The Pegasus from Taiwan: ahq e-Sports Club Full Analysis
ahq showed their dominance in both MSI and LMS Summer split, in LMS they did not even lose a single Bo2 series. It is hard to imagine they were struggling in the Spring split. Right before the Spring Playoff, ahq decided to make a roster change, Greentea became their analyst, Albis moved to Support, and Mountain moved to Jungler. It was a desperate substitution, but it worked out well so far.
In this article, I will try to analysis ahq's success from their Lineup, Lane Strategy and Team fight Strategy, and some recommended strategy against ahq.
The franchise player of ahq. Westdoor is one of the best assassin player in the world, and ahq use him well. Although Westdoor is amazing at his assassins and he has a lot of assassins to play with, he lacks long-range poke champions like Varus or Jayce, and Mages like Viktor. With his lack of champion diversity, ahq’s team composite is greatly limited; we will discuss this further in the Team Fight section.
While Westdoor is the franchise, Ziv is the key of ahq’s evolution. In the Spring Split, Ziv usually got sacrificed for Westdoor’s scaling, and he needed to play with very limited resources and therefore performed poorly in the split. After ahq’s substitution, Ziv started to get his share of resources, and immediately shows his talent. Fighters, Tanks, even Mages, Ziv can play like a pro, and somewhat covered Westdoor’s lack of diversity for ahq. He is the next superstar about to shine.
Mountain wasn’t performed well at the start, but in LMS Spring Playoffs, he outplayed all other junglers. Mountain’s play style is extremely aggressive, he will actively counter jungle, even without any team support. When Mountain decides to gank a lane, he will stay there for quite a long time, until he finds his chance or he is spotted. Mountain’s aggression also provides relief for Westdoor, because Westdoor’s assassins are mostly weak before lv6, and need time to scale, Mountain will keep their opponents busy stopping him, giving Westdoor the time he need. Unfortunately, Mountain has some health issue, his career could end at any time.
AD carry: An
Right after joining ahq, An become the core of ahq immediately. An takes charge of the cleanup duty in team fights, and he is very aggressive in Laning phase. Although An is the best ADC in LMS, he is very inconsistent. He has incredible maneuver both in lane and in team fights, but he will have silly positioning misplays almost every game. ahq can only hope his misplays won’t be too decisive.
Albis is the ultimate tool man for ahq. He already played as ADC, Mid, Jungler and now he is swapped to Support. In lane, Albis has good synchronization with An, they will destroy the dual lane with ease. In team fight, Albis controls the initiation and withdrawal for his team. Albis may not shine as Westdoor or Ziv, but he will make sure his team gets the glory.
Just a list of possible picks for ahq in the Worlds, note that ahq haven’t played a match after LMS playoff, B\Ps from 5.18 could be different, especially Top Lane.
Mid: Fizz\Twisted Fate\Diana\Yasuo\Ahri\Kassadin\LeBlanc\Talon\Cho'Gath\Karthus
First of all, ahq is extremely team fight-oriented. They want to fight, and they want it bad. They want it so bad that they don’t even care whether the fight is reasonable. So be prepared, ahq will rotate all around the map from the beginning, most teams rotate to find open objective to take, ahq rotates to find more targets to fight with. Think 3 men under tower should be safe? Ahq will dive you with 5 men and get out with no casualties, this is how they play.
Since ahq has Westdoor, they should be playing around mid-lane, expect more mid ganks and invasions, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. Mountain seldom ganks mid, and Wesdoor doesn’t help Mountain invading, only to help him escape. Even Albis wouldn’t roam much.
Ahq plays around bottom-lane. An and Albis will keep pushing, try to get their opponent pin-down or even zone-out. Mountain will invade the dragon area, make ready for a dive. The dive is the timing Westdoor might join, along with Ziv. Keep in mind that even Westdoor is before lv6, he would still go roaming, so don’t let your guard down, you need to stick with him all the time.
Tower dives are something need to expect, because ahq literally do that EVERY game. ahq will end their laning phase after a dive and a tower down, then you will find yourself in a painful team fight phase.
The reason ahq could play this diving style is because they all have very good mechanism, not just Wetsdoor, An, Ziv and Mountain are all very commanding in lane. And ahq usually doesn’t pick champions need time to scale, except Westdoor’s assassins, so they could start fighting very soon.
In team fight, first thing need to notice is ahq’s play style. They don’t protect their carries, they will charge in without second thought.
Normally ahq picks a 2 tank composition, such like Maokai for Ziv plus Gragas for Mountain. These two are their spear head in team fight. When Ziv doesn’t get a tank, Albis will get one. Since 5.18 is good for top-lane bruisers, you may need to expect a tanky support like Alistar or Braum.
As mentioned above, ahq wants to fight. They will engage whenever they see a chance. Usually ahq engages with Ziv and Mountain charge in, followed by Westdoor and An. Albis’s position depends on his pick, he could join the charge or stay with An.
Ziv and Mountain are masters of flanking, especially Ziv. Ziv will use his teleport to flank you from the angle you never expected, and Mountain is a god of flash engage, it is nearly impossible to kite them around. With them, Westdoor and An will have lots of room to deal damage safely, a successful engage will almost guarantee total victory for ahq.
