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.

Thoughts on the game in roughly chronological order. In the future, I'm going to try to shift focus from highlights to macro analysis.
  • RF Legendary and Freeze did a good job keeping CS up in the lane swap. A pretty clean laneswap where they allow toplaner to maintain CS. A big majority of games are going with pretty standard lane swaps, I'm curious to see who will break out something different like an aggressive invade looking to 3 buff.
  • Legendary’s coordination between the three lanes and jungle were superb in the early game. They’d poke someone in one lane and use that as an opening to gank somewhere else. They’d push waves and take rift herald. The strong early game helped them chunk down the mid turret bit by bit until it finally went down at 16 minutes. Good call to focus mid with the teamfighting comp they had; sets up for Baron since they don’t have 1-3-1.
  • TL did a good job of catching up in top and mid in CS despite some early pressure. Bit worried how reactionary they were despite having a bully in Lucian (who fell behind in CS after a good start) and Elise. Renegades did have a much tankier team comp though, so tough to catch any one member.
  • Casters mentioned how Liquid’s pace really didn’t benefit IWDominate and I agree. He was almost purely reactionary and was invisible for the first 20 minutes. It seemed like Liquid misplayed their pick comp.
  • 37:30 - Fun dance between Liquid’s bot and mid 2nd tier turrets. Renegades again had all lanes pushing allowing them to shove back and forth. Managing lanes has always been important, but getting little experience advantages and map pressure seem super important in this meta.
  • Renegades are in control of the map, and I'm not sure what Liquid’s win condition is at this point. Renegades can either keep slow pushing the lanes (will have to rotate well though), take Baron with their map control and vision, or even shove some lanes and stack to 5 dragons. The only thing Liquid can do to stop any of that is to catch someone in the jungle to turn a teamfight. I’m writing this as I watch, so the game could certainly turn, but this is not looking good for Liquid.
  • 40:00 - After burning Remi’s ult with a cocoon in the bot lane (fight starts at 40:00), Liquid do catch him for a kill. They are able to get some much-needed vision off the catch. Let's see if they can set up some catches. I still think Renegades are in control, but if Liquid can catch them out, at some point, damage outscales tankiness. Renegades don't really have disengage.
  • 44:45 - Big fight at the Dragon turned in Renegades' favor via a massive 3-person shockwave that killed Luorlo and Smoothie. AlexIch ulted right before he died and the ball was in the perfect place. If he doesn’t get that off, I think this is a massive loss for Renegades. As it were, Team Liquid unwisely chose to keep chasing leading to more deaths. After this fight, even the casters wondered how Liquid was going to win a late game fight without tanks.
  • 48:00 - Renegades makes a ballsy Baron call which works out b/c in the ensuing fight, Liquid are A) unable to put enough damage on anybody and B) Liquid didn’t have good engage or disengage after the Gnar ult. This is surely the end of the game.
  • 49:25 - Whoa! After wrecking the Liquid base, Renegades tunnel real hard on FeniX and Piglet gets a triple kill! Piglet dashed and deked three members and switched targets beautifully (getting some help from the turret). Not only does he stop the push, he gets the baron buff off 3 people. #Worth
  • BUT – Renegades still have a huge advantage with supers in mid, took a 4th dragon, and can just drag out the game.
  • BUT – 56:40, after a brief dance, Renegades go for Baron while TL is not grouped in the area. They take it and then all hell broke loose.  Take a look at these screens: who do you think wins this fight? 

  • Renegades had everything going. They had tanks in the front. They dodged the culling from Piglet. All they need to do is disengage and set the lanes again with Baron. Instead, Remi (who had no ult again) was assassinated by Piglet, Lourlo pulls off a great flank allowing Piglet to melt Legendary and Crumbz and all of a sudden, all the tanks are down. The run down and get a bottom inhib - does this turn the game for TL? I like where they sit with builds nearly finished - again the straight damage can render tanks moot.
  • 59:15 and - Piglet gets caught, twice. For all the work he did saving the team, he let them down by being in the wrong place without support. The AD carry just can't clear wards alone.
  • 1:04:30 - Renegades make a dance toward their 5th dragon; TL are able to stop it but lose Lourlo as they can't find the right pick or poke down the tanks. Renegades are able to run straight for an uncontested Baron though, as their minions were cracking the TL base.
  • Renegade are playing very carefully with the Baron buff, respecting the poke from TL and without much siege of their own. But with supers in the mid and the buff still going, this should be another inhibitor at least.
  • 1:11:40 - Renegades set up around their 5th dragon for a 3rd time... and IWDominate steals it again! AlexIch gets the shockwave off but the kite and disengage from Janna allow TL to escape and head down mid, but are only going to get the tier 2. I feel like they need to make an aggressive play, possibly on the bot side where the inhibitor is down. Where is xPeke when you need him?
  • 1:12:50 - I don't know where TL are going here. They're trying to stop the Baron, maybe trying to flank REN. Instead, they are separated and Remi flash/pulverizes Piglet into a Shockwave, erasing him instantly. Smoothie, who played well, was in a terrible spot and wastes her ultimate without zoning REN at all. Due to their poor positioning, instead of kiting together, TL are forced to kite in separate directions, unable to focus damage. You have to be so careful with this squishy comps to make sure someone is always watching the carries. I worried about Remi's ability to keep Freeze safe from Piglet, but Smoothie really let down his team here. This is surely the game.
  • Nope. Not the game. At 1:15:00, TL push REN out of their base and make a good, aggressive call to go Baron. Hilarity ensues. Crumbz, after getting 3 straight dragons stolen from him, smite steals Baron. TL are stuck in the pit with no way to escape and they all go down. At 61 minutes in game time, Renegades finally take down the Liquid nexus.
What a crazy, back and forth game. I thought both teams played their comp well. Although Renegades were in control of most objectives, mechanical misplays allowed TL to start finding a win condition - catches. Renegades will really have to clean up their teamfight coordinationand shot calling in the late game. Unfortunately, Piglet was caught a few times in terrible spots. I really think if he hadn't gone down when TL were trying to push, they could have another inhib which would have given them better map pressure on Dragon/Baron. After watching this game, I'm not sure why Riot is so focused on faster games and de-emphasizing the neutral objectives.

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