Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dignitas Capitalizes on Liquid's Mistakes

Review : Dignitas vs Team Liquid W3D2

by Chris "Aaro" Mouton

     Team Liquid faced off against an almost entirely revamped Dignitas last Sunday in what was one of the most intense showdowns of the week. Liquid had started off the split with an incredibly strong 2-0 record despite having KEITHMCBRIEF filling in for former world champion, Piglet. Since Piglet’s return, however, Team Liquid has struggled, not showing much signs of synergy or high-level decision making. Dignitas started off this split with a disappointing 0-2 and they were 1-4 coming into this matchup. Longstanding jungler, Crumbz, had just stepped down and was being temporarily replaced by CloudNguyen.

     Before we jump into the actual gameplay, I’d like to take a moment to talk about these team comps because they played a large role in the outcome of this game. Team Liquid ran a double AD carry composition sporting Maokai in the top lane, Vi in the jungle, Ezreal in the midlane, Vayne in the traditional ADC role, and Annie for support. This composition had a massive mid-game power spike. Around the time that Vayne finished her Botrk and Ezreal finished his Manamune and Triforce, they were putting out an incredible amount of damage.

     Dignitas had one of the most mobile comps to play in the LCS this split. Rumble in the top lane, Jarvan in the jungle, Ahri in mid (this is 5.2, Ahri does have the movement speed bonus on her Q), Sivir ADC, and Morgana Support. The team comp was incredibly well made. They had excellent pick potential thanks to J4, Ahri, and Morgana, as well as Sivir’s ultimate which allowed them to chase down their enemies. They also had the ability to blow through the Maokai and Vi and focus the majority of their damage onto those squishy carries.

     The game started with Team Liquid searching for a lane swap because Sivir/Morgana is an annoying lane. Relentless harass eventually kept Piglet shoved under his tower, which resulted in quite the CS discrepancy. This was a tragedy for Piglet's Vayne, who really needed items to be a threat early on. In fact, Vayne fell so far behind that after the first recall, Team Liquid chose to send Piglet back into the top lane, essentially gifting a free dragon to Dignitas. Then, after seeing that Dignitas kept their duo botlane after dragon, Liquid decided to match it with their duo lane again, instead of just leaving Piglet top to take this free tower. It’s almost as though they didn't realize that Piglet and Xpecial were unable to trade and were, in fact, losing the lane.

     Liquid was able to secure the second dragon despite having blown the Tibbers ultimate moments before in a trade in the bottom lane. This second dragon was right in Team Liquid's power spike so they were looking for a fight, but the lack of Tibbers really prevented them from running away with the game. They were able to trade Quas for two kills and a dragon, but Dignitas was clumped perfectly for a 5-man Tibbers while they were trying to back away. That sort of lock down and ace would have allowed Liquid to secure some additional towers, really allowing them to snowball this game while their comp was hitting hard.

     The game remained relatively even until Liquid blew a teamfight in the enemy jungle allowing Dignitas to snowball the game. Team Liquid was aggressively invading the jungle, attempting to get vision control in what I assumed would be an early baron attempt with their double AD comp. However, they played out the teamfight horribly. Gamsu was completely split from the rest of Dignitas on his Rumble and Liquid committed so much time to him. They threw down Tibbers, which he flashed out of, and then they decided to continue chasing him through the jungle. This set up a beautiful equalizer for Gamsu and allowed the rest of Dignitas to strategically flank. They were able to quickly blow up Maokai and expose the squishy carries of Team Liquid. Dignitas chased down the rest of Team Liquid with only Piglet escaping, and was able to secure the baron buff.

