CJ Entus Frost in the past is often known as the team that often plays for the late game. They would commonly run poke/kite comps or big 5v5 team fight oriented comps rather than pick comps. However, as this game 1 of the quarterfinals between CJ Entus Frost and Najin White Shield turned out, Frost demonstrated their ability to execute the game plan and was able force a 33:18 surrender from Najin White Shield using a strategy that is not often attributed to them.
Picks, Bans, and Roles:
In order to understand how pick comps work and how CJ Entus Frost was able to execute this style of play in competition, let’s take a closer look at the key elements for a team that is deciding what strategy to run:
- Roles matching with each player’s strength.
|Frost’s Bans||Frost’s Picks|
|Shield’s Bans:||Shield’s Picks|
Shield crucially banned out three potential tools that Frost could have otherwise easily picked up for a pick composition with Twisted Fate’s global presence and gold cards, Elise’s powerful early game ganking and pick-off potential in the hands of CloudTemplar, and of course, Shield would have been asking for trouble if they had left MadLife’s Thresh open for him to pick.
Frost’s Lee Sin ban takes an aggressive jungler option away from NoFe. The Zed and Twitch bans are interesting in that both champions are very strong duelists and are very tough to catch out of position. If Frost were to run some kind of pick comp or try to split push, Zed and Twitch would have been really good choices for Shield to pick up in order to stop a split-pusher and can escape from trouble if need be.
Frost will first pick Shen for Shy. Shy has demonstrated in the past just how devastating he can be with Shen especially with the trick of using Shadow Dash + Flash in a combo to catch multiple people off guard into a taunt.
Shield will respond by picking up Caitlyn and Zac for Zefa and Save. Caitlyn is Zefa’s most successful champion and is an essential component to Shield’s signature fast turret pushing strategy that they prefer to run. The Zac pick is a good choice to deal with a Shen in top lane for interrupting Shen’s Stand United and is a great initiator for Shield in team fights.
Frost follows up by picking up Sona and Ahri for MadLife and RapidStar. At this point, Frost hasn’t really shown too much of their game plan with two very versatile picks who can fit just about any kind of strategy they would like to run. Sona offers great lane sustain/poke, AOE lockdown with her ultimate, and a nice movement speed boost for her allies. The Ahri pick opens up a lot of pick-off options for Frost with her Charm as well as her ability to get right into the backline to assassinate priority targets.
Shield reacts with picking Ryze and Nunu for Ggoong and NoFe. Ryze is a good pick to deal with the Ahri in mid lane and Shield can always count on Ryze’s late game power if they have to play for the late game. Nunu is a very highly favored jungle pick for NoFe with his aggressive counter-jungling, blood-boiling Zefa’s Caitlyn for even faster pushing and late game power, and of course, controlling Baron and Dragon with Nunu makes him a huge asset for Najin White Shield.
Frost’s final two picks are Ezreal and Nocturne for Space and CloudTemplar. These final picks reveal Frost’s incredibly strong pick-off composition and adds two more global ultimates to Frost’s roster with Paranoia and Trueshot Barrage. The Ezreal pick along with Sona helps to counteract the inevitable fast turret pushing Shield duo lane. A Blue Ezreal can also get an Iceborn Gauntlet to assist Frost in catching Shield members out of position. Nocturne is a very strong pick for this team because he provides very powerful initiation and follow-up after a pick happens. He can also give a free ticket for Shen to get into the Shield backline and Nocturne’s ultimate allows him to help shove lanes before joining up with his team in case a fight breaks out.
Shield’s final pick is a Fiddlesticks for GorillA, the support player. This completes Shield’s very strong duo lane with Zefa’s Caitlyn capable of fast turret pushing, strong 2v1 lane, and Fiddlesticks can stop Nocturne in his tracks with a Silence and Fear. Fiddlesticks completes a very strong AOE late game team fight composition that Shield has made with his Crowstorm to follow up Zac and Nunu’s initiation.
Now let’s talk about the most important part of a strategy: the roles. The role a champion/player takes in a strategy transcends the actual champion or player. When choosing a strategy or game plan, teams look at that player/champion strengths and what they excel at.
Najin White Shield’s Team Composition:
Goals for this composition:
- Push towers as fast as possible using the blood-boiled Caitlyn.
- Avoid getting picked off by Frost’s pick comp as much as possible.
- Farm till the late game if behind.
- Devastate Frost in late game team fights with the stronger 5v5 team composition.
- Interrupt Shen’s Stand United when possible.
- Shove lane if Shen leaves lane.
- Be the main initiator and disrupt Frost’s main damage dealers as much as possible in a 5v5 team fight setting.
- Keep Caitlyn blood-boiled for fast tower pushing and to boost Caitlyn’s DPS.
