With LCK still being on break, I’ll be going through a review of the Team SoloMid vs Team Dignitas match played earlier this week.
Top – Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell
Jungle – Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnse
Mid – Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
ADC – Jason “WildTurtle” Tran
Support – Vincent “Biofrost” Wang
Top – Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho
Jungle – Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun
Mid – Jang “Keane” Lae-young
ADC – Benjamin “LOD” deMunck
Support – Alex “Xpecial” Chu
After looking quite strong in week one, and putting on a much better performance against Cloud9 than TSM, Dignitas was looking like the favorite for the series. After a pretty close game one, it was quite clear that TSM wasn’t going down without a fight. Let’s take a look at how the series played out.
Winner: Team Dignitas (Red Side) in 48:47
Bans In Order:
TSM – Syndra/Jayce/Zyra/Elise/Lee Sin
Dig – Camille/LeBlanc/Rengar/Miss Fortune/Nami
Picks In Order:
TSM – Kha/Zix/Maokai/Cassiopeia/Taric/Ashe
Dig – Ryze/Malzahar/Fiora/Jhin/Rek’Sai
While Dignitas went for the standard three red side bans, TSM’s bans were a little bit different. Jayce, Zyra and Syndra are all three fairly strong picks currently, but Dignitas had only played a single Zyra game so far in a loss to Phoenix1, and no games on the other two. That being said, it’s no doubt that Ssumday can play Jayce quite well, and banning the Syndra instead of Ryze definitely set up Bjergsen to take the common counter-pick of Cassiopeia to that lane. With TSM securing the top tier jungle pick in Kha’Zix, Dignitas responded with two power picks of their own in Malzahar and Ryze. The rest of the draft was pretty standard, aside from Ssumday making things exciting in the top lane by picking up the Fiora instead of taking Poppy or Nautilus as most teams have been doing.
TSM’s team comp excels at teamfighting and making picks by having very reliable follow up to the Ashe arrow with Maokai and Taric. As for Dignitas, they have a Fiora that will become an unstoppable split-pusher, as well as the opportunity for great flanks with Fiora’s teleport and Rek’Sai/Ryze’s ultimates. TSM will be looking to force engages before Fiora is able to do too much damage in a sidelane, while Team Dignitas will be looking to keep TSM at bay to gain edges through their split-pushing.
Knowing that they wanted to slow Fiora’s takeover as much as possible, Svenskeren made an early visit to the top lane at 3:30. While they weren’t able to get the kill, they burned Ssumday’s flash, and forced him into an early recall, allowing Hauntzer’s Maokai to catch back up on some lost minions. However, Hauntzer overstayed to interrupt Ssumday’s recall and grab another minion wave. This gave time for Chaser to make his way to the top lane, and with Ssumday teleporting into the river, they picked up first blood for Ssumday completely canceling out the affects of that early gank from TSM. Immediately, Svenskeren made his way back to the top lane, and after burning both Hauntzer and Svenskeren’s flashes they secured a kill onto Ssumday. With Rek’Sai nowhere to be found, TSM took down the first tower in the top lane at 7:00 and got off to a great start.
During all of this Bjergsen’s Cass, as expected, began to take a small lead over Keane’s Ryze. Also expected, Dignitas’ bottom lane of Jhin/Malzahar was gaining a similar lead over TSM’s Ashe/Taric lane. With his tower gone, Ssumday was no longer able to safely bully out Hauntzer so the top lane stagnates for a bit with neither player really setting up much of a freeze, but instead pushing the waves to each other. Right before the 10 minute mark, Bjergsen cleared out a control ward in the bottom river, but attempted to recall right where he stood. With Chaser in a good position, Bjergsen was collapsed on by Ryze and goes down with each mid laner burning both of their summoner spells. Dignitas used this as their opportunity to secure a cloud drake, which would be quite helpful for a team looking to avoid engages.
With Chaser in the base after dragon, Wildturtle was able to hit LOD with an arrow as Xpecial’s Malzahar was attempting to harass Biofrost. This forced LOD to flash, and with Svenskeren jumping in, Xpecial is forced to flash as well with both of Dignitas’ bottom lane members having to recall immediately afterward in fear of being dove. A roam from Bjergsen up to the top lane proved meaningless, as Ssumday was able to dance around both Bjergsen and Haunzter to buy some time for any back up he would’ve needed if TSM committed more. Ssumday’s Fiora was already beginning to show what a threat it will be, and the kind of pressure TSM was going to need to stop him.
