Last week’s games brought us a top of the table clash between Legacy and Dire Wolves. Legacy fresh off their win against Chiefs last week would have been keen to extend their lead at the top of the table, while Dire Wolves would be looking to cut the point differential between the two.
Legacy again drafted into a CC and pick comp, that would be very strong for skirmishing and teamfighting. In contrast Dire Wolves opted for a splitpusher in the toplane with Jax, looking to avoid team fighting until their dual marksman picks could scale in the mid to late game.
LGC showed their early intent with a gank being set up in the botlane at 3min. Maokai showed his strength as a jungler locking down klng and delivering firstblood. Using their advantage the LGC botlane was able to go in again, picking up a second kill on klng at 5.30min, a strong start in the early game for Legacy with two kills on Lost and a slight cs lead. Across the map both midlane and toplane were looking quite even, but a midlane gank on Claire gave a clean kill to Phantiks’ Corki. At least that’s what they’d hoped. With Maokai wandering back from the river and ulting, both botlanes came up to play as well, with double teleports this was exactly the kind of game LGC had come to play- skirmish and teamfight. LGC picked up 2 more kills for Lost’s Tristana, with both Chippys and Phantiks going down. On the backend of the fight LGC were also able to pick up an Infernal drake- it was definitely looking bad for Dire Wolves early.
Near the end of the early game some poor positioning by Claire gave Phantiks another kill, Dire Wolves starting to focus a bit through the midlane with three of their team lurking. Phantiks was definitely looking like the stand out for Dire Wolves so far and they were channeling their resources accordingly.
A 14min pick up of Rift Herald by LGC underlined their early dominance, and now they could use it at leisure moving into the mid game.
LGC were holding on to the Rift Herald, looking for their moment, but took the chance to pick up an Ocean drake at 16min while they waited. Moving from river they dropped Herald in the midlane, picking up their third turret of the game into a 2k gold lead. Cupcake then got caught in the Dire Wolves’ bot jungle and it was time to fight again. With everyone showing up for a brawl, Dire Wolves’ early positioning allowed them to get some slight gains, with 4 kills apiece and a shut down onto Lost. LGC still held a gold lead, now at 3k, but Dire Wolves would have been heartened that they could still go toe to toe in the right circumstances.
It was all on now, with another fight breaking out in midlane as Legacy pushed for the second turret. With a flanking Chippys sneaking in from the bot jungle Shernfire landed a huge ult onto Claire to start things off. This was immediately answered by a Maokai ult from Carbon, so neither team was going anywhere fast. Lost showed good positioning to stay outside the main fighting, but Dire Wolves took the better of it again, with a quick kill on Claire and Cupcake for only Phantiks’ death in return. On the backend of the fight Tally roamed up far too late, right into the waiting arms of Dire Wolves, awarding another kill to the Jax. This put Chippys’ Jax at 6-2-1, building him into a significant threat that we’d perhaps see some splitpushing from soon. Kills were now even at 9-9 but LGC still commanded a slight gold lead, as Dire Wolves were yet to take a turret.
A quick pick on Shernfire gave LGC an easy Baron at 23min, and with a better map position already this put them in the driver’s seat, especially with an 8-1-2 Tristana ready to burn through turrets.
The buff helped a good push up the midlane to pick up the second turret, and a rotation to the toplane gave LGC that one as well. Meanwhile Chippys was working away in the botlane, picking up botlane inner. Post-baron buff LGC were able to take advantage of their map control and a couple of good ults to push down both remaining turrets in the botlane, with a small skirmish delivering yet another kill on to Tristana, Chippys’ life traded for Tally’s.
Legacy went for their second baron at 31min, quickly burning it down before Dire Wolves went for the engage. DW lost Shernfire for their troubles and LGC quickly pushed into the base, taking midlane tower and inhibitor before going for the win.
