Sunday, January 31, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, TSM vs DIG (Week 2, Day 2)

Last of the Week 2 #NALCS analysis before we dive into Week 3. I'm especially excited for today's NRG v. TSM and NRG v. Impulse matches. Speaking of TSM, I wanted to take another look at Team SoloMid and Team Dignitas. On paper, this should be a win for TSM, but they have made things harder on themselves with some questionable calls and coordination. 

Pick/Ban: Analysts and casters talked about banning Elise from Kirei and TSM did that. There are still powerful junglers left up, and I expected him to take what I conceive to be a “safe” jungler in Rek’Sai and he did. I like what TSM did with the start of their draft, taking three power picks that are also super flexible – you can play all of Graves, Corki, and Poppy in different places, though I’d be surprised if Poppy didn’t end up in the top and Graves in the jungle. Hauntzer’s Poppy was pretty good in their game vs. IMT. DIG went with a more teamfight-oriented comp with good peel for their long-range carries; this comp will test their ability to position for engages. But with how fast-paced this meta can be, they will need to play smart through the midgame to avoid TSM rolling them with that power. This would have been a good comp for last season's patch, where fights around Dragon were more important, but I think it's going to be harder for DIG to find a good fight unless Kirei goes super aggressive. I may be biased from what I've seen from Immortals, but it looks like the power picks are the way to go.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 NALCS, NRG vs IMT (Week 2, Day 2)

Immortals are living the dream in the Spring Split of the 2016 #NALCS. NRG were in the top 5 of most pre-season Power Rankings. After focusing on other teams in Week 1, I doubled down on IMT to see what this performance says about both teams.

Pick/Ban - I really like NRG’s concept of the poke + tanks. They have a decent bit of teamfight engage but can’t really catch anyone. I think that comp works really well within the lane-focused meta if they can be even after 30-35 minutes. This is a comp meant to take down tier 2s in the midgame. IMT is running the same lineup that's wored for them: an aggressive pick comp with strong laners and hard engage but no tanks. The need early vision and kills to feed the carries, get to midgame power spikes faster and take turrets. IMT are betting the farm on winning before 35-40 minutes.

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, TSM vs IMT (Week 2, Day 1)

So I know Immortals were unbeaten heading into the match w/ NRG, so they obviously won this game. But I’m still keen to see how it played out and where Team SoloMid stand as they try to integrate the new team around Bjergsen. Also, I'm introducing player grades at the end - I want to see how the teams are playing around their players and how they evolve over the year.

Pick/Ban thoughts – Hauntzer instantly first-picked Poppy; as the casters indicated, she may be OP in some way that isn’t obvious to me (I play bot lane carry/support). She's become a priority pick all over the world. TSM tried to target top and mid lane with their bans but IMT got power picks anyway – I’m really interested to see if Hauntzer can stop Huni's Fiora. Fiora is already OP in my opinion though Popy does bring some tools to the matchup. Svenskeren and Bjergsen will have to be very aggressive with their roams to shut Huni down or he could become a monster in the late game and IMT’s teamfighting with Lissandra and Corki, and good lord is Adrian good on Janna. I may be biased from knowing the outcome, but it feels like through 3 games, TSM are still trying to find the right team comp that works for them – they got stomped in their first game and their win against Team Liquid came via a Liquid mistake in the late game. They do have an opportunity if they can get to lategame – IMT are squishy and TSM have good tankiness from Yellowstar and Hauntzer.

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, REN vs NRG (Week 1, Day 2)

I know, Week 3 of the #NALCS is upon us (and quick - these games are going fast!). My Week 2 analysis are coming soon but I found this in my inbox from Week 1. Don't worry, this will be quick:

There were a lot of little things going on in this game, including a very interesting dragon fight that turned the tide for NRG, but the game can be summed in one sentence: Impact dominated on Fiora and Renegades had no answer. Unfortunately for teams that can’t play Fiora, that seems to be turning into a trend. I can see what Renegades were trying to do, but they just fell behind Fiora way too much and she became a split push nightmare. Sure, they killed her a few times and Lucian was fed (as he should be - he's a strong laner), but that pressure made it seem like Renegades were playing catchup the whole game. I’ll give credit to Crumbz and Remi for trying to wrest map control, but it’s just too hard when the other team is rotating so well and you can’t kill Fiora.

See, I told you it would be quick.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, DIG vs REN (Week 2, Day 1)

Analysis from Week 2 of the League of Legends #NALCS. One of the first matches of week 2, I'm especially interested in the support matchup between KiWiKiD and Remi and how newcomers RF Legendary and BillyBoss compete.

Pick/BanRenegades smartly ban Fiora from BillyBoss. Dignitas want to pressure lanes and pick people. Late game, this is a good teamfighting comp with a ton of peel for the carries. But Renegades have a ton of power and although they're not as tanky, they actually have stronger laers in mid and top and I think their teamfighting will scale better. They need to survive in lane against the bullies and not get caught too much.

