LCS All Stars: A Jade Reflection



Tue 28th May 2013 - 10:25pm

A Jade Reflection

I did not play my best this weekend.

That's the first thing that comes to mind in immediate hindsight regarding the all star event.

Our ban/pick strategy:
We were pretty much forced to pick Ryze/Diana/Karthus first rotation due to the lack of champion pool that I brought to the team. That was probably the biggest weakness in our drafting is that the team didn't want to run Gragas/Zed due to being uncomfortable, and I didn't have any other blind pick mid op champions (Khazix/Jayce/TF).

I think this is unacceptable, but it's something we had to deal with because of how I structured my own personal practice for playoffs and relegation matches. We had specific champions we practiced for one specific bo3 or bo5 and the other champions I tried to pick up at the time didn’t end up working out for the team. Due to this and the fact that I didn’t catch on to just how incredibly strong Kha’zix or Jayce was in the current game forced me to play catchup.

Had we even had another champion pick available, we would have opted for more focus on Jayce/Rumble for Dyrus which is just the most effective ban/pick route on that specific patch.

The rest of this will be breaking down the game from my standpoint pretty much alone. I tend to focus a lot on the laning phase because if your laning phase is bad, you won’t even get to the later areas of the game, and it’s something that’s very valuable to give insight on.

Games vs China

Game 1: I played Ryze middle versus Zed.
From the start of our bootcamp, I kind of expected to know exactly the champion Misaya would pick in our games. His champion pick is fairly predictable, and WE's ban/pick strategy is typically having their mid pick early so they can counterpick the other lanes. Even if his pick isn't first rotation, he typically never saves his pick for last.

This game was a combination of matchup inexperience and taking the wrong summoner + item build.

This matchup is one I actually lacked a lot of practice in. For some reason, there really weren't many Zed players in NA (even pre-nerfs) that played mid lane. We started scrimming with the allstar team mostly on the post-nerf Zed patch where none of our scrim partners played the champion at all.

This made me unsure of how to open against a good Zed player. I tried to rectify my weaknesses here last-minute by 1v1ing Dyrus three or four times the day of the match, and because of this I settled on a very defensive item opener aka cloth + 5 health potions. This build at best can only let me split the lane against Zed, which is a champion that can push and roam much more effectively than Ryze. To counter Ryze's weaknesses of pressure on the map, most Ryze players take TP to be able to control the mid lane while still having constant pressure across the map. I decided to take Ignite to try and pressure Misaya mid, but I chose a very weak item opener to do that. I should have gone mana crystal + 2 pots with Ignite and punished Zed for weak early level power or alternatively just started cloth, 4 health, + 1 mana pot, and teleport, so I could cut off the eventual gank I knew would come top lane. I got baited to start cloth armor because of my inexperience with the matchup as well as the AD combination of the jungler (Jarvan), the mid lane (Zed), and the threat of a potential 1v2 middle. I knew in advance that their 2v2 would want to follow ours since they had the counterpick, so even in the worse case scenario I had to run mana crystal against a 1v2 middle lane, I could just know my ADC would outscale theirs while I would just call for Saint to either dive and 3v1 their solo lane or hold middle with me to stall the game for Vayne + Ryze.

I played the early game ok, being only behind ~12 cs by lvl 6, but I knew the gap would just steadily increase over time unless I could put kill pressure on mid lane. I had my Flash blown by a good Jarvan gank and then randomly walked into our left side middle with ward coverage on Misaya and died. This caused Misaya to snowball the lane and without Teleport the game was pretty much just me hoping we could go into a late game team fight because our late game was disgustingly good with Ryze + Vayne.

We stole Baron but ended up losing the game due to some communication/positioning errors.

I think this game was the game I performed the worst in general positioning.


Game 2: I played Diana vs Ryze mid.
This is a matchup I really like to play. Almost no Ryze knows how to correctly take advantage of this matchup. Misaya actually ran extremely greedy runes (no armor) that let him play the matchup as best as he could have with a mana crystal start and Teleport. I'm actually surprised he wasn't afraid of a 1v2 middle.

I played the laning phase correctly by constantly shoving in prediction for our three man dive bottom. I knew he would look for it, and if he TP'd bot, He would have lost half his turret health as well as two or more waves on the dive. I took Ignite to put pressure on the mid lane so he could never move past mid river and forced an early TP middle at ~lvl 4/5 so he would have zero pressure on the lanes while I had all the roam potential. To be honest, TP was also a good choice here.

