This is the second 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
These is the schedule for what league I’ll be covering each day going forward:
Wednesday – LCK
Thur – LCK
Friday – EU LCS
Sat – LCK
Sun – NA LCS
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
LZ vs JAG
LZ (Blue): Trundle, Lissandra, Ryze
JAG (Red): Kindred, Fiora, Gangplank
LZ (Blue): Miss Fortune; Rek’Sai, Tahm Kench; Lux, Bard
JAG (Red): Lulu, Alistar; Mundo, Tristana; Leblanc
LZ start things off by first picking Miss Fortune, this is normally a fine first pick but with Lulu left up and no other ADC bans this is an incorrect priority in my opinion and Lulu should absolutely be the pick here.
JAG first rotation Lulu/Alistar, an easy pick and a safe one, no issues there.
LZ then grab Rek’Sai/Tahm Kench, I am not as big a fan of Tahm Kench Top as these teams seem to be, but it is a flex pick here and helps to protect the immobile MF so it has some merit. Still would have preferred to see Bard taken here in order to hide more of their composition.
JAG then go for Mundo/Tristana. This is the first Mundo we have seen, and with all the Tier 1 Top’s gone and a likely Tahm Kench matchup it’s a fine if uninspiring pick. I would prefer Lucian over Tristana but that’s very much quibbling.
LZ round out their draft with Lux/Bard. Bard is my #1 Support right now so no issues there of course. Here we go with Lux again however. First, I don’t think this is as risky a pick as it was for KT despite it being potentially blind. This is because in order for JAG to counterpick Lux they will have to shift Mundo to Jungle and Lulu to Top, and most of what makes Lux a risky Mid blind is the threat of an Assassin Mid combined with a high pressure Jungle. Mundo certainly is not that, and if the lane is just a 1v1 Lux actually has very few meaningful counters and can worst case scenario farm it out at a slight deficit.
That all being said I again don’t think Lux was set up well by her composition. While she has plenty of peel this time, their composition is quite low on CC to set up her abilities, making her teamfight damage quite unreliable. There is quite a strong combo with Bard ultimate potentially setting her up, but that is really the extent of it. All in all this is not a horrendous pick but I see little reason to take her with the likes of Viktor available.
JAG last pick Leblanc. I don’t like this pick either, it is a completely fine matchup for Lux 1v1 (KT in fact picked Lux into this same matchup) and again Mundo will provide no help to make this a dangerous scenario for Lux. I would have liked to see an Anivia here, as she could heavily control LZ’s extremely short range composition (outside of Lux) and slightly outscale Lux in a farm lane. Alternatively grabbing Lee Sin and sending Lulu and Mundo to the solo lanes could have brought actual kill pressure on Lux and a way to catch out carries that displaces them from Kench.
This was a puzzling draft from LZ for me, though they did still up end with 3 very powerful champions (MF/Bard/Rek’Sai). JAG didn’t take advantage of it quite as much as they could have, but their composition is still much stronger and LZ has a serious clock on them as if it gets to late game they have nowhere near the sustained damage to get through Mundo and Alistar with Lulu protection barring a great MF ult.
JAG vs LZ
JAG (Blue): Kindred, Tahm Kench, Alistar
LZ (Red): Gangplank, Miss Fortune, Ryze
JAG (Blue): Kalista; Fiora, Thresh; Viktor, Elise
LZ (Red): Lissandra, Trundle; Rek’Sai, Corki; Jayce
This is an interesting ban phase as a lot of OPs made it through (Fiora/Lulu, and the less dominant but still flexible Lissandra). Given that there are three OPs up this favors red side as they are able to grab 2 on their first rotation.
JAG makes an interesting choice to grab Kalista first. This is quite odd given that Kalista made it entirely through the previous draft unpicked or banned, but given that MF is banned perhaps they felt pressured to get the ADC they wanted here. I would normally decry this pick as awful with such power picks available, but given that they will actually still get one of the OP’s on the next rotation due to there being 3 up, taking a non OP here that they feel is necessary to define their composition is actually reasonable.
LZ first rotations Lissandra/Trundle. While Trundle is certainly a strong pick, to me it is inexcusable to not take Lulu and either Lissandra/Fiora here. While it is a little undesirable to pick both solo laners this early on Red side and give up your counterpick, you are giving JAG the agency to negate your counterpick anyway with these picks as you have left them Fiora/Lulu which have no effective counters anyway. These JAG picks would also negate the flex advantage Trundle normally offers due to again not really being counterable.
JAG however does not grab the Lulu, and instead opts for Fiora/Thresh. Again this is a huge mistake for me as you are not often afforded the opportunity on Blue side to negate Red’s counterpick, especially when you can do it with two OPs! Thresh is fine and certainly good at controlling Trundle but just a head scratcher here. Keep in mind that going into this game Lulu had 100% pick ban rate (and 100% ban rate before this series), so for her to fall so far here seemingly due to the loss in the first game seems like a silly overreaction.
LZ’s second rotation is Rek’Sai/Corki. These are fine and strong picks, although the Corki is a little curious given that they already have an AP in one of the solo lanes. This is a signal they may look for an AD Mid, or that the Corki could be flexed Mid.
JAG finishes off with Viktor/Elise. These picks make a ton of sense as they perfectly balance their damage profile while providing extremely safe waveclear to help allow Fiora to split. Despite my issues with their priority, JAG has ended up with quite a powerful composition that can win through a multitude of ways.
