NA LCS Week 2 Day 1
Dignitas Vs Gravity:
1. If Dig are just going to give them away
Gravity took awhile to finish this game, making it one of the least interesting games of the week. But it’s hard to criticize gravity here when DIG just didn’t contest any objective towards the late game. I would expect a more experienced team to seal the deal on the game a lot sooner but if you know you can just get 5 dragons and a baron then push I don’t see a reason to risk losing a fight to end it quicker.
2. Lee sin instead of Gnar, Xerath into Jarven
I don’t like the Lee sin pick here, Gravity already picked their jungler and these are the first two picks to grab some of the strong champions in their positions. Gnar is just so good all around, a lot of CC, a strong tank, and high damage. If they were planning the Lulu from the start you can even justify picking her up here as a flex for mid/top here.The
Xerath into Jarvan is always a semi risk, without any movement skills a jarvan ultimate is a death sentence to a Xerath without flash. With no strong tanks on Dignitas, they are going to be kiting back in most fights, getting locked down by jarvan in this situation is bad news.
Coast vs T8
1. Jarven Long jump
Jesiz had just 1v1ed Slooshi in the midlane and was low, he should have gone back but a wave was pushing to his tower so he goes back to grab the wave. Porpoise started walking up to make sure the wave gets cleared by the turret and not Jesiz. The instant Jesiz comes into visual range he just goes, the flash, the flag grab into a Cataclysm kill, walking out the back of the tower range only taking one tower shot. Quick reaction and perfect execution really makes this an interesting play to watch, even with the 1v1 just before.
2. Coast Sneaking barons
Someone needs to sit down with Coast and go over the risks vs rewards of sneaking a baron. With no one dead and an early 28 minutes into the game they go for a two man baron, even with no vision the slow speed that coast was killing it just set maplestreet up for the double kill and then baron take.
Then ten minutes later, and to make matters worse, they actually win at this one. While this isn’t so much of a sneak it’s still a baron with the full enemy team alive. Everything went Coast’s way this baron take though, they did hit a valid baron window of the recall timing after T8’s inhibitor take, and T8 gifted them a panicked team fight trying to stop this. While the team fight gave Coast the inhibitor and the baron gave them the team fight, the actual buff didn’t do much.
Coast needs to really pull the reins in on the baron calls, right now a simple baron ward or a baron check has been giving teams wins and massive leads over Coast.
Team Liquid vs C9
1. Winning the lane swap
While Piglet not bringing masteries into the game was a major issue, C9 has been crushing the lane swap play and called this wardless swap to get the lane match up advantage. TL really ran into the issue here when they didn’t drop the deep wards, it’s almost standard at the moment to 5 man invade for full coverage of a lane swap. TL not doing this went into the play blind, with the lane picks more or less telegraphing an incoming lane swap it was pretty easy for C9 to call the swap. An already disadvantaged Sivir was put further behind against a team more or less designed to destroy her.
2. Hai tanking everything
Taking advantage of an overextended piglet, C9 rapidly moves to the top lane around 20 minutes into the game. While looking caught out TL manages, with a solid teleport by Quas, to turn the fight hard on Hai as he went in for piglet. But Hai barely managed to get his Lissandra ult off giving time for Sneaky to lay down massive damage on Gnar and Jarvan while Annie zoned the carries from TL. C9 quickly made work of the Gnar and Jarvan setting up for the now 3v5 turn where C9 pushes on an already spent Ahri and under farmed Sivir. Sneaky scoring one more kill on Piglet secures the now massive lead C9 has in the game.
Team Impulse vs CLG
1. Hooks Hooks Hooks
Aphromoo, is easily one of the best supports at landing long ranged skill shots. He landed some amazing Blitzcrank grabs this game. CLG scoring 7 kills by 20 mins, 6 of them all the result of blitz grabs. Aphromoo showcasing support carry the best way a Blitzcrank can.