He just slowly got his mid tower chipped away while farming under turret which Misaya did a great job at. In the meantime, the team itself was doing a great job getting objectives that I felt like I didn't have to look to make plays on Diana. This was a very lax and bad train of thought, but ultimately not the reason why we lost this game. We ended up trying to end the game incorrectly by Baron baiting instead of getting all the outer turrets and then warding their red jungle for catches.

The dive bottom was incorrectly communicated and just a stupid idea in the first place. This was our game to win, and we ended up throwing it enormously.

For improvement, I should have just looked to coordinate more dives with Saint and pressure top a lot more to speed up the early game. I should have been more impactful in the early-mid transition.

Score against China: 0-2.

Against Europe

Game 1: I played Karthus bot vs MF and Elise.
We came into this specific game to 1v2 middle against TF. I had the better 1v2 champion but even then it was a really big risk to give TF to another team. Alex ich started a very poor 1v2 item build (boots + 3) and played the lane incorrectly taking way too much free harass when he could have settled to just have an experience lead on me.

I had one significant misplay this game. At level 5, I was equal cs with middle lane with higher turret health but lower experience due to the fact that you can't really zone xp as easily middle lane as you can in a longer lane. I had about 2 waves coming into my turret at this time. TF hit 6, and I felt pressured to equalize our experience and moved up too far to try to get xp + cs. I should have just stayed at turret and waited for the cs, but I got greedy and didn't flash a Cocoon from Elise, and I lost about 2 waves, the bottom turret, and my flash. That was an awful play and goes to show that a lot of times, you should really just be happy not dying and getting xp in the 1v2. Because of that play, they got better bottom area control, and I lost about 15-20 cs after I had to back off the turret.

At this point. I made the decision in freezing bottom lane, and waited for someone to come bottom. TF came and underestimated karthus laning with blue buff and was forced to flash after taking a significant chunk of his hp. That allowed me to reestablish control of the lane and force MF to come back bottom because it was way too dangerous for TF to farm it until he got more items and his summoners back up. We again got baited by Baron and almost wasn't able to close out the game even with a disgusting kill advantage.

I probably played the team fights the best this game.


Game 2: I played Karthus vs Jayce Mid.
This matchup is an interesting one that favors Jayce until Karthus can get items.

Our level 1 strat went straight to the gutter as soon as I ended up having to flash and using 2 of my 5 health pots at lvl 1. I was able to equalize my lane to even cs till my flash came up, but we started on a back foot due to that blunder. This was really problematic because he started a really greedy dorans blade build that I could have punished with an early lvl 1/2/3 all-in but I was too low to correctly punish his build in the early levels.

The biggest problem this game was that I just missed a lot of CS in lane. This was probably the first time I've ever missed so much CS on Karthus before in lane with barely any Jayce pressure. A lot of my games with Karthus I end up pulsing E along with Q spam to get the CS in lane. However when I tried it this series, I ended up missing 2 cs a wave for 10~ or so waves. It was ridiculous. That on top of the fact that Alex was farming more jungle minions than I was really set me behind in terms of farm and therefore impact for the game.

I also made a misclick error in a mid team fight when I flash exhausted a Lulu instead of the Jayce. That was tragic.

I eventually rotated from flash diving their double adc backline to just playing killing the front line because I knew Doublelift could outcarry their backline if our front line was still alive. A good example of this was the Baron fight where Doublelift gets a pentakill, I spent a lot of my time trying to position to damage their front line but making it so their back line couldn't engage on Doublelift.

As soon as I hit 6 items, I just flash went on EU's backline and killed everyone because Karthus is a silly champion.

Score against Europe: 2-0

Against Korea

Game 1: I played Ryze vs Kennen top.
Going into this series I kind of expected Karthus bans. It's just a champion that can do too much for the effort you put in with him, and he's incredibly flexible in terms of laning and team comps. By now most teams know the champ pool I went into this series with was fairly limited so it was a pretty easy option to choose.

In the pick and ban phase, we had already messed up. Doublelift picked an adc he didn't want to play, and we tried to deny Ryze from the enemy team and gave Dyrus Diana, a champ he's never played before in scrims. Honestly his Diana play wasn't even the problem this game, it's just the first thing you learn to do in real games is not to deviate too far from what you've practiced.

Somehow we also executed our level 1 horribly as well. Our 1v2 mid started with an xp disadvantage. The same thing happened to top lane. It was really bad communication.