- Maintain strong buff/dragon/Baron control with Nunu Consume/Smite.
- Delay CloudTemplar from hitting level 6 as much as possible through counter-jungling.
- Zone control in team fights with Absolute Zero.
- Farm, Farm, Farm, and FARM until Ryze’s late game power spike kicks in with the completed items.
- Use Rune Prison to lock down key Frost members in engagements.
- Quickly push towers down
- Clear minion waves as fast as possible.
- Have godlike positioning or else.
NOTE: Zefa’s Caitlyn is the essential component to Shield’s fast tower pushing composition. If Caitlyn is shut down in lane and forced into a less optimum build other than the standard Infinity Edge + Phantom Dancer + Last Whisper, then Caitlyn’s power will be significantly weakened.
- Peel for Caitlyn using Fear when Shen + Nocturne + Ahri start gunning for her.
- Help wave clear with Dark Wind (E) .
- Fear a priority target for Shield to lock down and eliminate from the fight.
- Land good Crowstorms to disrupt Frost in 5v5 team fights.
CJ Entus Frost’s Team Composition:
Goals for this composition:
- Use duo lane to counter-push Shield’s fast pushing duo lane.
- Solo laners need to win lane.
- Take tier 1 and tier 2 towers to open up Shield’s jungle and lanes for warding.
- Deny vision from Shield in critical choke points.
- Pressure all three lanes and force Shield to rotate to deal with the pressure.
- Catch them in mid rotation and get objectives off of picks.
- Farm up till no one can 1v1 the Shen.
- Split push a side lane in order to draw multiple Shield members out to deal with the pressure.
- Get Randuin’s Omen to shut down Caitlyn’s DPS.
- Follow-up with the main engagement from Nocturne by using Stand United on Nocturne as Nocturne dives into the enemy team with Paranoia.
- Abuse the Shadow Dash + Flash combo to catch opponents off guard and get multiple people cc’d the Shen taunt.
- Farm jungle and tax lanes to get to level 6 as soon as possible.
- Protect buffs from NoFe’s Nunu to best of his ability.
- Setup picks with Paranoia and the fear tether in the mid/late game.
- Main initiation for CJ Entus Frost in team fights.
- Get Randuin’s Omen to shut down Caitlyn’s DPS.
- Split push the opposite side lane from Shen and then join in any pick or team fight that breaks out.
- Get Deathfire Grasp ASAP.
- Land Charms to set up picks for Frost.
- Assassinate priority damage dealers to win engagements.
- Follow-up Frost’s picks with Ezreal’s damage to burst down the enemy.
- Buy Iceborn Gauntlet as soon as possible to apply extra slow to caught Shield members to help secure the kill.
- Help push other lanes with Trueshot Barrage.
- Pepper Summoner’s Rift with wards, especially in Shield’s jungle, near dragon/baron, and open lanes.
- Deny vision from Shield with early Oracle’s Elixir and Vision Warding key choke points.
- Provide strong poke and sustain in lane.
- Buy Shurelya’s Reverie to add to the movement speed buff for allies to quickly move into combat.
- Lock down as many Shield members as possible with Crescendo.
Why Pick Nocturne?
Nocturne has only been picked in OGN Summer one other time prior to this game. CTU ran Nocturne along with Ahri in game 2 against CJ Entus Blaze and it won them a game because the Nocturne – Ahri single-target lockdown just completely shut down Blaze’s map movements with the Nocturne Paranoia/fear tether setting up an easy Ahri Charm for an easy kill.
Frost adapted this combination from CTU’s team composition and then added a Shen with an additional global ultimate into the table. Nocturne provides a free ride for Shen to the backline of Najin White Shield to set up a perfect Shadow Dash to lock them down. The double global ultimates also allow for both Shen and Nocturne to push the side lanes into Shield’s base and then at a moment’s notice can ult right into the fight to devastate the backline.
Nocturne also works really well for Frost because the champion fits CloudTemplar’s omnivore style of jungling in that Nocturne often focuses on farming the jungle early to get level 6 as fast as possible and then CloudTemplar can easily setup picks for his teammates to finish off Shield members one by one as they transition into the mid/late game.
Level 1 Fight and Laning Phase:
At the very start, Frost and Shield bumped right into each other as full 5-man teams in the top tri-brush and the fight ensues. Shy hits NoFe, Ggoong, and Zefa in a 3 man taunt for an easy first blood on Ggoong given over to RapidStar. Frost chases the retreating Shield members and RapidStar was able to force Save’s Flash to safety with an Ahri charm.
RapidStar’s first blood bounty allowed him to enter the lane with 2 Doran Rings against Ggoong’s Sapphire Crystal Ryze.
