What we can learn from SK vs Fnatic

 

I’m Gentleman Gustaf, and welcome to my first ever game review. It’s hard to say when exactly these will come out, as the RoG posting schedule is already very full, but it will generally be a weeknight; typically a Friday. However, this one is replacing my usual Sunday post, just to get it out before it fades too far into the past. Today, I’ll be reviewing the nail-biter of a game between Fnatic, one of the original powerhouse LoL teams, and SK, a team that has always hung on the fringes, never QUITE breaking into the dominant teams, but always performing well. Here is the video of the game:

 

If you saw one game from IEM Katowice, odds are, it was Fnatic vs SK. I think this makes it both a weak game and a strong game to review. For players who already immerse themselves into pro gaming, this makes it a weak choice; of course there were more technically competent games which revealed more about the standard meta in pro-level play. However, to your casual spectator, I hope to use this game as an intro into professional League of Legends.

 

League of Legends doesn’t have the same spectator mechanics that a lot of games have; Starcraft 2, for example, has a lot of ‘did the other player see or realize that?’, where a player may rush for DTs/sneak an expansion, and the spectators sit in anticipation of whether or not the other player realizes it and gets detection/kills it in time. In League of Legends, on the other hand, the players can see (largely) what the other team is doing relatively quickly. You may be momentarily surprised by an item choice when a champion gets back to lane; you may be caught unawares by a gank, but you won’t be surprised to find out that the other team has a Kha’Zix, or that he built a Bloodthirster, or that he is doing physical damage.

But if you think there were no surprises in this game? Well, (and odds are, you’ve seen this clip) here’s how it ends:

 

So I think this match is particularly good for casual spectators because it is full of these surprises, these inequalities of information that are present in other e-sports.

As well, League of Legends doesn’t have macro and micro elements of the likes of Starcraft’s. Not to call last-hitting an easy mechanic, but you don’t have to keep last-hitting in the middle of a teamfight in the same way you would have to keep macroing during a fight in Starcraft. For me, here’s the difference. When I see a cool play in Starcraft, I think ‘man, I wish I could pull that off’. When I see a cool play in LoL, I think ‘why don’t I do that?’. In so many ways, LoL is more about knowing what to do than being able to execute it. Execution is obviously still important, it’s just not as hard

Or as SC1/2 player Flash says (memetically, at least):

But in this game, two or three times, I was on the edge of my seat to see who would micro better (again, I point you to that last scene).

So without further ado, let’s jump into the game!

Format

Just as a quick note, I've highlighted some of the following text blue or red to refer to blue team and purple team's picks and bans. Blue is for blue team, while red indicates purple team.

Bans

Malphite has been banned on-and-off; his ultimate is strong in team fights, he can build defensively and still pose a threat, and his jungling is very resilient. Top, he counters a number of popular picks.

Shen has been banned quite consistently since his rework (and the power his ult gives your lanes to be aggressive). He is a strong jungler and top, although he tends to be preferred top, for the early level 6 and his late game strength with a full build. However, in a pinch, he can jungle (albeit slowly), as his ultimate simply serves as added jungle pressure.

Evelynn has also been a necessary ban since her rework, with her % health AoE ultimate combined with the constant threat of her roaming causing her to terrorize other teams

Kayle is a bit of a new ban, but she has been shown to be very strong mid or top, having a brutal laning phase, plus great damage and utility late game, not to mention her ultimate.

Amumu is one of the junglers affected most positively by the S3 changes. His clear speed was hardly touched, because of his % health damage. His builds were made easier by the existence of Spirit Stone. His ganks are still strong because of his two ranged CCs. His team fight utility is second to very few champions. He is in many ways the quintessential jungle tank that was common a year and a half to two years ago: he might not go bully the other jungler, he might himself get bullied, but his ultimate is so strong that it hardly matters.

Finally, we saw a Lee Sin ban. This ban is a bit strange, but is still a good choice. Lee Sin has been at the top of jungle tier lists pretty consistently. His mobility and damage give him strong early ganks, and the new items (namely new Black Cleaver) have given him a slightly better late game than he previously had. As well, with the new focus on counter-jungling, his strengths are more and more amplified.

