Throughout of the course of the 2018 Spring Split, CLG has faltered immensely and expectations have certainly not been met. However, while the gameplay on the rift is most definitely worthy of criticism, CLG’s draft phase is one of the biggest issues for the team going forward. With a playoff berth seemingly out of reach this Spring, the organization needs to take a serious look at the picks and bans portion of the game if the team is going to bounce back this summer.
Up to this point, no single NALCS player has played more than 8 different champions all split. Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, however, has managed to expand his champion pool into the double digits, locking in his 10th different champion last Sunday with an outlandish selection of Twisted Fate. Huhi finished the game with an uninspiring scoreline of 1/2/6 in a 31 minute loss to Golden Guardians. The result firmly cemented CLG at the bottom of the standings with a record of 3-9, the worst showing the team has ever had through 12 games in the history of the organization. And now, with a playoff berth far out of reach, it’s time for the team to move on from this split and try to regain their footing. However, before CLG can get back to winning games, the team must take a step back and find their identity.
With 33 unique champions selected over the past 6 weeks, CLG has struggled to find a pattern that works for them. Out of 12 games, only Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin has played more than 4 games on a single champion, as his Sejuani has been selected 6 times. Huhi has never played a champion more than twice, making it difficult to find any sort of groove on stage. Each week, coach Tony “Zikz” Gray seems to be throwing so many different strategies at the wall, hoping at least one of them will stick, however, with a record of 3-9, CLG seemingly can’t get anything to work. If the team is going to get back on solid ground, they’ll need to find a series of picks that work for them, because taking the bizzare approach of altering each player’s champion pool every week is most definitely not a sustainable strategy for long term success.
Last year with Team Liquid, Reignover played 28 games on Kha’Zix, a champion he is comfortable on, and one he’s posted some pretty solid numbers with. And although the Voidreaver has risen up to become one of the most prevalent jungle champions in the world with a 43% presence across all competitive leagues, he has a 0% presence on CLG’s team compositions. A similar case could apply to Thresh, a champion that Vincent “Biofrost” Wang posted an 80% win rate with over the course of 20 games last season. However, Bio’s 5.8 lifetime KDA on the champion is good enough for exactly 0 Thresh selections during his tenure with CLG. And while Thresh’s 8.6% presence across all regions doesn’t exactly make him prevalent in the meta, players like Kim “KeY” Han-gi, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black have all proven that he’s a reliable support champion that will always remain relevant in spite of the meta. Perhaps the chains could swing in Biofrost’s favor as well.
In terms of meeting expectations, this split fell completely flat for CLG. For now, all they can do is finish out the final three weeks and show some signs of life. The organization has to change their focus and shift towards the next split. Maybe utilizing comfort picks in order to establish an identity wouldn’t be such a bad idea, especially since the team currently has nothing to play for. For Summer, it would be wise to return onto picks and strategies they’re comfortable with instead of doing everything in their power to reinvent the wheel each and every week. A roster with this much talent is bound to find wins eventually, but as long as they can find themselves first, the team should have no problem finding success.