Capitalising On Cowardice: How Team WE Ripped Apart Team SoloMid’s Early Game

Team WE has adopted a new style of play, punishing the slow early game inherent to this year’s World Championship top picks.

With 45 group stage games being played and 43 consisting of ardent censer on both teams, the meta has majorly leaned towards late game scaling and good team fighting.

However, China’s third seed, Team WE, drafted and played in contrast to the majority of the other group stage survivors, finding success as the first seed from Group D.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Perhaps the best example of this was the first game of Group D’s decisive day, the crucial matchup between Team SoloMid and Team WE.

After seeing TSM’s bot lane picks, Twitch and Lulu, the Chinese outfit quickly identifies that TSM is aiming to stall and play around their only strength of note from the tournament; team-fighting.

This glaring flaw, combined with the meta’s early game weakness, provided Team WE a clear win condition: winning lanes and snowballing the game. The Chinese squad did exactly that, masterfully drafting winning-lanes as they prepared to roll Team SoloMid over before they had a chance to scale.

Source: lolesports

Team WE don’t go in half-hearted. Previously, teams like Immortals have picked to play the aggressive early game style – with Trundle top and Ezreal jungle – but would combine that with losing lanes bot and mid as a reassurance for the late game.

Team WE showed no such cowardice and fully committed to their strategy, picking Rumble, Caitlyn and Jayce, knowing full well that if the game goes past 30 minutes, they lose.

The snowball starts, and revolves around the bot lane. 11 minutes in, Jin “Mystic” Sung-jun along with Nam “Ben” Dong Hyun take Team SoloMid’s bot tower with nothing but the presence of Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie on Sejuani.

Meanwhile, Su “Xiye” Han-Wei on Jayce has been poking Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg forcing him to base; the plan is well underway.

With no objective to be taken bot, TSM sneaks the dragon as WE move their bot lane to the top side of the map. With the strength of a completed ardent censer, the North American champions are forced to move three people top to try and stop another tower falling.

Team WE read the situation perfectly. Ke “957” Changyu on Rumble has critically already pushed bot lane out and looks to rotate mid. WE have pressure in all three lanes, splitting TSM across the map.

With Caitlyn drawing Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen on Jarvan to top and the minions bot side forcing Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell to clear them, Rumble happily walks mid. Xiye throws a Jayce combo on-top of Bjergsen’s face forcing him off the tower and alongside 957, Jayce takes the tower.

Meanwhile WE notice Svenskeren is walking mid and Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie mimics his movements. Fearful of the all in, 957 drops Rumble’s Equalizer on Bjergsen’s face making it impossible for him to stay in the lane, and more importantly, follow up on a potential Hauntzer teleport.

Simultaneously the duo top lane acknowledges the pressure Rumble and Jayce have created, taking top tower peacefully to accumulate a 3000 gold lead.

“They do finalise this, right across the board, an incredible spike in gold here for Team WE!”

Rivington “RivingtonThe3rd” Bisland III

After another five minutes of playing the map, WE force a fight, using the gold lead they kill two and take the middle inhibitor in only the 18th minute: three kills, six towers. At this point in the game for every one kill WE get, they gain two towers.

Controlling North America’s best team like a puppet master, WE take the side lane inhibitors, take the baron and then end the game untroubled.

As the tournament progresses it’ll be more and more likely teams will adopt the style of early game pressure to counter a composition full of early game weaknesses.

If Team WE sustain their level of confidence, they can take control of a game early and use the lead to slowly suffocate a team, rather than risk the chance of losing a team fight with both teams running late game scaling.

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