CLG.eu vs M5 at Dreamhack: Epic Comeback or Colossal Throw?Tue 17th Jul 2012 - 9:10pm Category: League of Legends
The League of Legends tournament at Dreamhack Summer 2012 was not quite as thrilling an event as it was last year when it held the Season One Championship, but that's not to say we didn't get our fair share of exciting matches. Easily the most interesting of these was the group stage match between Counter Logic Gaming Europe and Moscow Five, wherein we witnessed the biggest comeback in competitive League of Legends.
Down over 27 thousand gold at one point, CLG played some amazing tower defense, and after an epic hour-long saga, managed to solidify their position in the LoL history books. The game, watched by over 100,000 viewers live, naturally inspired debate over who's to receive blame (or credit) for such a comeback. Was this incredible defensive play from champions or a colossal "throw" from Russia's finest?
The remainder of this article will be dedicated to proving that Moscow Five lost the game through poor decision-making and a lack of team cohesion. Hopefully, by the end, not only will you agree but you will also be able to assure your team doesn't suffer the same fate as Moscow Five.
I want to preface this article by stating that even though Moscow Five may have allowed the game to slip out of their hands, I do not want to take anything away from the performance of CLG.eu. They played (almost) completely mistake free for the better part of 40 minutes to allow themselves to stay in the game. If you'd like to follow along, a reply of the game can be found below, and starts at 8:36. Without further ado, let us begin.
Moscow Five struggled with making decisions in this game. Sometimes, they just couldn't make up their minds, leading to missed kills and a lack of objectives. Yet sometimes they made outright poor decisions, that, if reversed, could have granted them an easy win. The indecision was apparent. Take the fight at 42:00 for example. M5 looks like chickens with their heads cut off.
Multiple members of the team waste a lot of time running back and forth while trying to decide whether to finish off Snoopeh, or charge the remainder of CLG. The result? They don't kill anyone. Moscow Five was lacking their usual team cohesion. And this certainly wasn't the only example of a botched team fight. Watch at 38:15 where M5 again shows inability to choose a target. Its tough to say what exactly the problem was, but there was a problem.
Another example of indecision was in their late game strategy. Moscow Five could not decide whether they wanted to split push, or siege an inhibitor turret. The outcome was that both were done inefficiently and neither accomplished anything.
The real mistakes came in the over prioritization of Baron. Twice during the game (34:24 and 43:36), we see M5 win a team fight decisively, but instead of trying to rush an inhibitor turret, they turn to pick up another Baron. The second time (43:36), they even have a large minion wave at the top inhibitor turret. Considering the trouble M5 was enduring in killing an inhibitor turret, one would think they would prioritize the turrets a little higher. Unfortunately, this cautious play and indecision ends up costing them the match.
So, what could they have done to avoid this humiliating defeat? I can't blame M5 for their defensive play at first; trying to pick a good fight against an Alistar and Anivia is a difficult task. But at some point they needed to realize that they had an enormous advantage and it was time to make a play.
This could have been done in a few different ways. The first being a split push strategy, where M5 uses their three very good pushers in Karthus, Corki and Vladimir to push and apply pressure in two or three lanes at the same time. CLG only had one good wave clearer in Anivia so use this fact to slowly get some damage on the towers. You see M5 use this strategy effectively to push down the second bot turret during their second Baron, where CLG just can't clear waves fast enough to stop pushing in all three lanes. Once a turret is dead, the inhibitor (read: game) is free for the taking.
The second way, and my preferred method, is sieging more effectively. M5 does not spend much time sieging and when they do, they don't do it efficiently. Karthus uses his wall at bad times, Nunu and Lee Sin don't create any sort of presence and M5 isn't aggressive enough to create space for poking the tower. What they needed to do was save wall for when they had a minion wave, and use it to zone CLG. When their wave was at the tower, Karth and Vlad should be poking as hard as they can, Nunu and Lee Sin should be playing close to the tower to create presence and Corki needed to be less afraid to take damage.
Should anyone get too close to Corki, Lee and Nunu cc them and they should die almost instantly. We see M5 do this briefly at 46:10, where they do get some damage on the tower. But an even better example is when CLG was sieging M5's bot inhibitior tower at 58:00. We see Irelia and Ali not afraid to be into tower range to keep M5 back, Anivia trying to poke as much as possible and using wall at the right time, and Trist not afraid to take a little damage in the name of damaging the tower.
Finally, M5 could just dive them. At certain times, the carries of M5 are up a collective five completed items on the carries of CLG. Man up and fight under the tower. Are people going to die? Of course. Might you even lose the fight numbers wise? Yes, but almost certainly, CLG is in retreat and Corki is left in a perfectly good situation to push. Maybe even assign Corki to ignore the fight and attack the tower anyhow. The inhibitor turrets were the only things keeping M5 from victory.
All in all, this game was Moscow Five's to lose. CLG played brilliantly to keep themselves alive, but both Chaox and Froggen have agreed that M5 let this game slip away. It looks like M5 is scared of CLG. Considering their match history, it's hard to blame them. Let's hope this fantastic rivalry continues into the Season Two Championships and beyond.