Why Malzahar and the Ardent Censor Ruined the Worlds Finals
This past weekend League of Legends had a sold-out crowd in the Birds Nest (Beijing National Stadium) in Beijing China. The event was a spectacle we saw fireworks, augmented reality elder dragons and live music. What we didn’t see was a competitive or interesting game of league of legends. Allow me to defend my claim.
Malzahar Counters Skill
All three games had almost the same champions from both teams. Malzahar was the pick in all three games by Samsung Galaxy. Faker (the best player in the world) picked 3 different champions each with a different way to “counter” Malzahar and contribute to his team. The games all looked slightly different but involved Faker taking a CS or kill lead and then having Malzahar continue to safely CS and then use his ult in team fights and win the game.
Malzahar has a safe way to farm that is undeniable once he has some AP and LVL 6. He can shove relentlessly from a safe distance. If his ult is up there is no way to pressure or zone him. Faker wanted action on all three of his picks. Malzahar simply wanted farm and to play for the late game. Faker although more skilled and ahead was unable to even zone Malzahar. Instead of watching SKT make plays in the midlane we watched Faker look for plays across the map and farm. What do you do when you face the best? You simply don’t face him. To quote Deficio during the match “it doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest player in the world if you never get to fight anyone. If you never actually get to use your mechanics and your skills cause the team your fighting against are like ya we don’t need to fight you, we don’t need to fight you we can just run around you.”
Crown was impeccable, he stayed away from faker early on Cassiopeia and survived a huge cs disadvantage by playing passively and pressing R. I don’t think Malzahar is inherently unbalanced, but I think he is bad for LOL Esports and robbed us of what could have been a lane matchup for the ages. Instead of action and excitement, we saw farming. Which was exactly what Samsung Galaxy wanted to do. We got to watch three games where the best player in the world was unable to fight or zone his opponent because Samsung chose a champion with no risk.
Ardent Censor Makes Varus a Tank
The Ardent Censor has been complained about on Reddit and youtube since the rework that made Janna and Lulu the most powerful champions on the rift. We saw that on full display when both teams ran shield supports in the first two games. In the third game, SKT tried to play Leona and the difference in late game power was substantial. The Ardent Censor means Varus offensive flashing into the enemy’s fed Karma and late game Tristana a winning play. It changes the mentality of the game in a way that feels unfair to the other positions.
The ardent censor dictated picks and bans and made it, so we got to watch the same matchup two times. When SKT tried something new we saw how bad it hurt them in the late game fights. In the meta at Worlds, a shield support is 100% necessary. This leaves playmaker supports like Thresh and Leona unplayable and fosters a very passive boring style of play.
Samsung played a fantastic series and deserved the win in every way. I just wish it would have been more fun to watch.