as of yet. She is Tier 2 in each role for me and as yet is a fine pick but not super high priority, but time will tell. She does offer the advantage here of canceling Fiora's dashes with her W, which is certainly relevant both for ganking and teamfights. She's a fine complement to the excellent Lissandra pick overall, as both are flex picks with differing damage types. I would prefer to see Lissandra/Lucian here but this is a fine start (especially if they had reason to think DIG wouldn't prioritize Lucian anyway as they end up doing).
DIG grabs Elise/Ezreal next. Elise is an easy pick here for AP damage to go with Fiora, and they clearly like Ezreal as this is Apollo's second straight game on the it. I would vastly prefer Lucian or even Kalista, but the strategy of the pick is fine (continuing to hide Mid) if not the valuation.
CLG picks Braum/Lucian next. I love these picks both as a powerful Bot lane pairing, and in terms of positions these were the correct positions to pick in order to maximize the last pick. If they took their second solo laner here the only flex possibilty left would be Poppy to Jungle or Support, but with this setup they leave their solo lanes ambiguous as Poppy could still go Top\Jungle, and Lissandra could still go Top/Mid.
DIG finishes with Ahri/Trundle. These are decent though suboptimal picks as Ahri is a safe blind AP source and a comfort pick for Shiphtur, although she is far less safe in this game due to Poppy's W making her Ultimate far less reliable. Trundle really has no game specific advantages here and I would have preferred to see Alistar/Bard/Thresh, who are all slightly stronger generic Supports in my opinion. DIG's composition is strong overall and has multiple win conditions via Split, Picks, and Lane Snowballing. It could have been slightly stronger in my opinion with Lucian\Viktor, but a solid draft here.
CLG last picks Jax. I really don't care for this pick, and CLG ultimately didn't get much advantage out of the double flex picks they took early. Jax vs Fiora is a close matchup that I would think is Fiora favored, as she is probably around 70% to be able to parry the Counter-strike stun. Perhaps I am wrong as I haven't seen the matchup too much, but this seems to be far from the advantage you would hope to get with the opportunity to counter either lane last pick (and this is a function of giving up Fiora in the first place as she has very few if any counters, Quinn being the only one that has seen success so far this season). The real issue I have here is that CLG has drafted three lanes with high snowball potential but ultimately flexed Poppy into the Jungle, and she is far from the early pressure Jungle to take full advantage of getting these lanes rolling. In the end their composition is fine, but just generally lacking in power with three Tier 2 champions in their role (Poppy/Jax, and Lissandra is Tier 2 in Mid as opposed to Tier 1 Top for me), and they have few game specific advantages to make up for this. Slight edge to DIG.
TSM vs TL
TSM (Blue): Graves, Lissandra, Kalista
TL (Red): Ryze, Lulu, Gangplank
TSM (Blue): Tahm Kench; Rek'Sai, Ezreal; Syndra, Bard
TL (Red): Alistar, Lucian; Gnar, Elise; Orianna
TSM first picks Tahm Kench. Similarly to Poppy I am unconvinced he is deserving of this high a priority, but as a flex pick teams clearly consider powerful he is an understandable first pick. I would definitely prefer Fiora here with all the Top bans, or Lucian with Kalista banned.
TL first rotations Alistar/Lucian. No issues here as these are arguably the strongest picks in each role and keeps your composition totally ambiguous, again I would like to see Fiora but perhaps they dislike the matchup into Tahm.
TSM grabs Rek'Sai/Ezreal next. These are again safe picks although the Ezreal is a little unexciting as he is one of the ADCs least in need of the protection Tahm offers, however if you look at the meta now that MF has fallen from high priority none of the top tier ADC's are in the immobile hypercarry mold, which is part of why I'm skeptical of the first pick or ban status some teams afford Tahm.
TL takes Gnar/Elise next. I like these picks alot as Gnar is one of the few Top's who can threaten Kench in a split late game with his %HP damage and Black Cleaver, Fiora does this as well so in this situation it's really a matter of whether you prefer Gnar's teamfight prowess or Fiora's split-pushing. Elise is an easy pairing to bring AP damage with an AD top.
