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.

16:15 - Great claw and ult from Huni, so much better than the Lissandra we saw from Huhi in CLG’s loss to DIG. A clutch culling from WildTurtle (perfect angle and direction) nabs the 2 for 1 for Immortals. Teams have enough to think about vs. IMT but taking Lucian away from Turtle might be another thing they hae to worry about in pick/ban. NRG are lucky they already poked Pobelter very low or that fight could have been worse. It's crazy how well Turtle is playing against a legend in Impact.

20:00 - Despite losing a teamfight, NRG’s tankiness and the low death timers at this point allow them to run up mid with minions. They take the Tier 2 down to half health, which will be huge if they can ever get the map in position to split for Maokai.

27:50 - With the clock ticking on their win condition (just around 20 min. in game time), IMT punish NRG’s aggressive jungling/warding with a flash engage from Reignover. I love this guy and how aggressively he plays his junglers. It starts as a 1v2 but his team are there and they pick up one kill on Impact who had no choice but to peel for Altec. NRG should have just disengaged, but they unwisely walk up to help Impact. Moon walks ahead of his tanky support, ceding another kill. Fantastic coordination from IMT in this teamfight. Reignover's Rengar was great - it was his most played champion last year and the tankiness + engage fits his ultra-aggressive style well. His chamion pool (Rengar, Elise, Rek'sai, Poppy) gives him so many options.

The casters brought up a good point – 5 of IMT’s kills are on WildTurtle. They haven’t been able to take objectives yet, but he is turning really scary, and Lucian is already strong into Corki in the early- to mid-game. And damange from carries scales much better than health/armor on tanks.

30:20 – This is IMT playing their comp perfectly. WildTurtle'w superior waveclear stops NRG from pushing his tower without burning his cooldowns while Huni flanks. The coordination from IMT this early in the year is impressive. Having both Huni and Reignover helps, as well as flexibility from Lucian - you can leave him alone. WildTurtle pops the culling right as Huni dashes in, taking down Moon almost immediately. A fantastic Janna ult splits up NRG and allows IMT to dive the backline. I can't get over how crazy good this was from the combo of Huni and Reignover – despite walking through wards, they manage to flank the entire team. NRG are in a tough spot – the carries for IMT are strong enough to deter split pushing but grouping isn’t working either. The casters brough up an important point – IMT are playing fearlessly and decisively.

From here, it's a whitewash. WildTurtle was one-shotting guys and IMT were all over the map. NRG were able to defender their base for a bit longer with all the poke, but there wasn’t much they could do to exert pressure on objectives. IMT took another Baron and took down the base.

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