Quarter Finals: TSM versus GV Review
Gravity vs Team Solo Mid Quarter Finals Match Review
Gravity and Team Solo Mid played on August 8 to decide who would move the semifinals against Team Liquid. TSM came out with 3 wins to 1 lose victory against GV. The playoff matches were rather interesting because it showed how meaningless a KDA ratio is if your team composition does not synergize. The series as a whole also showed a good bit of strengths and weakness from GV and TSM. GV had very few positives in this series between the mechanical ability of their players and a few early game plays. GV’s weaknesses shined quite bright as we saw GV struggle in all stages of competitive play between bans, picks, and in game decision making. TSM on the other hand show multiple strengths through the ability to move away from poke compositions, smart ban and pick phases, strong rotation play, and solid warding. At the same time TSM also showed a few different weaknesses that GV never punished hard enough like over extensions, a poor draft in game 2, and never full pushing their advantages.
To help keep everything organized I’m going to break down everything into different sections.
From the start Gravity’s bans are rather questionable. Kailsta is a fine ban as she offers a lot of objective control and repositioning so it makes sense to take away a marksman like from Wildturtle since he struggles with positioning. I’m against the Diana and Ahri ban when you have other much more powerful mid laners open. GV got rid of these two mid champions and let other mid laners that are arguable stronger like Viktor, Twitsted Fate, Azir, or Orianna. We also see this series that Keane does not play Viktor so it is weird to ban two champions that do well against Viktor and go on to not play him. The only reason to have the Ahri and Diana bans is that Bjergsen just started becoming a dominate threat on those two champions in scrims. The issue continues for GV as they fail to adapt their bans quickly between games. Olaf and Lulu don’t see bans until the last game of the series even though these two champions have been causing massive problems for GV. Olaf was relevant for all 3 games even in game 2 when he was 0/5 he was always pushed up splitting to create pressure. Lulu was always helping to push with Glitter Lance and helped create picks and rotations with Whimsy. When GV finally switch up their bans Ahri does not even get picked up till game 4 and Diana doesn’t even get played. Braum even saw the ban list before Olaf or Lulu because GV misread the situation of the first two games and made another mistake in ban phase. These failures to ban key champions lead GV to fail in pick phase later on.
On the other side Team Solo Mid had more reasoning for choosing the bans that they did. If you look at TSM’s bans for the first two games of Rumble, Alistar, Janna they help set up TSM’s draft for success. Rumble has a very strong team fight, Alistar can start or turn on engages while being a solid front line, and Janna brings a lot of disengage and peel for her team. All three of these champions do very well against the move speed and rotation composition TSM builds game 1. TSM also adapts their bans quite nicely as the series continues by taking away the Shen and Tristana that GV is putting so much priority on in game 3. This continues to game 4 where they ban Nidalee and Braum when they realize GV’s Shen and Tristana are not as big a problem as the once thought and changing their bans bait GV into picking champions they overvalue. TSM’s bans give them such a big advantage in draft but part of that advantage is also from GV not adapting until late in the series.
Gravity had a really bad pick phase over this series. They put a weird amount of priority on Shen and Tristana this series and only try to adapt once to Maokai and Ashe after Shen and Tristana get taken away. It is weird as well when you look at other picks that were up Sivir, Viktor, Nidalee, Gragas, Braum, and Gnar were all open for GV and all of them have had arguable more value in a competitive match. Sivir gives you a lot of engage and disengage; Viktor gives high damage with a lot of team fight control with Gravity Field and Chaos Storm. Gragas and Nidalee both are high pressure junglers that can flex around into different compositions. Braum allows for reengage and a shield to block abilities and Gnar gives his own engage with the mega Gnar form and has a lot of lane pressure. There are still other picks besides the ones listed for GV too pick. GV tries one variation in one of their four games they fall back to Shen and Tristana without giving any other powerful picks a chance. It really brings GV’s champion pools into Questions.
