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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, APX vs TL (Week 9)

What the hell is wrong with Liquid? The upstart bunch that were so close to going to the Spring Playoff Finals have struggled through an inconsistent split of monster plays followed by careless throws. Their most recent embarrassment was a 2-1 loss to Apex, a non-playoff team. Let's take a look at what exactly is going on.


In a desperate bid to make playoffs, Apex had to go 2-0 against playoff teams Liquid and CLG to make it, while hoping Envy stubbed their toe. Liquid on the other hand still had pride and playoff positioning to play for. They can't throw these games away.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Announcement: I am now writing for Blog of Legends!

The past year has been an incredible journey producing League of Legends content for this blog. However, I can't deny that this platform is minuscule compared to those offered by sites like Blog of Legends and The Rift Herald.

You may have noticed that I produced some content for the Rift Herald during MSI. Over the last few weeks, I have transitioned into a writing role with Blog of Legends to provide weekly previews and recaps of key NALCS matchups.

A lot of the analysis that was posted to this site will be moved there. The pieces will not be as in-depth due to length requirements, but they will still give you a thorough understanding of what happened during the games and why the winning side achieved victory.

I may continue to post other League-related material to this site, and will definitely keep track of the other major sports here. But for LCS-specific analysis, please visit the sites linked above. See you on the Rift!

Monday, July 18, 2016

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, TL vs IMT (Week 6)

I know I write a lot about Immortals - I watch all the LCS matches, but with the amount of games going on, I've chosen to focus my coverage on the top of the split. And IMT are going through several games against playoff competition, TL being one of them. I love this matchup. I love the good-natured trash talk between Reignover and Dardoch. I haven’t spoken to them personally, but I get the feeling that the talk is more for the camera and fans than any real bad blood – they have great camaraderie after the games and I feel like there’s tremendous respect between the two.

GAME 1


Picks and Bans – Liquid's draft suits their players well. Dardoch and Fenix are consistent damage dealers, Fabbbyyy provides utility and engage, while Lourlo plays tank Shen. The question is whether Lourlo will be good enough on his TP and ult to make an impact around the map – his TP play is extremely inconsistent and I’m not 100% certain the two globals will help. IMT picked a comp focused on late-game GP and Sivir, with a ton of utility and zoning from other places. If they get ahead, the siege could be scary.

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, IMT vs C9 (Week 5)

Cloud 9 Gaming and Immortals come into this featured Week 5 matchup from different places. C9 just stumbled against Liquid as TL read their team perfectly and wisely chose to camp midlane. Sneaky is a god-tier ADC but in this meta, it takes a while for ADCs to get going and Impact and Meteos just aren’t consistently affecting the rest of the map. Jensen in particular tweeted frustration with his team’s effort, normal for eSports, but not something you’d hear from a professional in most other major sports leagues. IMT have continued to roll with a wider champion pool and more from Pobelter than they saw in the Spring Split. If they can keep up in the mid lane while continuing to pressure the sides in classic IMT fashion, this could be another IMT win. For C9, they really need to attack the solo lanes and have Meteos be in the right places.

GAME 1


Picks and Bans – IMT target support with their bans while C9 target the midlane. Both are fine strats - C9 have been rotating Bunny in/out with Smoothie, it's smart to play with that matchup. Pobelter has had carry performances, but I don't know his champion pool is quite as large as Jensen's. I like Karma with Jhin for IMT with Rumble top and Zyra at support – they should be able to do well in each lane and give Pobelter a lot of jungle support. C9 throw everything into Sneaky and Jensen with lots of engage/disengage with Thresh/Trundle/Gragas around Sivir/TF. They also have very strong wave clear and multiple positions, critical against IMT.

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, NV vs TSM (Week 4)

TSM are straight rolling this split, with Biogod Biofrost providing much needed game sense and synergy with Doublelift. Everyone has found his role, Svenskeren is effectively getting leads for his carries, and everyone is teamfighting well around Bjergsen and Double. I still think that a split push style, a la CLG, can potentially cause them problems, but honestly, I don't know if anyone outside Immortals has the horses to compete. NV have a big task ahead of them in this matchup, but these are the games they need to prove they belong in the upper half of the standings.

GAME 1


Picks and Bans – NV start well getting Trundle and Ezreal, but then mysteriously finish thing off with a Varus, which basically gives Bjergsen a huge pressure advantage on Zilean. They have a strong pick comp, but I’m not sure how that works with Trundle – I think you’d rather have double TP and try to play a split push game. I can see the fear of them not being able to split against TSM’s superior coordination, but I don’t know if Varus is the answer. TSM have so much speed with Karma and Zilean and Sivir and double TP, I just don’t see NV playing their comp effectively. Braum/Ezreal will eventually be good against Karma/Sivir, but can they get to the late game?

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, CLG vs IMT (Week 4)

While CLG have stumbled out of the gates, IMT have continued their strong, dive-focused play. They still have the best lane management in NA (all respect to TSM), and they have the tools to punish CLG where it hurts - the midlane matchup between Pobelter and Huhi is key to this entire series.