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, DIG vs CLG (Week 1, Day 2)

Still catching up on teams I missed from Week 1 of the #NALCS. Dignitas and NRG are one my to-analyze list. This is the last post of analysis from Week 1 of the League of Legends season as Week 2 was fantastic and Week 3 is shaping up to be as well (SKT vs ROX everybody!).


Pick/Ban: The game hasn't even started and I'm already feeling for CLG playing Jax into Fiora. I mean, Jax is a fine split push threat, but if Fiora gets fed, she's going to be un-killable. DIG otherwise went with a pick-focused comp that will rely on KiWiKiD's Trundle to zone. For CLG, Poppy is becoming a seriously popular pick in the jungle, support and top lane, and Lucian should be able to bully Ezreal in lane. They need to pressure DIG early because if Fiora and Ezreal get big, not sure if CLG can catch up in damage.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, REN vs TL (Week 1, Day 1)

Still finishing my analysis of Week 1 of the League of Legends NALCS. I've already watched and analysed a lot of Week 2 and am prepping for Week 3. This turned out to be one of the crazier matches of week 1 with lots of twists and turns. Also, shoutout to LoLeventVODs for these videos - I like their videos because it includes the entire match, including pre- and post-match analysis in one vid.

Pick/Bans - Renegades have a standard teamfighting-centric lineup with a lot of utility. Team Liquid counter with a higher damage, pick-oriented comp. That said, I like the late-game damage output from Liquid, and Remi will have to work hard to protect Freeze from Piglet's Lucian. Despite Riot's desire to force faster games, I actually feel that by nerfing the neutrals somewhat, pick comps can survive early pressure as long as they hit the mid-game power spike on time. Teams that get caught don't seem to grab 2 or 3 objectives like the used to.

Friday, January 22, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 LCK, SKT T1 v. CJ Entus (Week 1, Day 1)

I can't claim to be a League fan and not write about how the World Champions are doing in Korea. So far, in EU and NA, we've seen a very lane-focused meta where turrets are much more valuable than neutral objectives. While Riot has tried to push the pace of games, in some instances, the de-emphasizing of neutral objectives and lack of vision have made teams play a more defensive midgame. I'm very curious to see how the best team in the world are playing the meta.

I'm also interested in SK Telecom T1 because, unlike most champions in the past, they've managed to keep 4 of their 5 Worlds starters on the team. It's a huge weakness of eSports that stars and teams don't stay together - the NBA can bank on LeBron and the NFL can bank on Peyton Russell Wilson for years. The last dynastic in eSports is probably Flash on Starcraft Broodwar. But Faker is starting a nice little run of his own and I'm glad SKT has kept the team in place to contend for another title. Of course, the guy they lost was pretty important - MaRin was not only the MVP of Worlds, he was the teams shot caller (and darn good one). Can Duke give the team a presence in top lane as they head into the Spring Split?

Their first matchup was a pretty friendly one in a young CJ Entus squad. But as we saw when SKT and Tigers went home from Worlds, competition in Korea is always tough and even the best teams can never take winning for granted.

SKT T1 vs. CJ Entus, Game 1

Thursday, January 21, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 EU LCS, FNC v. OG (Week 1, Day 1)

For the Spring 2016 LCS season, I’m going focus on the NA LCS scene. But LoL is a global game and I couldn’t resist watching and writing about the openers in EU and Korea as well. I loved the way Fnatic played in the 2015 Worlds and think they can have a good season in 2016 despite losing Huni, Reignover, and YellOwStaR. This first game against Origen was much hyped and was the first game of the season in EU, making it the perfect pick for me to write about.

I also wanted to compare playstyles across NA, EU, and Korea to see what things are changing in the meta. And although it's early, I think the winner of this match was able to press one of those changes to victory. If you haven't seen it already, I encourage you to - it was a great game.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS, TSM vs TL (Week 1 Day 2)

I had to re-watch this match between Team SoloMid and Team Liquid a few times. It was crazy, so crazy that on the second day of the spring split, I can already tell this is going to be a wild season. So crazy I'm not going to spoil it: go watch it now. I'll wait.

There were a lot of interesting things going on but, ah forget it, how on Earth did TSM win?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS Week 1, Team Immortals

Team Immortals, along with Team Solo Mid, are one of the more interesting teams in this region due to the talent they've imported. Fnatic was one of my favorite teams to watch progress last year and I still like to follow Huni and Reignover (and even Yellowstar). Moreover, Reignover is one of my favorite players currently (I like his aggressive style).

After watching their first two games of Spring split, these were my thoughts:

Day 1: Immortals vs Cloud 9

Monday, January 18, 2016

League of Legends: NA LCS, TSM vs. CLG (Week 1, Day 1)

Like every year, the League of Legends landscape has changed a lot. Two of North America's signature teams in Team Solomid and Counter Logic Gamaing faced off at the very start of the season. Just a few thoughts on this NA LCS match from a day ago (in roughly chronological order):

  • TSM's setup of the split push was very sloppy. It didn't look like they accounted for the waves correctly and how far Hauntzer would be behind Darshan in the early game. The double jungling didn't look like it helped Svenskeren in the macro and really set Mundo back, which led to...