As the season is reaching its climax, it’s still unclear who will make it to playoffs this summer. Some teams like Excel Esports have been stepping up massively over the past few weeks, while others seem to be slumping. As always, so much comes down to the crucial champion selections – which off-meta picks have helped teams pick up victories? Here are the top five picks that made this week one of the most interesting so far.
Mikyx’s Pyke: 5/2/8 vs Fnatic
Right now, Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle is one of the best supports in the world. In the G2 botlane duo, Mikyx is the man that sets up the plays for his ADC. Mikyx loves playing aggressive champions like Rakan, Gragas and of course Pyke. After losing against Fnatic in the first half of Summer, Mikyx and his signature champion had something to prove.
Some people might think that Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov had an off-game. Ofcourse, he could have played better, but most of Hylissang’s deaths were caused by Mikyx’ brilliant pathing. G2’s support was able to shadow Hylissang everytime the Fnatic support tried to leave his lane. This gave G2 Esports the opportunity to set up picks on the unsuspecting frog, which ultimately led to them snowballing their leads during the mid game.
Mickey’s Irelia: 7/1/7 vs Splyce
Son "Mickey" Young-min had probably his best game of summer this week. Excel’s midlaner showed up massively on a champion that has been hit by nerfs, and doesn’t seem particularly good in the mid lane right now. Usually.
Yet here, he was able to outplay and outsmart the LEC’s second place team.
It was difficult to find a single good clip from this game, since there were many moments that could have made the highlight reel. However, this particular play sums up the game pretty well: Mickey starts a mid lane fight in a one versus three deficit, yet makes it out alive with the help of Tahm Kench and even manages to pick up a kill and an assist. Excel-lent.
Kold’s Gragas: 6/0/9 vs Misfits
Origen’s Jonas "Kold" Andersen is well known for his counter ganks and the control he provides for his team. However, this game was different. By being extremely aggressive in the early game and sacrificing his own farm, he was able to get his laners ahead from a very early point in the game.
Gragas is a champion that cuts both ways: either super strong when ahead, or useless when he is too far behind. Most Gragas players opt in for the Runic Echoes jungle item, which gives the champion a lot of burst damage. However, when you fall behind your damage is negligible and you’ll be too squishy to make big plays. This was exactly the reason that Kold played so aggressively in the early game, and it paid off.
Mowgli’s Lee Sin: 5/0/5 vs G2 Esports
Some might say that G2 Esports trolled in the draft by picking Garen. While it was certainly an interesting pick, the biggest take-away from this game is that Lee "Mowgli" Jae-ha read Martin “Wunder” Hansen like a book in the early game.
Mowgli was everywhere where he was supposed to be. He knew that G2 Esports had limiting options due to their losing top and bottom lanes. This meant that he was able to shadow the opposing jungler, and set up brilliant counter ganks whenever needed. This gave Team Vitality the lead that they needed to close the game out clean and early.
Upset’s Kai’Sa: 8/0/2 vs Origen
Upset certainly likes to live up to his name on occasion. In this game Origen were mounting a great comeback with an Elder Dragon steal and a few kills in their back pocket.
However, they didn’t account for Elias “Upset” Lipp’s teleport.
Upset was having a great game, picking up first blood in a nice gank and even a triple kill during a baron fight. Schalke 04 were able to break open Origen’s base, but weren’t quite able to end it. With the Elder Dragon on the rift, both teams were looking to get the massive buff. Schalke 04 were in a prime position to nab it, but Origen’s jungler was able to smite the buff away and kill a few of Schalke 04’s players.
This was the moment that Upset made the hero play and teleported straight to Origen’s nexus to finish the game.