2. Another Sion
I can’t quite understand why Sion is ever picked but ZionSpartan would probably be the one NA top to make it better than worthless. Zion has always been good with the split push, playing champions like Jax and Nasus controlling his top lane so that it cannot be ignored. Lucky for CLG, a top lane influence was not needed this game, Zion was able to build armor and be ready for any tower diving needed. His overall champion damage was very low and team fight impact was more or less just zoning. He managed two Sion ultimates, one a follow up to a double Cassiopeia ult on TIP’s carries and then hitting the support on the last bot lane engage. I just can’t say it was a good pick, maybe if TIP had picked Xerath and Corki before the Sion pick, but I still think a Gnar would have out performed anything Sion brought to the table for CLG in this game.
TSM vs WFX
1. WFX counter picking themselves out of solo lane damage.
In picks and bans Winterfox had a solid protection comp being set up, they got Lulu and Janna then the Rengar and Tristana. While Rengar may not be the best protector he will double as a useful engage tied to stealth Lulu ultimates. Seeing the protection comp being put together TSM makes a solid two picks of Maokai and Annie, both of whom can lock down a target from range relatively quickly. With these picks I feel WFX really needed a strong damage source coming from the midlane to keep the threat alive should Altec go down. Instead they counter pick the mid with a low damage low mobility supportive mid. A third shield is not enough to stop this much engage they needed a threat if Tristana is being locked down. TSM really abuses their easy engage and overall weakness of WFX’s early game putting them away commandingly before their comp ever got off the ground.
2. TSM’s Low level three man midlane gank
Knowing the Morgana was picked mainly for the midlane counter TSM uses their hard engage and quickly grabs an unexpected midlane kill to set Bjergsen up to be a strong early game carry that is needed to put WFX away before Tristana gets big. The whole setup allowed this gank to happen, a lane swap into a red steal to get the Jarvan level 2 for the flag and drag with an Annie stun. The whole combo instantly coming out, drawing the flash and getting the kill gave Bjergsen’s Leblanc what he needed.
NA LCS Week 2 Day 2
CLG vs C9
1. Doublelift on Caitlyn
I love seeing Doublelift on Caitlyn, his performances are always solid on the champion. It’s interesting due to Doublelift himself saying how much he disliked the hyper carry meta of last spring where you would just farm and auto attack. But even with his Vayne play and other champions he is known for being amazing on, his Caitlyn has always been a force. At IEM Cologne we got to watch probably one of the only tournaments where he played a lot of Caitlyn showing up for every game he was on the champion losing only 1 of them to gambit in which he went 7/3/7 unable to carry hard enough. Although in the past summer it was the Lucian adc caster meta instead of the hypercarry, here doublelift never pulled out a Caitlyn pick the whole split. The previous year’s spring split was the last time we saw him on Caitlyn, always putting up strong numbers but yet was only ever picking her into the new Bjergsen’s TSM etching out a several losses with the champion but still doing well against arguably the best NA team at the time. With the performance at IEM Cologne and now potentially Scarra telling him which champion to pick I am expecting this pick to be his solid champion for this whole split.
2. Good guy Hai picking Leblanc so Link won’t feed.
I jest with the title, but first picking Leblanc, or almost any mid, on red side is always a questionable move at best. It also set up for the Gnar and Janna falling to picks 6 and 7, CLG comes out with Vi and Morgana who can both be a nightmare for Leblanc, one binding, she is gonna die and Aphromoo is the support that is going to land them, even distorting away from Vi won’t be a solution to the engage. CLG pulled out an amazing comp this picks and bans. The picks and the generally strong performance combined with the map control and pressure was just too much for C9.
DIG vs Winterfox
1. Polbelter’s game to shine
Picking Zed into the semi protect the Kog’maw composition coming out of Dignitas put Polbelter’s ability to dive in and kill Kog’Maw as the key to the compositions. While Dignitas didn’t do much this game to make it matter, Polbelter did get to show that he was able to pop the kog if needed when he distracted all of DIG from the baron take by jumping in and killing Kog’maw 1v5 before dying to the rest of DIG.
I was going to write about how the team looked like they were just showing up and not really communicating with each other, but then with Crumbz’s announcement of stepping down it makes most of the lacking play in Dignitas more clear. The team just wasn’t there everyone was kinda just in their own world playing solo.
