This is the first week of what will be a weekly look at the NA LCS. I will be pointing out two things in every game that I feel are significant in any fashion, from excellent picks and bans strategies or simply amazing plays, both the good and the bad.
NA LCS Day 1
Team SoloMid vs Cloud9
1. Who needs dragons
This is quite the perfect game to showcase the how unimportant the first few new dragons are until 25+ minutes in the game. Both teams come in with a pretty apathetic approach to the dragon no one making a move on it until there is a distinct advantage by C9 at around 17 minutes in the game. Even with three dragons and then a baron C9 was losing turrets and the game. TSM showed up to a few of the dragons but just didn’t feel it was worth risking trying to take it. only at 35 minutes in the game they finally get their dragon 1, this is the only dragon that really needs to be gained. Early and mid game dragons are really not a priority anymore, with turrets and even a single minion wave being worth more depending on when you try to take it.
2. C9 not punishing Dyrus for the lane swap
C9 managed to pull off an excellent lane swap getting Balls ahead in farm and levels. around 6 mins into the game Balls and Dyrus are in lane together. With Balls up about two levels and 30 CS C9 does nothing. Eventually pushed under his turret Dyrus just farms under turret until 13 mins when C9 looks for a dive but suffers from a lack of minions. When C9 again tries to gank Dyrus they lose two mid turrets and get nothing for it. After the gift of a kill dyrus gives C9 bot, he is allowed to just split push until he is relevant to the game. With how well C9 are lane swapping it’s really striking seeing no real punishment to this top advantage.
Coast vs Dignitas
1. Doing baron with the whole enemy team alive
This is one I hate seeing, sneaking a baron is usually a pretty nice move but it’s a massive risk where you need to control so many aspects, vision, Hp, kill speed, distractions. With all of that, the enemy team mainly just has to drop a ward and engage on you. Sneaking a baron is one of the riskiest moves a team can make. Now with the changes to Baron and Dragon I don’t see a reason to try to sneak a baron. You will do more damage but you will die just as fast and taking advantage of pushing the lanes is still a major risk to a team fight without the old baron regen.
Coast’s baron take pretty much failed, Dontmashme and Impaler lost 80% of their HP and they stuck around to take it losing their team fight and an inhibitor turret. This sets up dignitas for the win.
2. The baron throw?
After gaining the buff but overall failing at the last baron Coast again decides that baron is the true objective in the game and continues to ignore that Dignitas is fully alive. Coast then decides to try and trade their nexus for the baron buff. This one you have to see for yourself.
Gamsu is the hero of that play.
WinterFox vs Gravity
1. WinterFox’s full engage comp
The picks and bans strategy for Winterfox was enlightening for this game. WinterFox goes on first picking Sivir to telegraph the idea that they will be diving and engaging hard, Gravity sets up to pick champions with strong counter engage. Watching Gravity picking Janna, Lee Sin, and Azir for some nice disengage ultimates. WinterFox though stays true with a full blown line up of stealth, stuns, speed, flips and fish.
In game the plan worked wonders, every disengage Gravity had was countered by a opening Annie stun or Fizz ult to be followed up by chain CC and death. In the event that the disengage even got off it was simply countered by engaging again immediately after. Overall this was a fun and exciting game to watch with Polbelter and subs enjoying the stomping picks and bans set up for them
2.Last Pick Sion
This is a special pick for Gravity. Knowing the whole team comp of Winterfox, a very heavy engage, highly mobile, targeted CC Gravity comes up with the low mobility tank Sion. My jaw almost dropped seeing this pick, Gravity already was going to be in a rough spot trying to keep Azir pets on the enemy team. To follow up with a low damage tank top laner who doesn’t have a practically mobile skill set to use in a team fights. Sion is limited to chasing Altec in team fights so Altec will have something to attack after the rest of Sion’s team is dead.
Team Impulse vs Team Liquid
1. Protect the Kog’Maw
Usually Protect the Kog comps can be tough to pull off, but with TIP banning out 3 of the biggest threats to a single threat team, and TL banning the lee Sin set up nicely for this composition. While Leblanc may seem deadly you won’t be landing any chains on a Kog being perma hugged by Lulu and Nunu. The thresh hooks also didn’t seem to hit anything but Lulu’s and Nunus the whole game, Keith did have a few very nice hook dodges himself though. The slows coming out from TL really stopped the sivir ult effectiveness but I feel like TIP seemed to focus the wrong targets a few times along with being poorly synchronized in their engages. Being behind in gold for the first 25 mins but not giving up any dragons really showed just how effectively TL understood how to play their team comp.
2. Xpecial’s Soraka… err Janna ults
Xpecial effectively used the heal from Jana’s ultimate all throughout the game. While the disengage was useful in zoning around Jarven’s ultimate. It was the heal that fought off poke and allowed the team to be healthy for timed Dragons and gnar ultimates. Even when saving himself with the heal, he would manage to hit all five members of TL ensuring they were healthy enough to protect the Kog’Maw.
Counter Logic Gaming vs Team 8
1. T8’s Lulu, Sion picks
Where to begin with this… Janna isn’t even looked at in the first four picks for T8, I would complain that CLG left it for their last pick too if they weren’t busy picking up three of the best laners for their respective roles. But then to follow that up with clearly a midlane Lulu and top Sion. There just isn’t enough damage there, no reason to pick any of these two champions. You can’t use a tank to block things like Lisandra, Jarven, or Gnar. Corki is a pretty safe adc so the Lulu will be helping Rek’Sai which is nice for engage but, melee only damage usually isn’t the most effective. Then to top it all off they last pick annie for that hard engage burst their team comp is just not setup to do. Everything about this just feels like a disaster for T8.