Picks

SK Kev1n: OlafOlaf is a good first pick. He’s a huge bully in lane, he’s one of the fastest junglers, and his late game is completely terrifying, because he becomes a tanky dive threat who can’t be peeled easily from the AD Carry.

FnaticRC YellowStar: Caitlyn - Caitlyn has been a strong pick since the S2 World Championships, when Azubu revealed the power of early pushing power. Her range and natural synergy with Nunu makes her a devastating turret pusher early, and very hard to reach late game, between her range and Movement Speed.

FnaticRC sOAZ: Kha'Zix - Kha'Zix is really a Season 3 champion. The new items and the penetration items allowed a few assassins to come to the forefront, but especially Kha'Zix. His ability to reset his W on kills or assists has put him in the same position as Akali was a year ago: his laning may not be the best against all champions, but he has the potential to snowball at any moment.

At this point, I am struck by a rather specific thought, not about the game, but about the casting. The casters seemed to think the Kha'Zix pick was headed to the jungle, because there's no way Fnatic would pick him against Olaf. I think this is probably because people have not quite adjusted to the mindset of the current meta, and are still thinking of top lane as a 1v1 lane. To me, the Caitlyn pick plus the pick of Kha'Zix (a weak laner) vs Olaf (a strong laner) immediately indicates a 1v2 lane. Why?

  1. Kha'Zix and Olaf are both farm dependent, but Kha'Zix will naturally pick up some kills, and can snowball off of that very easily. On top of that, because of his mobility, he doesn't need tankiness in the same way that Olaf does. As such, an underfarmed Kha'Zix would seem a stronger pick than an underfarmed Olaf. On the other hand, equally farmed, they both seem potentially equally dangerous, but Olaf could become hard to control because of his ultimate/CC immunity, whereas there are at least ways to shut Kha'Zix down.
  2. Kha'Zix will pretty much just lose to Olaf in lane. So not only will Olaf naturally have the harder-to-counter late game, but he will get there faster. Both champions will be exceedingly hard to gank post-6, so it would be very hard to reset this lane. If you did run Kha'Zix vs Olaf, you'd pretty much have to count on a successful pre-6 gank to equalize the lane.
  3. Cait doesn't have natural steroids, so you're typically going to pick her with a support who helps you push or who gives you steroids. Typically, this means nunu, although it could mean Lulu or Zyra. Either way, you're going to have incredible pushing ability, and should be able to out-push most lanes, so why not run a 2v1 and get an early turret or 3?

SK ocelote: Elise - The Elise pick caught me totally by surprise, and made me think Olaf was jungling, as we haven't seen much Elise mid. However, she is an INCREDIBLY strong laner mid or top.

SK CandyPanda: Ezreal - Ezreal is one of the best picks against Caitlyn because his Q gives him similar range, and allows him to poke back or farm safely at a distance, while having an equally mobile and more damaging late-game.

FnaticRC nRated: Zyra - Zyra is fantastic with Caitlyn, as I noted above; the plants speed your pushing, while the snare and ultimate make it nearly impossible to get onto Caitlyn in team fights.

FnaticRC Cyanide: Rammus - Rammus fell out of favor because of his weak clear speed, but his ganking is obscene. With Kha'Zix and the goal of early turrets, the strong ganking is very powerful, plus he is a tank who doesn't need much farm; this allows the top pick to build damage to start without weakening team fights. It is an unorthodox pick, to be sure, and I'm not sure a Maokai pick couldn't have done just as well, but Rammus' 'free' tankiness does give him one advantage as far as turret diving and early ganking goes.

SK HyrQBot: Cho - Cho is a super stable jungler, and his silence is a very strong choice for shutting Kha'Zix down. He can also put some pressure on Rammus via counter-jungling.

SK Nyph: Janna - Janna has very strong peel for Rammus, not to mention a shield to prevent Kha'Zix from jumping around off of kills/assists; keeping somebody alive for another second could be enough.