With Xpecial having headed towards the top side, to make sure he would be there if needed, LOD was left all alone in the bottom lane without flash. Wildturtle hit another arrow, and with Biofrost and Svenskeren following up, TSM got the kill. This is already showing how both teams properly utilized their strengths. If Wildturtle hit an arrow on a target without flash, the opportunity for Taric to get in there and land a follow up stun is massive. While for Dignitas, Ssumday had yet to complete an item and already proved to be quite a significant task for TSM. TSM was going to need to continue forcing plays if they wanted to get enough of an advantage to take on Ssumday’s Fiora in the mid-game.
TSM, with a man advantage, as LOD respawned and ran back to lane, attempted to chase Xpecial and Chaser under their tower. While TSM was successful and got both of those kills, there was enough time for all five members of Dignitas to show up and get two kills of their own to even it out. Both teams being wounded attempted to reset and set up some dragon control.
While fighting for vision in the river, Xpecial and Chaser were able to take down Wildturtle as Xpecial went down. Right after, Svenskeren was caught behind enemy lines and was taken down by Keane giving Dignitas a small gold lead and some map control. Aside from an attempted dive in the top side from Dignitas that resulted in nothing for either team, the game stalled out for a bit until the 20 minute mark.
With TSM being spread out, Dignitas was able to catch Svenskeren in the river with only Biofrost nearby. Using Xpecial’s Malzahar ult, Dignitas was able to get a clean pick as well as the second cloud drake. With Ryze and Rek’Sai taking down TSM’s bottom lane tower, TSM used this time to forcefully take down Dignitas’ mid lane tower and get some gold back. While Ssumday had been a bit quiet, Wildturtle managed to land another arrow onto LOD, who previously lost his flash defending their mid tower. Another kill for TSM, and the gold continues to be very close.
Dignitas was beginning to get a pretty-farmed Ryze, as well as an incredibly strong Fiora with a BF sword to top off her Ravenous Hydra/Black Cleaver build. With both teams looking to grab baron control, Ssumday began to set up in the bottom lane. Despite Dignitas being able to black out TSM’s vision of baron, they don’t pull the trigger and TSM was able to grab an ocean drake for themselves. As both teams sat around mid wave clearing while the top laners are in the bottom lane, Ssumday was eventually able to push Hauntzer back to base and take TSM’s tier 2 bottom tower.
Knowing they had to make something happen, TSM removed Dignitas’ vision on baron and started to take it down. Dignitas attempted to contest, losing Xpecial Ssumday and Chaser in the process, but they were able to take down Svenskeren while Keane’s Ryze managed to pick up the baron for his team from over the wall. Despite Ssumday not being able to get the baron buff himself, he was already providing enough pressure in the side lane that the other four members of Dignitas could begin to siege utilizing the baron buffs they had left. With Ssumday keeping Maokai busy in the top lane, Dignitas was able to use the baron buff to grab two towers in the mid lane and an ocean drake, before joining Ssumday in the top lane to grab the last tower outside of TSM’s base. With a three tower advantage, Dignitas had all the tools they need to end the game with their 5,500 gold lead.
At this point TSM’s hopes relied on either getting a pick, and being able to 5v4, or hard engaging with a Maokai flank. A well timed Taric ult, or a multi-man stun from Cassiopeia, would be enough for TSM to take some control back, but if they used these abilities improperly and get disengaged, they lose all hope of stopping Dignitas. With this in mind, Dignitas played very carefully not pushing deeply into TSM’s jungle and just set up vision around baron as Ssumday slowed his push until more members of TSM reveal themselves.
With Ssumday pushing pretty far up in the bottom lane, TSM made another baron attempt. Ssumday was able to take down the bottom inhibitor tower before channeling his teleport into the fight. TSM made some crucial errors here, as Biofrost’s Taric ult ran out without Ssumday or Ryze even being in range to allow TSM to deal damage during the invulnerability duration. Bjergsen missed his ult completely on Keane, and was forced to flash out of the fight. TSM had the opportunity to disengage and take a two-for-two trade while getting baron, but fell for the bait of the low health bars over Rek’Sai and Ryze. Chaser was able to land a perfect two man knockup onto Bjergsen and Wildturtle as Keane jumped in at the perfect time getting the ace for team Dignitas. Dignitas used the death timers to get the top lane inhibitor tower, the bottom lane inhibitor, and the elder dragon before heading back to the top lane to try and take the exposed inhibitor.