Ryze should beat Kennen top starting crystal with ignite pre-6. I was playing the lane correctly and ended up picking up a kill on Cait because she messed up and had to run out a very silly way. With a kill advantage and about 250g on top of the Kennen, I made a horrible decision to shove the wave and back before the wave fully pushed onto the enemy turret. I thought he would take way more damage tanking the 3 waves than he did and it cause the wave to be frozen in a bad spot for me. As I came to lane with tear + ruby against his double dorans, I tried to force harass on him and make the lane shove back to my turret.

What happened is lack of matchup experience in the long lane. Both players were level 5, and I used my full rotation to chunk the Kennen to ~40%. In the long lane, you really can't use your only CC doing that though against a Kennen. He ended up lightning rushing me to get close and all-in'd getting a long range stun shuriken after I flashed away. Had I saved my W for his Lightning Rush, there was no way I could possibly die. You win the matchup by slowly chipping the Kennen out. I died here and lost 2.5 waves on my turret. Then I follow this bad play with rotating bottom to replace Dyrus. I don't really remember who made this call (it was probably me), but this was a horrible call. Without Flash/Ignite and being behind, there's no way I can stop the Rumble from 100-0ing me. I should have stayed top lane against Kennen and just played a better spacing game knowing both players had no flash and Ryze actually has an advantage in that lane as long as Kennen can't close range. As soon as I touch the bottom wave, I thought Rumble based and died in a horribly obvious way. That + Ezreal going 0-5 or something sealed the fate of the game. Dyrus actually performed the best this game with Saint but it doesn't matter if your two carries are behind by that much. I was XP and gold starved at this point, and there was no way a team as good as Korea was going to give up their stranglehold on that big of a lead.


Game 2: I played Diana vs Caitlyn and Thresh middle.
We expected they would copy their previous game level 1 where they invaded our red and dropped 3+ wards. The problem with this game is that Doublelift didn't want to stand in tribush because of thresh hook pressure (which is fine), but it wasn't properly communicated to Dyrus where to stand, and he pretty much died for free.

Even after this blunder, we were able to successfully late invade blue and force their jungler to start behind by about 30s, which is really big. On Diana, rather than invade, I should have just solo'd wraith camps and then went middle rather than being late to middle and having Cait have the XP advantage on me. We knew based on the late blue start that Saint would be stronger than the other jungler and just coordinated some good ganks on the side lanes.

The lane was really boring. Not much to talk about. I started cloth 5 because I knew they’d 1v2 mid.

A big problem was just that me and Dyrus should have swapped summoners. Dyrus could have crushed Ryze 1v1 with Ignite but was forced to play a farm out lane against a better late game scaling champion. I had no use for my Ignite early due to 1v2, and by the time I lane shifted to bot lane, Teleport would have put more pressure on the map than Ignite.

There was a period where I got froze on when I shifted to the bot lane by Kennen. I tried to do something silly like take double golems. What should have happened is we 5 man the top portion of the map while Kennen tries to freeze bottom and take control of their red buff area as well as put pressure on the top and middle areas to force Kennen to unfreeze to help out his team. I ended up losing about ~20 cs for that. This was more of a lack of communication, in my opinion, than anything else.

I was confident in my playmaking ability and impact this game, but we as a team struggled to push our advantage into actual map control and lost off a poor bottom lane play + very smart Baron sneak.

Score against Korea: 0-2

From these games and my personal observations, I can deduce a couple of things to work on:

1) Limited champion pool: This was obviously a big problem in our bans/picks and caused us to have to ban/pick in a very specific and stupid way. If I had one single more blind pickable champion (ex. Orianna/Khazix), we could have looked to focus on prioritizing top lane (Jayce/Rumble) as well as Thresh (support king). This is something I’ll improve going into LCS, but had problems improving the one week of the all star bootcamp.

2) Inexperience in long lane: I shouldn't be losing favorable matchups in the long lane 1v1. This is just something I'll be working on in scrims so that we can rotate the lanes and play more similar to the asians. They just rotate lanes so they get favorable matchups, and that honestly is the best way to play the game.

3) Trading smart: Just splitting the lane shouldn’t be what any player looks to do. You should always look to win the lane and a lot of knowing how to do that is by understanding how to effectively trade. I just need to put in some serious time learning how to space properly in lane. The best way to play the lane is calculated aggression, and sometimes I shy away from trading even when I should be looking for it.