As one of the most heated rivalries in the League of Legends get ready to meet up, let’s take a look at how the two teams match up against each other this Sunday. Team SoloMid have the upper hand going into this with Kevin ‘Hauntzer’ Yarnel, Denis ‘Svenskeren’ Johnsen, Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg, Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng and Vincent ‘Biofrost’ Wang. While Counter Logic Gaming are the ones who will have to step it up with Darshan ‘Darshan’ Upadhyaha, Jake ‘Xmithie’ Puchero, Choi ‘Huhi’ Jae-hyun, Trevor ‘Stixxay’ Hayes and Zaqueri ‘Aphromoo’ Black.
Top Lane Matchup: Hauntzer vs. Darshan
This matchup is fairly tilted towards Hauntzer as he has proved he belongs in debate of best top-laner. He is able to play tanks, split pushers, carry champions and anything else his team needs him to play. Darshan has had a quite unimpressive split while only picking up pace towards the end of the split by proving his proficiency on Gnar and Trundle.
In game one in the first series the two rivals played against each other, Hauntzer completely outshined Darshan in many aspects of the game. He out pressured him on the map, dealt three thousand more damage to champions as a Maokai then the damage dealing Trundle build Darshan went for; and naturally as the winner he ended up with more gold with a value of 12.7k over Darshan’s 10.8K.
Game two of the series really showcased the disparity between the two players as Hauntzer was able to contribute so much to his team with his teleport plays and his team fighting prowess granting him 35.8k damage as Ekko over Darshan’s 10.8K damage as Fiora. The Fiora pick does seem questionable but it looked like CLG was returning to a strategy of putting Darshan on a split-push champion to exert his pressure on his map, but he did not deliver at all. Failing to position properly in skirmishes and team fights in the latter part of the game really showcased Darshan’s dip as a carry top-laner.
In the second series of the summer split, Hauntzer cleaned up his over-extending and was able to showcase his ability to be adaptive throughout the game. In game one of the series, Hauntzer was able to match pound for pound against Darshan’s play. However, Hauntzer completely outclassed Darshan once again in every aspect of the game. In an Irelia vs Jax matchup, it is usually tilted towards the Jax as he can outplay in a few different mechanisms, however Hauntzer’s Irelia was able to respond to Darshan’s Jax with ease and he was able to snowball his lead into helping his teammates.
The match ended with Darshan dealing an embarrassing 3.6K in champion damage while Hauntzer dealt 9.0K in champion damage. The disparity in talent was once again illustrated in the second game of the series where it is a similar story of Darshan looking hopeless and not quite up to what he used to be.
In the quarterfinals matchup versus Team Liquid, Darshan still does not seem like the player that he once was as Lourlo was able to outplay him a few times throughout the series. On the other hand, aside from his Teemo game, Hauntzer has really stepped up his play as a supplementary carry to the other lanes. He is still found overextending at times and that is a skill only gained by experience.
Going into Sunday’s match with the updated Meta of standard lane matchups, things do not look great for Darshan and CLG in regards to their top lane. If Hauntzer gets one successful gank from Svenskeren, then he will be able to snowball his lead and impact the rest of the map as he has done before. The only way I see Darshan beating Hauntzer is if he has somehow returned to his previous enlightened level of master wave manipulator high mechanical and intelligent map positioning, gets multiple successful ganks from Xmithie or Hauntzer picks Teemo again.
Hauntzer possible picks: Irelia, Gnar, Shen, Ekko
Darshan possible picks: Gnar, Trundle, Irelia, Jax
Jungle Matchup: Svenskeren vs. Xmithie
In TSM, Svenskeren’s success depends on his laners’ ability to put out pressure and shove their lanes so that he can invade the opposing team’s jungle and eventually take over the map. On the other hand CLG’s success partially revolves around their most consistent player Xmithie. He often goes unnoticed in the highlight reels filled with Stixxay or Aphromoo but he is one of the rocks in the team.
Xmithie’s jungle pathing is only matched and beaten by Immortal’s Reignover’s highly
intelligent pathing in NA. Xmithie seems to always know where to be and how he can help his teammates. He can bring a lot of successful ganks to his lanes and general pressure. However the failures of CLG are most often related to his lanes going so far behind in lane against their opponents that he is never in a prime position to assist his teammates properly. If CLG’s laners go even in their matchup, Xmithie might be able to do work to help his lanes get ahead.
In series one of the summer split between the two rivals, Svenskeren was able to invade frequently, gank often and his team-fighting positioning was respectable on Graves in game one and Elise in Game two. It is noteworthy to point out that when Svenskeren is on champions like Elise, Gragas and Reksai he tends to die more as he is the one who is initiating and creating opportunities to help his laners do as much damage as possible while he distracts the enemy team. Xmithie did not have many opportunities to help out his laners in the series as Reksai in both games due to them falling behind and not being in an ideal position for any ganks.
