LCK W2D2 Pick/Ban Recap
Week two of the Season has begun and the meta has started to flesh itself out somewhat. Teams are more and more going towards multiple ADC compositions, a little too much in fact for my tastes. My Tier Lists remain mostly the same with the only big riser being Graves in the Jungle. I still don't think he is quite on the level of the top four Junglers (Rek'Sai/Elise/Lee/Kindred), but he is certainly powerful and capable of snowballing a lead, sort of an AD version of Nidalee who doesn't fall off quite as hard.
For ease of reference here are my Tier 1's for each role before we get to the recaps. (Patch 6.1)
Top Tier 1: Ryze, Gangplank, Lulu, Fiora, Lissandra
Mid Tier 1: Lulu, Ryze, Gangplank, Viktor, Zed
Jungle Tier 1: Rek'Sai, Lee Sin, Elise, Kindred, Graves, Nidalee
ADC Tier 1: Lucian, Corki, Kalista, Tristana, Miss Fortune
Support Tier 1: Bard, Alistar, Thresh, Janna, Trundle, Braum
As a quick note I will have amend my previously written schedule to Thurs-Sunday as my situation for Wednesday's has changed, now lets get to the recaps.
KT vs ROX
KT (Blue): Quinn, Kalista, Ryze
ROX (Red): Lulu, Gangplank, Corki
KT (Blue): Lucian; Kindred, Morgana; Tahm Kench, Lux
ROX (Red): Poppy, Alistar; Nidalee, Ezreal; Twisted Fate
KT makes an excellent first pick of Lucian with double ADC bans, he is by far the biggest power pick in the situation as both the second and third best ADCs are off the table.
ROX first rotations Alistar/Poppy. The Alistar is of course fine, but the Poppy is a gross overvaluation in my eyes. She is simply a Tier 2 champion, but her biggest strength is that she is that at two or maybe even three rolls, and eliminating one of them as a flex possibilty with the Alistar makes this way less enticing. Lissandra would be a far superior pick here with just as much flex potential given the situation and far higher overall power.
KT grabs Kindred/Morgana. These are fine but not optimal picks in a vacuum, but if you specifically value a double ADC composition highly then Kindred is an obvious pick of course. Morgana is generally strong in these types of compositions, as Black Shield is of immense value in being able to protect whichever carry is caught out, and she has strong anti-dive tools. If you aren't forcing a double ADC comp, I would prefer Rek'Sai/Lissandra or Elise/Fiora here, but these are fine.
ROX takes Nidalee/Ezreal next. These picks are sensible given the context of the draft to this point, but show the poor position ROX has put themselves in. Their first two picks had fairly minimal backline threat against what is clearly going to be a protect the ADC's composition, so smartly rather then trying to salvage this situation in teamfights ROX decides to give themselves a way to create picks and quickly assassinate the carries with Nidalee. The problem is this forces Poppy to go Top blind, and while she won't lose lane terribly there are a wide variety of picks against her that she has poor kill pressure on while getting outscaled. Their teamfighting prowess is going to be very low, and they will be reliant on snowballing for victory. This isn't the worst situation, but could have been much more favorable if not for the questionable Poppy pick first rotation, as they could easily have a way higher kill pressure and Top like Fiora/Lissandra to assist Nidalee (or Elise/Lee/Rek'Sai) in snowballing while providing far more threat should teamfights be necessary. In the end ROX just got very little advantage out of Poppy's flex potential, and ended up with weaker overall champions in potentially two roles as a result for little situationally specific advatage.
KT rounds out their composition with Tahm Kench/Lux. I love these picks and their composition has an incredibly high amount of synergy. Tahm has three carries to protect, and Lux is fantastic as acting as a second support to peel for ADC's while providing real threat to an opponent who over dives and gets caught by a binding. The difference between this composition and other such ones that I've chided is that they have almost zero champion anti-synergy and are not entirely reliant on one method to win. Rather then just being a kite composition that can only win through teamfighting, this composition has strong win conditions through Sieging, Picks (Morg/Lux bindings from fog) and Objective control as well, while having favorable lane matchups across both side lanes AND superior scaling in every position to this point. This is a landslide draft win for KT to this point and unless ROX can completely change the dynamics of the game with their last pick they will have a big disadvantage.