FnaticRC xPeke: Kassadin - Kassadin solidifies the team-comp for Fnatic; they have 3 very strong gankers (Kha'Zix/Rammus/Kassadin)

Compositions

Fnatic goes for a very specific and specialized team composition: they have very aggressive, early game champions which are capable of roaming and ganking, and a very heavy-pushing AD/support lane. The constant threat of ganks from Rammus and Kassadin gives them a lot of ways to force an advantage, either through snowballing Kha'Zix or allowing Caitlyn/Zyra to push freely. On top of that, the heavy gank pressure could be used to take a turret after a dive. As such, Fnatic is looking to control the early game tempo with ganks and early turrets. In team fights, they have 2 champions who are exceedingly good at holding one champion in place (Rammus and Zyra), and 2 champions who are very bursty. This will allow them to burst one target down, allowing Kha'Zix to abuse his jump. They did this consistently, picking Caitlyn in 4/6 games and Kha'Zix in 3/6, a strong pushing support (Zyra/Lulu/Nunu) in 5/6 games, and always picking a strong ganking jungler: Amumu, Jarvan, and Rammus included.

SK, on the other hand, has a bit less unified of a team composition. None of their picks was bad, but their last two picks feel like reactions to Fnatic's team composition. The early picks I think betray their original goals. Olaf and Elise are both incredible dive champions, and Ezreal is a very good self-sufficient AD Carry. Typically, aggressive dive teams like to take Ezreal, dive the enemy AD Carry, and rely on Ezreal's mobility to out-maneuver the other team's pressure. However, the following two picks, Cho/Janna, provide a lot of peel against a very strong dive comp (Kassadin/Rammus/Kha'Zix). As such, it feels like half-way through the picks, SK realized that the enemy team was too dive-heavy for team to rely on mobility, and they picked up a shield, a silence, and a knock-away/knock-up. As such, what they end with is a very slippery poke comp (EZ/Elise) with very good disengage (Janna/Cho/Elise). SK also picked towards this composition consistently, picking up Ezreal in 3/3 games and Olaf in 2/3.

Targeted Bans

Bans tend to come in two varieties; the 'OH GOD THAT CHAMP IS OP DON'T LET THEM HAVE IT' and the counter-ban.

The bans on Shen and Lee Sin are targeted at their laning phase: Fnatic want to pressure early with numbers (Rammus/Kassadin TP), and a champion like Lee Sin, who, being mana-less, can counter-gank with ease, or Shen, who can ult to ganks, can shut this sort of strategy down. Kayle, on the other hand, could shut down their team-fights, by preventing a target from being bursted, and highly reducing Kha'Zix's teamfight strength. If Kassadin and Kha'Zix jump in, and nobody dies, the return damage can be brutal, and Kha'Zix will have no way to escape. As well, Lee Sin could hard-disengage with his ultimate, and use his E to reveal Kha'Zix.

On the other hand, SK's bans were targeted towards their team-fight compositions. Amumu and Malphite both have such strong initiations that a poke team will not be able to safely poke, a disengage team will not have enough ability to disengage, and a slippery team will have trouble escaping. The Evelynn ban? She's still just OP, but I think there's something more at play here: because she often starts the fight from the side or back of the enemy team, she can make kiting hard, because whichever way you run you will find enemies.

It's easy to say that these bans were just because the champions were strong, but the numbers tell a different story: Malphite was only banned in 3 games, Amumu was only banned in 1 game, and of the 6 bans, only Lee Sin and Evelynn were banned in more than 50% of the games at IEM Katowice. The champions banned were indeed strong champions, but there were a lot of strong champions available to ban, and the bans reflect the team picks. SK picked Ezreal in all three of their games, and banned Malphite in 3 games (they accounted for all Malphite bans). They also accounted for the only Amumu ban, and banned Wukong and Blitzcrank (2 strong initiators) in other games. These numbers clearly indicate a trend that goes beyond champion strength and into compositional reactions.

Starting Items

SK goes for 4 flasks and a Machete, giving them lighter ward coverage but more sustain. The flask seemed a bit of a weak choice to me on Ezreal, as it was probably unnecessary given the 2v1 lane.

Fnatic, on the other hand, got boots, 2 Faerie Charms, a Flask, and a Machete. This gave them slightly better warding to start. One thing to note: Zyra looks to have (unless I miscounted a ward) not gone 21 into utility, or even have gotten Wealth.

Pre-Laning Phase

Both teams set up very defensively, placing wards on their own side of the jungle, rather than extending into the opposing jungle.

