LCK W2D4 Pick/Ban Recap
As always 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
SSB vs EMF
SSB (Blue): Tahm Kench, Gangplank, Graves
EMF (Red): Lee Sin, Lulu, Lissandra
SSB (Blue): Alistar; Ezreal, Corki; Nidalee, Gnar
EMF (Red): Kalista, Elise; Varus, Thresh; Malphite
This another case where Ryze falls completely through picks and bans. I can only assume neither team has player who feel confident on the champion, but you can assume I would prefer Ryze to basically every pick if they could.
SSB first pick Alistar. Ali is always a safe pick but Corki is just a far superior first pick in my opinion due to his flex potential. Obviously SSB ends up getting him next rotation, so if they had reason to believe EMF wouldn't take him props to them, otherwise I think it's a mistake.
EMF first rotation Kalista/Elise. Kalista has rocketed up in priority recently likely due to her extremely high winrate (73% to this point across EU/NA/KR). I still would prefer Lucian or Corki but don't begrudge the pick, Elise is an easy pairing to bring magic damage and hide lanes.
SSB take Ezreal/Corki. This is a pairing we are seeing more and more as teams value Ezreal's safety in Double ADC compositions. I actually strongly dislike these picks however, as Corki is merely a Tier 2 Mid laner in my eyes and with Ezreal on the board his flex potential is completely gone. He's not even an ADC denial from EMF since they already have Kalista, so really this is just taking a strong but not top tier Mid laner early. Corki is one of the clear top three ADC's to me, where as Ezreal is right on the border between top of Tier 2 and bottom of Tier 1. Ultimately this is a gross misallocation of champion power, and had they just taken Corki + an AD Jungler they could have been in a more powerful and flexibile position.
EMF take Varus/Thresh. Interesting that EMF decides to fight poke with poke of their own. I don't really agree with the decision as they can still easily be outtrumped in this matter since their last pick Top is very unlikely to help them in this regard, and more importantly there are just stronger picks than Varus available. Something like Zed or Ahri could have brought them kill pressure Mid and fit in well with the pick potential Kalista/Elise bring.
SSB round out their composition with Nidalee/Gnar. They have gone into a full blown poke composition and effectively rendered the Varus moot as EMF can't afford to hold in a poke situation anyway. All things considered this is a solid composition from SSB and these last two picks made sense for the situation, but they could have had significantly more powerful picks overall in my opinion.
EMF last pick Malphite. This is a fine pick and I applaud EMF for both recognizing Malphite is worth playing right now and that they needed hard engage in this situation. Teams are really sleeping on Malphite right now and it's quite surprising that he has seen almost no play in a meta where Double ADC's are a frequent occurence. This is actually one of the less ideal situations for him as one of the ADC's brings heavy magic damage and Gnar is not an easy matchup, but teams should really be considering him against these Graves compositions in particular.
This was merely an okay draft by both teams, with many powerful picks unnecessarily skipped over. SSB has stronger lanes and a more cohesive focus, but EMF has signifincantly more playmaking ability.
EMF vs SSB
EMF (Blue): Lee Sin, Lulu, Ryze
SSB (Red): Tahm Kench, Gangplank, Graves
EMF (Blue): Lissandra; Lucian, Thresh; Rek'Sai, Gnar
SSB (Red): Alistar, Elise; Poppy, Corki; Ezreal
EMF first pick Lissandra. Love this pick and I think this is the correct prioritization rather then the likes of Alistar or Kalista first picks. It's inexplicable why Lissandra has fallen off amongst all these double ADC comps that she hugely threatens. The other consideration is Corki for me and either is fine.
SSB first rotations Alistar/Elise. Strong safe picks but Corki is higher priority for me.
EMF take Lucian/Thresh. Love seeing a team rightly still rate Lucian as a top Tier ADC, makes perfect sense over Corki in order to balance damage types and Thresh is always a fine early pick to hide other lanes.
SSB grab Poppy/Corki next. Corki I obviously love, Poppy is clearly Top here based on their other picks. While I don't think she's as great a Top laner as most she's probably the safest AD tank they can pick here, so I don't mind it. Gnar would be fine as well.
EMF last rotation Rek'Sai/Gnar. Love the Rek'Sai, the Gnar is fine as he's got a strong matchup into Poppy and they could use a front liner. They could have also picked a Mid laner like Zed/Ahri here to threaten the likely double ADC composition and leave Lissandra in her more powerful position.