At the 4:50 mark, NoFe and CloudTemplar meet up in the top lane along with each team’s duo lane and a 3v3 fight breaks out in the top lane. Both junglers and both ADCs fall eventually transferring the jungle buffs to both supports. As for this point, Frost and Shield are fairly even gold-wise with no particular advantage.
At the 9:18 mark, NoFe returned to the top lane and got a successful gank onto MadLife as well as burning MadLife’s Flash while CloudTemplar was away from the top lane. This gank equalized the gold gap that was starting to widen between Frost and Shield before NoFe got the gank to happen.
Soon after at the 9:40 mark, CloudTemplar and RapidStar will roam up to the top lane after hitting the crucial level 6 to secure two kills onto Zefa and GorillA using the Ahri and Nocturne ultimates to snag the kills. This play starts the snowball rolling for Frost as they take the top outer turret from this double kill putting them at a 1K gold lead.
At the 17:33 mark, a fight over the Dragon ensues between Frost and Shield. Save tries to Elastic Slingshot into Frost’s backline as they were coming around towards the Dragon pit to contest, but he completely misses RapidStar and MadLife. Even though Shield was able to secure the Dragon, Frost was able to quickly burst Zac and his blobs instantly and then CloudTemplar dived onto Zefa with Shy following up with a Shen Shadow Dash. Frost will pick up 3 kills onto Zac, Ryze, and Nunu while Caitlyn and Fiddlesticks retreated with very low health. This fight extends Frost’s gold lead to 4K above Shield.
Frost continued to pressure all three lanes forcing Shield to rotate members around and have the gold lead at 8K above Shield from pushing minions and taking towers. This went on for about 8 minutes with no kills or picks happening.
The Shield Cracks:
At the 25:31 mark, NoFe makes a critical positioning error when he ate an Ahri charm too far away from his team allowing Frost to instantly kill the tanky Nunu. The call to fight was made and CloudTemplar activated Paranoia from the bottom lane with Shy using Stand United on top of Nocturne to get into Shield’s backline. The following fight that ensued led to a clean ace for CJ Entus Frost and they picked up the middle inner turret, inhibitor turret, and the crucial middle inhibitor which catapulted Frost way ahead of Shield.
Too Little, Too Late. The Shield Has Been Shattered:
At the 32:53 mark, despite Ggoong getting very strong on that Ryze, it was already too late for Shield with Frost taking all but the two remaining Nexus turrets. Frost sets up for Baron and when Shield attempt to contest, Shy lands a Taunt onto NoFe who tried valiantly to flash into the Baron pit for a steal and then MadLife locks him down with a Crescendo. NoFe messes up his Flash into the Baron pit allowing CloudTemplar to secure the Baron for Frost and then the call to fight was made and Frost just cleaned house forcing the surrender from Shield soon after.
Final Thoughts and Comments:
Frost’s pick team composition had some very interesting aspects to it that are worth noting:
Utilize Item Purchases:
- RapidStar picked up Deathfire Grasp as his first core item to allow his Ahri to roam effectively and instantly kill a caught Shield member at will.
- Space rushed a Bloodthirster on Ezreal to get early stacks onto it to maximize Ezreal’s mid game damage in order to help follow up any picks that Frost might get onto Shield. He then starts building the Iceborn Gauntlet to apply an extra slow if Frost catches anyone from Shield out of position.
- MadLife gets Ruby Sightstone and Shurelya’s Reverie as his main two items on Sona along with the Boots of Mobility. The Ruby Sightstone allowed him to easily ward up important choke points throughout the map and the extra movement speed boost he can give to his teammates from Sona’s E and the Shurelya’s allows Frost to quickly move into combat and for MadLife to get into position for a good Crescendo to lock down Najin White Shield.
- Shy got Randuin’s Omen as his third item after Spirit Visage and Sunfire Cape to shut down Caitlyn’s DPS in the mid/late game team fights.
Control that Vision:
A key element for a pick-off comp to work is to always have vision of your opponents’ positions and at the same time deny vision from your opponent in order to force them into making positional errors. MadLife and his teammates were able to maintain vision control of Shield’s entire jungle while at the same time denying Shield vision with early Oracle’s Elixir and Vision Wards which forces Shield to roam together as a 5-man squad which is very inefficient for them to get farm onto their main carries and forces them to march to the beat of Frost’s drum.
Frost never let up the pressure onto Shield after taking the gold lead. They applied lane pressure from all three lanes in the mid game with Shen and Nocturne pushing the side lanes and kept the rest of the team pressuring mid lane. The siege lasted for about 8 minutes until Shield made a crucial mistake and then the call to arms was made and the rest was history for Shield in Game 1 and later the entire series.