Analyst Challenge – SKT vs Afreeca

Here’s your challenge: look at a brief video clip from a recent game of professional League of Legends and use the available information to recommend one team’s next move.

June 24, 2019 Challenge

Yesterday’s challenge came from game 2 of the 2019 summer week 1 match between SK Telecom T1 and the Afreeca Freecs. The question was: what should the next move be for the blue-side team (SKT)?

The Responses

Here are a few of the responses that came in.

Duke, the coach of Splyce from the LEC, spoke up:

Kasey, formerly of Diabolus, embedded an essay!

Samuel Harkins, the head coach of Team GamerLegion, dove into a longer discussion with me. Be sure to click in and read the conversation thread!

Some other good replies included comments from Locodoco and Zeu (he made a video!).

The Actual Outcome

Here’s where you can watch the entire sequence actually play out:

Tim’s Take

With the full benefit of knowing how this play actually worked out, and the opportunity to read everyone else’s ideas, here’s how I break it down.

Afreeca’s comp boasts Taliyah and Galio, two champions with semi-global ultimates who can quickly move between lanes to join a skirmish. SKT’s duo lane had just recalled, Faker was pushing out top lane, and an infernal drake was close to spawning. SKT’s priority should have been to use their pressure point in top lane and then commit to Faker’s split push while conservatively contesting the dragon and/or mid tower, depending how Afreeca positioned themselves.

It was clearly tempting for Clid and Khan to try to pick off Aatrox, but with Taliyah and Galio showing up on SKT’s vision in the river and Xayah Rakan back in the base, there was always going to be a high chance of an Afreeca response, making the risk of the gank incredibly high. Clid and Khan went for the play anyways and were punished for it, allowing Afreeca to take the tower and the dragon in trade for Faker taking a tower himself.

Possibly SKT feared that Afreeca were going to dive the bot tower in a moment, so Clid and Khan wanted to take the initiative and burst down the Aatrox before the rest of Afreeca arrived. In my opinion, though, the better call would have been to clear the wave in bot lane,  or back off and surrender the tower if Afreeca committed to an aggressive play, because Faker could trade the tower kill. Then SKT should have waited for Teddy and Mata to get back from the base, push mid, and carefully contest the dragon, allowing Faker to continue pushing or TP down if the opportunity came up to commit to a favourable team fight.

In short, SKT had no need to force or rush a play, especially against a composition with such good reactive tools.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

If you didn’t get a chance to chime in on Twitter, feel free to drop a comment below and keep the conversation going!

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