TSM vs TL
1. Rumble ban vs Lissandra
Same with the earlier C9 game, Lissandra is one of if not the most versatile champion on the rift. She can hard engage or protect herself with her ultimate, move a very long distance and also has a point blank root. Not to mention the slows on the Q and R. That is just the abilities, coming in as a flex pick for top or mid makes her the ideal first pick, Being AP sets up for the zhonya’s hourglass one of the best team fighting items in the game. Everything about the champion says auto ban against a competent team who can come out of the early game decent against anyone in the region.
Then the picks after the Lissandra pick up, TL goes for an ADC comp with a Nunu jungle. They have a lack of heavy shielding on Piglet, which is bad for any adc focused comp. Ahri pick was good for the Xerath but lacked any real synergy with the team. To make matters that much worse the in game turn out of the counter lane was terrible for TL. TSM really won the picks and bans this game.
2. Top lane team fight
It’s poetic in a sense that in both the TSM and C9 vs TL games there is a top lane team fight that involves TL diving hard in onto a Lissandra who gets out by the skin of her teeth ending this and the other team fight with 3 kills to none. This fight really shows how well TSM plays together all the supporting members were low but stuck right behind turtle and Bjergsen if TL ever rengaged TSM’s supporting cast was ready to jump in and sacrifice to protect the carries if needed. Seeing TSM playing like this already with the new jungler really makes me put them as one of, if not the best team currently in the NA LCS.
TIP vs T8
1. Wombo combo
Seeing a Malphite, Oriana ultimate combo is always worth watching and this one is just as great as any other, with an extra Jarvan to jump on top and a Graves really delivering the Collateral Damage.
2. Team Impulse playing to their name
This game really shows what Impulse has said their style is, just play how each one wants with an almost full aggressive style. All throughout the match you have XiaoWeiXiao and Rush poking and prodding at the T8 group. Constantly trying to fight with somewhat poor objective control they kept harassing and poking losing and winning seemingly random fights and objectives until pushed into the late game they finally got the kills on Maple and Cali cleaning up and winning the game. Everyone better come ready to fight against Team Impulse.
Coast Vs Gravity
1. Picks and bans
Coast, Prioritizing Sivir first, this actually turns into a good pick for them since Mash did so well on Sivir. But they gave up both Lissandra and Jarvan who had some of the key plays to Gravity’s win. Janna is always a good pick, but Sion is so hard to make work against Lissandra and Jarvan. Ending their picks with Rengar and Ahri seems fine, but Thresh and Lissandra can shut her down if needed. Impaler has nice Rengar play and combined with Sivir it can be very effective. but overall what they picked into and gave up was more of the issue than their team composition.
Gravity, they seemed to get all the top picks with this game. Having a solid AP top they were able to build into a devastating dual AD combo that really had strength late game. With Jarvan, Lissandra and thresh to lock people down the two AD’s were able to clean the fights up.
2. Coast baron throwing again?
Coast has been terrible with their baron play these first weeks, but this game they actually managed to win a baron fight that gravity tried to take after they killed impaler. With no poor baron attempts to fail at Coast was looking good with a gold, kill, and tower lead.
Until they were setting up for a baron ambush, with Coast in the bush and Cris outside of it taunting Gravity, Gravity started moving towards the mid lane turrets. As this happens Janna had just checked the baron pit for wards and the pings come out once again for a baron attempt. As Coast moves towards baron they are leaving Cris on the other side of the wall just as Gravity turns on him. Picking Cris off causes Coast to panic, in no position to fight since they were transitioning from the bush to baron they scatter getting picked off and losing the baron. A few minutes later Gravity pushing the lanes with baron buff they secure another team fight for the win. A baron call was made and then Coast lost the lead and shortly after the game. I think the casters need to rethink the winning until they lose to just winning until they baron.
Not wanting to put the emphasis on coast’s mistake, Gravity’s setup for this fight was fantastic. With no ward coverage they had to make an aggressive move to get information about what Coast was doing. They pushed up the lane changing their baron path now below the midlane bush to avoid a full ambush, and threatening the midlane turrets. After doing the aggressive move and only Cris coming out of the bush it hinted that they are most likely already on baron. Because Cris didn’t have the baron buff it was worth it to try and contest. Knowing that it still might be an ambush they approached Cris with Bunny’s thresh covering the brush so if anything came out a quick thresh ult would cover the flank and the two ADC would be safe. In the end there was no more ambush and it was only Cris to meet the full force of Gravity.