Saturday, April 16, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS Spring Split Playoffs, IMT vs TSM (Game 1)

I’m not going to lie – it took me a while to digest this series. I mean, in short (minor spoiler), it wasn’t close. But it was a much different game than we’ve seen either of these teams in the regular season and even lately. A lot has to do with not knowing which TSM to expect: the team that wasn’t on the same page so many times this year, or the team that out-jungled and out-rotated C9 as a team. I predicted #IMTWin in 4 – even though they’ve lookeda bit off for a few weeks, their ability to pressure the map in the macro game is matched possibly only by CLG. Time after time, they’ll give up kills but not pressure with the lanes constantly pushing. But honestly, if Svenskeren can continue to play above his weight class, anything could happen. And as Doublelift mentioned, just tilt them.

Picks and Bans – IMT first-pick Corki; feels like it’s for WildTurtle. TSM have their choice of top laners and go Kalista/Graves, with Graves I think for Hauntzer. IMT should go Lucian and a support and indeed get Lucian and Karma. Karma support is fine but we just saw such great Karma mid from Fenix, it’s a little disappointing not to get more burst out of her. TSM return with Braum (given) with Lulu – they are going back to the protect Doublelift lineup, which was a disaster in the regular season, but really strong against a better ADC in C9’s Sneaky. Whoa – IMT lock in Jhin/Gragas – what is going on!?!?!? Is this top-lane Lucian? Is Huni out of his mind? And TSM can counter pick it! They go Maokai for more teamfight utility. Wow. IMT have picked an extremely squishy comp with a lot of shields. Can Karma protect all the ADCs on this team. Oh my goodness – it’s 3 ADCs into Braum. I don’t even know what to think. If TSM can get to the midgame without being down, it’s going to be very hard to stop them from taking Baron.

Early Game – Swapped lanes though Reignover strangely gets 3-buffed by Svenskeren. Gragas’ clea risn’t great but it’s a good play by Sven. He gets some of it back on the second leg of the swap by ganking Hauntzer, who was caught in no-man’s land. Huni TPs down to help on the kill and position himself for the turret take, so he’ll have to play a bit conservatively for now. Unfortunately it was Adrian that got the kill. TSM shove the lanes, set vision, and get a very early Dragon for free. And Svenskeren gets the IMT red buff AGAIN. IMT do get some turret damage by shoving lanes and rotating as 5, but it is a very slow game that benefits TSM.

41:00 – IMT just can’t get any damage on Hauntzer, who is going to be very scary soon. Huni is going to take a LONG time to scale and Yellowstar’s Braum has been very good so far. Engage at 45:30 also results in nothing – Hauntzer stops the Curtani Call but TSM blow both TPs.

47:00 – Pobelter takes the mid lane ouer but is in some trouble with Hauntzer roaming down. Good gamesense for Reignover to be there too and he body blocks the Graves ult before exploding Svenskeren into the turret for another kill. That was a good call by TSM that was dismantled by Reignover. IMT roam as 5 to the top lane and get the tier 2 there. This comp is working, but TSM cannot be dismayed down only couple thousand as they take the IMT mid lane outer (at the cost of Svenskeren’s life).

48:40 – IMT take that as a cue for Baron. I know the jungler is gone and he doesn’t have great mobility to get there but the Baron does a TON of damage this early. Huge shield from Karma keeps everyone alive while Yellowstar just goes WAY too deep into the pit. He was trying to shield for Bjergsen and Doublelift but where is the unity on the call? It’s fine if he’s just trying to steal with his tankiness, but if that’s the case, the rest of the team must be prepared to exit. You either steal or fight, not both, not down in gold and members! Doublelift goes down quickly, Hauntzer goes 1v4 instead of protecting Bjergsen and both die as well. Wow, a disaster for TSM and Baron on all 5 IMT members. This is the type of Braum play that has plagued Yellowstar the whole year.

50:40 – TSM do a nice job catching the IMT play before it happens. They wait in a bush and jump on WildTurtle and Adrian. Classic TSM. Pobelter takes the midlane tier 2 but TSM do nicely to rotate up and take out Huni as well (did lose the inhibitor turret). This is the coordinated play we need from TSM! The buff is off 3 members and IMT fail to take an inhibitor off the Baron play. And Maokai/Lulu will still scale VERY well. The problem? IMT still have control of the map and all the waves are pushing.

53:15 – There that Maokai goes. That is one bad tree. Damage from multiple sources without a tank or way to peel (aside from the Gragas ult) means it’s a 2 for 1 for TSM. After a long chase the IMT look to have disengaged, WildTurtle pops ult and Huni rushes forward to give him vision. But that’s too far – Yellowstar blocks some damage and TSM pick up Huni and Adrian too. This is huge – TSM have, for the first time, taken advantage of their comp vs IMT. And IMT, having a lead the whole game, over-reached and didn’t play correctly around their advantages. By the way – those advantages get real slim if they can’t split push safely, even with the Baron buff. After feeling the game was close to over, it feels like either team could win. Amazing.

56:20 – Wow. I don’t know what the call from IMT was. They call in Huni’s TP (prematurely to me) and decide they need to teamfight their way out of this? Corki package, Lucian ult, Jhin ult, all go for naught, barely tickling Yellowstar, Hauntzer, and Svenskeren. I don’t know what Huni is thinking walking so far forward but he runs into a tree, exploded by shotgun shells, and IMT are forced to run. Wild growth on Maokai? That’s scary. Pobelter, Reignover, both erased, and TSM go for Baron. That teamfight was just a disaster for IMT – they lay some poke but they don’t have a chase team – they should be kiting or sieging. Instead, Hauntzer gets the perfect, Lulu-empowered initiation and TSM are in firm control of this game. I knew before the game that if TSM could get to 30 minutes down less than 5k, they had a chance to teamfight their way to victory. Well, they are alive and ahead with the Baron buff.

That’s it. IMT hold out for longer with good side wave pressure (the best in NA) and poke, but a desperate 5-man roam for the top lane inhib ends in catastrophe as Reignover can’t disengage TSM on the chase. I can’t say I’m surprised – I’m absolutely shocked. Not that TSM won, but the way they did. They won the draft, came back from an early deficit, and Hauntzer and Svenskeren flat outplayed their Immortals counterparts. Most importantly, once they got to 5v5 teamfights, they looked completely coordinated. Immortals – I don’t want to say that they’ll tilt, but this is very worrying. They’ve been playing squishy comps for the entire split and constantly won despite some teamfight losses. They’ll need to try something different, something every team has to do in best of 5s, but not something they’ve been particularly good at this split.

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