GPL Roundup: Week 3
Another week of hot, pulsating Garena Premier League action has been concluded, as the groups begin to consolidate their standings. With this week being Group A's last set of games, the battle was on between Thirsty Chinchillas and ZOTAC for the 2nd spot in the group. A draw would force a Best of 1 tie-breaker (thereby making the 'series' Best of 3).
Meanwhile, the other groups have one more series to play in Week 4, and for Group B and D, it was a chance for the underdogs to stake their claim in the league and show that they were no pushovers. Did they succeed? Read on to find out (or scroll down for tl;dr)!
SAJ vs. J2G
Not even worth a round-up. Sorry, boys.
TCH vs. ZOT
In my preview, I mentioned how ZOTAC had a high chance of not making the 2nd group stage due to Thirsty Chinchillas' apparent strength.
Well, it turns out TCH had a few glaring weaknesses:
1. Mid laner Ease only shows good performances on Azir.
2. Their bot lane was also suspect in recent weeks, although Kra redeemed himself with an MVP performance on Alistar in game 2, teaming up with Ease on his favourite Azir to turn a losing game around. Unfortunately, the bot lane could not replicate their Game 2 accomplishments.
3. As good as Shinsekai is in the laning phase, too often he's unable to translate that advantage into teamfights. His teleports almost always go awry (usually with him dying without actually doing anything), and despite his obvious skill he's unwilling to play tank champions to help his team out.
These three factors were all exploited by ZOTAC, coinciding with the return of their usual ADC SAD, meaning BaRoiBeo did not have to continue struggling in that position. iMeh was also replaced by Vigoss for the tie-breaker after he was bested by Shinsekai in both games they met.
ZOTAC is really not a team hell-bent on breaking the meta. They stick strictly to the prevailing meta of having 3 tanks crowd up the front line, and it worked well enough for them to triumph by the skin of their teeth over the erratic Chinchillas.
Vigoss isn't even a top laner by profession, but all he had to do was play Shen and wait for teamfights, even though Shinsekai was dumpstering him in lane. That kinda tells you a lot about the meta at present.
WG vs. Fate
VN teams like to use this particular choke on the red side to catch out opposing invaders:
Ward the river entrance, and when the other team walks through it, they can get in position to catch them out while the opposition goes to their lanes.
It worked a treat, as Fate ended up 3-0 and could have wiped out the entire WG team if they didn't have to burn 3 flashes going over the Baron wall.
With the 3 kills' gold going to each of Fate's carries, WG hardly stood a chance even with their global-focused composition. Although WG played out the lane-swap scenario reasonably well (4-men dive on Ryze yay!), Slay channelled his inner Flame and used the downed tower to freeze bot lane, giving JLC little opportunity to farm...
...for a while, that is. He decided to roam and eventually got a lot less farm than he would normally have had, and Wargods actually had a gold lead at the 13 minute mark, although this was by virtue of them taking down more turrets; all of them were at CS disadvantages.
After a while it seemed like WG didn't really know what to do with all those downed turrets, and they perhaps weren't prepared for that eventuality, especially Nocturne, who went for a Enchantment-less build (????) and went straight for BotRK. Baffling, so very baffling.
Game 2 was a little more interesting: Fate decided they wanted to play Dota and adopted the 3 solo lanes with 2 roaming support meta prevalent in the rival MOBA. Jinky on Ahri packed Teleport, took the team's first Blue and went bot...alone. Lysna on Corki went mid against Light's Anivia. Akiho on Alistar decided he didn't need to stick with his ADC (or mid laner for that matter) and went all over the map with Rek'Sai, with mixed results.
WG actually raced into a kill lead thanks to some good Teleport counter-ganking from JLC, showing which MOBA the two teams were supposed to be playing. Take that, Valve!
Fate revealed their secret later - they were actually cosplaying Full Louis! MeoU's Rek'Sai had a Warrior enchant WITH a Bami's Cinder; a build popularised by FL's SofM. It works a treat if you're invading the other jungle constantly and taking all the farm, which MeoU did, albeit at the cost of losing Dragons.
It wasn't the cleanest series from Asus Fate, but this was a much more aggressive Fate Team as well, which carries its own set of risks distinct from their usual passive style. Jinky was relegated to support carry status rather than main damage dealer, which could have contributed to Fate's sloppiness.
On the other hand, Wargods have shown some improvement in their macro game and teamfighting (Efeek was particularly good on Vayne), but are still prone to making terrible game-throwing decisions, like trying to 'sneak' a Baron and getting it stolen, and then chasing around a Shen while Fate finished another Baron with 4 men. If they tunnel less on kills and certain objectives (like Baron...), they may actually surprise Saigon Fantastic 5 this week.
Saigon Fantastic Five vs. Imperium Pro Team
Okay, here are the biggest two reasons why SF5 is such an inconsistent team: Sena, their jungler, LOVES to play Kha'Zix and Lee Sin. Row pretty much refuses to ever play a tanky top laner. These two jokers ensure that SF5 games are "exciting". Exciting as in they'll all-in a lot regardless of circumstances.