With regards to the updated meta of standard lanes, it seems like the matchup tilts heavily towards Svenskeren’s side as his teammates will be able to dominate every single match up (with the exception of bottom lane with a slightly more even matchup). This will give Svenskeren to invade the opposing jungle and allow him to assist his laners. The only way Xmithie will be able to help his laners is if they go even.
Svenskeren possible picks: Reksai, Hecarim, Elise, Nidalee
Xmithie possible picks: Reksai, Gragas, Elise, Olaf
Mid-Lane Matchup: Bjergsen vs Huhi
This match up can end in two ways, the first is Bjergsen does Bjergsen things, the second is Bjergsen does Bjergsen things but on a smaller scale. Bjergsen is currently in contention for Most Valuable Player and he has been the best mid-laner in North America during his time there. On the other hand is Huhi, a player who has started out with sub-par performance and he has slowly been climbing his way up to belong into the top six mid-laners in North America. However, in the past few weeks Huhi has really stepped up his level of play, his laning phase still leaves a lot to desire but his team-fighting has improved quite a bit.
In spite of his recent improvement, against an aggressive mid-laner like Bjergsen who capitalizes on his opponents mistakes during the laning phase, Huhi will struggle or at best go even. The problem with Huhi going even is that Bjergsen recognizes when his opponent is struggling to keep up, and when that happens Bjergsen is first to roam around and guarantee key objectives for his team, start up dives for his laners or help Svenskeren pressure the jungle and invade alongside of him to push out the enemy jungler from the map.
With regards to the two players’ stats, Bjergsen leads the KDA for mid-laners with an impressive 7.1 KDA while Huhi is at a mediocre 3.2 KDA, Bjergsen also averages 4.4 CSD at 10 minutes while Huhi is at -4.9. It is interesting to note that Bjergsen only receives 23.2% of his teams gold while Huhi receives a little bit more at 23.5%.
The most impressive part about Bjergsen’s dominance is his ability to play an array of champion styles at the highest mechanical level. This is illustrated in the first series between the two rivals where Bjergsen played Zilean in the first game to help his teammates in a supportive role. While in game two he played Viktor and absolutely took over the game by doing 31.7k in damage. Huhi was very serviceable in the two losses as he played Viktor and Vladimir in game one and two respectively. The point is, serviceable against a midlaners like Bjergsen is not good enough because if he gets a champion like Taliyah he will take over the lane and then the map.
Bjergsen’s ability to snowball the other lanes is truly remarkable and a characteristic of a great midlaners. The only way Huhi is going to win lane is if he gets his Vladimir and gets repeated ganks from his jungler so that he is able to match Bjergsen’s dominant playstyle.
Bjergsen possible picks: Syndra, Azir, Zilean, Viktor, Taliyah, LeBlanc
Huhi possible picks: Syndra, Aurelion Sol, Viktor, Cassiopeia
Bottom Lane Matchup: Doublelift & Biofrost vs Stixxay & Aphromoo
As we head into a standard lane matchup, it is necessary to examine the bottom laners as a whole to see who would come out on top. The dominance that the TSM duo lane has displayed in this split is quite incredible, with multiple highlight reels and incredible mechanical outplay it is clear that this is the best bottom lane in North America. They have the highest first blood rate with the two leading the stat across the regions bottom lanes with Biofrost at 44% and Doublelift at 39%. Doublelift also leads with a 7.1 CSD at 10 minutes while having a 315 gold difference at 10 minutes ahead of Stixxay who is at 5.0 CSD at 10 and 65 gold difference.
However, Stixxay is not that far behind DL as he still deals a lot of damage, is a highly mechanical player, and has good team fight positioning which allows him to not get caught. This is partly because of how Huhi has a kamikaze type of style where he goes in and gets focused down while Stixxay has free hits with Aphromoo peeling for him.
Biofrost does have the benefit of not worrying about shot calling or big macro aspects of the game as his lane partner commands those calls thus allowing him to focus on his own game play and mechanics.
Although it is arguable, I believe Aphromoo to be the better support as he does so much for
his team in so many ways. He is the shot-calling leader, the foundation of their plays, and is the one who makes the high mechanical play to get his team in the back. Whether it is a multi-champion Bard ult or a key Thresh hook to save his team the game, Aphromoo always finds a way. Although the TSM bottom lane have the upper hand in the laning phase, the late game is not safe if it is an even game as Aphromoo’s shot calling has always been able to get his team the win.
Doublelift possible picks: Caitlyn, Sivir, Ashe, Lucian
Biofrost possible picks: Karma, Nami, Bard, Braum
Stixxay possible picks: Ezreal, Ashe, Lucian, Caitlyn
Aphromoo possible picks: Bard, Karma, Alistar, Thresh