You could have been reading my week one predictions, or my pre-season power rankings. Instead, I’m going to try to exactly predict the G2 Esports vs MAD Lions draft.
I’ve been waiting far, far too long to say this. The LEC Spring Split starts tonight. I had a few ideas about what I wanted to tell you today - you could have been reading my week one predictions, or my pre-season power rankings. Instead, I’m going to try to exactly predict the G2 Esports vs MAD Lions draft, which, by the time you start reading this, is about to begin, so let’s waste no time at all and start separating the meta from the malarkey.
I’ve based the initial champion pools for players on both sides on the top six champions by combined pick and ban percentage in the LCK, LPL, and LCS Lock-In event (I don’t expect more than four of the ten total bans available to be levelled at one position). I’ve then trimmed these pools based on who the players of been picking in solo queue and in the Summer season, and in some cases, I’ll leave notes about other champions that players have been grinding solo queue with, even if they aren’t close to the top six.
Irfan Berk “Armut” Tükek vs Martin “Wunder” Hansen
Base Pool: Renekton, Akali, Camille, Gnar, Ornn, Orianna
Armut’s Pool: Renekton, Akali, Camille, Ornn
Wunder’s Pool: Renekton, Akali, Camille, Gnar
Note that both sides may be able to abuse the slight difference in pools to force a favourable matchup. For example, Camille is an effective counter to Renekton and, if MAD Lions has first pick, they can ban Akali and Gnar then first pick Camille for Armut, leaving Wunder with the difficult choice of playing a familiar champion in a losing lane or a less familiar champion in a more balanced lane. That, however, would be a massive strain on draft resources and neither side may want to try something that ambitious on the first night.
Javier “Elyoya” Prades vs Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski
Base Pool: Olaf, Pantheon, Nidalee, Taliyah, Graves, Lillia
Elyoya’s Pool: Pantheon, Nidalee, Taliyah, Graves, Lillia
Jankos' Pool: Olaf, Pantheon, Taliyah, Graves, Lillia
Both Elyoya and Jankos have such huge pools that target banning will have little to no effect. That being said, Olaf has little to no in-meta counters, and since Elyoya has been struggling as The Berserker in solo queue, the MAD Lions may have no choice but to ban it away.
Marek “Humanoid” Brázda vs Rasmus Borregaard “Caps” Winther
Base Pool: Orianna, Zoe, Akali, Syndra, Twisted Fate, Galio
Humanoid’s Pool: Orianna, Zoe, Akali, Syndra, Twisted Fate
Caps' Pool: Orianna, Syndra, Twisted Fate, Galio
Caps seems to have been playing more on his alt accounts lately, as his main solo queue account “Speedy McJingles” has been lying dormant for over a week, so take any mid lane reads from here on out with a pinch of salt. On the MAD Lions side though, we can say for sure that Akali can and will be flexed if necessary, as both Humanoid and Armut are comfortable on the Rogue Assassin.
Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság vs Martin “Rekkles” Larsson
Base Pool: Kai’Sa, Samira, Aphelios, Jhin, Miss Fortune, Lucian
Carzzy’s Pool: Kai’Sa, Samira, Aphelios, Miss Fortune
Rekkles’ Pool: Kai’Sa, Samira, Jhin, Ashe, Senna
Rekkles may still be living on the Worlds 2020 patch with those Ashe and Senna solo queue picks, but at least he has a serviceable pool to work with. Jhin, Ashe, Aphelios, and Miss Fortune are all passable counters against Kai’Sa, meaning neither side needs to concern themselves with banning the most competitively played champion in 2021. Samira’s novelty factor may well be starting to wear off as her win rate is slipping towards the thirties, which would make both player’s pools somewhat vulnerable.
Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser vs Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle
Base Pool: Alistar, Leona, Galio, Thresh, Sett, Gragas
Kaiser’s Pool: Alistar, Leona, Galio
Mikyx’s Pool: Alistar, Leona, Thresh, Sett, Gragas
Unless Kaiser’s been hiding some pocket pick support champions, he is the most restricted in terms of champions he can select for tonight’s game. If more than a couple of bans are sent his way, then he may be able to fall back on Thresh, a champion he had some success with during the Summer, but a squeeze is very much possible here.
BAN PHASE ONE
MAD Lions Bans: Gnar, Jhin, Olaf
G2 Esports Bans: Ornn, Galio, Akali
A huge undecided factor for tonight is starting side, which will determine ban order. I’m going to guess that MAD Lions get blue side, meaning they have the first ban and pick in phase one. A non-indicative first ban of Gnar is likely to be matched by a G2 Esports Ornn ban. The second set of bans sees one of Rekkles’ key Kai’Sa counters (Jhin) removed, disincentivising blind picking her, while G2 Esports starts squeezing Kaiser’s pool. The last set sees Jankos’ Olaf taken off the table and Akali’s flex potential removed.
PICK PHASE ONE
MAD Lions Picks: Kai’Sa (Carzzy), Alistar (Kaiser), Renekton (Armut)
G2 Esports Picks: Camille (Wunder), Orianna (Caps), Ashe (Rekkles)
Predictably, MAD Lions blind picks Kai’Sa for Carzzy, which forces Rekkles onto the Ashe later when G2 Esports makes their third pick. G2 reply with a now near-uncounterable Camille and a safe blind pick of Orianna. MAD Lions resolve Kaiser’s pool issues by picking Alistar and select their only remaining option against Camille, a Renekton.
BAN PHASE TWO
G2 Esports Bans: Twisted Fate, Zoe
MAD Lions Bans: Leona, Pantheon
The order reverses now, with G2 targetting Humanoid, levelling both a Twisted Fate and Zoe ban against him. MAD elect to split their bans between preventing a hard counter against Kaiser and restricting Jankos’ pool.
PICK PHASE TWO
G2 Esports Picks: Taliyah (Jankos), Thresh (Mikyx)
MAD Lions Picks: Graves (Elyoya), Syndra (Humanoid)
The vast majority of remaining champions are forced either by reduced pools, like Humanoid’s Syndra, or because they’re the best champion for what has been picked against them, Mikyx’s Thresh for example.
Well, there’s my best guess. G2 Esports vs MAD Lions starts at 5pm GMT tonight on the LEC channel, so grab your snacks and a comfy chair, and get ready for an evening of top tier League of Legends!
Images via Riot Games