League of Legends

Profile of Suning’s Playstyle

LeagueofLegends12 - Profile of Suning's Playstyle
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By popular demand, I will be doing all of the teams in Semis. Tomorrow's team will be TES, and Friday's team will be G2.

Disclaimers:

  1. I do not do this professionally so keep in mind that my opinion is just that – my opinion. I'm likely going to be making claims about how I think the game should be played and these might not align with your views.
  2. The region I watch the most of is Korea. As prep work for this writeup, I have watched all of Suning's games from LPL Playoffs as well as rewatching all of their matches in Groups and Worlds Quarterfinals. Bear in mind that my limited perspective is off of these recent few matches
  3. I will qualify the above – that recency bias is more useful either way if you want an analysis of how a team is performing at Worlds. For example – we aren't going to look at C9's VoDs from Spring to analyze how they would do at this World's – different metas, different playstyles.

Before I go on with any more of these profiles, I want to explain three key fundamentals that will likely be useful in future analyses:

Draft

  • Blue and Red Side drafting are drastically different from each other
    • Blue side drafts are about identity. The strength of a first pick is that it gives you theoretically the strongest champion available among the remainder. If you're picking the strongest champion, you likely want to be able to express those strengths – meaning picking a composition that successfully works with that particular champion. For example, if I'm first picking Caitlyn on 10.16 I want a partner for Caitlyn who lanes well with her, and probably a few pieces that peel well for her. Caitlyn's a hyper-scaling champion so I probably want a team that scales along with her. Maybe I take Ornn, a control mage, and a more supportive jungler like Nidalee or Kindred.In more simple terms, Blue Side drafts proactively. You look to make a composition. You don't wait for your opponent.
    • Red side drafts are about the compromise between your opponent's composition and your own. While you definitely want a composition that works, the benefit of being the second picking team is that your opponent has to reveal their hand first. This is important because:
      • This obviously lets you counter-pick roles
      • You theoretically know exactly what your opponent's team comp does, what its weaknesses are, etc.

In essence, Red Side does not need to go in with the strictest of plans. It merely needs to be ableto beat Blue. It doesn't care how it achieves this, it cares that it does achieve it.

Territory

  • A team's territory is simply the region of the map that they reasonably have control over. Control is present through. For example, a team that is severely ahead and looking to win the game might have a territory at any given point throughout the game that spans from their base to the walls of the enemy base.
    • The speed at which a team can rotate into the region
    • The number of allied structures within the region
      • Wards
      • Towers
      • Minions
    • The defendability of a region

Fight Selection

  • There are three main reasons to fight
    • To snowball the early game
      • Victories in early skirmishes/fights can snowball into incredible leads for laners
    • To secure neutral objectives
      • Teams generally take fights around objectives based on item timings if not under duress. Good teams should not fight for objectives if they don't have a prescient reason to e.g they are at an appropriate point in their composition where the fight is winnable or if they don't fight they will lose
    • To secure enemy territory
      • Fighting to secure vision
      • Fighting to secure turrets

With that in mind, I would describe Suning's playstyle through the following:

Suning plays a controlled tempo style that generally has SofM focus on the top side of the map for the early game while allowing Huanfeng to slowly scale to relevancy on the weak side of the map bot side. Once their team hits one item spikes, they tend to group into loose 4-1 or 1-3-1 formations to set waves before looking for 4/5 man team fights.

This style of play warps their drafts in a few key ways:

  • Bin is almost always on a champion that has the ability to split push. This is reflected in his champion statistics since the start of LPL Playoffs.
    • Against V5: Jayce, Renekton, Gangplank, Renekton
    • Against TES: Mordekaiser, Jayce, Renekton
    • Against LGD: Renekton, Jayce, Renekton
    • Worlds Groups: Renekton, Jax, Jax, Irelia, Jayce, Camille, Gangplank
    • Worlds Quarterfinals: Gangplank, Gangplank, Gangplank, Volibear
    • To hammer this point in, even on Blue Side, Suning opts to never pick Ornn. In all 11 games they have played at Worlds, they have banned Ornn in every single Pick/Ban
  • Their drafts tend to focus on champions that spike from items 1-3 as this is their usual window to take control of the map. It would be a bit exhausting to list out of every single team composition they have played since Quarterfinals of LPL – but you'll notice a lot of Lee Sin/Graves/Olaf* + Zoe/Syndra + Jhin/Ashe.

*Olaf is played during the 10.16 meta of LPL – I believe mostly by SN – obviously we have not seen it at this Worlds as it has fallen out of meta.

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One nuance here that I'll point out:

  • SN prefers to play around topside. This does not mean they can only play around topside. This just means that when they are dictating tempo, they will probably play a top side oriented game. They are more than willing to fight if SofM happens to be in the area and this happens in a fair few of their games. Examples:
  • Preferring to play around topside does not mean you don't take free objectives when they come up. Suning will obviously take a free dragon if they think the enemy team can not move to stop it.

Another key component to Suning's play is excellent mechanics that allow them to play this team fighting style. I'm not going to post the whole montage but many times, Suning's individual excellency is often just good enough to skill-check the opponent. While Suning's play may seem chaotic in live viewing, most of their games are actually rather reserved for the first 10 minutes or so. The nature of the comps that they pick as their bread-and-butter lead to the explosive mid-games many worlds viewers have begun to find immense joy in.

Suning's Key Weaknesses:

  • In almost all of the games that Suning have lost, the opposing teams have been able to completely shut down the top side and severely limit Bin's playmaking potential. More noticably, when Bin is shut down, the entire team tends to be much more reserved in their ability to make early game plays.
    • In G2 vs SN Day 2, you see Jankos playing primarily around the top side of the map while enabling Wunder in a relatively favourable matchup in Volibear vs Renekton. Even while Bin pops off pretty hard in this game, if SofM had been able to play around top side and accelerate Renekton, you likely would have seen much a different story.
    • In TES's 3-0 over SN in LPL Semifinals, Karsa puts down a tent in Bin's lane. This proved extremely effective in limiting SN's X-Factors and ability to team fight.
  • Because of the drafts that SN limits themselves to, they can fall victim to simply being outscaled. Almost all their pick/bans lead to explosive mid-game comps with little late-game insurance, and you can see that in the fact that they have banned Ornn in every single game they've played. Teams that survive the lethal skill-check through the mid-game can also find leeway.
    • In particular, SN is likely one of the few teams at Worlds that might prefer to be on the Red Side rather than the Blue Side because their compositions tend to be counter-pickable. You have a general idea of what type of composition SN is almost guaranteed to draft so looking for counters on a Red-Side P/B might limit their playmaking potential severely

Thanks for reading, I'll be back tomorrow with TES.

Edit: Apparently I straight up left out a bullet point in SN's weaknesses. Whoops.

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