LCS Summer Playoffs: Criticism of TSM and Cloud9 Drafts is Wrong

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 1: — during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on February 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 1: — during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on February 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games) /

We break down some of the criticisms levied by LCS commentators on perceived poor drafts by TSM and Cloud9

Cloud9 v FlyQuest Game 1 Draft

As difficult as it may be to imagine based on how we saw the game turn out, Cloud9’s overall draft in Game 1 was very good. It’s a pick comp that wants to dive the bottom lane as soon as everyone hits level six. The Twisted Fate wants to push out his lane and ult bottom where Yuumi and Nocturne will dive Ashe and they can snowball the game from there with the excellent scaling on Ezreal and Vladimir.

Unfortunately, this is not how the game turned out. FlyQuest had an extremely successful late invade onto Robert “Blaber” Huang which resulted in an early first-blood. FlyQuest then followed up with another invade on his Blue Buff and killed him again. At this point, the linchpin of the composition is so far behind that C9 wasn’t able to use their composition the way they want to unless they somehow find another advantage.

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Instead of finding an advantage, Blaber and ‎Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer continued to skirmish and die to FlyQuest. We have a clear case of failure to execute, as well as a huge jungle difference between Lucas “Santorin” Larsen and Blaber, as the main reason for C9’s loss in Game 1, not the draft.

The few areas of improvement or “flaws” that I see in this draft are Cloud9 could have picked a top laner who could disrupt the Shen ultimate instead of the Vladimir. I am also slightly puzzled by the Trundle jungle pick since Cloud9 and FlyQuest did not show a preference towards this pick in the series.

The Shen made finding picks on Azir and Ashe even more difficult since he could ult from across the map and protect them. This draft was good, with minor adjustments that could make it even better, but fell on its face due to poor execution and great teamplay from FlyQuest. There was, however, one aspect of the Game 1 draft that got a lot of unfair criticism.

Shen vs Gangplank

The area of scrutiny the makes zero sense is those who said Cloud9 should ban the Shen pick, or stop playing Gangplank into it. Gangplank into Shen is universally seen as a Gangplank-favored match up. Gangplank can harass early with his Parrrley, shove the wave, and back for an early Cull. He outscales the Shen, wins the 1v1 due to Shen having no real way to kill him unless Licorice forgets how to play top lane, and can match global pressure from Shen with his ultimate.

Across all regions we see teams favoring Gangplank in the match up and opting into it. Yet because Cloud9 lost these games observers come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the pick itself. Apart from Game 3 where FLY focused the Gangplank hard, he was winning the match up every single time.

The story of the series between FlyQuest and Cloud9 had very little to do with the draft. It was a story of MVP candidate Santorin outperforming Blaber and how he and Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage consistently were the stronger jungle/mid duo with some questionable plays from C9’s bottom lane in critical moments of Games 3 and 4.