TSM last rotations Syndra/Bard. I love these picks and they really made TSM's draft come together for me. Syndra's presence as an immobile carry justifies the presence of Tahm, and she provides extreme threat to Lucian as well as the capability to deny Gnar's engage via her E (She's also historically a signiture champion for Bjergsen, but he can be expected to perform regardless of this generally). She's generally a fine blind pick for laning purposes although her lack of an escape is risky into Elise and a counterpick. Overall her game specific ultility against Gnar and the lack of protection for Lucian combined with Tahm mitigating her vulnerability makes her a strong pick in this situation. Bard I love in genearl as he's my #1 Support this patch and combined with Tahm and Rek'Sai they have a lot of Global playmaking potential.
TL last picks Orianna. This isn't the strongest pick against Syndra in lane, but she does provide some shielding to help protect Lucian from getting one-shot while bringing the AP damage they need and wombo potential with Gnar. A solid choice, and while an assassin to pressure Syndra more in lane would have been fine as well I can understand the reluctance to go this route due to Tahm's presence in teamfights.
These compositions ended up evenly matched in practically every aspect and it was a good draft from both teams. For once I think this was a draw in pick/ban.
FOX vs C9
FOX (Blue): Nidalee, Gangplank, Tahm Kench
C9 (Red): Lulu, Ryze, Lucian
FOX (Blue): Lissandra; Rek'Sai, Miss Fortune; Trundle, Anivia
C9 (Red): Fiora, Alistar; Elise, Caitlyn; Twisted Fate
FOX first picks Lissandra, an excellent pick that gets the slight edge over Fiora due to flex potential.
C9 first rotations Fiora/Alistar, great picks here as well and an extremely standard start to the draft given the bans.
FOX nabs Rek'Sai/MF next, and Rek'Sai is a logical choice to provide physical damage to contrast Lissandra. MF is an understandable pick given both that Lucian is banned and Sneaky played it on Day 1, but is fairly risky into both Fiora and Alistar. While I don't mind the pick I would strongly consider Janna to protect her later in the draft, and all things considered would have slightly preferred Tristana or Ezreal for safety.
C9 takes Elise/Caitlyn next. We finally see the first Caitlyn of the season across the three regions I'm covering (EU/NA/LCK). Caitlyn was a pick that seemed incredibly powerful when the Season 6 reworks first came through but fell out of favor heavily after the nerfs to the initially overpowered Warlords Bloodlust and Fervor of Battle came in, leading to the rise of Thunderlords. The lack of play she saw made it very hard for me to properly gauge her power, and I think she has a lot of potential if utilized correctly. Based purely on my Tier list and the picks to this point in the game I'd prefer Tristana here, but I am very much excited to see Caitlyn played to get a better sense for her true power. Elise is an easy pairing to bring both AP damage and siege power with cocoons to support Caitlyn.
FOX rounds out their composition with Trundle/Anivia. Both are strong pairings with MF to set up her ultimate through zone control, and Anivia provides excellent waveclear to combat C9's siege (and is obviously the ultimate comfort pick for Froggen). They do however have no answer to Fiora's split push should she get rolling, so Anivia is not a guaranteed stall out like she would be in some other instances. This is an extremely strong teamfighting composition, but their only real other strength is stalling and their scaling to take advantage of this is mediocre, so ultimately this composition is a little narrow for my liking.
C9 last picks Twisted Fate. I absolutely love this pick here and this shoots their compositional snowball potential off the charts. With the fast pushing and siege potential of Caitlyn combined with the double split push threats of Fiora/TF, and the combination of TF/Elise being extremely potent at getting the side lanes ahead, C9's composition is an absolute terror from ahead and has several tools to make that happen. TF faces little threat in the Mid lane from Anivia, allowing him to pressure the side lanes while freeing Rush to focus them as well. Later on they have the option of 4/1 Splitting with TF able to aid Fiora in diving the lone defender or turning around a gank, or 1/3/1 with TF providing the same to the three man core elsewhere. When it all comes together C9 just has an absurd amount of options when it comes to pushing their advantage, and with Caitlyn's early game prowess to help them secure the lead they have a good chance of getting one. They are at risk if they fall behind themselves as they have almost no chance of winning a teamfight from behind, but they have far more options when behind then FOX does through the split-pushing and global playmaking then can pull off. Whereas if FOX is behind they are pretty much exclusively reliant on C9 making a mistake to allow them back in. Heavy edge to C9, and I absolutely love this kind of composition.
