Playoffs talk: TSM vs Gravity
Last weekend, we've observed the series between TSM and Gravity. The next game for TSM will take place tomorrow, but let's talk about the games in a strict manner.
In the red corner, we have Team SoloMid, a team that has been in the North American League of Legends scene almost since the beginning. In belief, TSM is visibly the most dramatic and fluctuating team we've observed during the season. From Wildturtle's situation of the team to Reginald's thought of Locodoco's coaching, TSM is the most mentioned team, for better or worse, in the eSports community. Going into the game, TSM looked stronger as the experienced team. Their team's focal point, Bjergsen, has been stepping into a visible slump as many fans were expecting him to play the carry role every game. This stereotype of Bjergsen playing carry roles every game is what they used against Gravity, which we'll talk more about soon.
In the blue corner, we have the team that looked like a charming Cinderella story until late into the season where their achievements were drowned into a number of losses. Since Bunny Fufuu's "Drive" documentary video was published, fans watched this team with all the sympathetic feels and goosebumps. The well-established bottom lane led by Fufuu and Johnny "Altec" Ru has shown a level of success with the additional coaching by David "Cop" Roberson. Lae-Young "Keane" Jang showed his share of innovative, surprise picks (including the Jarvan and Urgot champions) in the middle lane, as Minsu "Move" Kang demonstrated that the art of counter-ganking can be utilized as means of creating leads.
With all the general introductions presented, I would like to show you the drafts of the games with their results to present some interesting pointers.
Game 1 (TSM win)
Game 2 (Gravity win)
Game 3 (TSM win)
Game 4 (TSM win)
Dyrus' Olaf pick was, of course, an unconventional one. However, this demonstrates TSM's capability as a dynamic team. As I have mentioned Bjergsens' stereotype earlier, it has been clear that Bjerg needed to step up his game, not cripple his team by taking a dominant portion of TSM's shared gold. He surprised the opposing team and played very well with the Lulu and the Oriana picks from the first three games.
Does that mean that TSM was the better team? Well, their innovative plays have obviously payed off. Did they play well with these picks? Not really, and here's why. The consistent poking elements that Wildturtle and Santorin provided were able to create initial handicap for the opposing team during objective fights. Regrettably, Dyrus' pathing and the team's priority targeting were shaky. It can be easily said during the second game.
The siege/poking champions that Wildturtle and Santorin picked were indeed potent. When Olaf was either killed or caught in questionable positions, TSM's coordination took a heavy toll. Easily put, the Olaf with the poke/support composition is beautiful in theory, but messy in practice.
One would easily assume TSM as the heavy favorite thanks to their years of experience and decently established team synergy. Although my statement may be questionable, I will state that Gravity has failed to play against the obvious composition that TSM presented. In fact, all three games that TSM have played with the charge/poke composition were simply agonizing for Gravity. When Gravity banned Olaf, TSM switched gears into their normal style of play where Bjergsen would take over as a heavy damage dealer and Santorin played as the aggressive jungler he enjoys playing.
Gravity had to either quickly adapt to TSM's obvious composition or ban Olaf as soon as possible. It's a hard lesson that Gravity had to swallow.
Lustboy is positively famous for his aggressive deep wards. However, I wish teams took Lustboy's tendency as something to abuse. TSM generally solid vision around the map correlates to how well Lustboy is doing. Once teams can read Lustboy's movement, I thoroughly believe that teams can take his aggression to open up potential counter-plays. Gravity had their share of looking after Lustboy's positioning for vision control, but it could've been more exploitable.
I will not say the teams were bad. In fact, they are great teams with their unique identities. Although, I will have to say that the series could've been better. Both teams have lots to work on, if they want to develop. As for the Team Liquid series versus TSM, I will be very interested in how they will play. TSM, in a long while, are the underdogs, but they still have fer tricks under their sleeves against TL.
(Thank you for reading this article. I apologize for those that have been waiting for this to come through. We will try to keep you updated as punctual as we can. And as always stay with us as we bring the next news to you!)