As expected in a 1v2 situation, Olaf goes wolves -> Blue (to make the 1v2 less painful), and Cho starts at wraiths while Janna and Ezreal take golems. Sidenote: remember when people said 'yay, junglers get to farm the jungle'? Tell that to  (Cho'Gath). However, while Olaf gets help at wolves from Elise, Fnatic invades SKs blue with 4. Cho'Gath counters by invading Fnatic's blue with Janna, denying it from Kha'Zix, and forcing out some of his potions. Cho presses his advantage further, knowing Fnatic was too far to respond, and takes wolves. This puts Kha'Zix WAY behind, getting to lane both late and low on potions against a lane with extra experience from golems.

SK seems off to a good start going into the laning phase.

Laning Phase

Kha'Zix can barely lane; while he manages to stay slightly ahead of Olaf in CS, his turret is at half health by 3:35, and dead by 5:35. Right after the turret's death, Ezreal and Janna go in on on Kha'Zix, but Rammus and Kassadin (Teleport) counter-gank. However, they only manage to blow Ezreal's Cleanse.

Rammus ganks mid around 3:45, burning Elise's flash but failing to secure the kill. Cho ganks mid at about 5 minutes, but doesn't accomplish much, as Kassadin was already going back.

Olaf is pushed to his turret as well, but his turret takes slightly less damage, and he manages to take wolves twice. The turret gets to about 1/3 health, but Ezreal and Janna show up top in time to keep it alive, and Olaf heads bot.

The first big play of the game is very sneaky. Cho had maneuvered into the back laning bush without Kha'Zix seeing, and he and Olaf both dive on Kha'Zix, picking up First Blood.

A few swaps later and Olaf and Kha'Zix are laning against each other top, while the rest of SK pushes mid, catching Rammus in a rupture and bursting him down, and (subsequently) taking the turret down to barely any health. In the ensuing response, Kassadin picks up a kill on Janna after a Zyra snare.

10-minute mark

Olaf is even with Kha'Zix in cs, although has picked up an assist. While Kha'Zix has opted for a Tear and boots-1, Olaf picksd up nothing but health, getting a Giant's Belt and Ruby Crystal.

Cho is 7 cs ahead of Rammus, also sporting a kill and an assist. Cho has mobility bots and a spirit stone, while Rammus had Madred's Razor, a Ruby Crystal, and Boots-1. I think the Madred's Razor change in Season three is the strong-point for Rammus: it no longer forces him to waste stats on AD to have clear-speed. As much as the pick may have seemed strange, it is that change which I think lends it viability.

Elise has opted for her usual tanky route, with boots-1, a null-magic mantle, and a Doran's Ring. Kassadin, on the other hand, had Tear, a Mana-Crystal, and Boots-1, and is still building for his devastating late-game via a huge mana pool followed up by AP.

Ezreal is down 7 cs but up an assist on Caitlyn. Ezreal has Berserker Greaves, a Doran's Blade, and a Vamp Scepter; Caitlyn has a BF Sword and Boots-1. While their gold was close to even, the purchases by Ezreal seem smarter, as the boots will allow him to split-push and farm faster. Ezreal seems to have decided that he doesn't need his flask and sold it.

Finally, Zyra and Janna both have Philo Stone, although Janna still has her flask.

SK has taken bot turret, and is 2 or three hits away from taking mid turret; Fnatic is a few hits away from taking top turret. Fnatic is a total of 1.7k gold behind. This is almost the opposite of what we would expect with Fnatic's team composition, but Rammus and Kassadin have both had nothing but unsuccessful ganks, which has not allowed Fnatic to pressure early towers as much as they should like. As such, Ezreal, boosted by Janna's shield and unthreatened by Kha'Zix early, due to Cho's counter-invade, has been able to out-push Caitlyn for a tower advantage.

At 12:55, Kha'Zix gets caught recalling, but pulls out all the stops to escape, dodging the follow-up Ezreal ultimate with his jump. However, he has to go back, and SK pushes top and mid, bringing mid turret to a sliver of health, and it falls 2 minutes later to minions.

