a League of Legends analysis blog
Series 1 up to series 15 for the Tigers and still they remain largely undefeated. This isn’t a story about how they progressed to reach the finals at Worlds, proving themselves as underdogs. This is a story of their dominance since Game 1 Week 1 of LCK Spring 2016. A reverse of tales, of sorts, compared to SKT.
Tigers don’t change their stripes and why should they? They’ve mauled their opponents in consistent fashion: Punishing mistakes very hard right from the beginning, and catching out enemies in skirmishes transitioning into objectives. By then, the gold lead surmounts substantially.
Even though their macro strategies vary, certain Tiger characteristics remain. They aren’t traits that teams can just replicate. They certainly aren’t always flashy or fancy plays either. These are rooted in their team synergy and superior shot calling. Anytime someone starts to get in trouble, immediately the team moves to their ally’s location to turn everything into their favour.
It’s been 15 series and opponents haven’t come anywhere close except Samsung—and with good reason. Series 1 of the season vs. CJ and Series 14 vs. SKT aren’t too different at all. Here are the top 3 things the Tigers are rocking:
The moment Kramer’s Ashe started pushing this wave at the mouth of the river, CJ had full vision of KT. None of them were near; 4 in mid with Smeb at top. Kramer cleared out the wave quickly with Ashe’s Frost shot and retreats as pings went down warning of the approaching Tigers.
But with the outer turret down, Ashe has to take a long walk back towards base and PraY and GorillA loop around the bend coordinating with Smeb’s TP to catch her out. Could ROX have taken out Ashe without Smeb? Probably. Alistar was enough to knock her out of the lantern and chain CC. Of course, 3 just makes it that much faster to give ROX plenty of time to dissuade the rest of CJ collapsing on them. Anyone who attempts to intercept, as poor Sky did, gets eliminated as well.
A trademark, ROX catches out SKT’s bot lane in practically the same fashion after the lane swap.
The Tigers rarely run in pairs unless it is a straight-forward gank by the jungler. They tend to hunt in 3s for kill guarantee and safety.
Watch GorillA take a casual stroll through the jungle parallel to Peanut’s Kindred to funnel Viktor into the opposite side of the map and block off escape routes. In under 6 minutes ROX secured 2 consecutive early kills that punished over-extensions at bot and mid. Stampede!
ROX this season has been excellent in their timings. Kuro’s LeBlanc in mid could afford to walk half-way across the map to secure kills for the team only because Faker’s Zed recalled after an all-in and Kuro pushed the wave up to SKT’s tower.
LB makes her way down bot early into the skirmish just to guarantee total obliteration. Kruo Distortions and Flashes behind SKT’s bot turret to finish off Duke’s Fiora right on time. No one knew beforehand that Duke would have escaped with a sliver of health, but moving in units of 3s is ROX’s formula and has been working for them well.
CJ in this play intended for a 3-man collapse using the pink ward vision advantage. They thought they could secure a kill in a 3v2 onto Thresh’s catch with Rek’sai and Ashe. The only problem is, the pink ward was the deepest ward they had in ROX’s jungle. CJ did not know if there were other ROX members around to back-up their team mates, and paid for it.
When it comes to playing against ROX, calculations must be perfect. This comp CJ was playing against in particular, all 5 (Quinn, Kindred, LB, Kalista and Alistar) have gap bridges. Teams cannot use limited vision and think for a moment that they ‘caught a Tiger out’. Timings must be immaculate. ROX doesn’t waste time dancing around in fights. They will decisively take down at least one in every skirmish even if the opponents were the ones who started it. There’s no escape.
Peanut has been there for his team at the opportune moment many times this season. One may even posit that his jungle style on Kindred and Nidalee is the key reason for ROX’s success.
PraY’s Tristana simply moves out of range and around the corner while letting Alistar soak the damage and CC as they wait for Kindred to meet them at the river. What really made this play work was his well-time Buster Shot. The moment Elise changed into Spider form in order to Venomous Bite Alistar, PraY knocked her a distance away, disrupting the combo which would have gotten Alistar low enough for CJ to get a kill. Instead, he was left with 1/3 HP and turned the fight around with his carries.
SKT too, received a math lesson from the Tigers. An unfortunate one at that, because Wolf’s skillshots just did not connect with Smeb’s slippery Poppy.
Even Monte opined that that this play was one where Smeb trusted his team to come and save him, and they do as all 5 of them make their way top much faster than SKT.
Peanut has played Kindred and Nidalee 12 times this season, and is 4th in the LCK for KDA with a solid 75% kill participation.
Samsung is the only team to have tainted ROX’s perfect record so far. Many were quick to point out that ROX’s drafting in Game 2 was not optimal, especially with the Varus in a non-poke comp. Kindred was available but not picked by either team.
Fair enough. Just that Samsung took Game 3 even more convincingly with Ambition carrying on Kindred herself.
A very ROX thing to do, it was Ambition who caught out the slightest over extension at top and bot lane. In the first 10 minutes he snatched 4 kills for SSG with a 100% kill participation. What tipped the barrel was SSG’s coordinated teleport play at top–something we haven’t seen teams deploy against them before.
It was undeniably smart, and placed so much pressure on the Tigers. They draw out Smeb’s teleport to prevent the tower dive and for a moment, appear to retreat. Ambition’s Kindred keeps the pressure up, forcing Peanut’s Gragas to flash out of his own jungle. With a double teleport advantage, Pirate enters the scene for more plunder after SSG manage to successfully split up the Tigers, cornering PraY and GorillA in a 2v4 which was what they wanted in the first place.
SSG so far seems to be the only one who has beaten ROX at their own game, taking the Kindred, catching their opponents out, outnumbering them, and nabbing an early gold lead into victory.
So the question begs: Why didn’t SKT grab Kindred for Blank instead? In the 2 games they simply handed Kindred over to Peanut, who clinched clean victories for ROX who for the first time in history, swept SKT in the regular season. GG.