This is the first of my Pick/Ban recaps I’ll be doing throughout the Spring Split. I’ll be analyzing the draft process from a compositional and power perspective. In terms of champion power, I’ll be going by the Tier Lists I created for patch 5.24. You can see the entirety of the lists here: http://www.goldper10.com/article/2994-patch-524-competitive-tier-lists.html
For ease of reference when discussing power picks, I’ll quickly list the Tier 1 of each position here before we get to the recap.
One final disclaimer, I obviously am not privy to individual teams information regarding play style and champion pool, so I will generally be discussing things from a neutral paradigm unless there is significant information known about a player or team’s tendencies. For this reason I will also generally only briefly touch on the bans, as I can’t know which champions they felt the need to ban simply because their players aren’t proficient on them.
Top Lane Tier 1: Ryze, Gangplank, Lulu, Fiora, Lissandra
Mid Lane Tier 1: Lulu, Ryze, Gangplank, Zed, Viktor
Jungle Tier 1: Kindred, Lee Sin, Rek’Sai, Elise, Nidalee
ADC Tier 1: Miss Fortune, Lucian, Corki, Tristana, Kalista
Support Tier 1: Bard, Alistar, Trundle, Thresh, Janna, Braum
CJ vs SKT
CJ (Blue): Ryze, Gangplank, Miss Fortune
SKT (Red): Fiora, Lissandra, Lulu
CJ (Blue): Kindred; Alistar, Twisted Fate; Ashe, Maokai
SKT (Red): Tahm Kench, Kalista; Corki, Rek’Sai; Thresh
The immediate thing that jumps out from bans is that Top lane has been decimated, the entirety of Tier 1 has removed and Tier 2 is pretty huge, so Top takes a bit of a backseat in this game. For me Lucian is the first pick here with Miss Fortune banned, as he and MF represent the two strongest ADCS currently by a fair margin. Kindred is a fine first pick in general as arguably the strongest Jungler, but the Tier 1 of Jungle is very close for me and the gap from Lucian to the other ADC’s is bigger then Kindred to Lee Sin or Rek’Sai. Kindred does offer a unique playstyle from the Jungle however, and as such first picking her over a slightly bigger power pick is perfectly understandable should you desire this unique carry potential from the position.
SKT I would want to take Lucian + a Jungle/Support here, instead however they go for Kalista and Tahm Kench. I think this is an overrating of Kalista, but she is still a Tier 1 champion and a comfort pick for Bang. Tahm Kench was quite surprising to me, as I have him as Tier 2 at Support and Tier 3 Top Lane. He does have value as a flex pick, but for me this is too high and I would have much preferred Lee Sin or Alistar to bring displacement against Kindred.
CJ grabs Twisted Fate and Alistar next. I like these picks a lot from a compositional standpoint, TF + Kindred sets up multiple avenues for victory through split pushing, picks, and objective control. That being said picking TF with Zed up right now is extremely risky in my opinion, and obviously this risk is only enchanced against Faker.
SKT follows up with Corki and Rek’Sai. I left Corki off my Mid Lane Tier list which in retrospect was an oversight, he makes a lot of sense and I will likely slot him in around mid Tier 2 going forward. That being said I think Zed was a slam dunk pick here against TF, and could have easily been paired with Elise to not be too heavy on physical damage.
CJ finished up with Ashe and Maokai. Pairing Ashe with TF clearly solidifies them as a pick composition, Maokai however in my opinion is not very powerful at the moment and doesn’t really fit the plan particularly well. He does bring strong wave clear and anti-dive presence should they want to split the TF, but outside that I don’t think he really accomplishes much. Would have much preferred a Malphite or Gnar.
SKT finishes with Thresh, always a safe pick and quite valuable against TF and Ashe for lantern saves.
Overall I don’t particularly care for either composition, but would give the slight edge to SKT. They have a higher general power level of champion and their composition doesn’t have a glaring weakness, mostly just somewhat unlreliable engage, but this is largely mitigated by Kalistas objective control allowing them to force fights.
