Ryan Tang Mailbag – How would I fix Elements

I started an ask.fm but I'm too long-winded to answer in the character limit. I've decided to write some articles about the best questions I noticed. Let me know what you guys think of this.

I started an ask.fm but I’m too long-winded to answer in the character limit. I’ve decided to write some articles about the best questions I noticed. Let me know what you guys think of this. I’ll try to go for a more casual approach than my usual articles also, so expect a lot of rambling and discussion of tangential (but at least related) topics.

If you had free reign, keeping it realistic, what would you do to Elements to fix them?
Elements is an interesting team to fix and I’m not 100% sure how I would go about doing it. Here are some of my thoughts, but I think that they are somewhat unqualified when compared to EU experts like say Veteran.

1) I think fans are overstating Froggen’s fall, the team should still be built around him.


One of the (in my opinion) most nonsensical things fans do is suggest that star players adjust their games to better accommodate role players. The worst thing is that this often happens as soon as the team begins performing poorly with no discussion at all of how successful the team was playing previously. Swapping out star players to accommodate role players is one of the most backwards ways of thinking possible. Even worse, these role players often already have flaws when the teams are winning that could be noticed .(In the case of EL, Shook’s streakiness and Wickd’s overaggression were obvious even during their dominant Split) but suddenly when the team is losing, it is the star that needs to be replaced or revamp their playstyle.

One good example of this that comes to mind is CLG last season. The team placed 3rd in NA (and nearly beat TSM if it weren’t for major choking in the Spring Split) and topped much of the Summer Split playing a bot lane oriented playstyle. However, a very large group of fans kept insisting that the team “let Seraph carry” or other pretty ridiculous suggestions when it really just looked like the team’s role players were underperforming. Looking at Seraph’s career now it looks like a team that “lets Seraph carry” will be a streaky Challenger team…probably where CLG was headed if they had continued “letting Seraph carry” after the first two games of that Crs Academy series. (As I type this, it’s looking like TDK has a good chance of auto-qualifying for LCS, but the team has only begun improving after shifting away some resources from Seraph. It’s looking like the guy might have some big games every once in a while but is pretty much a career role player.)

I can already see a lot of this logic coming to fore with Elements, with Wickd’s benching, a lot of players began blaming Froggen for the team’s problems even though Wickd’s underperformance had begun even during their great performance last Summer Split (another time people have seemingly completely forgotten even though it was merely months ago.)

I agree that Froggen’s playstyle does have some problems, and he has had a very mediocre season by his own standards, but fans hurrying to point out his mistakes should notice that many of these errors wouldn’t matter if he had some help from his teammates. Also, there aren’t any obvious names to replace him – I still personally consider him a top 5 Western mid laner.

2) Making up for past mistakes

Bringing back Tabzz was a great idea. Tabzz’s unique playstyle of aggression/baiting out opponent spells as an independent unit is one of the rarest skills for AD Carries to have. His mechancis basically let him dodge out CC/attacks without much peel while still drawing tons of attention for himself. He isn’t the best ever at it all-time, but the people who have managed to exceed him at that skill are very rare and far between (off the top of my head, S2/earlyS4 Doublelift, early S3/now PraY, imp) This style, and simply having another star player, covered up a lot of the team’s issues and the early-game action also compensated for one of Froggen’s weaknesses (Alliance played best last season when Tabzz was on Lucian or Twitch, two champions that are lane bullies who can create a lot of early-game action through shoves and picks respectively.) If Tabzz skill is where it was at from last season, the team will be in really good shape. The move to kick him out was still really flawed, I don’t really know what their logic was and he was clearly their secondary star & a great player in that position. To me, it was the other three players on that team who were “not super.” All things considered, Froggen and Tabzz would have been my dream carry pairing in Season 4, outside of maybe something like Bjerg + Forgiven.

Krepo is better than Nyph, and probably has been for the majority of their careers. (Yes, I would include Seasons 3/4 in this.) Krepo was really good on EG but the team had a lot of really weak players when he was on that team. Snoopeh and yellowpete did so much to hold that team back and when they finally had a pretty solid lineup InnoX was performing extremely poorly at the top lane & the team was coming together on the run after a short time. I think Krepo is a good player to have in that role, he is an aggressive playmaking support who could be a great fit with Tabzz. (As a side note, how sick would it have been if the team got their original pairing of Freeze + Edward?)
3) The situation is odd since there aren’t really any obvious available talents.
For the jungle/top positions, I’m not too sure who they would have, so instead I’m going to describe the players that I would like them to look for. (This is where my lack of understanding of the EU Challenger scene really shows.) I know that they are considering Dexter, and I think he can be a good fit but the thing is that Froggen has never been the kind of player who needs a jungler to constantly camp his lane – he is a really self-sufficient player in that sense which also masked some of Shook’s deficiencies during that really good Summer Split.
A good fit here would actually be a S3 Meteos-like jungler who could farm up (still giving Froggen blue buff) and becoming a secondary/tertiary carry. This would also fit well with the current tank jungler meta, but I think that a farming jungle carry is something that teams should look into more anyways. As C9 showed in that split the benefit of having two tanks can become overpowering for a teamfight team and that is what Froggen’s teams have always been. As a side note, Alliance usually ended up doing this anyways with Shook (jungle Riven, one of his more played champs, basically couldn’t gank.) One of the first noted criticisms to this, Froggen farming up jungle camps, is usually more of a stereotype/overreaction than what actually happens in games. Dexter has shown a tendency to sometimes be that kind of jungler, and he was a very reliable carry for CLG in the Feral Flare patch on Nocturne, so he could very well be a good fit here.
For the top lane, they pretty much need a player who is the opposite of what Wickd was, I personally felt like he was always one of the biggest weaknesses of the team pretty much since their creation. He just isn’t good enough to be the star of a top LCS team but he plays like he still wants to be a star and just ends up feeding when he should just be a role player. It’s no coincidence that pretty much every successful team over the last 3 years has either gone all-in with a top lane carry (and even then those teams are few and far between) or went the completely opposite direction with a support top laner – that role requires a lot of commitment to get big so it becomes really binary in a team construction sense. Because Wickd doesn’t want to become a role player and isn’t good enough to star I don’t really see a place for him on a top team with his current form. I agree with Thorin that kev1n should have been their original pick-up but kev1n isn’t great right now. Ideally, I would either train up kev1n to and hope he can recover since he really was the perfect pick up for that position, or I would hope that they can find someone else who can just play tanks and be a role player/tertiary support with Teleport.
4) I think they’ve taken good steps but the team is “situational”
Their current lineup of kev1n, Dexter, Froggen, Tabzz, and Krepo suspiciously looks a lot like the players I outlined, but it is dependent on the pick-ups returning to peak form. I think that this lineup is already better than what they had before but I’m not confident making a prediction of where they will go with this current lineup. If we see peak CLG dexter, Season 3 kev1n, and Season 4 Tabzz expect to see them at Worlds. I don’t think this lineup will fall into relegation next split but if things don’t work out I would try and scout rookies who fit my descriptions.