A Coach’s Account: Jish’s Recap of CHF vs. AV Semifinal.
Unlike the majority of my player counterparts, I live in Sydney and didn’t have to travel (interstate) to attend our OPL Semifinal against Avant Garde; instead I was lucky enough to sit through peak hour traffic for longer than the duration of their Melbourne to Sydney flight!
Our journey as a team to Sydney began weeks ago, when I joined the team midway through the split as a member of the coaching staff, but it played out over the past couple of days. In all, we had an absolute blast: from hanging around with Sydney Rioters to doing interviews and filming.
Taking the win, however, trumped it all.
In terms of coaching and preparation, we started looking into how we wanted to shape picks and bans a couple of weeks ago, but only firmly cemented some directions we’d take over the past couple of days, as a team. We actually prepared for a few scenarios, but in the end, had to show very little — a definite plus heading into the finals at Luna Park. We looked over some of the play and drafts Avant had throughout the season, and felt as though we had a pretty solid grasp on what we could expect from them in a best of five setting.
Game 1 was a little surreal, to be honest. Although I attended events last year, being inside Riot Oceania’s headquarters, watching the casters and team behind the scenes prepare and being able work with my team with some last minute rune page adjustments (Swiffer and I decided Zed was a little dated!), and then being involved with the pick and ban phase, albeit slightly off stage, was a very new experience. We started off well, our draft felt smoother than expected after seeing Avant first pick Corki, we were pretty content on trading Rek’Sai and Maokai for arguably the best ADC on the table, with Kalista and Sivir being banned by Avant and us, respectively. We felt we had answers to Corki, and hoped to create a big front line he wouldn’t be able to break through to be any real threat. We ended coupling that with Braum and Azir, who helped to keep Avant’s team composition at bay. Despite losing Dragon to Morgana’s W, and Chelby stealing Baron, the first game was pretty clean and we put our first foot forward in the series.
After exiting the stage and studio area, Sangy, Sigils and I retired to our viewing room to watch the game on what looked like a 60”+ TV. I also forgot what ‘Source’ quality looked like on Twitch, after being blessed with extremely Australian internet for the past few months.
Game 2 we expected the Azir ban, and after seeing them take two of our champions from the previous game, we opted to switch things up a bit. This game was definitely the best, in terms of play. We were pretty happy with all of our lane match-ups, though Avant tried really hard to avoid the 2v2 lane. I think, however, it definitely worked out for the best for us to chase the 1v1 and 2v2, and by around the 15 minute mark we had 2 dragons, CS leads in each lane, and some critical kills on our carries. We closed the game out pretty safely, and I headed back out to prepare for what would eventually mark our final game of the night.
Game 3 was, well, interesting. We picked a composition much more similar to that of the first game, but didn’t really have sufficient AD threats to dissuade Avant from just stacking MR. Honestly, we recognised this prior to picking Corki and considered opting for another champion, but after seeing Nidalee we thought their frontline would be manageable. Again, when we took Viktor, we still thought our burst could cut through their carries, and Shen would become irrelevant with nothing to tank for, looking to capitalised on a 0-2 and possibly demoralised Avant Garde in the mid-game.
We were wrong.
Game three typified what we practice hard to remove ourselves from. A messy, bloodthirsty, fight-centric team. Afterwards, we definitely recognised that despite it not being our goal, it was a strong feat from Avant to force all of those skirmishes, an area where their composition excelled. Off the back of a horrible level 1 fight, Avant really took control of the map and managed to surpass a 10k gold lead; both myself and the team were independently starting to mentally and strategically prepare ourselves for a fourth game.
After the changes in 5.13 to Runeglaive, putting Nidalee in an even better position than she was the patch before, and a handful of early kills given to Chelby’s Nidalee, Avant looked to be in a threatening position and poised to hand us our first defeat of the second split. We were aware Chelby had been practicing Nidalee and expected him to pick it, and he ended up playing it in two out of the three games. After seeing him spam the Rod of Ages and Rylais build in solo queue, I made the decision it wasn’t enough of a threat to warrant a ban without playing against it; which was confirmed then denied in games two and three. I feel as though that build too heavily subverts Nidalee’s most optimal playstyle, but I underestimated Chelby’s ability on the champion — and, despite disagreeing with his build, his play was exceptional.
For those who missed it, the climax of game three, which was assumed all but over and likely heading towards a game four, wasn’t until the final 10 to 20 seconds of the game. Having missed our window with our mid-game burst, Avant cleaned us up in a late-game teamfight, and with Raydere the sole survivor chased off into the jungle, Avant headed towards our Nexus with game four in sight.
Tucked away in our viewing room, aptly named Ziggs considering how crazy the game was, I learnt the room was soundproof. The noise that erupted from Sangy, Sigils and I easily eclipsed that of the players and probably the entire building; to my disappointment, though, we’re not audible on the VOD. Allowing the stream to close out properly and not to interrupt, we awkwardly bounced around in a mixture of excitement and joy, with a dash of confusion.
Day 2 was much more tame, although it meant another early morning to brave Sydney traffic. We set up in the hotel lobby for the majority of the morning, with the players interchanging and being interviewed, followed by some strolls around Darling Harbour. Reliving some of the moments from the day previous was hilarious, after I learnt Raydere planned on basing until the other four yelled at him to end the game.
He also auto attacked a minion instead of the Nexus turret, but only for dramatic effect.
Although the newest member of the Chiefs, I’m incredibly happy with our win, and cannot wait to grow even more. Thank you for your enduring support for the team and myself, make sure you keep up to date with all things Jish and Chiefs via Twitter, and feel free to ask me any questions through my Ask.FM.