Saturday, March 26, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, TSM vs REN (Week 8, Day 2)

In a day of upsets, surely Team SoloMid can hold off last-place Renegades, right? Well, TSM sure things are never as sure as we think they are. Renegades have to be disappointed after losing a very competitive match yesterday, but a lot of what worked against C9 can work against TSM – rotating together as a team and punishing overconfidence.

Picks and Bans – This was the story of the match. TSM first-pick Lulu, which is perfectly fine. REN follow with Graves/Gragas, which means a ton of top lane pressure and teamfight. TSM follow with Braum/Jhin for their duo lane – as good as those two are, I think it's risky for TSM. Doublelift and Yellwstar already get caught - a lot - and even though Braum is the top support globally and an excellent shield for Doublelift, all of his abilities require him to walk to melee range without escapes. I question whether Alistar wouldn’t have been safer. For Doublelift, Jhin’s short auto range and lack of mobility puts him more at risk of dying unnecessarily. He’s shown he can manage that with good performances on Kog’Maw and he does have Lulu for move speed, but TSM fans should feel nervous. REN follow with Lissandra/Bard – they want to catch – and TSM finish with Elise/Trundle. I know Trundle has been a priority Pick/Ban all over the world, and he provides more protection for Doublelift, but I really dislike picking Trundle into Seraph’s Graves in this comp. It puts Hauntzer at a waveclear disadvantage and gives REN a clear win condition: avoid teamfights. All they need to do is trade turrets early, lane and pick, and they will have a tempo advantage. And then they add to their poke with a last-pick Caitlin for Freeze. I love this – she can duel at range with Jhin and has more siege potential. As long as REN don’t fall hopelessly behind early, they should be able to run around the map. TSM really need to push the duo lane and hope Doublelift can hard carry. We’ve seen this movie from TSM before and it usually doesn’t end well.

Early Game – REN just execute their comp perfectly and the game is basically over within 10 minutes. The extended trade that begins at around 17:30 with REN taking Rift Herald and ends with REN taking down the TSM top lane inhibitor turret – all a result of their superior early-game comp. Then REN pick up a few kills to boot (21:05 and 26:10 are perfect example of Yellowstar needing to sacrifice himself to keep someone safe). There are more fun things that happen in this game, but this was basically it – TSM ceded a turret advantage they could never make up and REN did a fantastic job setting up vision to move around the map while not getting in a teamfight. They did a great job of splitting Seraph or Ninja out and forcing TSM to run to and fro.

That’s it. TSM picked a horrible comp and were punished. As much as it’s fun to see them play these power champions and expand their pools, there's a huge gap between individual execution on champions and the team's ability to fit those champions into sensible strategies. From one perspective, this split is basically lost for them anyway and they should be tooling for the summer, but if they can’t even win again REN, the toolbox is not in good shape. For Renegades, it’s encouraging that after so many games building a gold lead and seeing it go, they play such a complete game. They snowball their early game advantage the right way and balance aggression and patience perfectly to take down TSM. What a way to build momentum heading into the last couple weeks and relegation tournament.

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