SSB last pick Ezreal. This is unsurprising as the Corki/Ezreal pairing is extremely common at this point. The surprise is that they elect to run Ezreal Mid and Corki ADC here. While I do agree that Corki is stronger ADC than Mid I think Ezreal suffers more from the transition, and against Lissandra specifically will have little wave control. He will be relatively safe if he runs Cleanse, but Corki could contest her more early on in the lane. SSB did need physical damage to balance out their profile here, so with Zed not looking enticing into EMF's lineup Ezreal is a solid pick, I just would have preferred they did the standard positions.
Both compositions are solid but EMF has advantageous lane matchups across the board. If they can get standard lanes and avoid letting SSB siege with Corki/Ezreal/Elise they should be in a good spot. EMF also has significantly more pick potential without really sacrificing teamfight power, so unless they fall behind they get the edge for me. A better draft for both teams this time around though.
SSB vs EMF
SSB (Blue): Tahm Kench, Graves, Gangplank
EMF (Red): Lee SIn, Lulu, Lissandra
SSB (Blue): Alistar; Elise, Lucian; Shen, Kassadin
EMF (Red): Viktor, Gnar; Rek'Sai, Corki; Thresh
Ryze makes it through this entire draft again, just like game one you can assume I'd prefer him to nearly every pick.
SSB first pick Alistar, as said above I prefer Corki to this pick due to his flex potential while still being top Tier at his primary position.
Viktor/Gnar are the picks for EMF. This is extremely unconventional to pick both your solo laners in the first rotation. Perhaps they were afraid of Gnar being stolen and felt it was a key factor to their success in the previous game, but Viktor has been unpicked in the previous two games. Extremely curious and usually if a team does this it means they have an unusual ADC or Jungle pick in mind that they want to hide. I'd prefer they just take Corki + Elise/Rek'Sai/Bard/Thresh here.
SSB nab Elise/Lucian. Love these picks and it's nice to see both sides rate Lucian properly.
EMF second rotation Rek'Sai/Corki. These are great picks given what has already transpired, as with Elise off the table Corki gets the nod over Kalista in order to balance their damage profile. I'm not really a big fan of last picking Support, but their composition is powerful nonetheless.
SSB finish with Shen/Kassadin. No problem with the Kassadin pick, and Shen is a classic pairing with him to initiate teamfights and get picks. However I don't like picking Shen into Gnar, as one Gnar gets Black Cleaver it is a completely unwinnable matchup for Shen and he will get constantly outpressured in the split. This gives EMF huge incentive to play this game 4/1, in which case their far superior wave clear will give them a massive advantage as SSB struggles to force anything. If SSB get ahead enough that they can brute force dive with Alistar and Shen ulting in then they can be fine, but I really don't like this pairing against EMF's composition. I would vastly prefer Fiora or a tank that actually has a winnable matchup Top.
EMF last pick Thresh. While Thresh is always a fine champion, SSB actually picked a composition where you can get huge value out of your last pick Support and this doesn't do it. Since as discussed they absolutely must against EMF's split pressure and excellent wave clear, Janna is a slam dunk pick to deny Alistar and Kassadin from getting to the backline. EMF still has a huge edge, but Janna would have basically secured them the game if they can get past laning phase and play the map correctly. Things are especially bleak for SSB as EMF have advantageous early lane matchups across the board, this was just a blowout draft in EMF's favor despite SSB making fine picks until the last two.
LZ vs ROX
LZ (Blue): Varus, Quinn, Gangplank
ROX (Red): Alistar, Corki, Ryze
LZ (Blue): Tahm Kench; Rek'Sai, Lucian; Viktor, Bard
ROX (Red): Lulu, Nidalee; Trundle, Tristana; Fiora
LZ first pick Tahm Kench despite Lulu being up. I think this is a hugely wrong valuation and Tahm Kench continues to be extremely overrated in my eyes.
Lulu/Nidalee are taken by ROX. Lulu is an easy pick, and while Nidalee has seen little play her power level is perfectly fine in my book, it's just a matter of the player being comfortable on her and the team being willing to risk late game weakness to have excellent snowball and pick potential. This is a perfect fit for ROX who have been playing exclusively three threat compositions so far this season and allowing Pray and Smeb to outplay in skirmishes.
