NA LCS W4D2 Pick/Ban Recap
As always for ease of reference here are my Tier 1's for each role before we get to the recaps.
Top Tier 1: Ryze, Gangplank, Lulu, Fiora, Lissandra, Poppy
Mid Tier 1: Lulu, Ryze, Gangplank, Corki, Viktor, Zed
Jungle Tier 1: Rek'Sai, Lee Sin, Elise, Kindred, Graves, Nidalee
ADC Tier 1: Lucian, Kalista, Corki
Support Tier 1: Bard, Alistar, Thresh, Janna
Here also is my Tier list for first pick/first rotation champions right now.
Tier 1: Lulu, Gangplank, Corki, Ryze
Tier 2: Lissandra, Poppy
Tier 3: Lucian, Elise, Fiora, Graves, Kalista
IMT vs TL
IMT (Blue): Poppy, Nidalee, Graves
TL (Red): Quinn, Gangplank, Fiora
IMT (Blue): Lulu; Caitlyn, Rek'Sai; Ekko, Janna
TL (Red): Elise, Kalista; Maokai, Corki; Alistar
Once again Ryze makes it through picks/bans here as his priority continues to dive. I still think he's ban/first pick worthy, and I know at least Huni plays it in this game so you can assume I'd prefer him to every pick but Lulu here.
IMT first pick Lulu. With no ADC bans she's the clear choice here (if Ryze is excluded), and I don't really like TL letting her through unless you were planning to take Ryze back. If you are going to allow her at least ban Kalista or Lucian so you can first rotation Corki + the other and deny IMT a power pick at ADC (though admittedly IMT ultimately take Caitlyn over Lucian and Corki so perhaps TL knew Caitlyn was something IMT was fine playing).
TL first rotation Elise/Kalista. This is an ok first rotation but I really think you have to find a way to get Corki in here as he just brings way too much power and flexibilty when you can easily pair him with an ambiguous physical damage dealer like Rek'Sai or Kalista/Lucian here to give yourself a powerful start with a ton of options. A huge part of Elise's power is that she and Nidalee are the two preeminent AP Junglers right now (and Nidalee is player specific), but with Corki, Lissandra, and Viktor (and Ryze if they play it) available here there is no shortage of powerful AP champions on the board so the need to secure her is diminished. Perhaps they wanted to deny it from IMT given that Lulu is strong with double ADC compositions in which she would be valued, or again perhaps they had reason to expect IMT to take Caitlyn over Lucian/Corki anyway. With just the information available to me I'd take Corki/Rek'Sai here.
IMT take Caitlyn/Rek'Sai. While I do think Caitlyn is a strong ADC and pairing with Lulu, she is not quite on the level of the top three for me and Lucian has to be one of your selections here for pure power while still synergyzing well with Lulu. Pair him with either Corki for the god multi-adc composition or Rek'Sai/Janna/Braum if you want a more traditional composition. The Rek'Sai pick is perfectly fine, and if you really want to siege then Caitlyn is powerful, I just disagree that she is this powerful.
TL second rotation Maokai/Corki. Corki is a great pick even if this isn't the ideal composition for him with a poor sieging ADC and an AP Jungler. His strong laning and mid-game dominance more then make up for it however and he can help to secure an early game lead to abuse Kalista's objective control and pick potential more than someone like Viktor. I really dislike blinding Maokai as he is just a Tier 3 Top to me, and particularly against someone like Huni who has a large champion pool with a wide array of carries I think it's a mistake to give him this free a lane, especially when you have the last pick. I'd just go with Corki + Janna/Alistar/Bard here.
IMT last rotation Ekko/Janna. Ekko is an interesting choice for Top lane here (I do have him ranked as Tier 3 Top so I think he's playable) but it has interesting applications in a siege composition as his W can both zone enemies off the turret and act as a counter-engage against a telegraphed dive. An AP champion was also ideal to balance their damage, and while Lissandra could have filled a similar role she has less kill pressure on Maokai due to being more burst heavy late while also having to whittle him down more with abilites which plays right into his passive. He also brings a split-push option should he get ahead, so all in all I think this is quite a smart application of Ekko, even if Maokai's W preventing his ultimate could be a minor annoyance in teamfights. Janna is Adrian's go to pick and right at home with Caitlyn and a Siege compisition, no issues there. IMT have a powerful siege composition with an unusual wrinkle in Ekko, and while I disagree with the choice of Caitlyn over Lucian she is certainly well supported here and arguably better suited for this specific composition.
