Week three into the Garena Premier League 2015 Summer and we’re once again treated to a show by the country’s pride; GameX.Wargods, the “comeback kings” of the Philippines against Vietnam’s ASUS ImbaFate. Wargods may be a dominating force in the Philippines, but what the GPL has offered could as well prove to be more of a challenge for our own team. This time, they’re facing some very young, talented players from Vietnam.
As the first game begins, WG opts for a skirmish, heavy-picking team with global threats. In response, ASF pulls out a very impressive teamfight-heavy, engage team. Right off champion select, WG’s victory looks a bit shaken off. Although, Twisted Fate and Nocturne can make powerful picks from pretty much any lane, with Shen’s support if needed, they have to take into account that ASF’s individual champions can escape picks. Ahri and Sivir, and to an extent, even Annie can disengage Twisted Fate/Nocturne. Secondly, Twisted Fate and Nocturne hands over their ultimates to make these picks, which is not a fair trade even though it is possible to force Ahri’s, Sivir’s, or Annie’s ultimate. Wargods needs to make their picks count otherwise, their team comp goes down the drain.
Going into the Rift, WG tried to impose their dominance by an early jungle invade, but with (can we count it as lucky or strategic?) ward-placement and counter-initiative by ASF, they were able to ambush WG and fill their pockets with a few extra gold. The action did not stop there, however, as WG displays that they’re no pushovers with an early and perfectly executed gank by Stronger in the mid lane. Soon after, as a result of ASF’s lane-swap, WG pulls of another perfectly executed gank with 4 members on Slay at merely five minutes in, taking a dragon soon after.
The game went smoothly for both teams; it was a game of give and take. However, during the mid-game, this is where champion select became the deciding factor. ASF began to just brute-force themselves into WG’s territory. WG could not make their picks, and when they failed, ASF would just collapse on them. WG could not secure objectives or fortify their positions, and that’s when ASF would just steamroll over the competition. Once Sivir pops her ultimate, the entire team comes in, steadfast and just batter down anything in their path. Unfortunately, it was WG that stood in their way. With no means to respond, WG had little to no option for countermeasure.
It was not a question of skill or mechanics, both teams have plenty, but rather up to decisiveness. Towards the mid game, WG became less decisive in their ganks and efforts to weed out their enemy. Once they lost their momentum, that’s when ASF just barged in for victory.
The second game comes in and WG responds by banning out some major champions that had a hand in their defeat. Now WG devised a concrete and seemingly battle-tested team composition; picking up Vayne as their carry, WG selected champions with strong disengages. Their plan was simple - hinder the enemy while Vayne cleans them up. As for ASF, their team composition stayed the same; a powerful battering ram. Rek’sai, Alistar, and Shen are powerful engage champions who would most likely just get up in your face, while Ahri and Corki’s respective mobility will keep them safe and reposition themselves to make picks and plays.
Early into the game, and ASF surprises everyone with an unorthodox lane swap. Jinky picks up the first blue buff of the game and heads bot lane, while Lysna goes for the mid lane, leaving Akiho primed and ready to roam with his jungler. Though ASF struggled to plant their feet firmly on this concept, they carried it nevertheless. This game was a huge tug-of-war between the two teams, and their favorite spot was the bot lane. A number of team fights broke loose and it swayed in just as many ways.
WG soon found their rhythm, and their team composition worked. Though mid-game seemed to be a turning point for ASF as Lysna and MeoU hit a solid power spike, Efeek, however, had something to say about that. He became a game-breaking marksman, charging through the frontlines and just kiting anyone he comes up against. Soon after, ASF responded by imposing their hyper-aggression and decisive plays, constantly initiating and watching for when WG would slip. They march forward and collapse on a Baron attempt by WG at 26 minutes, winning the confrontation with an ace.
Needless to say, WG eventually fell to ASF. It could have been because of their headstrong attitude or possible miscalculation, but it stands that there were other factors that could have made this game tip over to WG. For one, Otchie did not perform too well in this game as opposed to MeoU who performed like a mad dog. Also, like the first game, decisiveness during the latter part of the game was an issue. Even though late game is a crucial tipping point, WG remained stagnant which allowed ASF more room to maneuver around.
In conclusion, these two games were a featurette on the gravity of team play and champion picks. It’s what separates the chances of which colored banner you receive at the end of the game. Where ASF turns the corner is when the moment calls for decisiveness. It’s true that their play style in these two games revolve around the fact that they would kick down your door and impose brute force, but the timing and execution of these plays is what makes it work. WG employs much of the same, especially in the second game, but not to a degree that matches ASF.
Well, there’s another week in this round. Wargods will soon be facing the Saigon Fantastic Five. In hopes Wargods come around for some wins, here’s good luck to them! And I’ll see you guys on the GPL Rift.