Preview of the World Championship: Taipei Assassins vs Azubu Frost
by Alan LaFleur October 13, 2012 @ 03:10am
The Summoner's Cup Sneak Peek (Source: Riot Games)
Who would have thought that these two teams would be here? After Azubu Frost got placed into the group stage due to being the odd man out at the drawing, personally, I thought there was no way they would claw their way through the competition. I know that I had a lot of questions about the level of Taipei Assassins after the Singapore Sentinels got stomped at IPL Faceoff in August. All the questions I had about the Assassins are gone, they are the real deal and they face another real deal in an epic match-up against Azubu Frost.
CSPM=Creep Score Per Minute and GPM=Gold Per Minute
The strengths of each team lie in different areas. Azubu Frost are probably the masters of the pick phase of the game. Several times in this tournament they baited their opponent into picks that would end up backfiring on them. Case in point, in the game against SK Gaming the bans/picks looked like this:
SK Gaming: Vladimir, Skarner, Jax
Azubu Frost: Twisted Fate, Ezreal, Orianna
SK Gaming: Alistar, Irelia, Sona, Caitlyn, Karthus
Azubu Frost: Shen, Corki, Lux, Singed, Anivia
SK does a good job of getting rid of champions in which Frost can excel. However, it was the picks phase that they got manhandled. SK starts out with an Alistar pick. Azubu Frost will counter with Shen and Corki, giving SK no clue where Shen will actually be going. SK will follow with Irelia and Sona, picking their top lane without really knowing where Shen will be in the game. Frost follows it up with more confusion by picking Lux but finalizing where Shen will be, the jungle, by picking Singed. At this point SK picks Caitlyn and Karthus and Frost counters by picking Anivia. The Anivia pick is a problematic one for Karthus, trades will be hard in lane and the bird will scale just as well as you with the same amount of farm. The Lux pick by Frost was big because it allowed them to get the upper hand in the mid lane match-up and then have maximum protection for Corki with shields and snares against an aggressive Caitlyn/Sona lane. They won this game at the picks.
Frost knows how to throw you off right away with 2nd pick but they have a unique way of doing things with first pick. If Ezreal is not banned, they will always first pick him and then pick his partner with their last pick. An Ezreal lane is really hard to predict without knowing who the support will be. In their game against TSM, they first picked Ezreal and allowed TSM to pick Blitzcrank and Graves. They could pick whomever they wanted to counter this lane, so they picked Taric, good luck landing a hook on Ezreal and you don't want to land a hook on Taric. Azubu Frost had a lot of games on the purple side but went 3-1 in those games and I believe it is because of their skill with the pick phase of this game.
A hype video for the Taipei Assassins (Source: applemonster3843)
Taipei Assassins are incredible mechanical players. Their farm is up there with the best in the world, i.e. Froggen. Toyz showcased that his AP play is by far on another level by playing high control type champions with tons of burst, Orianna and Anivia. Bebe and MiSTakE have proven that they are a dynamic duo in the bottom lane. MiSTakE likes to play a lot of control heavy support champions paired up with the likes of Ezreal and Kog'Maw. The bottom lane is the lane that Taipei Assassins likes to keep safe and farm. The stats show this since Bebe is able to keep up an alarming 376 Gold Per Minute (GPM) where the highest on Azubu Frost is Woong at 368 GPM. Bebe averages a whole creep more per minute than Woong does, that may not seem like much but over the course of the game it can add up and it also shows just how good TPA is at keeping Bebe safe. The jungler, Lilballz, likes to dictate the pace of the game, counter jungle, and counter gank for his team. Lilballz is the definition of the support jungle, his whole mission is to get his team fed.
That leads us to the big match-up: Stanley versus Shy. These two players have shown that they are possibly two of the best top laners in the world. Their styles are pretty different also. Stanley likes to play champions that can effectively split push and wreak havoc for the enemy while his team takes objectives. On the other hand, Shy likes to play the bruiser that makes sure the enemy carry cannot do their job. The Assassins like to stick Stanley on an island but I don't believe that they will be able to do that against Frost. CloudTemplar does a good job of putting pressure on top lane and Lilballz is going to have to respond to that pressure. The attention on top lane can open RapidStar to play an aggressive AP mid that roams to bottom lane to secure kills on Bebe to lock him down.
This whole series will come down to the top lane. Will CloudTemplar camp Stanley? How well will Lilballz react to it? Will it open up RapidStar to play an aggressive champion like Ahri or Diana and roam to wreak havoc on Bebe and MiSTakE? We will find out tonight when the two teams face off at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California at 7 PM Pacific Time.