Preseason 6 is well underway, and some LCS teams feature full rosters with new talent eager to continue their professional careers. A theme this off-season has been highly talented players joining together. Team SoloMid and Immortals are two big examples of this, and Cloud 9 to a lesser extent. This presents an opportunity to forecast potential strategies to be used during Season 6 based on 2015 Summer Split and Playoff performances. Below is an outline of the Champions played by each of Team SoloMid’s active starters: Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Bjergsen, Doublelift, and YellOwStaR. A (u) beside a Champion’s name indicates the player had an undefeated Split with the Champion with at least 2 matches played.
Hauntzer – Maokai, Rumble, Shen, Hecarim, Gnar, Nautilus, Ryze, Ekko
This is a well-rounded Champion pool in terms of role fulfillment, but is very heavy in Magic Damage. Adding some Physical Damage (particularly AD bruiser Champions) will help Team SoloMid by allowing many of Bjergsen’s preferred Champions to do more damage; it’s hard to itemize against two types of damage.
Svenskeren – Gragas, Lee Sin, Ekko, Rek’Sai, Nidalee, Sejuani, Evelyn
Svenskeren can also fill many roles for a team composition in terms of Champion selection, but his effectiveness on each Champion can be improved. None of Svenskeren’s Champions picked throughout his last split average a KDA greater than 4.0, which is a concern to many. If Team SoloMid has signed the Jungler they need, then Svenskeren’s individual contribution needs to be greater than it was last Split.
Bjergsen – Azir (u) , Lulu (u), LeBlanc (u), Zed, Kog’Maw (u), Ezreal, Orianna, Yasuo, Viktor, Ekko, Ahri, Twisted Fate
Bjergsen, known by TSM fans as “The Faker of the West”, deserves his title considering the vast Champion Pool he has developed and the unmatched level of mastery he demonstrates consistently against Western opponents. Control Mage, Assassin, Support Mage, Marksman, AD or AP, farming or roaming — you name it — Bjergsen probably has won a couple LCS matches playing it.
Doublelift – Tristana (u), Jinx, Sivir, Ashe, Ezreal (recently playing Miss Fortune, Twitch)
Most AD Carries specialize in just a few Champions, and such is the case for Doublelift when playing on stage. On CLG Doublelift opted for safe picks rather than choosing Marksman that have niche occupations. However, his mechanical prowess is evidence enough that this does not happen due to lack of capability. As an AD Carry that strongly intends to carry each match, mobility is high priority for Doublelift. This philosophy will likely take some pressure off of Team SoloMid’s new Support.
YellOwStaR – Alistar, Janna (u), Morgana (u), Trundle (u), Shen (u), Thresh (u), Leona (u), Nautilus (u), Tahm Kench, Annie (u)
Preseason 6 does not feature a Bottom Lane meta. Junglers and Mid Laners have the most carry potential because matches aren’t lasting long enough for Marksman to get the items it takes to make an impact. Interesting, however, the Bottom Lane is won by the Support player more so than the Marksman since Support roaming is becoming increasingly necessary to gain advantages in the early mid game. YellOwStaR’s vast Champion Pool grants Team SoloMid a lot of wiggle room in terms of how they want to create early advantages to snowball.
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There are several flex picks between the Team SoloMid players. A flexible pick is a Champion belonging to multiple players’ Champion pools. Shen and Nautilus have been played by played Top and Support. Ekko has been played Top, Mid, and Jungle. Ezreal is particularly interesting; he is the only Champion shared between TSM’s carries, Bjergsen and Doublelift.
Team SoloMid will likely play a lot of compositions that allow the possibility of a solo carry by their Mid Laner and Marksman. Another option for TSM is to use Bjergsen to supplement Doublelift by picking Support Mages. This worked very consistently for TSM during the peaks of WildTurtle’s career. Now with a more talented Marksman, Team SoloMid should be even scarier when running a protect-the-ADC team composition. The best part about having two proven carries is that sometimes you can put both in position to do so.
Here’s an example of how Team SoloMid could draft a team composition that plays to each player’s strengths.
Top – 1 1 Ekko (3-way flex)
Jungle – 3 2 Rek’Sai (Warrior/Cinder.)
Mid – 3 3 Bjergsen (flex)
ADC – 2 1 Tristana/Jinx
Support – 2 2 Nautilus
The numbers to the left of each Champion name indicate the round of selection that the pick is to be taken, where the left side is Round One with 1 pick and the right is Round One with 2 picks. In both scenarios, Ekko is a priority first-pick for Team SoloMid because it is the most flexible for their players.
The objective with the second round is to ensure a quality pick onto one of the carries (Bjergsen or Doublelift) without giving away both. Otherwise, both carry picks are vulnerable to countering during the landing phase. Doublelift’s pick is prioritized over Bjergsen’s because Tristana and Jinx are both strong late game carries with reliable laning phases. More often than not, Doublelift can ensure Bottom Lane stability, regardless of the opposition, by farming from distance until he reaches a powerspike. This leaves the final round for Bjergsen and his large Champion pool to shine. Ekko can go to whichever player has the best match-up playing him, and someone has the opportunity to counter-pick or go for something comfortable that fits well with the game plan of “Help Bjergsen and Doublelift carry”.