     Consider for a moment just how truly terrifying that situation was for Team Liquid. They had absolutely no wave clear. They had Ezreal's ultimate for one wave and they had only auto attacks and Mystic Shot to try and clear the rest of those baroned up minions. Liquid decide not to even try and defend, instead sending four people to the top lane to pick off Gamsu, resulting in the loss of two of their towers and most of the health on their bottom inhib tower. Dignitas then made one of the best tactical moves I've seen from them. They recalled and gave Team Liquid a free dragon. Liquid spent the next thirty seconds at dragon while Dignitas was able to get complete vision control of baron. What really makes me question Team Liquid as a top team is what they did next. They already took the dragon, they knew baron was up, and they knew that Dig was missing from the map. Their decision was to steal Dig’s blue buff. They invest six green wards and a pink on the bottom side of Dignitas’ jungle. There’s no dragon for six minutes and a blue buff really isn't worth that much effort. Why they think that this is where they should be investing their vision, I just can’t comprehend.

     Meanwhile, Dignitas had multiple pinks circling the baron area and had swept every other bush, and so with this incredible pick composition, they waited. And they caught a Maokai, which you think would be the last person they'd want to catch, but Dignitas was able to blow up Quas in under two seconds. Then they ran back to set the same trap again in a different bush. And they waited. Team Liquid almost looked like they were going to just push down mid and trade towers instead of attempting to contest this baron 4v5, and with all my heart I was hoping that they would. But they don’t. They face check the river bush Dignitas has been waiting in, and Dig is able to pick up two more kills and a baron. Team Liquid decided to go and push while Dig took the baron, at least getting a bottom inner tower in return. In reality, that should have been the decision ever since Quas was picked off.

     So now we’re back in this terrifying situation for Team Liquid. Zero wave clear, baroned up Dignitas and minions, and a dangerously low-health inhibitor tower that they are forced to defend. Sounds like the start of a horror story. Luckily for Team Liquid, Dignitas makes the mistake of diving this tower. Why they would dive when they have no one who’s exceptionally tanky and Team Liquid has no way to stop them from sieging it other than engaging out of tower range and forcing a fight, I have no idea. They end up trading 1 for 1. Dig takes the tower but is forced to retreat, helping themselves to dragon on the way out.

     Dig continue their exceptional vision control on their way back to siege the inhibitor tower. It’s not even exaggerating to say that they pinked or swept every single bush that they walked through. And what they do next is also quite impressive. They continue sieging bottom until about 30 seconds - when baron is up. But they don’t even try to take the inhibitor. They don’t force the fight. All they’re doing is keeping Team Liquid bottled up in their base for the next two minutes until baron spawns so that there is absolutely no time for Team Liquid to get any vision on it. Have I mentioned how incredible Dignitas’ vision control has been this game yet? Because it really is beautiful.

     Team Liquid group up as five and attempt to get vision control of this baron before they give a third dragon over to Dignitas. Fenix spots Gamsu on Rumble, and because Liquid has no other vision, they think that Rumble is alone. Fenix makes the final mistake of the game and arcane shifts forward, attempting to burst down Rumble while the rest of Team Liquid follow up. Gamsu lays down the red carpet for a completely grouped up Team Liquid and Dignitas is able to immediately follow with their extremely mobile comp. Fenix flashes back into the team, but it doesn't even matter. Ezreal and Vi are both dead before Team Liquid even has a moment to react, essentially making this a 3v5. Dig is able to quickly clean up the rest of Team Liquid, excluding Piglet who escapes, and they close out the game.

     In my book, this was the best game of the split. Coming from a 1-4 team, this level of coordination, vision control, and even awareness to pick such a good team comp and then to play out their win conditions so perfectly is just inspiring. It also makes me worry for Team Liquid. They seemed to make a lot of very fundamental mistakes, such as using six green wards and a pink on the exact wrong side of the map while their team is setting up to make baron plays. If Team Liquid wants to be a contender this split, they’ll have to seriously step up in their shot calling.

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by Chris "Aaro" Mouton

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Decent analysis. Lack of waveclear was really the biggest problem imo.

The Abactor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don't think lack of wave clear was the only problem. Picking Vi into morg sivir: bad. Double ad with little to no disengage: bad. This team comp from Liquid just makes no sense. It would be ok at best if they managed to get very far ahead, but that's generally not how double ad comps work out (scaling reliant). I also think the mid lane matchup of adc vs high mobile assassin, especially when ahri was on the table is a really really bad plan for maintaining control mid.

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