Out of the playoffs, both Renegades and Dignitas teams are looking for silver linings and comps that work for their teams. Both struggle transitioning from the early lane phase to midgame shotcalling and rotations. I want to go against the records and say #RENWin but it really could go either way.
Picks and Bans – Like the first-pick Nidalee for Crumbz, who has struggled. Nidalee is simple in concept – hard farm and show up early to lanes. DIG respond with a smart Kogmaw/Braum – Apollo is their best player, smart to build your team around him. I expect Lucian/Alistar for REN and they get the Lucian with Nautilus who may be another solution to Kogmaw. DIG go with Viktor/Gragas, who are fine picks, but I wonder about their ability to keep Apollo alive. REN end with Graves/Lissandra to try and pop the maw – that means Nautilus support! DIG smartly finish with Poppy for additional protection.
Early Game – Standard lane swap gets a little funky as REN shove their wave to try and go for to. Hilarity ensues. Not sure if they lost focus, but at 16:10, they’ve lost all their minions on the bounce and the turret is not dead. Rather than attack the turret, BillyBoss tries to run away and he is killed, and then KiWiKiD follows him! It’s not a total disaster since REN are only able to shove the top wave. REN transition to Rift Herald… which kills both Crumbz AND Hakuho. Crumbz started the Herald too early and was chunked down heavily. Uh… this is a LCS game right? Don’t worry, Crumbz gets his revenge a few minutes later. Yeah.
The teams trade a few kills over the next few minutes with REN camped in the top lane and DIG in the bot. However, REN have superior waveclear across the positions. DIG would love to group but they can’t lose an inhibitor while doing so. That results in a 3 tower lead at 13 minutes. But Apollo was able to get some early solo experience and is even in CS with Freeze.
The game stalls over the next few minutes as REN don’t have great siege tools when grouped. A failed flash from Crumbz (see it clearly at 34:55) cedes more kills to DIG as well as the mid lane outer. At 39:30, REN call a fight in the midlane but Shiphtur cleanses the initiation. BillyBoss TPs in, is stunned and killed. DIG lose a fight without Apollo ever joining. Crumbz, despite a litany of misplays, is still outplaying Kirei’s Gragas. Still, they are unable to push past the tier 2 turrets with a very squishy comp. Lucian is a power pick but a Caitlin would have been great for the siege.
49:00 – Alex’s flanks again and this time is able to flash W and ult himself before getting stunned. A Nautilus ult and Graves shot means a dead Kogmaw and Poppy falls not long after. REN have to go for Baron. Kirei makes a halfhearted steal attempt but a good ult by AlexIch freezes him outside the pit. But they have an inferior teamfight comp and are reduced to split pushing the lanes, which takes nearly all the time on their buff. The only objective they take is the midlane inhib turret. I am a bit disappointed, but this is the comp they chose. Crumbz makes a smart play to threaten a backdoor on the midlane inhib to prevent DIG from shoving mid.
55:10 – A TP flank from Kassadin forces the Braum ult, but Alex sees it and doesn’t follow the claw. DIG make the call to follow the Braum ult but Apollo was already low. Alex comes back in, Apollo can’t stay, and they lose 3 members. Hakuho wisely sacrifices his life to interrupt Shiphtur’s recall because the rest of his team are in the DIG base. They take down both DIG nexus turrets but lose AlexIch and Crumbz on the way out. Viktor and Kogmaw is a LOT of damage! REN retreat but are we going to see a backdoor?? It’s an undefended Nexus!
DIG rotate all members to the open inhib on the REN top side. Freeze and Hakuho put enough damage on that DIG call BillyBoss in on a TP. 57:10 is the end of the game… for Renegades! As soon as Seraph respawns he TPs in to the DIG base! The rest of his team go for broke to interrupt the backs. Shiphtur makes it home but not before the nexus is taken. What a win for Renegades!
Despite being on a Challenger team, Seraph has worked magic for two teams now in the NALCS, and Renegades may want to give him a longer look (Update: REN have now traded AlexIch for him and Ninja, which is a bit sad – more below). This was such a fun, back-and-forth game. At first it was REN that couldn’t press their advantage, and it looked like DIG would teamfight their way to victory. It took two straight strong initiations from AlexIch on Kassadin to catch DIG in bad locations. As for Alex – it’s tough to go down to Challenger, especially when his kill participation is 2nd among all NA midlaners. Sure his KDA sucks, but that’s a symptom, as well as a cause, of being on a 10th place team. I like that they got Seraph and probably had to give up a starter to make the trade happen, it’s just tough that it had to be the guy that’s gone through a lot over the last 2 years to make his LoL career happen. Rooting for you Alex!