CJ’s composition is fine and has a clear purpose, but they dipped uncesscarily far into the pool in terms of power to fill it out. Maokai especially is not a premier pick right now, and Lucian would have been extremely powerful against SKT’s comp as he outranges both ADCS and could easily dodge almost all their CC.
SKT vs CJ
SKT (Blue): Fiora, Lissandra, Lulu
CJ (Red): Ryze, Gangplank, Tahm Kench
SKT (Blue): Miss Fortune; Elise, Gnar; Trundle, Viktor
CJ (Red): Alistar, Kindred; Maokai, Lucian; Leblanc
CJ decide they would rather not have to deal with Tahm Kench and leave up Miss Fortune as a result. I think this is an overreaction based purely on Tahm’s power but if they don’t feel prepared to deal with the champion after the first game it’s acceptable as they aren’t giving away a huge gap in power elsewhere to ban him (MF and Lucian are pretty close).
SKT goes ahead and first picks Miss Fortune, a fine pick and probably the biggest power pick available.
CJ nabs Alistar/Kindred as a repeat from last game, again strong safe picks that hide your composition.
SKT responds with Elise/Gnar, with all the OP’s again banned out Top Gnar is one of the safest picks remaining and Elise is a logical pairing with 2 AD champions already on the board.
CJ follows up with Maokai/Lucian, I love the Lucian but the Maokai is perplexing again. He does have a fine matchup against Gnar and bring magic damage but again his overall power is just not that high right now, and more powerful champions with fine or better matchups like Malphite, Hecarim, and Irelia are all available here with providing significantly more threat onto the immobile MF. The ideal pick here would actually have been Yasuo as he counters both Gnar in lane and MF in teamfights and you already have an Alistar to set him up, but it’s very possible Untara doesn’t play the pick.
SKT finish off with Trundle/Viktor, excellent power picks. Trundle helps protect and set up MF while shredding the tank stats of Maokai, and Viktor is the premier safe AP Mid laner to round out their damage profile.
CJ’s last pick of Leblanc makes a lot of sense as they need heavy AP damage and the combination of Leblanc and Kindred have a lot of kill pressure on an immobile Mid like Viktor. She also brings significant threat to MF in teamfights.
This is better draft from both teams (especially CJ), with generally stronger champions across the board. Again I have to give the edge to SKT due to CJ’s choice of Maokai, but CJ certainly has avenues to victory, especially if Leblanc gets rolling.
AFR vs KT
AFR (Blue): Lulu, Gangplank, Ryze
KT (Red): Twisted Fate, Zed, Thresh
AFR (Blue): Lissandra; Kalista, Bard; Rek’Sai, Leblanc
KT (Red): Fiora, Elise; Shen, Lucian; Lux
Fiora and Lissandra both make it through bans, and AFR snaps up Lissandra first likely due to her flex potential.
KT grabs Fiora/Elise, perfect picks as Fiora can lane just fine against Lissandra and Elise is an obvious pairing in order to balance AD and magic damage.
AFR goes for Kalista/Bard next, Bard is my #1 Support right now so I love this pick and Kalista makes sense despite MF being available as she is much better at surviving against a Fiora. That being said I would have still preferred Lucian but Kalista is certainly fine.
KT continues with Shen/Lucian, Lucian is a great pick and safe from the big backline threat Lissandra/Bard/Kalista would put onto an immobile carry. This is also a fantastic time to bring out Shen Support, as a top tier split pusher like Fiora is the perfect pairing for him. Fantastic draft by KT so far.
AFR finishes up with Rek’Sai/Leblanc, strong picks that round out their composition nicely. They now have a ton of assassination potential and mobility, and should this composition get a lead it can absolutely roll over a game (Leblanc is also a comfort pick for Mickey). It should be noted however that their late game damage is extremely weak and if the game gets to the point where Leblanc and Lissandra can’t blow up KT’s champions, they will rely entirely on Kalista for damage to clean up the fight.
