We missed a week, but that just means we can roll more of it into a single article!
Teams lock playoffs spots, 7th heaven goes through three roster changes in three rounds, and we get a bunch of cool new champion picks! Let’s get started!
So what happened this week?
|Team A ||Score ||Score ||Team B |
|USG ||2 ||1 ||7h |
|RJ ||1 ||2 ||V3 |
|DFM ||2 ||1 ||PGM |
|DFM ||2 ||0 ||RJ |
|PGM ||2 ||0 ||7h |
|V3 ||0 ||2 ||USG |
|V3 ||0 ||2 ||DFM |
|USG ||0 ||2 ||PGM |
|RJ ||2 ||1 ||7h |
Unsold Stuff Gaming beats 7th heaven 2-1
USG did like nothing right in Game 1. They got caught, they died unnecessarily, it was just all bad. Game 2 looked nearly as bad, but USG kept the game close in gold simply through better farm before turning the game on its head by turning a pick into 6 kills (yes, 6) infernal drake, Baron, three turrets, and an inhibitor over the course of about 4 minutes. Gango’s
ended up going nuts in this game, ending with a score of 15/1/7. Game 3 USG really just crushed through better map rotations, including an uncontested 20 minute Baron and then using the power provided to immediately end the game.
Other than USG literally gifting 7th heaven Game 1 on a silver platter, the only other surprising thing we saw this match was 7h opting to play SatoRy in the top lane, as HW4NG went back to the coaching staff and Rokenia returned to the mid lane. No NessCycle.
Rascal Jester loses to V3 Esports 1-2
We’re getting a pretty good idea of how teams want to play and how they find their wins. Rascal Jester depends super heavily on WyverN to outperform his opponent, and that’s exactly what happened in Game 1. WyverN found two kills in an early skirmish on
and then repeatedly ran down the less mobile
on V3’s team. While not technically a perfect game, as RJ gave up a few objectives, they didn’t give up a kill.
They did a much better job at withstanding WyverN’s early pressure in Game 2 and traded kills and proactively traded objectives, accelerating the game and making
fall off faster. Game 3 was much more even, and Rascal Jester even had a significant advantage and were pushing into V3’s base until an overaggressive move gave up the Baron and gave V3 tempo to play with. This happened twice
DetonatioN FocusMe beats PENTAGRAM 2-1
For me, this was one of the most anticipated matchups all season, and we were largely robbed of a good set the last time these teams played because PGM was still playing every set starting 0-1. Going into this set, DetonatioN Gaming had dropped a single game (to 7h in week 1) while PGM had a good record, but not a great one. There were a lot of questions about how Paz, Once, and Gaeng would perform in a true best of 3 against the best team in the league.
A few, somewhat uncharacteristic, early ganks from Steal gave DFM a strong early lead in Game 1, but PGM did a fantastic job at responding to DFM’s aggressive moves and was set up to control the early mid-game, but a series of picks by both teams lead to an inconsistent tempo where both teams struggled to gain the upper hand. Eventually, PGM would find a pair of picks that lead to them taking the Baron and shortly after the game.
The early parts of Game 2 felt a lot like Game 1, except in reverse. DFM punished early PGM moves, tried to make some of their own, but didn’t find a lot of anything other than kills until they blew the game wide open with a fight that turned into an uncontested Baron. Another pick gave them the second Baron they needed to end the game.
I guess it’s worth mentioning that Ceros brought out the
in the third game, but I’m not sure if this is newsworthy anymore. Steal did such a good job at preventing Once from having a significant impact, constantly aggressively dueling and counter-jungling and giving Ceros the freedom to push up in the mid lane. This marked the third game that DFM found an early Baron. The gold lead, compounded with the extra infernal drake DFM grabbed, would culminate in Yutapon grabbing a pentakill to finish the rivalry series!
It was interesting to me how differently the two teams prioritized the
combo. DFM felt like they had the ability to deal with it through viviD’s
, but PGM managed to grab both halves of the combo in games 1 and 2, and both teams had the opportunity to grab it in the deciding game, but PGM prioritized
and DFM got
Also, on a personal note, since I’ll unashamedly admit that Paz is my favorite player in the league, it was exciting to see how into the games he looked during this series. It doesn’t feel like he’s been as excited to be playing most of this split, but you could clearly see how much he enjoyed playing this series. Hopefully that means he’ll start performing better!
DetonatioN FocusMe beats Rascal Jester 2-0
It is literally impossible to overstate how important WyverN’s success is to Rascal Jester, and once again his aggression and smart play gave the team an early lead over DFM. Unfortunately, DFM’s members are just too strong individually. Even when they were down kills, they maintained a gold lead through their individual CS leads and the pushing power that
provides. Somewhat invisibly, DFM’s gold lead eventually just became insurmountable.
Game 2 had a similar story, but DFM wasn’t able to find structures early on. Rascal Jester just forced so incredibly hard, and won so narrowly, that they almost never had the health to continue taking objectives after picking up kills. Then DFM started taking structures and the gold lead just skyrocketed.
