Saturday, February 13, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, IMT vs TL (Week 4, Day 2)

I was super excited for this game in Week 4 of the #NALCS. Immortals showed some macro issues in their win vs. C9 – if you extend them long enough, you might be able to win an objective-based teamfight since they play a squishy comp. And Team Liquid might have the shot to do it – specifically if Dardoch can match Reignover’s aggression and Piglet can carry.

Picks and Bans – This got a little crazy. Both teams heavily targeted top lane in their bans with IMT banning Poppy, Nidalee, and Graves, all champions they’ve been good on. They first pick Lulu, which is curious, since Pobelter has been so good as a carry champion. TL do well to get both Elise and Kalista following with Corki/Maokai to keep Lourlo safe. The IMT draft finishes with Rek’Sai, Caitlin, Ekko, and Janna. IMT look like world beaters but this is a very strange comp with poke, catch ability, and some teamfight utility. TL have a more classic CC-based teamfight comp which has been effective in the meta in other regions, but requires a ton of coordination. They do have a lot of waveclear and midgame options. This is one of the better drafts against IMT that I’ve seen so far.
The early game was all about TL heavily targeting the IMT bot lane with Piglet and Matt engaging aggressively (burning 3 of IMIT’s summoners early) and Dardoch spending a lot of time with them. I think that strategy was smart: snowball a lane you think you can win. TL have a clear mismatch at the top and giving Maokai to Lourlo in the top lane should make his job easier/safer. WildTurtle has been on fire but Piglet is amazing as well.

On the other hand, the time Dardoch spends helping Piglet allowed Reignover to get a big lead in the jungle. Elise is a strong ganker with cocoon, but giving the jungle over despite her fast clear is a bit of a letdown. Some bad positioning from Lourlo allows Reignover’s First Blood streak to continue. Still, I think this is ok for TL. They can survive a few Lourlo deaths as his utility will come later in the teamfights. They just need to survive until then and importantly, out-executed Immortals. Only TSM have really been able to win teamfights against IMT and that obviously didn’t end in a TSM victory.

40:00 – The first big fight. After getting their jungle taken away time and again by Reignover, TL have vision on Huni pushing up the bot lane and try to take IMT’s blue. Matt is caught a bit and Huni TPs in behind them and the chain CC start from IMT. Huni ults to save himself, Reignover knocks up three with un-burrow and Adrian splits the team with his ult. TL do a good job understanding that they have initiation and note kite and go back in, killing Reignover. But WildTurtle was untouched in all of the preceding and IMT chase for an Ace. The post-match stats indicate WildTurtle dominated, and he did, but a lot of this was setup by his teammates carrying.

42:20 – TL make a good call here. After losing 5 for 1, they come back aggressive and dive on the IMT top lane. They are well positioned to survive the Janna ult and take down Pobelter and two turrets (though trading their own bot lane tier 2 to Huni). You can’t sit back against IMT and these are the calls they need to win.

From here though, IMT do a better job making calls first and the game was played out in TL’s jungle. I really like this style for Reignover – he’s so aggressive and can make game-ending plays for both teams, but having the heals, shields, and buffs from Lulu/Janna really makes him better. IMT take Baron at 49:30 off a disjointed call from TL – Lourlo and Matt went in without support, get caught by the Janna ult and TL lose three. Overall, I thought TL had the right idea – they picked a good comp, got good individual performances, but just couldn’t meet each other 100% on the calls. Meanwhile, IMT went in and out as a team and supported each other perfectly. That, more than anything, is why they’re undefeated through Week 4 (and Huni/Reignover are undefeated since 2014). 

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