It doesn’t stop there Gravity’s team compositions have been very poor. In three of the four games for GV brought no wave clear in the middle lane from Keane. Azir was going Nashor’s Tooth into Crystal Scepter build path so he needs to auto attack multiple times to clear waves and Urgot can’t clear very well since his Acid Hunter can only hit one target. They were not taking no wave clear what so ever when Team Solo Mid was just playing this rotation game. In the one game that GV won they still had trouble pushing in the waves to even get the victory because their wining composition had zero wave clear as well. This lack of wave clear not only gave zero clear against TSM but it forces Altec to go Static Shiv on Tristana to try and help give the team wave clear. Tristana with Shiv is not always bad but forcing Altec to go Shiv gave him less critical strike to try and burn down Olaf’s health bar. The same issue happens GV picks Ashe knowing there is high possibility of Olaf picking picked by TSM. Olaf’s Ultimate makes him unable to be disabled which means Ashe can’t critical strike because she can’t apply her Frost Shot passive to critical strike Olaf.
They did get their one win on Urgot but Urgot was not as strong as the scoreboard made it seem. They won mostly from TSM mistakes in draft and TSM members getting caught. The Urgot at most just farmed lane and eventually became useful because his team was starting fights and getting picks with Shen and Elise. If they wanted to run a pick composition with the Elise and Shen there are so many better mid lane champions like Twisted Fate or some of Keane’s pocket picks like Fizz, Hecarim, or Jarvan. Urgot can’t push or roam very well but Twisted Fate, Fizz, Hecarim, and Jarvan can all get around the map quickly to look for picks with their own ways of pushing the wave. Tristana could have been swapped out for Corki as well to help the team clear if they weren’t going to get any from the mid lane. There was two weeks of practice for GV to change their champion pools and this series makes you question what they were practicing.
Team Solo Mid’s pick phase was significantly better than Gravity’s pick phase. In games one, three, and four TSM picks into solid team compositions. In games one and three TSM had these nice rotation and move speed style of compositions with Olaf, Lulu/Ahri, and Sivir/Jinx to get early towers and objectives. They do a good job in their draft to make sure their picks can flex so they can pick their composition safely like in game one where they pick Nidalee and Braum first rotation. Nidalee can do multiple things from poke, skirmish, and healing allies while Braum can be a disengage and reengage support with the ability to block abilities using Unbreakable and create picks with Winter’s Bite. You look at the kits of these champions and you can’t tell what kind of composition TSM is trying to build. They do the same thing with Thresh and Jinx in the second pick phase of game three where they have a standard looking bot lane that can flex into different team compositions.
However we also have to take Team Solo Mid’s draft phases with a grain of salt because Gravity was failing to force TSM to change up their draft. Game two of the series did show TSM taking a more unnecessary turn away from their team composition from game one. They end up grabbing Corki and Orianna for a reason I can’t really think of besides being afraid of being picked. I don’t think TSM had to stray away from Sivir since she is such a strong utility champion that it seemed weird to move away from her for Corki because GV still had no wave clear in game two to deal with sieges. The Orianna pick is also skeptical because there is little to no help for Orianna to get Shockwaves onto multiple targets. In game you end up seeing that Bjergsen misses ultimates because GV stayed spread or found ways to dodge it like with Elise’s Rappel. If they wanted more of team fight mid they still had Lulu, Viktor, Azir all open each not needing as much help as Orianna. It was very strange to see this failed adaption in champion select after their original team composition was doing so well and most of their original composition was still open except Braum. I will give credit to TSM for fixing their game two draft issues for games three and four.
