League of Legends LCS draft or execution: An analysis of TSM vs. Echo Fox

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
4 of 4

Game 4

Echo Fox’s draft and bans

Finally, after getting hard smashed two games in a row, Echo Fox finally used two of their first rotation bans to take Lissandra and Galio off the table. This at least forces TSM to some new champions or strategies.

Echo Fox’s team composition, unfortunately, ended up being a bit disjointed again. Xayah and Rakan are strong in the bot lane 2v2, are strong team fighters, and scale well into the late game. I liked these picks, however, it seemed odd to pick them first rotation. Was this lane duo much better than any of the other lanes they had picked previously?

Honestly, it does not seem so. They also glossed over powerful champions that were left available.

It seemed insane to me that both teams passed up on the mid/top lane flex pick Ryze. Ryze got banned seven times in the first ban phase, banned once in the second ban phase and picked once in the entirety of the LCS spring quarterfinals. Echo Fox could have had Akali and Ryze, two very powerful flex picks in the current meta, and could have had the potential to chose where they go in order to find good matchups for either champion.

Echo Fox did finally have an ADC with self-peel to potentially survive team fights better, but the issue with this is that Echo Fox finally prioritizes an ADC with self-peel after TSM does not draft a dive composition. The time for this duo lane or ADC was the previous games, not now. Echo Fox did net themselves another team composition with late game scaling and if they could finally pull off surviving until late game, they would have a chance for Xayah and Akali to take over the game.

TSM’s draft and bans

TSM picked a pretty standard team fighting team composition with the addition of Zoe, which like I mentioned earlier, counts as a win condition. Hecarim is able to dive in with Alistar and/or Reksai and provide backline threat, Zoe is left up to her own devices and Lucian will either receive help from his team in peel or will have to fend for himself.

All in all, this team composition focuses less on synergy and more on good individual champions that go well against Echo Fox’s draft. It is mostly strong champions picked in order to counter what Echo Fox brought to the table. There is nothing wrong with this as TSM learned throughout the series that as long as they have lane pressure, Akaadian’s wrath will be swift.

Comparing the drafts

Neither team’s draft seemed very cohesive and this is often the symptom of best-of series. Lane priority is similar to previous games. Echo Fox is expected to have lane priority bot laner early, but this is will last until Lucian is able to pick up his first item.

Alistar is very strong into the lover’s duo, as he is much tankier than Rakan and is an awful target to engage on. Alistar’s ultimate makes him hard to kill and allows him to shake off Rakan’s charm. Alistar is also able to use his headbutt ability to knock Rakan away from Lucian, preventing the lover’s duo from being able to effectively engage on him as well.

TSM selected Hecarim to go against Akali. This did not seem like an awful pick, but it is pretty clear that eventually Akali will run away with the matchup. The matchup is quite even early on, and lane priority will be decided by the junglers.

The mid lane is similar to top lane in lane priority, except that Syndra and Jarvan IV finally have the better 2v2 vs Zoe and Rek’sai. While mid lane is a skill matchup favoring Syndra, with junglers involved, this does give Echo Fox lane priority.

With close to even lanes and a losing jungle matchup, Echo Fox stood a real chance to actually make it to the fabled late game and could potentially knock off TSM this game. I would say that TSM had a slight advantage from pick and ban, however with Akali being so powerful the drafts somewhat equal out. It really depends on how hard Solo can carry and if the rest of his team can finally figure out how to play to just survive.

How the game played out

The game was a long and bloody affair with teams trading blow for blow, with TSM securing kills in team fights, but engaged them a little too late and Echo Fox was able to trade the kills for objectives. The game did not really blow open until TSM was able to secure Baron Nashor at 27:15 in the game, allowing them to grow a substantial gold lead. Later in the game, TSM was able to secure a second Baron Nasher and an Elder-Dragon in order to finally close the game out around 41 minutes into the game.

The problem this game for Echo Fox really lay in their execution. The major reason the game stayed competitive for so long was hero efforts by Echo Fox’s top laner Solo on Akali. He was able to get multiple flanks off and was able to wreak havoc on TSM during team fights. Without Solo’s strong performance the game would have likely ended much sooner.

Unfortunately, Bjergsen would shine a little brighter this game then Solo. Bjergsen was able to assassinate Apollo so many times on a champion with self-peel. Bjergsen made many highlight-reel plays throughout the game and made Echo Fox look silly.

Another huge playmaker for TSM this game was support Andy “Smoothie” Ta. He was able to find good windows to engage fights and peel for his ADC. Although Solo tried his hardest, his team’s execution was poor and this led to TSM taking the victory. My final verdict is that the drafts were close to even, but there was a huge gap in execution that led to TSM winning this game.

Series conclusion

Echo Fox came into this League of Legends series as the underdog and although they gave it their best effort, they were no match for TSM. The games where TSM had the better draft they smashed Echo Fox, but even in the games where the draft was even or TSM clearly had the worst draft TSM was able to either fight valiantly or pick up the win.

Echo Fox’s drafts in their losses rarely had more than one win condition and had little flexibility in how they could play out the game. My final verdict for the whole series was that draft was the reason the series was so definitive, but the large gap in execution between the two teams lead to TSM defeating Echo Fox.

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