Monday, March 17, 2014

Strategic Analysis Outcome: League of Legends IEM- IG v. Fnatic

This is the second part of this article, and the test to see if my analysis was accurate. You may have issues following this if you aren't especially familiar with League of Legends or its meta.

The Laning Phase (less roaming, more CSing)

The game begins with IG deciding to swap their top lane with their bottom lane. They were aware that the standard lanes would give the advantage to Fnatic, and a swapped lane would be much more successful. Additionally, given that they had 2 people (Vayne and Thresh) against 1 person (Lulu), Wukong took the opportunity to steal the red buff. IG is recognizing that Fnatic needs to get a foothold early, and is playing to try and hold them down. 

Kassadin dying so early was very bad for Fnatic's strategy
The advantage is pressed further when Lulu is sent back at 3:33, and Kassadin dies to Yasuo at 3:50. This is critical because Kassadin is such a core to Fnatic's strength in the midgame. If he falls behind, they may not have the strong mid game they need to really control the match. Lulu dies to a dive at top at 4:00, which is further putting Fnatic behind.

However, Fnatic's botlane is able to take the first turret at 5:30, and the bot lane goes about trying to support the other lanes. They take the dragon at 8:35. It puts them up a bit, but they aren't as strong as they need to be going into midgame. This point in the game becomes troublesome for Fnatic, since IG starts to group as 4 and takes Fnatic's mid turret. They then begin to pressure the jungle (which is actually what Fnatic was hoping to do at this point in the game- but Fnatic fell too far behind early).

Fnatic tries to do their midgame strategy, and ganks bot with Nocturne and Kassadin, but due to a mix of being weaker and overchasing, they end up losing more than they gain. IG responds by invading the jungle as 4. They steal blue at 15 minutes, then red 3 minutes later.

tl;dr- IG lane swaps and aggressively  hold down Fnatic- denying Fnatic's midgame strength.

Midgame (dragons and outer/inner turrets)

At this point, Fnatic is in a lot of trouble. They aren't really able to fight a 5 man battle against IG, are extremely behind their lane equivalents, and are desperately losing map control (which makes it nigh impossible to splitpush). However, they do have something their opponents do not- siege defense and wave clear. Fnatic has the potential to turtle and play safe in order to get back into the game. 

However, when Fnatic notices IG's failure to pressure and take turrets (instead IG just tries to hold map control, and doesn't contest turrets- possibly due to Fnatic's siege defense) and the fact that IG began to split up- Fnatic took the opportunity to fight back. They kill Wukong, and take dragon at ~20 minutes. However, they lose members to an angry IG.

IG finds the fight they wanted.
IG groups and sits around the Baron pit at 23:05. When Fnatic comes to check (they need 5 men to contest baron), IG engages on them over the wall and gets the fight they want. They then proceed to take Baron, and kill the members of Fnatic who try to stop them. IG with Baron is incredibly strong.

IG actually splitpushes and takes out mid, top and bottom turrets in quick succession. Normally I would have thought Fnatic would have tried to engage when IG was split, but a baron buffed Shyvanna would be too hard to kill. 

tl;dr- Fnatic is really far behind. IG is winning the midgame due to their early game advantages.

Late game (Barons, Inhibs, Nexus)

Fnatic is really behind right now. IG has full control of the map, along with their stronger teamfight. However, if Fnatic is able to win a fight around this point, they have the potential of taking back the game. 

At 31minutes, IG tries to start baron, and Fnatic chooses to engage at that time. This is actually a very interesting fight since it isn't a standard 5v5 which IG would win at. Instead, it is 2 skirmishes. When Nocturne tries to steal Baron, IG's team becomes split up- part of the team peels off for a fight, the other part stays to try and take Baron. This confusion is what Fnatic needs and wants. 

Its more of a misplay of IG, but if Fnatic engineered this skirmish,
thene they are geniuses
  • Lucian's ult onto baron confuses IG. Half of the team peel away from it and engage, while the other half decides to stay and try to take the buff. The main cause is due to Thresh catching onto Kassadin.
  • When IG's Wukong, Thresh and Yasuo attack, they are knocked up by Lulu's ultimate, and then stunned by Annie's tibbers. 
  • Meanwhile, Nocturne flashing in and trying to steal the Baron makes Shyvanna and Vayne turn their attention away from the engage.
  • In essence, it becomes
    • Nocturne vs. Vayne and Shyvanna
    • Yasuo, Thresh, and Wukong (all chain stunned) vs. the rest of Fnatic
  • Wukong panics when he notices that Nocturne had gone to steal Baron, and flashes into the pit trying to secure it. He does, but it leaves the fight as Yasuo and Thresh against 4 members of Fnatic.
    • As expected, Yasuo and Thresh both fall, while Nocturne falls in the back
  • The rest of IG decides to engage with their new baron buff. But at this point the fight is essentially even, and Fnatic survives with more members and take an objective. 
The fight is more of a mistake on the part of IG than anything. If they had chosen to all disengage and attack Fnatic, the fight would have probably turned out differently. But since they split, they weren't able to take advantage of their teamcomp. If they weren't already incredibly ahead, that fight would have been very in favor of Fnatic.

IG groups as 5 champions and tries to pressure mid. But the waves in bot and top are beginning to push in favor of Fnatic. They decide to split apart and shove top and bot. However this ends up being a mistake. Fnatic responds immediately by picking off Thresh with 5 champions, and takes a turret. Normally, you wouldn't expect this.

At 38:31, IG gets a bit desperate and tries to engage onto Annie in the jungle- just trying to start a fight. However, this isn't the best situation as he is melted before his team can respond. However, Fnatic sees the advantage of a 4v5 and walks right into the outstretched arms of 4 members of IG. The fight ends poorly for Fnatic due to the clever tactic and strength of IG. They proceed to take the mid turret and inhibitor.

The last fight actually comes from a surprising siege on bot turret by IG. Shyvanna no longer fears the turret and is willing to engage into a teamfight if Fnatic step up. Fnatic tries to burst down Shyvanna, but fails to take her down. The turret falls, and IG immediately engages in a fight.

tl;dr- Fnatic shows their veteran mental control in the late game. IG makes several mistakes and seem unsure of how to end the game, and Fnatic takes advantage of this confusion. However, IG was just too far ahead in terms of levels and strength that they were able to just brute strength win.


This game was interesting because the two teams had such differing strengths, which really meant that they way they controlled the flow of the game would determine the winner. IG played the early game very well with the lane swaps and counterganks. They were also able to group relatively quickly at 11 minutes and start taking advantage of their teamcomp.

The main factor that let them do this is due to Kassadin's unexpected first blood at midlane, which put Fnatic incredibly behind. I recently heard it was partially due to Yasuo getting lucky with 2 crits, allowing him to get a kill that no one expected him to.

Ultimately IG's teamcomp was very good at teamfighting- the wombo combo style, but not especially strong at sieging. There came points where IG was uncertain what to do, and wandered around in confusion- Fnatic took advanage of this and picked them off. Fnatic also showed their steel mental fortitude and ability to make plays when things looked grim.

As far as how accurate my analysis was, well, parts of it were right, other parts were way off. Both teams did some things that I wasn't expecting. But it really came down to IG taking map control early and preventing Fnatic's strengths from taking over the game with map control, roaming, and splitpushing.

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