The biggest game of Week 5 Day 2 in the #NALCS. As I’ve written numerous times, with Hai, C9 have one of the most balanced rosters in the NA. And even though they lost, Dignitas acquitted themselves well against Immortals in the Saturday game by roaming for kills, going over-aggressive, and mucking up the game. DIG didn’t get any objectives for their trouble and were never really a threat to win, but against a machine like IMT, maybe that gives you a shot. I’ll be interested to see if C9 try to go straight-power (3 ADCs, all AP, etc.) and try something crazy.
Picks and Bans – IMT get Nidalee first pick and Rush goes with Lee Sin. I like this! Lee Sin wants to gank all over the map and so does Nidalee. This should be a fun early game, especially if they show up in the same places. Then the moment we've waited for: Jhin comes out for Sneaky! Like many, I’ve seem him play a lot of Jhin in solo queue, but this is crazy! But oh man does IMT get a ton of power with Lux, Kalista, and Quinn, but they have a bunch of squishies. If C9 can get past Braum's shield, they have some good tools in teamfights and sieges.
12:30 – right away WildTurtle goes after Sneaky. Nothing happens, but surely a sign of things to come. WildTurtle seems like he wants to shut to Jhin so badly that he’s never played again. That mentality got him in a bit of trouble last game. Can Sneak capitalize? No! At 13:20, WildTurtle and Adrian are waiting for him and get First Blood a minute and a half into the game! This allows them to shove the lane and lets Reignover into the C9 blue side jungle. But the Reignover First Blood streak has ended.
16:20 – The action in the bot lane does not abate! Hai does a good job zoning IMT as fate’s call is not up, and they get Adrian. But the early pressure from Reignover means he is invading the Blue side jungle again and seeing Rush up top, roams down early to take out Sneaky. It’s unfortunate for C9 that Sneaky can’t pick up the kill on Adrian while WildTurtle is getting fed. Then less than a minute later, Balls solo-kills Huni up top. That took onions! Sneaky and Hai come back to lane and go for an immediate trade again, forcing a flash from Adrian. I like this a lot from C9. Muck it up. Take them out of their game and try to get someone to tilt, and then bait them into a dive.
18:50 – Reignover is living in the C9 jungle and that is a dead Lee Sin. C9 get revenge on him but IMT roam up for a big fight. Everyone disengages but this pace is just insane. The difference? IMT are still pushing waves and getting turret damage.
20:00 – Huni gets ganked by Rush and goes down, but Reignover is there again. How does this guy do it? Before we can answer, the fight is now back on in the duo lane. WildTurtle tunnels on Hai and barely gets that kill before Jhin reloads and takes him out. But again, IMT’s superior rotations allow them to get an extra kill on Jensen in the midlane where he thought he was safe under turret. This game is nuts!
23:00 – No time to breath. Reignover shows in the top lane but Balls dances around it well. Pobelter is caught but he and Huni stay alive long enough for Reignover to roam down and kill Rush again. All while Adrian and WildTurtle are in the C9 red side jungle – wait what!? They do some fancy dancing to zone C9 and take out Balls. There still is only a one kill differential between IMT and C9, but again, IMT have more turret damage and now lead 2 to 0 in turrets taken. They constantly have the lanes shoved and have kept up vision of the river, allowing them to take Dragon and Rift Herald and eventually trade top lane tier 2 for their bot lane outer.
29:00 – Facing a significant gold deficit, C9 make the call to go in behind Hai, who headbutts Reignover into the team. IMT don’t have a tank other than Braum, and he is taken out by the long-range Curtain Call! C9 win it 3 for 2. What a play from Hai and Sneaky. Problem? They still can’t get damage on turrets and Huni/Reignover pick up an easy kill on Balls in the top lane.
31:45 – C9 finally punish Reignover’s positioning, kill him, and head for the mid turret. Immortals come to push them off but C9 are positioned well behind Hai and Balls. They have an advantage in these objective-based teamfights due to their two tanks. Jensen and Adrian are the first to go down before Sneaky pulls out the curtain call. One shot, two tanked by Pobelter of all people, but Huni walks the wrong way and is sniped. Rush and Balls go in on Pobelter but not before he roots them for WildTurtle to pick up a 1 v 3 Triple Kill. An Ace for Immortals! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?!?
35:15 – C9 have the superior teamfight comp but can’t get their wave down the mid lane. Sneaky used a blue trinket to spot the bush but Hai strangely decides to face check in and gets rooted. He burns a lot of spells getting out (rather than flashing) and IMT use that to go hard on Jensen. Adrian is killed but with Balls and Rush out of position, Huni comes from the side and kills Jensen. WildTurtle and Reignover go 2 vs 4 on the rest of C9. Hai tries to buy time for Sneaky’s Curtain Call but Reignover smartly flashes to stop him after a single shot. WildTurtle keeps chasing and gets the Ace + Baron for Immortals. C9 have the better comp but Immortals did a better job positioning (Huni flank) and prioritizing targets.
38:30 – Even with a 12k gold lead, this is too aggressive from Huni onto Rush. He dies 5 v 1 but never fear, Turtle is there! The team follow and return 4 kills onto C9. WildTurtle is 11/1/7 at the end of that fight. The rest of the game was textbook Immortals – lots of power, tons of poke, and well executed sieges.
I’m a bit speechless after this game. This was definitely the best game of the NALCS so far. C9 have to feel a bit defeated – they had strong draft, made good calls, and were so close in the teamfights. But it never felt like the game was in their control. I completely agree with Phreak’s statement after the game that Immortals constantly rotated faster and took down turrets outside the context of the teamfights. But C9 showed a lot of good things (Jhin!) and have to feel encouraged that they got so many kills on IMT. And IMT can feel like they're tunneling too hard to kill, but the team always backs up aggressive dives. In the NALCS, IMT are a machine; I’m hyped to see them in internationals.