Legacy’s choice to opt in to teamfighting again gave them the win in game 1 this week. It felt a little like Dire Wolves weren’t playing to their strengths, choosing to teamfight several times while behind, and with most of their gold on their splitpushing Jax. Their choice to do this, and Legacy’s ability to win most of the fights, meant they had no time to scale with Caitlyn and Corki and weren’t able to do enough to hold Legacy back.
Dire Wolves drafted into a stronger teamfighting comp for the second game, opting to play the way Legacy prefers and choosing to meet them head to head. They’d been unable to avoid skirmishes in game 1 so why not go all in? Gnar and Zac were strong pick-ups providing incredibly good crowd control, and the addition of Sivir would give them a ton of mobility to punish LGC for any mispositioning and disengage when needed. For their part, Legacy kept a similar draft to Game 1, picking up both Gragas and Maokai again (although with the roles reversed), but also adding Taric for those deep all ins.
Some early harass onto Claire before laning set Phantiks up for a strong early game allowing him to push Legacy’s midlaner to turret and get some vision. This gave Shernfire a great window for a 4min gank, but Claire was playing it safe and managed to back out without losing any summoners’. An early cs lead for Dire Wolves top and midlane was definitely a better start for them, with a lack of presence from Carbon leading to a very slight gold lead for DW. Shernfire was also able to sneak in and pinch away Carbon’s red buff with some good jungle tracking- Legacy were definitely looking a little less dominating than in Game 1- both DW’s solo lanes holding a 20 cs lead at 10min.
Carbon made his first big move at 12min, going in on Phantiks in the midlane, but a last second Flash left him alive sub-100hp. Definitely an important moment as the firstblood kill could easily have put Claire’s Syndra into a strong position. It still equalised the the midlane somewhat, however- at 15min gold had pulled entirely even between the two teams.
The early game came and went, with a few attempts to make plays from either side, but nothing too daring with an acceptance that both teams would sit back and farm up.
Firstblood finally came through at almost 18min. A gank by Zac in the midlane picked up the kill and both summoners’ on Claire’s Syndra, with a quick return gank leading to Phantiks’ death as well. The loss of summoners would be punished only a minute later with a dive between the turrets by both Zac and Corki picking up another kill on Syndra. Retreating through the jungle Dire Wolves were also able to get kills on Carbon and Cupcake, with a Mountain drake soon afterwards. It took almost 20min but the game had finally taken off, with Dire Wolves in pole position.
It was all on now with both teams opting in to rolling teamfights, LGC showing similarly poor decision making as DW in the previous game. The predictable result was Dire Wolves winning the fights even while Chippys’ Gnar pushed tower after tower. Dire Wolves quickly ballooned into an 8-2 lead, and were 7k gold up by 24min.
A lack of vision, while trying to clear Dire Wolves vision in the Baron pit, allowed LGC to be engaged on twice, with the eventual result being an ace and Baron for Dire Wolves. At 25min, only a minute after the previous fight, DW’s lead had now jumped to 12k gold- the Baron buff, and multiple turrets already down, providing them with incredible presence on the map. The game was really feeling one-sided at this point.
Dire Wolves pushed into the Legacy base, and were happily engaged upon in the base proper- rather than under turrets. It was an easy 4 kills for Dire Wolves, with Carbon retreating to the Fountain, and that was the game- 17-3 in kills, approaching 20k ahead in gold.
After a slow start Game 2 took off in spectacular fashion, and didn’t stop until Dire Wolves closed it out in emphatic fashion. Both games of the series so far had seen the losing team continuing to fight despite the gold deficit, leading to remarkable snowballs both times. Watching these games really does make you consider whether either team is tracking gold effectively, because some of the positions they were ending up in, and fights they are choosing to take, just shouldn’t be happening- there seems to be a real deficit in ability to play from behind. On the upside it did eventually lead to an exciting game both times, with back to back fights and some standout individual performances in both games.
