Wednesday, April 6, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS Spring Split Playoffs, C9 vs TSM (Game 4)

I still think C9 can come back in this series and get to Game 5, but playing the way they have been, I’m not sure that TSM can’t be considered an absolutely elite team in the #NALCS. It feels like C9 need a whole revamp of their strategy into a teamfight comp, which is going to be tough to do facing elimination. Zirene’s comment about Hai not placing wards was on-point – they had no vision in Game 3 and lost member after member. I went #C9Win but didn’t feel good about it at all.

Picks and Bans – I agree with Jatt that C9 need to either pick Maokai away or ban it. They show Yellowstar and Bjergsen respect with Janna/Zed bans after a standard red-side Nidalee ban. I'm not sure about that. Taking Zed away was smart and Yellowstar's Janna has been excellent, but support bans give TSM a LOT of options. With Nidalee gone, TSM first-pick Gragas, who hasn't been good for Svenskeren. He was 0-4 in the regular season on Gragas with a 1.84 KDA, and Kindred into Gragas is okay if you pop ult after he does. C9 respond with Azir/Corki – that’s a decent counter for Maokai and indeed indicates a shift to a teamfight comp. But showing your damage this early? TSM return with Graves/Brauminteresting! I expect Hauntzer to play Gragas; Yellowstar can also get redemption on Braum (1-6 regular season record, 2.04 KDA). C9 pick Poppy/Kindred which I'll have to admit, I'm let down by. Those two aren't winning you the game. TSM return with Kalista/Vel’Koz – whoa! That’s a lot of poke into Azir. C9 last-pick Morgana, who’s been very good for Hai. This will be fun.
Early Game – Hauntzer indeed gets Gragas. The fighting starts from the opening bell with everyone trying to lay damage. Rush shows bot (reversed lanes) at 13:55 and Rush blocks the Hauntzer escape and there he goes. That’s a great start for Rush. They call in Balls with TP advantage at 16:45 but Yellowstar does a good job staying alive. I don’t know about that gank so close to turret. Svenskeren and Bjergsen try mid but Jensen gets out nicely too. TSM now have caught up in CS and have a TP advantage of their own. TSM try the mid lane again at 18:30, don’t get anything, and Sneaky gets Bjergsen back with the package at 20:15. Good start for C9, who will scale well.

20:50 - TSM catch Rush with a strong rotation but then Hauntzer TPs under a turret and dies himself. They make a strong rotation at 22:40 to back Hauntzer; Rush tries to counter but TSM have 4 members and Rush should have turned around. C9 try to dive mid but Svenskeren and Yellowstar both roam very early to meet it and they get a return kill on Jensen. TSM are rotating so hard and seem like they are much more coordinated than C9.

27:00 – C9 siege bottom and get it, but a 4 person fight breaks out and Hauntzer interrupts Balls’ TP. TSM flat out-execute C9. Yellowstar does a good job of blocking without taking too much damage while Svenskeren comes around the side on a defenseless Jensen. Bjergsen sits in the back and pops his ult, killing Rush and Hai after the lamb’s respite wears off. TSM are exorcising their Kindred demons. Then for good measure, Hauntzer solo-kills Balls in the top lane. Hai’s Morgana has been invisible.

30:40 – The gold lead is only 1.5k but with turrets dropping everywhere, I feel like C9 need a big play to get back in this. They collapse mid and take the turret. On the way out, TSM engage with Yellowstar and Svenskeren and it looks like a mistake for TSM. They use all their ults to kill Hai, getting out of the Soul Shackle, but with 3 members down to half HP. But the Braum ult splits C9, leaving Jensen all alone to die while Hauntzer wreaks havoc on the other side. Rush goes down, Balls does down, and TSM head for Baron. Sneaky makes a valiant steal attempt but dies for it. C9 didn’t have enough damage with Rush arriving late and Jensen isolated; they are falling further out of the game. This is a different TSM.

32:40 – C9 try to flank and Jensen separates the TSM duo lane, allowing Sneaky to catch Doublelift on the package. But Svenskeren solos him and C9 lack damage again. Sneaky takes down Doublelift but he and Rush dies to the long-range Vel’Koz ultimate. Another 4-1 for TSM and Svenskeren is dominating at 7/0/5 – It is almost unbelievable that he is shutting down Rush this hard. TSM are fighting much better behind Hauntzer and Yellowstar than C9 are around Balls. TSM continue to roam as 5 and are unstoppable when they play this well together as a team. Fights at 34:00, 36:00, 37:15, and 39:50 all go TSM’s way with the gigantic gold lead. TSM take the nexus in under 30.

This was a crazy series. After playing like disparate pieces all year, TSM finally coalesce behind a teamfight identity that was just straight better than C9’s. When both teams had the teamfight comp, TSM executed better. They peeled better, tanked damage better, zoned better, set vision better, and most importantly for them, closed the game. it’s encouraging that in this lineup of stars, they got star performances: from Hauntzer on Maokai, Bjergsen on Zed, and Svenskeren on Nidalee and now on Graves. It’s going to be hard for IMT to pick against these guys.

For C9, I don’t know what happened. They didn’t play the fights correctly and Balls, Rush, and Hai were invisible at critical moments. It seemed like once TSM knocked them out of the pick comp, they were grasping at straws as for how to make plays. Like Bjergsen and Doublelift said after, it was like the old TSM with 5 members camping mid and C9 just couldn’t shove them out of it. They didn’t make the right adjustments after games 2 and 3 and paid for it in game 4. They need to find a fallback from the bloody, pick style that they’re used to and I hope they make that adjustment in the summer.

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