So hyped for this! I've been waiting for a long time to see how NA teams fare in international play and see if 2016 is the year they finally stop disappointing. ESC are a Challenger team, but crucially a Challenger from Korea who won the 2015 KeSPA Cup, taking down SKT T1 and CJ along the way. I was a bit surprised that the desk favored TSM after the pick/ban phase with only Monte sticking with his Koreans. I think this will be a very good test for how well TSM can truly coordinate this meta.
Picks and Bans – Agree completely with the desk – I feel Ezreal over Lucian was a mistake. Ezreal has tools to stay alive once he gets some mana, but Lucian can bully him so hard in the lane phase and Doublelift/Yellowstar have not been 100% coordinated in how to keep the ADC alive. You need only to look at their performance against Piglet’s Lucian in their last #NALCS game to understand what can go wrong. Ezreal is a fine champion, especially for midgame teamfights, but they are really going to need Sven to camp the duo lane (or swap). Bard/Lucian is so strong in lane.
Early game – the first play starts at 8:30 – Ever have gone with a defensive start where TSM are hard invading the red. Ares spots Sven and Doublelift in the river but not before Crazy runs into Hauntzer and Yellowstar. Crazy is run down for First Blood onto Doublelift, even after burning his flash. Sure, Yellowstar burned both flash and exhaust, but this frees Sven to camp the duo. Good start for TSM – I think it’s important in international play to try hard invades and other non-standard starts. Then at 9:30, KeY and LokeN have to know they are standing on wards. Instead, they walk into the jungle (with vision), but Yellowstar is ready and they almost pop KeY, burning his flash as well. At 13:45, with both ADCs backing, Key tries to make a play on mid but doesn’t know he’s on a ward (and Ares had just shown bot) - that’s a dead Bard. TSM look more together and better technically.
15:50 – Straight outplay by Hauntzer who has been very impressive so far. Not only did he survive an early gank without jungler or burning his flash, he knows Graves was on the TSM blue side and has a timer on him. TF comes in but so do Sven and Bjergsen. Hauntzer out-duels Ares and it’s a 3-0 for TSM. I understand Fiora is a problem as a split pusher, but I think the better strategy for ESC is to gank the weak TSM duo lane, group, and force Fiora to abandon her lane.
19:20 – Dive on Loken and Key can’t be answered because Crazy’s TP is gone. Bjergsen freezes them under turret and wins the fight 3-1 for him. Then for insult, Ares sticks around despite knowing 5 members of TSM are around and that’s another kill for Hauntzer. I think he expected them to head straight for the tower, TSM understand they can take the turret at any time. Fiora is the priority. A better play at 21:30 is Crazy trying to stay alive while his team rotates to the vacated mid lane – there you go! I write all the time about not tunneling to save dead people but taking something else on the map instead. TSM goes up 2-0 on turrets but at least now ESC have some places to get theirs as well.
24:40 – Bit of a misplay by Bjergsen to flash in on Loken since TSM would have taken the mid turret anyway. Agree with Deficio – you need to stay patient on TSM’s side and commit to the Fiora split push. And then another Doublelift mistake at 29:30 – They don’t need to group for this tower. He stays in the lane 1v3, gets caught by CC and dies. This is not what they want! You give up a ton of pressure on the bot lane and will take a few minutes to press the lanes again – exactly what ESC want.
32:30 – TSM take the mid turret and Ares, but ESC make a good stand at their top lane tier 2, forcing a back from TSM. Again, this gives ESC time to reset the waves and stall the split push (Bjergsen goes down at the back end to boot). This is the difference between TSM and IMT – IMT maintain that laser focus on pushing the waves to allow for easy tower takes after fights. At 35:00, TSM again try to dive a turret, which is not the right move! If you see ESC rotate to stop Fiora, you give that up and dive top. They lose Bjergsen and Yellowstar for nothing and Loken is SUPER fed. Agree completely with Deficio – what are TSM doing??
37:55 – Better from TSM keeping Hauntzer in the bot lane while they rotate top – that’s a dead turret. But Crazy TPs behind the team and forces Hauntzer to match. Yellowstar is given up as the sacrificial cow and I thought TSM would just try to disengage, but they don’t have that tool without Alistar. Instead they lock down key with good positioning and Doublelift at the back (Bjergsen peeled Crazy off his ADC). Then Ezreal gets Graves, then Loken (after Hauntzer hit all his vitals), then TF, then Nautilus and it’s a PENTAKILL for Doublelift! Crucially, Hauntzer is still alive and that is a ton of turret damage. It should be easy now – stick Fiora in the bot lane, force 2 ESC members to match, and shove mid.
41:10 – Oh I’m nervous about this one. They run to the Baron while Hauntzer is in the bot lane without TP. This should just be a bait, right? Yup, Hauntzer comes up but it’s just a bait and the minions have taken down a nexus turret. Then they run back up to the Baron to bait for a kill onto Crazy and critically, a little more damage on the second nexus turret. They play the next few minutes very smart – bait, take an turret. Bait, take an inhibitor. Bait, kill Ares. Run them around the map. Easy.
44:20 – Not so easy! TSM really want the Baron now (not sure why). They kill Ares and head for Baron without the threat of the smite steal. But ESC are still dangerous in a teamfight. Sven and Yellowstar are already low and Yellowstar is popped immediately. Hauntzer, who’s been so good, tunnels onto Tempt but Crazy does a good job jumping back and forth to tank damage. All of a sudden there’s no protection for Doublelift and it’s an Ace for ESC!!! They run up the midlane and after losing almost all their members, take down the nexus!
TSM really threw this one. They had complete control of the game and were onto nexus turrets even without the Baron buff and they still tunneled in on a teamfight. Long scene of theme hashing out problems afterwards with Hauntzer very vocal. This is going to be a tough one to come back from. For ESC, this was a badly played game but they had the stronger teamfight comp and found a good teamfight. Not getting anything from the jungle Graves should have been the game for TSM. Man, Poland is crazy.