LZ last picks Jayce. This is a fine matchup against Viktor and clearly moves them into a poke comp with Trundle to help zone control. While their composition is quite powerful in this narrow fashion, they really have little other ways to win and it’s incredibly important that they avoid getting flanked as Fiora and Viktor could absolutely shred their carries with any sort of setup. I would have preferred a Zed here, as it would have opened up a win condition of snowballing Mid in a favorable matchup and JAG has little to protect their carries from him in teamfights. Zed also thrives in chaotic split up teamfights, which LZ could easily create with Lissandra, Corki package, and Trundle.
Overall both compositions are quite powerful (Jayce is the only non Tier 1 champion in the entire game) but I give the edge to JAG as their win conditions are much less narrow and I don’t feel LZ’s focus is a secure enough advantage to be an assured victory should they get rolling.
SSG vs EMF
SSG (Blue): Tahm Kench, Lulu, Kalista
EMF (Red): Miss Fortune, Kindred, Fiora
SSG (Blue): Ryze; Rek’Sai, Lucian; Viktor, Trundle
EMF (Red): Gangplank, Alistar; Graves, Corki; Nautilus
Interesting bans as again three extremely strong solo laners in Ryze/GP/Lissandra make it through.
SSG goes ahead and grabs Ryze first. A great pick and in my opinion slightly the strongest of the 3.
EMF first rotations GP/Alistar. It’s clear at this point that the Korean teams prioritize Alistar as the #1 Support but again taking GP/Lissandra is a slam dunk here, especially with Fiora banned. Either of them has a fine matchup into Ryze so you still have the flexibilty to decide where they go with the last pick and Lissandra ultimate is one of the absolute best tools for shutting Ryze down in teamfights.
SSG grabs Rek’Sai/Lucian. These are strong picks that hide their composition so I have no big issue, though I would prefer grabbing Lissandra over the Rek’Sai to secure the last Tier 1 Top.
EMF responds with Graves/Corki. While Graves Jungle is certainly powerful if it gets rolling, I don’t think the upside is worth the risk in general, and there’s really no game specific reason why he would be good here. He absoutely must snowball to be useful, and GP is not a particularly strong lane to gank for, though this is mitigated by Ryze being a vulnerable target. Corki is a natural pairing in order to have dual ADCs with split damage profiles, but ultimately a more standard Jungler like Lee Sin or Elise would have been far preferable for me.
SSG rounds out their composition with Viktor/Trundle. I love these picks and their composition is incredibly well rounded overall. Their teamfight is absolutely monstrous and they have game specific advantages with strong zone control from Viktor/Trundle and huge mid-range damage from Ryze against a short range and fairly immobile GP/Graves composition. Outside of the questionable bans this was a phenomenal draft from SSG.
EMF last picks Nautilus. While it makes sense to provide a tanky and CC heavy presence with their three damage threats, this is not an uninspiring attempt at doing so. I can see the appeal of bringing easy to land CC against Ryze to set up Graves high damage ganks, but Nautilus just won’t ever be able to single-handedly pressure Ryze even if he’s ahead and the meta is extremely rough right now for a lumbering tank like Nautilus due to huge zone control champions like MF, Viktor, and Trundle being around (two of which are even on the opposing team here). Nautilus just isn’t up to snuff right now and there needs to be far greater incentive to even consider him. This draft was a mess from EMF and they absolutely have to snowball to even have a chance outside of some crazy GP play winning them the game single-handedly.
EMF vs SSG
EMF (Blue): Twisted Fate, Ryze, Miss Fortune
SSG (Red): Tahm Kench, Lulu, Gangplank
EMF (Blue): Kindred; Kalista, Thresh; Nautilus, Azir
SSG (Red): Lissandra, Alistar; Viktor, Lucian; Rek’Sai
Kindred is a fine first pick here, Top lane has Fiora/Lissandra both available so grabbing one isn’t as big a priority. I would slightly prefer Lucian with MF banned and after two days I think in general the Korean teams need to reevaluate their prioritization of the champion and take him much higher.
SSG first roations Lissandra/Alistar. Love these picks as Lissandra is slightly preferable to Fiora here due to the flex potential.
EMF responds with Kalista/Thresh. This is a classic bot lane and hiding your solo lanes here to see if you can force SSG’s hand a little makes is a smart move. That being said there are stronger picks available in my opinion in Lucian/Bard that I would have preferred to see.
SSG nabs Viktor/Lucian next. Again these are fantastic powerful picks and while I would normally prefer grabbing the Rek’sai here instead of Viktor to retain the Mid lane counterpick in this case it’s smart to lock up the Viktor against two short ranged ADCs that he can massively threaten.
EMF finishes up with Azir/Nautilus. This is a trainwreck, neither has an advantageous matchup against the two solo laners already picked by SSG. They also are just not particularly powerful picks at this time (especially Nautilus), and while they do give their composition a peel and kite identity this is extremely difficult to pull off with two ADCs as short ranged as Kalista and Kindred. These picks are also extremely unthreating to Viktor/Lucian and they will have to get through SSG’s front line faster then SSG does theirs in order to win teamfights, which will be difficult against an Alistar and likely Rek’Sai. They could have grabbed Fiora and a more versatile Mid like Ahri to have two alternate win conditions (split push and Ahri snowball), or even gone for an assassin like Diana that could dive recklessly in teamfights knowing they have Kindred backup.
SSG predicatably last picks Rek’Sai, and they again have a fantastic and well rounded composition. SSG and KT have been the two clear standout teams in terms of drafting for me these first two days, and it will be exciting to see if they can keep it up.