NA LCS W6D2 Pick/Ban Recap
As always for ease of reference here are my Tier 1's for each role before we get to the recaps.
You can find my entire patch 6.3 Tier List here (I missed a couple Champions, Ezreal Mid would be Tier 3 and Rumble Jungle Tier 2):
Top Tier 1: Fiora, Gangplank, Lulu, Lissandra, Malphite, Poppy, Gnar
Mid Tier 1: Lulu, Corki, Gangplank, Lissandra
Jungle Tier 1: Nidalee, Gragas, Rek'Sai, Lee Sin, Kindred, Elise
ADC Tier 1: Kalista, Kog'Maw, Lucian, Corki, Caitlyn
Support Tier 1: Bard, Thresh, Alistar, Janna
Here also is my Tier list for first pick/first rotation Champions right now.
Tier 1: Gangplank, Lulu, Corki
Tier 2: Kalista, Kog'Maw, Lissandra, Nidalee
Tier 3: Fiora, Gragas, Lucian
REN vs CLG
REN (Blue): Fiora, Leblanc, Nidalee
CLG (Red): Kalista, Kog'Maw, Lulu
REN (Blue): Gangplank; Braum, Lucian; Karma, Rek'Sai
CLG (Red): Corki, Gragas; Bard, Ezreal; Pantheon
REN first pick Gangplank. He's my top champion in the first pick tier list so I have no issue here of course.
CLG first rotation Corki/Gragas. Excellent picks here as well as these are two of the next three available by my tier list, and I am perfectly fine with passing on Lissandra with two other magic damage power picks available. Teams also have been prioritizing Lissandra fairly lowly lately so it's perfectly feasible to wait on picking her if you want her.
REN grab Braum/Lucian next. I'm still not a big Braum fan especially this early, but he's an excellent pairing with Lucian who's an easy choice here so these are solid picks.
CLG second rotation Bard/Ezreal. I love the Bard, and while I think Caitlyn is stronger than Ezreal I certainly don't mind this choice if you don't want to play Caitlyn's style. This has been an exceptionally standard draft to this point and I think both teams have a strong grasp on champion prioritization. I would generally prefer CLG take a Top here and save last pick for Mid/ADC given they have the Corki flex, but CLG loves to have Darshan split so his lane matchup is a higher priority for them than other teams.
REN last rotation Karma/Rek'Sai. We see another Mid Karma here. I do think she's a safe blind and if played with properly powerful in when grouped, as she has strong poke and a mini Sivir ultimate with her empowered E. She's best used with champions that benefit heavily from movespeed, whether it be melee's looking to gapclose or immobile carries looking to kite. This is a much better use of her compared to NRG yesterday with Rek'Sai/Braum to help engage and Gangplank and Lucian to benefit from her allowing them to position more aggressively. NRG ran her with Ezreal yesterday, which is getting almost zero use out of her mobility offered due to Ezreal being so safe anyway and getting minimal benefit from positioning aggressively. This still wouldn't be my pick here, but this is a decent use for her. I'd prefer Lissandra here to pressure CLG's double ADCs and get extra benefit out of being able to rush Abyssal against CLG's so far magic heavy composition, which Karma can't do (though she can build Grail, but it gives less MR).
CLG last pick Pantheon. This is certainly an unexpected pick, first lets hit the positives. As mentioned above CLG's composition was magic heavy to this point, so an AD champion is definitely ideal here to balance this out. Pantheon has a dominant early matchup against Gangplank as his passive blocks GP's Parley, meaning he can frequently trade for free. Gangplank is also a champion who it's hugely beneficial to shut down early due to his insane scaling and extra gold if allowed to farm freely. The problem Pantheon has always had however is that if he isn't one shotting enemies he becomes useless quickly, and relying on such strength from a Top laner when lane swaps occur half the time is extremely risky, and this will greatly hinder his snowball potential and waste his dominant early laning. Furthermore with REN having Braum and Karma, it's tough to envision Pantheon being able to Ult in to start a teamfight and zero out a target when REN can easily react with Braum shielding in front and Karma providing extra shields for Pantheon to try and burn through solo. There is some wombo potential with channeling Pantheon Ult and Bard Ulting to hold them in place, but this is quite the unreliable combo to blow two Ultimates on. It's also worth noting that CLG is regarded as the best lane swap team in NA, so perhaps the Pantheon is seen as a bit of a failsafe if CLG don't manage to get a lane swap which they would certainly otherwise want for the 2v2 lane given Ezreal's weak laning and Braum/Lucian's power. Ignoring the fact that I don't think Pantheon Top is strong enough to warrant play in any case, I just don't think a team as heavily favored as CLG against REN should be pulling out a pick with this much downside. REN also has a very AD heavy composition, so picking a tank like Malphite/Poppy/Gnar here would have had extra stat efficiency in addition to bringing significant CC against the not particularly mobile Karma/GP.
