Going into this series CJ Entus Blaze returned taking the WCG Champion title in Shanghai, China. They were up against the Season 3 Champions SK Telecom T1 K in a best of 2 series to secure their playoffs spot this Winer season. SKT T1 K had already secured their playoffs berth by going 4-0 in their previous games, while CJ Entus needed at least 3 more wins to safely secure a spot in the group stages.
SKT T1 K Bans: Annie, Lee Sin, Caitlyn
CJ Blaze Bans: Taric, Elise, Evelynn
SKT T1 K Picks: Sivir, Rengar, Dr. Mundo, Gragas, Lulu
CJ Blaze Bans: Lucian, Olaf, Orianna, Shyvana, Thresh
Thought process behind the bans
SKT T1 K bans: Banning Annie meant that SKT did not want to first pick her nor wanted to give it to Blaze. The Lee Sin ban was a target ban at CJ DayDream; being an aggressive jungler that he is, Blaze has always been picking up Lee Sin during their first rotation on the red side. And recently, Lee Sin was picked in both of the games between Blaze and SKT T1 K’s sister team, SKT T1 S, so the ban was not so surprising. SKT’s last ban was targeted at Captain Jack’s Caitlyn. Caitlyn is arguably Captain Jack’s most comfortable and played champion during competitive play. Banning Caitlyn also shuts down the Nunu/Caitlyn fast push composition, a team that Blaze loves to run.
CJ Entus Blaze Bans: Blaze’s first ban was Taric which has been a strong support in the current patch and played by both Blaze’s sister team, CJ Entus Frost, and SKT T1 K’s sister team, SKT T1 S. Elise is the second ban of choice for Blaze as she is one of the most played junglers for Bengi and he has always had great success on her. More importantly Blaze simply just does not want to deal with Elise as they ban her in nearly every game regardless what side they are in. The last ban for Blaze is a tricky one because they have to consider that Evelynn, Sivir, Rengar, and other highly contested champions are all open. At last they decided on banning Evelynn due to the vision changes and her immense pressure in the early game.
Thought process behind the picks
SKT first picked Sivir for a few reasons. In Champions thus far, Sivir had been banned every match prior to this one so one could infer that SKT were looking to confirm such claims of her being overpowered in her current state. Both her waveclear and utility in mobility stemming from her ultimate has made her a terror of a marksman in the current meta. Also, Sivir and Graves are the champions that made Captain Jack the player he is today so taking Sivir away from him is a must. On Blaze’s first turn to pick they pick up Lucian and Olaf. Lucian being one of the strongest marksman at the moment with his strong laning phase and the ability to take towers quickly with his passive and Trinity Force. Although considered odd for Blaze to pickup the marksman after the enemy team had already chosen one, they were fearing a mid Lucian pick, akin to the double AD compositions with Ezreal we had in past seasons. The possibility is not that high but Lucian mid is something that Faker has been playing in solo queue and by many other mid laners. The Olaf pick was chosen most likely to take it away from Bengi as he was the first player in the OGN to bring out Olaf jungle and completely crush Team Noob with it. Olaf is also considered as one of the strongest junglers in the current meta due to his fast clear and incredible early dueling potential.
Back to the SKT side they picked up Dr. Mundo and Rengar. Rengar is one of the most popular champions right now in the top lane because how incredibly hard he can be to deal with as the game goes on. Once he gets the items that he needs Rengar’s split pushing is nearly unstoppable. Dr. Mundo is on the rise in patch 3.14 as going 30 points into defense makes him a moving wall. The surprise here is that they picked Dr. Mundo and Rengar in the same rotation. Now this takes both of the champions away from Flame who known for being the pilot of Blaze. Even though both Dr. Mundo and Rengar can be in the the top lane or jungle it is more like for Rengar to be in the top lane as Dr. Mundo will be better suiting for the jungle. On Blaze’s second rotation they pick up Shyvana and Orianna. This has been a very popular combination ever since Shyvana came back to the competitive scene. She is able to reach the back line while carrying the ball from Orianna to give her an opportunity to the perfect Shockwave.