ROX last picks Twisted Fate. Given the whole they were in, they needed this pick to create a win condition in and of itself to add to Nidalee's snowball/pick potential. TF was an excellent choice to do this, as the only other option would have been to take an assassin and try to snowball Mid but given the presence of Tahm and Kindred this would be quite innefective later in the game so it would be completely dependant on early game success. TF gives them both an alternate win condition through split-push against a team without a strong splitter, and changes the dynamic of the pressure in the side lanes, greatly increasing Poppy/Nidalee's chances to get rolling. This was a fantastic pick by ROX to salvage a bad situation, as they now have multiple avenues to victory and all stages of the game. That being said their overall champion power for this composition is quite low by my lists, and KT a similar swath of win conditions while also bringing an extremely potent composition focus in teamfight and siege potential. Strong edge to KT overall.
ROX vs KT
ROX (Blue): Lux, Lulu, Corki
KT (Red): Quinn, Nidalee, Ryze
ROX (Blue): Gangplank; Kindred, Alistar; Ezreal, Tahm Kench
KT (Red): Lucian, Elise; Lissandra, Shen; Gnar
GP gets through and ROX rightly snatches him up with FP, I don't like KT allowing this through as the biggest power pick they can take in response is Lucian and this time there is only one ADC ban, making it not enough of a gap to give up the OP pick in Gangplank.
KT takes Lucian/Elise. Lucian is an easy pick, and Elise strong as an AP source with the presence of both Fiora and Lissandra makes taking either early unnecessary.
ROX takes Kindred/Alistar. These are fine standard picks, and of course with Kindred there is a clear double ADC signal, so KT should keep picks that support it like Tahm Kench in mind with their picks.
KT nabs Lissandra/Shen next. Lissandra is a great pick as a flex to give them maximum counterpick options with the last pick agains the still flexibily GP here, as well as being generally threating at catching double ADC's out. It also keeps the Fiora option open as a flex by being AP damage, and ROX are unlikely to take Fiora themselves with GP/Kindred already locked meaning a quadra AD comp if they took FIora + other ADC (Corki banned as well). Shen is unexpected, and I'm not really sure what caused them to go for him specifically here, other then the potential synergy in supporting Fiora's split it they want to last pick her. I'd slightly prefer a more generally powerful pick like Bard/Thresh.
ROX ends with Ezreal/Tahm kench. These are pretty expected picks, and their composition is powerful with three high damage threats for Kench to protect in the two ADC's and the immobile GP. That being said they are very heavy AD and I don't think picking GP with minimal AOE CC to set him up is really getting full value out of him. This is a powerful but flawed team composition to me, as while the champions are strong and work together well individually, as a whole they don't really have many strengths, and while their scaling is strong this is somewhat mitigated by the AD heavy profile. Ultimately their lack of CC makes the teamfights play out more like multiple pocket skirmishes, and while Kindred/Ezreal are strong at this KT's picks of Elise/Lissandra are far more dangerous while having more strategic options as a whole.
KT last picks Gnar. This pick really came down to Gnar/Fiora as both are champions that can punish Tahm in lane while bringing AD damage to round out their composition. Gnar is the superior choice in this case due his exceptional matchup against Tahm post Black Cleaver combined with the heavy AD focus of ROX's composition pushing the value of a tank significantly up. He also provides huge teamfight pressure against a team with as little CC as ROX, as they have position carefully at all times he has Mega Gnar available.
KT again has crushed this draft for me despite giving up Gangplank, and having slightly weaker champions. They just have far more paths to victory, with significant edges in pick potential, split-push, and higher kill pressure lanes. Despite all this they still have the advantage in teamfights in my estimate due the huge threat of Gnar/Lissandra on ROX's three squishy carries in addition to the Flash+Taunt or Cocoon threat. Big edge to KT once again.
KT vs ROX
KT (Blue): Quinn, Twisted Fate, Gangplank
ROX (Red): Lulu, Lux, Kindred
KT (Blue): Ryze; Rek'Sai, Lucian; Lissandra, Shen
ROX (Red): Corki, Elise; Alistar, Varus; Kennen
ROX allows KT to first pick Ryze here, I again don't like allowing the OP through although in this case Corki did make it through after being banned the previous two games so perhaps they decided they were willing to give up Ryze in exchange for the powerful flex pick that Corki is.
ROX takes Corki/Elise. The Corki makes sense and while Elise is normally a great early pick this one is surprising given the presence of Corki on their team to already provide Magic damage. This is a clear signal that they will likely take an AD Mid or send Corki Mid, as well as a tell for a poke composition as that is the one reason to really take Elise over the likes of Rek'Sai here given the damage types. Another reason could be that Score had played Elise 4 out of 6 games to this point (the other two on Kindred who is banned), so they may have just wanted to force him onto a less comfortable champion.
