For some players, there was no escaping death. Did they experience fear beyond death? If not, they may have gently (relatively speaking) sunk under the sea. Those that met neither fate may have fallen to vengeance, lest they proved worthy or became the hunter, rather than the prey.
In short, the LEC’s third week held interesting picks in store as professional players began their transition into Patch 9.2.
Urgot: 50 percent ban rate, 100 percent win rate
The LEC’s third week of action accidentally followed a theme: whichever squad picked Urgot eventually won the game. In the five instances out of ten that the pick was not banned, it unleashed rampage in its wake as it scuttled upon Summoners’ Rift. Indeed, players leveraged the Dreadnought to his fullest in the remaining five games. The stats speak for themselves: 30/7/33 KDA and 80.77 percent kill participation total.
The lucky Urgot players agreed on the primary keystone: they all saw merit in the Unsealed Spellbook. As the champion benefits little from other primary rune trees, the Inspiration tree and its Spellbook provide unparalleled flexibility, as players can change their summoners to fit specific situations. In one such situation, Ki “Expect” Dae-han selected Smite and promptly stole Baron Nashor from Misfits Gaming, securing a decisive victory for Excel Esports in the process. Fear beyond death? Try “end of all hope.”
Furthermore, Urgot players proved their flexible mindset in their secondary tree choices. The choices depended on the lane matchups and on the team’s needs. Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and Paul “sOAZ” Boyer had a somewhat favourable Sion matchup, and they selected the Domination tree as a secondary. The tree offers several options to further nail advantages, with Taste of Blood a clear option for sustain.
Other players used the Resolve tree as a secondary path. In such cases, Bone Plating and Demolish provided a much needed edge in terms of turret takedown potential and survivability. Unconvinced on the latter? Just ask Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau as he survived through a team fight against Rogue. As long as players steered clear from unwise decisions (unlike Rasmus “Caps” Winther against SK Gaming in the early game), they would be nigh unkillable. Overall, Urgot established itself as the premier flex pick in Patch 9.2 in the LEC.
Kold’s Kayn: 4/2/11 KDA vs. SK Gaming
Patch 9.2 introduced a number of changes to the jungle overall. Beyond that, Kayn also received quality of life changes as the players’ experience on the champion became smoother. However, his power level did not change much beyond the early game. Even then, Jonas “Kold” Andersen could not resist unleashing Rhaast upon SK Gaming – especially as Invictus Gaming’s Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning inspired him.
Kayn is as elusive as he is deadly, as he can traverse walls towards team fights and regain health through E – Shadow Step. In addition, Rhaast form provides him with some much needed survivability, allowing him to stop chase-downs or initiate them with knock-ups. In that form, he can afford to build a more offensively-oriented loadout, with a Warrior enchantment and Black Cleaver as a core combination. Should he stray too far, a Guardian Angel can come in handy in the late game.
Kayn had already emerged as a niche pick in Patch 9.1 in the LPL, but Patch 9.2 promoted tanky junglers into a safer spot within the meta. As he is a solid counter to them, he may soon see more LEC play beyond Kold. So far, Kayn relies on the Conqueror keystone, with Triumph and Coup de Grace as solid selections on the Precision tree. There are many options for the secondary tree, and Kold’s choice of Cosmic Insight and Magical Footwear allow him to get up to speed and stay on top of the action at all times.
In Rhaast form, Kayn becomes a facilitator as he provides secondary initiation and/or peeling with his W – Blade’s Reach. He can also unleash havoc upon tanks with his Umbral Trespass as well as heal himself in the process. Should more tanks see play, Kayn will reap more souls as time goes. As long as Kayn players understand the pick and its inherent weaknesses in the early-game, all should be well.
Rekkles’s Kai’Sa: 9/1/4 KDA vs. Rogue, Pentakill
At this point, it is no secret that Fnatic has struggled in the LEC so far. However, the team has showed signs of life in their Week 2 showing against FC Schalke 04 Esports. In Week 3, they went further, as they scored a victory against the struggling Rogue. In the process, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson scored a momentous Pentakill on a pick he has recently favoured: Kai’Sa.