On SKT’s last pick ups they opted for Gragas and Lulu. Ever since the bracket stages of the World Championships SKT has been saving for the mid lane pick last allowing Faker to get a more favorable lane. With Faker being the main focus by most teams, this gives him a strong match up that allows him to be even more scary to play against. One of the reasons why SKT picked up Gragas was because he is a strong laner post-6 against Orianna. Orianna needs to have really good positioning in teamfights and Graga’s ultimate can expose her from the backline and take her down. The changes to Graga’s Body Slam has also made him a stronger all-in champion and every time Gragas is able use his ultimate to knock Orianna into him, results are typically Flashes blown or kills for Gragas.
The Lulu pick by SKT was definitely targeted to take it away from Lustboy. Lustboy is arguably the best Lulu in the world and a key part to Blaze’s composition. With Orianna and Lulu, Blaze can create the same effect they did with Diana and Lulu – being able to vacuum the team into a clump then knocking them up with Wild Growth. Blaze’s last pick up being Thresh was because SKT was able to take Lulu from Lustboy. Thresh is a champion that Lustboy has a lot of experience with and still very strong in the current patch so it is not detrimental to Blaze.
SKT T1 K’s Composition: With Dr. Mundo and Rengar building tanky SKT does not have a whole lot of damage but once those two do get tanky they will be nearly impossible to kill, especially with Wild Growth from Lulu making them even harder to be taken down. Gragas has the ability to burst people down with and spreading them apart with his ultimate. Between Sivir and Gragas, SKT has a lot of AOE damage and after Sivir uses her combo Gragas can use his ultimate to finish people off and breaking them up. Then Sivir is able to use her ultimate to chase members of Blaze down. Sivir and Gragas also have a lot of waveclear between the two and their ultimates can be used as both engage and disengage.
CJ Entus Blaze Composition: Blaze has a really straight forward team fight composition. Olaf and Shyvana can both deliver the Orianna ball into the enemy’s back line and allowing Orianna to land a Shockwave while Thresh is able to zone with the Box and keep people away from Blaze’s carries. Olaf provides a lot of early game pressure and ganks which allow Blaze to control the laning phase. Lucian is incredibly strong in lane and is able to shut down enemy laners and quickly take down towers with his passive coupled with Trinity Force. This will lead to an early dragon and with this composition it is very hard for it to be contested.
Composition Clash: Going into the game Blaze knows that they need to shut down the Rengar before he becomes too difficult to deal with. They need to use Olaf to get ahead in the early game and take down early towers with Lucian. Then, Blaze will be able to win team fights easily with Orianna and Shyvana. SKT needs to avoid teamfighting Blaze at all cost in the early game. Once Dr. Mundo and Rengar are tanky enough to survive the AoE from Blaze they will be able to beat Blaze in teamfights. Rengar is able to split-push while rest of the SKT sieges towers; between Sivir and Gragas SKT has enough disengage to keep them from being initiated on. SKT”s composition also allows them to create picks and chase after singled-out targets with Sivir’s ultimate.
Level 1 Tactics
At level 1 the only Sweeping Trinket on the map is on PoohManDu from SKT. Blaze taking all Ward Totems level 1 could mean two things: 1) they either want to get a lot of level 1 vision or 2) have extra wards for the early laning phase. Unlike other teams that have played in OGN on 3.14, Blaze did not set up for a level 1 defensive fan out. Instead, they opted to place deep wards in SKT’s jungle and invade their blue buff. The only Sight Ward that Blaze placed was in the mid lane brush because that would allow Ambition to be much safer in the early stage of the game and allow for scouting any members of SKT. Bengi was able to scout out this invade so SKT invaded Blaze’s blue and the two teams ended up trading blue buffs and lane swapping.
