Game 1: Fnatic vs. Invictus Gaming (IG)
Darius and Lulu are comfort bans b/c of how strong both picks are, Darius in the top lane and having almost no really “bad” matchups and Lulu as a flex that denies engage with q+r+w, creates engage with W, has a safe laning phase, strong wave clear/laning phase. Top tier champion.
IG has heavily prioritized Braum in comps during the regional qualifiers, playing the champion 6/9 games as a late pick as both engage and peel to help Kid out after laning phase ends, fits IG playstyle very well. ALSO, IG never played Alistar in regional qualifiers, indicating a potential weakness that FNC can exploit by granting a free support pick or forcing a ban from IG.
Morde is a. due to Rekkles displaying proficiency on the champion in solo queue, b. being an extremely dominant early laning champion (since IG doesn’t really like ganking bot side of the map much, Mord would basically have permapush and dragon control, effectively ending the game).
Vayne ban opens up the Sivir pick, since that’s her strongest counter in the current meta.
Gangplank ban is general strength top laner, targeted at denying Huni a free laning phase where he could be effective even without much early pressure.
Bans indicate: Fnatic want to run a Sivir composition. The Vayne ban only comes out as an allowance of a Sivir set up or potentially a Jinx, but FNC has shown great proficiency in Sivir comps throughout the Summer season.
They’ve left up all strong mid picks outside of the Lulu, allowing for flexibility in select.
IG has no real discernable play style from bans, but should expect a Sivir and Elise from Fnatic, since Reignover’s favorite champion has been the Elise and in combination with the Sivir provides strong early game pressure on bot lane with waves and potential dives as well as good early objective control with Dragon pressure.
Elise first pick. This is not an “OP” first pick, but instead both a. a strong comfort pick and b. a safe pick for the jungle. IG almost never played Elise in the regionals, and has played against Elise 4/9 games in regionals. Reignover LOVES his Elise, and FNC has a lot of experience playing with it. This gives them a lot of early game pressure, and since Kakao has NOT played Lee Sin in regionals, could secure them jungle pressure until 6, without revealing much about their lanes.
IG counters with Thresh Skarner. This is where the biggest mishap happens with P/B, given what information they have to work with. Skarner essentially gives away early gank pressure to Elise until 6, but Skarner needs to thrive on skirmishing early and getting good picks/dragon fights since his sieging is questionable and after QSSes come out his engage becomes iffy too. He has a midgame window from level 6 to QSS which is generally a 3rd item so 25ish minute mark where he has game impact. However, BECAUSE Elise has already been taken, Fnatic now just needs to grab that first dragon pre-Skarner power spike and completely deny the early skirmishing until the 13-15 minute mark. Thresh confirms that Kitties really doesn’t play Alistar, which is a HUGE problem for them here because of the lack of initiation that rounds out this composition. you cannot rely on Thresh hook as a primary intiate. It’s a really good followup CC and peel, but you need some sort of initial CC to start fights.
At this point, the two critical points for initiation in the current meta, Jungle and Support, are BOTH questionable initiators outside of very niche Dragon scenarios. However, FNC already has picked early strength with the Elise to prevent weakness at the first Dragon fight. But, to make matters even worse, FNC has a great second rotation of Sivir and Shen. Shen flexes to both top and support here, and IG has almost NO experience playing against Shen support. At this point, Skarner is almost completely rendered useless because by the time Skarner can gank, top lane Shen will have Ult, which denies the single target lockdown, and Sivir has ult to deny chase and spellshield to aide against single target CC. Sivir both counterpicks the Thresh and the Skarner while providing utility and not having many counters other than a possible KogMaw here, but even that isn’t really a counter because KogMaw cedes early game control which means IG can’t actually pressure Dragon pre 6 and cannot match the Sivir wave clear.
IG shows their inexperience with Shen support by then picking Riven and Ashe. An immobile carry who has massive difficulties in lane against Sivir due to the pushing power and spellshield and against Shen because of taunt, all of a sudden Shen support looks like a likely scenario because of the laning matchups. This means that Skarner has an opportunity to make a play immediately at level 6 before Shen can get his ultimate, but this window is incredibly small and requires the other laners to have pressure in their matchups, where bot lane should not.
IG is going to be looking for a lane swap now because of the weakness of the 2v2 and to help negate Elise early pressure to give Kakao room to hit 6. This is where the second draft mistake comes in: the Riven counterpick to Shen. IG clearly was not expecting a Shen support, but they essentially blind pick their top lane Riven here, giving FNC all the room they need for their last two picks to have disengage and a tanky, safe top laner.
FNC’s last two picks of Hecarim and Azir are geared towards completely shutting the Riven down. Hecarim with ignite TP and FNC’s awareness of the 1v2 means he can deny Riven early pressure as long as he has early Elise support to prevent a gank on the Flashless champion, and Hecarim can deal with Riven splitpush by building tanky, having the ignite to stop all healing, and maintaining strong dps with q and e. Azir completely shuts down both Skarner and Riven in team fights, denying any diving on the backline, especially in tandem with the Sivir speedup and Shen ult for any mispositionings.
Since FNC know IG want to go for a laneswap, they have all the control: they can just go bottom and, if IG lane swaps, they have the stronger early tower pushing as well as dive on Riven with Elise CC into Shen Taunt and Sivir burst, and Elise has the ability to drop tower aggro so they can completely deny the riven through the early game, followed by a free early drag which means Skarner has no room to operate and create skirmishing near his crystals before second drag, at which point the game is probably over anyways.
IG picks Viktor into Azir, the standard lane for almost all of Summer, which gives IG access to burst down a single target in Skarner ult, but their teamfighting just isn’t there and just seems like a comfort matchup that doesn’t add much in the way of comping.
IG seems to have been completely caught off guard by the Shen support, but really their pickban across the board was quite poor and they only had a small window to make plays around the Skarner lvl 6 and required a very large snowball to successfully win the game.