It must be said, before we go on, that IPT is weaker than Wargods. Also, their mid laner suEz likes mid Renekton. The story went that IPT would have to cheese in order to get anything out of the group, and because SF5 has a really unstable playstyle, IPT had the opportunity to score a point.
Enter the jungle Wukong...who ultimately failed to snowball a 3-0 lead. Mid lane won (such is Renekton's strength as a lane bully even mid), but no other lane did, making their transition into mid-game that much harder. They did manage to secure objectives like Dragon, but IPT was no turret-sieger. Having Vayne and Renekton on the same team pretty much made it impossible to siege despite a kill advantage.
One opportunistic baron and awry teamfighting from IPT later, SF5 took game 1.
And then, cue the shenanigans. Kupz had shown his strength in the early game, and did so again in Game 2, this time on Gragas. Thanks to him and Poysanity (fear the roaming Nami!), suEz got a lead once again in the mid lane, and because he is Vladimir, IPT had a real chance.
Remember what I said about Row and Sena being jokers (they really should be in Saigon Jokers instead)? This is what happened in Game 2:
Many lols were had.
Dumb & Dumber were also holding on to the majority of gold though, and coupled with some of the sloppiest teamfighting I've ever seen from a VN team (no guesses as to who were making those sloppy moves), IPT took the surprise win to tie the series. Fair credit to them; all of IPT played marvellously and capitalised on SF5's silly positioning multiple times, one of which resulted in an uncontested Baron.
Row used the money he had to buy Deathcap and Void Staff, instead of Rylai's or some other items which would ensure his survival in teamfights. NOPE. All or nothing for this guy.
Group B is still very much open in terms of standings, but Fate should make Round 2 easily. Wargods will have to play like their lives depended on it to beat SF5, although if Row and Sena continues to be Dumb & Dumber, Wargods can go one step further and 2-0 them. That's my bold prediction for Week 4.
Mineski vs. Boba Marines
A 2-0 it was - Mineski were not worthy of beating Vietnam's top team on the day. The series was nowhere else either. Game 1 was BM playing seriously, and Mineski crumbled quickly off the back of Optimus' stellar Vayne play - even buying a Warmog after his BotRK and QSS. That's right, he was demolishing Mineski with just one damage item. This guy is a monster only rivalled by Lloyd from Bangkok Titans.
And of course, mid Ez was at 5.12 at this point, so that wasn't an early-game that Mineski could come back from.
Game 2 was BM drafting a lot more arrogantly - zero tanks (Rek'Sai performing the role of pseudo-tank) and full assassin comp. Even drafting 'properly', Mineski found the going tough, showing why they had repeatedly lost to Wargods, a team mechanically better than them. Their weak players are REALLY weak. TGEE and Kaigu have no business being on a pro-level team, and this fact was repeatedly exposed against BM.
Bangkok Titans vs. Go To Sleep
The much-anticipated clash of Thai-tans concluded in Week 3. BKT was coming off a resounding victory over BM, while GTS was the victim of TGEE Poppy. Perhaps GTS got the message there: they HAD to cheese BKT to have any hope of victory.
Introducing the "Really Really Fast But Lacking In Hard CC" composition: top Singed, jungle Eve, mid Hecarim (!), and a token Kalista/Alistar bot lane. Unfortunately the draft phase is lost somewhere in time, which means I couldn't see how Sivir was denied from GTS's comp (probably banned).
Although they killed Lloyd sometimes, BKT still had G4 and 007x to take up damage-dealing duties. And that's what GTS's comp was really only good for - taking out ONE damage threat. So while Lloyd had a pretty hard time, G4 and 007x were laughing in glee as they took kill after kill.
Game 2 saw a return to standard composition from GTS, but that was probably a mistake. BKT is obscenely good these days, especially G4. To put it mildly, Steinz got rekt by G4's Irelia, while the bot lane faced the wrath of Lloyd after continually focusing him in teamfights in Game 1.
The agony of Renrin, who was seen on Team Infinite with a 0-0-6 record in GPL last year, continues. He did the least worst in Game 2. Einsteinium, the 'famed' Nunu and Sejuani player (that's all he ever plays nowadays, barring the occasional Eve pick) could do very little to stop the carnage anywhere on the map. One would require their lanes to be winning for Nunu to have any use.
The tl;dr, for the lazy:
ZOTAC eliminates SG Mix Team #1 (SG Mix Teams #2 and #3 being Impunity Legends and Team Proioxis - the joke is that none of these three teams have been competing together as 5 before the start of GPL Summer); J2G continues to be not-good; Fate cosplays Full Louis with some success; Wargods decent at teamfighting and objectives but makes crippling macro errors; Boba Marines abandoning their usual 'we don't fight until we have some items' strategy to destroy Mineski; Go To Sleep needs to work on their cheese; Bangkok Titans annihilating all the competition.