The reason that Blaze wanted to 2v1 a Rengar is because how important it is to shut Rengar down. With the current tank Rengar build, all he needs to do is sustain in lane and farm till he become an unstoppable split pushing monster. A 2v1 lane is an attempt to shut him down early and deny him of farm. Impact tried a cheesy tactic by hiding in the bush as the minions meet. This allows him to sneakily gain experience and lower the chances of being 3 man dived at level 1. Unfortunately, Blaze expected this and found Impact in the brush and forced him to recall and miss on a bit experience.
About 3 minutes into the game, Daydream on Olaf simply walked up the bottom lane and repeatedly lande Undertow after Undertow to perma-slow Piglet, picking up a quick first blood with Flame. Daydream was able to force both Cleanse and Flash out of Piglet making the most out of the gank. Knowing that Piglet had used both of his summoner spells, Daydream returned to the bot lane 2 minutes later going through the tri brush for another gank. Luckily Piglet was able to get away this time as he was not pushed out as far and Spell Shielded some damage between Olaf and Shyvana. This pressure provided by Daydream prevented SKT from taking an early tower in the bot lane while Blaze’s duo lane took the top tower. The reason that SKT wasn’t able to duplicate this situation in the top lane is because Dr. Mundo and Rengar do not have as much kill potential as Olaf and Shyvana, especially with Impact setting himself a little behind with his level 1 tactic.
Personal Note: I think that having a Sweeping Lens on the support is completely useless during the laning phase in a 2v1. Since most supports start with a GP5 and can only afford 1 ward, the Warding Totem in this situations would be much more effective. In a 2v2 situation the Sweeping Lens would have worked out fine because you are able to utilize it, but in this game Piglet and Mandu pushed up without vision and was punished for it.
Even though SKT is known for their incredible lane mechanics and able to dominate the early game, their true strength is their lane rotations. Impact and SKT knew that it was just a matter of time till Blaze took down the tower first and then possibly rotate to the bottom lane for an early Dragon. So Impact and Bengi preemptively roamed mid and cleanly 3-man dove Ambition on Orianna between 2 towers. Seeing Lustboy coming down from the top lane through SKT’s wards in Blaze’s jungle, they walked down the river and camped at the brush near mid lane. Doing their best Fnatic imitation, they made a pick on Lustboy which allowed them to secure an uncontested Dragon. In the end, SKT traded a tower for 2 kills and a Dragon giving them the gold lead.
Typically, Flame is known for being able to win his lane and out-push his lane opponent with heavy CS lead, sometimes climbing up near a +100 on them. Impact did not play “Flame’s game” and simply allowed Flame to farm while he made plays around the map. After the first kill on Ambition, Faker was able to repeatedly kill him in lane and getting ahead. Impact was able to turn a disadvantageous situation into a lead by roaming allowing SKT to pick up multiple kills and objectives around the map and quickly snowballing SKT. By 16 minutes, SKT was 10 to 1 in kills with a 8k gold lead.
Points to Consider
The early game went exactly how Blaze wanted it to go. They were able to set Rengar behind and got first blood on Piglet.
Impact’s first roam allowed SKT to pick up 2 kills and a Dragon.
Impact was able to roam successfully and able to make picks because they had complete vision control from early wards in Blaze’s jungle.
To gain even more vision control, Impact picked up a Sweeping Lens later on in the game (typically top laners stick with Warding Totems).
Faker got an early lead and was able to kill Ambition repeatedly in lane to take mid tower.
Impact’s roam bot lane created a 4v3 situation which SKT ended up taking 3 kills. Then Faker was able to pick up another kill on Ambition gaining a massive gold lead.
Even though Faker received the MVP ward for game one I think that Impact was the true MVP in this game. He made a bigger impact on the game than Faker had and allowed SKT to pull ahead. Impact was able to adapt quickly to what was going on with the game and pull out ahead in a disadvantageous situation.
SKT’s superior rotations and vision control allowed them to get a gold lead and snowball off of it. They showed that even with the new vision changes in patch 3.14 they can still accomplished what they have previously. Their great usage of wards was next to none and gained vision dominance throughout majority of the game. SKT was able to snowball the game quickly before Blaze was able to do anything about it. Once they started their rotations, it seemed that Blaze was being broken down to pieces and was blown away.
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