a League of Legends analysis blog
The bitter cold winds from Frostguard started to blow stronger during champion select of Game 3, which gave me a bad, bad feeling. The blind pick LeBlanc on red side for SKT and then a response Lissandra pick from JAG with a locked jungle Graves brought back unpleasant memories.
The Ice Witch has been a thorn in SKT’s side for a while now. She’s situational, meaning teams don’t ban nor pick her unless it’s all planned. She works well whenever there’s a burst champion on your team to synergize with especially if it’s your jungler, plus she also demands opponents to draft solidly against her.
Here I review the games SKT played in Spring, IEM and MSI 2016 with and against Lissandra to melt away a layer of mystery and why she’s a champion that tends to make or break SKT especially when on the enemy team.
The one series that almost perfectly demonstrates her function was KT’s round 2 two-match victory against SKT in LCK Spring.
Everyone knows Lissandra’s combo but not every champion can deal with her or get away in a 2v1 situation. She does not have the damage early to kill you, so all she needs is a burst jungler like Nidalee and Graves to show up to secure kills. First 3 kills for KT with 100% kill participation from Fly under 12 minutes equated to 3 deaths served straight up to Faker.
So much of that replayed in SKT’s loss against JAG. This time Faker was on LeBlanc, a considerably more mobile champion who can zip away with W on Lissandra’s approach so it was a little harder for Kuzan to just root and kill with Winged.
Instead they turned their sights to top to punish Fiora, who was already placed in a tough matchup against Trundle, twice over.
Micro wise, it was also pretty smart of JAG to wait for LeBlanc to exhaust both her Ws in order to clear a minion wave, then go in for the burst-kill.
SKT themselves have ran this combo but most of the time when Lissandra is on their team, it’s the Spider Queen who joins in.
‘Picking off the solo lane’ style with Liss isn’t quite an SKT special. More often than not, Bang is given priority and channeled resources to carry especially from mid to late game when the team chooses to fight over objectives. This is why having a frontline, midline and any type of line his team mates need to establish between he and their opponents is crucial to their win conditions.
Because a CCful team is execution heavy where each champion has to enter the team fight just at the right time plus ensure that the correct targets are locked up, SKT and opponents have ran this couple of times with varying success. The comp is good for catching opponents out of position, but not so good when a team can’t quite find the right footing, or gets muted early which leads to having not enough damage to kill enemies despite the CC.
A crystalline series where this played out was ROX vs SKT in Round 1 of LCK Spring 2016. I don’t think anyone can forget the intensity of game 1 which SKT—especially Bang—fought so hard to bite off, coming off victorious despite their opponents hanging on to a gold advantage since the 14 minute mark.
Sparring the jungler, SKT ran almost the exact same composition in game 2, only to fall prey to ROX’s adaptions with a pick composition running Twisted Fate and Smeb on Fiora to boot.
What’s interesting is what teams do after they see that the Ice Witch has been frozen in champ select. No one can forget how surprised the analyst desk felt when Vel’Koz was locked in vs. Febiven’s Lissandra, suddenly having to learn the name of his spells.
Long range poke means that Lissandra’s HP can be chipped away to delay an all-in engage, or just straight up slow her and force opponents to reposition. But why go through all the trouble when you can just eat an orange? It worked superbly for KT.
Lissandra has been deployed by KT and JAG notably to take games off SKT especially in the draft. While Vel’Koz was pulled out of the hat at IEM, closer to home it hasn’t quite resurfaced. In context, the landscape has changed yet again where power-picks outside of Ryze and Aizr such as Irelia, Jhin, Swain, Vladimir and Ashe to name a few need a team comp to be built around them, as well as careful choice not to get tunneled in by the enemy’s counter-picks which makes watching recent Esports matches on this patch all the more interesting as teams are seen putting together different types of combinations in each game within a series.
Where do you think Lissandra lies in the current meta? Do you think she’s in a good spot amidst the mid-year mage update? Talk to me!