a League of Legends analysis blog
The leading rhetoric about SKT at Worlds 2015 was amusing. With every game played, everyone speculated that they were keeping strategies up their sleeves because they repeatedly went back to the same team compositions—and kept winning anyway. The only ‘hoo haa’ was when SKT rode the Tahm Kench wave ever so briefly before the River King started becoming a perma ban. But even during the Finals versus the Tigers, there were no surprises. Faker went back to Lulu and Ryze, while Kalista was permanently banned out so Bang picked Sivir all 4 final games.
The thing is, there doesn’t seem to be a grand strategy. SKT’s picks and bans have been consistent: They grab power picks, not just those in the meta but for individual players as well (think Faker’s Azir). Only after do they consider preferred combos. It’s true that SKT tend to first pick their jungle on blue side as Monte recapped recently, but when they don’t, it’s apparent where their priorities lie. Reviewing all of their games from Worlds 2015 Group Stage to their recent match versus CJ in the current LCK season excluding IEM, 2 points on SKT’s picks and bans stand out:
By now, a Kalista ban against SKT is almost guaranteed. However if Kalista is available, SKT’s preference is to run the Kalista-Alistar combo or not at all. Alistar himself is Wolf’s best support champion, and though we’ve seen other Kalista-support combos, it is just not something SKT does.
Of course if SKT wants to run this combo on the blue side, they may not always end up getting Alistar especially if their opponents deny the pick so sometimes they have to make do with other combinations, which fall through the frequencies.
Out of the 43 games played, Kalista-Alistar was run 5 times while Ezreal-Trundle is at second place with 4, which is unsurprising since Bang’s competence on Ezreal is arguably the best in the scene. SKT’s third most used combo is Lucian-Alistar and Tristana-Alistar before she was nerfed. Every other bot lane combo sits at only 1 or 2 picks, showing that Kalista in herself is not a priority pick for SKT if they cannot add Alistar into the mix.
Some teams prefer the Kalista-Braum and Kalista-Thresh synergy, but SKT has only ever ran those once. They also only lost once with their favourite Kalista-Alistar combo when they threw Game 2 against Afreeca in the first half of the Spring split.
JAG were recent victims of this combo when they let it through their draft. Kalista and Alistar are definitely a force to be reckoned with because Wolf and Bang always use Fate’s Call aggressively the moment the opponent’s backline is out of position. We saw it in their game versus emFire, and we see it again here.
“There can be no justice. Only revenge.”
Kalista’s ult with a Flash by Alistar into the Pulverise-Headbutt combo cuts distances by half and creates efficient picks even on a slippery Ezreal. Revenge against JAG’s 2-0 sweep? Done.
While I think SKT should have let Blank use Kindred more often than not, in the games that he did play her the Sivir-Kindred combo seems to be an emerging trend. Blank has only played 4 Kindred games with the outlying one in SKT’s devastating loss in Game 3 versus ROX where mid and jungle roles were replaced by subs.
In the last 3 Kindred games however, SKT won all of them—2 versus LZ and 1 versus CJ, and all 3 was also ran with Sivir ADC and a support with slow utility.
Game 2 of 2
Like Kalista, On the Hunt is an initiating spell for SKT to catch a squishy opponent out by bridging the gap, while Lamb’s Respite serves as a backup where by that time, only 1 opposing member is left.
“They break too easy!”
Though not many games have been played with Kindred in the mix, I believe we can expect more of the Kindred-Sivir synergy especially since SKT are so good at controlling team fights, where every spell is precisely executed.