LZ take Rek'Sai/Lucian, these are great powerful champions that hide their composition so no issue here.
ROX second rotation Trundle/Tristana. Another excellent pair of picks for ROX as Trundle is excellent at setting up Nidalee's poke and has huge value against a hyper-tank like Tahm Kench. I have continued to put Tristana in my Tier 1 of ADC's and I'm glad to see them smartly pair her with Lulu to form an extremely formidable backline. Really impressive picks by ROX here to take two still powerful champions who have fallen out of favor recently when they are both extremely well positioned in this specific game.
LZ last rotations Viktor/Bard. I love the Viktor here as a second major carry for Tahm to protect, and he can easily farm out against Lulu and reach his scary mid-late game damage spikes. I love Bard and ROX's mobility is slow enough for the ultimate to be a potential catch tool, so a solid pick here as well.
ROX last pick Fiora. Phenomenal pick here as she can cause huge problems for Tahm if she gets ahead and is an absolute monster in teamfights when supported by Lulu. While LZ's composition is actually very powerful, ROX's is an absolute house with absurd synergy and a strong anti Tahm tool in Trundle. The overall champion power level in this game is incredibly high - and LZ is by no means screwed - but I have to give the edge to ROX for having perhaps the ultimate Lulu composition.
ROX vs LZ
ROX (Blue): Corki, Alistar, Gangplank
LZ (Red): Nidalee, Lulu, Ryze
ROX (Blue): Elise; Tahm Kench, Lucian; Viktor, Poppy
LZ (Red): Lissandra, Trundle; Kindred, Kalista; Lux
Elise comes in as the first pick for ROX. I'd prefer Lissandra but Elise is of course a fine pick, and perhaps they had a more AD centric composition in mind for the rest of their roles in which case securing Elise with Nidalee banned is a big priority.
LZ first rotation Lissandra/Trundle. Love the Lissandra pick, Trundle is a little underwhelming to me given that he is almost never actually flexed and there's no particular reason he'd be valuable here. It's also interesting they would take him here over Tahm after first picking Tahm last game. Lucian/Lissandra are the picks for me.
ROX take Tahm Kench/Lucian. Love the Lucian and Tahm is fine as a flex here especially given that Lissandra is one of the easier lanes for him should she go Top.
LZ go for Kindred/Kalista next, suddenly pivoting into a double ADC composition. It's interesting that they would choose to do this the game they don't have Kench, and picking two short ranged ADC's against Lucian seems like a suboptimal use of the strategy to me. These are powerful champions ultimately but I just don't see the incentive for this strategy here, and would prefer to see Rek'Sai over Kindred here.
ROX last rotation Viktor/Poppy. Viktor is of course a great blind, this Poppy pick was actually extremely interesting as she and Tahm are both Top/Support flex picks reducing the potential for a Top lane counterpick from LZ significantly. Fiora in particular is more easily handled by Poppy, reducing the risk of the most powerful Top on the board. That being said LZ can still keep Lissandra Top and counterpick Mid, so this isn't that tough a situation for LZ. I would have preferred they just take Thresh but this is a fine and creative adaptation, and I've been really impressed by ROX's thought processes during these two drafts.
LZ last pick Lux. She's generally a strong pick in double ADC compositions and she does have both protection and CC to set up her combo for teamfights. That being said Tahm Kench is extremely frustrating for Lux to play against as he can easily save any carry caught out by a binding before her combo comes through. This is a fine pick but given her reduced assassination potential due to Kench, Anivia would have been a much stronger pick in my opinion to really control ROX's frontline and combo with Trundle to really threaten Viktor's lack of mobility.
ROX end up sending Poppy Top against the Lissandra, a choice I actually disagree with as I think Tahm can farm quite easily in that lane and is much more of a problem when allowed to scale. LZ have an extremely focused kite composition that also has strong objective control from Kalista and significant pick potential as well. I give the edge to LZ here as they have a ton of tools to push their lead when ahead that all work with their compositional goal of grouping in the mid-game, and ROX have underwhelming engage tools to force a fight on them. Conversely if ROX is ahead they must create picks or find a way to take Baron as otherwise they will struggle to push against Lux/Trundle.