The pick and ban phase dictates how any given game will play out. Bans can be used to target a specific player who is exceptionally good at a champion, handicap a player who can only perform on a limited champion pool, or prevent a team from employing a certain strategy by taking out key champions essential to its execution.
Today, we’re going to talk about target bans.
Target bans tend to be reserved for the best players, or the worst players, on the opposing team. Often times spending a ban on a top player is ineffective due to the large champion pools that top players often are capable of playing. If this is case you may only see a team ban that player’s best champion, forcing him onto his second best pick which they may have a counter strategy prepared for.
There is merit in target banning weak players. Assuming you have a balanced team where you are confident that all of your lanes will go even, target banning the oppositions weakest link is the best way to give your team an edge.
The size of your champion pool tends to correlate with how good of a player you are. Fringe LCS players do not have large champion pools. If you spend your bans focusing the weak link they will often be left to play on a champion they do not have much experience with, creating a clear vulnerability that can be exploited by jungle pressure.
The 2016 EU LCS season is barely 2 weeks old but already we are beginning to witness which players are good at what. The performances by a select group of players are drawing a lot of attention which will likely lead to target bans or counter picks in their upcoming games. They are forcing their opponents to adapt to their strengths.
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After watching EU LCS W2D1, here are 3 players, and their champions, who teams will likely want to consider spending a ban on, or incorporating counter-strategy for:
Sprattel regularly finds multi-man knock-up engagements on Allistar.
EL Sprattel’s Allistar – Sprattel shows up when he gets Allistar. Despite a few stray ‘oops’ moments, Sprattel has been making plays in each game he has played this season on Allistar. Banning out the Allistar could force the Elements squad to come up with a new way to engage. Elements will be hard pressed to find a consistent source of multi-man knock-ups without Sprattel on his Allistar.
OG Zven’s Kalista – After a lackluster Ezreal game, Zven came to play on Kalista; a champion he always shows up on. Finishing a perfect 8-0-3 against an admittedly weaker (despite the standings) Unicorns of Love team, there’s no doubt teams are realizing they should probably do something about Zven’s Kalista.
G2 Kikis’ Shen/Tahm Kench – G2 looks to be a rookie team capable of displacing some long-time EU LCS teams. They are led by jungler Trick and mid lane carry Perkz. Their weak spot appears to be former jungler-turned-top laner Kikis.
Kikis has only played Tahm Kench and Shen in our tiny sample size of 3 games, but even then he has struggled. Often finding himself caught out away from his team Kikis is regularly picked off by observant opponents. Banning out these ultra-tanks could force Kikis on a more fragile champion making him even more vulnerable to pressure, potentially forcing G2 jungler Trick to turn his attention away from their star mid laner and into the top lane.
The 2016 EU LCS season is only just beginning. There are many pocket picks that have yet to be revealed. Players are just warming up. Teams have very little data about each other due to the expansive roster changes that took place over the off-season, certainly not enough to draw any conclusions yet.
Enjoy watching these players use their favorite champions to their fullest potential while you can!