This is the last day that the LCK will be on patch 5.24, and for ease of reference before we get to the recaps here are my Tier 1 champions for this patch.
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
AFR vs SSG
AFR (Blue): Fiora, Gangplank, Ryze
SSG (Red): Zed, Twisted Fate, Thresh
AFR (Blue): Alistar; Rek’Sai, Lucian; Maokai, Leblanc
SSG (Red): Lissandra, Kalista; Trundle, Elise; Olaf
Lulu, Lissandra, Miss Fortune and Kindred all make it through bans, and Lulu would be the first pick for me based on both pure power and flex potential.
AFR goes with Alistar however, who has been clearly the top Support by priority in Korea so far. I don’t agree with this high of a valuation but if you assume the four I listed above are highly contested you can afford to take a different champion you have high priority on here as you can still grab two of the four on your next rotation.
SSG first rotations Lissandra/Kalista. Lissandra is safe and fine though I’d prefer Lulu. Kalista is similar to Alistar in that she continues to see extremely high priority in Korea, second only to MF and slightly ahead of Lucian. She goes above both of them here which I don’t like but she does offer unique strengths (particularly objective control), so if teams want to play that style specifically it’s understandble to grab her over them. The two picks for me would have been Lulu and Miss Fortune.
AFR grabs Rek’Sai and Lucian next. These are powerful safe picks but it’s puzzling that the OP’s up contine to be ignored by both teams. Perhaps they were afraid of picking the immobile MF into the double Ultimate threats posed by Kalista/Lissandra. I have felt Kindred was being overrated and was just at the head of the pack of Junglers rather then clearly seperated from the other Tier 1’s, but the Lulu disregard is very puzzling. I would have liked to see Lulu and any of Lucian/MF/Kindred here.
SSG second rotations Trundle/Elise. I don’t really like these picks as there isn’t any champion on AFR’s side that Trundle is particularly effective at controlling and you don’t particularly need an AP Jungler here with Lissandra likely to be your Top Lane. To be fair they dotimately put her Mid and do take an AD top, but this is not a decision I agree with, so I’d prefer Kindred here. Also obviously Lulu contines to be available, and Kindred + Lulu would have been extremely strong picks here for me.
AFR last rotations Maokai/Leblanc. Maokai is fine here as he probably offers the best matchup against Lissandra of the available magic damage Tops. She could always be flexed of course but forcing this is a plus as she is significantly weaker as a Mid then a Top. Leblanc is a fine blind and they need AP issues, so no problem there aside from the fact it could have still been Lulu. Ultimately the other Top Lane options are quite unappealing here, so I would have liked to see Lulu Top along with Ahri/Viktor Mid to give them high and well balanced damage that hugely threatens SSG’s low range composition.
SSG last picks Olaf. This is a fine pick as they would like AD damage to balance their damage profile, he can shrug off the large amounts of CC coming from Maokai and Alistar, and he has high snowball potential against Maokai in lane. That being said it’s less then ideal to move Lissandra Mid. Zed would be an obvious pick for the AD damage, but playing him against the point and click CC of Maokai/Ali would make teamfights extremely difficult. Ultimately the Olaf pick is fine, and an AP Mid like Viktor/Ahri again would have been fine as well.
This draft was puzzling overall with Kindred and Lulu both falling completely through, and the general power level of champions just being much lower then it needed to be. I’ll give the slight edge to SSG but I really don’t care for either draft.
SSG vs AFR
SSG (Blue): Zed, Twisted Fate, Leblanc
AFR (Red): Gangplank, Lissandra, Ryze
SSG (Blue): Kalista; Rek’Sai, Thresh; Cassiopeia, Olaf
AFR (Red): Viktor, Alistar; Miss Fortune, Elise; Maokai
Before we go over the picks, this is second straight game that Kindred and Lulu fell all the way through pick and bans. Given this I’m going to assume that both teams simply don’t play the champions and have reason to believe the other team doesn’t as well, so I’m not going to consider them as pick possibilities. You can assume implicitly that I would prefer Lulu to basically every pick throughout this draft.
SSG first picks Kalista. I still don’t love this but given it was a huge factor in winning them the first game and again has the unique playstyle they may desire it’s fine. Miss Fortune or Fiora would be picks for me.
AFR first rotations Viktor/Alistar. Mickey’s champion pool has been heavily targeted so if they feel the need to secure him a comfort pick that’s a Tier 1 champion I have zero issues with that. I would prefer MF here to Alistar though(Fiora is less desireable as you would give up the counterpick Top lane).