Legacy switched Maokai back onto Carbon for the deciding match, with the Gragas banned out by Dire Wolves. Both teams again had a mixture of scaling and teamfighting with the only marked change being a Bard pick-up for Cupcake. The expectation was that the style of the last two games would continue with high intensity, sometimes poorly chosen, skirmishes with the snowballing team to take the win and the series. Dire Wolves choices did mean that they’d need to get at least to midgame without too many issues with Caitlyn and Kassadin being chosen, but it was more likely to come down to the effectiveness of Shernfire and Carbon than anything else.
The game again started relatively slowly and even, with a very minimal gold lead for Dire Wolves. LGC roamed with Carbon and Cupcake for some good deep vision at 6min in but despite that Shernfire walked right into LGC’s bot jungle, stole Red buff and took down Carbon for firstblood. That invade opened the game up for Dire Wolves allowing mid lane to push in and edging out to a 1k gold lead.
Dire Wolves were now looking strong across the map, with every lane putting pressure on Legacy, slowly increasing the gold lead. This was most marked in the toplane where Chippy was able to push Tally out of lane twice, giving a strong cs lead.
Botlane pressure also started to tell for Dire Wolves as a Shernfire gank gave klng a kill onto Cupcake’s Bard. This led into a roam top by Cupcake, and with Carbon also joining the fight it was time for a skirmish, the quick rotation giving a 2 for 1 in Legacy’s favor with Phantiks and Chippys going down in trade for Tally. Noting the roam, Dire Wolves quickly pushed in and took first brick, and while kills were nearly evened out DW now had a 3k gold lead at 14min, with LGC unable to secure any objectives.
The entirety of Dire Wolves was really putting the pressure on Carbon’s jungle, and it was definitely paying dividends with map control continuing to increase.
Realising they needed something special LGC stepped up and looked for a toplane dive taking out Phantiks and Destiny as well as the turret. But good rotations by DW gave them a huge chunk of damage on mid inner, as well as the inner turret in botlane. They were then able to look for the Rift Herald and set up their next round of objective plays.
LGC could be said to have stabilised at this point, now ahead in kills, with two of those on Lost, who had been doing work for Legacy in lane and teamfights throughout the series. It was now a question of who could play the map better, or whether both teams would opt to start the skirmish/teamfighting of the last two games.
DW looked happy to play the map, taking down top outer, but a roam into Legacy’s top jungle gave a huge teamfight win to LGC, with a triplekill for Lost, leading to a Baron off the back-end. Gold was now equal, but with a 7-3 kill advantage, and Baron buff at 20min, this was suddenly looking dangerous for Dire Wolves.
With Chippys and Phantiks showing in the sidelanes Legacy quickly took the first midlane turret before rotating to an Infernal drake. With the teams even, and everyone present and accounted for it was time to fight. A huge EQ combo from Tally, into a 3 man Bard ult gave LGC a 3 for 1 and the drake. Excellent play from LGC’s top and support allowing Lost’s Tristana to go off again, now at 6-0-3.
Legacy used the last of the Baron buff to take down another turret in toplane, also picking up another kill on k1ng after a great Bard/Maokai ult combo. Legacy were going where they pleased on the map, and now with a 2k gold lead it was looking harder for Dire Wolves to stop them.
Legacy now moved into the botlane, able to entirely zone Dire Wolves away with the threat of a Maokai ult. LGC picked up the bot inner turret, but a Phantiks splitpush in the toplane kept turrets even. Legacy now had a 3k gold lead at 28min, and it was looking like the next Baron might decide the game.
Legacy baited the Baron and turned with Maokai and J4 ults to take a 3-1 teamfight win and the Baron- Dire Wolves completely unable to deal with the aoe CC coming out of the Legacy side. Legacy were definitely playing to their win-condition in Lost with lockdown on key targets, and peel, giving Lost the ability to put down huge amounts of damage.
Legacy swiftly pushed bot inhibitor down and another teamfight, when Dire Wolves opted for a 4v5, with Chippys in botlane, was basically the game.
Both teams looked better in this game, with cleaner rotations, warding and macro play. Although there were a couple of mistakes on either side, Legacy’s draft and stronger teamfighting gave them the game, and they continue undefeated for the split.