Monday, March 7, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, DIG vs TSM (Week 6, Day 2)

Using the off week to catch up on missing posts from the NALCS; my goal is to have the rest of Weeks 6/7 and the opening rounds of last week's IEM tournament (feat. CLG and TSM) up before Week 8.

Dignitas fell apart in the second half against NRG on Saturday while TSM lost a well-fought match with C9. For TSM, though, I liked how they focused on keeping Doublelift alive on Kog’Maw, and for the most part, they were able to execute that strategy. If they play together and move as 5 again, this is a win. Dignitas would love a pick comp that spreads TSM out and finds individual members face checking, an annoying TSM habit that they haven’t yet solved. Svenskeren and Kirei have both been a bit shaky – I think this is again the key matchup.

Picks and Bans – DIG start with Corki (standard) while TSM hovered Graves along with the Lulu before going with Gragas. Svenskeren was fine on Gragas vs C9, but I like the damage from Graves a lot. After seeing Lucian/Alistar (my favorite bot lane combo in this meta), TSM go back to the Braum/Caitlin well. That’s something Yellowstar/Doublelift have obviously practiced a lot, but I’m unconvinced with their play on those champions in competition. Zirene talked about Doublelift’s creative use of traps, but I’m more concerned about her relative lack of mobility. Then they give Hauntzer Quinn against Malphite, which is also interesting. They were a bit forced into a damage dealer, but it’s a tough matchup.

If you’re not sure what wave-bouncing is or how it works, watch the first 6 minutes of this match commentated by Zirene. At 16:00 Kirei fails horribly on the gank and dies while forcing BillyBoss’ flash. Kirei is killing this team. That results in a kill on BillyBoss at 19:00 (really nice play by Yellowstar). TSM are playing safe and still have an advantage; Doublelift is using Caitlin's range beautifully.

27:00 – TSM control vision, trade turrets, and pick up a kill on the way out. The only mild critique I have so far is that they tunneled a bit to take the mid turret down while I feel they should be splitting Hauntzer out more. On the other hand, they are afraid of him getting ganked, so that wave coming towards their nexus isn’t terrible. It just makes me wonder a bit about the Quinn pick.

30:45 – I don’t know what is going on. After Hauntzer played so safe for much of the game, he is caught in no-man’s land and TSM lose two for nothing plus a turret. Still, Doublelift hasn’t died and the calmly lay the siege on the DIG tier 2 mid. I still worry about their lane management - they should be pushing waves with Hauntzer's mobility, not trying to group. If they are concerned about Hauntzer, they need to give him Yellowstar/Sven on his side and trust the other 4 members to stay safe. They’re never going to start a siege unless the waves are pushing. This is the problem with Quinn into Malphite...

35:45 – after an extended dance in the middle of the map, KiWiKiD engages on Svenskeren and Yellowstar, knocking both up and ruining their day. Doublelift and Bjergsen areon the wrong side of it and are taken down. That’s a free Baron for DIG. This Quinn pick is killing TSM.

38:30 – DIG split with the buff and get a mid lane turret before focusing on the bot lane inhibitor turret. They do a good job keeping Kirei alive for a while but BillyBoss flat whiffs his ultimate after TP’ing in. Now it’s DIG on the run and TSM turn it into three kills but are unable to knock down a turret. All the waves are pushing in and their inability to split someone to waveclear is killing them. Because of the split, all those kills just bought them time and a bit of map control. They need even more to threaten turrets. DIG misplay it a bit, but are smart to split – I see a hard time for TSM winning unless they are able to win several teamfights in a row. DIG can avoid those fights and run TSM around the map since Quinn is not  a threat.

41:30 – Look at the map. Not two minutes later and DIG have control of the waves again. BillyBoss uses Malphite ult on Doublelift, which only works if they can take him down; they do so, barely while Svenskeren fails to kill (would have been different with Graves/Elise). TSM put everything into Doublelift and didn’t have a backup strat.

That was basically the game. 2 straight games, TSM have tried the Doublelift carry strategy, and it fell apart for them both times. The first time was a bit unlucky – GP barrels can do that to you if you let him live and group. But in this game, they were constantly trying to defend him 4v5; Quinn was useless in that goal. The comp just didn’t jell with what TSM looked like they wanted to do. For Dignitas, it takes discipline and practice to execute the split push, which can be difficult if the team are not on the same page. This is a big step for them as macro play is what separates the cream at the pro level.

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