Week 3 saw the standings tables really get shaken up. CLG took a big nose dive on the NA side and Fnatic took control of the top of the EU bracket. GIANTS!, Vulcun and Dragonborns all staked their claim as contenders for the top 4.
It seems that the three most surprisingly influential champions right now are Volibear, Renekton and Nidalee. Volibear came out of nowhere as a Gambit Gaming Jungler and has, over just a couple weeks, suddenly become a "ho hum" standard. Renekton is the third most played champ (behind Sona and Ezreal) and Nidalee has quietly risen up to be one of the most banned champions in the LCS. In particular, Nidalee allows a tremendous poke build or a very powerful split pusher which creates significant problems during champ select and laning because you don't know exactly what they're doing.
Three Great Games
CLG vs. Dignitas: Want to see a build that will get you reported for trolling in solo queue? Look at Hotshot's build for Galio at the end of the game. He's built zero magic resist and very little health. I'm going to stop just shy of saying this is a massive fail build but the result of the game would certainly support that conclusion. He clearly wanted to sell-out for his ult but this wasn't even the best way to do that. Let's look at what he had:
Ninja Tabi (1,000gp)
Glacial Shroud (1,500gp)
Chain Vest (720gp)
Ruby Crystal (475gp)
Locket of the Iron Solari (2,000gp)
Here's another way to spend that same amount of gold:
Aegis of the legion
This costs the same, grants slightly less EHP vs physical and MUCH more EHP against magic (8686 physical / 6588 magical vs. 9203 / 4174). It also gives an aura to your team and puts you closer to runic bulwark.
It's not even clear what pieces Hotshot was building towards, as Glacial Shroud, Ruby Crystal and Chain Vest don't combine to make anything so he was a good clip away from his next big upgrade.
But the build was only the second error. You could argue that the real error was in champ select. At the point he made his decision, CLG had Mundo and Alistar - Dignitas had Kayle, Vi and Singed. Vi is a pure physical damage champ. Singed is nearly pure magic damage and Kayle will be somewhere in between pure magic and hybrid. Dignitas had yet to pick an ADC. So they were looking at a damage composition somewhere between a roughly 50/50 split to 60/40 favoring physical. CLG already had two somewhat tanky champions in Mundo and Alistar. Taking a third tanky champion, especially a champion focused on magical damage, seems an odd choice. Malphite was available too, which makes the decision all the more unusual.
Needless to say, Dignitas routed CLG and Hotshot was a non-factor. Even his ults were uneventful because they didn't lock the enemy team down long enough to accomplish anything (and his team lacked the AoE to really capitalize on the clustering of the enemy).
Fnatic vs. Evil Geniuses: This is the other end of the extreme with regards to team composition. Fnatic picked a team that will probably strike most people as a troll comp. Blitzcrank, Kayle, Leona, Miss Fortune, Katarina. That's an awfully magic focused and somewhat squishy team. When you look at Renekton and Volibear on the other team with Froggen playing Anivia to throw walls down, it sure seems like a long, uphill battle.
However, the Fnatic team worked together to force EG to end the laning phase early. No one wants to get involved in a farm-off with EG. If you let them lane for 20 minutes you will almost certainly lose the game. Instead, Fnatic forced fights and used Leona and Blitz to catch people out. They baited with Miss Fortune and Kayle ults. They started roaming at 13 minutes and basically forced team fights from that point on. Froggen plays two champions amazingly well (Twisted Fate being the other one). By allowing him to pick Anivia, Fnatic was able to go hyper mobile with two teleports and Katarina, Blitzcrank and Kayle who are all fairly mobile champs.
I was a little surprised that, given the magic damage from Fnatic, EG didn't rush a Runic Bulwark. 30 additional MR to the whole team would have reduced the damage output coming from Fnatic by a fair margin. As it was, they didn't get an Aegis until 25 minutes in and never finished the Runic Bulwark.
Dragonborns vs GIANTS!: This was a great game from start to finish. These two teams seem destined to battle it out with SK Gaming and Gambit for 3rd and 4th place. The game was back and forth with both teams looking fully capable of winning. The Dragonborns play style is probably best described as "barely controlled chaos". They press and press and constantly harass. Their team fights have a tendency to be long, sprawling affairs. In fact, earlier in the season, they had a team fight they won 8-5 because it took so long that their opponent's first kills had a chance to respawn and join the fight to die again.
In this game, Shushei's Vi was a holy terror for the early part of the game but ultimately GIANTS! had the better sieging team and was able to push through the middle with sheer brute force.
What to look forward to this week
This is the first of two "mega-weeks" from Riot. Starting on the 27th and running through the weekend, we'll have 20 games on each side of the pond. Next week, we should have a much better ability to look at the LCS statistics and draw some comparisons.