PENTAGRAM beats 7th heaven 2-0
And this week raizin’s back! 7th heaven has been so inconsistent with their roster for such a long time now that it’s hard to be surprised at this.
Anyway, Savage brought out the
jungle, and Rokenia played
in Game 1.
is a neat pick as a counter to initiations by Once’s
, but not paying any attention to raizin’s lane left 7h in a similar position to what they’ve seen for most of the rest of the season. The other lanes go more or less even, but top lane falls so far behind that it doesn’t matter. While he wasn’t involved in most of the map for a long period of time, Paz’s
could still provide Cannon Barrage to help out the rest of his team.
Game 2 was similar in a lot of ways, 7h didn’t give raizin much help and the team slowly lost objectives while raizin splitpushed and fell behind in gold to Paz’s
. 7h stopped making aggressive moves and PGM was able to move around freely.
Perhaps worryingly, PGM wasn’t teamfighting particularly well this series. Even with huge gold leads (10k+) they would only narrowly win teamfights. While it obviously worked this series, it won’t work well against USG or DFM when they reach playoffs.
V3 Esports loses to Unsold Stuff Gaming 0-2
V3 had an opportunity at this point to make it to playoffs, but unfortunately USG was slightly ahead of the curve every step of the way. V3 weren’t able to accelerate the pace of the game to hit the strong late game their composition provided against Tussle’s
as they had done in the previous set this week.
Smile also had a surprise pick for us when he brought out
in the second game. Bringing a lot of dueling potential and backline threat when paired with cogcog’s
, there was a way for this team to turn the front-to-back teamfight on its head and eliminate Gango’s
before fights had really started.
Unfortunately, it fell behind significantly in farm, had several ganks that didn’t succeed, and the entire team comp was lacking in primary initiation tools and was focused on winning skirmishes and finding picks in order to push things forward, but USG played a more traditional teamfight comp and played towards their win conditions very well. While V3 went even in trades, USG was always picking up an objective on the side.
While V3 found a Baron via an overmanned fight, they squandered the new lease on life they had created for themselves by taking bad fights and getting caught out. They looked to take teamfights with a composition that wasn’t designed for it at the end and gave up their best road to the semi-finals.
V3 Esports loses to DetonatioN FocusMe 0-2
This loss took V3’s chances to make the semi-finals out of their own hands, as it would require PGM to lose in order for them to maintain a chance to make it.
With DFM’s position secure, they were also more willing to play champions that were perhaps less common, grabbing
on 8.4 for Yutapon, and
for Ceros. These games looked a lot like the style DFM played with Paz in Summer 2017, where the top laner would split in the bot lane while the rest of the team grouped around Baron buff. It wasn’t super clean, but it was definitely entertaining to watch. With Evi constantly threatening to end the game, cogcog was unable to teleport to support the rest of his team, securing DFM objectives all over the map.
Unsold Stuff Gaming loses to PENTAGRAM 0-2
With what we know now, this match is a preview of what we can expect to see in semi-finals playoffs, and boy does it look like a treat. To start with, both teams have strong records in games. USG currently sits at 13-8, and PGM, ignoring the auto-losses they had in the first half of the season, is 12-6. The head to head this season is 3-1 in PGM’s favor, and when these teams fight, it’s an absolute brawl. Man for man they are very similar in terms of skill.
For the 90% of Game 1 these teams were within a thousand gold of each other. USG found a teamfight win for Baron and took a large part of PGM’s side of the map, but a brilliant teamfight from PGM brought it right back, and since it was late enough in the game, they were able to convert it into a victory.
Game 2 was also a total brawl, but this time the results weren’t even, and PGM consistently managed to come out on top of the early skirmishes. Once did so much work on
this game, consistently jumping on people in the jungle, taking flashes and other resources and allowing his team to consistently move between towers safely. While Tussle’s Baron steal slowed the game down, his
fell off hard as Karma provided too much safety for YutoriMoyasi’s
Rascal Jester beat 7th heaven 2-1
And HW4NG is back! 7th heaven isn’t fighting for anything at this point really, they just need to figure out what composition of players they want to run to maintain their spot in LJL for next split. Over the past 2 weeks they’ve tried SatoRy, raizin, and Rokenia in the top lane, and HW4NG and Rokenia in the mid lane.
Savage brought out the
in the first game, but it struggled to maintain control of its own jungle against WyverN’s
, but had great gank pressure in the top lane when combined with the engage range provided by
. Alleycat did not enjoy this game I have to imagine. This game highlighted the problem
has very well: as soon as he can no longer blow up his target, he doesn’t really do much else. We saw the first glimpses of this around the 25 minute mark, and after that Savage didn’t find any further kill participation. Needless to say, playing 4v5 is pretty hard and they lost.
Taking a page out of Smile’s book, Savage decided to try his luck with
next. Savage did a good job of staying ahead in farm, but struggled to have a strong impact in early skirmishes and ganks. The game stalled out until 30 minutes when 7h finally found the Baron, which allowed them to push very aggressively. As a whole 7h did a good job of punishing WyverN’s attempts to flank by just going on the group of 4 that were left behind.
