Picks and Bans – TIP first-pick Kalista, then Elise/Braum for a ton of pick potential and power in the duo lane. IMT start with a standard Corki/Gragas but go back to throwing out unique comps, this time with Jhin/Karma, then Ekko. TIP end with Malphite/Viktor. I like Viktor but can Malphite get big enough fast emough to be a teamfight initiator? Do they even want that?
Early Game – This was a fascinating phase. The good news for TIP: they kept even in kills! The bad news for TIP: they lost everywhere else. Like they have almost every week, CS, waves, and turrets, all went IMT’s way. But shoving Kalista under turret gave TIP multiple chances to gank the duo lane, and Procxin did an excellent job showing again and again (16:30, 19:00, 20:50, 22:20, 25:00, 27:00, 29:50). Unfortunately for TIP, the pushed waves and pressure elsewhere did not allow them to turn those kills into objectives. And when IMT responded with equal numbers, their teamfight was much cleaner. But a kill lead on IMT is no joke. Riv and Zirene criticized IMT a bit for giving up the kills, but I’m actually ok with it – early deaths can be offset by wave pressure and coordinated cross-map plays in the midgame. Ideally, the duo lane will have better vision control and knowledge of the jungle, but IMT’s aggressive style inevitably leaves them open for flanks. It’s a strategic choice; you can question whether that choice is wise, but it’s not necessarily a flaw in their gameplay. That choice nets them a 3-0 turret lead in under 20 minutes.
33:40 – The minimap shows everyone heading bot again. TIP spot Pobelter and escape out of the Corki package and blow up Adrian, but Hun TPs in and rekks Mash. Procxin misses coming down for the rappel and losing Kalista this early for a support is a problem. IMT chase and WildTurtle picks off Pirean, the Procxin, then Feng with long-range Jhin stuns. They are too low to take the inhibitor turret, but this is the power of the IMT teamfight. They coordinated their play so well – kiting together so Huni could have space to TP. At the same time, TIP did an awful job target switching once Adrian – instead of chasing the kiting carries, they went after Reignover and Huni.
38:00 – A pick on Procxin is Baron for IMT (replay of the pick at 38:25 – not even sure how Procxin died lol). That’s basically the game for IMT. They are too proficient at closing and Huni is a monster on Ekko. A Penta Kill for him gets IMT the nexus shortly after the Baron buff wears off. TIP - should be proud: they did the right thing in trying to snowball the duo lane. They don’t have a chance fighting on all fronts against IMT, and it’s better to choose one place to gank again and again. For IMT, it’s not a clean game, but shows off their strengths: wave management, coordinated team play, understanding of their comp. Turtle needs some practice on Jhin and Karma doesn’t provide great peel, but the still executed when needed. They’re not going to win every game without dying, and I think they have a lot to work with going into playoffs.