TSM, knowing it would be a do-or-die defense, went for the engage onto Dignitas. Despite an Ashe arrow hitting Chaser, who was easily able to tunnel away, and Dignitas kiting back until the Taric ult had expired, Dignitas didn’t fully commit to engaging or backing off resulting in TSM getting a four-for-zero trade, but losing one nexus tower to super minions. With their inhibitor respawning, TSM had another chance to take the game. Dignitas grabbed another baron, and set up with Ssumday in the bottom lane again. This time, Haunzter was able to tank up enough of Ssumday’s damage allowing Svenskeren to come in and out of the fight, eventually taking down the Fiora.
With Fiora off of the map, TSM began to siege mid, but here is where Chaser made the game winning play. Biofrost had shoved out top lane enough for TSM to not be concerned about it, but Chaser used his Rek’Sai ultimate to meet the wave. Very intelligently, Chaser kills just one wave, allowing his minions to slowly push up to TSM’s base without alarming them, before running back to help defend. From here TSM needed to recognize if they have time to get the inhibtor and recall, which they soon find out they do not. Dignitas was able to hold off TSM long enough for Ssumday to teleport in and clean up TSM’s base giving Dignitas a very well earned game one victory.
Heading into game two, while Ssumday’s Fiora was impressive on an individual level, Dignitas was still allowing TSM to take enough advantages elsewhere to stay in the game. If Dignitas wanted to stick with this strategy, they would need to pick some safer lanes to avoid giving up random kills to TSM. For TSM, they seemed to actually start executing very well near the end of the game, but they had already lost so much of their base that they seemed to be in quite a pick your poison scenario. To take game two, TSM was going to need to execute team fights better in the first half of the game.
Winner: Team SoloMid (Red Side) in 39:51
Bans In Order:
Dig – Ryze/Maokai/LeBlanc/Zyra/Malzahar
TSM – Rengar/Camille/Syndra/Miss Fortune/Taric
Picks In Order:
Dig – Kha’Zix/Orianna/Jayce/Ashe/Karma
TSM – Lee Sin/Cassiopeia/Poppy/Varus/Thresh
This draft had no surprises. With Jayce being available, we saw Dignitas eagerly pick that up blindly for Ssumday, but probably with the safe assumption that it would be into Maokai, which it indeed was. The one interesting thing, is with no supports being picked up, we saw all four bans in the second ban phase go to supports. This left Dignitas picking up the Karma, while TSM brought out Thresh. While neither of them are considered at the top tier of supports in the current meta, they both can still fulfill their role well enough with the top tier picks off of the table.
This time around, Dignitas is going to have much better teamfights. They had excellent engage/disengage from the aoe speed boosts Jayce/Karma/Orianna can provide, and some good very good burst if a target is hit by Ashe arrow. TSM didn’t have the same team-fighting style team, but instead a team with much higher pick potential and play-making abilities. Both teams had mid laners that do quite well in team fights, but the shields on Dignitas’ side would be quite useful for really comitting their members as they didn’t have a tank. TSM was looking to use Thresh/Lee Sin to brute force picks.
Here we had a much more calm early game. With there not being such a high priority lane as the Fiora/Maokai was, not much action was seen until 7:40. While it may have been luck, it seems as if TSM perfectly timed Ssumday’s ward in the river. Svenskeren sneaked his way through baron pit, and came up sitting in the river bush waiting for Ssumday to extend. Just as his wave was about to cross the halfway point in the lane, Ssumday starts to walk down to ward the bush, but Svenskeren was ready. Svenskeren jumped out and kicked Ssumday to a perfectly positioned Haunzter ready to slam Ssumday into the wall. Using the Poppy ult, they killed Ssumday as quickly as possible with Svenskeren having barely survived at 27 hp.
Dignitas used this time to take control of the bottom side of the map, and grabbed themselves a mountain drake. The action picked back up at 10 minutes, as Haunzter caught Ssumday coming out of the river and ended up trading flashes with him, as Ssumday went back to base. This drew both junglers attention to the top side, but Svenskeren was caught out by Chaser’s Rek’Sai getting dropped to 200 hp and burning his flash. Keane was already on his way up, and with his help Chaser was able to finish off the kill on Svenskeren.