SSG responds with Rek’Sai/Thresh. Kalista/Thresh is a classic lane combination with unparalleled survivability, and Rek’Sai has been the clear go-to safe and flexibile Jungler so far in Korea. I would have preferred Thresh/Fiora here, not comitting to an AD Jungler with such a powerful AD Top available, but this is acceptable.
AFR grabs MF/Elise next. Great picks that give them an extremely dangerous high AOE damage teamfight while preserving their Top Lane counterpick.
SSG finishes with Cassiopeia/Olaf, which I strongly dislike. Cassiopeia is an immobile mid-range Mage with a skill matchup against Viktor, and picking her into the zone control of Viktor/Alistar/MF will make teamfighting a nightmare for her. Ahri would have been a far safer option and had a much more realistic chance at threatening MF, if they are going to take Cassiopeia they absolutely must set her up with hard engage to help her catch out the backline in this scenario. They instead pair her with Olaf, who brings absolutely no hard CC to support this. Malphite would have been a phenomenal pick here against the double immobile carries of AFR, combining with Kalista ultimate to provide immense zoning pressure to provide Cassio the room to go off. Ultimately I would have preferred they just take Fiora/Ahri as more powerful picks that provide far greater threat backline threat against immobile carries, as well as Fiora having very few lane counters (Quinn being the only solid one we have seen the first couple days). These picks also would have given them additional win conditions through picks and split push, rather then the limited combination of teamfighting and objective control they have here.
AFR last picks Maokai. This is a horrendous pick, actually picking themselves into the same matchup that SSG used Red side last pick to procure the previous game. While not a terrible matchup all the snowball potential is in Olaf’s favor, and they have actually picked themselves into an extremely AP heavy composition, with MF being the only AD and even a bit of her damage being Magic. The only positive factor is that Maokai’s Homeguard Teleports will be extremely threatening at catching out Cassiopeia later in the game, but even this is mitigated by the presence of Thresh. Picks with vastly superior lane matchups and teamfighting pressure like Rumble and Gnar were available (and even hovered over by AFR!), Gnar being the particularly aggregious omission. If Gnar can avoid getting killed early on in the lane by an axe chain from Olaf, he will easily win the matchup once he has Black Cleaver and his teamfighting pressure on Cassiopeia would have been massive and set up Viktor and MF perfectly. Even Malphite would again have been strong at pressure the sitting duck that is Cassiopeia, and of course Fiora was still available as well. Gnar was the slam dunk pick for me.
Really another headscratching draft from both teams (remember all of this was in addition to ignoring Kindred/Lulu). I vastly prefer AFR’s composition here all said and done as SSG just doesn’t have the tools to normally threaten Viktor/MF, but if Kalista or Olaf get fed it could change the dynamics of the teamfights drastically.
JAG vs SKT
JAG (Blue): Fiora, Rek’Sai, Elise
SKT (Red): Gangplank, Lissandra, Ryze
JAG (Blue): Miss Fortune; Graves, Trundle; Lee Sin, Corki
SKT (Red): Lulu, Alistar; Tahm Kench, Lucian; Kindred
JAG elects to first pick Miss Fortune over Lulu. I would prefer Lulu due to the flex potential and generally a bigger power gap at Mid then MF to Lucian but if you really want to play around MF’s teamfighting the pick is certainly fine.
SKT First rotations Lulu/Alistar. Excellent standard picks here, I’d prefer Bard as he heavily pressures the immobile MF but Alistar continues to be Korea’s top priority at the Support position.
JAG goes for Graves/Trundle next. Graves Jungle has been a much bigger phenomenon in EU than Korea to this point, and I’m still not a huge fan. It’s fine and when you are an underdog team I do like the strategy of taking high reward champions that can single-handedly win you the game if they get rolling, but I don’t think it was optimal here especially given that SKT was playing Blank and Scout instead of Faker and Bengi. Would have preferred to see a safer Elise or Kindred, who in fact offers virtually all of Graves strengths with less risk.
SKT’s second rotation is Tahm Kench/Lucian. As I’ve said previously I’m not a fan of Tahm/Lulu on the same team, as I think you are putting all your eggs in the ADC basket in a non optimal fashion since you get zero benefit from Lulu’s protection during the time the ADC is eaten by Tahm (and crucially dealing no damage). Sure it allows the ADC to play significantly more aggressively but I just don’t think it’s realistic to get the full power out of both these champions in protecting the same target and keep damage numbers high. I would have much preferred Lucian/Malphite here as you are already against double ADC making Malphite a premier pick, and there is even wombo potential with Lulu.
