GBU (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) is a series that will try and regularly give my thoughts and opinions on the Pick/Ban phase of various games.
The competitive LoL scene has finally woken up from its long slumber with the LCK Spring 2016 Season underway.
Day 1 was honestly somewhat boring in terms of results honestly with 2-0’s flying around. With that said, Day 1 has given us a preview of some of the top Korean teams of the split.
The day’s score is as follow:
SKT vs CJE: 2-0
KT vs AF: 2-0
But today, let’s focus on SKT vs CJE:
With SKT just newly having been crowned the World Champions, followed by strange losses to the potential prospect Ever, eyes are set on this historical team’s current strength, hoping to not find it fall back to the Season 4 slump.
While this CJE is probably the weakest CJ team we’ve ever seen, SKT doesn’t show many weaknesses that cockiness can bring out.
CJE: 1) Kindred (Bubbling) / 3) Twisted Fate (Sky), Alistar (MadLife) / 5) Ashe (Kramer), Maokai (Untara) / BANS: Ryze, Gangplank, Miss Fortune
SKT: 2) Tahm Kench (Duke), Kalista (Bang) / 4) Rek’Sai (Bengi), Corki (Faker) / 6) Thresh (Wolf) / BANS: Fiora, Lissandra, Lulu
– CJE’s bans are rather standard with Ryze being banned out due to Faker’s success with the champion during the World Championships while Gangplank still remains an enigma that’s too scary to deal with. However, if CJE had planned for the Kindred all along (possible due to it being first picked), Miss Fortune being banned out could be a mistake. While strong, Miss Fortune’s main damage output is AOE during a teamfight, which Kindred’s Ultimate counteracts.
– SKT’s bans are very linear. Fiora remains a strong pick due to the high skill ceiling that the champion has as well as a strong carry potential from the top lane. Lissandra is a strong pick in the beginnings of a new season when the meta hasn’t quite been solidified yet due to its flexibility to both the top and mid lane. Finally, Lulu is an all-around strong champion, bringing high levels of utility as well as flexibility in where you can put her in a team.
1) CJE’s prioritisation of Kindred has to be brought out into question. While Kindred is a strong jungler, her extremely linear playstyle adds cuffs to team composition building. Firstly, the fact that she is a marksman means that she has to build AD and cannot, in the case of being behind, build tankiness. She also bring little CC, other than a single target slow. Her Ult however is a strong spell, adding a new dynamic to teamfighting that no other champion in the game can really bring out, possibly turning a bad engage into a good fight.
2) While haven’t found himself in the top lane much in competitive, Tahm Kench remains a strong pick due to the pure bulk he brings to a team as well as a great insurance policy for fellow allies that take a few wrong steps. Additionally, Tahm Kench is one of the few champions that can be flex’d into (admittedly at various levels of success) into 3 different roles, in this case being Top, Jungle and Support.
Kalista on the other hand has seen more than her fair share of limelight in 2015, being one of the strongest AD carries available throughout the year, and good news, she still is. Kalista brings a strong laning phase as well as her own initiation, additionally, paired up with Thresh, the two form one of the safest and strongest laning duo in the game. Finally, in the world of theory crafting, Kalista’s Rend stacking nature works well against Kindred’s Ult, as Kalista can stack up those stacks on the opponent before activating them after Kindred’s Ult fizzles out.
3) Twisted Fate is a strange choice. When playing Twisted Fate, you commit yourself to two things: losing lane (unless you are THAT much better than the opponent mid laner) and roaming. Considering that Sky probably doesn’t expect himself to win the mid lane anyway against Faker, Twisted Fate is actually a good pick. At 6, Twisted Fate can teleport around the map to help out in skirmishes or ganks. Furthermore TF’s pick potential pairs well with Ashe’s Arrow, almost 100% killing off someone before a crucial play.
Alistar is a relatively good choice. With Kindred having been selected so early, some other role has to take up the role of bulky frontliner and Alistar is one of the best at that. Alistar also brings a good level of engage which the team so far desperately needs. Overall good pick.
4) Rek’Sai is a strong pick against Kindred. She brings a reliable CC in the form of Knock-Up (or even Flash + Knock-Up) which is very important against the mobile marksman Jungler. Additionally, Kindred is a champ that also has to regularly enter the enemy jungle in order to gain those stacks which Rek’Sai’s Tremor Sense can heavily punish. Finally, Rek’Sai ‘s ultimate also allows her to move around the map quickly. For example, if TF were to teleport to Bottom side in order to turn a 2v2 into a 3v2, Rek’Sai can follow relatively easily to turn that into a 3v3.
Corki is a strange pick as we haven’t seen him in action for quite some time. However, much like Lissandra, Corki is highly effective in a meta where… the meta hasn’t been established yet. Corki works as both a strong AD Carry or a decent Mid lane champion. However, picking Kalista in the first round sort of nullifies one of its two strengths as Kalista is highly unlikely to head mid lane. Additionally, the fact that Corki chose to run the AD build (which is generally superior) instead of the AP build (AP which SKT lacked) is somewhat strange.
5) Ashe is a mixed bag for me, while she brings a strong engage in the form of her ultimate, this is not a reliable engage as the enemy can simply side-step it. Furthermore, CJE’s team so far lacks any sort of high damage, Kindred won’t bring much until the late game arrives while Twisted Fate doesn’t do much damage after the first rotation of his spells. I would have preferred a hyper-carry like Jinx or Tristana as the artificial HP that Kindred’s Ultimate gives can allow them just enough to gain those resets.