While Keane made his way up to the top lane, Bjergsen made his way down to the bottom lane. A flash ult from Wildturtle’s Varus, forced LOD to flash away, while Biofrost’s hook forced Xpecial to flash. Despite making it all the way to their tier two tower, Bjergsen was able to use his ghost and flash to get in and finish off Xpecial getting TSM a return kill. With the Dignitas bot lane having used their summoner spells, Svenskeren made the smart decision to pay them a visit. Dignitas didn’t want to give up any more kills, so both LOD and Xpecial backed off as TSM secured the first tower in the bottom lane at 13:34. The game was still very close with TSM holding less than a 2,000 gold lead. Mid game was going to be all about vision control, as fog of war arrows and hooks would be key in either of these teams making these happen.
While TSM had set up proper vision, they weren’t in position to contest as Dignitas grabbed a second mountain drake. Wildturtle got caught recalling after clearing a wave in the bottom lane, giving Chaser a solo kill. TSM attempted a response by sending the four remaining members to the top lane, where they take down Ssumday and got the first tower in the top lan, at the cost of their mid lane outer tower. As TSM went to get mid lane back under control, Dignitas quickly took down the outer bottom lane tower evening up towers 2-2, and reducing their gold disadvantage to 1,400.
TSM wanted to make things happen so they took advantage of Dignitas’ positioning on the map to take down the inner tower in the top lane. Ssumday attempted to respond by going after TSM’s bottom inner tower, but was just barely stopped by Biofrost. TSM continued to be aggressive by sieging up on the mid outer tower. While LOD landed a nice arrow onto Bjergsen, an equally good ultimate came from Hauntzer, who was flanking from Dignitas’ blue jungle. As Chaser was getting into position to go in, Xpecial was ulted away allowing a hook from Biofrost to be followed up by a kick from Svenskeren resulting in Chaser going down. TSM get the mid tower and back off with a now 3,500 gold lead.
TSM grabbed an infernal drake, and continue pressuring multiple lanes. After pushing in bottom lane, Haunzter attempted to join up his team in the mid lane. An overstep from Biofrost allowed Keane to land a shockwave, with follow up from Ashe and Kha’Zix to secure the kill. This halted TSM’s aggression for the meantime, but TSM was slowly working on Dignitas’ towers and they would need to find a way to respond.
At 28:00 TSM took an uncontested mountain drake before heading over to set up baron control. While their attempted baron bait didn’t quite work, Biofrost was still able to land a max range hook onto Chaser. Svenskeren jumped in kicking Chaser back to the rest of TSM, but they just ended up trading kills. This prompted Bjergsen to pop ghost, and with Hauntzer teleporting in they grabbed two more kills. TSM quickly took their advantage to grab the first baron of the game.
As TSM takes down the bottom inner tower, they begin to pressure the bottom inhibitor tower as well as the mid lane inner. This allows for Hauntzer to come up and collapse on Chaser for another kill. TSM showed no hesitation as they pushed through the middle inhibitor, getting a lot of use out of their baron buff. TSM reset, and was able to take another uncontested infernal drake as their gold lead stacked up to 9,000. TSM took their talents to the top lane where another great kick from Svenskeren allowed them to trade a kill onto Ssumday, and take down the top lane inhibitor. From here TSM grabbed another baron, and was easily able to run down and dismantle the rest of Dignitas’ base, getting them a game two victory.
TSM really cleaned up any issues they had during game one, and was able to use the play-making abilties of their composition to the fullest. Looking to game three, Dignitas had to be really concerned about getting behind in the early-mid game as both late games showed TSM really finding ways to take control.
Winner: Team SoloMid (Blue Side) in 29:40
Bans in Order:
TSM – Syndra/Zyra/Jayce/Malzahar/Karma
Dig – LeBlanc/Rengar/Camille/Taric/Thresh
Picks In Order:
TSM – Kha/Zix/Cassiopeia/Nautilus/Varus/Braum
Dig – Maokai/Ryze/Rek’Sai/Ashe/Morgana
The first part of the draft remained the same until Dignitas took the Maokai instead of Malzahar resulting in TSM putting Haunzter on Nautilus. Not wanting to show bottom lane picks yet, Dignitas go for the Rek’Sai earlier this time. With four support bans again, we see the same Varus vs Ashe match up, but with Braum and Morgana supporting, respectively.
