NACL Week 5 – Favorable Tides come to an end for Coast

Welcome to the North American Challenger League Week 5 analysis, where Curse put an end to Coast’s 15 game winning streak, the two teams that won a spot into the LCS Spring Promotional Series both had a losing record this week, and Kassadin  made it off the Rift’s Most Wanted, at least for now. My name is Jera and this week I would like to share some statistics for this week’s NACL games and go into analysis to discover what Curse did to be the first team to defeat Coast in the NACL.

Top 6 Most Banned Champions for This Week:

Elise_Square_0_25b  Nidalee_Square_0_25b  Renekton_Square_0_25b  LeeSin_Square_0_25b  Zyra_Square_0_25b  Sivir_Square_0_25b  Elise, Nidalee, Renekton, Lee Sin, Zyra, Sivir


Top 6 Most Banned Champions from Last Week:

 Elise_Square_0_25b Renekton_Square_0_25b  Kassadin_Square_0_25b  Nidalee_Square_0_25b Zed_Square_0_25b  LeeSin_Square_0_25b Elise, Renekton, Kassadin, Nidalee, Zed, Lee Sin

Trends for this week:

Popularity Contest by the Numbers

Lucian has seen a dramatic increase in play over recent weeks (7 games played in week 5), and has a 71% win rate for the entire season. Annie is sitting a dismal 16% win rate for a champion that has been picked or banned 10 times this week. Renekton earned his spot as the 3rd most banned champion this week by pulling an 81% win rate over 6 games played (and banned 8). Kassadin had a sudden drop in popularity, being banned in only 4 games this week, when he was banned 9.75 times per week in the NACL.

When do we pick the mid lane?


One of the more interesting changes in pick tendency comes from when people are selecting their champions in pick order. It is interesting to note that Blue Side has a more structured formula of when what is selected, while purple side is first come, first serve.

On the blue side, a surprising amount of teams are selecting their duo bottom lane for the 2nd and 3rd pick, and taking the top AND middle lane for their final two picks.  Jungle is most commonly the first pick, but this can vary from team to team.

On the purple side, there is no significant trend to show what the general pick order is. The support is never last picked, and jungle is almost always picked within the first 2 rounds of draft. Purple side’s final pick is usually reserved for either mid or top. This indicates that most teams are saving this final position for counterplay or to secure a lynch pin into a specific strategy.

Blue side has a 68.7% win rate for the Week 5 NACL (and a 57% win rate for the entire season).

This week’s featured game is between Curse and Coast. Coast had previously defeated Curse twice, including a recent victory in week 4. Both teams are still working out their team synergy, with Curse acquiring Quas and bringing Cop back to the bottom lane, and Coast trying out a couple marksmen mains due to the retirement of DontMashMe.

WEEK 5 NACL ANALYSIS – Curse (13-3) versus Coast (15-1)

Bans and Pick Phase


38px-Crslogo_std Curse Bans  Jax_Square_0_25b  Leblanc_Square_0_25b  Nidalee_Square_0_25b Picks  JarvanIV_Square_0_25b  Nami_Square_0_25b  Varus_Square_0_25b  Kassadin_Square_0_25b  Renekton_Square_0_25b
38px-Coast Coast Bans  Sivir_Square_0_25b  Fizz_square_0_25b  Elise_Square_0_25b Picks  Caitlyn_Square_0_25b  Thresh_Square_0_25b  Ziggs_Square_0_25b  LeeSin_Square_0_25b  Nocturne_Square_0_25b

Bans :

38px-Crslogo_std: Jax, LeBlanc, Nidalee

38px-Coast: Sivir, Fizz, Elise

Jax has been a first-pick priority for Coast throughout NACL Week 4, and has been become a mandatory ban against Coast. LeBlanc is a respect ban towards Coast Shiphtur, while Crs Cop has been mastering Sivir over the past week. Nidalee was selected last week by Coast against Curse, which could be a champion that Crs Voyboy is not exceptionally comfortable playing against. The Fizz ban is likely to preserve a future Coast pick, while the Elise has a standard ban over the past 4 weeks of NACL.

