Picks and Bans – Jungle and top lane were heavily targeted in the bans and both Lulu and Kog’Maw are up. IMT first-pick Corki which gives NRG the ability to pick Juggermaw. Instead NRG grab Poppy and Elise – I heavily disagree with that combination in this patch. IMT return with Rek’Sai/GP – GP is great and Rek’Sai is a comfort pick for Reignover with junglers down, but again, no Braum, no Lulu, no Kog’Maw? I mean IMT are going to win this game anyway but this looks like a big strategic misstep that IMT can’t survive against a better team. NRG follow with Braum/Sivir, both great in this patch. Sivir is back with the new crits and Braum is so good if you can follow him and not leave him out to dry. Sivir just give syou so much teamfight utility. IMT lock in Lucian/Soraka which are perfectly fine comfort picks, but a bit disappointing.
Early Game – IMT, with aggressive pathing from Reignover, build a CS lead everywhere while NRG are content to take neutral objectives - that's dangerous when you go against GP and Dragon doesn't give gold. IMT are playing their game – shoving lanes and setting the pace, but again, I’m afraid teams will start to figure it out and the strategy will stall. IMT get the mid lane outer but are chunked super low and NRG follow with a mid turret of their own. Impact makes a crazy play 1v3 behind the enemy turret line and dies as expected.
30:00 – IMT start Dragon, NRG steal, but take a ton of damage and lose the fight. WildTurtle and Pobelter were untouched kiting around the outside, NRG were split from the start, and the awkward angle of engagement means Braum was popped super early. But Immortals head right for an equally risky Baron – death timers are still super short, homeguards just came up, and the Baron itself will do a ton of damage. GBM catches Soraka at the very edge of wild card range and NRG pick up a 3 for 1. Honestly, neither team should be going for Baron at this juncture. IMT just need to scale and NRG want to pick.
33:45 – NRG are able to pick off Adrian with an ambush in the midlane and push to the outer turret. Huni starts with a nice barrel chain to chunk them down a bit and then Reignover goes through all of Braum’s spells to dive the entire team by himself – and gets an enormous knockup! That allows the carries to kite on the outside GBM stuns the wrong target (Pobetler) with the gold card, Huni sets off a barrel chain inside his ultimate, and it’s a 4-1 and Baron for IMT! Popping Soraka is huge but NRG just don’t have the comp to siege. Their only zoning is Braum who has to walk within melee range to do so and has no escape. They should be trying to reset the side waves (still pushing for IMT) and catch in the jungle.
NRG did so many good things when playing their comp well and then gave up the game on two bad calls. They just didn’t have the comp to siege (a mistake), but if they can stay true to their style and comp, their game is at on par with the best team in NA. IMT didn’t play the cleanest of games, but the challenge of going against them is that you can win one, two, three teamfights and they are still in winning position with their wave control and pressure. And it’s good to see Huni’s fantastic game on GP, something IMT will need in their pocket for playoffs and internationals.