It is difficult to describe the teams representing LMS at Rift Rivals without the context of first half of the LMS Summer Split. The standings as of now have baffled even veteran LMS analysts.
None of the teams at Rift Rivals are at the top of the table.
Raising the hopes of LMS?
Newly promoted Raise Gaming sits at the top at the table at 6-1, only losing a BO3 series to their promotion tournament nemesis, Wayi Spider. Their unorthodox strategy of pushing side lanes before collapsing into the mid lane has caught many teams off guard from the traditional Mid-to-Side formula. Failing which, RG would turtle up to a point where they could capitalize and punish mistakes from their opponents.
However, the mechanical level at which Raise Gaming’s players have is disproportionate to their success. Analysts still believe that RG will not do well internationally as they are currently banking in on a single play style that has already started to show cracks.
A troubled Flash Wolves
Flash Wolves have had a rough start to the Summer Split. Losing their first 2 BO3s to RG and WS due to Betty and MMD’s suspension. Even then, Karsa looked extremely uncomfortable in tank-meta picks like Zac, eventually leading to him rage-quitting and suffering a week-long suspension.
Since then though, FW seem to have found their form. Taking out the competition one after the other. They have seemingly expanded their Champion Pools, but not by much. We have yet to see Betty and SwordArt touch Xayah and Rakan even once; insisting on their Kalista-Thresh combo wherever possible.
The biggest concern about FW is that they are risk-averse and are highly unwilling to try new things for breakthroughs; they are slow to pick up on new metas. They may throw out a sudden Morgana support pick once in a while, but this courage only comes with hubris against weaker teams. As stakes get higher, FW shrink back to their comfort picks and struggle against players who can do better using meta picks.
Flash Wolves’ vision control is usually immaculate, which is sometimes their downfall as well. They struggle when opponents play around it by simply not entering the jungle or making mistakes. Against SKT and WE, this won’t do at all as all they need to do is use their superior lanes to crush FW.
Naturally, FW are still considered the strongest team in the LMS. However, FW need to ensure that their lanes can go even in order for Karsa to make plays across the map. If any lane falters, the FW ecosystem starts crumbling down fast.
J Team’s misleading scoreline
Do not be mistaken by J Team’s current position of 2nd place. J Team is far from a good team.
JT’s insistence on playing Alex over REFRA1N has been baffling. REFRA1N’s performance during his brief substitution for FW has been great compared to what Alex can dish out. Alex exhibits moments of brilliance followed by huge blunders that almost costs JT games. To be able to exceed Mountain in terms of deaths is a huge feat in itself.
JT’s formula has yet to change since their TPA days. They rely on Bebe and FoFo to carry the team to victory. Morning may stay even in lane against CuVee or Mouse but will need more from his team in order to win games against SSG and EDG.
JT seems to still suffer from an identity crisis since the departure of their Korean coach in favour of their own style. Old habits kick in sometimes and cause problems within the team in terms of communication. J Team has the best WPM among all 4 Rift Rival teams, but their ability to play around that vision is lacking.
JT have delayed their indecisive mid game from after 20 minutes last year to around 30 minutes this year; expect JT to dance around Baron for a good 10 minutes before realizing that they could have killed off Baron in that time.
AHQ’s Mid-lane crisis
Despite Flash Wolves’ early split woes, AHQ’s woes are much more troubling. Their indecision between Chawy and Westdoor saps the team of their consistency. From a spectator standpoint, it is obvious that Chawy is the better choice for the team. But the underlying motivations from AHQ to play Westdoor are unknown.
In game, AHQ’s tendency to take too many risks spells their downfall. Despite a PENTA-worthy Baron steal from FW, AHQ have been a very blood thirsty team; often skipping vision control over risky jungle skirmishes. In fact, all of their losses have been a result of colossal errors in judgement, funneling one after another into a lost teamfight trying to recoup losses, only to lose even more.
Barring a few outlying games, AHQ usually starts out ahead until the bottom lane or Mountain overextends and costs them the mid game. From then on, AHQ relies once again on their teamfight prowess to win games.
Ziv and Chawy are the pillars of AHQ. They make a decent duo when it comes to teamfights. They position well and work well together to turn fights around. Unfortunately, AHQ plays Westdoor, who is still more concerned with making plays on his own instead of working alongside his team.
AHQ’s bottom lane has been a problem for the team as well. AN has been playing poorly since Spring and continues to do so, with stats rivaling that of M17’s Dee.
AHQ may have added a substitute ADC of LBB to try and boost AN’s performance, but it does not seem to have worked thus far. LBB is not registered as a Sub for AHQ at Rift Rivals and will not be playing.
M17 in 2017
Unlike their Spring Split performance, M17 has had a whole lot of trouble trying to stay afloat in the Summer.
Their star Top laner 3z has been tumbling down the Korean ladder for quite a while. Bot lanes Dee and Dreamer are still struggling hard in the bottom half.
The largest issue from M17 stems from their lack of shotcalling. Their Baron dances with JT have been painful for spectators and analysts alike.
M17 often wanders the map aimlessly in the mid to late game, much akin to JT. Except M17 has less mechanically skilled players and thus fall far down the rankings.
It is, however, tradition for M17 to suddenly find their form in the latter half of the split. If that is the case, Rift Rivals will be a prime opportunity to learn from and do so.
Tough times ahead
An honest opinion of the current state of LMS is less than optimistic. All participating teams are bogged down by their own issues, some more dire than others. The best case scenario for LMS in Rift Rivals is to learn the harsh lessons of defeat in order to stand a chance at Worlds 2017 in China later this year.
Credits to oracleselixir.com for the statistics.