It’s a difficult to dislike Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang as a League of Legends esports fan. Along with his flamboyant, charismatic personality, he is one of the most intelligent players in the world when it comes to macro movements.
Doinb brings fantastic map maneuvers to every team he goes to — which he demonstrated for LNG by doing the seemingly impossible and pulling back the win in their first game against FunPlus Phoenix. His consistent excellence for whatever team he is playing for has made him the maestro of Summoner’s Rift.
Defining aggressive and passive maneuvers
Before diving into the way Doinb orchestrated the events of LNG’s game against FPX, it’s important to understand the words “aggressive” and “passive” as they relate to League of Legends pro play. Some variant of those buzzwords are commonly repeated on broadcasts, and such a concept becomes important when it is explicitly clear which team has a tangible lead over the other.
Possession of the Eye of the Herald, an active ability players acquire once they capture the Rift Herald, is one of the most obvious indicators of who is in the lead. It forces the team that does not possess it to be careful when making any moves. If, by chance, a team’s opponents are targeting the part of the map opposite to where they are, then the Rift Herald’s ability to deal insurmountable amounts of damage to towers will ensure they fall further behind in gold.
As a result, the losing team often focuses on where the enemy will strike instead of scouting for information. While they won’t necessarily put themselves in a position to gain something by doing so, they are simultaneously defending themselves from suffering catastrophic losses. As such, the version of “aggressive and passive” that is most in-sync with League’s mechanics is more like “proactive” and “reactive.”
In that first game between FPX and LNG, this concept was on full display. FPX had forced LNG into a reactive position after they captured the first Rift Herald and Lin “Lwx” Wei-xiang began to push the bot wave immediately after he reset.
In that position, LNG had to prevent FPX from damaging their towers since the Rift Herald could destroy them in one hit, creating a major gold disparity that LNG would struggle to recover from. As a result, Wang “Light” Guang-yu had to forgo his reset to stay on the map and defend the bot tower. This response, however, was a band-aid solution to a larger problem at hand.
With Light a whole reset behind in terms of itemization, any attempt to contest the bot side was unfavorable for LNG. As such, LNG were stuck in a dilemma where they had to defend the bot side while maintaining a reactive role in the game. Light would be constantly pinned underneath the bot tower all the way until the dragon spawned a minute later.
It’s also worth noting that, according to Oracle Elixir, being approximately 500 gold (the expected value of a Herald siege) and having the Ocean and Hextech dragon buff puts a team’s win probability at 71.4%. With such a dooming circumstance at hand, LNG had to do something to shift the game’s flow.
Attack is the best defense
With LNG needing a hero, Doinb stepped up to reset the tempo.
His maneuvers began with a teleport to immediately return back onto the map at 10 minutes in. Using the small time advantage he acquired via teleport, he used Ryze’s excellent wave clear to shove his minions into FPX’s mid lane tower and get first move over fellow mid laner Kim “Gori” Tae-woo.
Then, as soon as LNG support Zuo “LvMao” Ming-hao spotted FPX jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min in the bot river, Doinb knew it was safe to execute his plan. Using the small wave LNG top laner Hu “Ale” Jia-le accumulated, Doinb utilized Realm Warp to threaten a dive on FPX top laner Ping “xiaolaohu” Xiao-hu. This immediately put FPX in a precarious situation. If they allowed this play to happen, LNG would get a head start in attacking the tower while FPX would have to wait another 15-20 seconds for a new minion wave to arrive.
Even with the Eye of the Rift Herald, that delay could result in LNG getting the first tower bonus instead of FPX. After that, Ale could use teleport to contest the dragon while Xiaolaohu would be scrambling to catch the wave pushing to his side in the top lane. With such a number disadvantage, FPX would surely lose control over the dragon, snowballing their losses further. To prevent this sequence of events, Gori expanded his own teleport to defend xiaolaohu.
This, however, was exactly what Doinb predicted, which allowed him to execute phase two of his plan. With both Gori and xiaolaohu on the top side of the map, Doinb was free to go back to the mid lane and secure more time to roam.
That was when FPX realized what Doinb had done. By forcing Gori to teleport, LNG suddenly had a teleport advantage on the top side of the map. With Ale’s position unknown, FPX suddenly couldn’t execute their Herald siege on the bot tower. With both of LNG’s solo laners guaranteed to arrive at the fight earlier than theirs, FPX couldn’t risk being trapped in a 3v5 situation if they unleashed the Rift Herald now.
With that play no longer an option, FPX quickly dropped their pressure on the bot tower. This enabled LvMao and LNG jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong to link with Doinb in the mid lane and gain entry into the dragon pit, which they originally could not get to safely. With this entry, LNG successfully punished FPX’s banana formation and completely flipped the state of the game to their favor.
Using tactics like that, Doinb simply brings a Matrix-esque feeling to the world of League of Legends. Good players understand the rudimentary rules of the game and base their decisions on them. Great players, on the other hand, take the additional step of bending the rules and the flows of the game to their will to accomplish what would seem impossible.