KT grabs Rek'Sai/Lucian next. These are fantastic powerful picks that balance damage with Ryze perfectly, excellent choices.
ROX takes Alistar/Varus next. This obviously show their hand as a poke composition, and KT is fairly lacking on engage so far so this is a decent situation to go for it. That being said they could have easily hid it more by saving Varus for last pick as there is basically zero threat that KT is going to scoop him up themselves. While this would largely forfeit their counterpick potential it would be worth it to hide their compositional identity until KT has fleshed out their entire composition, especially with as fragile a focus as poke. I'd rather see Lissandra here to keep your solo lanes open, hide your Varus, and still be able to peel effectively.
KT takes Lissandra/Shen. Love the Lissandra to keep the solo lanes flexible and provide huge threat onto Corki and especially Varus. Shen is again a little odd as he doesn't seem to be particularly suited to the game, but this is KT's 3rd time playing him already so they clearly like the champion and it's been working for them. I'd still prefer Bard as a more powerful champion that can hugely threaten a poke comp with his Ultimate.
ROX last picks Kennen. This is a decent pick given the situation, but I don't think Kennen is particularly strong on this patch and he runs a huge risk of being snowballed on by Lissandra/Rek'Sai. Kennen's poor wave control and binary playstyle just make him too high risk of a champion for not enough reward if he gets ahead at this point in time. I can see the appeal for him here as he does have huge teamfight potential against a team as short ranged as KT's, but I'd much prefer to see something like a Gnar here that would have more snowball potential and bring more AD damage. As it is their composition is quite AP heavy with Varus bringing the lion's share of the physhical damage, and if he gets caught out or has a poor laning phase an early locket for KT could spell doom. KT meanwhile for the third straight game has a well balanced team composition with multiple win conditions. If ROX can get ahead and avoid the big Lissandra engage they can certainly win, but another big edge to KT here, who has been the premier drafting team in Korea to this point in my eyes.
SBE vs CJ
SBE (Blue): Twisted Fate, Ryze, Gangplank
CJ (Red): Kalista, Lulu, Kindred
SBE (Blue): Corki; Lee sin, Alistar; Ezreal, Lissandra
CJ (Red): Tahm Kench, Elise; Bard, Lucian; Leblanc
SBE first picks Corki, quite a change in priority from the first weekt but one I mentioned I'd like to see in my end of the week notes. A good pick here with no clear power pick on the board.
CJ takes Tahm Kench/Elise. I still don't love Tahm this early and would prefer to see some combination of Lucian/Lissandra/Jungler here, but Tahm is a strong flex pick and there's value to denying him from the team with Corki as they are likely to go double ADC. Solid picks all things considered.
SBE grabs Lee Sin/Alistar next. These are great safe picks here (Lee and Rek'Sai are interchangeable in my eyes), although if they really want to run the double ADC I would prefer they take Lucian here as he is just too powerful here to ignore with two ADC's already off the board.
CJ second rotation Bard/Lucian. Lucian is a great pick, but this is one time I will dislike a Bard pick. One of Bard's biggest strengths is the catch potential of his Ultimate on immobile targets and SBE's composition so far is quite mobile and if you take Lucian an Ezreal pick is very easy to predict here. I love Bard in general but in this situation his power is mitigated enough that I would much prefer to see a Thresh/Janna.
SBE last rotations Ezreal/Lissandra. These are fine picks that give them a solid composition, but I think the double ADC is forced just for the sake of it and they could have had a more powerful standard composition. I would prefer to see them just send the Corki Bot and take something like Viktor/Fiora to have an extremely powerful snowball target for Lee Sin to focus. The composition they selected is well rounded but has lackluster lanes and merely decent scaling. Just not enough raw fighting power in my eyes for a composition that's only real win condition is grouping for me to give it more then an average grade.
CJ last picks Leblanc. This pick is a mixed bag, as while she is certainly powerful against double ADC's her 1v1 lane against Corki is actually favored against her pre 6. Furthermore looking at their whole composition the Tahm Kench really has no purpose with self sufficient mobile carries. By the point this last pick rolls around they don't really have great options available to give him another carry to protect as the high tier ADC's are either taken or their roles are filled, but CJ should have found a way to fit one in earlier in the draft if they were going to prioritize Tahm so highly. Ultimately I'd like to see Viktor as a safe laner that will outscale Corki and easily 1 shot the opposing carries late game while having Tahm as his failsafe.
I don't like either team's draft here, but I'll give the slight edge to SBE for having higher compositional synergy.