I liked this draft a lot for both teams before their last picks, but I mind the Karma far less than the Pantheon. CLG certainly has snowball potential from the solo lanes and Ezreal is decent late game insurance, but I dislike their choice to include a champion that can single-handedly lose them the game if they fall behind. In most games these compositions will play out fairly evenly, but theres a percentage of games the Pantheon just does nothing, so a slight edge to REN for me here.
DIG vs TSM
DIG (Blue): Fiora, Kalista, Gangplank
TSM (Red): Elise, Nidalee, Kog'Maw
DIG (Blue): Corki; Alistar, Lucian; Kindred, Malphite
TSM (Red): Lulu, Gragas; Caitlyn, Braum; Quinn
DIG first pick Corki over Lulu here. I slightly prefer Lulu in a vacuum but with the increasingly standard Kalista and Kog'Maw bans it's tipped in Corki's favor.
TSM first rotation Lulu/Gragas. Similarly to CLG last game I love these picks and they are right in line with my priorities given that Lissandra's value is lessened by already having the AP solo laner in Lulu.
DIG grab Alistar/Lucian. This is an interesting opportunity that I think DIG dropped the ball on. With three ADC's already off the table they have the opportunity to take Lucian here, and given TSM's recent history it is extremely likely they will take Caitlyn as a result. DIG does in fact do this, but this is a rare opportunity to pigeon hole your opponent on a strategy early and draft against it. You know a Caitlyn comp and therefore a siege comp is coming here, so pick a Support with hard engage! Alistar has fine secondary engage but his range is too low to reliably initiate against siege compositions, Bard would have provided far more engage and playmaking potential here. Alternatively you can just take Lissandra who is a safe flex pick that brings assassination and engage against poke compositions while not over comitting before you see the Caitlyn. Alistar is certainly a fine pick, but I think DIG could have abused this unique situation of forcing your opponent onto a specific champion with a very narrow playstyle early and failed to do so.
TSM second rotation Caitlyn/Braum. These are expected picks, Caitlyn being an obvious choice and teams valuing Braum especially against double ADC's. I still don't love Braum but he does have extra value in a siege composition as his shield can block wave clear and his Ultimate is much more reliable as a disengage.
DIG last rotation Kindred/Malphite. Malphite is a fine blind and his hard engage is valuable against TSM's siege, and given that they go triple ADC here he's a needed frontliner. The choice to go triple ADC is where my problem is however, as it's much more important to provide more engage tools from the Jungle than another source of damage that gets outranged by Caitlyn. Further Gragas is a counter to Kindred due to his Ultimate easily knocking Champions out of the Lamb's Respite, so Graves would have been a more sensible choice if you wanted to go this direction for me. I would have liked to see Rek'Sai/Lee Sin here.
TSM last pick Quinn. I don't get this pick either. I don't mind siege compositions in general picking a split pusher to make the siege 4v4 instead of 5v5 but I just don't get why teams continually pick Quinn into Malphite. You will just get outscaled in both the splitpush and the teamfighting and unless you can use Quinn's Ultimate to heavily impact the map it's a completely unproductive matchup. This is even if it's standard lanes, if it's a lane swap Quinn becomes very weak as she's extremely damage reliant whereas Malphite will always be a teamfight presence. Choices like Lissandra and Gnar could have provided split push potential without auto losing the matchup late while providing far more teamfight presence. They could even throw Lulu Top and take Lissandra/Zed/Leblanc/Ahri Mid, as DIG have three ADC's to target and literally only Pulverize and Unstoppable Force for CC, which they can scarcely afford to risk missing on a single diving Assassin. Really puzzling pick for me.
Again both teams botched this at the end for me. It's a draw in my eyes as while Malphite can certainly handle Quinn, he is DIG's only tool to force fights against the kite heavy composition of TSM and that just isn't enough to reliably punish them. TSM should have won this draft in my opinion and bailed DIG out with the Quinn pick.
NRG vs C9
NRG (Blue): Gangplank, Malphite, Kalista
C9 (Red): Fiora, Kog'Maw, Nidalee
NRG (Blue): Alistar; Ezreal, Graves; Nautlius, Ezreal
C9 (Red): Lulu, Lucian; Morgana, Lee Sin; Twisted Fate
NRG first pick Alistar here over Corki/Lulu/Gragas. This is just hugely wrong valuation in my opinion, I would take Lulu here.
