LCS: How Bad Drafts Cost TSM Against FlyQuest

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games. /
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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Fan-favorite and Cloud9 slayer TSM fell last weekend in the losers bracket of the LCS playoffs to FlyQuest. Here’s how their poor drafts cost them.

After TSM fell to FlyQuest in five games in the LCS losers bracket last weekend, a lot of ire was pointed directly at TSM’s coach Peter Zhang for his poor pick and ban strategy. Many like former TSM head coach Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-seop and analyst Joshua “Jatt” Leesman have come to Zhang’s defense and pointed out that drafts are not solely on the coach and may be due to player objections and input. I will examine all the factors that went into TSM’s drafts, including mitigating factors, and break down exactly why these drafts were so bad and who should take the blame.

Most fans have correctly identified two of TSM’s biggest problems in the drafts against FlyQuest: improper prioritization of Rakan and poor picks for their own jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. While the latter question has gotten significantly more discussion, I feel like it was the former that actually cost TSM more heavily and exposed several other issues that have not been discussed as thoroughly.


The argument regarding Rakan is fairly simple: TSM allowed FlyQuest to put their star support Lee “Ignar” Dong-geun on the Charmer for the first three games, of which FlyQuest won two and lost the other in a heart-breaking fashion after being far ahead for most of Game 1. In those three games, Ignar had a combined KDA of 0/7/38 (5.43 KDA).

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Simple scouting from the 2020 Spring regular season should have revealed to the TSM staff that Rakan was Ignar’s most-picked support at five games, with him not having more than two games on any other champion. In addition, he had played Rakan three times in their previous series against Evil Geniuses (“EG”). This was clearly a pick that he and FlyQuest prioritized heavily.

More importantly, however, was that Xayah was also a champion that FlyQuest ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran had plenty of experience on, having played the Rebel four times in the regular season. While he didn’t play it in the EG series, Xayah was his highest KDA and GPM champion in the regular season and FlyQuest had a 100% win rate in those games.

Yet in all of the first three games, with TSM on red side, they allowed both halves of the lover’s duo to get through the draft. FlyQuest picked Rakan, TSM had the opportunity to respond by grabbing Xayah themselves and chose not to, and FlyQuest got their desired bot lane. Picking Xayah away without Rakan is certainly a losing trade for TSM, but the problem, as we will discuss, is that they didn’t force FlyQuest to give up anything significant for these picks.