Sunday, February 28, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, FOX vs TSM (Week 7, Day 1)

A few weeks ago, this would have been an easy #TSMWin call. But after a disastrous Week 6 from TSM and an incredible win streak behind Froggen, this game is even, if not tilting a little to FOX, who are undefeated the last 4 weeks. I honestly think this one is too close to call, but I want to give TSM the benefit of doubt - I think Hauntzer will win his lane and Bjergsen can at least keep Froggen in control. The latter has been unstoppable on Corki, and if you don't ban it away, I would actually pick a more utility champion for Bjergsen. Stay safe and support your team in the fights - they've been relatively good protecting Doublelift the last few weeks. As good as Bjergsen is, just don't give Froggen the 1v1 he has been looking for.

Picks and Bans - Unsurprisingly, FOX first-pick Corki and TSM respond with Kalista/Alistar - great combination. I'm not sure why FOX banned TF instead of one of this combo. In addition, this allows TSM to counter-pick all the other positions. TSM troll the Quinn into Malphite again before picking Nautilus - that will work! But now I think they have to pick a ranged champion for Bjergsen in the mid, and that's exactly what they do with the last-pick Orianna. I love it. Orianna is such a solid champion, she stays safe and brings a ton of utility to teamfights. TSM just want their solo lanes to draw even and have Doublelift shove in with Kalista vs. Keith's Lucian (I excited to see Keith's Lucian again!). FOX have more siege but both teams have strong teamfight tools.
Early Game - It looked like standard lane swaps, but Phreak pointed out something after the game. Hauntzer shoved in his bot lane after the turret went down, which is the correct way to bounce the wave. If you switch back, shoving allows the wave to push back towards your duo lane when they arrive. If they trade, killing opponent minions faster reduces their clear speed on the trade. FOX were less than halfway done with their turret by the time TSM finished theirs, allowing TSM to shove the wave further and get Rift Herald. And FOX don't even get the turret! A small misplay, but something that should not happen at this level. For TSM - I like that they're playing a smart, easy game. This is what they need. They lose Hauntzer to a big FOX gank a few minutes later, but capitalize by pressuring the other parts of the map and eventually get 1st Dragon off a coordinated play with Bjergsen going big on Froggen. FOX are losing each lane and down in CS across the board. Keith can't pressure Hauntzer's Nautilus and not getting that bot turret is a disaster.

27:25 - All the consistent early game pressure allow TSM to group mid with the outers pushing. Bjergsen already had the turret low and TSM get out safely even without Hauntzer, their primary tank. FOX try to respond with Dragon at 28:30, but once they see Hauntzer TP in, I think they should have disengaged. Instead they stay, all the squishies are caught in the Shockwave, and TSM win the first big fight. I continue to like TSM's comp - tanks, peel, and a strong ranged damage dealer in Orianna to go along with Doublelift's Kalista.

32:00 - TSM dive mid but Yellowstar is a bit out of position and FOX call to fight. But Hauntzer is just so tanky - Does he even lose health in this fight? Froggen tries to use the package across the team but misses Doublelift and it's another teamfight win for TSM off superior execution. Hard died without using his ult to zone the team and the exhaust on Keith was again on-point to reduce his damage. TSM almost get two turrets but Doublelift hilariously dies to the bot lane turret after the team worked so hard to keep him alive. From here, TSM methodically move from turret to turret.

From there, TSM take a Baron and push with those minions to win the game. The gold differential was too much. TSM drafted well and played around their champions - Bjergsen's ability to engage was notable. Echo Fox showed that they have ground to catch up in terms of mechanical skill. Not only was the tower trade a snowballing disaster, their teamfight mechanics were a step below those from TSM.

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