C9 is in the middle of a Cinderella run through the world group of death, as it was called when the group was revealed back in the beginning of September. C9 was going to face against #1 seed from the LMS, AHQ, #1 seed from the EU-LCS, Fnatic and #3 seed from China’s LPL, Invictus Gaming. On paper, this group was so lopsided that on the analyst desk from day 1, YamatoCannon (Roccat’s head coach) said they were going to go 0-6 in the groups. And C9 has proved everyone’s prediction wrong with victories against everyone in the group
One of the recognizable elements in all of C9’s drafts so far is the Tristana pick for Sneaky, which is the core of the composition C9 has been running so far. There are 3 things that make Tristana in particular a great pick. First, it’s the only Marksman with passive AoE damage while farming minions. Secondly, it’s one of two champions that can directly target an enemy turret with an ability, Explosive Charge (Tristana’s E). And lastly, that ability allows Tristana to attack the turret and simultaneously provide a zone of control around the turret. All this makes Tristana great at destroying turrets and fast pushing, and C9 has been using this to build a composition around this.
To complement the Tristana pick, C9 has picked in the same rotation the mid lane carry each of the 3 games. One time it has been Veigar and the other two games Azir has been picked. Both of this mages provide wave clear and most importantly the project very big and powerful zones of control when in a siege situation. Against Veigar or Azir you cannot approach the turret to wave without risking getting damaged, as the damage form Azir’s soldiers and Veigar’s stun forces the enemy team to abandon turrets or fight. Also Azir is the only other champion in the game that can target enemy turrets with an ability. Of course this laids out the foundation for a turret busting or siege composition. Also, the fact that there are hyper carries in bot lane and mid lane makes them even more vulnerable to engage.
Here you can see the power Veigar brings to siege: AN can’t even get close to the minions without getting killed
The weakness against siege compositions has always been engage and C9 support and top lane pick have been geared to deal with this. Morgana and Braum provide greats amount of peel and disengage stopping the enemy from engaging onto them. Also they provide some pick potential with Dark Binding and Winter’s Bite and defensive abilities necessary when sieging, like Black Shield and Unbreakable. In order to round out the composition C9 has consistently first picked the top lane. In the game vs. AHQ, it was Gangplank, who provides disengage and zone control whit his barrels and the ultimate. Against FNC and IG, they picked Darius, who provides damage and tankiness for the late game. If the enemy team wants to engage C9 they have to do so with a Darius in the middle. A great example of this is the final teamfight against FNC, where Fnatic engaged with desperation and couldn’t killed Tristana and Azir before Darius got blood stacks on the entirety of the team.
For jungle, Hai has been picking Lee Sin and Elise. Generally considered good early game junglers, they provide extra pick potential. The one thing to remark is how good Hai’s shot calling has been, allowing them to get turrets and other gold advantages when the enemy is doing a play.
To complement this draft, C9 has drafted a laneswap and early game farm and experience distribution that allows Tristana to get ahead, particularly in experience. The reason LemonNation is going with Balls to lane is to ensure that Explosive Charge has a couple of levels in order to deal real damage to towers.
As you can see, Sneaky is constantly searching opportunities to deal damage to the turrets. In this case, Bot lane tower has already fallen, and Febiven has gone back, so Sneaky uses his time to deal as much damage as possible to the tower.