C9 first rotation Lulu/Lucian. Loves these picks, Lulu is an obvious choice and Lucian is a more synergystic partner than Corki for her so that choice is fine as well. They also had the option to take Lucian/Corki like DIG and force NRG onto Caitlyn/Ezreal but I really like grabbing a flex here to abuse your last pick on Red side. Gragas was another alternative if you aren't concerned about securing an ADC early.
NRG take Ezreal/Graves. I really dislike these picks as they are both simply Tier 2 Champions in my eyes and there's no way you should be taking them with the likes of Corki/Caitlyn/Gragas/Rek'Sai available here. They just dipped much further into the power pool than they needed to for little gain, and if you want to run a double ADC composition so badly you could have easily saved one of these picks for last rotation so as to not give it away considering there are other (and in fact stronger) Champions available as well that fill similar roles.
C9 second rotation Morgana/Lee Sin. I don't really love Morgana here as she's much better against short range compositions than multi-ADC ones, but she is clearly a comfort pick for Hai and with Alistar gone it's not surprising to see this. While I'd prefer Gragas to Lee Sin especially against NRG's ADCs, Lee is obviously a signiture champion for Rush as well. I like these picks for C9 much more than NRG's previous rotation because even though they also skipped on power they went dipped less (Lee is still Tier 1), and as mentioned both are clear comfort picks for their players.
NRG last rotation Karma/Nautilus. Here we go again on both counts. Karma is a fine Mid but I don't think Ezreal is the right type of champion to use her with. I get that they are a powerful poke duo but there are stronger Mid options if poking is your objective. Karma's unique strength is the AOE Shield and speedup that acts as a mini Sivir Ultimate and as such you should be speeding up champions with raw power, NOT champions who already have mobility or are safe. Nautilus has risen to the go to blind Tank lately, he's fine but I just don't think he's that powerful and options like Gnar and Poppy are still superior in my eyes.
C9 last pick Twisted Fate. While TF/Lulu don't really offer much synergy in teamfights I like this pick alot as Karma will offer almost zero kill pressure on TF Mid and he has a multitude of targets to engage on in NRG's three squishy carries. The synergy Lulu/TF do have is diving, and 3 man dives Top or 4/5 man dives Bot will be extremely easy to pull off with TF's engage and Lulu's dive potential. This pick just offers C9 huge snowball potential and with strong snowball champions already in Lee/Lucian they can completely run away with the game off TF's pressure, while still having plenty of viable targets late game. Excellent pick by C9.
NRG really dropped the ball on this draft for me, as Alistar is the only Champion in their composition I consider Tier 1. Furthermore I really don't think they have any special synergy to make up for this, and this is a definite trend at this point with NRG pulling out unorthodox picks but not using them optimally in my opinion. C9 has huge snowball and pick potential with side lanes that will outpressure early and TF to take advantage of it. Massive edge to C9 here.
TIP vs FOX
TIP (Blue): Malphite, Kalista, Fiora
FOX (Red): Graves, Kog'Maw, Nidalee
TIP (Blue): Corki; Elise, Lulu; Poppy, Braum
FOX (Red): Alistar, Lucian; Kayle, Gragas; Gangplank
TIP first pick Corki over Lulu/Gangplank here. Once again we have the Kog/Kalista bans so I'm fine with this, Lulu + GP also lose their flex value if FOX just first rotations them so it's very reasonable to expect to get one back.
FOX first rotation Alistar/Lucian. No issue with Lucian given three ADC's are already off the board and TIP could certainly take him as well and send Corki Mid. Yet another overvaluation of Alistar in my eyes however, and Lulu is a slam dunk pick in my opinion as an excellent pairing with Lucian. To be fair they may anticipate TIP won't take Lulu due to already having Corki and not wanting to stack magic damage, but I personally don't feel Alistar is worth this.
TIP grab Elise/Lulu. I like the Lulu but hate this Elise pick. You already have two magic damage sources and in my opinion after the nerfs Elise's main strength is providing magic damage, there are just stronger champions available that also have far more desireable damage types here. I actually would have gone with Gangplank/Gragas here as I think Gragas is the strongest Jungler available and GP would provide the physical damage they need.
