The LMS Spring Season’s Round Robin has come and gone. We’re left with the playoffs now and with the way things are going, barring a radical movement from ahq it is pretty clear who will take the Championship Trophy: Flash Wolves.
A quick look shows how much ahq is behind Flash Wolves. Not necessarily in terms of individual comparison, because a lane-by-lane comparison shows little discrepancy with the exception to the bottom lane. It should also be noted that a near 100% win-rate team will naturally have better stats.
However, as a unit, Flash Wolves place more wards and play around vision to get picks instead of running blind for skirmishes. ahq, on the other hand, seems to rely on Mountain to grab kills.
Watching games from Flash Wolves and comparing it with ahq reveals a gargantuan gap in understanding and communication in game.
Things have changed for Flash Wolves. Ever since the addition of Betty in place of NL, the Wolves have grown bolder by the day, slowly moving away from their passive mid game looking for mistakes to punish in favor of a more pro-active engage approach they showed glimpses of last year. Hopefully this attitude will carry through all the way to MSI 2017 in Brazil.
In contrast, ahq hasn’t changed one bit. Even as Westdoor warmed the bench while Chawy provided a more solid laning phase, I noticed little to no improvement in their level of play in the last week of play compared to their first. In fact, Mountain showed signs of competitive fatigue as he made more mistakes as the weeks progressed; clocking in a whopping 31% death contribution for his team. This results in ahq being on the back foot in most of their games, even against lesser teams such as eXtreme Gamers or Fireball.
To dig themselves out of the hole Mountain creates, ahq usually relies on their gamble of the teamfight. Naturally, being one of the best teamfighting teams in the league, they come out ahead. Or in recent cases, not so much.
A peek into the communication of both teams also reveals a lot about team dynamic. One would expect Betty to be a lot more soft-spoken than he actually is as he’s the newest member of the team. However, Flash Wolves as a whole yell at each other all the time. Everyone communicates efficiently, albeit a bit loudly, resulting in a situation where Karsa is able to make death-defying plays with the backing of his team.
On the ahq corner, most of the communication comes in the form of Chawy reporting cooldowns and Mountain belting out commands, micro-managing his team while his lifeless champion lays on the ground. (Mountain usually jumps in first, even when his team is miles away.) In the meantime, AN and Albis are very soft-spoken and take much longer to reply queries. In fact, they speak so mildly that it seems almost a miracle that ahq still does so well in teamfights. Gone are the times where ahq 2015 would always arrive in the nick of time to counter-gank and punish aggressive movements.
Ahq may very well get a boost in power levels while bootcamping in China with EDG, but if history is any indication, this boon runs out swiftly before ahq reverts to its usual, unimpressive self. Coach Aaron cannot be with ahq 24/7. This also speaks volumes on how unimpressive the support staff of ahq really are, to always require guidance from a coach from another team.
If ahq is to beat Flash Wolves in the upcoming playoffs, they will have to make many strides of improvement over their short amount of time in China. And this will only come about when they actually fix communications.