The Draft: 29/07 - 04/08: Five players who excelled in their positions this week!
Hello and welcome to The Draft - a series of weekly installments showcasing five players from around the world who shone in their respective roles this week (one player from each position).
Please note: these lists will not necessarily pick the absolute best players each week, or those who won the most games, but rather those who stood out in their teams, matches or regions and had an impressive week, whether through strong teamplay and careful movements or brave picks and even braver plays.
This week found ourselves picking only from the LCK and LPL, with both the NA and EU LCS offline until playoffs. Our list this week is dominated mainly by impressive Korean performances, as players strut their stuff and prove their worth leading up to playoffs, with the hopes of making an appearance at this year's World Championship.
Top - MaRin (SK Telecom T1, LCK)
MaRin is renowned as a very hit-or-miss carry top laner. When he misses, he usually still wins on the back of his team's dominating form, but when he hits, he is a true monster.
This week was almost a home run for SKT T1's top laner, as the team brushed off their loss to CJE and some shaky play in game 1 to go back to their old form and defeat Incredible Miracle in a 2-0 series, with MaRin as a star performer.
Though SKT fell behind early, including a strong baron steal from Spooky, MaRin worked to bridge the gap with some strong gank dives on Frozen to shut down the Runeglaive Ezreal as much as possible.
Strong flanks in late-game fights allowed MaRin to carry his team back into a convincing position, with great cc placement on IM's carries as well as soaking as much damage as possible from the Ezreal-Tristana combo to keep his team safe.
The final team fight saw MaRin cancelling Roar's rocket jump to put him in a dangerous position, as well as flanking a second time to re-engage and win the losing fight, leading to an inhibitor and subsequent nexus take for his team, as MaRin zoned the respawning IM members so that Bang could finish the game.
Game 2 saw MaRin on Rumble, another of his comfort picks, as he found easy kills all around the map from great teamplay to net him a 7-0 scoreline at 20 minutes, leading into easy teamfight dominance and crazy damage output.
MaRin laid down the red carpet for IM as he melted through their health bars with Equalizer and Flamespitter alike, and with great teleport placements to arrive just in time to dominate each fight.
All-in-all, MaRin looks to be in a comfortable form as Worlds draws nearer, having a strong week off the back of a shaky loss to CJE. I am always excited to see carry top laners doing well for their team, and can't wait to see what work MaRin can do in future games.
Jungle - KaKAO (Invictus Gaming, LPL)
KaKAO had a stellar week to help his team remain in a comfortable position near the top of the LPL standings as the end of the split nears closer. Our experts here at The Draft suggest the Korean blood coursing through his veins prompts him to play better and better as Worlds draws closer, even now as a part of the Chinese scene, but there is no way of verifying the truthfulness behind this statement.
Invictus Gaming have KaKAO to thank for their seemingly easy 2-0 over Masters 3, as he hit an incredible amount of Ekko stuns to steamroll game 1, and some great ganks and team play in game 2 on Rek'Sai.
The series against RNG saw KaKAO netting impressive Gragas performances in both games, ending in a 1-1 tie overall.
His mapwide pressure in game 1 allowed his team to down all 3 outer towers by 18 minutes and sit on a 4k gold lead, despite the kill game remaining relatively quiet. His pressure top lane to get zz1tai ahead allowed for an easy snowball leading to a quick baron and subsequent tower pushes, as his systematic mapwide movements and plays allowed for a comfortable and seamless win.
Despite losing game 2 against RNG, KaKAO was able to pick up a few impressive merits to his name, including first blood, a huge baron steal and a late game dragon steal. He still looked strong as his team fell down, and anyone can imagine that he had his signature smirk on his face while doing so.
Despite playing from a different part of the world now, KaKAO joins the other Koreans in this week's list with some sound and methodical jungle play, and looks to be in good form for the upcoming final week of the LPL.
Mid - CoCo
CJ Entus looks in hot form following their win over SKT T1 to end their hopes of a perfect season, and their quick 2-0 cleanup of Rebels Anarchy this week can be attributed to a great performance from their midlaner, CoCo.
CoCo has a 12-1-7 Ezreal KDA to boast of from his games this week, as he snagged MVP in one game and played just as exceptionally in the other to show the true carry potential of Runeglaive Ezreal.
Streaking ahead of Mickey early in CS in both games, CoCo ramped up incredibly fast in both games to form a true late game teamfight terror and carry his team to victory.