FOX second rotation Kayle/Gragas. Kayle is an interesting Champion right now, as Fervor of Battle is incredibly strong on her and Nashor/Rageblade are both very cost efficient right now. She has very little playmaking ability and takes quite a while to come online, and is essentially the Blue Ezreal of Top lane (I don't think she's good MId for these reasons, too little map pressure). I don't mind her when picked into matchups that are likely farm lanes, which Lulu certainly is and she has strong synergy with a high damage ADC like Lucian who is capable of playing aggressively with her Ultimate backup. I would have just taken Gangplank/Gragas here as they are huge power picks and you would have flex potential for your last pick, but I do think this is a good spot for Kayle.
TIP last rotation Poppy/Braum. With the flex potential of Corki/Lulu, they had a ton of options here and this is really far from an optimal use of them. Sure Poppy has kill potential on the immobile Kayle but this is entirely Jungle dependant which is fine in a vacuum, but not a good enough reason to pick her with this many choices. She also leaves them with exceedingly little physical damage, and while ROX won't have a tank Top they do have Gragas/Alistar who will easily get Aegis and stack MR causing their already low DPS team to take ages to get through FOX's frontline. I really would have liked to see them take Janna/Caitlyn here to provide the physical damage needed, and Janna has value stuffing Alistar/Gragas engage. Going into a siege composition isn't ideal given Gragas is on the opposing side, but TIP really picked themselves into a whole needing an AD threat here and Caitlyn is the strongest on the board in my opinion so it's a necessary evil. There are several other possibilities obviously with their dual flex picks but the bottom line is they picked themselves into a composition that absolutely must snowball to win yet has no dominant lanes. Yet another Blue side team that really botched their composition with their last two picks for me.
FOX last pick Gangplank. This is a great pick for both power and situation as he can easily farm against Lulu and their damage profile is balanced perfectly. He's also another valuable target for Kayle Ult should he be caught out, and has acceptable AOE setup with Alistar and Gragas.
I strongly dislike TIP's composition unless it's against zero tanks, while their champions may be strong they have little synergy and their focused damage type combined with low damage and underwhelming lanes is a huge problem. FOX has a fine composition with equally strong champions and none of the same problems. Big edge to FOX here.
TL vs IMT
TL (Blue): Fiora, Gangplank, Soraka
IMT (Red): Nidalee, Kog'Maw, Lulu
TL (Blue): Poppy; Alistar, Zilean; Caitlyn, Udyr
IMT (Red): Kalista, Gragas; Twisted Fate, Janna; Quinn
TL first pick Poppy here despite Kalista being up. I really dislike this as Poppy just isn't strong enough after the nerfs to warrant a first pick, she's borderline Tier 1/2 and to take her over power picks like Kalista and Gragas here is just silly to me.
IMT first rotation Kalista/Gragas. Nothing to say here these are perfectly complimentary power picks, this is as good a first rotation as you can possibly ask for.
TL take Alistar/Zilean. Poppy/Zilean has been a popular combo so it's clear they had this in mind with the first pick. I don't love this for power reasons but I don't hate the idea of wanting to run a composition that is very powerful in a narrow way when you are big underdogs. I would have liked for them to take Alistar/Rek'Sai here.
IMT second rotation Twisted Fate/Janna. Janna is no surprise as Adrian's go to pick (and Soraka is even banned). I like the TF as he comboes great with Kalista's dive potential and Zilean has little kill pressure in lane, great time to pull him out for similar reasons as C9.
TL last rotation Caitlyn/Udyr. These are certainly interesting picks, and I can see the thought process behind TL's draft now that it's over. Zilean is obviously an excellent enabler for Udyr who is very powerful in terms of raw stats but struggles with getting kited. I disliked them giving up Kalista, but they went ahead and chose Caitlyn despite Lucian being up due to her having by far the most dominant lane matchup against her. It's clear that they had the Poppy/Zilean/Udyr composition in mind from the get go, and perhaps even wanted this ADC matchup as well. Again I don't mind going for this sort of specialized composition when you are underdogs, but in general there is a reason these champions are low priority enough that you're confident you can get them. It's also extremely odd that you go for this specific Udyr-centric composition when you are playing the team that is an absolute lock to play Janna against you (and they even chose to ban Soraka over Janna despite this). I do think these were the two bast last picks here though.
IMT last pick Quinn. This has been a favorite for Huni this season, and she does have value as another champion that is very annoying for Udyr to run into. I don't love the pick though as she is very susceptible to getting dove by Poppy/Udyr, and against TL's tanky frontline IMT could really be struggling for damage if Pobelter falls behind on TF and TL gets to stack armor. Lissandra would have been a much safer pick for me here that would control TL's frontline even better.
IMT get's the edge on champion power and early pressure combined with the insane snowball potential of TF/Kalista, but an interesting gambit from TL nonetheless.