At 15:45, Olaf shoves top and swings down on dragon; Zyra sniffs the attempt out and goes down to contest, but gets caught by Elise as Olaf comes down, getting bursted down immediately (although falling to Elise's ignite)

At 18:55, Ezreal and Elise try to dive Kha'Zix, but Kassadin teleports in, pushing them off.

20-Minute Mark

Olaf and Kha'Zix remain almost exactly even in cs, with Olaf still having the one assist. But while Olaf is built PURELY tanky , Kha'Zix has built for straight AD (no surprises there).

Cho has picked up 2 Giant's Belts in the last 10 minutes. Rammus, on the other hand, has fallen to 40 cs behind, and has only managed to ugrade his boots-1 to Merc Treads.

Elise and Kassadin are neck and neck, although Elise has 1 kill on Kassadin.

Ezreal leads by 2 assists; Ezreal has a Pickaxe and Doran's Blade to Caitlyn's Dagger.

Finally, Janna has opted for a Ruby Sightstone, while Zyra has a Kage's Lucky Pick.

The team's individual stats may be painfully close, but the dragon and 2 turrets for SK has put them slightly ahead on all fronts. As well, Cho has managed to pull well ahead of Rammus, as Rammus' slower farming has hurt him without successful ganks.

One interesting thing to note is that, with exception of three Merc Treads and one Madred's Razor, no resistances have been purchased, and seven health items have been purchased. The prevalence of health and no resistances is something I have complained about in the past, as it makes some champions seem lackluster. While I no longer see this as a problem, and instead think the champions hit hardest by this should simply be buffed, it is indeed indicative of what many theorycrafters have been saying for a long time: Penetration and gold-cost changes have been significant: health can be a stat you can load up on, even if you already have loads of it (Cho). Even despite the complete lack of armor on the other team, Ezreal picks up LW shortly thereafter, potentially a mistake given armor levels, both at this point and in the foreseeable future in this game.

At 20:00, SK goes top, and after a short dance, goes 3-1 in a team fight, taking top turret and Fnatic's red buff as an after-thought, leaving Fnatic 6k gold behind.

Finally, at 21:30, the first major resistance items are purchased, with Olaf picking up a Negatron Cloak, Cho picking up a Chain Vest, and Janna picking up an Emblem of Valor. Kha'Zix finishes Bloodthirster while Caitlyn finishes Zeal and Zyra gets Sorcerer's Shoes. In response, Fnatic picks up dragon, narrowing the gold lead slightly, but leaving them still 5k behind.

At 24:30, SK shoves mid, diving but not quite killing Rammus; in the ensuing disorganization, they take the inner bot turret, pulling their gold lead back up to 5.5k. IN response, Fnatic takes mid turret, their first one, bringing the gold lead back to 5k.

Fnatic starts to swing top, but SK shoves mid hard in response, bursting Zyra under the turret before Fnatic can respond, and cleaning up the inner mid turret.

At 27:00, Ezreal gets caught of position and bursted down, but Fnatic is too split up to really take advantage of this. Kha'Zix picks up Last Whisper at this point, and with the sudden explosion of armor items on team SK, this will benefit hem a lot.

Just before 29:00, Fnatic goes straight back onto dragon, keeping the gold deficit at about 5k.

In the ensuing re-shuffle, Kha'Zix gets pinched, but jumps away. However, positioning errors cost Fnatic their top inner turret at 30:30

30-Minute Mark

Kha'Zix has pulled ahead of Olaf, with an additional kill and 20 cs; it is interesting to note that Kha'Zix, too, has opted for LW, although in his case there is significantly more armor to work against.

Cho iows even farther ahead of Rammus, with a 60 cs lead, 2 kills, and 2 assists. AS such, Cho is extremely tanky, while Rammus has yet to complete a major item.

Elise has picked up Rylai's, and has a lead of 2 kills and 3 assists on Kassadin, although a 10 cs deficit. Kassadin has finally finished RoA, but Elise is still half an item ahead.

EZ is building towards Statikk Shiv with Avarice Blade, having already picked Last Whisper. For security, he has a Negatron Cloak. Caitlyn, 30 cs, 1 kill, and 5 assists behind, has opted for Statikk Shiv second, with a Giant's Belt instead.

Janna is finishing up Aegis, while Zyra has a minimal build of gold items and a near-finished Ruby Sightstone.

