Make no mistake, even though Samsung’s draft was a very intelligent approach to this game, Immortals most definitely outdrafted themselves. Their picks showed both a lack of understanding of how they should address the game based on their current form, as well as a poor read on what Samsung were looking to play. Allow me to elaborate.
Because Immortals just got recently put together, with no two players previously sharing a team, synergy for them is at an all time low. Often times we see teams in this situation opting to draft a late game composition, and the reasoning behind the idea is pretty solid. It requires way less coordination to waveclear and stall than it takes tosnowball advantages and pressure consistently. This scaling gives the team a chance to make up for their lack of coordination in lategame champion strength.
The problem is that, when facing Samsung Galaxy, this game plan is nothing short of wishful thinking. It is not by chance that Team SoloMid, H2K and South Korea Telecom T1 all chose to pick early game compositions when facing Samsung. The Korean squad is one of the best teams in the world at mid-to-late game macro play. These teams knew how risky it was to let SSG get there unpunished, and saw a much more realistic widow of opportunity for a victory via early game pressure.
Indeed, Immortals’ superior scaling in this draft exists only on paper. The huge difference in late game macro between both teams easily makes up for the late game stength of Immortal’s composition, leaving them waiting for an outscale that could realistically only come in the form of a full equip teamfight. Superior damage is worth very little if you get consistently caught in bad spots and take too long to rotate arround objectives. This is where Samsung’s composition comes into place.
I must admit I am deeply impressed with Samsung’s draft. On the past, their drafts seemed mostly to be looking only for counterpicks. Not very often would they address the stylistic clash with any team they were facing, at least in their draft phase. This time however, they’ve hit the nail in the head with the pick composition.
Pick compositions become stronger the less coordination the enemy team has. This fact is self evident. They rely heavily on catching opponents off guard and preying on the easiest targets. Targets are much easier to isolate if their team coordination is poor. This is what makes going for picks so valuable and effective against Immortals.
To top it all off, it is much harder to outscale a pick composition than any other one (splitpush, poke…) if you have poor coordination, if even possible at all. We’ve all been in that solo queue game when one team clearly outscales the other and has much stronger teamfights, only for one of his members to get picked off and have the late game team still lose the match. The scaling of your carries is irrelevant if only one of them is alive.
This is how Immortals outdrafted themselves. Samsung had already shown willingness to play the Taliyah, and it was pretty apparent that they were looking to play a pick composition. With this information, Immortals still picked greedily, and got unavoidably punished.
Samsung banning Thresh is nothing short of a huge sky light with the words “PICK COMPOSITION” flashing in all sorts of colors. In a support metagame dominated by Karma and Zyra, there is little to no room for Thresh. With no sustain, poor pushing potential and relatively weak poke, Thresh has been bullied out of the meta. The only reason to ban him is to avoid giving the opposing team the obnoxious lantern that plagues the nightmares of every pick-oriented draft.
As for Ashe and Cassiopeia, these bans are related to Samsung’s usual composition. Samsung like to run Zyra, Jhin and Viktor whenever possible. Since Cassiopeia has great midlane early control combined with strong scaling, this is a pick you rarely want to face as Viktor. As for Ashe, not only does her ultimate stop Jhin’s whenever she chooses to do so but, by taking her out, the strength of Zyra rises. Not being able to play Ashe/Miss Fortune means that Zyra becomes the strongest support pick abaliable, and an absolute priority to secure.
This puts Immortals in a situation where they either take Zyra into a pick composition, or they give the strongest available support for free to Samsung, setting them up for their comfort picks. This is a very strong banning phase by Samsung.
As for Immortals, they admittedly do have very little wiggle room to play with. The huge midlane mismatch, combined with Samsung’s first pick, make it so that they would not like to, under any circumstance, leave any of the incredibly strong midlaners currently in the meta open. The less control Crown can have over the game, the better.
Not only is Ambition extremely proficient on Lee Sin, but the blind monk’s kit gives both disengage (in case Samsung should end up picking Viktor and Zyra) and pick potential (should Immortals take the Zyra themselves). This, combined with the fact that it has no real counter, makes it a perfect first choice.
Orianna & Zyra
Picking Zyra is smart in this situation. Even when you are falling into the claws of a pick composition with it, giving it to Samsung at this point would be suicidal. As for Orianna, there are various factors involved. She has strong wave manipulation, wave clear and heavy synergy with Zyra in the form of AOE cc. She is a very safe pick and, most importantly perhaps, you take her away from Crown.
Still, I see little to no reason to pick her over Jhin. By leaving Jhin open you allow Samsung to play the game they want. Snatching Jhin from the Koreans leaves them with no other ADC to fill the role, and most likely would have Samsung going back to the composition from game one. Because of the little damage this composition had, and the need for Ezreal to scale, you can now draft Nautilus/Maokai and Hecarim and just dive Samsung over and over, negating the poke potential and the biggest damage source from Samsung.
Maokai & Jhin
Both very strong by-the-book picks. Jhin is the only ADC that adds anything to a pick composition left open. He is also a comfort pick for Ruler and is strengthened because of the Ashe ban. As for Maokai, if you are facing double AOE magic damage, Maokai is the best meta toplaner to help you deal with that. On top of it, he has a strong amount of CC that makes him useful for the pick comp as well. Very simple choices once the facts are laid out.
Poppy & Varus
The Poppy pick is the right choice, with both her ultimate and dash giving the carries distance from the opposing melee divers. Then again, it’s not as if 6.23 has that many toplaners competing for the top spot. The real issue lies in the Varus pick. I can see the AOE CC thematic of the composition, but this pick is undeniably too greedy.
Not only do you draft another immobile carry into a pick composition, but you do so knowing Ruler is a Miss Fortune player. This leaves Crown to play Taliyah and having picked Zyra. The kill potential for Samsung in the bot lane is crazy high against a Varus/Zyra. This spells a very tough game for Varus from beginning to end. The huge likelihood of him getting behind, combined with the enormous risk of approaching the opposing pick comp, make the poke of the champion absolutely worthless, making him into nothing more than a walking ultimate. Both Caitlyn and Lucian would have been far more reasonable choices in this situation.
Miss Fortune & Taliyah
These picks are great, but anyone enjoying this article can see what I meant at the beginning. Immortals practically begged for these picks to be great with their decisions. Miss Fortune’s early-to-mid game damage and kill pressure works wonders into Samsung’s plan of snowballing the early game, especially into Varus. As for Taliyah, she has quick roams to bring even more pressure to the bottom lane and a huge wall that is the nightmare of immobile champions. Miss Fortune is the best open choice for Samsung, and Taliyah is good in the composition as well. Very rarely do we get the chance to see a wonky pick with such a smart draft arround it.
Immortals get absolutely nothing out of their last pick. This could have been taken at any point in the draft, leaving the ADC spot open. This would make Samsung’s choice of support harder and give more room for Immortals to secure the ADC once they had the full grasp of the opposing composition. I don’t find the fear of Crown picking Varus away (as he did on the first game vs TSM on World’s group stage) is enough to justify picking it in the previous rotation, at least not in the situation Immortals was in. And definitely not on a team with poor synergy.
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