GAME 1


Early Game – IMT win the early game via strong control around TF in mid, which is a bit unexpected given their playstyle and comp. But that attention has a cost – Huni is far behind Darshan, and CLG played those fights close to even. A strong rotation at 12 minutes nets them a kill lead and a plus KDA on Darshan’s Jax, which is already becoming a problem. IMT like to pressure all waves and one way to get them out of that pattern is to group faster than they can (and before losing a turret). They continue roaming around the map, getting a gold lead and summoner after summoner from IMT. That gives CLG the mid outer at 22:30.

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, C9 vs TSM (Week 3)

I wrote multiple times during the 2016 Spring Split that C9 were the most balanced team in the NALCS, with strong performers at every position. So what did they do to prepare for summer? Bring in 3 new players, including Impact in top lane, to form a 2-team LCS/Challenger duo that went legitimately 2-deep at every position. And you know what? I think it was the right call. They did well to get the 3rd seed in the regular season, but they were thoroughly shut down in the playoffs by TSM, despite winning game 1 and getting decent champion matchups. They needed a shakeup.

The other reason I like this move is that, over the next 7 weeks, these players will play between 28 and 52 games. That is a lot. Not only do I think it’s valuable to have subs to share workload, I think that many games gives teams an ample sample to see which combinations truly work best. When the NALCS was BO1, there just weren’t enough games to see which players synergized the best on stage. Now, you can afford to sub someone in for two weeks, in which case you’ll see up to 12 games of that person with the rest of your players. That’s valuable knowledge to build on.

All that said, I don’t think it helps them against TSM. Those guys are playing really well and have come together fast. I want to see C9 try to win jungle and top lane, where they have 2 of their 3 new starters. I don’t think they can do it consistently, and Meteos has mixed in god-like objective steals with questionable decisions that have thrown games, but I want to see those guys try to take advantage of TSM because I don’t know that C9 will find big advantages elsewhere.

Game 1


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, IMT vs NV (Week 3)

I am so excited for this matchup. The best team of the Spring Split against the hottest non-TSM team of Summer. NV have done a terrific job playing around Seraph and Ninja in their victories. Seraph vs Huni has quickly become one of, if not the, premier top lane matchup in the NALCS and I think the winner of that duo wins the match.

GAME 1


Picks and Bans – IMT go with the standard wave-clear focused pressure team with Irelia top and Nidalee jungle. Can they accelerate the game fast enough? They have good zone control but I wonder if the lack of a tank will hurt them. NV respond with a lot of late-game scaling – and boy do they have it with Ezreal/Ryze. The pull a do-si-do with Ryze flexed top, Trundle at support (love) and Karma in the mid lane. I’m just worried that they’ll struggle controlling the waves against the best team in America at pressure.

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, APX vs NV (Week 2)

Our first look at these teams this split. I watched Apex straight dominate the promotion tournament and they more than deserve their standing in the LCS. NV brought back a lot of the old Renegades gang that played like gangbusters at the end of the Spring Split, avoiding the promotion tournament altogether despite a long losing streak in the middle of the season. The team came together behind Seraph and Ninja and never looked back. I’m excited to analyze this match of Week 2 unbeatens.

GAME 1


Picks and bans – Apex picked a very interesting comp that basically sets up around Viktor and Caitlin zone control with Shen flying around the map to support hose two primary damage dealers. NV play a more pick-heavy lineup that I think plays into the Apex comp really well. A lot will depend on if Ray push Seraph and roam, because Procxin’s Elise will have a lot of early game pick potential.

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, IMT vs C9 (Week 1)

Still catching up on the #NALCS #SummerSplit. going forward, given the sheer number of games/matches being played each week, I will highlight one matchup each day to analyze. This match between top contenders was a doozy. It's an important game for both sides, but especially a C9 side that is working in three new starters. Impact in particular I’m going to be watching – he really struggled in the top lane for NRG last split and really didn’t have great impact as a front-line tank. Meteos may take a few weeks to get back up to speed, but I’m more interested in Impact vs Huni as that is the matchup I assume Immortals will attack. 

GAME 1


Early Game – – The draft really showed each team’s emphasis – C9 siege around Jensen and Sneaky and IMT playing around Huni’s dives. Turtle on Ashe will be interesting – Sneaky has played a lot of Ashe too and the Essence Reaver build is really helping her mid game – her damage has never stacked like other ADCs, but spamming arrow is a big deal. The first IMT dive at 27:10 goes to C9 as Huni goes way too far without mana. IMT win one at 36:30 by catching Sneaky with an early arrow. At 39:25, C9 had clawed back with a few kills in the Immortals jungle and they try to make another play mid, but Turtle somehow gets R and W out before dying. Jensen and Bunny die, IMT push back down the mid lane and pick up another turret and another kill for Huni. In the midst of it all, C9 grab several dragons, which they’ll need to force Immortals out of the split push.