When watching the LCS, fans often focus on pro players' (almost) flawless mechanics. However, knowing how to play their champions isn’t what makes a pro team win. Not 1v1 kills or immaculate farming, either (though they do help).
Instead, one of the most important things a team can do is match their objectives to the tempo of a game. That means clearing waves at the right time, being in the right places when they need to be, and moving with their team in a proactive manner.
We’re focusing here on the early laning phase of a game (i.e., the first 20 minutes).
So, let’s break down their game, shall we?
First 5 Minutes
To understand a game’s tempo, you have to pay close attention to the pros’ timing in particular. Timing determines the outcome of ganks, rotations, dragons, etc.. Timing can be particularly key in the first few minutes to get an early advantage, and that’s exactly what EG did.
Because of EG’s Impact’s
aggressive wave-pushing (which led to 83 farm by 10 minutes), he was able to put a deep ward by Krugs at 2:35. This allowed Jizuke
to gank Niles
at 3:25 and get first blood. While Impact was pushing the front of the tower, Jizuke was able to use the ward to teleport in from behind Niles, and they pincered him for an easy kill.
This is where the rotating and ganking really started to come into full swing. A pattern begins to emerge where, even if a gank doesn’t get the intended kill or objective, EG has a plan B. Even when Plan A fails, their secondary objective plans keep game-tempo high and keeps them ahead.
For example, at 8:20, Jizuke’s Syndra and Svenskeren’s
Nidalee came up top to bully GG’s Gangplank, Niles, but that assault didn’t really go anywhere. However, they turned that into an early Herald take. Even though Jizuke did “waste” time, Svenskeren ended up getting the Rift Herald buff that was vital to tower pressure later in the game.
On the flip side, GG had quite a few ganks that went nowhere. In their worst flubbed gank (at 8:58), Iconic
, and Newbie
(playing Udyr, Oriana, Aphelios, and Thresh, respectively) were all closing in on bot tower to try to take out EG’s bot-laners and, if successful, take the tower. However, all it took was one well-placed EG tri-bush ward to scare them off.
Because of that, Iconic wasted roughly 30 seconds not farming, and Ablazeolive spent a whopping 60 seconds away from his lane entirely. This let Jizuke push up and put a lot of pressure on the mid-tower.
Now, this is when farming comes more into play. However, the most important farming of this game wasn’t the lane-farming. While everyone still needed to be on their A-game, EG and GG were fairly evenly matched (and GG even seemed to be pulling ahead overall by 10 minutes).
The game-changer of farming was done by Svenskeren, an invading king. He figured out Iconic’s jungle rotations and took the time to invade and steal his Krugs twice. By 10 minutes, Svenskeren had 75 farm to Iconic’s 68. The most important part is that roughly 8 CS and 300 gold of that is from denying Iconic his own jungle camps. That helped give EG that 1k gold lead at 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, even though it drained a lot of his mana, Jizuke kept pressuring the lane, making it harder for Ablazeolive to ever leave. By 12:50, Svenskeren was able to drop Rift Herald in mid, which did serious damage to the tower and gave Jizuke plate gold.
GG wasn’t just going to let EG win, though, with some great timing and tower pressure of their own.
Stixxay and Newbie put serious pressure on EG’s bot tower, which helped lead to them getting the first tower at 14 minutes. They kept their lane pushed, and Stixxay well-supplied with 98 farm by 10 minutes, compared to Deftly’s
Jhin only having 87.
Also, GG reacted well to EG’s 14:20 gank up top. They saw Svenskeren and Impact’s Renekton going in and Iconic went down to bot a second time to help Stixxay and Newbie take the first tower. They successfully used EG’s time investment up top against them to take down an important objective.
15- 20 Minutes
Yet when GG tried to continue that success by rotating 4 men up top at 15:00, they only scared Impact and Svenskeren away from lane. That left mid and bot lanes open for pushing without accomplishing much themselves. Also, while they ran off, Svenskeren took more jungle farm and Jizuke got Blue Buff (16:00), which only helped put them in the right place and give them a positional advantage in the upcoming fight for dragon (16:37).
Around the same time, Iconic tried to copy Svenskeren’s invasive farming, stealing Raptors around 16:20. Unfortunately, he simply didn’t have the same great timing about it and got caught out by Svenskeren and the rest of EG. He barely lived and forced the rest of GG to use their abilities to disengage, which led to EG’s acquisition of an uncontested dragon.
After that and heading into 20 minutes, the previously close-seeming game has a serious change. GG did get the first tower, but in just under 7 minutes EG claims 4 of their own towers because they’ve put pressure on all lanes, not just one. Their efforts in top, mid, and bot lane all come together to give them a significant advantage.
Every second counts
Overall, though, EG wasted roughly 90 seconds throughout the first 20 minutes, while GG wasted 180 seconds. Since every second counts in pro-play, GG could really feel that wasted time once that 20 minute-mark hit.
This EG vs. GG case study leads to an important conclusion: timing and game tempo are vital factors of pro games. This game is a great example from EG on how to do game tempo right. Svenskeren stayed aggressive in jungle farming and ganks. Every major movement across the map came with a plan b, increasing EG’s objective control. EG put themselves in great positions to capitalize on as many opportunities as possible to keep GG on their feet.
Utilizing game tempo, EG was able to keep the pressure high and pull together a well-executed win.