It is very hard to say much about Gravity’s in game success and failures during this series because a lot of their issues come from outside the game in the form of champion pools and drafting. I will say that Gravity did a decent job in standard lanes and finding some ways to punish Team Solo Mid. Examples of this is punishing Santorin and Lustboy over extension for wards in their blue jungle two games in a row or the dive in game two with Elise and Shen onto Olaf to kill him for trying to stay under tower. Outside of all this GV had awful lane swaps that ended up putting Hauntzer behind and gave Dyrus a huge lead in top lane early. Games one and three are prime examples of GV poor lane swaps. They fail to take the tower fast enough that Hauntzer and Altec share gold both times while Dyrus is already backed and gone to lane letting GV’s top wave push into him so he farm after he got solo gold from the top towers. This is extremely bad for GV because Dyrus would come out of lane with significant creep score advantages over Hauntzer and would just be able to split push while the rest of his team was rotating around. These failed swaps made it hard for them to do much of anything because they got forced to deal with Dyrus. Even in their one win it ended taking nearly 50 minutes because their champions never really synergized with each other. All of GV’s games were about getting out of lane ahead and hoping they snowball into a victory with these weird pick compositions that had little follow up to fight after they picked someone and had no wave clear to push waves in to take objectives with a numbers advantage. Game two showed this heavily where they picked someone but couldn’t keep the fight going and they couldn’t break the base for a long time. A redeeming factor in game two was Move going a damage Elise build to keep GV’s damage mixed as the game got later. At the end of day GV had two weeks to try and fix their problems but it seemed like they just ended up with more.
Team Solo Mid looked a lot more coordinated in their games versus Gravity. They had a game plan coming in and they executed it for the most part fairly well but it did have some bumps on the road to victory. TSM does a good job of keep vision up for their rotation based plan to get objectives for themselves. Dyrus got solo gold from towers in a lane swap so he split push, Lustboy and Santorin kept vision up in the enemy jungle, while Bjergsen and WildTurtle keep waves pushed for sieges. Dyrus showed up the second carry on Olaf and Gnar while Wildturtle was more or less wave clear bot. They also do some creative plays as well where Dyrus pushed the big wave into a second tier tower and at the same time you have Wildturtle, Lustboy, and Santorin pushing a bot first tier and forces Move into a no win situation where he can help one lane but he going to lose something in return. Santorin goes Sight Stone on his Nidalee which not many Nidalees do but in the scenario and game plan TSM was going for I think the Sight Stone was very appropriate because the rotation style TSM was playing required a lot of vision. No one on TSM ever really feel behind even in their one lose they were always close on gold until the end. Even thou the series against GV was a bit one sided for TSM we saw some in game weaknesses. One of the big ones was Lustboy and Santorin getting caught out trying to ward the enemy jungle giving two kills to GV and in game four were they got two kills but no objectives because TSM thought they could get a tower instead. This is more of a side note when TSM drafted Orianna in game two there were missed and one man Shockwaves that Bjergsen missed but some of the blame goes onto TSM not getting some type of help for Bjergsen in the pick phase. I wanted to just bring this up because Team Liquid will most likely punish TSM harder for a poor pick phase.
Team Solo Mid after a bumpy start goes on to win the series convincingly over Gravity in the last two games. GV had poor bans, picks, and mostly poor in game decision making with their only strength being their individual skills. TSM had solid bans and picks with a bit of a hiccup in game two’s draft where their team composition was a bit awkward. TSM had solid solo and team play, vision control, and decisions with their own mistakes of getting caught out, missing major abilities, and failing to force some objectives.
Predictions for Team Liquid vs Team Solo Mid
Team Liquid versus Team Solo Mid does look more exciting seeing as TSM is looking stronger. I’m looking forward to seeing Quas versus Dyrus now that Dyrus is being playing more aggressive champions. TL will punish harder than Gravity on mistakes that TSM makes in game and in champion select. I’m excited to see what type of champions and team compositions TL will use against TSM. If TSM gets caught out early while they are playing TL I think TL can translate that into a snowball and onto victory. I’m a bit worried that TL might get a bit ahead of themselves like they did in the final week of LCS against Team Impulse but they have had three weeks to fix their issues. I’m feeling a bit risky so I’m going to go against the current fan vote of 58.85% in favor of TSM and say that TL takes the series three wins to one lose. Usually I would play a bit safer in my prediction but that would not be fun.
A Small Author’s Note
I wanted to make a quick apology for being so late to post this article. It should have gone up late Monday/ early Tuesday but technical issues have been plaguing me. I also want to thank those who bothered to up with reading my articles and giving me feedback to help me improve my writing. I appreciate it all a lot and it makes me happy to know that a few people decide to read what I write.