Ban Out Bunny: How Bunny FuFuu's Thresh Dominance May Hurt Gravity in the Playoffs
Gravity's final game of the 2015 Spring Split, an important clash with Team 8 to secure a playoff spot, was a master class in Thresh play, courtesy of Bunny FuFuu, arguably the best Thresh player in North America today. Bunny ended the game with a 0/1/13 scoreline, and perhaps more importantly, he was responsible for getting the ball rolling for his AD Carry, Cop, who hard carried the victory with a 12/0/4.
That performance led Bunny's teammate Keane to tweet this the following day:
Keane may have been trolling, or baiting, or playing some other kind of mind game, but he was absolutely right: Gravity's opponents, most notably their upcoming playoff foes Team Impulse, should probably ban Thresh.
Why should Team Impulse ban Thresh, exactly? Not just because Bunny is so good on Thresh, but because his champion pool and play style are perhaps the most one-dimensional, and therefore easy to both ban against and plan against, in the entire NA LCS.
Let's take a look.
Bunny FuFuu's Champion Pool
Photo courtesy of lolesports.com
In the 2015 Spring regular season, Bunny FuFuu played only five different champions, and only earned wins on three of them. Those three winners were Thresh (4-0 record), Morgana (4-2 record), and Veigar (1-0 record).
Bunny's other two champions were Janna (0-3) and Braum (0-2).
Can you see the common threads in the winning champions? All have (or had, in Veigar's case) good pick-off potential with long-range skillshot CC. Bunny has demonstrated perhaps the greatest proficiency in the NA LCS at landing long-range Thresh hooks and Morgana bindings, and Veigar's Event Horizon fit that mold as well.
Alongside their pick-off capabilities, all three champions have strong peel and protection for the carries, with Thresh's Flay, Dark Passage, and The Box, Morgana's Black Shield and Soul Shackles, and Veigar's... well, Event Horizon again, the one skill that made him briefly worth using as a Support.
Bunny has proven that he is incredibly good at pick-off-and-peel champions, there's no question of that. But now Veigar has been nerfed to oblivion, which leaves only two champions on which Bunny has seen success this split.
That's a big problem.
The Case For Bunny-Bans
Why should Gravity's opponents ban Thresh (or pick him away themselves to deny Thresh from Bunny)?
If Thresh is banned or picked away, it's pretty safe to guess that Bunny will lock in Morgana, and suddenly Team Impulse can prepare a team composition built around that. They beat Bunny's Morgana in Week 3 with Rumble, Lee Sin, Ahri, Graves, and Annie, so they could go back to the well, or come up with something similar.
What happens if Team Impulse bans/picks Thresh and Morgana? Bunny has played other champions, but not nearly as well. He could pick Janna: despite going 0-3 this split on her, he did win a game with Janna against Complexity White during the Expansion Tournament. But beyond Thresh, Morgana, and his losing-record Janna, Bunny hasn't won a professional game on a different champion since Braum in the Promotion Tournament.
If Bunny is pushed off of his comfort picks, will he still be able to set up Cop to carry, or will Cop's relatively poor laning phase be taken advantage of? That could lead to mid-game deficits that will be hard to overcome if Bunny isn't setting his team up for free kills with those phenomenal hooks and bindings.
This is an appealing approach for Team Impulse, but maybe there's a case for not banning Bunny FuFuu out, as well.
The Case Against Bunny Bans
Banning out Bunny FuFuu does come with an opportunity cost: if you spend two bans on Bunny, you aren't banning two champions from other Gravity players. There are a few other high-priority bans, like Hauntzer's 4-1 Maokai, Keane's Zed (banned five times this split), and maybe Keane's trend-setting (in NA at least) Urgot, despite his tweeted protest that he doesn't think it's ban-worthy.
There is another scenario where you might not want to ban out Bunny's Thresh: maybe you're planning to counter-pick it, or at least counter-tactics it. Thresh doesn't have any obvious direct counters in lane, though Morgana has sometimes been seen as a counter-pick. As an overall team, though, a composition can be built that isn't as vulnerable to Thresh's strengths, and team tactics can be adapted to avoid getting picked off. For example, a tank-heavy composition and extra priority on vision control could be a tactical counter strategy to a Thresh pick.
But to be honest, Bunny's Thresh is still good enough to win against a team that is specifically trying to shut him down, so relying on counter-picking/counter-planning may not be good enough.
Bunny FuFuu's emphatic Thresh win to cap off the regular season has brought his mastery of the champion back into the spotlight, and that means Team Impulse will definitely be thinking about Gravity's Support player as they prepare for their playoff series this weekend.
Team Impulse has a couple of choices going into their games with Gravity. They can choose not to ban out Bunny FuFuu, or leave up one of his two main picks, and then build compositions and tactics that play around his somewhat one-dimensional play style.
Or they can target-ban Bunny, removing both of his successful champions, and rely on outplaying Gravity because of Bunny's relatively inferior performance on other champions.
Either way, Bunny FuFuu's shallow champion pool has given Team Impulse a shortlist of pretty clearly defined paths to success.
On Gravity's side, it's up to Bunny FuFuu and his team to prove that they've got more tricks up their sleeves. If they don't pull them out versus Team Impulse, they won't get another chance until Summer.
P.S. Since you're probably wondering, like I was, Thresh was only banned once against Gravity all split, by Team Liquid, and that game was a Gravity loss. Thresh was also played against Gravity once, by CLG. Morgana was banned six times, for comparison.
Tim "Mag1c" Sevenhuysen manages the LCS analytics site Oracle's Elixir and occasionally writes about the NA and EU LCS.