The Summer Split of the LCS (North American League Championship Series) has already been running for a couple of weeks, and you can define the meta being played with just one word: teamfights. Most of the recent games have shown a tendency of drafting 5 v 5 champions and constantly fighting for objectives, however, there seems to be one team who holds the answer for this.
Counter Logic Gaming, the Surprise
Although CLG was constantly considered as a top team in the LCS for a long time, even having a couple of split titles, this is no longer the case. CLG has been eclipsed the last few years by the consistency of old juggernauts (TSM, C9) and the talent of new rosters (TL, 100T), and the situation does not seem to be close to changing, as the team is currently 2-2 in the standings.
However, this team might have the secret kryptonite to defeat the top teams and redefine the meta. The most recent victory for CLG was against Team Liquid, last split champion, so expectations are rising up for the team. We will analyze and see if this was just a coincidence, Team Liquid trowed the game, or CLG actually has a chance to compete for the title.
The game has shifted more and more towards teamfights this year, and the picks and bans prove it. With champions such as Xayah, Sylas, Sivir, Aatrox and Jarvan being at the most used, trailed closely by Kennen and Sejuani, it is clear the role of these champions is to offer AoE damage and crowd control. Both of them priorities to fulfill for team fight comps.
This is, of course, not just fighting for the sake of it. Towers and Dragons become increasingly important as the game progresses, and the only way to ensure those objectives is making it so nobody can steal them. In other words, kill every enemy before any objective.
It is important to say that, as it has been all year, tower platings are still very important. Being able to capitalize on several platings, since each one is worth 160 gold, whether it is by pressuring turrets or an Rift Heral charge before 14 minutes. It’s a huge gold swing in favor of the team that does it. Keep this in mind when explaining CLG strategy.
Fighting Fire with Fire
Last Sunday CLG faced Team Liquid and won convincingly by using a Siege Composition, a strategy that by no means is new, but was used by almost no one in this meta. CLG’s team consisted of Aatrox, Sejuani, Viktor, Caitlyn and Lux, and had to face difficult champions on the side of Team Liquid. Xmithie’s full AD Olaf, a prominent and menacing pick, Jensen’s Sylas, the go-to solo laner, and Sivir to buff everyone else, used by no other than Doublelift, alongside Kennen and Karma, for more AoE and movement speed buffs. It was a difficult task at hand.
They planned this match against a teamfight comp by drafting their own teamfight comp. But with so much zone control, that they could siege with it: Lux’s Lucent Singularity, Viktor’s Gravity Field, and Caitlyn’s traps limited the area for TL to engage. So they had 2 choices, either give up any objective they were fighting for or pass through a choke point so Sejuani could easily land a good Ultimate. And Aatrox could follow up with the Darkin Blade and destroy TL.
Taking advantage of this, CLG managed to use the well-known ability of Caitlyn to siege turrets to gain an early lead by cashing on tower platings, slowly making their composition work. However, TL did not stay put as CLG took the initiative, as they fight with their claws every objective and kept the gold close between both teams. Xmithie’s Olaf was particularly a problem since Ragnarok can remove any CC and makes Olaf immune to them for the duration. This meant no traps or stuns would stop the Viking in his bloodthirsty mission to kill Stixay’s Caitlyn.
The Breaking Point
Two things secured the victory for CLG: they were able to kill all the Baron’s, which for a siege comp it’s almost a secure win, and they dismantled TL’s teamfight and dealt with individual threats separately. As Olaf was a menace that could not be stunned, CLG decided to always focus on him, and since Xmithie was building a full AD, he died pretty fast. The rest of the team had to conceit any objective after that since they could not fight a 4 v 5.
Credits to CLG were well deserved, as Wiggily’s Sejuani was on point on almost every teamfight, engaging marvelously on isolated targets and giving his team a man advantage in the fights.
At the end, even if the siege comp was not executed perfectly, it gave Counter Logic Gaming enough of an advantage to win the game by their own means. It’s likely that the meta of LCS will shift during the split, but if CLG is able to identify again exploits and counters, they may even be a candidate for the title.