Patch 9.4’s first week of LEC action was one to remember, if only for G2 Esports’ second loss of the season. Besides, Origen swept Week 7 with a 2-0 showing, and Fnatic are fully back on track. The teams underwent internal growth, and patch changes helped accelerate the process for some of them. Their picks also spoke volumes, as they showed how adaptability has yielded the best results.
Fnatic and Origen weren’t the only ones with game-changing picks. In fact, Misfits Gaming, SK Gaming and G2 Esports had tricks up their sleeves to consolidate their positions as playoff hopefuls (or, in G2’s case, LEC frontrunners). Let’s dig in.
Nemesis’ Sylas: 4/0/5 KDA vs. Rogue
Fnatic has had a difficult start to the 2019 LEC spring split, but they have bounced back into playoff potential. Once in contention for a bottom ranking, the team has found a way to incorporate Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek into its game plans, and he’s rewarded them with a string of solid performances since Week 6. In his latest showing, he helped introduce Sylas to the winning side of the LEC in decisive fashion in the mid lane.
Nemesis took full advantage of Sylas’s wave clearing ability to participate in early-game roams and secure leads in the top and bottom lanes. From there, there was little that Rogue could do as he scaled far ahead of Chres “Sencux” Laursen’s Ryze; by minute four, he had secured a sizable lead for himself and Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau. In fact, the game had ended before minute 10: recovery became impossible for Rogue when he secured an early Rod of Ages. For good measure, he followed it up with a Lich Bane purchase at minute 19.
Sylas’s wave clearing potential and survivability in the early game are as oppressive as his trading, as the Conqueror rune takes full advantage of his ability to stick to a target. From there, his role within team fights changed depending on the ultimate he stole with his R – Hijack, and he frequently used Braum’s Glacial Fissure to apply crowd control and heavy area-of-effect damage. At times, he also used Lee Sin’s Dragon Kick to great effect as a displacement tool.
Febiven’s LeBlanc: 8/2/5 KDA vs. Excel Esports
Had Febiven not selected LeBlanc, Excel Esports would have beaten Misfits Gaming on the second day of Week 7. However, he did, and he was able to pick them apart on a consistent basis. More than his KDA score, his impact was unmatched as the side lane pressure he applied ultimately resulted in Misfits Gaming remaining in contention at all stages of the game.
More importantly, when Excel threatened to prevail over his team, he pulled off LeBlanc’s best magic trick: making life bars disappear. In the process, he stopped two potentially game-defining pushes and bought time for Misfits’ composition to fully scale into the late game. As far as he was concerned, he was ready for prime time as soon as he purchased Luden’s Echo and Oblivion Orb – both before the 20-minute mark. By that time, his W – Distortion and Q – Sigil of Malice were also fully maxed out, providing him with strong single target and AoE damage.
When combined with his Electrocute keystone, that itemisation usually resulted in opponents playing cautiously around him, from fear of instant death. And when their guard dropped, he was quick to punish them. In the end, Excel experienced the harshest punishment possible: defeat, and elimination from playoff contention.
Crownshot’s Jinx: 10/2/8 KDA vs. G2 Esports
SK Gaming’s situation against G2 Esports was dire in appearance: by minute 24, they were over 8.8k gold behind, and their base was in danger of falling apart. However, Jus “Crownshot” Marusic had been patiently biding his time on Jinx: until that point, he had scored enough kills and farmed enough creeps to secure an Infinity Edge, a Runaan’s Hurricane, and a Phantom Dancer. G2 didn’t know it at the time, but they had already lost.
Jinx is one of the most devastating hypercarries in the game, and Patch 9.3’s itemisation changes opened room for her return to prominence. With the items listed above, and with the Lethal Tempo keystone, Jinx did not need to ramp up her attack speed through her minigun: she could Q – Switcheroo into Fishbones and safely fling rockets at a devastating pace. As an added bonus, Crownshot made an interesting decision with the selection of the Cut Down rune, becoming more lethal against tanks in the process.
As Crownshot’s Jinx frequently scored kills, he frequently activated her passive – Get Excited, which provided massive movement speed and benefits similar to Lethal Tempo. Soon enough, G2 had to choose between focusing Crownshot (and dying to his teammates) or ignoring him and promptly biting the dust. G2’s lose-lose situation eventually escalated into a loss when SK’s bot laner eventually finished Mercurial Scimitar and Guardian Angel, as he became nigh unkillable from there.
By contrast, Patrik’s Sivir did not need items to fulfil her duty within Origen’s composition as they decisively beat Splyce. All he needed to do was press R near his teammates. Suddenly, he had thrown Jarvan IV, Thresh, Kennen and Sylas literally On the Hunt, increasing their movement speed a significant amount to facilitate skirmishes.
Although Sivir had seen playing time before the 9.3 patch changes for that reason, the itemisation changes currently allow her to clear minion waves with ease (Essence Reaver), then provide damage and scale into the late game through Phantom Dancer and Infinity Edge. With easier wave clear came opportunities to join skirmishes more frequently – and with that, more hunts, and an easy victory. It also helps that Sivir is among the most slippery champions in the game.
Beyond that, Patrik’s use of Fleet Footwork allowed him to stick to targets more easily, resulting in frequent kills. From there, Overheal and Bloodline provided him with all the lifesteal he needed. As such, he had more opportunities to cast auto-attacks with a high health pool, further activating Absolute Focus’s damage buff. Gathering Storm never quite came into effect, as the game was over rather quickly.
Jankos’s Rek’Sai: 6/0/5 KDA vs. Rogue
G2 Esports may have lost their game against SK Gaming, but they fared much better against Rogue on the first day of Week 7. In that game, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski secured Rek’Sai’s first win in the LEC. In the process, he showcased that the Conqueror keystone change had enabled more than top laners (see: Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s Irelia or Ki “Expect” Dae-han’s Rekenton).
With Rek’Sai’s clearing speed no longer in a questionable state, Jankos quickly burrowed his way across the map and relieved pressure wherever he went. In addition, his rune choices put the accent on damage, with Alacrity and Coup de Grace. From there, he used her innate sturdiness and mobility to spiral the top lane out of control in a series of towerdives, much to Finn “Finn” Wiestal’s dismay.
Upon securing a considerable lead, Jankos was free to itemize as a bruiser (with a higher accent on damage dealing). Following the completion of his Warrior enchant, he built a Black Cleaver and a BF Sword. Rogue could do nothing on slippery ground, as they were 7.6k gold behind at minute 20 – too far behind to provide much resistance.