Jungle Pathing: How It Can Lead to Success
This review is an in-depth breakdown of how Flaw’s jungle pathing managed to impress me in the LCK spring promotions, and how SBENU might have found themselves a talented jungler. So let’s jump into the first game of the series:
SSB Team Comp: Malphite, Nidalee, Orianna, Vayne, Alistar
EVE Team Comp: Fiora, Lee Sin, Viktor, Corki, Braum
One of the reasons Nidalee is commonly picked is to abuse jungle matchups. If you and your team are confident that your jungler is much better than the other jungler, Nidalee is great at abusing and shutting down the enemy jungler. It’s not just the dueling potential; it’s the insanely fast clear times and mobility that allows Nidalee to get around the map quicker than the other jungler and more able to control the map that way.
So when you approach this game and look at how SBENU executed their laneswap, Nidalee was a great pick-up. Obviously, Flaw is mechanically talented on the champ, being at the top of KR Solo Queue and having a ton of games played with her.
At the start, SBENU go for the laneswap. In my opinion, it’s a good decision because of the obvious losing lanes, but also because of the jungle matchup. Lee Sin is great at making early game plays, but so is Nidalee, and as I mentioned before, if you have a jungle skill advantage, utilize it. SBENU is confident in Flaw here, and it pays off.
At around 2;32, Alistar roams to the enemy red buff and spots Lee Sin. This gives a substantial amount of information to Flaw. Also, because Fiora recalled early, instead of helping Lee, Nidalee and Malphite have the fast track in the fast push - they can get to the tower early. Flaw knows this and uses it to his advantage.
Eve realizes their mistake. Lee forgoes raptors in order to make up for the lapse in communication. But Flaw realizes that they still have the time advantage and he tells Malphite to not help him do the blue buff, and instead, go instantly to take down the turret. What happens then is that Malphite arrives at tower about the same time Lee and Fiora finish taking blue buff. Flaw realizes that Nidalee can clear relatively fast and finishes the blue buff when Lee and Fiora arrive at turret.
So both turrets are taken at the same time because even though Nidalee doesn’t contribute to the tower pushing, Malphite arrives at the turret earlier than Fiora/Lee, and Nidalee then is given free roam to just take farm from Lee’s red buff jungle. So what ends up happening at the end of the laneswap for each of the three components of the laneswap specifically is that SBENU gets the gold/exp lead while EVE gets the dragon.
Despite SBENU having the obvious losing bot lane, Vayne and Alistar end up with more experience. They also have relatively even cs but Vayne is able to pick up a huge wave off the freeze and deny some creeps from Corki after the recalls. If this were normal lanes, I would wager that SBENU’s bot lane would be losing.
Also, when we look at top laners, the same applies to Malphite. He is ahead substantially in experience (raptor camp, helped Nid with red buff, and shared less xp taking down turret) compared to Fiora.
And lastly, the most obvious advantage. Nidalee. She has 15 cs on Lee Sin, and when Lee goes to his red buff side to farm, all his camps are gone, stopping even more of Lee’s farm. The cs and xp advantage that Flaw gains through that superior pathing in the laneswap is very valuable for the outcome of the game.
Even though they trade the aforementioned advantages for a dragon, Nidalee can easily control the vision game with more pressure, allowing them to take the next dragon and negate the enemy team’s advantage. But most of all, the reason I like Flaw’s pathing here and the whole way SBENU played the laneswap is because of how they picked. They didn’t pick to win lanes: they picked to win late game teamfights and/or have Nidalee snowball the game. The way that they played the early game gave them easy access to their win conditions.
The game as a whole is a sign of how to punish lackluster teams that don't path well and how to use a talented jungler in the meta. Nidalee has been largely contested over all the regions, and we see why here in this LCK Spring Promotion Game.