KT throws a huge wrench into things by last picking Lux. The pick has some strong points here but they are in my opinion vastly outweighed by the risks. First the strengths: Should they want to split with Fiora, lux brings excellent wave clear to keep AFR at bay. Further, if KT would rather siege, Elise/Lux is a potent combination where Elise can fish for Cocoons and if she hits it Lux can easily follow up for a chunk or possible a straight out assassination. So if KT manages to get ahead Lux brings tools to help with two different win paths.
But now the problems: Teamfights are a mess for Lux here, she will almost never be able to bind Kalista or Leblanc, and Lissandra is far from an easy target either. Lux generall thrives on having CC and peel to both protect her and make her skillshots easier to hit in teamfights, KT’s compositions provides extremely little of both. Further as was previously mentioned, AFR’s composition has a ton of threat onto immobile backline carries! Leblanc and Lissandra can both quickly zero out a squishy like Lux and Kalista’s ultimate is a huge threat to catch her as well. Worst of all they have Bard whose Ultimate is made to catch out immobile squishies making Lux’s positioning extremely precarious almost anywhere on the map. All in all Lux is just far too risky a pick in this situation as the AFR composition has multiple ways to catch her out and her own composition is not particularly suited at either protecting her OR setting her up to carry. A really poor choice, and someone like Ahri could have brought similar positives with far less risk.
I absolutely loved KT’s draft until the Lux pick, but the composition is vulnerable enough with it that I give the slight edge to AFR as they now have a clear target to single out for their snowball.
KT vs AFR
KT (Blue): Twisted Fate, Zed, Ryze
AFR (Red): Lulu, Lux, Fiora
KT (Blue): Gangplank; Elise, Lucian; Kassadin, Braum
AFR (Red): Miss Fortune, Trundle; Ahri, Rek’Sai; Gnar
Gangplank makes it through bans seemingly due to AFR choosing to ban Lux, a silly mistake in my book and KT rightly snaps GP right now. Banning an unexpected pick you lost to is fine in general, but not at this cost. If they wanted to ban Lux so badly they should have left Lulu up so they could trade 1 for 1 on OPs.
To AFR’s credit they do have a strong first rotation of MF/Trundle, a strong lane that is particularly punishing in teamfights against an immobile champion like GP (as his W doesn’t help against Pillar and Make it Rain).
KT grabs Elise/Lucian next, perfect power picks that provide mixed damage.
AFR follows up with Ahri/Rek’sai, strong picks that continue to pressure Gangplank well. That being said I found it odd that they would show their Mid here and essentially give KT a chance to choose whether they want GP vs Ahri and a blind top or to counterpick Ahri and have a blind top matchup. Ahri is relatively safe to counters but nonetheless they are giving up agency to KT rather unecessarily.
KT rounds out the comp with Kassadin/Braum. Braum is a great pick as both a strong lane partner for Lucian and a strong counter to MF in teamfights. Kassadin is a great response to Ahri and perfectly rounds out their damage profile. They could have alternatively taken a Top like Lissandra and sent GP Mid, but there’s little reason to do this and have no clear advantageous matchup when they can guarantee a strong one with Kassadin.
AFR last picks Gnar, a fine selection to provide more front line and zone control for MF. It’s not like he has a dominant matchup against GP by any stretch however, and this seems like a poor use of counterpick advantage all things considered. Had they taken Gnar instead of Ahri they could have gotten a much better Mid matchup with likely the same Top matchup or Gnar versus the likes of Lissandra which is fine.
While AFR’s comp is quite strong overall, KT absolutely crushed this draft for me, and have been clearly the best drafting team of the day. Nine out of their 10 picks on the day were perfect in my book, and to be fair they even played out the Lux extremely well and managed to get her through the game with 0 deaths. Extremely impressive stuff from KT.