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League of Legends Worlds 2018 Play-In: A SuperMassive advantage

League of Legends Group B Play-In: SuperMassive Esports

For most, Group B was supposed to be commanded by G2 Esports (G2), but SuperMassive Esports (SUP) immediately halted them in their tracks with today’s win. On paper, this is an upset. But watching the game, it appears SUP is the team with the better macro and team play.

The Draft

It’s important to note that G2 doesn’t have a bad draft this game. They first pick Akali for Perkz on blue side, take away Alistar from Snowflower (arguably his best champion), get Jankos on the Olaf (the champion he has the most success with recently), and round out the draft with Tristana for Hjarnan (comfort pick/good in this meta) and Ornn for Wunder.

This is a well balanced draft that can snowball the early game with the superior 2v2 power of Akali-Olaf and transition that lead into advantageous fights from the engage power of Alistar-Ornn. They have a lot of windows they can exploit to get meaningful advantages and they also have a scaling insurance pick in the Tristana in case they miss their early windows of opportunity.

However, SUP comes up with a perfect draft to counter what G2 is looking to do. They draft a beefy top side, put Snowflower on Tahm Kench, and use red side last pick to get GBM Zilean. In fights, Akali is going to have a difficult time killing anyone with the devour from Tahm Kench, Zilean ultimate, Skarner ultimate, Varus ultimate and the zoning from Sion.

G2 is going to need to exploit their mid-jungle duo and get a big enough lead to overcompensate for how difficult the mid game teamfight is going to be for them. SUP knows this and are more than comfortable having GBM lose gracefully in mid while letting Zeitnot and their superior bot lane get leads.

In Game Execution

This plays out like you would expect.

Akali gets a big CS lead. Jankos uses mid priority to heavily counter-jungle Stomaged. Top is a farm fest for both tanks. SUP maintains their bot lead despite a great gank from Jankos following up on the flash engage from Wadid on Alistar. SUP’s bot lane does make one mistake that puts a bit of a dent in their lead. Because they just pushed out the wave, they make the decision to try and force a favorable fight near top side river and catch out Perkz using Tahm Kench’s abyssal voyage.

However, Perkz was easily able to escape and G2’s bot lane used Tristana’s fast pushing to their advantage. They pushed in the wave, got first turret and set up the wave so that it bounced back for Wunder to pick up. They wanted to recall immediately but, fortunately, SUP’s bot lane was able to push out the lane completely so that they could go top and maintain the pressure that they still had. Even though this was a mistake from SUP, they salvaged it in a poised manner and as soon as both bot lanes hit top, Zeitnot went full alpha, stepped up and nearly killed Hjarnan for entering his lane.

Due to the swap, SUP was able to not only clear out the vision of the area but use the pressure from their advantage to extend their vision into G2’s side of the map. This formed a massive stranglehold on the top side, which they used to get Rift Herald and prepare for Baron spawning. They were able to exert their advantage while also not overextending without vision while Perkz has mid priority.

The hero play of this game came at 18 minutes, when Perkz tried to assassinate GBM in the mid lane. Just as Perkz was about to finish him off, his ultimate came off cooldown and bought him some time while his team came to save him. Snowflower flashed in and devoured GBM right after he revived, saving him and baiting Wadid into his own death. G2 tried to force mid again but because of SUP’s ability to stall out these fights, Wunder died from getting dragged by Skarner ultimate. The team then used Rift Herald to get outer mid tower.

At this point, SUP was far stronger than G2 and a top side fight caused by SUP baiting Baron broke out. Stomaged flashed for Perkz and used his ultimate on him. No one on G2 paid the “Skarner tax” in the quicksilver sash, because they wouldn’t have the item advantages to abuse their windows of power. Perkz getting caught led to baron and SUP closing out the game in commanding fashion.

What’s Next?

It’s possible for a team to have a great tournament day and abuse the volatility of best of ones to surprise their opponents, but that’s not what SuperMassive did today. Instead, they showed that they should be the team that everyone heavily favored to make it out as the first seed of Group B.

This is still the first round robin and G2/ASC will be looking at what went wrong to fix their mistakes. However, SUP showcased an ability to not only draft a team composition that took away the opponents’ win conditions, but more importantly, execute it properly in game. With the win they find themselves in the driver’s seat of the group to get first place, make it to the group stage and show the world why Turkey is the next region to get a guaranteed spot at groups.

Images courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr 

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