Despite taking a number of towers, however, SK is still only 5k gold ahead; their 5k lead is more than half global gold, as they have a 5 tower lead and are 1 dragon behind.

SK is taking the game very slowly and deliberately, having picked off each outer turret, they then systematically began to push each inner turret, having Ezreal land a few attacks at a time before backing off once the wave is cleared.

After dancing around it for a time, SK goes on Baron at 36:00; Olaf almost gets caught, but SK counter-engages, picking off Kassadin almost immediately, and getting Kha'Zix after a chase. They return to baron and pick it up, but Olaf gets caught by Zyra and Caitlyn, who get dragon, keeping Fnatic within 5.5k gold.

SK slowly pushes bot a few attacks at a time, taking the tower around 39:30.

40-Minute mark

Olaf continues to go deep into tankiness while Kha'Zix goes all-out on damage.

Cho has gotten a little bit tankier, but Rammus has finally completed a big purchase: Warmog's. With his W, that is a huge purchase for him.

Elise has only picked up a Blasting Wand, while Kassadin has picked up a Seraph's Embrace and another Blasting Wand

Ezreal has picked up a Black Cleaver and finished Statikk Shiv; Caitlyn has finished her Last Whisper and another Zeal.

Janna's Aegis has become a Bulwark; Zyra, on the other hand, has gone for Liandry's Torment.

It is here that SK starts to lose, and in my opinion, they made a mistake not backing and buying at this point. As well, I feel they have made a few small purchasing errors.

  1. The Spirit Visage on Olaf seems a bit strange; Kassadin does not have the damage to kill him in a reasonable timeframe, and should be focusing his damage elsewhere anyway. Yes, the lifesteal increase is nice, but I would think him better suited with either a damage item, more health, or even just a different MR item, such as Hexdrinker. Spirit Visage is an incredibly strong item; it just doesn't seem to provide much in this context. Even a Randuin's (allowing Cho to have gotten Frozen Heart) would have been nice.
  2. The Black Cleaver on Ezreal seems over-ridiculous. Counting up the Armor items on Fnatic, we get.................Madred's Razor. Yes, Rammus has his W, but Ezreal itemizing entirely for Rammus seems a bit unnecessary, when SK has Olaf and Cho for true damage. I personally would simply have avoided the Last Whisper.
  3. As well, the Negatron Cloak on Ezreal seems wrong. He is already getting a good chunk of MR from Bulwark, and a Giant's Belt would protect him from Kha'Zix and Caitlyn, not just Kassadin. To kill two birds with one stone, replacing either Last Whisper or Black Cleaver with a Frozen Mallet or Warmog's would have made him much tankier, while not hurting his damage too much. Resistances on AD Carries just seem a bit superfluous at the moment, because of the relative strength of health (and the low base values of health AD Carries have), ESPECIALLY when Janna has a Bulwark giving him resistances.

As well, while the gold levels have not closed at all since the 30-minute mark, as you can see, Fnatic, having been constantly pushed in, have been able to buy more consistently, and their builds have increased much more since the 30-minute mark.

Returning to the action, SK swings back onto bot-lane, and Rammus lands an excellent taunt on Elise, who goes down immediately. Ezreal tries to pick up Rammus to make up for it, and gets caught of position and dies. Janna is unable to escape, and also goes down, and Fnatic shoves mid, taking down the inner and inhibitor turrets.

Neglecting tankiness, Ezreal upgrades his boots, Cho picks up more MR, and Olaf upgrades his boots. The gold lets Rammus get an Emblem of Valor, Kassadin gets Rabadon's Deathcap, and Caitlyn sells her Zeal for another BF Sword.

At 43:50, Ezreal gets caught and dies, and Fnatic takes mid inhibitor, pulling to within 2.7 gold, and turns straight onto baron, with 20 seconds on Ezreal's death timer (he picks up the rarely seen Banshee's Veil). They get baron before SK can respond, and pick up Elise, but Kha'Zix dives too deep, getting caught in a rupture and dying to Ezreal. Ezreal misses both Zyra and Kassadin ind the resulting chase, but SK swings onto bot inhibitor, taking it down but Cho gets taken down before SK can retreat, picking up dragon as they go, bringing their gold lead to only just over 1k.

