Wrapping up Week 7 of the #NALCS before I move onto #IEM replays!
TIP have been struggling more and more over the last few weeks, and need to find a team comp that all 5 can play together. Feng is especially struggling with his gamesense and the casters are right to wonder if they would be better off with Seraph. TL have had moments but need better performances from their solo lanes (and possibly Dardoch in his support of those lanes). Can they elevate their 5-person macro play, which failed them in their last game against IMT? I think playing TIP will help (along with the sports pysch they picked up this week) and they’ll keep pressure on the resurgent FOX and TIP for the last playoff spot.
Picks and Bans – TL answer first-pick Nidalee with Corki/Kogmaw, which I love. Kogmaw is ridiculous in this patch and I love giving it to Piglet and putting the onus on him to stay safe and the team to keep him safe. They will be challenged to rotate all over the map while trying to protect him, but that’s the type of game they need to succeed at to be taken seriously in the playoffs. TL also last-pick Nautilus for Lourlo, which I also love – one tank with a support Janna is not ideal for Kogmaw, but Lourlo at least will stay safe. TIP have a ton of pick and rotation potential to try and catch Kogmaw with TF; this will challenge that gamesense that I wrote about earlier. I agree with Jatt that I like the TL draft a bit better, but if they fall behind, it could snowball pretty hard for TIP.
Early game – Aggressive jungling from the Nidalee means a nice early gank onto Lourlo which he detects and smartly walks out of. And then Procxin goes back in at 23:15 and dies to the turret for First Blood! This is the perfect start for TL. Procxin did not need to tunnel on that kill – the little start that Feng had on Malphite should have been enough. Then at 24:30, somehow Matt and Piglet get the jump on Mash and Gate and TL clean up another 2 kills. A terrible flash from Feng a couple minutes later is a death on him. This is scaling quickly for TL and may mean a quick game. TIP’s averaging a gold deficit is not going to do against this Liquid comp. Procxin losing the early buffs has allowed Dardoch free run of the map.
There were some fun fights from here (29:30, 38:40, 43:15, 45:30) but the Liquid lead was too great. Lourlo played a solid game and Matt and Piglet again showed good synergy. In a war of struggling top laners, Lourlo solidly outplayed Matt who made several mechanical misplays on Malphite. TL still have some things to clean up – they tunneled too deep a few times and their wave management wasn’t exceptional (realize this is a fighting, not split-pushing comp). Still, they play the teamfights intelligently and played their comp well. As for TIP, the early death from Procxin really did them in. Outside of the duo lane, they continue to struggle and still need to find a comp that works for them.