Imp - The LPL's Baby Faced Assassin
With their 3-0 series victory against EDG in the LPL semifinals, LGD have secured China’s first seed to this year’s World Championship. Though LGD had solid performances all around, as well as a standout performance from often criticized jungler, TBQ, this series was undoubtedly carried on the back of ADC, Gu “Imp” Seung-Bin. A member of last year’s championship team, Imp is finding his form just in time to defend his title.
Imp has never been best known for his masterful positioning, his ability to innately dodge and hit skillshots, or even for his pure mechanical, as some of history’s other top AD carries, Namei, Deft, and Uzi were. In fact, there were many that said he was being carried in in lane by Mata, considered by far the best support at the time. However, the arrival of a new season and the subsequent “Korean Exodus,” as many call it, has given Imp the chance to accentuate an aspect of his gameplay that was always present; his proactiveness and aggressiveness.
In a season that was largely dominated by the tank meta, ADC players have often been relegated to playing early game carries that can’t kill tanks later on (Corki), high damage immobile champions (Kog’maw, Jinx), or team utility champions (Sivir). Even with these restrictions, this series featured Imp as one of the playmakers of the team all while playing Kog’maw, Kog’maw, Kalista in games 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
Besides outputting an enormous amount of damage during fights, a less flashy, but equally important part of Imp’s play this series was almost single-handedly securing important neutral objectives for his team. Let’s look at game 2 of the series. At the 25 minute mark of this game, EDG have a solid 3k gold lead, are in the midst of their power spike with 2 item Corki and Leblanc, and have a 2-0 dragon advantage, well on their way to a pre-40 minute 5 dragon win condition.
Securing a third dragon would not only put EDG on track for 5 dragons, but also deny LGD the 6% attack damage and ability power from the first dragon bonus. With all that in mind, look at Imp’s positioning in the above picture. As arguably the least mobile ADC in the game, Imp sees Deft out of position and walks, by himself, into 4 members EDG to get damage onto him.
As shown below, this results in Deft being dropped to less than 25% HP, allowing LGD the chance to secure their first dragon, and prevent EDG’s dragon stacking. Not the flashiest play, especially since it happened offscreen, but still crucial in preventing the game from getting out of control, allowing LGD to eventually mount a comeback.
Later in the same game, after getting a pick onto Pawn’s overzealous Leblanc, LGD move towards the baron in an attempt to take their first lead of the game. However, with Clearlove’s Lee Sin still alive, there is still a considerable threat of a steal. GODV and Imp quickly extinguish that possibility as GODV’s Yasuo lands an ult over the wall, after which Imp flashes over to finish off Clearlove. Jungler down. Threat gone.
The subsequent baron gives LGD a 2k gold lead, a lead which they never relinquish, and are able to us to push to victory. Overall, it’s not just Imp’s damage output - Deft actually did more damage - that carried his team in this game, but rather his willingness to go for aggressive and oftentimes proactive plays that allowed LGD to complete the comeback.
As Kog’maw though, there is only so much aggression that Imp can output. The transition from game 2 to 3 also saw Imp moving from the immobile Kog’maw to the highly mobile Kalista, a switch that really allowed Imp’s playstyle to shine. With the help of TBQ and Acorn, Imp was able to get an early kill and assist, which resulted in a 2 dragon and almost 2k gold advantage for LGD.
At the 19 minute mark, LGD find themselves in the exact opposite situation compared to the previous game. Up 2 dragons to none, holding onto a less than 1k gold lead, and facing the undoubtedly better scaling composition, the importance of both getting the third dragon and denying the first from EDG was paramount. Imp, recognizing the situation, is able to get enough spears onto the dragon to secure it.
Again, not the flashiest, or even the most difficult of plays, but was absolutely critical towards helping LGD win the game. The flashiness came not 4 minutes later when Imp hops over a wall, and (basically) singlehandedly gets a pick onto Pawn’s Viktor, dodging everything he could in the process for good measure. The pick not only gave Imp yet another kill, but also helped the team secure baron, breaking what was a close game wide open.
Now with a lead, Imp began to play more and more aggressively, auto attacking freely, split pushing towers, and even using his ult with Pyl to 2-man flank the entire team of EDG. By the time LGD wrapped up the final of their sweep, Imp had an immaculate scoreline of 9-0-7 and had a 140+ cs advantage on Deft.
LGD now move to the LPL finals, where they will face Qiao Gu (QG), but have already locked up China’s first seed to this year’s World Championship. With what seems to be renewed motivation, Imp has pushed his play up yet another level, staking his claim to the “best ADC in the world” title. That, along with dominating performances from GODV and Pyl make LGD a definite strong contender for the title. Look out everyone, the baby faced assassin is coming for you.
Pictures taken from lolesports.com