Monday, July 18, 2016

LoL Analysis: NALCS 2016 Summer, CLG vs IMT (Week 4)

While CLG have stumbled out of the gates, IMT have continued their strong, dive-focused play. They still have the best lane management in NA (all respect to TSM), and they have the tools to punish CLG where it hurts - the midlane matchup between Pobelter and Huhi is key to this entire series.


Early Game – IMT win the early game via strong control around TF in mid, which is a bit unexpected given their playstyle and comp. But that attention has a cost – Huni is far behind Darshan, and CLG played those fights close to even. A strong rotation at 12 minutes nets them a kill lead and a plus KDA on Darshan’s Jax, which is already becoming a problem. IMT like to pressure all waves and one way to get them out of that pattern is to group faster than they can (and before losing a turret). They continue roaming around the map, getting a gold lead and summoner after summoner from IMT. That gives CLG the mid outer at 22:30.

28:00 – Pobelter escapes but at the cost of many cooldowns. They chase mid but are split on the fight – a lack of team target prioritization means nobody gets focused down. Pobelter dies almost immediately and Turtle is on the front line. Darshan can’t finish Reignover for the Ace, but CLG get Baron and have full control of this map and this game.

That’s it. IMT put everything on Pobelter, he fell off, and they could never get the side lanes in their typical pushing positions. Fantastic team play from CLG, who got great performance from aphromoo and Darshan, reminding us what they can do on pet champions. I could see another Bard ban coming at aphro in the next game.


Picks and Bans – IMT heavily targeted Huhi in the ban phase of Game 1, and I’m not quite sure why. Huhi has yet to show he can carry a game on anyone. This time they take Jax away from Darshan and Karma away from Huhi – that’s smart. Karma has damage on her own but is one of those utility champs that can empower her team. Could we see another utility mage for Huhi? Nope. It’s Azir. Oh boy. Huhi’s Azir was a mess at MSI – can he provide his team strong waveclear and protection (and not die?)? I think that’s the key to the game: Huhi’s Azir vs. Pobelter’s Vladimir.

Early Game – Lane swap started as an advantage for IMT who pushed the turrets down faster, but after the double turret trade, CLG make a strong rotation to the top lane tier 2 and get that turret for free (they saw Huni in the vicinity). But despite that gaff, Pobelter has been adequate on Vlad in the mid lane and almost takes down Huhi’s turret in under 13 minutes. From there, Immortals play a very patient game, splitting and shoving waves, and building a methodical gold advantage. 3 Ocean drakes allow them to trade and pull back and in a complete 180 from the previous game, they playe a very controlled style that gets them turret after turret.

22:00 – IMT bait around the Ocean Drake, which would have been their 3rd. It’s a bit unlucky for CLG, but a strong TP play from Huni is a dead Stixxay and an inhibitor for IMT. But CLG make a bad call to have Xmithie taking down the Dragon – Huni goes back in on a 5v3 and they get even more kills! Darshan tries to TP flank but the problem is IMT have no plans to leave! Xmithie can’t save his duo lane with his ult, Pobelter and Huni layer the spells perfectly, and Stixxay does a good job kiting Darshan. IMT can’t end but this game is over.

CLG just can’t play Azir. Huhi was completely ineffective, and that small advantage for Pobelter in the mid game eventually snowballed.


Picks and Bans – Guess what? CLG go right back to the Huhi Azir well. Okay… Darshan’s Fiora is a fun champion to watch, but she’ll have less impact that Lissandra in teamfights and needs to get ahead or the game will be very difficult for CLG to win. On the other hand, Stixxay’s Jhin should pressure WildTurtle’s Ezreal early, but I just don’t love the comp CLG have picked. Xmithie and aphromoo are going to have to pull off some god-like roams to snowball their carriers.

Early Game – Yeah, this went about as well as I imagined. Pretty standard laneswap to get Ezreal away from Jhin. Xmithie is farming the top side jungle and Huhi gets bopped before 3 minutes. Wait, what!? What a well-conceived cheese from Reignover, knowing Huhi wouldn’t have an escape. Viktor bullying Azir is happening, and it’s not supposed to. Huhi walks back to lane and is immediately met by Reignover AGAIN! Yes, Xmithie roams down to pick up a kill on Rek’Sai in return, but this is turning into a disaster for CLG. Meanwhile, Huni is laning effectively against Stixxay and Darshan has nothing going at his top lane turret. Actually nothing would be an improvement as aphromoo gets caught out of position and then Darshan dies under turret and Stixxay dies to a gank in the bot lane and what is going on?! CLG invested a lot in trying to get Darshan ahead but that death gives Huni and Pobelter huge leads. Huni is up 30 CS at 7 minutes and this entire composition is falling apart.

Immortals play the rest of the game very cleanly. The early kills were nice, but I loved how they set the game into one they could lose. Living in the CLG jungle with vision, play the split again and again, and trusting that their gold lead would finish the game as long as they stayed patient. They did make some mistakes and Darshan got big enough to 1v1 Huni, but the rotations were crisp and Adrian/Reignover were on-point with their roams. That’s the opposite of what CLG needed and that’s why IMT are still the better team.

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