Kai’Sa is not a new flavour pick: Elias “Upset” Lipp and others have built their legacy upon the pick, and the trend is unlikely to die down. However, Rekkles’s performance was significant. At the start, he prevailed alongside Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov’s Morgana against Vayne-Alistar. Later on, as he scaled safely he made his presence known in team fights, taking over Bwipo’s earlier efforts on Urgot. And it was glorious.
Rekkles’s Kai’Sa has a fairly standard rune page, featuring Fleet Footwork. Triumph and Coup de Grace allow Kai’Sa to reap the rewards ensuing from correct targeting, and Alacrity works well with her Passive as she shreds opponents to bits faster. Her secondary tree choices are also obvious, as the Sorcery tree offers Absolute Focus and Gathering Storm for extra efficiency, especially in the late game and as her health remains high during team fights.
The build path is also straightforward: after purchasing Stormrazer and Berserker’s Greaves, Rekkles finalised his Guinsoo’s Rageblade at minute 18, Runaan’s Hurricane at 24, and Infinity Edge at 29. With those items in tow, and with the amplified max-level Q – Icathian Rain and E – Supercharge, the outcome of the game became inevitable.
Patrik’s Kalista: 8/1/7 KDA vs. SK Gaming
In comparison to Rekkles’s Kai’Sa, Patrik’s Kalista experienced several setbacks. After all, the pick is notorious for having one of the rockiest laning phases in the game, even with the presence of Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez’s Alistar. However, Patrik’s presence in key moments during the mid game allowed Origen to beat SK Gaming.
In a knock-up heavy composition, Kalista made sense as she provided one more knock-up opportunity. In addition, her ability to dart in and out of a team fight and to recall her Oathsworn (in this case Alistar) allows her to play safely starting Level 6. In addition, the changes she received in Patch 9.1 (better base stats and Q – Pierce damage) allow for smoother gameplay across the board. As such, she can factor into skirmishes as soon as she completes a Blade of the Ruined King.
In theory, European teams have warmed up to her much later than LCK and TCL players. However, they did so upon understanding where she stood despite the nerfs to her E – Rend against monsters. From there, two rune combination variants have emerged: Lethal Tempo and Press the Attack. In Patrik’s case, Lethal Tempo meshed well with the Legend: Alacrity rune to boost his attack speed upon entering a team fight and stack Rend on opponents. The resulting Rend activation was usually super effective.
Kalista’s build usually takes a long time to finalise. However, Patrik took longer as he valued staying alive with a Quicksilver Sash at minute 17. From there, he purchased a Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Runaan’s Hurricane. In tandem with Blade of the Ruined King, and with a strong front line, he made the game unplayable for SK Gaming. Here is to hoping that our readers never have to experience a Kalista winning catch games by default as they hop away from one autoattack to another.
Mikyx’s Pyke: 4/2/18 KDA vs. Splyce (let’s not count that one assist)
G2 Esports are the rising tide of the 2019 LEC, and they are gaining steam. Just ask Splyce if they can recall what happened as G2’s wave rose and crashed upon them, leaving only destruction in its wake. In the midst of it all, do not be surprised to hear something along the lines of “Beware, beware, the call of the sea.” You see, Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle’s Pyke really sank ‘em all.
From that game alone, one could build a montage of best Pyke plays, as Mikyx’s targets kicked the bucket after he hooked them in. If you’re interested in reproducing his exploits, be sure to have a correct read of their movement patterns, land your Q – Bone Skewer, and stun them with an almost immediate E – Phantom Undertow dash. However, be sure not to hook full-health hostiles into your low-health teammates.
In order to reach lethal status, Pyke needs to survive long enough. In that capacity, the Resolve tree as a main pick is mandatory – with Aftershock as the main keystone. From there, Bone Plating and Unflinching provide solid survivability as Pyke dives into the fray seeking targets to eliminate. From there, the Precision tree’s Legend: Tenacity provides an additional layer, as he is susceptible to stuns.
Pyke is at his most lethal when targets are low, and Mikyx understands that. Thus, he selected Presence of Mind to refresh his Ultimate – Death From Below’s cooldown quicker. Lethality items also provide survivability when out of combat, and Duskblade of Draktharr, Youmuu’s Ghostblade and Edge of Night purchases are among the best possible items in a Pyke’s inventory. However, diving into compromising situations may result in instant death (although that happened to Mikyx fairly rarely).