For a few minutes, Fnatic abuses their mobility and dragon to push all lanes, taking down the bot inner tower and pulling AHEAD in gold for the first time.

As soon as baron buff wears off, SK shoves mid, but Fnatic counter-engages. Fnatic ALMOST picks up Cho, but SK protects him; Rammus extends too far for Cho and dies, then Fnatic ALMOST picks up Olaf, and he pulls away with a sliver of health.

50-minute recap

How many games go to 50 minutes? The gold is almost EXACTLY even at 69.4k; Olaf is well behind Kha'Zix, who has completed his build, while Olaf is not quite finished with his 5th item, Randuin's Omen. Cho is still ahead of Rammus in build, but not as incredibly as he had once been. Kassadin has finished Void Staff and is brutalizing SKs tanks, while Elise has finally finished Rabadon's, and is a full item behind Kassadin and then some. Ezreal has sold his Black Cleaver for Infinity Edge; a wise choice, but still remains incredibly squishy; Caitlyn, on the other hand, has finished her Warmog's and is somewhat of a beefy target. Even Zyra has built a Warmog's at this point.

The towers are 7-6, and the kills are 13-10; the game is as even as it can get, and baron spawns in a minute and a half!

SK pushes mid, but Ezreal gets caught and gets low; SK backs off, engages as Fnatic pushes; Ezreal picks up Kha'Zix top, and makes what I think was the second-to-last mistake of the game; taking baron. Had they shoved mid, they could have taken the bot inhibitor and maybe another inhibitor turret. Instead, they lose their mid inhibitor for baron. Kassadin tries to teleport away after taking the inhibitor down, and gets silenced trying to teleport away, getting is chased all the way to the location of the bot outer turret before being killed. SK pushes down the bot inhibitor, mid inhibitor tower, mid inhibitor, and in their final mistake, swing top for that inhibitor tower. Had they only backed off, they would have had 2 inhibitors down, baron buff, and could have slowly pushed down the last inhibitor tower or simply pushed to win. Instead, they dive Rammus at the tower but Kha'Zix shows up to picks up Ezreal and Elise, the team's two carries!

Fnatic counter-pushes mid to the nexus, going straight onto the nexus towers. The first nexus turret goes down. The second nexus turret goes down. Zyra dies. Kha'Zix jumps away but is picked up by Ezreal's ult; Cho chases Kassadin while Ezreal and Janna and Elise counter-push mid. Rammus distracts Cho and Kassadin teleports to the Nexus. Kassadin dances around the nexus while Olaf tries to catch him. Olaf finally lands an undertow followed by a Reckless Swing, bringing Kassadin to 37 health, and Kassadin stops, swings at the Nexus, and ends the game, just a 300 gold difference between the teams.

End-Game

This game was a fast-paced nail-biter.

SK slowly and methodically built up a lead; however, a few times they got over-aggressive trying to secure a victory. Despite this, they played fantastically throughout the game, but it just goes to show you that you should always be patient. Their team comp worked largely as expected; when they poked and played methodically, SK were able to get Fnatic low enough that they couldn't team-fight well, and the defensive aspect of the team was able to protect Ezreal from Kha'Zix and Kassadin, while keeping Rammus from diving key targets. Their excellent play in lane shut down the early-game of Fnatic, and forced them to look for an opening back into the game. Unfortunately, SK gave them one-too-many such openings, and they took advantage. The game could just as easily have gone the other way, had Kassadin only had 39 less health, however.

What can we learn from this game? Health is a good stat to stack: stacking % Armor Pen doesn't do as much for you as you'd think, and crazy comebacks are possible.

If this game is at all indicative of what we can expect in the Season 3 Circuit, I'm quite excited to head into Season 3 of what seems to be the premiere and most-promising e-sport.

Note: I will try to make a video version of this post in the upcoming days; it will be up on my channel.

 


 For more of my work:

-- Find old posts @ the RoG forums and new posts every Wednesday (3 PM) and Sunday (9 AM).