IMT vs TIP
IMT (Blue): Graves, Poppy, Tahm Kench
TIP (Red): Rek'Sai, Gangplank, Ryze
IMT (Blue): Lulu; Elise, Corki; Fiora, Janna
TIP (Red): Lucian, Nidalee; Twisted Fate, Alistar; Mundo
Lulu is left up and right first picked by IMT, this was a mistake by TIP to me as there are nowhere near the power picks available for them in response to justify giving up such a powerful champion.
TIP first rotations Lucian/Nidalee. Nidalee has seen surprisingly little play so far this Season and I don't mind at all for a heavy underdog like TIP to take a champion that can single-handedly snowball the game out of control like Nidalee to give them a lottery ticket to victory. Lucian is of course the top ADC so nice picks by TIP here.
IMT grabs Elise/Corki next. Reignover has always favored the consistent high pressure junglers so Elise is unsurprising here with Rek'Sai banned, and Corki is the next best ADC in my book as well as a flex option so solid pick there as well. That being said they are quite magic damage heavy here and will need to either send Corki Mid or take an AD solo laner with the last rotation. They also don't want to pick a second solo laner as it would allow TIP to counterpick both solo lanes, otherwise Fiora would be an easy pick here to keep their damage balanced.
TIP responds with TF/Alistar. TIP decides to go further into the snowball basket by combining TF with Nidalee, again I don't mind this approach at all as an underdog, and given Lulu is likely Mid TF is relatively safe.
IMT finishes with Fiora/Janna. Fiora is a perfect pick here that gives them much needed AD damage while being a safe blind. Janna is a little curious as TIP's threats are all ranged so far, so her utility seems mostly confined to canceling Alistar or Nidalee leap ins. The combination of Janna/Lulu does certainly turn Fiora into a truly terrifying threat of course as well.
TIP last picks Mundo. I don't like this pick at all as Fiora has all the kill pressure in this lane and he doesn't fit with the snowballing strategy of Nidalee/TF at all. I would have much preferred Lissandra/Quinn here to create more pick potential and go all in on their early game snowball strategy. As is they have no chance of winning teamfights and Mundo will likely be outpressured by Fiora, so they really have few options to push their lead when they get it outside of getting picks with Nidalee/TF. I would have far preferred they support these two champions in this and provide either more pick and snowball power with Lissandra, or snowballing, split-pushing and a legitimate lane counter to Fiora with Quinn. The Mundo just doesn't give them a meaningful edge in enough areas to be valid here. Only really providing the prospect of matching Fiora late game freeing up TF to split.
TIP's composition has a chance purely off snowballing, but IMT's composition is chock full of power picks with a variety of win conditions. Their only real weakness is lack of engage, but even that can be manufactured through Fiora flanks with Janna and Lulu backup or Corki's package. Heavy edge to IMT, but some props to TIP for giving themselves a legitimate win condition, even if not all the tools to abuse it.
Some end of the week notes from across the three regions I'm covering (NA,EU,LCK)
All statistics are from the three regions combined unless otherwise stated
- Kindred has fallen off heavily in priority as the week went on, going from first pick/ban material to mostly unpicked in the latter days. This is likely due to her 3-8 record across the regions (including 0-4 in EU/NA), and while I never did agree with her being rated as clearly the best Jungler, she should still be a consideration. Don't overreact to this small a sample size with as volatile stat as winrate.
- Lee Sin has been shockingly picked or banned in only 25% of games. This is very puzzling to me and while I understand Rek'Sai and Elise's provide far more consisten performance in teamfights with similar early game pressure, Lee's power level is very similar to theirs overall and he should absolutely be seeing more play, especially when Rek'Sai is banned.
- Corki has been picked or banned in just 33% of games despite being (in my opinion) the second best ADC, a flex pick as a strong Mid laner, and being the only viable source of magic damage at his position. This probably has a lot to do with the lack of strong AD solo laners outisde of GP/Fiora/Zed making teams not particularly desire magic damage from the bot lane, but his priority should increase drastically as a unique and powerful flex pick. His 8-3 record while far from conclusive certainly isn't a deterrence either.
- Speaking of Zed, he has been picked only 3 times across 36 games. This is a huge opportunity for teams to take advantage of right now as he's extremely powerful and as mentioned above a rare source of AD damage in the Mid lane. I understand it can be tough picking him in a meta where Tahm Kench/Janna/Lulu are big players, but none of them but none of them have been picked more then 8 times, there are definitely opportunities here. Teams with strong Zed players could easily be using his shockingly low priority right now to secure themselves a near guaranteed powerful pick late in the draft, particularly when paired with the also undervalued Corki.