TL last pick Alistar. While he's a fine pick he's quite a generic choice and they really got nothing out of taking him last pick. He does bring in engage but it's far from long range, and IMT has plenty of tools to thwart it unless he can pull a surprise flash or Kalista Ult engage. There really wasnt a great choice here as the Support with the best engage (Leona) has a terrible lane matchup into Cait/Janna, as is they will have to rely on TP Homeguard engages from Maokai which Alistar is good at following up, but this is far from ideal. If they had just taken a Support previously they could easily grab Lissandra or Malphite last pick here to provide engage (of course Huni's Top pick would likely be different as well), and I really don't understand what the reasoning was of leaving Support for last pick against what was clearly a siege composition.
This draft is fairly even all things considered but I'll give an edge to IMT for favorable matchups in the side lanes, as well as having more tools from behind then TL as their composition is at least difficult to dive, whereas TL is reliant solely on TP flanks to find fights.
C9 vs NRG
C9 (Blue): Corki, Elise, Graves
NRG (Red): Alistar, Nidalee, Ryze
C9 (Blue): Poppy; Nunu, Kalista; Orianna, Morgana
NRG (Red): Gangplank, Rek'Sai; Lucian, Janna; Zilean
C9 first pick Poppy over Lulu/Gangplank here. I don't agree with this priority but I don't think it's horrendous, and given that she's the only one that flexes to a non solo lane position she does provide more versatility with all these picks up. I would take Lulu here.
NRG first rotation Gangplank/Rek'Sai. No issue with the GP pickup, and Rek'Sai is always a safe choice and with the desired AP damage of Elise/Nidalee banned it's the logical pick for Jungle. I would personally go for Lulu/Lucian here, but these picks are fine.
C9 take Nunu/Kalista. We see our first Nunu after his buffs on 6.2, I think he's near the top of Tier 2 for Junglers and he makes a very interesting pairing so I don't mind these selections. Kalista scales very well with attack speed, and their combined objective pressure is immense making it extremely dangerous if they are allowed to get a lead. I would again grab Poppy/Lucian here, but these are interesting and synergystic picks even if lower then necessary on power for me.
NRG second rotation Lucian/Janna. These are solid picks and if they want to leave their last pick for a Mid counter rather than take Lulu I'm fine with it, especially given that they will need major AP damage coming from the lane with all AD sources so far.
C9 last rotation Orianna/Morgana. We have seen surprisingly little Orianna as she has been almost entirely crowded out as the safe blind by VIktor. I do think she is still a strong champion (mid Tier 2), and is definitely an extremely strong combination with Poppy both to shield and speed up, as well as setup for Shockwaves via Poppy's charge and Ultimate. Morgana is a strong pairing with Kalista and can actually get extra value against AD heavy teams like NRG as they have an extremely hard time breaking the black shield allowing an ally to be CC immune for extended periods. While these wouldn't have been my picks, these give C9 an absolutely terrifying objective control composition capable of steamrolling teamfights if they can engage them. They are quite low range, but they have enough engage and objective pressure to easily set up their strong pick potential so if this composition gets ahead it will be really hard to stop. I would have taken Lulu/Viktor + Bard here, but this is definitely an interesting composition from C9 with focused strengths without having to give up glaring weaknesses.
NRG last pick Zilean, oh boy here we go again. I like this Zilean composition more than the previous one NRG ran against TSM simply because they actually have solid lane matchups this time, so it is a realistic scenario to be ahead which is where Zilean really shines. They again picked Zilean as the lone AP threat however which I strongly dislike as he has rather low and unreliable damage especially late game, and C9 have two tanks and two champions that could easily rush Zhonyas. This is just putting way too much pressure on the Zilean here, and if he falls behind in Mid at all the whole composition effectively falls apart. Viktor is obvious safe pick here to provide the big AP damage they need, or Ahri if you are concerned about his lack of mobility against C9's chain potent CC.
