Our Favorite Games from Season 3: oberyn’s Pick

During Season 3, we had the opportunity to witness a huge meta shift in how the game was played compared to Season 2. Instead of waiting 40 minutes for teamfights to erupt and have AD carries blow up tanks in 3-4 crits, we saw an evolution of strategies come out from all regions of the world whether it be the Chinese freight train or double AD fast pushing compositions. For the next couple of days, some of the analysts here at Cloth5 will be choosing and discussing some of our favorite games of Season 3 as it officially comes to a close. So while you’re out there trying to grind your way in solo queue for tier rewards, take a break and breathe in the nostalgia. Have fun!
Today’s picks come from oberyn who spent most of the season watching the NA LCS and OGN Champions.

Be sure to check out past picks here from:

OGN Champions Winter 2012-2013: Azubu Frost vs CJ Entus (Game 5)

Even before the trinity of top laners came into play at the Season 3 World Championship, even before the reign of the immortal Zac in the top lane, and even before Dade had all of his Tear champions nerfed, there was the League of Warmogs and Cleaver Fever. These two items had been dominating the competitive scene as Warmog’s was bought on almost every top laner and was considered to be the defensive item even for AD carries and Black Cleaver was a core item in builds since it stacked armor reduction faster than it does today and some select spells were applying more armor reduction than intended. As far as the champion meta goes, Rengar was most likely the champion to benefit the most from both these items and his Empowered Battle Roar healed 10% of his health rather than a fixed amount according to level, creating a split-pushing monster who could still assassinate carries. However, the most deadly champions who benefited from Black Cleaver were pre-nerf Kha’Zix and pre-nerf Zed who Insec popularized in the jungle during this time.

To provide some context for the following game, it was the beginning of the bracket stage during OGN Champions Winter 2012-2013. In this best of 5, Azubu Frost (CJ Entus Frost now) won their first two games and then dropped two games to CJ Entus (Dade would go to win OGN Spring with MVP Ozone, Insec to KT Rolster Bullets, Longpanda simply died, and Space to CJ Entus Frost) so the last game of the series would be blind pick as per OGN standards. Throughout all 4 games prior, champions Kha’Zix (Dade’s best champion at the time), Shen (CloudTemplar’s jungle favorite before Madred’s change), and Rengar (priority pick for Shy) had been banned out. And coincidentally, those 3 champions were picked in this blind pick game.

VOD, note: you must be a subscriber to OGN’s Twitch channel to view

Lineups for both teams looked as follows:

Azubu Frost CJ Entus
Rengar (Shy) Xin Zhao (Longpanda RIP)
Shen (CloudTemplar) Zed (Insec)
Evelynn (Rapidstar) Kha’Zix (Dade)
Ashe (Woong) Caitlyn (Space)
Sona (MadLife) Zyra (kkinsh)

Immediately from champion select we can deduce two conclusions:

  1. Frost and CJ Entus both care about the lore (Shen and Zed on opposing teams in the jungle and Rengar and Kha’Zix both hunting each other)
  2. Woong will not live long. At all.
  3. CJ Entus’ team is all Attack Damage based, save for Zyra who is a support
  4. If Frost can live until the lategame, they’ll accrue enough armor to outlast engagements against burst assassins
A Bloody Start

To delay Rengar’s clock on hitting critical mass with Warmog’s, CJ Entus initiated a 2v1 lane against Shy in the top lane. However, after a passive 6 and a half minutes of farming, both Shen and Evelynn roamed top to gank the duo lane and Frost came out with 2 kils that propelled Shy in his build path. This completely eradicated any early plans from CJ Entus as Rengar could effectively 1v2 the duo and eventually had enough sustain in lane to dive their turret and come out of it with 2 kills. Normally, if a split-pushing monster like Rengar got fed this early with 3 kills, it would be game over but CJ Entus, in particular Dade, made sure to extend the length of this game. Taking advantage of Shen’s presence in the top part of the map, Dade continually received kills from Woong and MadLife’s lane and at the 16 minute mark was just as fed as Shy.

Select plays from Game 5 in this highlight reel for the Bo5 series.

As the midgame rolled around, things were looking a bit grim for Azubu Frost as CJ Entus’s triple AD bruiser and assassin composition continually killed Evelynn, Sona, and Ashe immediately leaving Rengar and Shen to 2v5 the team during most engagements. However, despite these gains, they weren’t able to take objectives without full aces and when Frost was alive, CloudTemplar’s Shen was able to split-push to take turrets and led to favorable Baron events. And around the 30 minute mark, it was getting to the point where the increasing amount of armor was making a dent in CJ Entus’ offensive capabilities and to paraphrase Montecristo, it was a vicious cycle of armor stacking versus armor penetration.

Eventually, both Rengar and Shen completed their Thornmails. In the competitive scene, this wasn’t a common sight sense Thornmail had been considered a niche or troll item in Season 2 but with the evolution of AD assassins in pre-Season 3, they were now viable choices in item builds. In fact, this game is perhaps the reason why Thornmail retains its popularity against double AD carry split compositions since it proved that it can make a difference in the game. Back to the game, although these champions had finished this item, closing the game for Frost was extremely difficult as Woong was constantly zoned by Insec’s Zed who managed to kill him after time and time again as he frequently dodged Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow by using Death Mark for that split second of untargetability. Additionally, teamfights played out like cat-and-mouse games as the armored tanks of Frost tried to catch the elusive assassins of CJ Entus. However, after an ill-fated engagement from Longpanda, Frost got the better of the teamfight and was able to take down a second inhibitor turret leading to a free Baron simply due to minion pressure which led to CJ Entus’ defeat.

Endgame builds at 53 minutes.

Although this one game didn’t decide champion and item balances, it was certainly instrumental in helping decipher what Riot needed to do to balance the game. Both key items in this game, Warmog’s Armor and Black Cleaver, were nerfed and are now rarely seen nowadays and the nerf to Madred’s and Zed’s Shadow Slash removed Zed and Shen from the jungle. However, looking back at this game, it was a 53-minute game filled with twists and turns and served as sort of a precursor to double AD compositions nowadays as it displayed just how crazy the game can spiral out of control and how effective Shen can be as a champion in those instances.

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eSports Content Manager for Cloth5. dude who plays League, reads ASOIAF, and listens to k-pop. orange caramel are my hunnies.

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