CJ vs SBE
CJ (Blue): Lee Sin, Lissandra, Ryze
SBE (Red): Twisted Fate, Gangplank, Viktor
CJ (Blue): Lulu; Elise, Alistar; Ezreal, Tahm Kench
SBE (Red): Kalista, Kindred; Gnar, Morgana; Nidalee
CJ first picks rightly first picks Lulu, it's a mistake for SBE to leave her up with no viable power pick in response and an eays first choice.
SBE takes Kindred/Kalista. While I can understand the desire to take these ADC's early as they are strong pairings with Lulu, I just don't like showing your composition to this extent this early. Just don't give up Lulu so it's not an issue and take something like Lucian/Fiora with Elise here. These are purely compositional picks and not power picks and ultimately Lucian is still left on the board for CJ, not a fan.
CJ takes Elise/Alistar next. These are strong safe picks, I'd slightly prefer Rek'Sai to balance their damage profile early on but that's very minor.
SBE second rotations Gnar/Morgana. I don't really get these picks either, Morgana is alright as Black Shield has high value against Elise and Lulu and she is generally strong at protecting ADC's, but CJ currently has little melee's for her to peel with her ultimate and Elise/Alistar are unappealing binding targets. Gnar is a fine blind but stronger options like Fiora are available here and if you are going to blind a Top here why not pick something with magic damage? As is this gives CJ huge incentive to take a tank Top who will be unkillable late game against triple AD.
CJ finishes with Ezreal/Tahm Kench. These picks are suboptimal for me, Lucian is just a more powerful pick and Ezreal's added safety isn't really needed here. Kench is a tank which is nice as noted above but his matchup versus Gnar is underwhelming, Malphite/Hecarim/Irelia would be picks more adept at abusing CJ's flimsy composition while still easily itemizing armor.
SBE last picks Nidalee, quite the curve ball as they send Kindred Mid with this. I don't really care for this as their late game is just garbage with Nidalee as the only AP source and underwhelming engage options. They do have powerful mid game siege against a CJ composition that is fairly light on wave clear and okay lane matchups for Nidalee to snowball, but Kindred Mid just isn't very strong and in the end this composition lacks power with little gained as a result. I would have far preferred Viktor here to give them a legitimate AP carry threat, and I don't understand why he has fallen in priority, he should even be good theoretically against all these double ADC compositions. Big edge to CJ for having a real composition.
SBE vs CJ
SBE (Blue): Twisted Fate, Gangplank, Ryze
CJ (Red): Lee Sin, Lulu, Corki
SBE (Blue): Elise; Lissandra, Lucian; Jayce, Trundle
CJ (Red): Kalista, Alistar; Viktor, Kindred; Maokai
SBE first picks Elise, a fine choice with no real power pick available. Lucian and any other Tier 1 Jungler would be fine picks as well.
CJ first rotations Kalista/Alistar. It's a strong Bot lane and if you want Kalista's unique playstyle it's fine, Lucian would be the pick for me.
SBE takes Lissandra/Lucian next. Perfect picks here as both are very powerful champions and the slight disadvantage of taking a Solo Laner this early is negated by Lissandra's flex potential. Excellent picks and SBE has an incredibly strong first three picks.
CJ takes Viktor/Kindred. Viktor is a great pick as a strong blind against the uncertain lanes of SBE, while bringing huge AP damage to balance out the composition. Kindred is a fine pick but given they are against the burst potential of Lissandra I'd rather they just avoid the double ADC and take a standard Jungler like Rek'Sai here.
SBE finishes with Jayce/Trundle. It feels like they tried to shoehorn a poke composition in out of nowhere here, and I see little reason why this is the case. CJ has sufficient engage from Alistar/Kalista and still a last pick Top laner coming to bring more, and while Jayce can safely farm out against Viktor it's not like he outscales. They do want physical damage to balance their profile out but I'd prefer they just take Fiora and move Lissandra Mid, she's just a much stronger champion than Jayce and Lissandra/Elise have kill pressure on Viktor. Trundle is a solid pick as he's strong at controlling low range carries like Kalista/Kindred and the immobile VIktor.
CJ last picks Maokai. I dislike Maokai in general but he's okay here as he provides strong engage against the poke and has a good matchup against Lissandra. It's a little unfortunate to pick a tank last pick into Trundle, but his ability to catch out Jayce in teamfights is certainly relevant. I'd slightly prefer Olaf here to have greater snowball potential and threaten the backline of SBE with his high synergy with Kindred.
These are both solid above average compositions overall, and there are few clear advantages to be had on either side. Finally a solid draft after two really ugly ones from CJ.