Both teams made mistakes here for me, but I really don't like these Zilean comps where he is the only magic threat and C9 has a composition that is very powerful in a focused manner. If they can avoid falling behind too far early (which should be fine with even lane matchups and Nunu), they should be able to find opportunities to force objectives and snowball the game.
RNG vs TSM
RNG (Blue): Gangplank, Twisted Fate, Graves
TSM (Red): Poppy, Zilean, Lissandra
RNG (Blue): Nidalee; Ryze, Braum; Draven, Orianna
TSM (Red): Lulu, Kalista; Kindred, Alistar; Fiora
RNG first pick Nidalee here. While I do think Nidalee is an interesting Jungler to keep on eye on right now, this is way too high for her for me. Corki/Lulu/Ryze are all up, and while they are all AP sources so perhaps their priority isn't as high as it would otherwise be, this same point works against Nidalee. Lulu would be my pick once again as she is a solid pairing with either if they got back to you (with Corki Mid in a double ADC composition.)
TSM first rotation Lulu/Kalista. These are fine picks, but I prefer Lulu/Lucian and Lulu/Ryze while not ideal is still a deadly combination. Corki is less of a consideration because with all these powerful AP's running around you are less likely to want to use him as an ADC since you will need physical damage, so his flex potential is diminished in this scenario.
RNG grab Ryze/Braum. No issue with Ryze, Braum is being overrated all of a sudden to me and there's zero that makes him good against Lulu or Kalista. Lucian or Thresh are stronger picks here for me.
TSM second rotation Kindred/Alistar. I do think the hate has gone too far on Kindred from teams and she is still a strong Jungler, so I like that they would go to her in a Lulu composition. Alistar is a smart choice as well since he is very adept at controlling the immobile and mid-ranged Ryze. Nice choices.
RNG last rotation Draven/Orianna. Orianna I like to buff the Ryze and threaten TSM's shorter range carries. Draven however I don't think is worth playing right now, as the only benefit he saw compared to various negatives from the ADC changes was Rapid Firecannon, which has seen heavy nerfs since its introduction. If there was ever a time to pick it this is a decent one as TSM has little backline threat, Kalista is a good matchup for Draven, and Freeze is an outstanding Draven player. All that said I'd prefer they just play Lucian here, with the Orianna as they selected. RNG has huge scaling here but the Braum/Nidalee really feel out of place, while they do help to control the early game and hit late they really have little synergy with the rest of the composition. I don't hate this draft, but it's definitely a strange one and RNG has had poor champion valuation all season for me, stemming back to their first pick Mundo's to start the seasn.
TSM last picks Fiora. I love this pick, as Fiora is a phenomenal carry for Lulu to support and the presence of Kindred allows for even crazier aggression. The heavy AD composition is a non issue due to RNG's lack of tanks as well as Kindred/Fiora passives and the split-push option. Ryze vs Fiora is a very volatile and skill based lane, and this matchup should be the focus of the early game as both have huge kill potential on each other with these junglers and either getting ahead could snowball completely out of control.
TSM gets the decided edge here for me with Tier 1 champions across the board and a much more synergystic composition that also has more options (split-push, objective pressure with Kindred), whereas RNG are strictly a grouping and scaling composition that doesn't even have a clear edge if these things occur.
TIP vs CLG
TIP (Blue): Poppy, Fiora, Gangplank
CLG (Red): Nidalee, Graves, Alistar
TIP (Blue): Corki; Elise, Bard; Lucian, Quinn
CLG (Red): Ryze, Kalista; Lulu, Rek'Sai; Zed
TIP first pick Corki over Ryze/Lulu. We had this exact situation last game except Lissandra is open this time as well, again Lulu would be my pick.
CLG first rotation Ryze/Kalista. Again same as before I'd prefer Lulu/Lucian or Lulu/Ryze here, but these are strong picks nonetheless.
TIP grab Elise/Bard. No issue with taking Bard to hide your composition, but Elise just isn't valuable with all these AP power picks up, any of the Tier 1 AD Junglers would be preferable.
CLG second rotation Lulu/Rek'Sai. Love these picks, the Lulu/Ryze combination isn't ideal from a compositional standpoint but it's still devastating if Ryze gets rolling. While Elise/Bard would normally be fairly hard for Ryze to run into, Whimsy will make dodging these skillshots much easier.
