Feeding Cloud 9: NA expansion tournament predictions part 1
Sunday afternoon I could think of two things as I watched cloud 9 chaotically massacre Europe’s representatives on a 5-1 run to an IEM title: I thought I was burnt out on Lee Sin plays until Meteos decided to ace a team with one kick, and that I feel incredibly sorry for the newcomers to the LCS this year. Only a sadist would take pleasure in repeatedly getting destroyed by that monster.
Players clearly happy to play against Meteos and Cloud 9
After the wake n’ bake bros finished annihilating roughly the entirety of the EU LCS I thought it would be a good idea to take a deeper look at the new teams that could get to face off against the north American Juggernaut.
Final five vs. Team Fusion
This one is going to get bloody. Fusion has the best performing player in the entire tournament in Nien, MakNoon going ham across the map and the Nintendude HuHi duo ready to dive anywhere anytime. Final Five has a team that relies on mid game picks and skirmishes to create chaos and establish an insurmountable snowball. Count on lots of fights, dives and kills in this one.
Fusion’s strength lies in both Nien’s ability to build a lead in the lane phase and the immense amount of pressure that MakNoon brings to the table. HuHi and Nintendude’s mid game roaming allows them to collapse quickly on either an objective, or the opposing team trying to respond to MakNoon’s pressure. In these crucial mid game fights Nien’s consistent damage output and the teams overall impressive play allows them to snowball dramatically and overwhelm the opposition.
In the lane phase, Nien has been the best ad of the tournament, out csing his opponents by an average of 15.5 cs. To put that into perspective, Prototype, the next best ad at 10 minutes in terms of cs differential, leads his opponents by 9.5 minions. That’s the closest this matchup gets. At 20 minutes, well into the mid game, Prototype only has an average lead of 8 cs. Nien has an average lead of 40. Nien combines the best lane phase of all ad carries in the final rounds with an ability to dramatically expand on his lead well into the mid game, while Prototype builds a small lead and follows it up with a mid-game reliant upon picks to snowball. In this matchup look for Nien to play his consistent early game and build a cs lead in order to bring the most damage to the inevitable mid game team fights.
MakNoon's ability to outfarm his opponents while creating massive pressure will set up Fusion for success. Across the second round Rhux had a quiet KDA of 0 at 10 minutes, and created a decent average cs lead of 7.5 creeps. MakNoon still managed to build up a massive 18.5 average cs lead despite his abysmal 0.6 kda. MakNoon’s ability to build a cs lead while generating an immense amount of top lane pressure and drawing the attention of the enemy jungle is crucial in this matchup. If Final Five has ShorterACE spend too much time helping Rhux deal with MakNoon expect Nintendude to capitalize on this and get HuHi rolling in the mid lane.
While Final Five may not have an advantage in either the top lane or the bot lane, they may be able to establish a foothold in the mid lane. Gate averages a 7 creep lead over his opponent and a 1 kill lead, growing this to a 22.5 cs lead and a 2.5 kill lead over his opposing laner at 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark HuHi averages a 6.5 cs lead and is even in kills with his opponent. With both mid laners favoring assassin play Final Five would be smart to get Gate snowballing if they want to be able to succeed with their pick oriented mid game.
Mid game picks are the area where Final Five shines the most. With their prowess in this area they have been able to grab kills and effectively snowball that chaos in to massive leads, increasing their kda on average from 1.4 to 5.4 between 10 and 20 minutes, and taking an average lead of 7.5k gold by 20 minutes. These kills have primarily gone to both carries of Final Five, with mid laner Gate and ad carry Prototype combining for 12 of their teams 21 kills at 20 minutes.
Final Five mid game KDA: Masters at mid game picks, Final Five players have over double the average KDA of Team Fusion in two of the three carry positions at the 20 minute mark.
But Fusion is a team well equipped to survive the Final Five mid game pick strategy. Across the two games in which MakNoon’s poppy was picked off repeatedly by the 20 minute mark, with pedestrian KDAs of 1.6 and 2.5, Fusion still managed to turn 10 minute leads of 1.5 and .2k gold into leads of 6.1 and 5.5k gold by 20 minutes and rack up 21 kills of their own. MakNoon has 8 of his team’s 21 kills at 20 minutes, forcing the opposing team to focus too much on the top laner in late game fights, and ignoring the heavily farmed Nien. This boosts Nien’s already stellar play, by the end of the second round Nien had one death and a kda of 40.
With MakNoon’s ability to generate immense pressure early game and follow it up with the best 10-20 minute jump in all top laners, and Nien’s impressive lane phase I see this going in Team Fusion’s favor. While Final Five will try and snowball a lead, Fusion has just too much power in both the lane phase and the mid game to be overcome. This bloodbath is going Team Fusion’s way.
Prediction: Team Fusion 3-1 Final Five
Photo credit: ESL