Sunday, April 3, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS, REN vs FOX (Week 9, Day 2)

One of the more interesting games of the day. Renegades are playing with attitude, and their prowess in the early game is finally starting to snowball into wins for them. That can help them against Echo Fox as long as they don’t get sucked into a long laning game which allows FOX to get what they want: late-game all-in teamfights. I think this game means more for REN and despite the record disparity, with Seraph in the top lane, I think they win.

Picks and Bans – This was a very questionable phase for Echo Fox. After first-pick Lulu, FOX respond with Morgana/Jhin – is it wise to reveal your duo that quickly? Especially with Kalista banned and Sivir available? Their next two are Nautilus/Lee Sin; that’s a lot of eggs in the Jhin basket without seeing the REN duo. REN follow Lulu with Gragas/Corki and Sivir/Trundle (LOVE). Before FOX’s last pick came out, I already liked the REN draft more. More damage, more utility, ability to take Nautilus tank stats away… last pick Lux isn’t going to save them.

Early Game – Very strange early game where FOX go for a very aggressive start and 3-buff REN – but they don’t take the turret in the lane swap! REN are finished with theirs by the time FOX get the bot lane to half, and are forced to abandon it. This isn’t a disaster, but it’s an immediate gold lead for the team that consistently gets leads anyway. Fun chase at 24:15 looks over when Gragas and Corki show up but a long-range Lux laser snipes Seraph for First Blood.

26:40 – REN make a coordinated, decisive play to dive the bot lane and get Keith. That allows them to grab the turret a few minutes later. FOX try to get them with the Jhin ult at 27:50, REN turn it, but lose the extended fight 2-3. FOX have pulled even in gold via the kill lead, but REN have more map control. That control allows Crumbz to roam through the FOX jungle and help finish the mid turret at 38:20.  It’s a strange feeling that a game so close stat-wise is so suffocating for FOX. Then again, it’s a REN game, so this could go on for a while.

Yup – The game stalls for basically the next 15 minutes. Instead of grouping as 5 round vision control and the threat of Lulu/Gragas ultimate engages, Renegades split Seraph out as they’ve done since they’ve gotten him. And FOX, instead of splitting out the lower-econ Nautilus, relying on Morgana to keep Jhin alive, and looking for picks, group mid again and again, eventually taking down the outer turret, but giving up any semblance of return pressure. This is why these teams are in the bottom half of the #NALCS. FOX do pick up a kill here and there, but no objectives.

54:30 – Seraph is caught by Lux/Jhin chain-CC, bursted by the laser ,and makes it out of the range of the Curtain Call before going back in and getting sniped. Crumbz, trying to take shots for his top laner, goes down, as does Freeze on the backside. That’s a Baron for FOX – finally an objective off a pick. Renegades have a lead but with how the waves are pushing for REN, I’m not sure the can get an inhibitor with this. A nice Gragas ult blows up Big a few minutes later and FOX get only the midlane tier 2 with Baron buff – while giving up their own. The Baron play ends in negative 327 gold for FOX. This game is going to be a while…

59:05 – This is a pretty extended sequence. REN use the Sivir ult to try and catch Big but don’t get him. But forcing him to fountain means they can siege mid with the poke comp. Keith pulls out his ult to push them back from turret, but that also makes him immobile, and REN do a great job kiting. Ninja valks out of the Lux ult and Crumbz blows kfo into his team for a kill on the primary FOX tank. On the hunt is up and REN use that to turn the fight, taking down Hard, Big, and Keith as well. The death tiers are so long past 40  minutes and REN win the game.

Wow – 4 wins in the last 3 weeks after such a long losing streak. What composure from Crumbz and his team to stay in this and fight for a tie with TIP in the standings. They may be slated for the relegation tournament, but playing like this, we should see them back in the Summer Split. Sure, the midgame wasn’t clean, but once they got to the power level they wanted to reach and grouped as five, the initiations and teamfights were crisp. And showing the grouping style with Seraph, a natural split pusher, is big. For FOX, they were the Cinderella story a few weeks ago, with an outside shot at playoffs with Froggen in the lineup, but they need to figure out how the lane phase. They picked good waveclear, but the meta is so focused on hitting midgame power spikes – you can’t consistently let your opponents hit those points before you do and rely on extended farm to even the difference. I felt like FOX lost the draft, and once they got behind with Jhin their main source of damage, there wasn't enough presence away from the ADC.

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