Picks in order of selection

38px-Crslogo_std: Jarvan IV

Jarvan IV is one of the staple jungle champions that is well rounded throughout the game. IWillDominate has an aggressive playstyle which fits well with J4’s kit.

38px-Coast: Caitlyn, Thresh

The Caitlyn pick is a safe marksman pick that works well in most compositions. Chaox played a passive Caitlyn in early Season 3 with Team Solo Mid, and Caitlyn is another comfort pick denied to CRS Cop. Thresh is an aggressive early-game support that offers mobility and displacement as the game progresses. A well-timed Flay can prevent a Jarvan IV flag-toss combination as Xpecial displayed against Saintvicious during the LCS Summer split.

38px-Crslogo_std: Nami, Varus

Nami is a high-risk high-reward support that can work well defensively or offensively in lane. Aqua Prison (Q) can be used to stall enemies chasing, land onto a Thresh who is looking to hop on with his Death Sentence (Q), or make an enemy decide on a 1.5 second stun, or take multiple auto attacks while having a delayed retreat. Much like Thresh, the fear of having the Q crowd control ability up is as intimidating as the skill being used, as both skills have substantial cooldowns and should be punished with a skill shot miss. Varus is also high-risk high-reward with limited escape, and two major skill shot abilities. The chain crowd control from a Nami knock-up allows Varus to land his Chain of Corruption (R) with great ease. Varus tends to do well against Caitlyn, being able to poke back and sustain with the help of Nami.

38px-Coast: Ziggs, Lee Sin

Ziggs was on the receiving end of several buffs in patch 3.13, which helped him create more distance between him and his opponent. Additionally, his ultimate deals double damage to minions, quickly clearing a pushing minion wave. Ziggs has great wave clear, safe ranged abilities, and solid escape mechanisms. He can be a bully early in lane with his passive dealing extra magic damage on basic attacks every 12 seconds. Coast does not know who the mid lane opponent was going to be, but Ziggs was a safe pick against most dive champions with his Hexplosive Minefield (E) and Satchel Charge (W). Lee Sin has been a reserve pick for top lane ZionSpartan rather than being utilized in the jungle. Lee Sin is an early game champion that can run away with the game if he does not get behind the lane opponent. A slight advantage for the enemy top could be disastrous for Lee Sin’s mid game presence, and will contribute far less to a team fight than a Renekton would.

38px-Crslogo_std: Kassadin, Renekton

Looking at some statistics, Kassadin has an 83% win rate and has been banned in 63% of all games in the NACL. Renekton has a 50% win rate with a 42% overall ban rate. Both champions have around a 75% pick/ban rate in every game, so CRS were fortunate to pick up not 1, but 2 champions in the top 5 most banned.

Kassadin also received a couple of changes, which most are considering buffs to solo queues most banned champion (around 87% ban rate for the month of October). Kassadin is fragile early game, but gains an enormous power spike once gaining his ultimate. Within this composition, Kassadin should help roam and secure early kills, then transition into catching enemies out of position and cleaning up team fights. CRS Quas’ aggressive Renekton will out bully Lee Sin early on, securing advantages and punishing the high-risk, high-reward pick of a top lane Lee Sin.

38px-Coast: Nocturne

Nocturne is in a strange position in this meta, most junglers will commit to an early gank around 4 minutes to give a lane an advantage, but Nocturne’s pre-6 gank is underwhelming if detected. Nocturne does good burst damage, but has no true gap closer with reliable crowd control (as opposed to a Jarvan flag-toss, an Elise’s Cocoon, or Vi’s Vault Breaker). The problem with Nocturne is that CRS have 3 champions who are going to dive the back line, and Nocturne can turn the lights out for 4 seconds with Paranoia (R). This will not protect the burst that will assassinate a carry in a matter of seconds. I believe that Vi would have been a much better pick against the Curse composition.


