ESL SEC Group Stage is slowly marching towards the completion of week two, offering explosive battles, pure experimentation on the current meta and decent macro management, sprinkled with a smidge of solo queue flavor. Teams have played at least one game, allowing us to have a glimpse at their playstyle. Some had fallen short while others had made an impact, fulfilling our expectations.
On – not that of a – solid ground
After the landing of 8.11 patch, that followed 8.10 jungle changes, Riot created experimental venues for players and especially teams. Taking into consideration that 8.11 (and the micropatch that came two days later) might be the global LCS Summer Split patch, analysts and coaches rolled up their sleeves and got down to business.
The first signs of meta swifts are located in the bottom lane, with the ADC role facing – once again – great danger. It is common knowledge that coaches are replacing tradition ADC picks with heavy ability power carries or even top lane oriented, heavy damage dealers. For example, at LCS level scrims, such as Misfits’ ones, picks like Mordekaiser, Yasuo or even Ziggs and Taliyah can be found in the bottom lane, filling the place of disappeared marksmen. Jungle’s deck is also been shuffled, knocking down S Tier picks, freeing space for the Korean special Taliyah jungle, as an answer to Graves jungle domination.
Picks such as Ryze, that offers both heavy damage and tankiness, or Camille, that delivers 2v1 victories after completing 2 items, are preferred to a sickening degree.
Zooming out of particular roles and focusing at compositions, there are two distinct types that can be distinguished.
On one side, there are teamfight oriented compositions, which depend on mid to late game scaling. This playstyle indicates that both APC and ADC need to survive in early game and meet a strong mid game spike. Two pure tanks are a necessity and in many cases two and half, with a tank support such as Tahm Kench, Alistar or Braum, are also needed in order for this comp to properly function.
On the other hand, compositions with multiple damage threats in many lanes, including a strong taste of solo queue in most cases, are making their appearance into the Rift. These particular comps focus on smashing the early game, meeting their mid to late game powerspike, having a more than 4k gold difference from their opponents. Endorsing the idea of constantly split pushing, always threaten 1v1 solo kills in side lanes or bursting down neutral objectives, such as baron or dragons, are highlighted as key factors of this playstyle. Picks such as Ryze, that offers both heavy damage and tankiness, or Camille, that delivers 2v1 victories after completing 2 items, are preferred to a sickening degree. Nevertheless, there is always more room to experiment with!
There is a lot of room for improvement; for all teams.
The ups and downs of groups
As previously discussed, some teams have met their expectations, but others did not.
Rift eSports is one of these teams that showed decent macro management. Their ability to close out games, and take full control of the mid game, in dominant fashion, is their primary weapon in taking down their opponents. However, like WLGaming Esports and Random 5, they are struggling to turtle games that they have fallen short, allowing their enemies to increase the gold difference and eventually win the game.
Cvrena Zvezda’s instability in performance seems crucial so far in the tournament. Small mistakes in positioning, especially in Game 3 of bo3 situations, under certain amount of pressure, have been costly to their race for points.
The situation in Group B is slightly different. The Teutons is a team with lots of experience, especially with the presence of Forg1ven as ADC. Using high threat compositions and endless three lanes pushing, they are slowly choking their opponents and by winning small skirmishes, they secure crucial objectives, uncontested. The Serbian powerhouse, LVLup Rhinos, have shown similar pace to Teutons, snowballing their advantage. Nonetheless, they are still in their quest of looking for the perfect formula to stall games that they are behind, such as WiLD by Lagardere eSports. X25 eSports strong early game in many cases has been overshadowed by costly teamfight choices that offered the advantage to their enemies.
All in all, it can be concluded that there is a lot of room for improvement; for all teams. Constant meta swifts, will eventually create new trends in all lanes, offering the opportunity for more aggressive playstyles to shine. In conclusion, it’s just the completion of week 2 and there are many games yet to be played.