Friday, April 8, 2016

LoL Analysis: 2016 NALCS Spring Split Playoffs, TL vs NRG (Game 2)

It’s hard to see how NRG get even a single win after that game 1 performance from Liquid. Of course, that’s the same way we felt about TSM/C9. But I think Liquid get this in pretty straightforward manner. What NRG can do is not play scared: pick carries, make rotations, and try to get Liquid to respond at least once or twice. And for goodness sake, find an answer for the duo lane.

Picks and Bans – NRG start with Graves which is a good flex with Gragas and Nidalee banned. TL go with Maokai/Janna – Lourlo is really pushing his champion pool and NRG need to respond with early game poke. Varus would be a smart midlane pick. They instead go with Gnar/Sivir, which is better than Game 1, but I still don’t know if Gnar is enough damage in that top lane. TL go with Lee Sin/Kalista – that is extremely scary. Wow, it looks like 4 rotations in, TL are winning the draft again. NRG finish Lissandra/Alistar – that’s a lot of teamfight again but can they group as 5 and find the right engagements? Can they coordinate the TPs and use of ultimates? How are they going to survive early game? TL last-pick Azir with no threat of getting poked out of lane.

Early Game – NRG get the lane swap they are looking for. But after the turret trade, TL swap back for a duo lane freeze in the top lane. At 14:35, Piglet wins another trade with Altec. But NRG decide to dive anyway? What? Both junglers show and the top laners TP as well. NRG should have just disengaged after losing the trade, but they decide to follow Impact’s lead. He doesn’t quite have Mega Gnar though and is forced to flash out – that’s First Blood again to Lourlo. NRG then try to push (WHAT!?) but it’s a 3v4 and Moon dies as well. Dardoch kick with no turret is a dead Sivir. Losing Impact without Mega Gnar is unfortunate but what was the rest of that play??? I mean, I wrote that they need to force the issue but the issue is not to lose trades and tunnel. At least NRG roam for a kill on Lourlo a few minutes later, but give up pressure in the other two lanes to do so. Moon is up in CS but Dardoch is the one making plays in lane. This is less of a disaster than the previous game, but still a disaster for NRG.

19:55 – GBM roams down to support Impact for a kill on Piglet – smart seeing so many TL members top. But why are you giving up a kill on KonKwon when you know the play is elsewhere? NRG act as if they didn’t expect Dardoch to be in the top lane and are forced to give up the cow. And Fenix takes a turret. You can play a very safe midlane when your jungler is a step ahead everywhere else.

23:20 – Impact goes on a merry journey through the jungle to try and gain mid but it doesn’t work against Azir’s mobility. NRG actually have all 5 in the mid lane but instead of camping it like with a 5v4 advantage (Lourlo in the bot lane), they retreat and give up pressure. Sure there are waves in the side lanes to catch, but the gold deficit is 5k and growing. NRG take a turret a top lane turret at 25:00 but don’t catch a big wave bottom and give up their tier 2. Altec and KonKwon are unable to stop a solo-pushing Piglet – that advantage for TL is enormous.

27:15 – NRG pull the trigger with Sivir ult into Lissandra ult and a TP from Impact. Dardoch walks out of the CC and a TP from Lourlo means TL get the turret. NRG try again at 32:20 and this time the TP is synced with Mega Gnar. Impact flashes over the Emperor’s Divide and Fenix is bursted down. That’s a lot of cooldowns gone though and Lourlo uses his ult to go back in.  NRG manage to catch Piglet but Dardoch is unchecked on the back line. He gets GBM, Moon, and Kon Kwon. Impact barely manages to kill him with a boomerang. They take the mid outer but are still far behind in the game. TL just didn’t engage that fight cleanly – Lourlo and Piglet were late and funneled in one after another instead of together and Dardoch missed a couple Qs.

34:05 – More fighting, this time in the jungle. NRG manage to take down Piglet but the Azir ult has them pinned against a wall and everyone goes down except Impact. Impact makes a valiant stand, klling Fenix, then Dardoch (preventing a Dardoch Penta Kill), but Matt and Lourlo together are too much. TL can’t take an objective with so many dead but another fight comes at 36:40. NRG are distracted by Lourlo while GBM is flanking; he is forced to ult himself and pop Zhonya’s, but is killed by Fenix anyway. I think GBM was trying to take the claw but got interrupted and forced to ult in a bad spot. NRG are forced to kite backwards and Altec misses a crucial auto attack. Clean Ace for TL and Baron. That is the game.

I feel like NRG have slammed into a brick wall. They got to some mid game fights down only 5k in gold. But TL played the fights better and had the extra gold from turret after turret. Dardoch was dominant on Lee Sin, showing why he was my 2nd ranked jungler in all of NA. Impact actually had a good game matching up against Lourlo, but he can’t hold turret against the entirety of TL. They crushed the lane swap, rotated better and Piglet beasted. None of that is going to change in Game 3, no matter what comps these teams go with.

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