Curse is running a heavy dive team that looks to make it through the early game without giving up too many advantages, then powering up and diving from the 12-minute mark on. Curse will likely siege with Varus and split push with either Kassadin or Renekton, and striking the moment a member of Coast is out of position or losses a substantial amount of life . Curse has plenty of ways to make plays later in the game (even if behind) with a superior champion selection.

Coast looks to win the lanes early mid and top, and then translate those advantages into split push from Lee Sin, while applying pressure and tower siege through Caitlyn. Ziggs has decent defense to dives and can clear waves quickly if Coast becomes sieged. Coast’s mid to late game is contingent on creating a gold/experience early in the game, otherwise Coast’s ability to play from behind is limited from this champion selection.

The Early Game


IWillDominate making his rounds from lane-to-lane, leaving a trail of destruction in his path.

The game started off with standard lane assignments and a few close calls for Coast who was warding deep into Curse territory. Within the first five minutes of the game, there is a demonstration of drastically different jungle styles between Nocturne and Jarvan IV. Jarvan visited all three lanes pre-5 minutes, helping Renekton secure first blood on Lee Sin, taking Ziggs’ flash mid, and killing Thresh. Nocturne spent the majority of his time farming and pushing back lanes, which granted a 20+ CS lead at the 5 minute mark, yet he had not made any presence on the laning phase at this point.


Jarvan and Renekton see the “No Bueno” face on the ground, and return to base with a death timer.

Jarvan and Renekton’s hyper-aggressive push led to failed dive top and two kills onto the Nocturne. Lee Sin collected enough gold to complete a Tiamat to assist in wave clear and extra life-steal from maxing his Safeguard/Iron Will (W) before the other two damaging skills. This allowed Lee Sin to safely farm and sustain against Quas’s aggressive Renekton.


Varus and Nami are nowhere near to help contest the dragon

At 12:15, Coast read a return to base from the Curse bottom lane and converged onto dragon, taking it uncontested and forcing a flash out of Jarvan. This provided a small 1.5k gold advantage for Coast, but the game was still relatively even with Curse winning in two lanes.


Tower trades, but a 1-kill advantage for Coast

The Mid Game

The next game divergent occurs when Coast land a clutch Death Sentence (Q) onto Varus, and Coast 4-man dive to secure the kill. Kassadin teleported behind and attacked the lone, full health Caitlyn, rather than finishing off the low health Nocturne. Coast traded bottom outer tower for top outer tower, granting a net win to Coast who gave up no kills in the exchange. It is worthwhile to note that every lane has a 20 to 30 cs disparity between lane opponent.


Nami hitting a 4-person Tidal Wave while Thresh/Caitlyn are in a bad spot.

The dragon respawned at 18:35 and sparked a dragon dance for the next minute, with both teams shoving the middle lane to a tower and then quickly backing towards the objective. Curse took the outer middle tower and then committed to the dragon, which caused Coast to engage from a Thresh hook. Curse secured two kills while Coast only took out Jarvan. Dragon was not taken by either team, and Curse would return two minutes later to finish the dragon uncontested.


The CS disparities between all lanes show a surprisingly even game

Before going into the inevitable death of Lee Sin, it is interesting to note that there is a mere 500 gold difference between each team at the 24 minute mark. However, certain lanes have a significant advantage over their opponent. Ziggs had  a 70+ CS advantage over Kassadin, Varus had a 35+ CS over Caitlyn, and Renekton with a 15+ CS difference over Lee Sin. These advantages have been held and increased over time since the early game, with Lee Sin managing to close the CS gap while the others fell further behind.

Kassadin and Renekton jumped on the split pushing Lee Sin, and Coast destroyed the inner middle turret while Lee Sin dealt with two. Curse got greedy and chased the retreating Coast and lost Jarvan to Coast’s heavy disengage.


Goodnight, sweet prince

Curse grouped as 5 and started a march down middle lane to secure more turrets. 3 members of Curse dove onto the back line of Coast, picking up a kill onto Ziggs but becoming too low to take the inner tower. Lee Sin stayed in the top lane and pushed over the inner turret, showing the strength of securing and holding objectives through split push.