When playing against a heavy poke team, ahq tends to play split push. Westdoor is the split pusher, of course. But be aware, his teammates could still engage! Even a 4 on 5, ahq sill would like to fight, as long as they could prolong the fight until Westdoor could join, so don’t let your guard down.
Despite ahq has insane engage ability, they have a fetal weakness. Ahq has NO disengage or kiting ability whatsoever. One reason for this is because of Westdoor. Westdoor’s champion pool lacks mages with zone control, which is crucial for kiting, and he struggled a long time for it. But the real reason is from their personality, the whole team is so energized, so active that they just couldn’t resist going into a fight.
One minor problem is that as mentioned above, ahq is a bottom-lane cored team. An and Albis will destroy their enemy most times, when the lane is even, their teammate will come to help them seize control of bottom map. But when An is losing, ahq sometimes gets panic and loses track of their plan. It happened in MSI, and in LMS Summer, their first defeat is the same reason.
Strategies against ahq
I will list some possible strategies against ahq in this section. These are mostly based on theirdeteats at MSI and LMS.
- Don’t try to ban out westdoor. He has too many assassins to ban, and banning him makes no sense anyway. Whatever assassins Westdoor plays, ahq’s tactic remains the same, so you only need to ban Fizz, or don’t bother banning Westdoor at all.
- Don’t pick a full kite composition. It seems to be reasonable against ahq, but you will have hard time dealing split push from Westdoor. The only way to stop Westdoor is to destroy his teammates in a 5v4, for that you need a least 1 engage.
- Since ahq usually last pick their Mid, there is no need to first pick a Mid lane, except for Fizz.
- Gangplank is a good pick against ahq. Since ahq loves to charge, it can be easier to lure them charge in to the barrels. Lulu is a good pick with Gangplank, but you will need to decide who should go Mid. And because you need engage, Olaf with Lulu is a good choice; Sivir is also a good one.
- Poke compositions with zone control are also good against ahq, though now Azir and Viktor got nerfed, Varus is still viable. Aim your poke to Ziv, without him ahq can’t charge in, and then you can pin them down under a turret.
- Assassins are Westdoor’s specialty, but actually they are perfect against ahq. As mentioned, ahq don’t protect An in team fights. They protect An by their charge to push the threats away, An will be isolated during the fight. It is possible to lure ahq to charge in, then use your assassin to flank and assassinate An.
- Since ver5.18 is good for bruisers, you can also try the assassination with Fiora or Olaf, but don’t try this with a full tank. Full tank doesn’t have the damage to kill An quick enough, and the team could be cleaned up by Westdoor.
- Always ward your bottom lane, especially the tri-bush. You need to be ready for anti-gank at any time.
- Try Lane swap to let your ADC farm safely in Top Lane. It is a basic mechanic, but effective against ahq. Don’t give ahq any chance to destroy your ADC, so in Team Fights you could clean up Ziv and Mountain quick enough.
- The Mid laner should stick with Westdoor at all cost. Westdoor is not really an aggressive laner, he is actually a roamer. Stick with him, don’t give him chance to leave Mid lane, and remember to ward the river.
- Focus on An. Not only because An is their core player, but because he will misplay. Try to make him pay for any misplay, force ahq to shift their core to Ziv, their rotation will be stopped.
Normally ahq will let Westdoor clear the side lane when it’s slow pushing against them, so it’s good bait. Have one side lane slow pushing, when Westdoor show up, start the charge toward ahq immediately. Ahq will try to kite back, but they are not organized enough to do so. Get some kills or a turret then retreat before Westdoor arrives.
Remember try to fight ahq in open field, in the lane or river, to have more space to kite back. Don’t try to fight them in the jungle, especially in theirs, unless you are sure you can start the fight first.
Let’s do some summery about ahq.
Advantages of ahq
- Insane team fight ability
- The willingness to fight
- Extremely aggressive play style
Disadvantages of ahq
- Lack of Diversity
- No disengage or kiting ability in team fight
- Single-cored, will have hard time when An is losing
In conclusion, Ahq is the team that says “Screw the meta, we have our style.”, not just westdoor. They can be a serious threat to any top team in the world, if they play the wrong tactics against ahq.
Normally teams play against ahq will focus Westdoor, but he is actually a decoy, and ahq will punish their opponent for their ignorance. When ahq gets started, they can be nearly unstoppable, thanks to their superior team fight ability. They can be losing 5000 and all a sudden turn the table with one single fight. Ahq don’t care about losing in gold, all they need is one successful engage, and they will control the game.
But ahq ‘s play style is meant to be inconsistent. Ahq literally gamble all the eggs in one basket, their team fights. One clean Ace can totally destroy ahq, but ahq need to win many fights to win the game. The risk is just too high, but ahq has no choice. Ahq never has the ability to rotate and find open objectives to safely build a lead; they can only do the hard way: dive into the enemy, and try to win the fight.
Now ahq is in the Worlds, can they keep fighting their way to glory? The odds is not in their favor, but they are the team always plays against the trend. Any teams don’t pay their respect will be punished by the angry fighters of ahq.