This time, the team compositions almost mirrored each other with a solid frontline, heavy area-of-effect damage mid laners, and plenty of area-of-effect and single target cc. Dignitas had a scaling advantage with Maokai/Ryze, but the early power of TSM’s top half of the map was definitely something to worry about. Dignitas would need to make it through the mid game without giving up too much to be able to win some late game team fights. TSM needed to use their stronger laning phase to secure that advantage, and take over in the mid game.
This game got started a bit faster, with Haunzter making an excellent roam mid at 5:00. By flash autoing Keane, Haunzter was able to burn Keane’s Flash and get first blood for Bjergsen. Ssumday even burned his teleport attempting to salvage the situation, but was only chomped down by Bjergsen’s Cass before he left the lane.
At 7:00 a level six Hauntzer returned to the mid lane this time accompanied by Svenskeren. With the Nautilus ult, and nobody nearby, TSM got another kill on Keane really throwing Bjergsen ahead in an already favorable match up. TSM then used the recall timing of Dignitas’ bottom lane to grab themselves an uncontested infernal drake. After grabbing the drake, four members of TSM made their way to the top lane where Ssumday was able to escape with flash. TSM was still able to get the first tower of the game in the top lane, which was shortly afterward traded for their bottom outer tower.
At 12:00 TSM attempts to pressure Dignitas’ bottom lane tower, but Biofrost is caught by a long range Ashe arrow and ends up going down. Dignitas chose to use their advantage to set up an infernal drake, which TSM chose to trade for Dignitas’ mid lane tower. With the drakes evened up, TSM maintained a very small gold advantage, and they were going to need to pull off some more successful plays to get this game in their hands.
As Svenskeren and Bjergsen postured to attack Dignitas’ bottom tower, a teleport from Ssumday saved the day for Dignitas. With Ssumday and Xpecial using their flashes, they were able to lock down Svenskeren long enough to take him down and tie the kills at 2-2. As vision slowly died out in the jungles, the teams traded top for bottom outer towers leaving TSM’s mid tower as the only outer remaining.
With Ssumday’s flash being back up, he was able to get onto Wildturtle in the mid lane burning both of Wildturtles summoner spells. Biofrost went down in an attempt to save Wildturtle, but then Hauntzer showed up. Haunzter caught LOD running back into Dignitas’ blue jungle, getting TSM another return kill to even things up. A couple of minutes later an out of position LOD is caught by Haunzter again. This forces Ssumday to teleport in hoping to save the day, but Dignitas doesn’t have the items they need to take this fight. TSM was able to chain kill after kill resulting in four kills for TSM and them taking the first baron of the game.
TSM again shows how to pressure with baron buff. They took Dignitas’ remaining towers outside of the base, before marching through the mid lane inhibitor. In an attempt to get back into the game, Dignitas fought over their top inhibitor, resulting in a clean ace and the game for TSM.
While it was expected for TSM to take a dip in performance with the loss of their star ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, the first series of the split had some unusual flaws. It should be expected for TSM to pick things up as the split goes on. Bjergsen had one of his worst performances in his LCS career against Cloud9, when he’s never had as much trouble. TSM’s bot lane was also clearly not on the same page many different times, but they seem to be getting it together. TSM handled Dignitas very cleanly, and is looking like they’ll be the ones to challenge Cloud9 as the split continues. Hauntzer is showing that he can keep up with some tough competition in the top lane, and as TSM’s bot lane gets more experience together, we can only expect improvement.
Dignitas received a whole lot of hype in the first week, and are now falling victim to some heavy criticism for their second week. I think we can still expect Dignitas to be a top team, but it’s clear they have some work to do. Dignitas has had quite the rough schedule thus far having to play TSM and Cloud9, so the rest of the first half of the split should be a bit easier. Since last split, Keane has seemed to be getting better at playing the meta picks and looks quite promising on an individual level. It will really be about Dignitas getting better at working with their bot lane that will determine how far they can go, but with Ssumday playing at this level, it seems quite likely that they’ll be a playoff team.
Photo Credits: Riot Games