Where the game turns


Coast on the wrong side of the river, and completely out of position.

Baron became the next objective of contention beginning at the 27 minute mark. Coast sent Lee Sin to continue split pushing while the other 4 stalled a fight at Baron Nashor. Curse saw an opportunity and dove onto Thresh, securing a quick kill. Curse then proceeded to chase down Ziggs, Nocturne, and Caitlyn, adding three more kills to Curse’s scoreboard. Lee Sin was unflinching with his split push and took the top inhibitor tower as his team died. Curse finished off Baron, collected 4 kills, and returned to base to launch their next assault. After securing Baron, Curse had a 1.5k gold advantage over Coast, a 60 cs advantage for Varus over Caitlyn, but a 90 cs deficit on Kassadin to Ziggs.


The wards paint a picture for where Curse wants to fight next.

The game continued on with Curse securing two additional tower kills and putting a stop to the Lee Sin split push as the Baron buff wore off. Coast seceded their last inner turret, fearing a dive from the Curse line up. Curse Zekent and IWillDominate lit up the Coast top jungle in preparation for the upcoming Baron, spending 7 sight wards and 5 vision wards in the upper jungle.


Mission Protect the Squishies: Critical Failure

The advantage of having full vision in enemy territory is demonstrated when Curse are able to get phenomenal position around Coast, allowing Renekton to penetrate the backline of Ziggs/Caitlyn without any resistance. Curse take the top inhibitor turret and slide into Coast’s base, concluding the game at 38:32 with the final kill score of Curse 17, Coast 7.


MVP: CRS Zekent

Zekent did an incredible job as Nami, ending the game accruing 7,773 gold, but having a non-upgraded Sightstone and Boots of Mobility. Calculating out his ending game balance of 1338, Zekent spent 4,485 gold on wards, consumables, and Oracles in the 38 minute game. Zekent helped CRS Cop hold a CS advantage over an aggressive Caitltyn/Thresh lane, and had several clutch Tidal Waves to wash Coast to sea during team fights. Oh, did I mention that Zekent forgot to killsteal? Or die once? Zekent ended 0/0/12, contributing in over 70% of Curse’s kills.

Team Evaluations


Chasing Lee Sin is usually a waste of time, however baiting him in and catching him off-guard is spot on. There were several times where Lee Sin would run around through the jungle and escape long, extended chases. Logic will say that Lee Sin will either return to base, or go to the closest pushed lane, which is where you can anticipate and catch him out. The times when Kassadin and Renekton waited to ambush Lee Sin worked out wonderfully, and more of those traps could be used to shut him down quick. Other than that, the members of Curse played very well and only made a couple of mistakes throughout the game.

Team Coast

All in all, I believe this was a loss in champion select. 3 of the 5 members of Curse WILL dive, and Nami has a long range crowd control to set up the dive. The composition has elements to slow down the dive, but push it back enough to allow Caitlyn to kill Kassadin/Renekton. The game was in Coast’s favor until the pick at Baron, which triggered a 4v5 and the game snowballed out of control shortly after. The positioning was questionable, seeing as Lee Sin was committed to split pushing, and the other 4 needed to stall out the Baron and be willing to move in once a Curse member based to stop Lee. Being on the wrong side of the river was a disaster that should be remembered, RIP 15-0.

End Notes

That should wrap it up for Week 5 of the NACL. Coast lost their first game to Curse, complexity remaining undefeated after their veteran jungler stepped down, and Velocity still showing questionable performance leading up to the NA LCS Spring Promotional Series. Next week is the final regular season showdown between Curse and Coast, with Coast having the series advantage 2-1 over Curse. Curse Academy takes on complexity, with CRS Acad looking to separate themselves in a close Ancient Golem conference and secure a spot into the NACL playoffs.

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Jera is a former Human Factors psychologist, video game researcher, and avid follower of professional League of Legends. Jera enjoys taking a statistical approach to analyzing gameplay and discovering how small events cause ripple effects throughout the game. Follow Jera on twitter @coL_Jera

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