With the innate ability to always seem to hit Sangyoon with his Trueshot Barrage in game 1, it's definitely a surprise CoCo was allowed Ezreal again in the second game and do the exact same thing he did in game 1, dominating teamfights with unmatched damage output.
The final nail in the coffin was CoCo turning Anarchy's brave baron take into an easy teamfight cleanup, with only a missed Arcane Shot on Mickey denying himself the Pentakill.
Continuing his strong performance from CJE's victory over SKT last week, all I can say is, I'm in love with the CoCo.
ADC - Wuxx (Royal Never Give Up, LPL)
This was a long week for the low-ranked squad of RNG, as they faced off against the ranks 2, 3 and 4 of the LPL ladder. This did not phase them though, as they pulled off some incredible performances, netting a win and two ties, with their ADC being much to thank.
When we think of exceptional Asian AD carries, Wuxx is definitely not the first name to come to mind, however his great, versatile play this week allowed him to grab the only non-Korean spot on our list this week.
This week saw Wuxx picking 4 different champions over 4 games, not even picking standards such as Vayne, Kalista or Sivir. No, this trooper played Ashe, Draven, Kog'maw and Graves this week, and his stylish and flexible style really showed.
His Kog'maw performance in game 1 against Snake saw Wuxx mechanically outplaying his counterpart in Martin, with great damage and even some early 2v2 kills on the enemy bot lane to propel them into an early lead and subsequent victory. Despite this performance, his major talking point of the series was when he bravely pulled out Ashe to create a great teamfight/pick composition along with Xiaohu's Azir, forming an untouchable backline with strong and consistent damage output.
His arrows were a key factor in engaging the favourable teamfights which ultimately allowed RNG to find a 2-0 victory over the squad of Snake, and although he missed a few arrows, what's the point of firing them if you're not going to try and make big plays?
RNG's series against Qiao Gu found Wuxx two new picks in Graves and Draven with good performances on both. Despite losing game 1, Wuxx was able to maintain a comfortable CS lead over TnT's Vayne on Graves, and he played well despite losing the game in the end with a well orchestrated throw from the entire lineup. Game 2 was his standout game again though, with another brave pick in Draven, leading to an aggressive stomp turning the game once more into the League of Draven.
The final series of Wuxx's exhausting week was thankfully a lot quieter, pulling out Kog'maw and Ashe again for a 1-1 tie against Invictus Gaming. After losing all around in game 1 from KaKAO's dominance (as outlined above) and falling behind early to KaKAO's first blood in game 2, he was able to show exceptional mechanics and teamfighting to show he too is a master class AD carry.
Although Xiaohu may be much to thank for RNG's strong results this week, Wuxx too played exceptionally to keep RNG's playoffs dreams alive for another week, and as such is the only non-Korean player to grace The Draft for this week.
Support - Piccaboo (KT Rolster, LCK)
KT's support Piccaboo rounds out the list this week following exceptional performances in probably the most exciting series of the week. For anyone that didn't watch KT Rolster's 2-0 victory over KOO Tigers, you should probably catch up and see Piccaboo, and his team, in great form.
Game 1 saw Piccaboo on an aggressive Leona pick, as he facilitated great early pressure and dives to stride into the lead and eventually take the win. From great cc placement and pick identification, Piccaboo was able to enable his team to close out the game quickly and effectively.
Game 2, however, was the real highlight of the series and of Piccaboo this week, as KT Rolster resisted 5 stacks of the dragon buff in a 50+ minute game to eventually take the victory. Having a low-kill yet incredibly long game be this entertaining is reminiscent of the CLG EU days, as the final minutes depict some of the most amazing team fights in League of Legends history, and some great Janna play by Piccaboo.
Keeping his carries alive in the nailbiting final minutes with clutch shields and flash ultimates to sustain their health bars, Piccaboo was able to facilitiate Arrow's rampage in the late game to form an immense comeback and take the series 2-0. Seriously, though, watch the game.
Following his great performance this week, I can only imagine that SKT is regretting letting Piccaboo go, as he seems a valuable asset in the support position leading up to the end of the season.
Thankyou for tuning into this week's edition of The Draft. Be sure to check out my other posts here and follow me on Twitter where you can see my live game commentary, ask me any questions, and see when I post a new article. I hope you all have another great week I'll see you here in 7 days for the next installment of The Draft.