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Video of the Day
(yes, that's me)

 

22

Comments

  • #22 Lolover

    Hello friend, 

    i created this account just to say how great your analyse is. I'm just a 1450 ELO dude, big fan of E-Sport, and i do think this was by far with the jungle videos from Stonewall the article i liked the most.

    Cant wait for more.

    Bro fist from Paris. 

  • #18 TreeBurrow

    Couldn't find a decent quality video for this Match and I missed the live stream, was so annoyed... I knew I should have checked RoG earlier, they seem to have everything these days

    Great analysis BTW, you should do this more often

    Last edited by TreeBurrow: 1/28/2013 4:01:46 PM
  • #19 GentlemanGustaf

    Would you be interested in a video version? I have plans to do one at some point, I just don't want to rush it.

  • #20 PartyMagier

    video version:

    for this game i wouldn't really be interested, since i already read it all

    for another game you analyze I would definitely watch it

  • #21 Waaargh

    Quote from TreeBurrow »

    Great analysis BTW, you should do this more often

    So true, I fully agree. And let me add the article is very entertaining. I like how you take your time to talk about champion picks, strategies and the casters. The 10 min sections based on items and going on from there is the best stuff. IMHO.

  • #17 exacerberus

    "HWEAAUHRGHHHH!!! He's so fast!!"

  • #16 PartyMagier

    well initiating isn't usually what ap carries do, and since mumy mostly builds tank I could see it being used as a single dmg item on him...

    like i said as asingle item for dmg it is rather nice, but on a full AP build the multiplicativity or rather its absence often give you better options

  • #9 Cerbereth

    I don't get why people say that Ezreal is a good pick vs Caitlyn. Yes Ereal can spam his abiliies and is more mobile, but has anyone noticed that Ezeal never seems to beat Caitlyn  pro matches or otherwise. If I recall correctly the season 2 world championship between Taipei assassins and Azubu Frost had a game where Taipei picked Caitlyn and proceeded to beat Azubu's Ezreal, and that was Season 2 Ezreal before his nerfs and back when phage was a much stronger item. Caitlyn on the other hand has gotten minor buffs since then.

    It just seems like some mystical advantage is ascribed to Ezreal that never materializes. I mean what is so great about a carry whose main strength is how good he is at running away? You can run, but your Nexus can't hide as Kassadin demonstrated to great effect.

    Also Kassadin is still amazing and is still telling both power and mobility creep to suck it. Kassadin rules!!!!

     

     

  • #10 fatovarius

    two words: global ult

  • #14 Cerbereth

    Then play Ashe.

  • #11 GentlemanGustaf

    Kassadin is telling mobility creep to suck it? But...Kassadin is super mobile...

  • #13 Cerbereth

    Yeah, but Kassadin is ancient. Mobility creep implies that newer champs are more mobile than older champions which is true(which is why udyr is sad), but no one is as mobile as Kassadin. He was just that far ahead of the curve.

  • #15 GentlemanGustaf

    oh, ok. I thought you meant 'proving a point that mobility creep isn't important'

    makes sense now.

  • #7 Greenmoloch

    Just FYI, Kha'Zix refreshes his E on kill or assist, not is W.

  • #8 GentlemanGustaf

    Oops; my bad. I'm so used to jumps being W, because I like Tristana too much :P

     

  • #6 JocularThePeasant

    Good analysis. I read through this and then started scrolling up to the top... I didn't realize that this article was so long!

  • #4 MeGotzSwagga

    Great Article and Analysis Gustaf! Enjoyed this read ^^

  • #3 ThingODoom

    Great read! I like the item analysis, should I start going warmogs over GA on my adc picks now? As I havn't seen it recently?

  • #12 GentlemanGustaf

    I go FroMa every game on AD, so no Warmog's, but close. I guess if I already had Trinity Force, I'd get Warmog's.

     

     

  • #2 PartyMagier

    Awesome article, one thing I really liked to see in that game was the Liandry's on Zyra support. I have never really liked the item on most of the AP carries it gets built on since its a single dmg item, like Trinity Force, so I always thought it would eventually become more of a damage item for supports. (Obviously there are exceptions, Elise as seen in that game is strong with Liandry's and supports like taric obviously aren't) Zyra has imho the best synergy with the item, since her E->W plants slow and are single target making them deal 10% of the current health with a single blow.

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