Yeah I said it (or wrote it I guess). Come fight with me fanboys. And believe me there’s no one more depressed by this fact than I am because I like Cloud9. I think they are a great team and absolutely deserved to get out of groups. But being honest this isn’t their meta and their play so far has been mediocre and much more reliant on opponents making mistakes than actually snowballing themselves.
In terms of the meta they just haven’t adapted well. Meteos is playing in a Rush centric meta and is still for the most part a hard farmer. That’s fine when your laners are excelling by themselves but Cloud9’s for the most part aren’t. Jensen fell well below Maple and Faker and Sneaky has made several uncharacteristic mistakes which has left him with pathetic stats in half their games. The only one really showing up right now is Smoothie who is playing the initiator so well that you can’t fault him when he comes up short. Other than that its been bland performances across the board. Against Samsung I doubt their play is going to cut it. It’s the sad truth and I’m guessing a lot of us have accepted it by now and are just happy to see them get out of groups.
7. Albus Nox Luna
Compared to Cloud9 ANX has a lower skill ceiling but has absolutely crushed in the meta. PVPStejos has typified what a jungler in this meta should do. He’s aggressive and smart finding good ganks and invade oppertunities. The other big standout is Likkrit of course who is doing some hard support carrying for his team. The reason they are ranked low is honestly just that their laners don’t generate as much pressure as their roamers would want. Smurf is an excellent nullifier and Poppy is a great meta pick for him but he’s rarely applying pressure outside of teamfights. Kira is excellent but passive and really wants to scale up. His roams are rare and his picks are abusable early assuming you are eating Anivia qs for breakfast like some mid laners in the tournament have. And Amiracle plays a competent Lucian and that's about all. It’s great they’ve gotten this far and I don’t expect them to go down without a fight but the limitations of their region will become much more apparent against top teams.
ANX vs CLG by Riot esports, on Flickr
6. Edward Gaming
Oh god EDG what happened to you. Despite common perception EDG’s failures are not all on Mouse though he certainly is to blame for a lot of pressure lost top. Instead of beating the dead horse (or mouse I guess) I’d like to focus on the disappointments coming from their jungle. Despite being coming in as the strongest jungler in the tournament Clearlove has not been performing to any sort of standard. Early he’s invisible most of the time and given that he leaves Mouse on an island all game that isn’t a good thing. Where he should be helping his duo lane and botlane get ahead most of the time he’s just farming which is not going to help them against Rox’s superior control style. The other major problem has been Meiko. The 2v2 laning meta does hamper his ability to roam but he still isn’t pressuring the map at all which again makes Mouse’s failures that much more noticeable. If they stand a ghost of a chance against Rox they need to shore up a lot of problems or they are going to get crushed.
Compared to EDG the players at Royal have shown flashes of brilliance. Mata’s Alistar was insane, Uzi popped off when ahead and Mlxg showed good early pressure. Still, RNG has been underwhelming half the time and that doesnt bode well for their chances against SKT. Looper has made some amazing plays but Cuvee bodied him in the straight laning matchup and Uzi and Mata don’t have any particular synergy which makes their laning volatile. Despite their talent RNG are rarely on the same page and rely on getting extremely far ahead to make games look clean. Against SKT they will need to step up or be crushed.
H2k is great at getting leads. By default that makes them highly ranked among their peers. The problem is they aren’t great at closing which is a killer this tournament. Even with 10k leads and baron they rarely push for objectives hard and their teamfighting is so sub par it’s become a meme in and of itself. Inconsistencies with most of their players also hurts them a bit. While Ryu and Forg1ven have put on strong showings Jankos and Vander can struggle if things don’t go their way. Overall though I think H2k have been generally excellent and can be pillars for their region at this tournament.
AHQ vs EDG by Riot esports, on Flickr
After 10 minutes Rox is easily the best team at the tournament. They have excellent macro sense and objective control and their teamfighting is amongst the best here. The problem is the first 10 minutes has all too often put them deep in the hole. I don’t want to take the results of group stages too seriously since they seemed to be playing only half seriously up until the end but they didn’t show the strength we expected coming into the tournament. Smeb is underperforming, Peanut is making some bizarre overly aggressive plays, and the botlane is falling to cheese. Still this is Rox we are talking about and their last 2 games showed when the stakes are raised they are extremely well coordinated.
SKT isn’t the same unbeatable team they were last year but they are still really good. Bang and Wolf are easily the strongest bot lane at the tournament and their synergy is extremely good. Even in close games they pull ahead very reliably and have excellent objective control. Still there are some things that nag at me. Faker isn’t as strong as he usually is and I honestly thought on an individual level that Maple got the better of him this time around. Duke is good but he plays splitpushers almost exclusively in a meta of teamfight mages and tanks. And of course there is the matter of the jungle wars. I’m of the opinion neither Blank or Bengi are really the best choices and it will be interesting to see who SKT field and how they do.
Call me biased and in some ways I am but I truly believe SSG has the best understanding of the meta right now… when CoreJJ is playing. No offense to Wraith but this just isn’t his meta despite Nami being such a contested pick. As for the rest of the team they are all proving to be excellent. Cuvee is going nuts on the meta top laners and is stepping up to really bully the opposition. Ambition is proving to be a very strong jungler now that the meta has shifted from engage tanks and he is undoubtedly the best Skarner we’ve seen. Crown is a masterful mid and arguably the best performing one in the tournament. And with CoreJJ the botlane has good early pressure while Ruler still keeps his late game teamfight pressure. Of all the teams at the tournament they have shown to have the best understanding in terms of what’s good and how to play it and I think they have honestly the best shot of the teams we’ve seen so far.
SSG vs RNG by Riot esports, on Flickr