I hated the Maokai pick. On paper, I do see its incredible abilities. A bulky frontliner who, much like Kindred, brings a different dimension to teamfighting, this time reducing damage rather than nullifying damage under a certain threshold. In a perfect world, a teamfight could start with Maokai ulting to reduce as much damage as possible, then when it comes off, Kindred could ult to prevent the team from dying, or vice-versa. However, if we consider that A) this team is brand new and has no competitive experience (this is Day 1) and B) this one-two combo is incredibly hard to combo during a bloody team fight, combining the two is a terrible idea. I personally would have preferred something on the lines of Hecarim who would have been able to safely scale up during the laning phase against TK as well as instagibbing either Kalista or Corki, SKT’s only damage output. Turning the other way, if you really wanted a super-tank, Malphite would have been perfect as SKT lacked AP damage.
6) Thresh is just a strong pick, he helps build that ultra-dominant, ultra-safe duo lane with Kalista while also bringing a little bit of everything to a team.
– On paper, CJE’s team comp is very creative, albeit lacking damage, however the timing and precision required is absurd for even veteran teams, so a newly formed team, something like this should be out of question.
– SKT while much simpler and also more effective as a team composition, also has some glaring weaknesses. Without looking further, the fact that the team lacks AP damage should raise an alarm and had CJE drafted better, this game could have came out different.
SKT: 1) Miss Fortune (Bang) / 3) Gnar (Duke), Elise (Bengi) / 5) Trundle (Wolf), Viktor (Faker) / BANS: Fiora, Lissandra, Lulu
CJE: 2) Kindred (Bubbling), Alistar (MadLife) / 4) Maokai (Untara), Lucian (Kramer) / 6) Leblanc (Sky) / BANS: Ryze, Gangplank, Tahm Kench
WTF ARE YOU DOING CJ!!!
– SKT didn’t switch up their bans and honestly didn’t need to.
– CJE decided to drop the Miss Fortune ban in favor of TK which Duke did admirably (not perfect) on in game 1.
1) While Miss Fortune is a powerful pick, I am still on the fence about first picking her. Due to the nature of Miss Fortune’s kit being focused around both team-fighting and skirmishing, picking her means limiting your play style. However, as this is not patch 6.1, MF is still one of the strongest AD carries available at the moment.
2) I explained on top why I feel that Kindred is a bad first pick and all the points still stand. The only little leeway I’ll give to CJE is that Kindred’s Ultimate does work well against Miss Fortune’s AOE reliant kit.
Alistar is still a good pick, being able to disrupt MF during her channel if needed while also bringing a tanky frontline. However, I still do not feel that this is a first round worthy pick.
3) Gnar is a good pick if you are committing to a team-fight, skirmish composition. Together with MF, he brings a strong Ultimate as well as being a semi-carry threat.
As jungle vs jungle match-up, I do not feel that Elise should have been picked over Rek’Sai is stronger in teamfights. However, Elise does bring to the table AP damage as well as a strong stun and equally good early game so there isn’t any problem with the pick considering you don’t need to follow the TF’s global ultimate.
4) Maokai… I already explained why Kindred + Maokai is a bad combo, especially for an inexperienced team… Both Hecarim and Malphite would have been better as they can dive the enemy’s backline.
Lucian is a strong pick at the moment but not against Miss Fortune who completely outranges him, I am not sure what CJE was thinking here with the only thing that could be plausible being that they wanted to focus on taking down towers.
5) Trundle is a pick that hasn’t (luckily) found itself much in SoloQ yet and probably won’t with the upcoming nerfs to him in patch 6.1, however he is a strong pick at least in this game. Apart from bringing creative way to punish your opponents with your Pillar, his ult is what makes him shine, especially against CJE’s team. Now, let’s recap, CJE’s goal in this game and last game is to have 2 marksman, 2 tanky frontliners as well as 1 AP source. Trundle can easily neutralize either Alistar or Maokai (mainly Maokai) with his Ult, softening the tree up while strengthening himself, rendering a standard 5v5 teamfight into a 5v4.5 teamfight.
Viktor is a stable and solid pick even after so long, he brings an extremely dangerous AOE combo with his laser, gravity field and ultimate which exponentially becomes more lethal in a teamfight.
6) Leblanc… as a pick wasn’t a bad choice in this situation. If LB manages to grab a kill on either Viktor or Miss Fortune before a fight begins, that teamfight is either won or the enemy team must not commit to a fight. However for LB to reach that stage, she must become far ahead of the enemy team which is highly unlikely. On paper, it does work well, especially if we consider that she also brings a lot of AOE damage with her W and Ultimate, but I doubt that in practice SKT will fall to this newly formed roster.
– SKT patches up the problems that their team composition had in Game 1 that existed but weren’t exploited. Furthermore, they show a high degree of adaptability, changing from a skirmishy double AD team composition into a full blown teamfighting composition.
– CJE on the other hand seems to overestimate their team’s synergy, bringing one of the most possibly hardest to execute teamfighting combos into the hands of a ragtag bunch of players. They do make a few adjustments but those weren’t necessarily good ones either. Overall, these two games were lost from the start.
Well, that’s a quick rundown of the Pick and Ban phase that occurred during the SKT vs CJE games, I hope that I sort of brought up some of the interesting points that led to CJE’s defeat even from before the game started. Come back next time when I examine whatever game I find most exciting!