JAG finishes with Lee Sin/Corki. This was a wonky though not totally unexpected turn given that it was known Trace was playing a substantial amount of Graves Top in Solo Q. This is an interesting composition from JAG with triple ADC’s and Trundle to provide zone control, and they did properly take Corki to provide mixed damage. They did however somehow with three ADC’s not manage to take a single one with the range to safely auto turrets, so pushing their advantage should they get it may prove difficult given how extremely careful they must be to not get flanked (which is of course extra difficult against a Top Kench that can show up behind you). Overall I don’t mind the strategy as a way to try and throw off your opponent with something completely unorthodox that still involves powerful champions, but would have ultimately preferred a something more standard. They could have easily had something along the lines of Trundle, Kindred, Viktor, and Gnar/Mundo/Malphite that would have given them a very strong AOE composition to combot SKT’s protect the Lucian focus.
SKT last picks Kindred. This is an excellent pick to round out their damage profile and provide a second threat for Tahm and Lulu to protect, which significantly reduces the anti-syngergy I mentioned earlier. This is another issue with JAG’s last two picks in that they failed to deny Kindred to SKT which was by far the best champion for their composition.
An interesting draft to say the least. Again I don’t mind JAG trying something a little wacky, but SKT ended up with a very powerful composition and if a single carry for JAG gets caught by Tahm or Alistar the whole thing will fall apart. Substantial edge to SKT.
SKT vs JAG
SKT (Blue): Lissandra, Lulu, Ryze
JAG (Red): Fiora, Rek’Sai, Trundle
SKT (Blue): Gangplank; Miss Fortune, Tahm Kench; Evelynn, Quinn
JAG (Red): Elise, Alistar; Graves, Ezreal; Cassiopeia
SKT are given Gangplank and rightly snatch it up, while I don’t generally like giving up this big a power pick for no OP of your own I don’t mind the idea of putting Faker onto a more passive champion that is unlikely to take over the game prior to teamfights.
JAG first rotation Elise/Alistar. Great priority picks especially with Rek’Sai banned as Elise/Rek’Sai are clearly Bengi’s top two champions on this patch, so he will be knocked down a tier likely to secure a comortable champion.
SKT respond with Miss Fortune/Tahm Kench. Tahm Kench contines to be overrated for me, though his flex potential and value in protecting MF is noteworthy here.
JAG go back to the well with Graves/Ezreal. The Graves is silly here as he is highly threatened by GP and MF whose main damage source outrange him substantially, and he gets outscaled by Tahm if that is the Top matchup. Obviously it’s a comfort pick for Trace and did win them the previous game, but something like Mundo/Malphite/Gnar could provide far more scaling or zoning pressure in teamfights. I don’t mind the Ezreal here as they clearly are going for a multi-ranged threat composition again and his self sufficiency and range make him valuable, would still prefer Lucian slightly however.
SKT finish with Evelynn/Quinn. I quite like the Eve as an AP damage source whose ultimate is absolutely crippling should she manage a flank against the squishies of JAG (it’s also historically a comfort pick for Bengi). The Quinn is an odd one, but it does provide them with an alternate win condition in Splitting rather then trying to 5v5 JAG and she has the protection from Tahm. That being said JAG again has double ADC and this time no Trundle with it banned so a tank such as Mundo/Malphite or even just leaving Tahm Top and picking Bard/Thresh/Braum could have been more effective. This SKT composition is just strange as they have 3 AD threats who thrive with CC to set them up and minimal CC to actually do so.
JAG’s last pick of Cassiopeia is a solid choice. She is quite vulnerable in teamfights to the combination of Eve/MF/GP ultimates, but on the other hand SKT has very little other abilities to pressure her from outside her damage range. She also has a favorable matchup against Gangplank in lane, and fits JAG’s style from last game as she very much functions similarly to an ADC in teamfights with her sustained damage. Anytime you can pick Cassiopeia into two short ranged carries with minimal opposing CC it makes her a dangerous pick, as they can scarcely risk entering her damage zone. I would have preferred Ahri as a safer choice that still has huge threat onto SKT’s carriers, but the Cassiopeia is an effective choice.
Ultimately JAG needs to be extremely careful of getting caught by SKT’s triple AOE ultimates, but SKT really has little tools to force them into such a bad position. SKT does have some split and pick potential, but JAG should have a decided edge in teamfights as long as they avoid grouping for the wombo due to their damage requiring far less set up. Slight edge to JAG overall, but I both compositions are subpar in power level as only the first two picks on each side are Tier 1 in their position.