Team Liquid’s LCS team sits tied for fourth place after four weeks of Spring Split matches. Their 7-5 record pales in comparison to TL’s Lock In tournament victory just weeks ago. While their wins are generally dominant, Team Liquid’s losses have come down to minor issues–drafting being one of them. Here’s a look at what Team Liquid’s draft shows, and what they and their opponents should look for moving forward.
Team Liquid’s Previous Drafts
One trend that pops out when looking at TL’s drafts so far is their focus on bottom lane duos. In seven of twelve games, Team Liquid drafted their bottom pair together in the same round, rather than separated across multiple turns. This increases when TL plays blue side, where five of seven matches has the bot duo drafted as last picks together.
Top lane is another target in most Team Liquid’s draft. In four of five red side games, TL saved last pick for Alphari. Fourteen of 48 phase two bans target top lane champions in Team Liquid’s drafts (both teams). Ten supports, five mid laners, eleven bot laners, five junglers and three flex picks make up the remaining 34. Considering the highest priority top laners average phase one bans across the LCS, it shows both Team Liquid and their opponents prefer to save top lane picks to round out their compositions.
Camille and Gangplank have been picked or banned in nine of twelve Team Liquid matches, moderately higher than the LCS’ 62 and 53 percent presence respectively. Gangplank, in particular, has been picked or banned in phase two of every match Team Liquid plays red side. CoreJJ’s Thresh pops up frequently in Team Liquid drafts, picked or banned in ten of 12 games. League-wide, Thresh holds a 52 percent presence. These three champions warp drafts in Team Liquid’s matches.
Team Liquid’s Future Drafts
The TSM drafts do show a pattern, as one of the only rematches of Spring split so far. The first time around, TSM first-picked Azir. This seemed to throw TL for a loop, because they responded with Graves-Jhin, blind-picking two low presence champions while giving TSM Lillia-Kai’Sa to pick into them. TL rounded out phase one with Zoe as the answer to Azir, and both teams saved top-support for the last picks.
In their second match, Seraphine made it through the first ban phase (perhaps intentionally by TSM?), so Team Liquid first picked her. TSM took Kai’Sa-Hecarim and TL responded with Olaf-Tristana. TSM finished phase one with Syndra. While Seraphine and Tristana are technically flex picks, knowing how the teams draft and how Team Liquid plays, Seraphine would most likely go mid and Tristana bot. Both teams targeted top-support for last picks.
TSM won both games, the first more from draft difference, but other teams can take advantage these tendencies. While Team Liquid’s players should be more than capable of winning with a wide range of drafts, any competitive edge in the draft is an advantage. Targeting junglers and mids in the first ban phase then first-picking a mid laner while on blue side forces Team Liquid to take bot-jungle.
They already see the mid laner, so Liquid can safely counter it with their last first phase pick. If they take top, bot or support, then they risk losing a powerful jungle or mid from phase two bans. Not to mention, TL prefers to save top for last pick. Future opponents can engineer drafts decently around these tendencies. For Team Liquid, they should have more confidence to blind pick Alphari’s champions, like Gangplank, in the first phase. If TSM and Cloud9 can do it, then TL can too. Jensen also needs to have just one strong showing on a champion other than Azir, Orianna or Syndra, so TL has more options in the draft.
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