2. The 3v3 team fight turn around
After T8 pulls out an even trade against a CLG tower dive the three remaining T8 members chase CLG as they run into the jungle. This ended in a nice counter engage from Link to setup for for an almost triple kill on Doublelift and the ace.
NA LCS Day 2!
Dignitas vs Team Impulse
1. Just take more Turrets
Dig had a slight lead until 14 minutes, TIP then decided to walk up into the lanes and take turrets. Dignitas hides in the bushes and watches, then massively overextends losing more turrets. The gold lead just becomes massive from all the turrets given up. It’s like Dignitas didn’t even fight. Leading into my next point.
2. Shiphtur and Gamsu 0 deaths
If you’re dying you’re doing something wrong right? Well I think losing the nexus before losing your life might be a questionable decision. There was so much wrong on Dignitas in this game but losing games with 0 deaths always has a special place in my mind.
WinterFox vs Coast
Irelia was the keystone pick for Coast in this team comp, They needed someone to keep up and lock down WinterFox’s mobile and deadly carries so Xerath and Corki could poke them down. Impaler commits to helping get the lane ahead and it pays off big with an early double kill and then another effective gank. Cris played it well, zoning and picking off low health members of Winterfox in the first few team fights snowballing his lead. His importance is shown when they go for a split push to try and take an inhibitor turret around 30 mins where ShorterACE pulls off a nice Lee Sin kick in the 4 man of Coast. This doesn’t happen again, Cris just sticks with the team from this point on leading the charge to the victory.
2. Jesiz Sniping
Jesiz had several good snipe plays protecting wards and cleaning up after team fights. While out shined by the Irelia snowball Jesiz pulled through where it was needed always being in range with the rest of Coast to setup the fights Cris needed to win the game.
Team Liquid vs Counter Logic Gaming
1. The Leblanc pick
I hated seeing this pick, CLG is setup for a fantastic team composition, plenty of synergy and damge with sivir and rengar, plenty of magic damage with rumble, and then Blitzcrank for the pull and kills. All they needed was a solid anchor of a midlaner to help Doublelift and AphroMoo carry the game. Lining up for one of the best picks here being Lulu. Even Oriana would have worked nice with Rengar and Sivir synergy. But no, CLG picks Leblanc, no synergy with the team, no need to hard carry mid. Then to top it all off he does bad on Leblanc, even a losing lane Lulu would have been so strong. Even with the epic sion fail picks of this first week I feel this is the worst pick that came out of NA.
2. This whole game
With Aphromoo hooks, Doublelift spell shields, Xpecial Annie ults. FeniX’s and IWDominate’s 2v3 mid. There was a lot of entertainment from this game I just have to recommend the whole thing. If you only watch one game this whole week this is the one you want to see.
Cloud9 vs Gravity
1. Protect the Kog’Maw countered
Unlike the TL protect the Kog’Maw C9 had to deal with three very deadly champions With Saintvicious’ Vi CC and the damage from Hauntzor’s and Keane’s Kassadin and Zed there is no way kog’maw will live. Meteos and Balls don’t even really seem to have a role on the team as Rek’sai and Sion, Corki can just valkyrie away while Morgana snares and stuns both of them as Gravities other memeber would just dash past for kills on the back line. Orianna’s life can’t really impact much due to how fast she will be dying after Kog’Maw. Janna would be nice if the two solo lanes could not just jump right back in after being pushed out. C9 really put themselves in a tight spot with the picks here.
2. C9 not punishing the top lane after the lane swap advantage.
Another fantastic C9 lane swap that they then fail to pressure after. Down almost 40 cs and a level Hauntzor is allow to farm under turret. The over pushing and lack of heavy camping really feels odd watching these C9 games. While I am not sure how easy it would have been to try to shut kassadin down, he was their main magic damage and one of the harder damage threats to deal with. Ignoring him when you have the best chance to make sure he is behind feels like a massive blunder.
Team8 vs Team SoloMid
1. Leblanc and Rengar picks
This was not the time for a Lebanc pick. Red side gets the advantage of counter picking the mid lane, there is almost no reason to pick a mid red side before blue side does. Leblanc is not exactly bad for TSM, but it’s more about when they picked it, and even if they gave up Leblanc, Gnar and Morgana who they already had can deal with her pretty effectively in team fight situations.
Rengar, you usually see him picked with Synergy champions, Sivir, Oriana, Lulu, things that make him move faster or take advantage of his stealth. TSM has none of this, there isn’t a major reason to even think about rengar here with Lee Sin open.
2. Oriana Ultimates
O they were so great, every opening on to Bjergsen or Wildturtle was taken with very clutch oriana ults. They paved the way for T8’s victory in this match up. Starting with two wildturtle ult kills, and then a Bjergsen in a deciding team fight. Slooshi then ults the baron because why not. Finally just hitting one more Oriana ult on Bjergsen as they are taking the nexus turrets. Not only just hitting the carries all of the ultimates had collateral impact resulting in double kills and massive damage coming out. Even the ball positioning was top notch landing it perfectly between Bjergsen’s distortion so there was no way he could escape.