It’s hard to describe Game 3 as anything other than WyverN doing his thing. He found ganks, he found picks, and the team snowballed out of control.
|Place ||Team ||Set Record ||Game Record ||Joushi Tier List |
|1 ||DFM ||9-0 ||18-2 ||A |
|2 ||USG ||6-3 ||13-8 ||B- |
|3 ||PGM ||5-4 ||12-11 ||B |
|4 ||V3 ||3-6 ||9-14 ||C+ |
|4 ||RJ ||3-6 ||8-15 ||C |
|6 ||7h ||1-8 ||6-16 ||D |
Quick reminder on how the tier list works: teams in the same tier could easily beat, or lose to, other teams in the same tier. Teams one tier below have the ability to take games off of you, but unlikely to take a set. A difference in two or more tiers means you should basically never drop a game.
We’re pretty close to the end, friends! Playoffs are around the corner, and I’ll be honest, I’m expecting to see the DFM vs RPG finals (who are now disguised as PGM).
Beast in the East
With all of the talk (and memes) about the Best in the West bot lane, and since I missed a week, I’m gonna take the opportunity to talk about the best bot lanes in Japan!
1. USG Gango & Enty
I’m going to make what might be a bold statement, and that is USG’s bot lane duo is the best in the league. They have perhaps the largest role to play of the other bot lanes that could contest for that position, and they live up to it. Gango sits at the second highest KDA, highest KP, and highest CS/M of all of the ADCs, while his partner has the second highest KP and second highest Assists of supports.
Importantly, Gango in particular brings an x-factor that makes him more dangerous to play against than other ADCs. He’s more likely to go for a crazy mechanical play, that could singlehandedly win his team the game. While sometimes they don’t work out, they are consistent enough that he can take over a game by himself.
2. DFM Yutapon & viviD
Yutapon and viviD make a very strong case that they still control the bot lane crown, boasting the highest KDA for both positions, and their record speaks volumes. These two perform with incredible consistency, and their aggression in the bot lane very often earns them significant leads in the laning phase. While they more consistently perform at a high level, the lack of a strong x-factor means they tend not to hit the tall peaks that earns Gango and Enty the gold medal.
3. PGM YutoriMoyasi & Gaeng
Whenever you’re discussing best ADC in Japan, YutoriMoyasi has to make a performance. He has been such a force in the bot lane for such a long time, that many wondered how his separation from his long time partner, Dara, would change his dominance. Gaeng has done well. Gaeng ties viviD at highest KDA of 7.3, and boasts a KP of 78%, 8% higher than viviD’s. However, much like USG apaMEN, who I was somewhat surprised to discover how strong his stats were, Gaeng is relatively quiet in how strong of a player he is.
4. 7h Haretti & Thinton
I struggled to determine which bot lane pair ought to be considered better. Hartti had a better KDA and CS/M compared to Keymaker, but this is largely due to having fewer deaths. His KP also suffers because he doesn’t participate in fights to the same degree. Thinton also only has better stats than Kazu, mostly due to the fact that he also dies less, averaging 1.7 deaths to Kazu’s 3.5 per game. These stats are also coming from a team that is currently 1-8, meaning that their individual performance and stats should be expected to be lower than V3’s bot lane, who have managed to hold a 3-6 record. Having thus exceeded expectations, it makes sense to then award 7h’s Haretti and Thinton the 4th place, though not by a wide margin.
5. V3 Keymaker & Kazu
V3’s bot lane has not been the lane from which they tend to win their games, and it’s partly because of how often they’re jumped on early in the game. The only real statistic of note that they have is Keymaker boasting the second highest KP of any ADC, only behind Gango’s incredibly impressive 82.7%. They participate in their team’s fights quite a bit, and they also withstand pressure very well. We mentioned they tend to get ganked a lot, but they weather the storm, and deny kills better than you might otherwise expect.
6. RJ NoA &Yuki
Rascal Jester’s bot lane rounds out our list, and it largely comes down to the fact that their laning phase loses to every single other duo lane in the league. NoA is a full CS/M down on the next lowest ADC, and also has the lowest KP. Yuki has comparable KP to other supports, but as a duo, these guys get to the mid game from behind far too consistently to have a real impact.
Next week marks the last week of the regular season in Japan, meaning that we already know which teams are going to make it to playoffs. DetonatioN FocusMe has secured first place, and USG and PGM have 2nd and 3rd (we don’t know which is which, but they’ll be playing each other in Semi-finals either way).
PENTAGRAM playing Rascal Jester has some importance, but we can expect PENTAGRAM to probably take that series. DetonatioN FocusMe and Unsold Stuff Gaming only technically has an effect on playoffs. The last match, 7th heaven vs V3 Esports, is actually important for the standings. Since 5th and 6th place teams have to play in relegations, V3 needs this win in order to avoid playing possible tiebreaker matches against Rascal Jester and need to fight to stay in the LJL.
Unfortunately, while I had planned to do an English cast for playoffs, I have another event I’ll be casting at (if you’re interested in high school or Orange County League of Legends, check out ochighschoolesports.org for more information).
And with that, Joushi: out.
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