Emily Rand's NA LCS Roundup: Rek'Sai four ways

by theScore Staff Jan 31 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games/lolesports / NA LCS Spring 2016 / Riot Games

With poke and engage compositions in vogue, and Kindred still disabled, junglers have fallen to the flexible, universal picks of Elise and Rek’Sai. Elise sits tied for second after Week 2 in the 2016 North American League Championship Series Spring for champion select popularity with a 90 percent pick/ban rate. Not so far behind her in sixth place is Rek’Sai with 70 percent. Both champions have quick clears, crowd control for successful ganks, and respective mechanics that give them strong neutral objective control.

Her strengths are obvious. A quick jungle clear, crowd control from Unburrow, and global presence from Void Rush allow a jungler to be nearly anywhere at any time while also providing peel and a knockup in team fights. However, the dueling potential of Elise, additional poke from Nidalee, and strong jungle flex picks like Poppy or Graves had somewhat lessened the fervor for Rek’Sai, in spite of her ability to fit into nearly any team composition.

Today, Rek’Sai’s NA LCS win rate, which was at 45.5 percent going into today’s matches, rose to 60 percent following four wins and no losses – she only went unpicked once in the final game of the day between Immortals and Renegades. Here are the four teams and players who let Rek’Sai lead them to victory, often against flashier jungle opponents.

Team Impulse’s Procxin

In the first match of the day, Team Impulse extended their improbable win streak to three games with a victory over Team Dignitas. Former MKZ jungler Kim “Procxin” Seyoung was a key element of this victory. Using Rek’Sai’s global presence and quick clear times to create early pressure, Procxin ended the game with 92 percent kill participation, part of nearly every move that Team Impulse made.

A key factor regarding Procxin’s success was that his opponent, Dignitas’ Thomas “Kirei” Yuen, was on Rengar. Rengar has seen a recent rise in popularity lately, and Dignitas put their jungler on the Pridestalker in hopes that he would coordinate with mid laner Danny “Shiphtur” Le on Corki. Rengar’s Thrill of the Hunt and available crowd control plus The Package from Corki makes for a potent combination, but one that requires finesse and coordination to pull off successfully. Dignitas did not have either of those qualities yesterday, and as a result, Kirei’s Rengar farmed passively – as Rengars are wont to do, as their ultimate is what gives them ganking power – sacrificing his important early presence. In spite of a lower comparative kill participation than most other North American junglers (66 percent) Kirei has a 75 percent First Blood participation rate, tied for second in the NA LCS. Kirei is a crucial part of what gets Dignitas rolling, and placing him on the farm-necessary Rengar hampers his ability to help his team early, exemplified today by Dignitas’ passivity.

Procxin’s ability to be nearly anywhere on the map when needed led Team Impulse, and Rek’Sai, to another win. Here, Procxin had been pinged out by Dignitas in their own jungle, leading Kirei to start the dragon. Thanks to Rek’Sai’s global ultimate, Procxin is able to arrive to the ensuing skirmish at exactly the right time, flashing forward for a two-man knockup that turns the fight in TiP’s favor.

Team SoloMid’s Svenskeren

As seen previously from Procxin and Team Impulse, Rek’Sai is strong in teamfights, especially when a jungler is willing to initiate aggressively. One of the more impressive plays of today was a four-man flash Rek’Sai knockup from Team SoloMid’s Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen.

This advantageous engage onto almost the whole of opponent Cloud9 was coordinated with TSM top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell who flanked the team from the side. Most importantly, Svenskeren’s Rek’Sai knockup forced Cloud9 AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi to Rocket Jump away from the fight, removing one of Cloud9’s primary damage dealers. The crowd control chain from Svenskeren into Hauntzer’s Lissandra kept Cloud9 occupied while TSM’s primary damage dealers Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng cleaned up the fight, resulting in two turrets and two inhibitors.

Team Liquid’s Dardoch

For Team Liquid’s Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett Rek’Sai offered quick clear time and mobility, allowing him to be a constant thorn in NRG eSports’ Jung “Impact” Eonyeong’s side. NRG had chosen a strong laning response to Samson “Lourlo” Jackson’s Poppy by choosing Trundle for Impact. Recognizing the disadvantageous matchup – and likely Impact’s general prowess as a player – Dardoch camped bot lane where Lourlo and Impact were paired.

Again, Rek’Sai’s kit can favor the bold, especially if one is willing to use their flash offensively. Unburrow also synergizes well with Poppy’s Heroic Charge, creating a chain of crowd control.

While Dardoch spent most of the early game aiding his top laner, NRG eSports’ Galen “Moon” Holgate had several successful ganks in the top lane with his duo of AD carry Johnny “Altec” Ru and support Kevin “KonKwon” Kwon. Unfortunately, these kills resulted in the death of Team Liquid support Matthew “Matt” Elento rather than AD carry Chae “Piglet” Gwangjin. On Bard, Matt didn’t mind the deaths as much, and was still able to hit decisive ultimates onto NRG’s damage dealers later in the game where Impact’s influence was severely lessened from Dardoch’s repeated ganks. Using Rek’Sai to far greater effect than Moon was able to use Elise, Dardoch also outfarmed Moon by approximately 30 cs at 20 minutes, and was an all-important crowd control tank in team fights.

Counter Logic Gaming’s Xmithie

A less aggressive jungler than his Rek’Sai compatriots, Jake “Xmithie” Puchero used Rek’Sai to support his team by providing general presence and vision control, granting Counter Logic Gaming the tools necessary to succeed.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about Xmithie’s Rek’Sai performance today; however, for what Counter Logic Gaming needs him to do, he was perfect. Rek’Sai allowed him strong coverage of the map and crowd control for skirmishes when needed.