TIP last rotation Lucian/Quinn, electing to go for the triple ADC composition. This does explain the Elise pick more, and with Corki/Elise their damage will be fine. I'm a little concerned about running three mid range ADC's into Ryze/Kalista however, as it will be very difficult to trade damage in any situtation that isn't started by CC from Elise/Bard. I would have gone with Lucian/Lissandra here, as Lissandra is just a much better matchup into Ryze in my opinion with significant kill pressure and little risk compared to the extremely volatile matchup for Quinn who can single-handedly lose the game if she falls behind here. TIP has a fine composition, but I don't think this is a great composition to run it against.
CLG last pick Zed, sending Lulu to Support. As much as I would normally dislike moving Lulu off of a solo lane I absolutely love this pick. Zed has been criminally underrated so far this season and he is an absolute monster here, as TIP have three ADC's with zero protection outside of the unrealible Bard Ultimate. Furthermore Lulu is much better as a Support here then she normally would be as speeding Ryze is still massively valuable and less importanty her passive has high synergy with Kalista's attack speed stacking in teamfights. Add this with the rarely seen but extremely potent teamfight combination of Zed Ult + Lulu Ult to basically guarantee death for whoever he marks, and this is an incredible composition from CLG here.
Not only is CLG's composition incredible from a pure power standpoint, but they have huge synergy and huge game specific advantages against TIP's composition. This draft was a slaughter for me, and CLG has one of my favorite compositions of the season. To be fair to TIP they have powerful champions as well, but they stand little chance of surviving these teamfights, and Corki or Quinn absolutely must get ahead for them to have a chance.
DIG vs FOX
DIG (Blue): Gangplank, Alistar, Fiora
FOX (Red): Loss of Bans
DIG (Blue): Nidalee; Lulu, Lucian; Trundle, Bard
FOX (Red): Poppy, Kalista; Elise, Ryze; Corki
So let me get this straight, FOX lost all of their bans and DIG was blue side. This means DIG could literally first pick ANY champion in the game and limit FOX's first rotation with their bans. Of all their opens they choose to first pick Nidalee. I mean I think she's a powerful champion but this is insane to me. Given that there are only three bans total there are going to be several power picks up, so why not just create a power gap at a position? I would have easily banned two of Corki/Lucian/Kalista and taken the Third, and you could even ban Caitlyn as well if you value her highly. This is just a huge missed opportunity of a rare situation, but there's no excuse given they had time to prepare for this. You have to create a bigger power pick then this.
FOX first rotation Poppy/Kalista. I have no issue with the Poppy pick, but taking Kalista with zero ADC's banned when you have options like Corki/Lulu/Ryze is silly to me. Pairing Poppy with any of those three gives you an insanely powerful and flexible start with damage balance to boot, and instead they took two AD champions. I would go with Poppy/Corki given that Lulu, Ryze, and Lissandra are all available making the ADC flex potential more valuable here.
DIG take Lulu/Lucian next. I'm great with these picks as they are always a potenent combination and quite adept at controlling the shorter-ranged combination of Poppy/Kalista. Lulu and Ryze would be too much AP damage with Nidalee, although not untenably so given Lucian will still be around for your last rotation.
FOX second rotation Elise/Ryze. Like these picks as well, as they have balanced their damage from the first rotation with powerful champions and they have sufficient CC to set up Ryze quite well.
DIG last rotation Trundle/Bard. While I think Trundle is being overrated Top lane at the moment he was a strong choice here against a tank in Poppy and against an immobile carry to control with Pillar in Ryze. Bard I never have an issue with as he's my top Support, and his ultimate is very threatening against Ryze as well. DIG has a strong composiiton, but in my opinion should have been able to do better with the huge advantage they were handed in bans.
FOX last pick Corki. I like this pick a ton, as they suddenly flipped the switch on DIG by making their tank much less of a valuable Ultimate target late game and giving him a much tougher laning phase. They now have an early game pressure edge in Mid and Top, and can realistically transistion this advantage into a mid-game dominated by Corki into a late-game dominated by Ryze.
With so few bans the teams were going to have to trade power picks, and both came out fine. Dissapointing by DIG from a strategy standpoint to me however and I think with the smart last pick by FOX they actually secured a slight edge here.