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?

Orianna Sombrero

The casters were right in saying that FeniX's missed Orianna ult at 56:09 cost them the game, and it was certainly a huge missed play at the worst possible time. He was trying to pick up the ball, flash, then ult, all while his team is desprately backing. If it hits, Bjergsen is dead, YellOwStar possibly too, and Hauntzer would have been stopped in his tracks, allowing Team Liquid to back. TSM might have taken one tower, but TL would still have a massive lead.

Instead, FeniX never picked up the ball. It was an extremely complex move to pull off in a chaotic environment, and he didn't have it. But even though this led directly to the end of the game, it wasn't the only thing that went wrong for TL.

  • Dardoch's Elise was on-point for most of the match, but trying to take down Bjergsen at 55:57 with Tahm Kench in the vicinity was too much. The idea was good: the AD carry and support had just taken Magical Journey to disengage leaving Bjergsen was by alone. More on this later, but the top-lane Kench from Hauntzer was an especially interesting pick and in this situation, I don't know that Dardoch was prepared for the fish's damage.
  • After Elise died at 56:02, the rest of TL tunneled on killing Kench. They had just gone 1 for 1 but still had a 4k+ gold lead, still had open inhibitors to attack, and still had an opportunity to head for Baron as TSM were backing. Killing the Kench would have made the Baron play easier, but they did not need to kill him to win the game. Even worse, focusing on Hauntzer allowed Doublelift's long-range poke to take out their primary tank in Gnar.
  • TL had what should have superiority in teamfights with the engage and CC from 3 members, but the fight at 55 min. wasn't the only one they lost. This replay at 46:28 shows Dardoch again trying to assassinate Syndra and Kench again saving the day. The gold lead was only 3k at that point, not enough that you can chase blind against a good skirmish/kite lineup and brute force them. Dardoch shifts focus from Kench to a nearly full-health Yellowstar and despite a good ult from Orianna, is almost one-shot by Syndra. All the tanks for TL go low leaving FeniX at the mercy of TSM. It's just one kill, but you can't make that call to chase in that situation. You have the lead, make them run into you.
If you're a Team SoloMid fan:
  • Feel nervous about YellOwStar on BardDespite a 80%+ kill participation, I was unconvinced by Yellowstar's Bard. His ults at 47:25 and 52:35 didn't really catch anyone; not sure if that's due to his inexperience on the champion in competitive play or the pressure of serving as shot caller on a new team. It seemed like he'd catch someone and the team would react after the fact. Finally, the casters spoke of how Bard is a good facsimile for Thresh in his utility and flexibility to lineups. You know who else is a good facsimile for Thresh? Thresh! Thresh's mechanics would have allowed Yellowstar to bring TL to his team while providing better CC. Unfortunately, Yellowstar's Thresh stats aren't amazing.
  • Feel good about Hauntzer on Tahm Kench. Once Hauntzer got tanky and started taking care of Doublelift as basically a second support who could also do damage, the teamfights got much better for TSM. You've seen the fight that ended the game, but check out how much damage he absorbs here at 47:18; basically takes an entire culling to the face and lets his team get out.
  • Feel nervous about Doublelift. Doublelift finished 7/5/3, not terrible, but after the early gank on his lane, I feel like he was solidly outplayed by Piglet. You want his chemistry with his support to improve a lot over this game; maybe they should take shot calling away from Yellowstar until that happens?
  • Feel good about Svenskeren. I criticized Sven's map pressure a bit following their opening day loss to CLG, but he really improved in this one. His warding of the opponent jungle was exactly what a pick comp needed from their jungler. He wasn't spectacular, but he was solid.
  • Feel relieved about a win. Did they take out the nexus? Yes. That's good enough for now.

If you're a Team Liquid fan:
  • Encouraged by Dardoch's playmaking. I don't think TL brought Dardoch up and gave him Elise to have him play passively. Just a hunch. After all, he did have the first penta-kill of Season 6 (see it here). For the most part, he did his job which is to gank intelligently and look for places to engage. Remember, he's young and isn't the shot caller.
  • Same for Lourlo's Gnar: Lourlo played smart and safe in the early laning phase, using information of where the junglers were to stave off a dive at 19:05. When he got big, his jumps were perfectly timed - check this one out at 47:30.
  • Piglet's carry. His early laning phase wasn't great, but once he got the gank from Dardoch to turn the lane around, he never looked back. Fantastic positioning in the teamfights.
I'm so excited for the rest of this season!

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