Picks and Bans – Lots of jungle bans and TL grab first-pick Gragas. NRG respond with Maokai/Lucian – that’s okay with Sivir gone. TL counter with Janna/Ekko which is very strong. TL should want to push the pace and not let GBM or Altec scale up for late teamfights. Janna is so good in lane early and Ekko is a great assassin pick against Maokai. Big question: can Lourlo pressure Impact without getting ganked and have enough gamesense to use Ekko as intended? This guy got most improved off of tanks (Nautilus and Poppy), this will be a big test for him against a former world champ. NRG go with Trundle/Rek’Sai – that’s interesting! I love trundle support, but there isn’t really a tank on TL for Trundle to counter. TL finish with Kalista/Azir for teamfight utility and NRG last-pick Orianna, which is going to give them a lot of teamfight with ball delivery. Still, they are putting a lot of eggs in GBM and Altec and that duo lane will have a “gank me” sign on it.
Early Game – Well that’s not a good way to start. NRG invade blind to get lane swap vision and are seen by a TL trinket. Liquid collapse and catch Moon with 100% kill participation. For a team that needed a good start to scale their carries, this is a disaster. TL interrupting the recalls and swap into a very strange early game where Lourlo and Matt are in the bot lane while Piglet is alone in the top. NRG try to dive the bot lane, fail, and call Impact to TP into the top to face Piglet? A few minutes later, both teams swap their duo to the top into Aussie lanes. This is where the game ends: Piglet just punishes Altec. Again and again, Kalista wins trades and NRG snowball that advantage into global map pressure.
That’s it. That was the game. NRG could not force the right lane swap, fell behind in all lanes, and gave Dardoch free reign to show wherever he wanted. Sure, they caught him once in the jungle on an overaggressive gameplay, but several other times, he would rotate to lane, see Moon on the other side of the map, and help take a turret. Rinse and repeat. Moon basically had to guess which side they were going to target. It really was that simple, and had almost nothing to do with the early First Blood. Of course, crazy things happened along the way, not least of all Moon somehow stealing Baron at 53:35, but they actually end the Baron play down in gold. TL win the game in under 30 with no turrets given and only one death.
TL can play this game 3 times and roll to victory. NRG desperately need an answer for the duo lane. I have been saying this for ages, but Impact needs to play a split push, carry champion that can win lane and force Dardoch away from the duo. Someone like Fiora or Jax or anyone that can give NRG even one winning lane. Maokai is great for later teamfights that NRG will never get to because they will never to that stage even in gold. Same for Trundle support – one of my favorite, but you can’t lose the lane hard against a shoving Janna/Kalista. NRG are playing scared, and that's not going to help them against superior talent.