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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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

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

Who is TSM’s Carry

After the poor performance of TSM’s bottom lane there was a clear crisis in the first TSM/GGS series. If Doublelift cannot carry who should carry instead? The ideal answer would be Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, however Golden Guardians banned out most of his champions in this series and showed a great response to his Azir in Ziggs.

GG accurately predicted Bjerg would take the Azir if left open, but the combined wave clear and reliable poke from the Ziggs more or less neutralized any lane advantage he was looking to get, despite Bjergsen finding a few kills onto Damonte with Azir ult insec plays.

In Game 3 we saw TSM pick Sett in order to deny it from Can “Closer” Çelik, but they then stick it on Bjergsen. I have no doubt in my mind he asked to play Sett, but seeing as how TSM has won the majority of their games this split off the back of Bjergsen hard carrying on an AP mage picking the tanky utility Sett is like shooting yourself in the foot.

This is also the case with ‎Sergen “Brokenblade” Çelik. He is a carry top laner and despite a great Game 1 performance on Shen, he was relegated to tank duty, which is not his strength. TSM sacrificed so much in the draft to try and get a favorable bot lane matchup, consistently lost those matchups, and then handicapped the rest of their team by picking champions that did not play to their strengths.

The main difference between TSM and Cloud9’s drafting has been each team’s identity or, more accurately, understanding their own identity. C9 knows who they are. They know their playstyle, they know their strengths, and they draft and play to those strengths. Their drafts against FlyQuest never deviated from what they were good at, what they had played during the split, and how they win games.

TSM on the other hand seems to be unaware of the best way for their team to play. Broken Blade is put onto champions like Gangplank and Orn which he has almost never performed well on. Bjergsen is given picks like Sett who will not be the primary carry. Spica is typically restricted to facilitating champions like Volibear and Lee Sin but will randomly be called upon to carry TSM on Nidalee when they are down 0-2 in a playoff game.

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Both teams played poorly, both teams lost, but there was a world of difference in their drafting. The community, and casters to a degree, need to stop this boring and lazy narrative that whoever loses had something wrong with their draft.

You will not get everything you want in a draft. It is a give-and-take where priorities change every phase. Cloud9 and Team SoloMid’s best-of-five series this Saturday will be decided heavily by the draft, but more by who has a better grasp on their identity.